Better Angels podcast

Welcome to Better Angels, a weekly podcast hosted by Sarah Brown.

Each episode is filled with interviews, stories and advice from some of the world’s most inspiring political leaders, business people, activists and entertainers. As we celebrate the people who are making the world a better place at a time of unprecedented global change, we hope listening to Better Angels will inspire and help you to create real change in the world.

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Interview special: Nish Kumar

Sarah Brown talks to British Comedian Nish Kumar about the anger he felt at racist abuse directed at him in his first gig after the UK's Brexit result and how he channeled this fury and frustration into his current stand up tour 'Actions speak louder than words, even when you shout the words real loud'. 

As Nish Kumar's profile as a comedian has continued to grow, more recently his voice has been heard ever louder in public discussions on politics and race in the aftermath of the UK's Brexit vote. Nish has spoken about the racist abuse he received following the UK's decision to leave the EU, and the way in which the hostility he has experienced recently, contrasts to his experiences growing up in the 1990s in a British-Indian family. In this interview special, Sarah Brown talks to Nish about his childhood and adult experiences, and the ways in which he is pushing back to tackle head on racist attitudes in the UK and unlock his own activism. 

Interview special: Kevin Watkins

Sarah Brown talks to Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK, a leading international NGO working to eradicate poverty around the world.

Here is an opportunity to hear an in-depth, unvarnished insider's account of working within the international development system and leading one of the best known and highly regarded global children's charities. Kevin Watkins is a dedicated and experienced humanitarian, combining intellectual power and the practical will needed to create change. In this interview special, Kevin Watkins provides a unique insight into the challenges and the opportunities at leading NGO, Save the Children UK. 

Ways To Create Change

Sarah Brown talks to New York Times columnist and author Nick Kristof, former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, British comedian Nish Kumar and Dutch Anti-Trafficking campaigner Toos Heemskerk-Schep.

This episode explores the ways in which we can create change. Whether this be through leading, observing and reporting, working at a grassroots level or just shouting very loudly to make your voice heard; all of these activities have their place in championing change and shifting the status quo or addressing a wrong. Whatever the starting point, the end goal or means of shaking things up, everyone interviewed is passionate about their cause. 

What does it take to be a better campaigner?

Sarah Brown talks to LGBT super-activist David Mixner, Christy Turlington Burns, Kevin Watkins and Shazia Ramzan. 

This episode explores what makes a great campaigner. How can we take action to make a difference? How can we speak up to right a wrong? Activism and campaigning takes place across all different causes and take many different forms. Whether the cause is education, health, human rights, climate change, or simply campaigning for a new road crossing in your neighbourhood, the first step is often joining or starting a campaign to speak up, to put on pressure and to take action. In this episode, Sarah Brown explores what makes a great campaigner by talking to people who have made a huge impact for their personal causes and passions. 

Sarah Brown talks to civil rights activist, prominent LGBT campaigner and best-selling author David Mixner, supermodel and maternal health campaigner, Christy Turlington Burns, CEO of Save The Children UK and leading international development thinker, Kevin Watkins, and young education campaigner and Global Youth Ambassador Shazia Ramzan, who was also attacked in the shooting of Malala Yousafzai on their school bus in Pakistan in 2012. 


Sarah Brown talks to Kathy Lette, Leslie Caron, Emma Barnett, Gemma Cairney, June Sarpong, DJ Cuppy, Manal Abazeed of the White Helmets and a host of successful and fascinating women eager to rewrite the code for all girls and women at an event held on 7th March 2017 ahead of International Women’s Day. Join in by listening to this episode of Better Angels, be inspired by their actions and find out how to join in the challenge of #RewritingTheCode for gender equality.

This episode looks at those embedded values that are with a girl even before she is born, all the values that surround who she is, what she gets to believe she can be, what the opportunities are that come her way, the doors that are open for her, the support that she gets.

While strides have been made in equal opportunities for girls and women, there’s an unwritten code that holds still many girls back at an early age pretty much everywhere in the world. The advent of new technology, changes to the workplace and global political climate, instead of helping, could turn back the clock on progress. This is the episode that sets out to reverse this!

Featured in this unique episode is award winning actress and dancer, Leslie Caron, journalist and broadcaster, Emma Barnett, television presenter, June Sarpong, bestselling author, Kathy Lette, radio presenter and former fashion stylist, Gemma Cairney, co-founder of the Stemettes, Anne-Marie Imafidon, television producer, Kate Harwood, Director General of the Institute of Directors, Stephen Martin, Khaleda Yesmin of Theirworld, Vice President of Intel Corporate Affairs & President of Intel Foundation, Rosalind Hudnell, DJ and Producer, DJ Cuppy, former Captain of Afghanistan’s national football team and founder of Girl Up, Khalida Popal, Member of Parliament in the UK, Alison McGovern, and Manal Abazeed of the Syria Civil Defence (also known as White Helmets).

Laura Bates: Interview Special

Sarah Brown talks to Laura Bates, British feminist writer and Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. At the age of 25, Laura found herself the unexpected figure-head of a rapidly growing movement, and rose to the challenge admirably. 

Founded in 2012, the Everyday Sexism Project website is a forum for women and girls to post their own personal experiences of sexism. As the number of women posting on the website rose into the thousands, Laura took it upon herself to respond by mastering the statistics on gender inequality and violence against women, and publishing and speaking publicly on the issues. Laura's book, Everyday Sexism, was published in 2014. Through her writing and public speaking, Laura continues to emphasise the point that whatever progress has been made in feminism, there remains a wealth of unfairness and overt-sexism still to be addressed. 

Sir Patrick Stewart: Interview Special

Sarah Brown talks to Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE, the world-renowned English Actor, whose career spans The Royal Shakespeare Company, TV dramas, and the much loved roles of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek films and professor Charles Xavier in X-Men. 

In this interview special, Sir Patrick Stewart speaks openly about finding his love of acting and theatre, how he trains and looks after his iconic voice, and how he uses his voice to speak up for the causes about which he is passionate. Sir Patrick is vocal in his support for various social issues including progressive politics for fairness and social justice, addressing domestic violence with the charity Refuge, and being a powerful advocate for a better understanding of the mental health issues faced by our war veterans. 

Creativity in Changemaking

Sarah Brown chats to Nadine Labaki, Steve Nguyen, Nick Sharrat and young activists from Mobaderoon in Syria.

This episode explores the relationship between creativity and activism, and how we can learn from both to best express our personal concerns externally. Writers, artists and musicians  have been the creative force behind world changing campaigns for many years. Creative ideas can inspire, change, enhance communication and express solidarity, from music, art, storytelling, illustration, drama, the spoken and written word and more. At its best creativity can move people to believe something, care and decide not to act. 

Sarah Brown talks to Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki, renowned film and animation director, writer and producer Steve Nguyen, award-winning illustrator and author Nick Sharrat and young activists from civil society group Mobaderoon from Syria. 

How Do You Solve A Problem Like...Refugee Education

How do you actually make big change happen? In this episode, Sarah Brown explores the challenge of how to educate Syrian children who have been forced to flee their homes and schools due to the ongoing war. What are all the elements involved in getting hundreds of thousands of Syrian back to school and learning?

The episode focuses on education but has wider lessons about how big problems can be solved, even in the face of overwhelming crisis. This is an example of how campaigns create change, and what can be achieved when leaders and activists come together.

Sarah Brown talks to Elias Bou Saab, former Minister of Education in Lebanon, Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister, now Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Dr Justin van Fleet, Director of the Commission for Financing Education Opportunity and chief adviser for Theirworld, Weded Antawi, a Palestinian computer science student campaigning for global education and Nour, 14 year old Syrian schoolgirl.

Episode 7: Finding your Voice - II

Sarah Brown chats to Sir Patrick Stewart, Ed Balls, Christy Turlington Burns, and Laura Bates who share their personal experiences of mastering the challenges of public speaking and their activist voice. The programme investigates how to find the confidence, courage and skills to speak out on an issue you care passionately about.  

Featuring world renowned actor Sir Patrick Stewart, super-model and maternal health campaigner Christy Turlington Burns, politician, economist and dancer Ed Balls, and feminist writer and Everyday Sexism project founder Laura Bates.


Rachel Whale

Sarah Brown chats to Rachel Whale. Rachel Whale is founder and CEO of social enterprise Koreo. Her passion is to create social change and she has become a master of finding and encouraging talented people to integrate activism in to their everyday lives. In this interview special Rachel explains her own tough upbringing and what drives her tenacity in her day to day work to make the world a better place. 

Stuart Goldsmith

Sarah Brown chats to Stuart Goldsmith. Stuart Goldsmith is a stand-up comedian and presenter of his own highly successful podcast - The Comedians Comedian. Stuart discusses his early work as a street performer and also his insights about what makes an individual stand out. This is a podcast rooted in activism but looks for lessons from a range of experiences, and this interview special explores how to create a distinctive voice. 

Sophie Scott

Sarah Brown talks to Professor Sophie Scott. Sophie Scott is a British cognitive neuroscientist who studies what happens in our brains when we laugh. Sophie was interviewed for a previous episode of Better Angels titled 'The Power of Laughter'. This is a podcast rooted in activism but looks for lessons from a range of experiences. The interview special explores the science of laughter and how we might better understand laughter and use it to connect with people through our activism. 

Ben Winston and James Corden

Sarah Brown chats to Ben Winston. Ben Winston is a television and film director and producer and Executive Producer of the Late Late Shown with James Corden. Ben and James created the famous 'Smithy' sketches that became a viral sensation for the UK Comic Relief Comedy telethon. Better Angels is a podcast rooted in activism but looks for lessons from a range of experiences, and this interview special explores the unique role of comedy in encouraging people to take action. The interview was initially set up with Ben Winston but was, happily, interrupted on the day by James Corden who shares his own thoughts about how the famous 'Smithy' sketches came about. 


Episode 1: Better Angels and Inspirations

Hear about the special people who have inspired others to do good. This episode features Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, world-renowned economist Larry Summers, and the former First Lady of South Africa and widow of Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel.

Episode 2: Finding Your Voice

This episode is for anyone who feels they have something important to say, but are nervous about saying it. How do you get heard and how do you find your platform? Featuring comedian David Baddiel, former British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher and two sisters running top Turkish businesses, Hanzade Dogan Boyner and Vuslat Dogan Sabanci.

Episode 3: How do activists begin?

What actually makes us act? How do we move from identifying a problem to trying to fix it? And what are the best ways to take action? This episode looks at the nuts and bolts of how to start campaigning and making a positive difference. If a 13-year-old can do it, so can you!

Episode 4: The Power of Laughter

This episode focuses on the power of comedy and how laughter can bring us together. Sarah Brown explores how we can harness this positive energy in campaigning to spread the activist message. Sarah speaks to Late Late Show Executive Producer Ben Winston and actor, comedian and television host James Corden, and comedians Sarah Millican and Stuart Goldsmith in this latest episode titled 'The power of laughter'. The episode also includes Professor Sophie Scott from University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who explains why we laugh, youth campaigner Lulu Cerone who hosts 'philanthroparties' to make activism fun, and Brian Edelman from digital agency RAIN and Ben Hewitt, Campaigns Director for Theirworld, who are working with comedians on their new #5for5 campaign. 

Episode 5: Changemakers

Sarah Brown chats to Julia Gillard, Adam Garone, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Taha Fatima Khan, Theo Sowa, and Rachel Whale. From a former Australian Prime Minister, to the Co-Founder of the worldwide Movember Foundation, and the CEO of the African Women's Development Fund, this episode focuses on changemakers - those people willing to go the extra mile to help others. In this episode Sarah Brown examines the subject of people getting involved and making a difference in the lives of others. She says: "There's a special kind of activism which aims to encourage people not just to donate or support from afar - but to get involved".

Episode 6: Risking Your Life for Change

Sarah Brown talks to Raed al Saleh of the White Helmets in Syria, nurse Pauline Cafferky, Brendan Cox and Ousmane Ba. 

There are many people around the world challenged to take daily acts of heroism to rescue, support or even save their fellow humans. This episode focuses on the people who risk their life for change. When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defence rushes in. When Ebola strikes, nurses volunteer from around the world. When schools are destroyed in a war, a young person steps up to rebuild them. What determines their actions? What makes them tick? 

David Baddiel: Interview Special

David Baddiel is a novelist, comedian, screenwriter and television presenter and has recently concluded his successful one-man show in London about his personal family experiences. His award winning children’s books for 8-12 year olds include The Parent Agency, The Person Controller and his latest book Animalcolm. In his writing and comedy David is not afraid of looking clever, being clever and letting his reader or audience be clever. This is a podcast rooted in activism but looks for lessons from a range of other experiences. In this interview special David chats about his school days, his start in comedy, his weariness about being too worthy and a hot dog princess!   

Adam Garone: Interview Special

Adam Garone is the Chief Mo Bro and Co-founder of the Movember Foundation. In 2003 his brother challenged him to grow a moustache for the first ever Movember. It was a moment that changed his life and inspired him to establish Movember as a men’s health campaign, a foundation and a global movement. It is a movement that has impacted the lives of millions of men from across the world. Find out how Adam and a few friends unexpectedly started one of the world’s biggest ever men’s health movements, its impact today and its future potential.


  • Executive Producers: Ben Hewitt & Lolita Laguna
  • Music: Pete Lyons
  • Photo: Brian Aris
  • Studio: People's Postcode Lottery studio in Edinburgh
  • Act