Main content

Meet the presenters: Nikki and Richard

Nikki Bedi is an international television and radio broadcaster who has been covering the arts and creating mischief globally for over two decades. As well as co presenting Saturday Live, she has two long-running shows on the BBC World Service; ‘The Arts Hour’ which she curates, writes and presents and the monthly ‘Arts Hour on Tour’.

What is your Saturday morning routine?
Coffee & banana at 4.30am. Run at 5.30am. Shower & dress then off to the BBC for 7.45am picking up coffees and chocolatey treats for Richard (and me) along the way.

Favourite weekend breakfast?
Biscuits, very sweet coffee and Galaxy chocolate...followed by eggs and some sort of toast.

Tell us a surprising fact about you?
I speak Hindustani and I’m fascinated by all things medical.

Who would you choose to be trapped in a lift with for 24 hours?
A lift engineer. (or anyone who isn’t flatulent, anxious or sweaty)

What would your Inheritance Tracks be and why?
The track I’ve inherited is from my father, a surgeon who came to England from India in the sixties. It’s Isaac Hayes’ Theme From Shaft. On long drives from Bombay to Khandala every weekend it would be part of a mixtape blasting from a cassette recorder. As a family we’d travel in a convoy from the city to the hills.

My grandparents would choose a relaxing soundtrack of ghazals to ease them into a weekend vibe and my aunt and cousins would be in another car (where she’d be squealing in fear as the car took corners and steep bends in spite of the fact she always took a Calmpose before setting off)….they’d be listening to The Carpenters and all kinds of Hindi pop.

Our car always was the one with the cool playlist, emitting jazz and all kinds of great, uplifting tracks.....and when Shaft came on...it completely energised and excited us like nothing else.

The track I’d pass on is Homelands by Nitin Sawhney. It’s perfectly transporting and life affirmative. It’s musically, rhythmically, linguistically, culturally, spiritually and emotionally an anthem for me. It makes my spirit soar.

As someone with both an Indian and an English heritage, I loved how this ground-breaking track spoke to a whole generation. To then travel and see that people all over the world loved it too... kind of validated all of us in a way. It's sublime. Play it loudly.

Anyone you wish to thank (who you couldn’t thank at the time?)
A man who sat next to me on a flight from Bombay to Hong Kong who gave me his handkerchief and ordered me a brandy as I sobbed uncontrollably. I’d just had to leave India after an arrest warrant had been issued for me and effigies were being burnt in the streets, after a very difficult situation arose on my TV talk show ’Nikki Tonight’.

I’d spent a few days living with a security detail and was scared for my safety. I’d been brave and probably over-adrenalised until that moment and it was watching a hokey film on the flight that triggered a monumental emotional release.

Reverend Richard Coles is a Church of England priest and broadcaster. Prior to this, he was also the instrumentalist half of pop band, The Communards.

What is your Saturday morning routine?
I get up at 4.45, let the dogs out, make a coffee, fill a thermos, drive to the station, get on a train, arrive at London, walk to Broadcasting House. Reverse process after the programme.

Favourite weekend breakfast?
I don’t normally do breakfast apart from two cups of coffee, but on high and holy days I would find it hard to walk past a grilled kipper.

Most memorable moment during an interview?
I remember one guy fell asleep while I was interviewing him and Sian Williams had to kick him up under the table.

Tell us a surprising fact about you?
I am the reincarnation of King Zog of Albania.

Who would you choose to be trapped in a lift with for 24 hours?
John McCarthy.

Fantasy dinner party line up (you can have 4 guests dead or alive)?
Russell Harty, Angela Hartnett, Gareth Southgate, Marie of Romania.

What would your Inheritance Tracks be and why?
The track I inherited was the theme tune from Z Cars, which is as old as I am.
I would want to pass on the Ring Cycle, everything is in it, and I would be so fondly remembered by those obliged to listen to all fifteen hours of it.

Anyone you wish to thank (who you couldn’t thank at the time?)
Mrs Pearce, who taught me to play the piano.