Stark Talk

show more detailshow less detail



Edi Stark talks to the wonderfully engaging Joe Mulholland, director of Glasgow's Hidden Lane Gallery, once a garage for the hearses of the local funeral undertaker.

His complex of studios in Finnieston kick started the regeneration of a previously derelict area where he is landlord to many of Scotland's most successful artists like Jim Lambie and bands like Belle and Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand.

When he moved to his home in the west end his neighbour Margaret Watkins gave him a sealed trunk to be opened only after her death. In 1969, he discovered 1200 photographs of outstanding quality and has single handedly assured her rightful place in the history of great photographers.

In previous lives this colourful character and inveterate collector has worked as a criminal defence lawyer, newspaper editor, antiques dealer and furniture maker whose enterprises have both soared and sunk. He also talks about the challenges he's faced in his personal life and what keeps him sane.


If you think a company chairman is stuffy, think again. Although he's long been a key player in business and industry, a master of corporate restructuring and a globally respected figure in business finance, Sir Brian Stewart rarely agrees to be interviewed but in talking to Edi Stark he proves himself to be a terrifically engaging subject.

He was knighted in 2002 for his contribution to industry long before he had to prove his unflappable nerve and brinkmanship as chairman of Standard Life through demutualisation in 2006 and at Scottish and Newcastle, Britain's biggest independent brewer when it was taken over in 2008.

At his home in Edinburgh, he talks candidly and with humour about his achievements and regrets in a career adventure that spans five decades and explains why the pub is still a great democratic institution.


In a fascinating programme, Edi Stark Talks to Professor of Metabolic medicine Naveed Sattar of Glasgow University. He is in the top 1% of the world's most cited academics in clinical indication of the impact and influence he's had in his field although as we'll hear he is not afraid to be outspoken. A reputation which began at school in Blantyre.

Born of Pakistani parents who wished him to have an arranged marriage, he fell in love and secretly married a Scottish white woman. Only when they had a baby did he tell his family. He reveals to Edi how that happened and how the family have adjusted to the mixed marriage.


Edi Stark talks to Laurie Sansom, artistic director and chief executive of the National Theatre of Scotland. He reveals how as a gay boy growing up in Kent, he found 'his tribe' when he discovered theatre. He was the first person from his comprehensive to go to Cambridge university which seemed alien but he went on to forge a successful career as a director, working with luminaries such as Alan Ayckbourn. He describes how happy he is to be in such a challenging job and how he felt when he first held his baby girl who will grow up with two mums, one dad and three sets of grandparents.


In the last of the current series, Edi Stark talks to Rev Doug McRoberts about his varied career in the pulpit, as a journalist and broadcaster and as past spokesman for the nuclear energy industry.

He recalls his first pastoral care in the aftermath of the Clarkston Toll disaster where a gas explosion reduced a row of shops to rubble and killed 22 people.

After 7 years in broadcasting he took on a tricky public relations job (first at Dounreay and then for British Energy) particularly after the catastrophic nuclear accident in Chernobyl.

Now retired, he regards his most recent role as the most exciting, challenging and rewarding...while minister of St Andrew's Scots Church in Malta for five years, he led the development of Out of Africa, Into Malta which is helping many refugees start a new life.


Edi Stark in conversation David Bailey, legendary photographer, at his studio in London.


The Leader of the Scottish Conservatives talks movingly and candidly about the lasting effects of being hit by a truck when she was five years old and also about another life changing accident when she was a signaller in the Territorial Army. She reveals when she has felt most politically fragile and her decision to be honest about her sexuality.


The actor who came to fame in Trainspotting talks about his enduring affection for the film although he admits he had wanted to turn down the role. He voices concern that his daughter's classmates saw the movie while still in primary school and reflects on his own early life and his success as an actor.


Writer, columnist and host of London's trendiest literary salon tells Edi Stark about a childhood of extreme violence, drunkenness, homophobia and neglect, although he insists he was loved as well as hated. Newarthill in North Lanarkshire was a place he was desperate to escape and soon he found his spiritual home in Brighton where he is now married to Mike, a ceramicist who he 'sledged into on a teatray' at the age of 19 at university.


Edi Stark talks to Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary's Meals.


Edi Stark talks to Mark Thomson, who is stepping down as director of the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

Andrew O'hagan20150429
Andrew O'hagan20150429

Another sparkling edition of Stark Talk. Twice nominated Booker novelist and essayist Andrew O'Hagan grew up on a council estate in Kilwinning where he delighted in being the oddball. He tells Edi that the only book in his house was the Kilmarnock telephone directory and his father was furious when he announced that he was enrolling in ballet school in preference to playing football.

The first in his family to go to university, he left Glasgow on the bus for London the day after graduation and was soon an associate editor for the intellectually prestigious London Review of Books.

Despite his stellar literary success, he says his daughter Nell who was born with di George syndrome has taught him about pride in ways he had never known. He's no longer with her mother India Knight but he explains that their separation is infinitely easier than the chasm he witnessed in his own parents.

Ann Cleeves20141007

In a new series, Edi Stark talks to the charming, modest crime writer Ann Cleeves, creator of the Vera and Shetland television series. She describes being a university drop out and having a succession of jobs before being ''discovered' in a second hand bookshop. She met her husband Tim on Fair Isle and has long had a deep affection for Shetland, the place which she believes won her a major crime award and an international audience.

Antonio Carluccio20141104

The chef, writer and restaurateur talk to Edi about growing up in Northern Italy, the lasting trauma of his younger brother's early death, his love of women and how food is the key to a good life.

Bridget Mcconnell20141216

In a rare personal interview, Bridget Mcconnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life gives an astonishingly candid account of her life to Edi Stark.

She recalls what made her fall in love with former First Minister Jack McConnell and why she forgave his infidelity. Looking back on her childhood, she describes being one of seven children living in a poor working class Catholic family and the richness of that life until her father's alcoholism caused him to lose his butcher's business and their home.

She got pregnant while still at university and says learning to knit was the only way she could afford to clothe her child and it took her too long to leave an abusive relationship. Describing herself as 'gormless' at times she is proud to have carved out a career which allows her to help improve people's lives in Glasgow.

Carina And Victor Contini20150506

Edi talks to restaurateurs Carina and Victor about their different Scots Italian family dynasties, how they got together, finding courage to start their own business and what they see for their children's future.

Chris Van Der Kuyl20141125

The ever ebullient Video games multi millionaire Chris Van Der Kyel whose grandfathers were from Holland and Poland talks to Edi Stark about being what he calls a 'European mongrel' and how he has always had self belief and determination even when his company went into liquidation. He describes the importance of friendship since childhood with his business partner and how he finally won over his wife who had 'hated' him as a teenager.

Dario Franchitti20150415

Bathgate's most dashing superstar, Motorsport legend Dario Franchitti, one of the most successful British drivers of all time talks to Edi about his extraordinary success in America and the death defying crash which halted his career in 2013.

With modesty and charm, he outlines his career from getting his first car at 4yrs old, talks about marriage and separation from Holywood actress Ashley Judd and his joy at being back home in Scotland.

David Eustace20150422
David Eustace20150422

Internationally renowned photographer David Eustace picked up a camera aged 28. He gave up his job in HMP Barlinnie, commuted daily in a beaten up car to Napier University and was soon getting calls from London's top art directors to take cover shots for Tatler, and Elle magazine. In a sparkling interview, he tells Edi Stark how he was taught a great work ethic by James and Susan Eustace who adopted him two days after he was born and brought him up in the east end of Glasgow where a great journey and lifelong friendships began.

Frank Mulholland20151209

Edi Stark talks to Frank Mulholland, the current Lord Advocate.

Harry Benson20140827

Edi Stark talks to legendary photographer Harry Benson who tells her he was a loser at school in Craighill in Glasgow. In a whistle-stop tour of his career which covers celebrity photographs, race riots and assassination in america, he reveals what marked him out as one of the world's best at his trade.

Ian Callum20151223

Edi Stark talks to Dumfires-born British car designer Ian Callum, who has worked for Ford, TWR and Aston Martin and is now director of design for Jaguar Cars.

Jane Hawking20150408

For the start of the new series Edi Stark is in Cambridge to meet Jane Hawking, who was married to the world's greatest physicist for 25yrs.

In a far ranging, sometimes prickly interview, she talks movingly about her reaction to the film The Theory of Everything and recounts falling in love with Stephen Hawking but gradually losing her battle with motor neurone disease and 'the goddess Physics'.

She also reveals the happiness of her second marriage and how she feels about her first husband now.

Jenny Sealey20151216

Edi Stark talks to Jenny Sealey, artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company, which provides a platform for new generations of Deaf and disabled talent.

Jung Chang20140903

Edi Stark is in fascinating conversation with Wild Swans author and historian Jung Chang about her remarkable life growing up under the rule of Chairman Mao. She talks about the premature death of her beloved grandmother, the concubine of a warlord and the tragic demise of her father who was denounced as a traitor despite dedicating his life to the Communist Party. Jung Chang also reveals her regret at changing her name and tells of her joyful marriage with fellow historian Jon Halliday.

Karen Cargill20141111

The world class mezzo soprano talks to Edi about how her roots in Arbroath prevent any pretensions of being a diva, despite being one of the most sought after talents for the operatic stage and concert hall. With great charm and humour she charts her successes and loves professionally and personally and reveals that she hasn't always been encouraged along the way.

Karen Darke20140820

Edi Stark is in Inverness to interview the remarkable athlete Karen Darke. At 21, she was paralysed from the chest down, having fallen while rock climbing near Aberdeen. In the last twenty years she has immersed herself in extreme adventure including sit-skiing across the Greenland icecap, climbing El Capitan in Yosemite and handcycling across Central Asia. Already a paralympic silver medallist, she's looking forward to Rio but not before completing more astounding challenges. She tells Edi what makes her want to do the seemingly impossible.

Malcolm Fraser20141014

Edi Stark is in conversation with Malcolm Fraser.

Sir Peter Blake20160413

Edi Stark talks to pop artist Sir Peter Blake.

Steven Berkoff20140813

In the first of a new series, Edi is in the east end of London to meet Steven Berkoff, still the enfant terrible of theatre, despite being in his seventies. He reveals the root of his lifelong anger and why theatre has helped, but not cured, what can make him a terrifying presence on and off stage. He discusses his childhood and his own illegitimate children, early days of theatre and breaking taboo forty years ago at the Edinburgh fringe by using the c word repeatedly. As this interview shows, he is far from mellowing in old age.