Samira Ahmed: ‘I gave the V sign to a rude driver – it turned out to be a police car’

Born in London, Samira Ahmed, 53, began her career as a BBC trainee and rose to present news, current affairs and arts programmes on radio and television. In 2020, she won the Broadcasting Press Guild’s audio broadcaster of the year for Front Row on Radio 4 and her podcast How I Found My Voice. In Januarie 2020, she won a landmark sex discrimination employment tribunal against the BBC for equal pay on the television show Newswatch. She features in Tamesis Street: Thirty Authors Tell One Story of a Climate Disaster, available through ShelterBox Book Club. She lives in London and has two children.

Wanneer was jy die gelukkigste?
On stage, interviewing one of my heroes, Paul McCartney, at the Royal Festival Hall last November.

What is your greatest fear?
Not sorting climate change when we have the chance.

What is your earliest memory?
Leaving home to go shopping aged two with my dolly in a pushchair while my dad was washing the car on the driveway. All the neighbours came out to help my distraught parents hunt for me. Being independent has always been important.

Describe yourself in three words
Hardworking, eties, unafraid.

What would your superpower be?
Speaking every language beautifully.

What makes you unhappy?
That women are still fighting the same battles as our mothers.

Wat hou jy die meeste van jou voorkoms??
Nothing. The furrow in my forehead is a battle scar from thinking.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Julie Andrews.

Aan wie wil u die meeste jammer sê?, en waarom?
My maternal grandmother, who lived with us for many years. I was a moody teenager and sometimes impatient and rude. Yet she was the person I feel I’m most like. I really miss her.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Fab. Fascinating. Utter wanker (the last not usually out loud).

What has been your biggest disappointment?
When I was a 26-year-old news correspondent, the head of BBC news gathering, Chris Cramer, refused to let me take up a six-month attachment on the foreign affairs programme Correspondent. Hy het gesê: “I think it’s too soon; you could do it later.” He’d never have said that to a man.

As u u verlede kon wysig, wat sou jy verander?
That decision.

Wanneer het jy laas gehuil, en waarom?
Meeting Richard Ratcliffe outside the Foreign Office during his hunger strike to try to get action to free Nazanin. I’m moved by the loyalty and strength of that couple and their family.

Wanneer was the last time you changed your mind about something significant?
In the last month. Oor museums taking funding from fossil fuel companies.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A 50-metre lido that was always empty when I went.

What has been your closest brush with the law?
Getting pulled over in my car at Hyde Park Corner after giving the V sign to what I thought was a rude and aggressive driver. It turned out to be a police car.

Wat is die belangrikste les wat die lewe jou geleer het??
Join a union and make a stand.

What happens when we die?
It’s all over. But hopefully we leave a legacy in our deeds.

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