In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.

In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.


United Kingdom




In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.




David Nabarro: How can countries minimise Covid damage?

This is a bittersweet moment in the global fight against the Covid pandemic. Joy that at least two vaccine trials have produced extremely promising results is tempered by the continued spread of the disease across much of the world. To put it bluntly, the global containment effort has had limited success. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for Covid-19. Are countries doing enough to minimise the damage done before mass vaccination changes...


Pawel Jablonski: Why is Poland blocking the EU's budget?

The EU is facing an internal political crisis. Two members, Poland and Hungary, are blocking the passage of a new budget and a post-Covid recovery package, claiming it includes unacceptable conditions. At issue is the EU's ability to tie funds to members' adherence to core EU values, such as the rule of law. Stephen Sackur speaks to Pawel Jablonski, Poland's deputy foreign minister. Can Poland afford to defy Brussels' will?


Judit Varga: How far is Hungary prepared to go in its defiance of the EU?

The EU has long threatened to punish the populist nationalist government in Hungary for a failure to uphold core EU values. So far the threats have been empty, but now there’s a concerted effort to link post-Covid financial aid to compliance with core principles on the rule of law. Stephen Sackur speaks to Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga. How far is Hungary prepared to go in its defiance of Brussels institutions and EU norms? (Photo: Judit Varga via video link on Hardtalk)


Arancha Gonzalez: How much influence does the EU have?

In the midst of of a pandemic which has inflicted severe damage on the European economy, it is tempting to see the US election victory of Joe Biden as a boost for the EU. After all, Donald Trump seemed to view Europe more as an economic rival than strategic partner. Stephen Sackur speaks to Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez. What kind of power and influence can the EU wield on the world stage when it is grappling with a covid-recession, Brexit and deep internal division?


HR McMaster: Trump and the transition

Donald Trump hasn’t yet accepted it, but he’ll be out of the White House in January next year. Gone but not forgotten. His legacy can be seen in a divided body politic, strained international alliances and deep uncertainty about America’s geopolitical ambition. HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Lt. General HR McMaster, who served as Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser until he was fired in 2018. In terms of America’s role in the world, will the Trump years be seen as an aberration or a...


Jack Kingston: What is next for Trump?

Donald Trump can't and won't bring himself to concede that he lost the Presidential election. Amid the talk of legal challenges in a slew of states the Republican party is under strain - most senior figures sticking with the President, some very publicly backing away. Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Congressman and loyal Trump backer Jack Kingston. What longer term lessons should his party be taking from the imminent loss of the White House?


Leopoldo Lopez: An opposition leader in exile

The socialist government of Venezuela presides over an economy in meltdown and a population desperate for change. Yet the country's opposition has failed to build a movement capable of bringing down President Nicolas Maduro. Why? In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur speaks to Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of the opposition Popular Will party. Last month, he escaped from Venezuela and found refuge in Spain. Is that the action of a man who has lost faith in the opposition's ability to win...


Jacob Bleacher: Putting astronauts back on the moon

Scientists have discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon for the first time. Does it matter? Well, maybe it does. The Moon is back in vogue in terms of space exploration – the US says it will put astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2024. It is supposed to be the precursor to a manned mission to Mars. Stephen Sackur speaks to Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist at NASA. In this time of pandemic and climate change here on Earth, is space exploration a potential lifeline...


Perez Hilton: The 2000s' gossip-in-chief

Gossip, scurrilous rumour, a fascination with the flaws of the rich and famous: these human foibles are as old as the hills, but the age of the internet has amplified their power. Perez Hilton, real name Mario Lavandeira, can lay claim to being the godfather of online gossip and scandal mongering. He created his showbiz gossip blog 16 years ago, and made a pile of money trashing reputations and inflicting misery on the famous. Now he says he’s sorry, but should we believe him?


Jim Clyburn: Can Biden win?

According to the polls Joe Biden is strong favourite to be the next President of the United States. But the party’s leaders bear deep scars from 2016. Donald Trump overcame the odds and beat Hillary Clinton and he claims he can do it again next week. Even if Biden wins does America really know what his presidency would look like? Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the most senior Democrats in Congress, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Is Democratic party confidence more than skin deep? Photo:...


Dominique Schnapper on secularism in France after Samuel Paty's killing

The beheading of a teacher by an 18-year-old outside Paris struck a particularly jarring blow to the French psyche. Samuel Paty was murdered for teaching his students, including young Muslims, about freedom of speech, including the freedom to mock religion. His killing was seen by some as an attack on France’s secular values. Stephen Sackur speaks to Dominique Schnapper, president of a council which advises the government on secularism in education. Is France's government getting its...


Peter Frankopan: Can history offer us any lessons on the coronavirus pandemic?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Peter Frankopan, historian and author of the bestselling book The Silk Roads. There’s plentiful evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted more serious damage on the US than China. Has the impact of Covid-19 reinforced the notion that global power and influence is shifting to the East?


Jack Kingston: Can Trump win?

In a few days time Americans will give their verdict on President Donald Trump. Do they want four more years of Trump in the White House, or will they opt for the other septuagenarian Joe Biden - wholly different in style and worldview? Stephen Sackur speaks to the former Republican Congressman and loyal Trump campaigner Jack Kingston. The polls consistently say Trump is in big trouble. Is there good reason to think they are wrong?


Jim O'Neill: Is this a time for governments to be bold?

In every crisis there is opportunity. It is a mantra beloved by business schools and political strategists, but should it offer us comfort as Covid-19 continues to ravage the global economy? Stephen Sackur speaks to Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, erstwhile advisor to the British Government and champion of big measures to revive growth. Is this really the time to be bold?


Rob Schenck: Can Trump still count on the religious right?

We cannot know the contents of Donald Trump’s soul, but its fair to say his personal behaviour doesn't point to deeply held Christian belief. And yet the evangelical Christian right is a key pillar of his support base. Could that change in November’s election? Stephen Sackur speaks to Rob Schenck, an influential evangelical pastor and long-time anti-abortion activist who broke with fellow social conservatives over gun control. Can Donald Trump still count on the loyalty of the religious...


Volodymyr Zelensky: How is Ukraine's president faring?

When Ukrainians overwhelmingly voted to make a comedian president, Europeans wondered what the punchline would be. In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur speaks to Volodymyr Zelensky, the comic actor who played a president on TV before getting the job in real life. He has had 18 months to make good on his promise to end corruption and find a pathway to peace with Russia. How is he doing?


Narendra Taneja: How well has India handled the coronavirus crisis?

Stephen Sackur speaks to the national spokesman for India's ruling BJP Narendra Taneja. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dominance of Indian politics is unquestioned but his ability to deliver competent government in a crisis is less certain. India now has the second highest official number of Covid infections in the world, and the real figure is thought to be up to ten times higher. Is Mr Modi’s populist strong man act about to come unstuck?


Joe Henrich: Is Western society 'weird'?

The debate between nature and nurture is as old as the hills - is genetics or cultural conditioning the key to understanding human evolution? We speak to Joseph Henrich, a Harvard professor whose fascination with human evolution and anthropology has brought him to a radical conclusion. He says Western societies preoccupied with the individual not the collective are weird, and the cultural power of the West has skewed our view of what is normal. How much do we humans really have in common?


James Rebanks: Sustainable food in a growing world

In a special edition of the programme, HARDtalk is in the area known as the Lake District in north-west England. The landscape is beautiful, but is not wild. The fields have been shaped by generations of shepherds and stockmen. Stephen Sackur speaks to James Rebanks, whose farm has been in his family's hands for at least 600 years. In his book - English Pastoral - he advocates for a better kind of farming that is more sustainable and environmentally responsible. But are his ideas compatible...


Leroy Logan: How hard is it to root out discrimination in the police?

The sense of systemic racial injustice in policing that has fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement is shared far beyond the shores of the United States. In Britain, it is two decades since a top level inquiry into London's police force found it to be institutionally racist. How much has really changed? Stephen Sackur speaks to Leroy Logan, who was one of London's top black policemen until his retirement seven years ago. How easy is it to root out discrimination dressed in a police uniform?