Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

10 unlikely Oxford Union speakers

hero.jpg
hero-4.jpg
hero-2.jpg
hero-3.jpg

It's been described as "the last bastion of free speech in the Western world," and over the past two centuries the world-famous Oxford Debating Union has certainly lived up to its name, with a series of landmark and inspirational addresses.

But among the politicians of tomorrow and major world figures such as Malcolm X and Mother Teresa, a sprinkling of more unusual keynote speakers have been persuaded to the podium. From porn stars and glamour models to cartoon characters, read on for details of pop culture guests who have spiced up the legendary Oxford University debate floor over the years...

Picture credits: Rex Features

Katie Price

Voracious self-promoter Katie Price is the latest in a string of unusual names to address the Oxford Union.

The 33-year-old tabloid queen will take to the podium on Wednesday (12 October), with the society hoping she will elaborate on "the journey our speaker has made from being Jordan the glamour model to becoming Katie Price the brand."

Kermit the Frog

"I figured if Ronald Reagan could do it so could I" - so proclaimed Kermit the Frog as he prepared to become the first amphibian to address the union in 1994.

Wearing a mortarboard and gown, The Muppet Show star explained why he had never made it to college. "When I was a tadpole, I had over four thousand brothers and sisters, so my parents couldn't afford to send me to university...," he said. "Like most frogs, I could have gone into Biology and majored in dissection, but I wasn't really cut out for that."

Ron Jeremy

Having starred in over 1,700 adult films, king of adult entertainment Ron Jeremy appeared at the union in 2005 to share pearls of wisdom on all things porn.

"As long as you can look cute, the girls like you, you can get a nice erection, you’re done," he told an audience of some of the brightest brains in Britain. "Be clean cut, be very hygienic, smell a lot, give a good sex scene, make the girl like you by being very polite and sweet."

Jenna Jameson

"Queen of porn" Jenna Jameson played a starring role in a 2001 Oxford Union debate titled "The House believes that porn is harmful."

Despite predicting she would be "out of her depth," Jenna swept the floor in the pro argument by a vote of 204-27. In a double whammy victory, her porn movie Briana Loves Jenna was simultaneously enjoying a run as the most rented adult entertainment video of the year.

MC Hammer

The man behind U Can’t Touch This - the eponymous hit of the 90s - delighted students with a personal visit to Oxford Union last year.

Among other things, the rapper addressed the weighty issue of his iconic "hammer pants": "They’re good pants!" he said. "They’re comfortable, and they’re back in fashion now."

The Cheeky Girls

Touch My Bum double act The Cheeky Girls brought their own unique brand of charm to the Oxford Union in a 2008 debate titled "with celebrity comes great responsibility."

Arguing against Rebecca Loos, David Beckham's former PA, the duo told the audience: "Celebrities have a moral responsibility to set a good example. You don't find pictures of us in the tabloids falling out of the clubs at four o'clock in the morning. If we behaved like that, we would definitely get more press."

Pamela Anderson

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson popped by the Oxford Union in October 2010, to talk about a cause close to her heart - vegetarianism.

"We were talking about the easiest ways to go vegetarian," Pammy, who spoke alongside Dan Matthews from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said. "I think we had a really profound effect on the audience."

Anna Wintour

She's one of the most feared fashion editors in the world, but Vogue figurehead Anna Wintour was the one gushing when she appeared at the Union in 2008, telling the audience: "You're Oxford students, amazing."

A reportedly "nervous" Ms Wintour went onto talk about how an interest in fashion was not shallow. And she even took her sunglasses off.

Jodie Marsh

Page 3 pin-up turned body builder Jodie Marsh put her debating skills to the test at Oxford Union in 2008.

The tanned one appeared alongside David Gest in arguing for the principle: "This House would rather be good-looking than good."

OJ Simpson

In what some saw as a desperate attempt to overhaul his tarnished image, OJ Simpson addressed the Oxford Union in 1996 - just six months after being acquitted of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, in a highly controversial court ruling.

The football player appeared before a packed auditorium and spoke about racism in the LA police department. He also said he was sorry for hitting his wife.

Related

Untitled-4.jpg

X Factor: the final 16's pop star look-a-likes

Michelle-Williams-Marilyn-Monroe.jpg

12 takes on Marilyn Monroe

hero-2.jpg

Animal attraction: 10 dogs that woo women

Comments

More

Kate Middleton opens up about motherhood and mental illness

“Your fundamental identity changes overnight.”

by Moya Crockett
24 Mar 2017

Oklahoma lawmaker says rape and incest are ‘the will of God’

Republican was defending a controversial anti-abortion bill

by Georgina Wilkinson
24 Mar 2017

The trailer for Emilia Clarke’s new horror film is utterly terrifying

Even Daenerys might have trouble with this one

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

Emma Thompson reveals Donald Trump once asked her out on a date

Just imagine: Emma Thompson, First Lady of the United States

by Moya Crockett
24 Mar 2017

Kate Winslet recalls being called 'blubber' by school bullies

The Oscar winner had the last laugh

23 Mar 2017

Ryan Gosling explains his reaction to the Oscars Best Picture blunder

He could barely stifle his giggle - but it's not what you think...

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From January Jones' beauty regime to Emma Roberts' book club

by Nicola Colyer
23 Mar 2017

Brie Larson is playing a very important figure in feminist history

Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, was a fascinating character.

by Moya Crockett
23 Mar 2017

Piers Morgan is finally quitting social media

If only it was forever

by Amy Swales
22 Mar 2017

Louis Theroux on the one documentary he had to abandon

“I would still love to do it. The world’s my oyster.”

by Georgina Wilkinson
22 Mar 2017