Shining a spotlight on the stories that need telling, Gillian Anderson’s fascinating new audio show is set to become your next obsession.
From Dr Jean Milburn in Sex Education to Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, Gillian Anderson has made a name for herself playing some of TV’s most formidable characters. But in real life, she’s working hard to shine a spotlight on women whose stories haven’t seen the light of day. Or at least, not as much as we’d like.
This week sees the launch of Gillian Anderson’s new audio show, What Do I Know?!, which explores fascinating stories about incredible people, covering social challenges, sexual liberation, phenomenal women and more. The first episode tackles the important subject of pioneering women in history, kicking off with the remarkable story of often-overlooked Nobel Prize winning scientist, Rita Levi-Montalcini.
Italian neurobiologist Levi-Montalcini was a game-changing scientist, but you’d be forgiven for not having heard of her (something Anderson’s show is working to change). Responsible for co-discovering nerve growth factor, an important scientific milestone that led to a new understanding of the development and differentiation of the nervous system, she was a prolific researcher and globally-respected scientist. She even continued working right up until she died aged 103 (she was the first Nobel laureate to reach the age of 100 and before her passing in 2012, was also the oldest living Nobel laureate ever).
But her journey to becoming one of the all-time greats, as the first episode explains, was no mean feat – which makes her achievements all the more impressive. For starters, her authoritarian father disapproved of women’s education beyond school, which meant she was forced to beg to study medicine. Then, after graduating from the University of Turin with the highest possible distinction in medicine and surgery, Jewish Levi-Montalcini was kicked off her advanced neurology and psychology course because of Mussolini’s 1938 Race Laws (which forbode ‘non-Aryan’ people from having professional or academic careers). “If I had not been discriminated against or had not suffered persecution, I would never have received the Nobel Prize,” she once declared.
Made in partnership with audio journalism app Curio, new episodes exploring the lives of incredible people like Levi-Montalcini, whose remarkable stories might not have reached the masses, will be released every two weeks on the app.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Curio on What Do I Know?!” Anderson said of her new show. “By taking the time to listen and reflect on inspiring and surprising stories, we can open our minds to new perspectives and points-of-view and develop greater understanding and empathy.”
Helping to put women’s achievements back in their rightful place in the history books, it’s just one more reason to love GA, quite frankly.
Images: Getty; Curio