Laura Whitmore reveals her favourite female-led radio shows

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Colin Crummy
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Presenter Laura Whitmore talks to Stylist about her first radio show and the women she tunes in to

Laura Whitmore likes nothing better than a good session: whether that’s catching up in a cafe or over a Sunday roast in the pub with her mates. So when it came to making her debut radio show for BBC Radio 5 Live, she was inspired by her own weekend gatherings.

“When I was younger, you’d go to a session,” the Irish presenter explains. “You’d chat, try to fix the world, have a sing-song. It’s trying to incorporate that into a radio show, without the drinking.”

The live, one-hour Sunday Sessions – which began its six-week run on 22 July – is the result. It’s the 33-year-old presenter’s debut radio gig but she did start off there – leaving her job at a Dublin news station in 2008 when she won a competition to become the face of MTV News Europe. You’ll know her from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! NOW!, the Brit Awards and Eurovision. She’s also turned reality TV star (for Strictly Come Dancing in 2016) and trod the boards (starring in a touring production of the play Not Dead Enough last year).

Her open and powerful blog about her #MeToo experience showed she has a formidable voice. “I do a lot of things,” she laughs.

Whitmore’s new radio show demonstrates similar breadth. Topics up for discussion so far have included everything from the fur trade to Facebook, modern masculinity to social media, alongside news, views and the thoughts of iconic interviewees such as Alanis Morissette. “It’s chat and discussion, it’s a proper session,” says Whitmore. 

Read on for her recommendations for more female-fronted shows for your listening pleasure…

Supersoul Sunday

“Oprah Winfrey is an obvious choice but I highly recommend. I listened to it every day when I was away. It’s enlightening.”, available from September

Live Lounge

“I’m a fan of Clara Amfo and loved Fearne Cotton and Jo Whiley too. My favourite cover is Arctic Monkeys doing Love Machine by Girls Aloud.”

Mothers of Invention

“A podcast on climate justice by Mary Robinson, the first female Irish President. It’s about how women are tackling climate change.”

Desert Island Discs

“Kirsty Young is a queen and it’s an incredible format. I worked at MTV for 10 years and you can tell a lot about a person from the music they enjoy.”

Laura Whitmore’s Sunday Session is on Sundays, 11am, BBC Radio 5 Live