Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone has been credited with writing and or directing over 20 full-length feature films, earning him a well-respected place in cinematic history for some of the most influential and iconic films of the last few decades.

Throughout his long career, which began at a young age writing short plays for his family, Oliver has served as director, writer and producer on a variety of films, documentaries and television movies. He is widely recognized for his controversial versions of recent American history, some of them at deep odds with conventional myth -- films such as 1986's PLATOON, the first of his Vietnam trilogy (along with BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY & HEAVEN AND EARTH), or 1991’s JFK and 1994’s NATURAL BORN KILLERS and NIXON, his 1995 take on the finer points and parables of the Nixon administration, as well as on George W. Bush in W (2008). Stone says his films are "first and foremost dramas about individuals in personal struggles," and considers himself a dramatist rather than a political filmmaker.

In 1966, Oliver signed on to the U.S. Merchant Marine, where he worked as a “wiper” in the engine room below deck on several ships. His travels took him from Asia back to Oregon and then Mexico. In Guadalajara, he began writing a first novel, a 1,400-page manuscript entitled "A Child's Night Dream". He later reedited the novel down to a manageable 236 pages, which was released 30 years later by St. Martin’s Press (1997). In 1967, Stone enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian border, where he was wounded twice, and then later in the 1st Calvary Division in the northernmost part of Vietnam. He was honored with a Bronze Star for heroism and Purple Heart for his service.

Tackling subjects often deemed controversial and too grand in scale, Stone continued to build his successful film career in projects like WALL STREET, a tale of greed, corruption and power in the excess era of the 80’s and THE DOORS, a drug-saturated biopic of the legendary and controversial singer Jim Morrison.

Oliver continues to write, direct and produce movies and documentaries that fit with his sensibilities and challenge the conventional teachings. With recent projects like SAVAGES, an action-packed story of three SoCal friends going up against the Baja cartel to his 10-part Showtime documentary series called The Untold History of the United States, Oliver Stone shows no signs of slowing down his creativity while daring the global audience to see events in a whole new light.

Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole is one of the world’s most recognizable and respected faces of international television journalism.

Over the past twenty years he has anchored live events for Sky News (London) CNN International (Atlanta) and BBC World ( London). He has anchored live coverage from elections held in Islamabad, Delhi, Moscow, Paris and Hong Kong. He anchored live coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He has also covered nine conflicts ranging from the Falklands War to Bosnia and Kosovo, the two wars in the Gulf and “9-11 “. Five years ago Stephen came up with the idea for a television programme covering Information Technology.

The success of the style and format of Click Online is currently shared on BBC World by more than a hundred million viewers around the world and on BBC News 24, BBC1 and six major airlines. Stephen has taken the show to fifteen countries and hosted numerous prestigious IT events in Asia and South America, India and Japan. In the past two years Stephen has helped direct international news coverage in Asia and the Middle-East. He has taken a senior executive role in directing major events at elections and international news breaking stories.

Stephen’s corporate career began with the establishment of Cole Productions,– a corporate communications company. Since then he has specialized in Information Technology, Security and Terrorism.

He recently merged with DIGITV to form a broadcast division. He has worked closely with the World Customs Organisation, Interpol and the International Security Management Association.

He has also worked with many international brand names such as Honda and Philips and currently acts as broadcast consultant for Perspective Solutions- an IT security company. He also delivered the keynote lectures on journalism and terrorism at the University of Colorado. In 2005 Stephen also won a National Travel Writers Award for his work in Malaysia. He has chaired and facilitated at the World Economic Forum at Davos for the past two years on subjects ranging from IT and Security to Medicine.

He is now a Media Fellow at the World Economic Forum. Stephen is a qualified PADI diver and Rugby Coach, a member of BAFTA and has a keen interest in films. For the last six years he has presented the annual Oscars programme live for BBC World and News 24.

Stephen is married to Anne-Marie Cole, a senior BBC Radio 4 Producer. They have two sons.

Robin Oakley

Robin Oakley OBE is CNN’s European political editor based in London and is one of the leading political commentators among international journalists today.

With almost 40 years of experience in political journalism, Oakley provides analysis on a full range of European issues and political events for CNN’s international audience. In addition to reporting on the keynote political events in Europe, including G8, EU and NATO summits and national referendums and elections, Oakley delivers insight into the international ramifications of specific European political events and developments.

Before taking up his CNN post in September 2000, Oakley was political editor of the BBC for eight years, reporting for a wide range of TV and radio programmes, covering international summits and British prime ministerial trips around the world, as well as the full range of British domestic politics.

In 2004 he reported extensively on the ten countries which then became members of the EU.

In 2006 Oakley reported extensively on European concerns like immigration, EU enlargement and counter-terrorism. The previous year he was involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the British General Election and the contest in Germany which brought Angela Merkel to power as Chancellor.

In 2007 Oakley’s expertise included the French Presidential election, the departure from Downing Street of Tony Blair and the culmination of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Frank Gardner

He is currently the BBC's Security Correspondent.

He was appointed an OBE in 2005 for his services to journalism.

Educated at Marlborough College, a boys' independent school in Wiltshire, England, and at the University of Exeter, Gardner cites a meeting with the Arabian explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger in his youth, which led to a life of fascination with the Arab world and a degree in the Arabic language from University of Exeter.

Between 1989 and 1991 he was a Territorial Army officer in the 4th Battalion the Royal Green Jackets. After a nine year career in banking as an investment banker with Saudi International Bank and then Robert Fleming Bank from 1986 until 1995, a promotion in Bahrain resulted in his not liking his career, and he took the plunge into journalism in Saudi Arabia.

In 1995 he joined BBC World as a producer and reporter, and became the BBC's first full-time Persian Gulf correspondent in 1998, setting up an office in Dubai. In 2000 Gardner was appointed BBC Middle East correspondent in charge of the bureau in Cairo, but traveled throughout the region. After September 11, 2001 attacks on New York, from 2002 Gardner specialised solely in covering the War on Terror.

On 6 June 2004, while reporting from a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Gardner was shot six times and seriously injured (his colleague cameraman Simon Cumbers was shot dead as he fled the same attack). Of the five bullets which hit Gardner in his torso (the sixth bullet passed straight through his shoulder) all missed all his major organs yet one hit his spinal cord and he was left paralysed from the waist down. However, after several months of rehabilitation he returned to reporting for the BBC in mid-2005. He is now a wheelchair or frame user. Despite his injury, he still occasionally reports from the field including places like Afghanistan and Colombia but usually comments on top stories from a BBC studio.

In 2005, for services to journalism, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours.

In summer 2006 he released a book on his experiences called "Blood and Sand", which he launched at the Hay Festival.

In 2011 Gardner presented Tintin's Adventure with Frank Gardner for the BBC, a documentary in which he travelled through Northern Europe following Tintin on his first ever adventure – Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.

Alastair Campbell

The amateur triathlete, columnist and one-time spin doctor never had parliamentary aspirations of his own but was dubbed 'the real PM'. Alastair throws light on the relationship between government, the press and the people.

Alastair Campbell was born in Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. His family moved to Leicester in 1968, and he went to school there until going to Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated four years later with a degree in modern languages. His university education included a year in France when he had his first "journalism" published, articles on sex in Forum magazine. He also busked around the world with his bagpipes. Finally he decided to become a journalist and trained with the Mirror Group on local papers in the West Country before joining the Mirror itself in 1982. He left in the mid 80s to work for Eddy Shah's Today newspaper as news editor but had a nervous breakdown and left to return to the Mirror after convalescence.

He rose to become political editor and the paper's chief political columnist. He then worked briefly for Today under new ownership in 1994 before being asked by Tony Blair to be his press secretary when Mr Blair became leader of the Labour Party. He did this for three years, and played a key role helping to create New Labour and return the Party to power. After the 1997 election he became the Prime Minister's Chief Press Secretary and Official Spokesman, which entailed the co-ordination of Government communications and twice daily briefings of the press. He did this job for Labour's first term but after helping Mr Blair win a second landslide election victory, he became Director of Communications and Strategy. He did this until he resigned in September 2003, saying it had been enormous privilege but he wanted more of a life with his partner Fiona and their three children, then aged 18, 16 and 11.

Campbell worked again for the Labour Party in the run-up to the May 2005 general election. Sir Clive Woodward recruited Campbell to manage relations with the press for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005. Campbell wrote a column for The Times during the tour.

Throughout his time in Downing Street, Campbell kept a diary which reportedly totaled some two million words. Selected extracts, titled The Blair Years, were published on 9 July 2007. Subsequent press coverage of the book's release included coverage of what Campbell had chosen to leave out, particularly in respect of the relationship between Blair and his Chancellor and successor, Gordon Brown. Campbell expressed an intention to one day publish the diaries in fuller form, and indicated in the introduction to the book that he did not wish to make matters harder for Brown in his new role as prime minister, or to damage the Labour Party.

In May 2012, Campbell took a job at PR agency Portland Communications, at the invitation of Tim Allan, a former adviser to Tony Blair. Along with Tony Blair, Campbell has also provided consultancy services to the government of Kazakhstan on "questions of social economic modernisation."

His main hobbies are running, bagpipes and following Burnley FC. He took up running 15 years ago at the instigation of his sons and he has since run the London Marathon, the Great North Run, and the Great Ethiopian Run, and completed the London Triathlon, all for Leukemia Research Fund, his best friend having been killed by the disease. Since resigning he has been spending his time making speeches, writing, working for his charity, and continues to advise the Prime Minister informally. He returned to the Labour Party for six months prior to the 2005 general election. Campbell has presented a series of TV interviews for Channel Five, whose subjects included President Clinton, Peter Mandelson and US cyclist Lance Armstrong. He also writes on sport for The Times, the Irish Times and Esquire magazine. He has also conducted a tour of UK regional theatres to talk about, and be quizzed on, his time with Tony Blair. Campbell was also communications adviser to the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand last year. In his time in Downing St he was involved in all the major policy issues and international crises. He has said that in ten years in the media, and a decade in politics, he has seen his respect for the media fall and his respect for politics rise.