'Today' reveals its guest editors (and Jordan isn't one of them)

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The Independent Online

Listeners to BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme will not be treated to a special edition guest edited by the model Katie Price, although the show confirmed yesterday that it was "talking" with the television star about how she could teach it about "a world a million miles away from the one that Today usually occupies".

Instead of Ms Price, the five guest editors of Today in the week after Christmas will be the literary editor Diana Athill, the actor Colin Firth, the artist and film-maker Sam Taylor-Wood, the co-founder of Private Eye and columnist for The Independent Richard Ingrams and the former chief executive of the London School of Economics Dame Clara Furse.

The handing over of the reins to a series of guest editors has become a much anticipated part of the Today calendar. Previous guest occupants of the editor's chair have included Stephen Hawking, Anthony Minghella and PD James. There was much speculation in the press this week that Ms Price, also known as Jordan, would join that hallowed company.

In a blog in which he confirmed the five guests, the full-time Today editor Ceri Thomas yesterday said he would like Ms Price to appear on the show.

"We've been talking to Katie about doing something with Today and we're still talking," he said.

"Katie Price inhabits a world a million miles from the one that Today usually occupies but that's not a reason for us to ignore it. Maybe she could tell us something interesting about the way a part of this country works?"

But the choices of guest editor are more conservative. On 27 December, Ms Athill, a staunch atheist, will open the season with a programme in which she will question the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, about the concept of faith and what it tells us about people. An award-winning writer of memoirs, Athill will also champion the idea of bedtime stories for adults.

The following day Firth will use his guest editorship to examine the effectiveness of international aid. On her show, Taylor-Wood, who has a four- month-old baby with her husband Aaron Johnson, will discuss whether childbirth is increasingly seen as a medical problem rather than a natural process. The film-maker will also discuss the role of women in Hollywood.

Richard Ingrams will use his edition of Today to reopen the debate on James Hanratty, who was hanged for murder in 1961 and whose case was investigated for many years by Ingrams's Private Eye colleague Paul Foot, who campaigned for his innocence. He will also speak with Peter O'Toole and attempt to identify what makes a good voice for broadcasting.

In the final programme, Dame Clara will ask whether undue focus has been placed on the role of the banks in precipitating the economic crisis. She will also examine the British tendency for self-deprecation and investigate the reasons why girls are outperforming boys in the classroom.