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Award Winning Broadcast Journalist and Former Sky News Presenter Launches ‘Quintessential Voices’ Podcast

Marverine Cole is a name you might not know, but she’s a veteran black female Journalist & Broadcaster whose media career spans almost 25 years. The last 13 of those have been spent in various roles, including Television Newsreader for Sky News, Radio Presenter for the BBC (WM and 5Live) and a Radio Documentary Producer.

Born and bred in England’s second biggest city of Birmingham, Marverine’s been described as one of the most experienced British female broadcasters when it comes to the arena of live television: having clocked up well over 3,500 hours of on-air time in a variety of roles, including presenting talks shows for BBC Radio, and solo-anchoring the 5-hour ‘World News and Business Report’ programme on Sky News.  Throughout her long-standing media career, Marverine has witnessed how much the voices and opinions of black British women and women of colour are excluded from mainstream media in the UK.

She says:

“We are rarely allowed a ‘seat at the table’ to share our views about politics, news and current affairs, to tell our stories in a wider forum. To be unapologetically black. If we’re talking about sport, music, we get a pass. If you’re a black American woman, you get a pass. But this doesn’t go far enough. What about the academics, the scientists, the GPs, the entrepreneurial Mums who are black? They can contribute to mainstream conversations as much as anyone else, but they, we are excluded. There’s a huge swathe of smart, funny women of colour, who are experts in their field or who are making an impact in their local communities, but whose stories very rarely get a platform.  So for me – not only is Quintessential Voices a podcast for anyone and everyone interested in enjoying the aural experience of hearing fascinating female voices – I consider it my personal love letter to British women of colour”.

Marverine bills “Quintessential Voices” podcast as Britain’s biggest conversation celebrating women of colour. Within many of the episodes some may hear similarities with BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour, and ITV’s Loose Women, as Marverine offers up a mixture of one-on-one interviews, and round-table studio-based conversations. Some guests are famous, including Singer Laura Mvula and Eastenders actress Tameka Epson, whilst others are everyday women of all ages, from all walks of life. Each one entertaining, inspiring and motivating listeners, discussing topics across a wide spectrum: from coping with anxiety and depression, to being LGBTQ, from tackling homelessness in our communities to how to become a politician, from being a creative writer to exploring the beauty market for women with darker skins. All of these topics either have already been, or are set to be, on the Quintessential Voices’ agenda.

Using the power of technology, social media and her many years of journalistic experience, Marverine allows BAME women to open up in surprisingly frank and refreshing ways, which mainstream media does not always allow. She is a ground-breaking media personality who is set to make waves with the “Quintessential Voices” podcast.

Listen to Quintessential Voices podcast at


BBC accused of ‘abandoning’ Birmingham after removing almost all TV and radio shows from city’s production hub

The BBC has been accused of “abandoning” Birmingham by removing almost all of its television and radio shows from what was once its biggest production hub outside London.

On 12 August staff at BBC Birmingham’s Mailbox headquarters are due to stage a symbolic “silent protest” over what is seen by campaigners and media unions as a betrayal of licence fee payers in the Midlands.

The demonstration coincides with the removal from Birmingham to London’s Broadcasting House of presenter Bobby Friction’s drive time show on BBC Asian Network, a station founded in Birmingham and Leicester. The relocation is the latest in a series of setbacks for BBC Birmingham, which has been stripped of popular TV shows Coast, Countryfile and Hairy Bikers and lost prestigious BBC Radio 4 shows You and Yours, Farming Todayand Costing the Earth.

Only The Archers, the Radio 4 Great War drama Home Frontand two less prominent Asian Network shows continue to be made for the national network at the Mailbox, which opened to great fanfare in 2004 as the replacement for BBC Pebble Mill, its iconic studios in the south of Birmingham.

For 33 years, Pebble Mill, which was opened by Princess Anne as the UK’s first purpose built broadcasting centre, was a familiar location to millions of BBC viewers as the backdrop for programmes such as The Clothes Show and Pebble Mill At One. Despite the BBC’s recent strategy to move production out of the capital, Birmingham has been overlooked in favour of other cities, notably Salford, Glasgow, Bristol and Cardiff.

The BBC rejected the notion that it was turning its back on the second city and said Birmingham had been chosen to host its centre of excellence for skills and training. It will also be home to the BBC’s Diversity Unit.

Keith Murray, BBC representative for the National Union of Journalists, said: “The Mailbox is a shell of its former self. Five years ago it was vibrant and shows were being made for BBC1 and Radio 4. Now there are studios that are unused and row upon row of empty desks. The BBC does not appear to have pride in its Birmingham operation anymore.”

Many believe that the Mailbox, a multi-purpose centre that includes a cinema and branches of Harvey Nichols and Nando’s, was an inappropriate location for the BBC to locate a broadcast production hub. Its future use by the BBC appears to be focused on training and human resources.

The BBC operates a “drama village” from the Selly Oak campus of the University of Birmingham where it makes the TV soapDoctors and period drama Father Brown. The drama Peaky Blinders – which is Birmingham-themed but filmed in Merseyside and Yorkshire – returns shortly to BBC1, while Lenny Henry’s new autobiographical show Danny and the Human Zoois being filmed in nearby Dudley.

ut the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands (CRBM) has calculated that £940m a year is contributed annually by the region’s licence fee payers and that the outlay is not being represented in the BBC’s output.

Luke Crawley, Assistant General Secretary of broadcast union Bectu, said: “Birmingham is the biggest city outside London but the BBC doesn’t seem to want to make programmes there.”

Just over 18 months ago the BBC appointed Tommy Nagra to raise the profile of BBC Birmingham. He told Birmingham City Council’s culture scrutiny committee: “It is one of the biggest frustrations for me, people think we have stopped making programmes in Birmingham. We have got a lot of work to do on that front.”

When Mr Nagra left the job a year later to return home to Manchester he told the Birmingham Post: “I think it is job done for me.” The BBC is moving its BBC Academy training unit to Birmingham and its head, Joe Godwin, has also taken Mr Nagra’s former role.

Mr Godwin said that despite recent efficiency savings the BBC was investing more in the Midlands. “The BBC is now spending twice as much in the Midlands as we were two years ago – £125m by the end of this financial year. We’re currently advertising 100 new jobs based in Birmingham as part of our plan to move 300 jobs to the city.”

Straight out of Brum


Hit BBC2 series was relocated from The Mailbox in Birmingham, first to Bristol and then to the growing production base at Cardiff.


Long-running BBC1 rural affairs show moved from The Mailbox to the highly-regarded Natural History Unit at BBC Bristol.

Farming Today

BBC Radio’s principal rural show, moved from Birmingham to Bristol.

Hairy Bikers

Also quit Birmingham for Bristol, where the BBC is also grouping food-based radio and TV shows.

The Bobby Friction Show

Drive time show on Asian Network, moved from Birmingham to the BBC’s Broadcasting House headquarters