The Black Cab Interviews: Dame Esther Rantzen

The Black Cab Interviews on Film: Dame Esther Rantzen

For the fifth instalment in our Black Cab series, we started in the lovely leafy suburb of north London before winding into the city to pay a visit to the charities Dame Esther Rantzen founded: ChildLine and the Silver Line. 

To British readers, Rantzen will need no introduction. She was on the telly weekly for more than twenty years at a time when the audience didn't have the seemingly infinite choice of channels that exist now. We have to admit, we hadn't really thought of her as part of the Pioneers Post world until she was made an Ashoka fellow recently. 

She is, as Ashoka labelled her, a social change champion. When it was founded in 1986, ChildLine allowed children to speak up about abuse or neglect they were suffering in an accessible way for the first time by providing a free to call helpline. The idea initially came from 'That's Life', the magazine show that Rantzen anchored on the BBC. In our film, Rantzen discusses both the impact of that and her enduring love for the BBC.

The Silver Line, a helpline for older people, came as a response to her husband's death. Loneliness took hold of her, and after writing movingly of this in a national newspaper, Silver Line was established. Rantzen made sure we dropped in there to tell us more about it.

The full interview with Rantzen can be found in our printed magazine Pioneers Post Quarterly.