The Archbishop of Canterbury will be discussing faith and morality with high-profile politicians and authors in a new radio series.
Through a six-part BBC Radio 4 show called The Archbishop Interviews, Justin Welby will speak with guests including former prime minister Tony Blair, author Stephen King and psychologist Dr Susan Blackmore.
In each half-hour episode, Britain’s most senior clergyman is set to ask his guests about how they have navigated their personal and spiritual lives while maintaining a high public profile.
Mr Welby said he will “relish the opportunity to be the one asking the questions” and he hopes the podcast will encourage listeners to engage with people who have different outlooks to them.
“It’s such a privilege to be able to spend time interviewing fascinating people from different backgrounds for this series, and I relish the opportunity to be the one asking the questions rather than answering them,” he said.
“There are few better ways to get to know someone than to inquire and listen.
“I want to hear about people’s lives, and the events and underlying frameworks that shape their views, and I’m extremely grateful for the generosity extended by each person in giving their time, honesty and sometimes their vulnerability as they tell their stories.
“I hope the series might give those who listen to it the curiosity to look at others who are different to them, to wonder who they might truly be, and how we might build relationships that cross divides.
“I pray it would be an encouragement to each of us to have conversations that seek to understand and know one another more fully.”
Dan Clarke, commissioner for Radio 4 said the series will offer an insight into the spiritual lives of “a fascinating range of people”.
“In The Archbishop Interviews, Radio 4 gives listeners the opportunity to delve into the inner lives of some of the most influential people in public life,” he said.
“These discussions, expertly guided by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will offer deep reflections on the moral, spiritual and faith lives of a fascinating range of people in ways I think will really resonate with our listeners.”
Mr Welby’s guests also include the chief executive of Citizens Advice Clare Moriarty, former Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, and British-Turkish novelist and political scientist Elif Shafak.
The series, produced by Dan Tierney and edited by Tim Pemberton, will be broadcast every Sunday at 1.30pm on Radio 4 from February 20.
It will also be available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.