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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Guest editor: David Hockney

David Hockney

Each year, the Today programme hands over the editorial reins to six public figures, giving them a chance to decide what goes on the programme between Christmas and New Year.

The programme on December 29th was the artist David Hockney. You can hear highlights from his programme using the links below - many of which are extended versions of those heard on air.

A life-long smoker, he asked Defence correspondent and committed smoker Caroline Wyatt to travel Europe to see the different reactions to the smoking ban. And correspondent Christian Fraser visited Egypt, a country where smokers are free to light up wherever they wish.

He was also interested to find out a little more about the history of smoking, which social historian David Kynaston was happy to divulge.

Hockney's strong opposition to the smoking ban exemplified his concerns that the country is sliding towards authoritarianism. Political editor Nick Robinson went to Westminster to investigate, and former Home Secretary David Blunkett, discussed why so many laws are passed. Hockney discussed his political beliefs, describing politicians as "mean-spirited," and "controlling."

David Hockney also wanted to flag up what he considers an unhealthy obsession with our own bodies, exemplified by politicians' desire to be seen in jogging in public. French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut describes why people should walk instead of jog.

The guest editor gave Today presenter Evan Davis a rare tour of his studios in the Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington, giving him some advice on how to see the world from an artist's perspective , and explaining why he now uses an iPhone instead of a sketch pad.

Hockney made his name as a young artist while studying at the Royal College of Art alongside another grand old man of British art, Peter Blake . The two met up for his programme to discuss their provincial artistic inspiration.


Born in Bradford in 1937 to a "radical working-class family", David Hockney was educated Bradford Grammar School, before pursuing art full time at Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.

Already a rising star of the British art establishment, in 1963 Hockney visited the US, where in New York he befriended Andy Warhol and continued to paint. For many years he lived in California, inspiring a series of paintings of swimming pools including the iconic A Bigger Splash.

Now widely considered one of the most influential British artists of the 21st Century, Hockney continues to paint, print, make films and recently iPhone paintings based in his studio near Bradford.

Martin Rees Martin Rees
Cosmologist, Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society

David Hockney David Hockney
One of the most influential British artists of the 21st century

Tony Adams Tony Adams
Football manager and former Arsenal and England defender

PD James PD James
Best-selling crime writer and Conservative peer

Robert Wyatt Robert Wyatt
Solo musician and Soft Machine founder member

Baroness Williams Shirley Williams
Senior Liberal Democrat politician

David Hockney Audio slideshow
The world through Hockney's eyes

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Listen to the amateur choirs singing in the UK

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