Union announces Lent Term speaker highlights

Football icon Pelé, actor Bryan Cranston and actress Hayley Atwell are among the names coming to speak this term

Ellie Mullett

Clockwise from left: Pele, Hayley Atwell, Bryan Cranston, Davina McCall and James Blunt

The Cambridge Union has announced a handful of guest speakers who will be attending next term, ahead of the full term card release tomorrow.

As a teaser for what will be on offer over the upcoming term, it has been confirmed that international football icon Pelé, British music legend James Blunt, and television favourite Davina McCall will all be attending the hallowed halls of the Union. 

The Union’s Lent lineup so far

James Haskell 15 Jan

Rugby ace James Haskell is the first fixture of the Lent 2018 programme. Having played the sport since his youth, Haskell currently plays for Wasps, and played for England in the 2006 World Cup. He will be at the Union on the 15th January, in an event that is open to all.

Bryan Cranston 19 Jan

With an acting career spanning thirty years and 25 awards to his name, Bryan Cranston is best known for his role as Walter White in critically acclaimed Breaking Bad. He’ll be kicking off Week One at the Union with an appearance on the 19th January.

Pelé tbc

Sixty years on from his debut in international football, three-time World Cup winner Pelé is perhaps the biggest name on the termcard. Hailed as a national hero in his native Brazil, and regarded as such by football fans across the world, the man who nicknamed football ’The Beautiful Game’ will be coming to the Union on the 22nd January.

James Blunt 24 Jan

Having made his name as a lovesick singer-songwriter, and now discovered a skill for witty Twitter comebacks, James Blunt will bring the rare combination of wonderful musical talent and excellent self-awareness to the Union on the 24th January.

Katherine Grainger 26 Feb

Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, Katherine has won five medals for rowing since 2000, with her first gold secured in London 2012. Her appearance will be on the 26th February.

Davina McCall 7 Mar

Fitness guru and TV legend Davina McCall has been on our screens for twenty -five years, presenting everything from MTV to Comic Relief and The Million Pound Drop, and perhaps most iconically, Big Brother. She will be coming to the Union on the 7th March.

Hayley Atwell 8 Mar

Television and theatre actress Hayley Atwell, star of A View from the Bridge, The Duchess and Agent Carter and currently in the process of filming Christopher Robin, will be coming to the Union on 8th March.

General Michael Flynn 16 Mar

Rounding off Lent term at the Union is President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn. Having served in the US army for 33 years, he lasted only 24 days at the White House before he was forced to resign. You will be able to hear one view on the rule of one of America’s most controversial presidents on the 16th March.

Jonah Surkes, president of the Union, told Varsity: “Speaker events at the Union continue to move from strength to strength, as we continue to welcome the voices who shape the world around us. From sports people to divisive political figures, we are excited to platform voices that deserve a stage.”

Certainly, with the names that have been announced so far, there is definitely a range of personalities who have made their names in a variety of fields.

With planned changes to the structure of Union debates already announced, Jonah also explained that the Union had “yet again revolutionized” their speaker invitation process this term.

Jonas continued to explain that the lineup had been chosen to “guarantee members miss essay deadlines and trade off social arrangements because they wanted to see our speaker events,” with “a roster of figures addressing the most pertinent social issues of today”.