Break Out Culture With Ed Vaizey by Country and Town House

125. The Heroic Hedgehog with Sarah Sands

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Episode notes

We talk to Sarah Sands, the journalist and former editor of The Evening Standard and BBC Radio Four’s Today programme. She’s just released her new book ‘The Hedgehog Diaries, A Story of Faith Hope and Bristle’.  

The humble hedgehog turns out to be a symbol of the doughty survivor in politics and in battle – particularly in Ukraine’s war with Russia.  It’s also the symbol of NATO.  Not just that, but numerous famous people from Rory Stewart to Samuel Beckett, have understood the significance and spiritual appeal of the hedgehog as an intriguing, Tolkein-like, mystical little figure. 

The hedgehog gave Sarah great emotional comfort as she faced the death of her father and then afterwards her beloved brother, the cabaret artist Kit Hesketh-Harvey and her ex-husband Julian Sands, who died on a remote mountainside.

This is a charming book, full of wisdom, anecdotes and stories about this ancient, small but surprising creature which has inspired Sarah to take on a conservation project her brother Kit started before he died.  

Today’s episode is brought to you thanks to our sponsor, Lomi, the compact, countertop ‘smart waste’ appliance that can process food waste into plant food.  Go to to receive a discount of £50 by entering the code breakout at the check-out.