Skip to main content

Your basket


Lesley Riddoch is an award-winning broadcaster, podcaster, journalist, author, cyclist, land reform campaigner & lover of all things Nordic.

Lesley Riddoch is one of Scotland’s best-known commentators and broadcasters. Lesley was born in Wolverhampton to a mother from Wick and a dad from Banffshire, grew up in Belfast, moved to Glasgow at the age of 13, went to Oxford University (where she was the first non-Tory President of the Student's Union), did a post-graduate journalism course at Cardiff University and completed a PhD at Strathclyde University in 2020. She still gets around a lot.

She is best known for broadcasting with programmes on BBC2, Channel 4, Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland, for which she won two Sony speech broadcaster awards but was also Assistant Editor of the Scotsman and edited the paper when it became the Scotswoman on International Women’s Day 1995, and was part of the start-up team for the Sunday Herald. She’s written weekly columns for the National since its inception in 2014 and used to write for the Herald, Scotsman & Guardian. Lesley was a member of the trust that helped the people of Eigg buy their own island in 1997 and founded Africawoman, a charity that trained female journalists across the continent. In 2020 she won the Saltire Society Fletcher of Saltoun Award for her contribution to public life.

Lesley has co-presented a weekly Lesley Riddoch Podcast for more than a decade - now with North Fife neighbour Patrick Joyce. She has written five books (the latest Thrive explores the case for independence) and co-produced/presented six films (the latest about Denmark is being screened across Scotland in early 2024). The other films about Norway, Faroes, Iceland, Estonia and the Declaration of Arbroath are online here where the Denmark film will also be available once the cinema screenings are complete in March.

Lesley is co-founder and director of the Scottish think tank Nordic Horizons which has brought dozens of Nordic specialists over to Scotland to speak with (and hopefully inspire) MSPs, civil servants and the Scottish public since 2011. 

Lesley Riddoch is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist


Nordic House exhibition



During the summer of 2018 Lesley produced and presented three crowd-funded films with filmmaker Phantom Power exploring the history of the Faroes, Iceland and Norway - Scotland’s successful, small Nordic neighbours. The films have had approx half a million views online. On April 6th 2020, Lesley and filmmaker Charlie Stuart released a film about the Declaration of Arbroath on its 700th anniversary.

Harpies and Quines

Lesley co-founded the feminist magazine Harpies and Quines in 1991 which survived legal action by Harpers and Queen but finally fell foul of the huge costs of distribution in 1993 leaving fond memories, and some great artwork. Copies can be viewed in the Women's Library archive in Glasgow. In 1995 Lesley was editor of the Scotswoman when female staff wrote, edited and produced the paper, and the Scotsman's masthead changed for the first time in 179 years. After international publicity about the Scotswoman, Lesley set up the Africawoman charity to help women in 8 African nations produce their own online newspaper in collaboration with the British Council. It ran for 7 years.


She wrote Riddoch on the Outer Hebrides in 2007; Blossom – what Scotland needs to Flourish in 2013 about the politics and culture of Scotland; co-edited McSmorgasbord -- about the Nordic nations and their varied relationships with the EU in 2016 – all with Luath Press. Lesley also co-edited Northern Neighbours with Professors John Bryden and Ottar Brox in 2013 - the only academic book comparing Scotland and Norway since 1800, published by Edinburgh University Press. And Huts, a place beyond with Luath has just been published in August 2020.

Nordic Horizons

Lesley has been Director of Nordic Horizons since 2010 – it’s a policy group which exchanges expertise between the Nordic nations and Scotland and has organised large scale events like has organised around 50 visits by speakers who addressed public meetings often in the Scottish Parliament as well as meeting Scottish civil servants, plus relevant civic and council leaders. Nordic Horizons arranged large scale events like the Arctic Fringe, which preceded the formal Arctic Forum in Edinburgh in 2017. In 2015 she launched the Nordic House exhibition of Arctic landscape art and photographs which toured Scotland for four years and completed a PhD supervised by Oslo and Strathclyde Universities in December 2019, producing a book on the same subject published in August 2020; Huts, a place beyond.

Isle of Eigg Trust

Lesley was a Trustee of the Isle of Eigg Trust, which led to the successful community buyout in 1997and has supported other buyouts. She founded the Our Land Festival in 2015, which continues to campaign for land reform in Scotland.

Africa Woman June 2005

Africa Woman - G8 Scotland Special Edition

Harpies And Quines No. 2 August / September '92

Harpies And Quines No4. Dec. 92 / Jan 93