BBC World News will screen Mishal Husain Meets, a new series that profiles well-known Asian personalities fronted by Mishal Husain (pictured, right).
Filmed at the NYU Tisch School of The Arts in Singapore before a studio audience, the six-part series goes in depth with scientists, actors, sports personalities and artists including Mazlan Othman, the astrophysicist who put the first Malaysian astronaut into space, to Bernard Harrison, Singapore’s “zoo man”.
In the series premiere on 28 July, Mishal Husain is joined by Li Cunxin, a former elite ballet dancer whose life story was depicted in the Australian feature film Mao’s Last Dancer. Born into poverty in Mao’s communist China, Li was selected at the age of 11 to train at Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy, before going on to win a cultural scholarship to attend the Houston Ballet company. He was at the centre of political and media controversy when he decided to defect to the US in 1981; he eventually moved to Australia to serve as a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet. Li retired from dancing and made a rather dramatic career change when he joined one of the continent’s most preeminent stock broking firms.
Remembering the time when Madame Mao’s cultural advisors came to his hometown, Li Cunxin said: “I was 10…we were sitting in this heatless, freezing cold classroom…four men walked into the room, they were introduced to us as Madame Mao’s cultural advisors from the Beijing Dance Academy and they were there to select talents to study ballet…I didn’t know what ballet was and then they put us through this incredible audition process where at one stage they pushed me against the wall, forced my leg up and up and up in the air…they kept asking me: “does it hurt?” Of course. It was excruciating.”
Mishal Husain, Presenter, BBC World News, said: “The series introduces viewers to acclaimed Asian personalities who have exceptional stories to tell. They trace their journeys to success through various significant moments in their lives and discuss the obstacles they’ve encountered along the way. These are tales of ambition, change and talent that will resonate with our audiences around the world.”
Begins Saturday 28 July at 10.30 and 17.30, and again on Sundays at 23.30.