Martin Sixsmith was educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Sorbonne. From 1980 to 1997, he was the BBC correspondent in Moscow, Washington, Brussels and Warsaw. From 1997 to 2002, he worked as the director of communications and press secretary for Harriet Harman, Alistair Darling, and Stephen Byers. He is the author of two novels, Spin and I Heard Lenin Laugh. His non-fiction work, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, is the basis for the film Philomena starring Steve Coogan and Judi Dench.
Judi Dench is the foremost actress in British theatre. She was made a DBE in 1988 and a Companion of Honour in 2005.