Founding member of ABBA
Songwriter, Producer and Entertainment Entrepreneur
The Swedish songwriter, musician, producer and member of ABBA was born in Gothenburg. In the mid-Fifties Björn fell in love with rock’n’roll and skiffle. By the early Sixties he was a member of a folk group called the West Bay Singers. In 1963, they entered a talent contest and were discovered by publisher Stig Anderson and his partner, Bengt Bernhag. The band acquired a new name, the Hootenanny Singers, and quickly became one of Sweden’s most popular groups. In 1966, Björn had a chance meeting with Benny Andersson, himself a member of Sweden’s number one pop group, The Hep Stars. They hit it off and wrote their first song together, ‘Isn’t It Easy To Say’. In 1970 the pair started releasing records as a duo and also staged a cabaret show with their fiancees, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. From 1972 and a decade onwards Björn was occupied by his work with ABBA. In 1983, Björn and Benny started writing the musical Chess with lyricist Tim Rice. A concept album was released in 1984, in 1986 the musical opened in London’s West End and in 1988 on Broadway.
Björn and Benny’s next musical opened in Stockholm in October 1995. It was called Kristina from Duvemåla and was based on the novel series The Emigrants by author Vilhelm Moberg. Björn co-writes songs with Benny Andersson for his band BAO. In 1999 Judy Craymer and Björn Ulvaeus produced Mamma Mia!, the first jukebox musical and he was involved in many of the productions around the world from then on as well as the 2008 and 2018 movie versions. Mamma Mia the Party is an immersive dinner experience in the Mamma Mia world. Björn co-wrote the story and produced it first in Stockholm 2018 and it is still playing in Gothenburg and London, and is set to open in various cities around the world in 2024/25.
Björn is also involved in several theatre productions in Stockholm, including a circus musical of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking which opened at the Cirkus Theatre in Stockholm in 2022. In 2021, ABBA announced the release of the first album in 40 years, Voyage, as well as a virtual stage show “Voyage” which opened in a new custom-built arena in London in 2022. Björn is president of CISAC, an umbrella organisation for all royalty collecting societies for songwriters in the world. In 2014, together with EQT founder Conni Jonsson, Björn founded Pophouse. Pophouse acquires and develops entertainment brands within music, podcast and gaming, and the company began a serious venture into music catalogue investments in 2022.
A former Oxford Scholar, President of the Oxford Union and MP for the City of Chester, Gyles Brandreth’s career has ranged from being a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s government to starring in his own award-winning musical revue in London’s West End.
A prolific broadcaster (in programmes ranging from Just a Minute and Wordaholics to QI and Have I Got News for You), an award-winning interviewer and columnist (principally for the Telegraph and Daily Mail), a novelist, children’s author and biographer, he has published two volumes of diaries: Breaking the Code: Westminster Diaries (‘By far the best political diary of recent years, far more perceptive and revealing than Alan Clark’s’, The Times) and Something Sensational to Read in the Train: The Diary of a Lifetime (‘Witty, warm-hearted and deeply poignant’, Daily Mail).
He is the author of two acclaimed royal biographies: Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage and Charles & Camilla: Portrait of a Love Affair, and a series of Victorian detective stories, The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, now published in twenty-two countries around the world. His recent Sunday Times best-sellers include Word Play, a celebration of the English language, and The 7 Secrets of Happiness – No 1 on Amazon. His on-line course on Happiness is available from Gravy For The Brain together with a course co-authored with his son, rhetoric coach and barrister, Benet Brandreth QC, on Mastering Public Speaking. His one-man shows have won multiple five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and tour regularly throughout the UK.
As a performer, Gyles Brandreth has been seen in the West End in Zipp! One hundred musicals for less than the price of one at the Duchess Theatre and on tour throughout the UK, and as Malvolio and the Sea Captain in Twelfth Night: The Musical at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2011/12 he played Lady Bracknell in a new musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest and in 2017 appeared in Hamlet at the Park Theatre in London.
Gyles Brandreth is one of Britain’s busiest after-dinner speakers and award ceremony hosts. He has won awards himself, and been nominated for awards, as a public speaker, novelist, children’s writer, broadcaster (Sony and Royal Television Society), political diarist (Channel Four), journalist (British Press Awards), theatre producer (Olivier), and businessman (British Tourist Authority Come to Britain Trophy). He has featured on This Is Your Life and Desert Island Discs and is a former chairman and now vice-president of the National Playing Fields Association. In 2017 he succeeded the late Duke of Westminster as Chancellor of the University of Chester.
He is married to writer and publisher Michèle Brown, with whom he co-curated the exhibition of twentieth century children’s authors at the National Portrait Gallery and founded the award-winning Teddy Bear
Museum now based at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire. His son, Benet, is a barrister, award-winning speaker, authority on rhetoric – www.artofrhetoric.com – and author of two acclaimed novels about Shakespeare’s lost years: The Spy of Venice and The Assassin of Verona. His daughter, Aphra, is an environmental economist and local politician. With his daughter Saethryd and grandson Rory, he is the author of a compendium of family games, The Lost Art of Having Fun. With Saethryd, he has also created Novelty Knits, a celebration of the colourful jumpers he was noted for wearing on TV in the 1970s and 1980s.
Gyles Brandreth’s forebears include George R Sims (the highest-paid journalist of his day, who wrote the ballad Christmas Day in the Workhouse) and Jeremiah Brandreth (the last man in England to be beheaded for treason). His great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Brandreth, promoted ‘Brandreth’s Pills’ (a medicine that cured everything!) and was a pioneer of modern advertising and a New York state senator. Gyles Brandreth has been London correspondent for “Up to the Minute” on CBS News and his books published in the USA include the New York Times best-seller, The Joy of Lex, as well as The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (Simon & Schuster) and The 7 Secrets of Happiness (Open Road Media).
Described by FORBES magazine as ‘A Game Changer’ Geoff Ramm is an inspirational keynote speaker and the creator and author of Celebrity Service and Celebrity Service Superstars.
Like you, he knows that great customer service leads to lucrative, repeat business but a greater experience leads to global recognition.
So how can you design a customer experience that has you talked about for decades to come?
Results prove that Celebrity Service makes you craved by your customers, envied by your competitors and raved about in your industry.
In his interactive keynotes, you will not only discover out-of-this-world ideas but will transform your touchpoints to light up your business and excite your customers.
He’s challenged and inspired entrepreneurs, high performance teams and organisations across forty nine countries to create award winning ideas to outperform the competition.
Geoff is trusted by some of the world’s leading brands to create the gap in their service experience they never knew existed. Including Emirates, Warner Brothers, Specsavers and McDonalds.
Oh, and his on-stage and on-screen presence, as well as his infectious enthusiasm and humour, will have you on the edge of your seat.
Razan Alsous has been on a cheesy adventure that’s anything but ordinary.
Razan is the brain behind the deliciousness, the founder of Yorkshire Dama. Her journey into the world of the Squeaky cheese-making was a leap of faith, a passion project that turned into a full-blown success. They’re not just crafting cheese; they are creating an experience.
Born and raised in Syria, Razan escaped the war in 2012 with her husband and three children. She brought a piece of her heritage to Yorkshire. The fusion of Middle Eastern flavours with Yorkshire’s charm resulted in cheeses that tell a story with every bite. It’s more than a business; it’s a journey of cultural exchange through cheese.
Yorkshire Dama Cheese isn’t just about the product; it’s about the people. They have built a community around their love for cheese, sharing laughter, stories, and of course, their favourite cheese recipes. Razan is humbled to share that Yorkshire Dama caught the attention of the Royal Family. In 2016, they were honoured to host HRH The Princess Royal, a moment that stands as a testament to the excellence of Yorkshire Dama.
Razan’s journey isn’t without its challenges. Navigating the business world is like exploring uncharted territories, but each obstacle has only made her and Yorkshire Dama stronger. From local markets to national recognition, every achievement is a testament to the dedication and love they pour into each batch of cheese.
Currently in her final year at Sheffield Hallam University, Razan is pursuing studies as a technical practitioner at the business school having decided to transform her passion for cheese into a resounding success.