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15 October

Barnabas Speaker: Franny Moyle

On the 11th October 2021 we enjoyed the first Barnabas Day of the School year with OV Franny Moyle (Co 80-82) as our latest speaker and member of the group. Twice a year we invite OVs who have excelled and made a particular impact in their chosen career path to join the Barnabas Group, to visit School, share experiences and offer motivation and inspiration.

Barnabas Speaker Franny Moyle in College Hall


Franny is a British television producer and author. On leaving King’s, she studied Art History at St John’s College, Cambridge. Franny is the former BBC Commissioner for Arts and Culture and is now a freelance executive producer and writer. Her books include Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde, Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites, and The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J. M. W. Turner. Her latest book The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein was recently serialised on Radio 4, read by Sir Simon Russell Beale.

Franny began the day making an address in College Hall, heard live by the current sixth form and watched in houses on-line by the rest of the School body. Franny talked passionately and eloquently about how her time at King’s shaped her future life and especially stressed to the pupil body the importance of self-belief and ‘finding your star’. She also spoke about equality and the massive steps forward in female education and opportunities, speaking to the young men and women in College Hall, asking them to strive constantly to level up the playing field and expect equal rights in all they do. You can watch and listen to Franny’s address in College Hall:

During the day, Franny met with our U6 King’s Art students. She thoroughly enjoyed being shown the Art School by Head of Art Chris Haywood (Hon OV), watching the pupils work, offering feedback and hearing all about the aims for their final pieces. She also enjoyed meeting a Lower Remove English class, where the group had many questions to ask Franny including many about her time at the BBC and what her role as a Producer entailed. A trip to meet GCSE Art pupils opened up a really interesting conversation about how to critique art objectively and what Franny labelled the ‘Curator’s Checklist’. Franny was also able to talk about some of her favourite artists and the history behind certain movements and moments in time.

A visit to the library provided the icing on the cake for us all as Franny kindly signed some of her books for us.

The day also included a opportunity to meet briefly with OV historian Andrew Reekes (Ch 64-69) who was in on the same day, speaking to some of sixth form history pupils. Andrew is a big fan of Franny’s books and the two had a huge amount to discuss. The day also included lunch with Headmaster Gareth Doodes, Heads of School, Josh and Charlotte, Head of Art Chris Haywood, Lucy a current U6 artist, and Sophie and Liz from the Development and Alumni Office. Lunch provided opportunity to find out even more about Franny’s fascinating career and for her to find out even more about King’s today.

Barnabas Franny Moyle with Gareth Doodes, Charlotte M & Josh H

On her visit to King’s, Franny says, “Returning to King’s I discovered a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. The same exquisite setting in the grounds of the Cathedral and next to the river; the same feeling of tradition mixed with camaraderie, and that dedication to learning as well as to sport. But to see a fully mixed school was a wonderful change, as were the astonishing new facilities that the school benefits from. Climbing walls! Amazing performance spaces! A great library and art department. What a wonderful start this school offers to young people.”

A huge thank you to Franny for giving her day so generously to us.