VIDEO: Julie Walters, Michael Palin, Sadiq Khan and more salute The Big Issue

Sadiq Khan, Mel C, Mark Hamill among the big-name stars to wish The Big Issue a happy 25th birthday

There’s nothing like a BIG BIRTHDAY to bring out friends old and new. And so it proved when we set out to make a short film to celebrate the Big Issue’s 25th birthday.

Politicians, actors, musicians, broadcasters, business leaders and various friends and supporters, including some notable cover stars from the last quarter of a century, took time out of busy schedules to salute the The Big Issue and share their memories.

We found ourselves with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a library room at Southwark Cathedral one Saturday morning. There, he paid tribute to our 25-year commitment to helping homeless men and women to help themselves, revealed he would like to contribute his own Letter To My Younger Self (we’re ready when you are, Sadiq!), and picked out a copy of the magazine bearing the words ‘Power to the People’ on the cover – a nod to another son of Tooting, Wolfie Smith from classic BBC sitcom Citizen Smith.

We found ourselves with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a library room at Southwark Cathedral

Meeting Monty Python legend Michael Palin at a members’ club in Soho was a thrill – his comic timing on show as he regaled us with a story about the time he graced our cover in September 2015 and raced back to his local vendor to buy TEN copies.

Melanie C, the Spice Girls star, welcomed us with real warmth, cringing as she looked back on the interview she did with us to mark our Eighth Birthday in 1999.

Christopher Eccleston was also quick to respond. His relationship with the magazine goes back to 1996, when he first appeared on our cover after filming Our Friends In The North. “I celebrate your existence. And I’m proud to be associated with you,” he said.

Star Wars icon and Big Issue Special Correspondent Mark Hamill recorded and sent in a special video from Los Angeles, lauding our work as “positively inspirational”.

Jeremy Vine recalled how we asked him to interview his musical heroes New Order back in 2001, calling the experience one of the best days of his life.

Rising star Tuppence Middleton – who appeared on our War and Peace cover earlier this year – talked about her friendship with North London vendor John Gregg. And the kindness kept on coming.


The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.

Jon Snow led us into the Channel 4 news studio before explaining how resolving homelessness has been a lifelong passion; Julie Walters gave a rallying cry, citing the nation’s rise in homelessness as a reason why we are needed more than ever.

Former Big Issue vendor turned publishing sensation James Bowen and Street Cat Bob visited our offices in Finsbury Park, which made our hearts soar; Arctic Monkeys sent in a heartfelt message of support.

I celebrate your existence. And I’m proud to be associated with you

Violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra performed a special rendition of Happy Birthday just for The Big Issue, which we were delighted to use to soundtrack our trailer; politicians from all parties sent messages of support, recorded films, and extended their congratulations.

James and Bob visiting The Big Issue offices

So a massive thank you to everyone who took part and helped make it happen: Julie Walters, Christopher Eccleston, Sadiq Khan, Mark Hamill, Tuppence Middleton, James Bowen and Street Cat Bob, Melanie C, Michael Palin, Ruta Gedmintas, Jon Snow, Jeremy Vine, Wayne Hemingway, Nicola Benedetti and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Warwick Davis, Caroline Lucas MP, Tim Farron MP, Nick Clegg MP, Robin Ince, Professor Brian Cox, Jon Bon Jovi, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Lauren Mayberry, Biffy Clyro, Arctic Monkeys, Big Issue vendors Amy Stevens and John Gregg, and Lord John Bird.

Please do watch/share the film and help us spread the good word of The Big Issue.

Happy 25th!