Woman’s Hour has signed up a new set of guest editors including Fresh Meat actress Zawe Ashton and Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

The Radio 4 programme has been inviting inspiring woman to speak on the airwaves since 2014, including JK Rowling, Angelina Jolie, Mary Berry and Kim Cattrall. 

Ashton is best known for her roles in Channel 4 comedies Fresh Meat and Not Safe For Work, and more recently appeared in the Idris Elba series Guerrilla on Sky. She has also built a successful career in theatre, and on Woman’s Hour she'll discuss, amongst other things, her anxiety about starting her period while she’s performing on stage.

Five-time Paralympic swimming champion Simmonds, who is returning to full-time training after taking a year out, will discuss travelling, ocean conservation and her experiences volunteering with the Brownies.

Shirley Hughes, the children’s book writer and illustrator known for her dogger books, Dame Ann Dowling, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Karen Blackett, chair of media agency MediaCom, have also been signed up this year.

The programme’s editor, Karen Dalziel, said: “I’m excited that once again we have five remarkable women to guest-edit Woman’s Hour. Each has chosen issues she cares about deeply, from ocean conservation to costume design, and I’m sure they’ll connect with our listeners in a warm and meaningful way. 

“By sharing their personal interests and passions, we learn so much more about these well-known and influential women.” 

Woman’s Hour Takeover Week 2017 starts on Monday 26th June