Ms Wen Lan Peng 彭文蘭女士


Date 9 December 2014 Interviewed by Sherri Wong
Language English Audio Edited by Sherri Wong 
Venue London    

Born in Kolkata, India, Wenlan Peng came to England during the mass exodus of Chinese from India in the 1960s. She was brought up in one of the roughest areas of Liverpool, which taught her to recognise the importance of hard work and humility at an early age. Always keenly interested in language and literature, she studied French and German at Leeds University and Modern Chinese at Cambridge University, before leaving for China to work as a translator and editor at the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing in 1978.

When English took the place of Russian as China's first foreign language in the late '70s, Wenlan became a presenter of English language programmes on China Central Television, becoming the state broadcaster's first foreign national to do so. She subsequently turned her skills to producing and directing – roles which she continued after her return to the UK in the late '80s at the Central Office of Information, various independent production companies and the BBC. She has since set up her own production company in London, which specialises in documentaries on China and frequently helps Chinese film and television companies on their UK and European shoots. Wenlan is also a regular trainer for the BBC and EU-funded documentary production courses and still does a spot of translation when she finds time.