This week’s highlights in audio include “The Rest Is Entertainment” and “History for You With Douglas and Hugh.”
The Rest Is Entertainment Goalhanger
History for You With Douglas and Hugh Adrian Mackinder and James Devonshire
Seven Deadly Psychologies (Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Eight Years’ Hard Labour Tortoise
I don’t want to sound like a Centrist Mom, but the current times are difficult and I have some very uplifting audio news. Richard Osman and Marina Hyde have just launched a new podcast!
Is an introduction necessary for Osman and Hyde? It could be argued that it is. Although Osman has found success as a popular crime novelist, he has a strong passion for television. He is the creator and host of the BBC Two program House of Games, as well as a former co-host of Pointless on BBC One. His expertise lies in the inner workings of game shows, quiz shows, and reality TV, including their economic aspects, trends, and mechanics. Hyde, on the other hand, is known as the Guardian’s wittiest and most sharp-tongued writer. Her weekly columns take aim at politicians, celebrities, Fifa, the royal family, and anyone else in the public eye with questionable morals. She also has an impressive memory for incriminating details.
The new podcast by the duo, called The Rest Is Entertainment, is another two-person talk show from Goalhanger. I am not a big fan of their other shows such as History, Politics, Economics, and Money, as they do not interest me much. However, the first episode of The Rest Is Entertainment, which promises to provide a weekly look into pop culture, was very entertaining.
There were three main discussion points: Nigel Farage’s appearance on I’m a Celebrity…; the American Vogue interview with Lauren Sánchez, the wife of Jeff Bezos; and the new Squid Game gameshow on Netflix. If these topics don’t pique your interest, you can skip ahead. Personally, the first two topics have been dominating my recent WhatsApp conversations, and the third, even though I haven’t watched the show, was made intriguing by Osman’s explanation of what makes a successful Saturday night gameshow and how they need to evolve. In essence, they are still using a dated 1980s format where a corny host asks contestants about their personal information, but the audience is more interested in the game itself.
The commentators provided interesting insights on the show “I’m a Celebrity…”, noting that while Farage was a decent choice, he did not live up to expectations. They discussed how his attempt to charm the audience with his “little ol’ Nigel” persona fell flat as viewers could see through his boring nature. Osman remarked that while Farage may be charismatic in politics, he pales in comparison to someone like Sam Thompson from Made in Chelsea. Hyde also had a sharp take on the Sánchez Vogue feature, correctly identifying it as a staged piece disguised as a fluff article. Both commentators took the usually trivial topic seriously and did not try to outdo each other or force a friendship. Overall, their commentary was well-cast and made the episode fly by.
By the way, there is a highly amusing new show that pokes fun at The Rest Is History and other podcasts featuring “posh gentlemen discussing the past.” History for You With Douglas and Hugh is cleverly crafted to initially appear authentic. However, it is actually a comedic performance by actors Adrian Mackinder and James Devonshire. As the episodes progress, their true identities become evident. In one episode about Jack the Ripper, Douglas unexpectedly veers off topic to talk about “hairy-hand syndrome” and his experience taking his young son to test a gatling gun in Aldershot. He jokes that military protocol requires one to shave their hands when handling weaponry that is over 100 years old. They also make a humorous reference to Napoleon having to have his food chewed into a paste before eating it. It is a clever and subtly funny show.
Radio 4’s new series, Seven Deadly Psychologies, explores the seven deadly sins. Hosted by Becky Ripley (who also produces the show) and actor Sophie Ward, this series delves into the psychology behind our desires and cravings. With clever production and entertaining hosting, this show takes a serious look at these topics. Each episode features Dr. Anna Machin, an evolutionary anthropologist who brings her expertise to the table with a catchy theme song, “Anna Machin’s explana-shins!” Ripley and Ward have a warm banter between them as they discuss the sin of Greed in the previous episode. One of the experts, social scientist Prof Paul Piff, explains how our species struggles with extreme wealth due to our evolutionary history of resource scarcity. He points out that our survival and prosperity was dependent on strong relationships, which are now challenged by the abundance of resources in certain parts of the world.
Tortoise’s latest series, Eight Years’ Hard Labour, lacks humor and instead delves into sensitive and unfiltered topics. David Aaronovitch, a former columnist for The Times and the author, adeptly conducts a thorough exploration of the Labour party’s recent history. This piece from Tortoise is full of diligent research and delivered in a captivating and informative manner.
We begin with the moment when Ed Miliband lost the general election in 2015, and we will conclude with Keir Starmer in the present day. The first episode delved into how Jeremy Corbyn, a backbench MP since 1983 with no prior experience in a shadow cabinet position, somehow rose to become the leader of the Labour party. There were some delightful details and clever jabs. “If you’ve ever been on a hiking vacation or a craft beer tour, or if you’ve gone to watch a lower division football team, you’ve probably met someone very similar to Jeremy Corbyn,” remarked a former Labour member. “Someone with unique hobbies or collections, who is very polite and well-mannered in that quintessentially English way.” Meow!