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‘You stole £95k in front of the whole nation!’ The reality TV villains celebrating ludicrous crimes
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‘You stole £95k in front of the whole nation!’ The reality TV villains celebrating ludicrous crimes

Paul Gorton and Harry Clark are worried they’ve accidentally made a handbook for criminals. “We do a deep dive into robberies that went wrong, then discuss how we’d have got away with it,” says Gorton. “Some of our ideas are so ingenious, it feels like we’re giving tips to criminals. They’ll be sitting in their dens, taking notes.”

“Hopefully nobody uses it as a how-to guide,” says Clark. “We keep reminding people it’s just for fun and not to try this themselves. But if anyone does, let us know if it works.” “It’s solid-gold advice that we’re giving,” adds Gorton. “We should be charging for it.”

The breakout stars of this year’s smash hit series of The Traitors – villain-in-chief Gorton and eventual winner Clark – are co-hosting a new podcast titled Harry and Paul Are… Devious. Each week, these reality TV anti-heroes delve into real-life failed crimes. They relive blunders like the conceited crook who called cops to complain that his photofit wasn’t flattering enough and the gang member who bought 10 luxury cars the day after executing the biggest robbery in Brazilian history.

As Clark says: “When a criminal’s done something daft, like robbed a bank with a Nerf gun or lost the keys to their getaway vehicle, we have a laugh at their expense, then discuss how we’d pull it off ourselves. Which is funny because we’re probably the worst criminals in the world.” Gorton interrupts: “Well I am, but you did alright! You stole £95k in front of the whole nation, as I recall.” “I didn’t steal it,” says Clark. “It was already mine.”

Former army engineer Clark, 23, and business manager Gorton, 36, are both true-crime nuts, so relished researching the cases. “We cover a massive range, from art thefts to sports cheats, from the Millennium Dome diamond heist right down to a thief who stole two ovens then posted his hiding place on Snapchat,” says Clark. “It’s a friendly competition between us over who has the juiciest details and best knowledge of each crime.”

It’s the sort of subject the duo discuss all the time anyway. “I remember admitting to Paul that I lay awake at night, thinking about how I’d raid a bank or survive a zombie apocalypse,” says Clark. “And Paul was like, ‘I do that too!’” “We love the idea of being on the run,” says Gorton. “That’s something we talk about an unhealthy amount.” “I sometimes think I’d like to go to prison just to see if I could break out,” says Clark. “I probably wouldn’t even get past the cell door, but I watch too many movies, so fantasise about climbing through vents or tunnelling out with a spoon.”

Harry and Paul are Devious Podcast ArtworkView image in fullscreen

The pair point out that the podcast is all boys’ own stuff, nothing truly evil. “There’s no death or violence,” says Gorton. “It’s all pretty family-friendly, except Harry swears a lot.” Both men credit their upbringings with making them devious. “Me and Harry have similar backgrounds, which bonded us. As working-class lads, you learn to be street smart. I left school with no GCSEs. You work out how to bend the rules to get somewhere in life.” “I was the same,” says Clark. “As a cheeky kid with loads of brothers and sisters, I had to try to get away with stuff. If you can’t be good, be careful.”

The bromance forged in the cloak-and-dagger contest is clearly still going strong. “We met on the train up to the Scottish Highlands and clicked instantly,” says Clark. “We had the same mindset going into the castle, just wanting to have fun and play the game. We’re still like that now, just enjoying the ride. He’s north and I’m south, but opposites attract. It’s like a weird love bomb formed in hell.” “We’re like naughty schoolboys,” says Gorton. “Harry feels like part of my extended family now.”

During The Traitors, Gorton was the consummate moustache-twirling villain – until he was stabbed in the back by protege Clark. Did it take long to forgive him? “Not at all. We had a blast in there. At first, I was the master and Harry was the pupil, but I suspect he was secretly in charge all along. If I couldn’t win, I wanted Harry to. But it’s weird. Whenever we’re out in public, people seem to think Harry was a Faithful. They’re like, ‘Paul, you were such an evil villain. Harry, well done for winning.’ But he was way worse than me! He gets away with it because he’s the baby-faced assassin. It’s scandalous.”

How did Clark spend the prize money? “I gave a load to my mum and dad to pay off personal debts. I’ve also been able to take my family on holiday. We’re all going to Portugal in a fortnight. My family haven’t been abroad since 2010, so being able to treat them all is the best feeling ever.” He scoffs at tabloid reports that he bought a £185k Ferrari. “That was borrowed for my little sister’s prom. I put it on my Insta stories just to prove you shouldn’t believe everything you see online. True enough, the press reported it.” “He’s just a good liar,” says Gorton proudly.

What did they make of presenter Claudia Winkleman suggesting that the male-dominated Traitors were threatened by smart women? “It’s more that we were threatened by smart people, it wasn’t gender-related,” says Gorton. “It was a compliment to be killed by us because it meant you were a threat. We got rid of anyone who might catch us.” “It was purely strategy, nothing personal,” adds Clark.

Now they’ve got their own crime series, what podcasts could their Traitors cast mates launch? “Diane could do a wine-tasting one, recommending rosés,” smiles Gorton. “Jaz has got himself a nice little radio gig [on BBC Asian Network], but maybe he could come on our podcast as guest detective Jazatha Christie.

When Gorton was banished, he departed with a memorable bow. “It was completely impromptu. Some guys practised their exit speeches. I didn’t, but when I revealed that I was a Traitor, I genuinely felt like a panto villain, so I thought a bow was the perfect way to end it. Little did I suspect how big the show would be [ratings peaked at 8.1m] or that it would become a meme. I get requests to repeat it all the time. We went to see The 1975 at the O2 and Matty Healy gave us a shout-out from the stage, so I bowed and everyone screamed. I did it at the Baftas. Someone asked me to do it in Tesco the other day.”

Six months since The Traitors aired, the pair are still pinching themselves about what it’s led to. “It’s been wild,” says Clark. “My dad couldn’t afford to take me and my brothers to watch Chelsea together when we were young, only one of us at a time. So being invited to Stamford Bridge, taking my family, meeting the players and being interviewed pitchside was a boyhood dream come true. Having served in the military, going to Buckingham Palace with the Duke of Edinburgh award-winners was a proud moment too.” “I’ve had a couple of pantomime villain offers,” says Gorton. “I got asked to play the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk.” “I’m surprised they didn’t offer you the beanstalk,” says Clark.

As a double act, do this Harry and Paul ever get mixed up with Messrs Enfield and Whitehouse? “They must be really cross,” says Gorton. “They’re the originals, of course, but maybe it’s time to pass the H&P baton on to us. We’re like a dastardly Ant and Dec. Or the grown-up Dick and Dom.” “Little and Large, more like,” says Clark.

Gathered round the microphone, it’s like the duo are scheming in Ardross Castle all over again. “This podcast is our new Traitors conclave,” says Gorton. “The studio is even dark like the turret.” All they need is some hooded cloaks. “I’ve got a hoodie under my jumper right now,” says Clark, pulling it out to demonstrate. “And mine’s always close to hand,” says Gorton. Once a Traitor, always a Traitor …

Harry and Paul Are … Devious is available from Wednesday 3 July on all podcast providers

Source: theguardian.com