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When ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones was released in 1978, legendary DJ John Peel took the unprecedented step of playing it back to back on Radio 1. The lead singer was 20 year old Feargal Sharkey and the band were formed out of a desire to prove that five young men growing up in the Derry conflict zone could successfully learn to play instrument…
 
Despite being named by The Times as the best current English-language comedian in the world, Stewart Lee insists that nobody really knows who he is. His absence from the panel show circuit, resistance to social media and use of multiple on-stage personae may be contributory factors. In the first Full Disclosure of 2022, James tries his hand at gett…
 
Hedge fund Alden Global has devoured and squeezed newspapers, most recently Tribune Publishing. It now wants Lee Enterprises, parent of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Charlottesville's Daily Progress and 75 other dailies. Can Lee stop Alden? Robert Zullo of the Virginia Mercury and NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik on this last stand for the i…
 
Realising there was nothing he could not do, Johnny Vaughan left school and did nothing. Before becoming the presenter of the Big Breakfast and the drivetime host on Radio X, Vaughan spent much of his life navigating a host of hostile institutions and forming unlikely friendships. In this week’s episode, James speaks to Johnny about his life before…
 
When Sue Perkins was asked by her manager to present a programme about competitive baking, she declined the offer on multiple occasions. After lots of persuading, Perkins finally agreed to work on the show that would go on to become the most-watched programme on British television. At its peak, The Great British Bake Off attracted an audience of 16…
 
John Ealer, Executive Producer/Director, joins the podcast to discuss his CNN Original (now on HBO Max) documentary, "The Story of Late Night." John and Ben talk about the history of late-night television, the rise of Johnny Carson, network/host beef, under appreciated talent like Arsenio Hall & Wanda Sykes, the origin of The Tonight Show, hosts fi…
 
So much for the great return to offices. Many of us are still working remotely, often with little desire to go back to the five-day-a-week desk-grind. Who gets hit hardest in this new order? Can you negotiate dividends from this shift? Guests: Bloomberg's Matthew Boyle and Prof. Andra Ghent, chair in real estate at the University of Utah's School o…
 
The comedian, actor and musician, Bill Bailey describes his upbringing in the town of Keynsham in Somerset as idyllic. He credits his strong work ethic to his father who was a GP in the village and whose waiting room was situated in the front of their family home, where, occasionally he’d bump into ailing strangers as they attempted to navigate the…
 
Les Dennis has been a star in Britain's light entertainment scene for decades, but his career began off screen as a stand-up comedian in the working men's clubs of Northwest England. By the 1980s Dennis had become a household name, including as the host of the much-loved Family Fortunes. After a professional lull accompanied by a turbulent private …
 
When he published his first memoir back in 2014, the actor and author Alan Cumming took a deep dive and opened up about his traumatic childhood. In his second memoir, Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life, he dispels the myth that he had 'overcome' his trauma or 'triumphed' over it. Cumming believes that a willingness to be vulnerable is what cap…
 
How does a miner's daughter from Bishop Auckland in County Durham end up in the White House? Whilst her community was small, a combination of luck, opportunity and sharp intellect led Fiona Hill to Russia, opening her eyes to our shared human experience and deepening her geopolitical understanding. Hill's diplomatic qualities helped her work under …
 
As a professional cricketer he was nicknamed ‘Whispering Death’ for his light-footed, silent run up to the bowling crease. As a commentator he was known for his unflinching and direct analysis of the game. Then, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Michael Holding lead an impassioned and unexpected message about the “dehumanisati…
 
Veteran banker James Harmon on his 60-year journey from Wall Street to the Clinton administration to investing in bleeding-edge markets like Pakistan and Ghana. Along the way, he helped IPO Starbucks and dabbled in film and music moguldom. His book is Up and Doing: Two Presidents, Three Mistakes, and One Great Weekend―Touchpoints to a Better World.…
 
When he was 25 years old, Jimmy Carr realised that material wealth would not bring him happiness. He decided to sack off his safe job in middle management to become a comedian despite having no previous comedy experience. He went on to become one of Britain’s biggest names but still believes he possesses no inherent talent for his craft. His first …
 
She would not have become an MP were it not for her sister, Jo Cox who was murdered on a street in Birstall, West Yorkshire in 2016 by a white supremacist terrorist. Speaking to James one week after the killing of Sir David Amess MP, Kim Leadbeater questions how much has changed since her sibling's death. After fighting and winning a toxic campaign…
 
Actress Nina Bergman joins the podcast to talk about her upcoming World War II thriller, Hell Hath No Fury. Ben and Nina discuss the Fury-Wilder fight, filming during the pandemic, her travels from Europe, breaking into the entertainment industry at 16, finding fulfillment in your work, and more! Make sure to follow @bennakhaima to stay up to date.…
 
Joe Tracini was only 18 months old when he first performed on stage with his Dad, Joe Pasquale. By the time he was 15 he was named as the most promising comedy act by Ken Dodd. Tracini then landed a role in Hollyoaks but his acting career was overwhelmed by a serious drug and alcohol addiction. Then in 2018 Tracini revealed that he had been diagnos…
 
Hannah Giorgis, staff writer at The Atlantic, joins the podcast to discuss her cover story, "NOT ENOUGH HAS CHANGED SINCE SANFORD AND SON, The unwritten rules of Black TV." Hannah and Ben talk about the history of modern black television, who & what determines blackness, and the influence of shows like Sanford and Son and The Cosby Show. Make sure …
 
When Bernardine Evaristo was in her thirties she decided she wanted to win the Booker Prize. After breaking away from her career in theatre, Evaristo eventually became the first Black British person to receive the literary award and was catapulted into the international spotlight with her novel, Girl Woman, Other. But Evaristo’s life began in “curt…
 
Waheed Arian spent his childhood fleeing the war zones of Afghanistan. After recovering from an almost fatal illness at a Pakistan refugee camp as a child, he set his sights on becoming a doctor. Putting his life in the hands of people smugglers, Waheed eventually reached the UK and studied medicine at Cambridge. He now saves lives as an NHS A&E me…
 
The Deputy Leader of the Labour party was brought up by a parent who could not read or write. After getting pregnant and leaving school aged 16, Angela Rayner became a home carer where she found her feet as a union representative, eventually rising to be Unison’s most senior official in the North West. Now she’s taking on the government over worker…
 
In the run up to the 2016 Trump election, Joe Mulhall of Surrey, England managed to convince the American white supremacist terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, of his support for them. Shortly afterwards he found himself armed and accompanying an Alabaman militia group on the hunt for undocumented migrants and ISIS members on the Mexican border. Mul…
 
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