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Brexitcast fame

I have been a fan of the BBC’s Brexitcast/Newscast for more than a year now. I listen to almost every episode as part of my walking habit. I find that their in-depth treatment of issues is less sensationalist than much of the news and also reveals the workings behind the scenes of being a newscaster (last year’s election coverage via this medium was particularly interesting). 

This week I had a rare foray onto Twitter on Monday, announcing to the presenters of said Brexitcast that I had awoken that morning with an ear-worm of their presenter Katya Adler saying ‘Ursula von der Leyen’. I noticed that a few people had seen the Tweet, but not many. Must try harder. Fair enough.

So imagine my surprise when I tuned into the latest episode of Brexitcast on Tuesday (recorded on Monday evening) as I set off for my daily stomp around the neighbourhood and heard my name, followed by the full text of the Tweet read out by Adam Fleming. I was pleased to hear that it raised a laugh from the other presenters (Chris Mason and Katya Adler) and that Katya gave me a special rendition of Ursula on air. I was only a few steps away from my house by this time and simply had to rush home and play it to Mr J, who is a less avid fan but has followed the weekly TV versions of this podcast on and off.

I am, of course, pleased at the fame and recognition (haha). Slightly worried too, that I was Tweeting the truth, rather than for amusing effect – although of course I was pleased to practice my comedy writing by coincidence.

Here is the episode – I’m at 45 seconds from the beginning.

Enthusiastic Bottom!

I had a bit of a quiet day yesterday. My spirits were lifted unexpectedly by listening to the latest Playcrush podcast from the Old Vic and Sherman theatres. It features Hammed Animashaun, and is billed as a discussion about his chosen featured play, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, as with many of the other interviewees in this series, most of the time is taken up talking about the actor’s career. Here is a link to the podcast if you’re interested.

I’ve written about these podcasts before. They have all been interesting and this was no exception. I was lucky enough to see Hammed in the Bridge Theatre’s production of this play. It was one of the highlights of last year’s theatre fest for me and he was truly superb – hilarious. He played Nick Bottom – a wonderful part in any production of this play, but as he explained in this podcast, the Bridge’s version allowed for a different playing, which I loved when I saw it live and also on TV during lockdown.

Despite listening to earlier episodes and also remembering Hammed’s Bottom, I was still taken by surprise at how uplifting this episode of Playcrush was. I rather randomly selected it from my Podcast list whilst out on an uninspiring walk to make a delivery.

What was wonderful was the unrelenting enthusiasm Hammed showed for his craft and career. If anyone needs inspiration as an actor, he’s surely your man. His repeated references to the super-supportive school drama teacher who persuaded and encouraged him were so good to hear. As he talked about his career in chronological order and moved from one production or theatre to another, he was called out by his interviewer (Sherman Theatre’s Joe Murphy) for repeatedly describing each as ‘the best’. What an attitude to have! Should be compulsory listening for those who doubt themselves.

Of course, Hammed has bags of talent and others may not be so fortunate in that respect, but his description of the light bulb moments when he could see how he might actually succeed up on stage (seeing ‘someone like me’ up there) is so important to the future of theatre. Others in this series and in other interviews have said similar – but perhaps not with such gusto and tangible delight.

Now I have a challenge – what to listen to today to similarly raise the mood? Beat that, as they say.



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