Reaction Media Review Column 35: In the Room, OppositionCast & the Tim Rice Podcast

This week, Iain takes a look at three new podcasts on the block …

OppositionCast with Dr. Nigel Fletcher

Everyone seems to be starting a political podcast these days, and half of them seem to have the word “cast” at the end. Moderated by former Director of the Center for Opposition Studies, Nigel Fletcher, this podcast is an interview-based podcast (not all?) That covers various aspects of opposition politics. It’s an understaffed facet of British politics, and Nigel Fletcher has done more than anyone to shed some light on what constitutes good opposition politics. This is a comparatively new podcast with only a dozen episodes in the pocket, but it makes for fascinating and informative listening. So far, he has covered the role of flogging in the opposition, opposition to Donald Trump, Conservative opposition from 1945-51, opposition in the Lords, working under Miliband, and preparing an opposition for power. You might think that this leads to pretty dry gruel, but on the contrary. Fletcher’s introductions can be a bit cumbersome and sometimes too ponderous, just move on, but his interview style is light and airy and the fact that he was an advisor to Conservatives (on education) before becoming an academic means he is in opposition more on the table than others maybe. There’s no doubt this podcast will only ever appeal to the political geek market, but I suspect there are more of us out there that people imagine!

Get on my Cloud: The Tim Rice Podcast

Tim Rice is one of my favorite people. I don’t know him well, but as a longtime admirer of his work, he’s always been nice, helpful, and pretends he’s been your best friend for years. I remember going to see him at a reception. We both wanted to ask him to bring back the musical CHESS, which I’ve seen more than a dozen times. We talked about how it came about and why it’s so underrated, and I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him on my LBC show ever since. When I saw that he had put out a podcast, I had to look into it right away and what a treasure trove it is. Thirty-six episodes (so far) with hidden gems from his career and all the stories behind how various hit shows and songs came about. Obviously my favorites are the five different episodes dedicated to CHESS, in which he plays us outtakes and demos of songs that didn’t quite make it. In the latest episode, he talks about and plays some of the cover versions of his songs performed by famous singers. Barbra Streisand sings I KNOW HIM SO GUT by CHESS and Mike Tyson, yup him, sings ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK. Well, when I say sing … Fascinating, anyway.

Podcast “Im Raum” with Ronnie Barbour

When I first discovered this little-known podcast, the thought crossed my mind: “Why didn’t I think of it?” It’s a very simple idea, but a format that allows for a long-range interview. A moderator, a guest and up to an hour to talk about the different rooms they were in at key points in their careers. Ronnie Barbour is the gracious host and he is someone who knows how to get the most out of his guests. As an experienced radio host, he has mastered the art of preparing for an interview without it appearing that way. That might sound strange, but I mean, it’s more of a conversation than an interview, and its guests feel relaxed from the start. One of the best things about this podcast is the variety of people it attracts, from Dame Joan Bakewell to myself and the pioneer Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. This is a podcast in its infancy – only ten episodes too far away – but I suspect it will gradually be attracting quite a number of followers.

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