Widening Horizons: Artistic Director Chris Haydon talks podcasts

by Chris Haydon

Okay, I have written a lot now about films and television to watch during lockdown, so let’s give our eyes a rest and this week talk about podcasts. I am a bit of a pod-fanatic and have now got to a point where I feel genuine anxiety that I can’t keep up with all the listening I have to do.

As you may have already realised from these blogs, I am a big film fan, so the podcast that I always make 100% sure to never miss is Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review from the BBC. Presented by Simon Mayo with film critic Mark Kermode, it exists ostensibly to review all the latest releases and interview leading actors, directors and so on. But it is so much more than that. There is a real community spirit amongst all the listeners, and people regularly write in to say how the show has helped them cope with many of the inevitable tragedies of life such as bereavement, divorce and illness. Mark and Simon squabble, bicker and witter as much as any two people who have been friends for decades would do. They have a huge listenership and so I am sure some readers of this blog will be familiar with the show already, and to those people I say: hello to Jason Isaacs.

If you are interested in the process by which films are made, I can also recommend The Directors Cut and Indiewire Toolkit. These regularly feature interviews with leading directors and writers who will talk in depth about their most recent movie. And if you are a budding writer (or just have a really geeky interest in the craft of film-making) then you should definitely check out Scriptnotes. Presented by two hugely successful screenwriters, John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish) and Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II, Chernobyl), it covers anything and everything that might be of interest to writers and anyone else in the movie business.

I also have a long-term fascination with statistics and economics – I am trying to understand human behaviour from a numerical point of view. To this end, I regularly listen to Planet Money and its sister podcast, The Indicator (both from NPR), as well as the BBC’s More or Less and Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy.

I have always been fascinated by American life and culture – and this feels particularly essential during the current crisis. And one of the best ways to get an insight into that complex, challenging country is through This American Life. Presented by Ira Glass, it brings together an eclectic range of stories and people from across the US and beyond to create a kind of audio collage of the country. Sometimes it is hilarious, sometimes desperately sad, but it is always compelling.

Photo by Malte Wingen | Unsplash


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