Bectu head Philippa Childs urges broadcasters to get tough on bullying after this week’s GMB walkout 

Below is a transcription for the hard of hearing of this week’s Broadcast Newswrap podcast, featuring Bectu head Philippa Childs and the Broadcast team analysing all the fallout from Piers Morgan’s GMB walkout 


Max Goldbart [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the Broadcast Newswrap your shorthand guide to the week’s TV news stories featuring the biggest news of the week. On Monday morning, Good morning Britain’s Piers Morgan was boldly denying Meghan Markle’s claim that she had thought about committing suicide. One studio stormed off and forty one thousand Ofcom complaints. Later, he was gone. After a whirlwind 48 hours, we welcome Bectu head Philippa Childs this week to dissect what this means for ITV and talk about the broader campaign to end bullying in the TV sector. All that plus what we’ve been watching on this week’s Broadcast Newswrap.


Max Goldbart [00:00:48] And so we’re delighted to welcome Philippa Childs onto the Newswrap this week. Phillipa is the head of broadcasting Union Bectu. She’s been a central figure in the TV sector’s fight to end bullying long before a man called Piers Morgan stormed off his stage earlier this week. Phillipa, how are you doing?


Philippa Childs [00:01:07] I’m good, thank you. Thank you for having me on.


Max Goldbart [00:01:09] Good stuff. It’s a pleasure. So very, very briefly, for anyone not familiar with what’s taken place this week, Piers Morgan has stepped down from a five year stint as the co-host of Good Morning Britain. Piers vaguely attempted to row back on Tuesday morning’s episode of GMB, but he ended up storming offstage after being criticised by Alex Beresford. And if you haven’t watched the clip, you really should. ITV announced he was leaving later that day, shortly after Ofcom revealed it would be investigating GMB. But the broadcaster ITV, which is currently running a Get Britain talking mental health campaign, didn’t say too much beyond a two line statement. And I think that’s something that we’ll be talking about. So it’s clearly been a bit of a week. Philippa, I’ll bring you straight in. Were you surprised by the chain of events that I’ve just described that took place between Monday morning’s GMB and Piers Morgan standing down later on Tuesday?


Philippa Childs [00:02:05] I’m not sure that I was surprised, actually, because of the veracity of the comments that he made. And to suggest that somebody who has spoken out about their mental health problems to the extent that they considered suicide, you know, is is a fairly extreme thing to do. So I can’t say that I am surprised, given what’s happened over recent times.


Hannah Bowler [00:02:31] Did did you expect that Piers would leave, though? Is that kind of how you thought it would play out or were you expecting another outcome from ITV?


Philippa Childs [00:02:40] I think that presumably part of their consideration was that ultimately no individual is more important than the brand. And I think this has been part of the problem around the various controversies surrounding Piers over recent weeks, not least the situation that arose a few weeks ago when 1200 freelancers wrote to ITV about his response on Twitter to a comment from Adeel Amini, about whether or not he would want to work on a show involving Piers in the future. And I think the whole issue around bullying and harassment and in fact, mental health across the industry, that they’re so huge at the moment. And I think, you know, you only have to look at the Film and TV Charity research into mental health in the industry, which shows that it you know, it’s much greater across the industry than it is elsewhere in society for everyone to think about or for everybody to really think that they should be focussing on the issue of mental health, how they make working life for freelancers better in the industry and really about, you know, giving everyone dignity at work, whether they’re a freelance or an employee or whatever. And so I think the whole dynamic of someone who is, you know, is as powerful as Piers responding to someone who is a freelancer within the industry in such an unpleasant way, sort of suggested that things were going badly wrong anyway, and that at some point ITV would have to address its position on the show.


John Elmes [00:04:24] Were you surprised ITV weren’t more on the front foot? Should they have been more on the front foot? And I suppose because they haven’t necessarily addressed it post his resignation, what opportunity did they have to make a strong stance on this?


Philippa Childs [00:04:45] I think they should have been more on the front foot. And lots of people, including me, were very disappointed at their response to the letter from the freelancers. I mean, you can contrast that with the swift action that Channel 4 took recently as well in parting company with Ant Middleton and making it clear that it was about his behaviour and not about social media posts, that was the reason that they parted company. So, yes, I am disappointed that ITV haven’t been more clear and more outspoken about what resulted in what what caused that decision this week. From what we’ve seen quite clear, that there were lots of people involved in the programme that have been unhappy in recent times about his behaviour. And I would imagine that the atmosphere has not been good. And it is you know, I go back to what I said earlier. I think he had become too powerful and it was all about him and.


John Elmes [00:06:07] Is there a concern that if this is too concentrated on ITV that people won’t feel empowered to speak up?


Philippa Childs [00:06:13] Yeah, definitely. I think the pandemic has caused freelancers in particular to to really reflect on their place within the industry, the treatment that they experienced, the long hours that they experience, and some of the unacceptable behaviours that they experience. And, you know, we are currently getting more calls about bullying and harassment across the industry than about any other subject. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Our unscripted branch launched Unseen on Screen and some of the stories that we were that our members were sharing with us were really extremely disturbing. And so I think we are at the point where we are saying some serious action needs to be taken across the industry and all parts of the industry have to work together to resolve this issue. So, you know, it’s not just about platitudes or statements or policies anymore. Actually, we have to take real actions to change the situation for freelancers.


Max Goldbart [00:07:13] Do you think it’s a help the Piers Morgan debacle has happened or is it a hindrance? Like when I think about your what you’re trying to do with Unseen on Screen and the wider attempts to tackle bullying in a variety of different ways across the industry, does this almost become too much of its own big thing that it kind of hinders the the greater goal?


Philippa Childs [00:07:37] Well, I certainly don’t want the whole story to become about Piers Morgan and whether or not he’s an asset or not to the industry, because it’s not just about him there are examples across film, TV, broadcasting more generally. So what I want to see coming out of it is not a witchhunt, but a real concerted effort by all of those involved to really think about how individuals, particularly if they feel vulnerable because they’re freelancers and they don’t want their name trashed across the industry, how can they safely report incidents and be confident that they will be dealt with effectively?


Max Goldbart [00:08:21] I’m slightly playing devil’s advocate here, but what would you say is the difference, for example, between what Piers did on Monday that has caused him to leave for for whatever reason and whatever chain of events and say the incident with Adeel a few weeks ago during which, like you pointed out, over a thousand people signed an open letter to Carolyn McCall and Kevin Lygo. But at that point, it felt to me like Piers Morgan was kind of just brushing that aside. There appeared to be no apology and he actually ended up double downing on Twitter. So what’s the difference? And what would you say to people who just say it’s it’s him being him, he’s a free speech warrior, he’s combative, et cetera, et cetera?


Philippa Childs [00:09:06] Yeah, well, I don’t accept that anyone has the right to bully another human being in the workplace. And I don’t think, you know, he’s certainly not alone in this. You know, if I talk to members who are freelancers, they you know, they all know people who behave badly. They all know that the people that they would want to avoid working with. It’s a closed secret across the industry. And I think what we want to make sure is that this doesn’t become about an individual personality, but that it is about making real change for everyone who works across across the industry.


Hannah Bowler [00:09:45] I wondered off the back of the closed secret element - sometimes it feels quite interesting that a lot of people know exactly who that individual is, and it’s kind of common knowledge. How do we go about kind of getting everyone behind reporting these stories and seeing them happen and escalating that rather than it being on the individual?


Philippa Childs [00:10:11] I think it’s a real complex issue, isn’t it? Because if you, for example, were trying to deal with or trying to ensure that there was no bullying on the set of a huge production, then there will be you know, potentially you’ve got enough people there that everyone will know who they should go to. I think when you’re talking about smaller productions, particularly maybe unscripted types of productions, that when you might have many less people involved, then it’s more complicated than all of the broadcasters say, well, we’ve got reporting lines that ultimately, if people feel that they are not being treated well, they can report to our reporting lines. But what freelancers tell me is that they don’t know what happens with the information they report. They’re not confident that their reports are taken seriously or that they are investigated and sometimes that they just don’t trust the reporting lines, that they don’t know whether or not they’re going to be named or, you know, that their their reputation within the industry is going to be impacted. So I think there is an easy there isn’t an easy answer, but I think we really do need to look at reporting mechanisms, which from from my point of view, I want to make sure that we make a difference. So I want these problems to be nipped in the bud at the first opportunity, rather than having to be continually escalated. And then I guess the broadcasters have to be encouraged to speak out about bad behaviour where they find it. And obviously it’s difficult for them if they’re parting company with someone. Likewise, the Indies.


Philippa Childs [00:11:51] But I think there has to be more transparency because only by having more transparency, more people feel confident that the industry is taking it seriously and that they can report bad behaviour without, you know, without impacting them in the longer term.


Hannah Bowler [00:12:05] So last week, last Friday, in fact, Ian Katz sent an round email to top talent, basically saying that Channel 4 won’t tolerate bullying or aggression, especially on social media.


Hannah Bowler [00:12:28] I wondered what the other broadcasters were doing in this space, the likes of BBC and Channel 5, does anyone have any insights on what the others are up to?


Philippa Childs [00:12:39] Well, all of the broadcasters are part of the Coalition for Change. And the concept behind that is, is a conversation about how we make life better for freelancers across the industry. I’ve no doubt that the individuals who are involved in the Coalition for Change discussions have a commitment to try and make things better. But I think, you know, from my perspective, it was that statement last week from Channel 4 was really welcome. And I would like to see other broadcasters setting out quite clearly what their approaches are and saying in a public way that they’re not going to tolerate bad behaviour.


Hannah Bowler [00:13:21] Was it enough that the C4 email just went to on screen talent


Philippa Childs [00:13:25] I think that was more off the back of Ant Middleton, wasn’t it? But I guess the message would have got across anyway. I mean, if you’re saying to your top talent, we’re not accepting this behaviour, then you’re really saying to everyone who’s involved in making those productions that you’re not accepting that bad behaviour. I do think it’s important that these messages come from the top, that broadcasters stop being quite so risk averse about what they’re saying about incidents of bad behaviour.


John Elmes [00:13:53] I think something that was interesting about the Piers case and is horrible that it happened this way because he said it to the public, as it were. It was a public statement of disbelieving someone’s mental health struggles. If you’re an individual, perhaps a freelancer as well, with the fewest amount of, you know, job security,, then suddenly see a case of bullying, harassment on a one to one. You have to weigh up whether that is worth you losing your job. I mean, are they going to believe you, for that kind of thing? For everyone to see it happen so flagrantly was perhaps useful.


Philippa Childs [00:14:54] Absolutely right. People are frightened to report. They are scared without a shadow of a doubt. And anything that encourages them to speak out and to feel confident, to be able to do so is a positive thing off the back of the Middleton case.


Hannah Bowler [00:15:11] I mean, again, it was one of those times where maybe something else is going on behind behind closed doors, but that it was his persona on social media that escalated the case. And that’s, again, maybe feeding a bit more into these are easier to weed out from on screen talent that have a persona on social media. But then it’s like, where’s the off screen talent?


Philippa Childs [00:15:46] In a way, yeah, you’re right, but in the same way that they’re there are closed secrets about on screen talent that are also closed, there are secrets about people off screen too. So I think all of these incidents where broadcasters have taken action will help build confidence for people to be able to talk about the issues and talk about the behaviours and the solutions.


John Elmes [00:16:42] Philippa, could you give an insight to people who might be suffering the same thing, but not necessarily recognising that it’s bullying, more like harassment? I think there’s a there’s still a lot of uncertainty over what constitutes it. And that shouldn’t be and there should be more clarity and transparency. As you said, I don’t know if you can share some of those kind of experiences.


[00:16:59] Sure. When I think they’ve ranged from quite severe cases of individuals being shouted at and belittled and so on right through to more low level bullying. So constant criticism, not being given credit for good work, being excluded from conversations, all of those sorts of things. So I think, unfortunately, the cases have run the full gamut. I think everyone who spoke to us has really suffered as a result of these instances. It has impacted their mental health, their self-confidence, and has really made them think about their future in the industry and whether whether that’s something they want to continue to experience in their working lives yet.


Max Goldbart [00:17:57] There can be such a fine line between both what a person perceives to be bullying or what can kind of fall within that definition. And I’ve been having a few conversations recently with with people who talk a lot about what you just alluded to, Philippa, which is emotional manipulation in the sense of either not dishing out praise at all or making somebody feel incredibly valued one second and then using that power a week afterwards to really belittle somebody But it sounds, again, like something that’s so difficult to root out and something that if there was a better procedure in place, might be able to be. But at the moment, with those kind of procedures that aren’t really rooted in formalities it is quite difficult to report.


Philippa Childs [00:18:52] Yeah, I agree. I think everyone across the industry right now is thinking about this issue and talking about this issue and think about what can be done. And as I say, quite a complex industry with lots of freelance work. There’s lots of in of various sizes and so on to have a really effective strategy for tackling the issue. And certainly we’ve been talking to the Film and TV Charity, to BFI and Bafta to Pact, to the whole industry really about what are the practical solutions that we can put in place that will be effective, that will set a standard of behaviour that we expect everyone in the industry to comply with and then to have effective mechanisms for calling it out when when things go wrong on a production.


Max Goldbart [00:19:45] And what are some of the other big issues that you’re either working on Philippa? I know you’ve been doing loads of work on on Unseen on Screen and bullying, something we’ve talked about a lot so far this year. Are there other big issues that you’re currently dealing with?


[00:20:00] Yes. Well, obviously, there’s quite a lot going on across the creative industries at the moment. I guess that’s less of an issue in broadcasting because lots of people are back at work. But there are still lots of freelancers across the industry who have no financial support during the pandemic. And those that are still not back at work obviously are really struggling. And, you know, undoubtedly it has had an impact even in broadcasting when we’re just drawing to a conclusion, actually a survey of our members across the whole range of the industries looking at how the last year has impacted them in the financial sense, but also in many other ways as well. So I have no doubt that will show some very interesting findings when that’s out.


Max Goldbart [00:20:48] Well thanks so much for for joining us, Philippa. We couldn’t quite let you go without asking you our favourite question to ask all of our guests which is ‘what have you been watching?’. So what have you been watching on TV this week, Philippa?


[00:20:59] Well, I watched Behind Her Eyes last weekend, which was on Netflix. Creepy. Yeah, very creepy. Certainly very creepy. And of course, I’m enjoying Unforgotten and Bloodlands. So, yeah, I like a good drama. I think it’s fair to say I was I must confess to being disappointed that I had to wait until Tuesday to watch Unforgotten after the Meghan Markle interview.


John Elmes [00:21:32] I’m watching that as well. I just end every episode with ‘wow, huh’. Well, there were about a million story threads and different changes. It’s very Jed Mercurio They seem to have poured all sorts of different strands in together and they’re just going to let it all play out. I can’t even conceive how it would possibly end. I mean, I suppose that’s why Line of Duty is so compelling


Philippa Childs [00:22:03] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Really, really great. And James Nesbitt, as usual, is fantastic in it. And of course, we are all looking forward to the next Line of Duty, which is not too far away, is it?


Philippa Childs [00:22:30] What was really refreshing about Behind Her Eyes was, you know, I don’t think any of us saw that twist coming, but the way that it unfolded was quite, really clever, but also quite scary.


Max Goldbart [00:22:45] Fascinating. Well, I’ve not seen that either, but it sounds like that comes highly recommended. It’s been brilliant having you on Philippa. Thank you so much for for joining us, providing such insight at such short notice. We really appreciate it. Thanks so much.


Philippa Childs [00:23:01] You’re very welcome.


Max Goldbart [00:23:06] So that was Philippa Childs, the head of broadcasting union, Bectu, but John Elmes and and Hannah Bowler are still with me. I think there are some more questions to be asked related to what ITV is going to do around new presenters. There’s clearly now a big, like primetime daytime presenter slot for somebody to replace Piers?


Max Goldbart [00:23:28] There’s also the future of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories the documentary strand, which is produced by MultiStory Media. So it gets a little bit complicated. But John Elmes, what kind of person do you think that they’ll be looking to replace Piers Morgan with, not necessarily naming any names, but the style of presenter?


John Elmes [00:24:02] Piers was such a ratings driver. So the ITV execs will be thinking, oh, you know, we’ve got a person who draws ratings in, you know, I think his position was untenable personally. You know, that he’s gone is is right. His combative style really worked for GMB because it cuts through when he was interviewing politicians.


John Elmes [00:24:28] Matt Hancock particularly received a lot of his ire. And I think he was lauded for praise in some areas for for holding those people to account and speaking, you know, really tying them up in knots and making the politicians really, really squirm. And I think the tradition in UK, British TV media has been we like presenters who could do that, especially with politicians who sometimes get an easy ride in some cases. So I think some combative nature will be important. But occasionally he would speak with such superiority. And that led him clearly into hot water because I don’t think he necessarily thought what he said was wrong. I mean, you could tell that from when he railed back the next day, you know, his defence of it was that you were saying something else. I’ve seen an article about various replacements, a few of whom are on the Good Morning Britain team already or past presenters like Ben Shepherd. I personally don’t watch so I wouldn’t necessarily know who that person would be. But I think a mix of combative and sympathetic being able to at least turn, you know, put people under pressure, a very strong interviewing style is needed, but also because that will drive ratings and is a commercial way of looking at it. But I’m sure ITV will be considering the ratings are still what drives people’s interest and importance in the TV world.


Hannah Bowler [00:26:10] Can I say to add it still has to be the anti-BBC Breakfast, like it has to be the opposite to that to make it have a unique selling point. So I think that’s something I imagine they feel like they can’t go too soft on a presenter.


John Elmes [00:26:30] And Susanna Reid was often the diffuser of of of Piers Morgan, you know, or at least if he if he kind of veered into a territory that people found distasteful, she would bring him back from that. I think that you know, the personality that they had, the kind of rapport that they had worked because they were slightly different, they approach it slightly differently. Probably someone to be with Susanna Reid on the combative style would work.


John Elmes [00:27:08] But who knows. Maybe this could herald a way to go into a different format for GMB. I doubt it. I expect they’ll probably want to get someone of a similar nature in terms of their style, not what they say.


Max Goldbart [00:27:34] There were definitely questions raised in the aftermath of kind of Susanna getting often talked over and kind of obviously all of this came out around International Women’s Day. And a lot of the comments about Piers in that one moment was talking over his female colleagues. And it’ll be interesting to see if they pick someone that can kind of give her more of a voice rather than kind of constantly being shouted over. So I’d be interested from that perspective.


Max Goldbart [00:28:05] I always found it interesting how it Susanna broadly seemed to really enjoy the way that that relationship worked, even though, again, I don’t watch GMB an enormous amount, but it did seem so often like Piers would be uber combative and talk over her. And she would be being the diffuser, I can’t imagine that would ever be that fun. But but I think that that role really worked and it really worked for ITV. I was looking at some ratings earlier this week and its share has repeatedly gone up since Piers joined. It was getting around 15 percent of of morning viewers in 2015 and that’s now around 25 and 16-to-34 share has gone up even more dramatically. So it’s a difficult time for ITV. I don’t know. It’s quite a cynical way of thinking about it, to think that it was ratings that meant that their statements have been both quite woolly and that they weren’t prepared to be the ones to push Piers Morgan out the door. But I was interested what you were saying, John, about last summer. I don’t think there are many people who see themselves on any side of the political spectrum who weren’t in some way impressed with the way that Piers Morgan responded to the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Like, I was definitely impressed by it. And it got to the point where politicians boycotted GMB, wasn’t it? It was like the way they were behaving towards the Today programme in in the earlier part of the year. And that’s because he was asking the right questions. Like, I watched a couple of those videos and he was clearly channelling his energy into something that really worked for the country as a whole. I read this really good profile that Simon Hattenstone did of Piers about six months ago. And a big feature of it was that Piers, just at all times feels like he has to be combative. And so it just depends where he’s channelling his energy. And he really acknowledges in this interview that, like, he knows he can go too far, he gets bored and he needs a purpose. So when it’s calling out the government, when you feel like the government is not responding to a pandemic in the way it should, he’s so well placed to to be the presenter to lead on that. But then suddenly, when, you know, at the moment, whatever anyone says, the government’s having all this success with the vaccine rollout and it’s not hard to be critical. So then suddenly more trivial things get to the end of his ire.


Max Goldbart [00:30:37] The incident with the penguin, when he said that he would identify as a penguin when he was talking to a non-binary person and it was I mean, it was just mean like I don’t know how many Ofcom complaints that attracted, but that was something where he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. And obviously, it’s not like anyone was really calling for him to leave after that. But it will be interesting to see if they can find a presenter with that magical mix of combativeness, but kind of sensitivities, who speaks to all kinds of demographics and can uphold those ratings. And off the top of my head, I struggle to think of somebody with those qualities.


John Elmes [00:31:16] When you first ask the question, I was like, I actually can’t tell you who I mean, I think the morning TV is well, for a start, it’s very important to the demographic that watch it. I mean, I don’t watch morning TV and I think that’s possibly because my parents didn’t let me when I was a child. So now I just don’t do it in the morning anyway.


Hannah Bowler [00:31:37] I’m a big fan of BBC Breakfast every morning. A cup of tea.


John Elmes [00:31:58] You can have too much polarisation on one side or the other is problematic for a broadcaster because they either don’t, you know, say enough and therefore don’t drive interest or they say far too much. That’s wrong. You shouldn’t say wrong things anyway. So I think this is a bit of a moot point. That example you gave about the penguin is a classic like that. You shouldn’t be able to say that on TV. And the things he said about Meghan Markle were horrifying, like horrifying.


Max Goldbart [00:32:35] And then there’s also Piers Morgan’s Life Stories documentary series that he’s been hosting for a few years now. Hannah, what do you reckon to the future of Life Stories?


[00:32:44] Well it started its current run a few weeks ago or maybe a month ago. So it’s currently running out. So I guess it will play out this season because it’s recorded. But it will be interesting on that one, because if anything, Piers Morgan’s Life Stories is probably the one time you see Piers where he isn’t as combative and he’s quite relaxed, he’s quite sensitive, like he can often grill a little bit, but actually he handles that show with quite a lot of care. So it’ll be interesting to know if ITV will just feel the pressure to drop him or whether they’ll look at each individual case. They have him in a different setting and measure on that basis. But it will be interesting to know. And then I guess the biggest thing with Piers is where does he go now? Like what? Where is his life outside of GMB?


Max Goldbart [00:33:41] I think you’re right. It is it is slightly different and it would almost be his choice to leave. Life Stories, it feels like it’s again in his hands. Where does he go, John? GB News Wokewatch? I would be phenomenally surprised if I don’t see him at one of these two new news channels in the coming months. That’s GB News and News UK, which will bothf launch before the end of this year. John, do you share my thoughts?


John Elmes [00:34:07] They seem both seem likely destinations for him, if you know, because they’ll provide a platform to be able to, you know, for him to bring his presenting style again, back to what he wants to. I don’t think they anticipated necessarily that he was going to leave GMB right now. I mean, GB News is recruiting busily. Bearing in mind I’ve spoken to both of their programme chiefs in recent weeks about who they’re bringing on, I think news might might be a likely spot. I mean, I wasn’t the one to broach this on Twitter afterwards. I didn’t actually mention. I was just thinking about it. And then a load of people who I follow on Twitter said I’m sure he’ll turn up for GB News. So the court of public opinion has put him firmly on GB News And, you know, he’s a big fish, you know, given who they are. These people are lining up. These channels are lining up. Some really high profile talent is important for these channels. So there will be conversations. There is clearly some movement there as to whether he turns up, you know, GB News plays their cards very close to their chest, as I’m sure News UK will be, you know, up until the point that they want to announce their new presenters.


John Elmes [00:35:38] But I think they will have definitely looked on that with interest. I mean, who wouldn’t? Because you like this bit of talent who is inspires this spiky, combative debate that he brought to GMB?


[00:35:49] That’s what they’re looking for in their programming. That’s what GB News has said they want as part of their programming line up and Andrew Neil said it on the Media Show yesterday. What you want is to provide something different to Sky News and BBC News. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they they’ll at least show an interest.


Max Goldbart [00:36:07] I’m hedging all my bets. I’m putting my life savings on it. I think it was probably partly I don’t know, he’s been at GMB for nearly six years, and I think it might have been partly a driving motivator of him leaving.


Max Goldbart [00:36:18] Like, does he really need all the aggro that surrounds what’s happened this week? I think he just knows that he can walk into GB News for him what would be a really interesting job with two new guys. He’s worked in America before. He knows how that works. And as we’ve covered as as you in particular, John, have been covering GB News and News UK channels over the weeks with the way that regulation works in this country. There’s no reason why there can’t be a combative Piers Morgan. One that is balanced out by a combative hour from from somebody else. So it’s not like he would have to completely rein himself in. The regulation is ever so slightly complicated. So let’s see what happens. It will be funny if he went to BBC Breakfast?


Max Goldbart [00:37:09] You’d love it Hannah I know. With your cup of tea.


[00:37:17] And now we move on to our second, What We’ve Been Watchin’ of this particular podcast, it’s what we’ve been watching, John Elmes, what’s been on the box?


John Elmes [00:37:26] Well, I referenced it slightly earlier. I’ve been watching Bloodlands on BBC. Its last episode is this Sunday, and I’m intrigued. It really is genuinely all over the place. Like it’s got so many different strands. And I feel like there’s I don’t want to call him a villain because I’ll I’ll do spoilers. But things that happen that is not like, well, we now just watch the ending already play out. I don’t know. So I’ve been watching Bloodlands and Binging my way through the last series of The Sopranos, which I hadn’t ever watched, which I think is anathema to most of the TV world. You know, everyone’s watched The Sopranos, but I haven’t. So I’ve been bingeing on that. And I’ve got like a few episodes to go in.


Hannah Bowler [00:38:11] It’s I’ve never seen The Sopranos. I need to finish it. I lost my one on DVD and I lost my DVD remote. And I’m like, I don’t know how to watch it anymore.


Max Goldbart [00:38:22] And what have you been watching Hannah?


Hannah Bowler [00:38:23] I just finished The Great - the C4 Hulu import. So good. And I’ve like taken the time just to carve a little time out for myself to just sit and watch it, enjoy it. And it’s really funny. Nicholas Hoult is really good. I hope he wins awards because he’s hilarious. But yeah, it’s just. Yeah. Big fun. And then I’ve actually just started watching Spaced. I’ve never seen it before. I walk past the house the other day and I was like, oh I recognise that, I know that that’s the house from Spaced. Maybe I’ll just sit down and watch it. So I’ve been watching that and. Oh man, really enjoying it.


John Elmes [00:39:08] It’s one of those perfectly formed comedies that lived in its space, didn’t do too much, will have people wanting more and is absolutely phenomenal. Max, you always ask your contributors to the podcast to ask about what we’ve been watching, but you haven’t had had one for a while. So what have you been watching? Come on. Come on. Dish, dish.


Max Goldbart [00:39:30] Not very much. I finished I watched the Harry and Meghan interview. Let’s talk about that. That was great.


Max Goldbart [00:39:37] I was really looking forward to that. And then I feel like it’s been overshadowed by certain events that have dominated this podcast. It was good. It was funny to watch a very American style interview in the UK. I would say like if that was in the UK, that definitely would have only been an hour, but it was nearly two, wasn’t it?


Max Goldbart [00:39:54] And I think the the commercial breaks in the US showing would have been insane. There must have been like a million commercial breaks. I’ve never seen an extended Oprah interview and I just think she’s masterful. Like, I was just so impressed because I know she’s obviously like got this relationship with Harry and Meghan and she wasn’t exactly like pushing their backs up against the wall, but the way that she kind of like, allowed them to speak, I really enjoyed. And it’s kind of like she can just with a facial expression she can usher in like an emotion or another comment from them.


Max Goldbart [00:40:25] So I thought it was I thought it was really good. My favourite line is when it’s so cringe when Harry was clearly he was alluding to the fact that they didn’t have any money. Well. Or were going to run out of money. And he said somebody suggested the streamers, which that was my favourite line.


Max Goldbart [00:40:45] I imagine all of these TV producers that have been so desperate for for a streaming greenlight for so long, just listening to that and being like ‘you are also the Prince and known by pretty much everyone in that country’, but someone suggested the streamers - I wonder who that someone was


Hannah Bowler [00:41:21] Yeah. It did feel quite of a surreal moment, though. I feel like for some reason that it didn’t feel like real life for a moment. And I remember sitting back afterwards and thinking strange that that was a really big national moment. And also just it was quite surreal seeing the royal family on Oprah.


Max Goldbart [00:41:41] I’ve just loved this is ever so slightly off topic. But we have had a week where I’ve not really heard the coronavirus, like barely even mentioned in a news bulletin.


Max Goldbart [00:41:51] And I’m just loving the Harry and Meghan news. And I’m sorry for them and I’m sorry for the rift in their family. But it is a pleasure to have different news, which is true. We need it. It’s so dramatic. I love it. Look, it’s been wonderful to have the two of you on as ever. Hannah Bowler and John Elmes have a fantastic week. And let’s talk next week.