Sunday, June 13

The week in audio: The Great Post Office Trial; Lots of sound; Made of stronger material; Bernie: Who killed the prince of Soho? | Radio

The Great Post Office Trial: The Reckoning (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Lots of sound | Various podcast providers
Made of stronger material (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Bernie: Who killed the prince of Soho? | Various podcast providers

Reporter Nick Wallis did his first article on the Post Office scandal 10 years ago. Last week, I was back with The reckoning, an enraged coda in his 10-part series on what we now know to be one of the biggest court errors in British legal history. In April, as you may recall, the appeals court overturned the robbery, fraud and false accounting convictions of 39 sub-bidders. However, the end of this shameful affair seems to be far away. We still don’t know why the Post Office’s 14-year prosecution wave continued for so long (736 people were criminalized based on information provided by its flawed Horizon IT system between 2000 and 2014). We also have no idea when, or even if, someone will be held accountable for it. Standing in front of the home of Paula Vennells, the company’s former CEO, hoping for an interview, Wallis sounded determined and tired at the same time. Needless to say, the door to his house remained firmly closed.

Listening to the show, I was not only amazed by Wallis’ fieldwork (among the revelations was the fact that in 2014 the Post Office knew that at least 26 convictions could be unsafe, but still proceeded with its legal strategy, apparently in which I hope the funding for the subpostmasters will run out soon). It makes tricky territory so accessible. As a reporter, he is carefully separated. But he also knows when outrage and sometimes even emotion is required. Towards the end of the program, Wallis read aloud the names of the 39 acquitted, interspersing this roll call with snippets of their voices, recorded as they walked out of court to the waiting crowd. She had been seething with anger for the past half hour – not the most relaxing listening to a holiday – but now she was crying. That’s what radio journalism is for, I think. The post office scandal comes without dramatic imagery, but this doesn’t mean it’s not entirely amazing, the kind of story that, when told right, has you standing at the kitchen sink, mug in hand. . unwashed when the water cools down.

It’s not just all of us getting fat during the pandemic – podcasts are getting more and more flabby and someone should put them all on a strict diet before it’s too late. Could John-Luke Roberts, the host of Lots of sound, a podcast that submits podcasts, be the man who will fire the starting gun on this exercise regimen? I’m not sure. His meta-nature gets on my nerves. Everything seems too easy. When someone yelled, “Welcome to Why-bina – answering the soda questions you are ashamed to ask!” I had a vague feeling that I had heard the joke before; maybe I even made one like that myself. It is at its best when it is most surreal. One of Roberts’ podcast ideas – during the lockdown, he made up 500 titles – is Describing Pretzels to Peter, Who’s Never Haen a Pretzel. Think of a Bavarian woman named Ilsa, a half-sexy voice whispered. A pretzel is like your hair, only salty and delicious. This is the kind of indelible, almost poetic image, it occurred to me later, that Kimberley Wilson and Dr. Xand van Tulleken, the hosts of Made of stronger material, about the human body, could be misused in their incredibly bland scripts. The first episode of the new series was about the lungs, which, we were told, “are not just a couple of bags that carry oxygen.” In our time this show is not.

But I digress. Podcasts. Bernie: Who killed the prince of Soho? is a news story about the life and death of Bernie Katz, the veteran manager of the Groucho Club in London’s Soho, who likely committed suicide in 2017 at the age of 49. This is a sad story and in one episode of, I wonder who he is serving. Its writer and host, journalist Mark Edmonds, looks for an over-building hostile atmosphere (I’m afraid he’s promising an outcome he can’t deliver) and testimonials from Katz’s so-called famous friends (all club members) feel simplistic and finished. -test. Curiosity piqued, I’ll listen to you until the end. But this caveat (being around the rich and famous is unfortunately not being rich and famous yourself) is all too familiar to me, even if it comes with a bit of glitz or clique at all. like Richard Bacon, Robert Elms and Stephen Fry.

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