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Five Minutes With

Five Minutes With… The Two Matts

In need of a new political fix? The brains behind The New European speak to Podcast Rex about meeting across the divide.

6:10 AM GMT+1 on July 21, 2023

    Each episode of The Two Matts (listen now) finds two, well-connected journalists (Matt) Kelly and (Matt) D’Ancona revealing what’s really going on within the Conservative and Labour parties - focusing on stories behind the headlines. Think of it as a cross between The Rest Is Politics and BBC Newscast, with the charm of Kermode & Mayo. We sat down with the presenters to find out why we should tune in...

    One Matt edited The Spectator, the other was at the Mirror... how did you end up friends and colleagues?

    Kelly: I can’t remember when we first met. Obviously Matt’s reputation as a very fine journalist preceded him and I remember thinking when Tortoise hired him that it was a brilliant hire. Imagine how pleased I was as an editor to be able to do the same earlier this year and add The New European to his stellar CV. So that’s how we became colleagues. Friendship is a result of shared values and humour and we have that in spades. He’s a total diamond.

    D’Ancona: I was a New European punter and admirer of Matt long before he was kind enough to hire me. He’s one of the great editors of our time - a natural entrepreneur, creative force and gifted journalist. Like all true leaders, he also understands that a team is built through humour and generosity, as well as shared values and hard work. We hit it off very quickly, and I always look forward to our conversations. It’s a total pleasure to be the Second Matt!

    What’s your most salacious (yet legally robust) political insider story?

    Kelly: I’m very lucky to have an amazing group of very fascinating media friends from all quarters of the industry but I am always very nervous when someone tells me something very juicy but they haven’t yet themselves run it as a scoop! There’s a difference between tittle-tattle and journalism - although I accept that it’s increasingly difficult to tell these days.

    D’Ancona: There’s no substitute for face to face meetings. The age of WhatsApp has pros and cons - the most obvious downside being that the network proliferates gossip but rarely verifies it. On the whole, the best journalistic intelligence comes from direct contact rather than staring at a laptop screen in a silent office.

    What necessitates an emergency podcast recording? How high is the bar?

    Kelly: We haven’t done one yet! So who knows. A PM resigning would qualify although even that’s not a very high bar!

    D’Ancona: I reckon a big resignation or military development would be among the natural triggers. Also: if Liverpool win a trophy this season, Matt will want a special episode! As a shameful ignoramus on football, I’ll follow his lead…..he is very patient with my lack of knowledge.

    When you’re not devouring political scandals, what do you listen to to unwind?

    Kelly: Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie and The Rest Is History podcast which is utterly brilliant and a model for getting chemistry to work in audio.

    D’Ancona: I’d echo Matt on The Rest is History. I also like the US long-form interview pods: Lex Fridman, Joe Rogan, Sam Harris. They’re going to be immensely influential in next year’s presidential election.

    The Two Matts every Friday - with this week’s show a special with outgoing Green MP Caroline Lucas. Follow the show now to get more!

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