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Podcast Reviews

New Discovery: The Rest Is Entertainment

The show that spills media secrets has found its groove

3:00 PM GMT+1 on June 21, 2024

    Just this morning I learned that problem pages (think Dear Deidre) have been around since the 17th century. Yesterday on a dog walk, I learned that the clapping in the theme tune for Friends was done by a random crew member, and only introduced into the song to help with the visual editing of the opening sequence… And last week I learned that there are special “spotters” who help predict where a dart will land at televised darts championships. That helps the cameramen focus on the right bit of the board for the viewers at home. 

    Where, you ask, did I pick up these fun facts? Well, they ALL came from The Rest is Entertainment. It is the latest from The Rest Is… stable, which includes The Rest is History and The Rest is Politics aaaaand The Rest is Football, of course. (It’s coming home, lads!)

    The Rest is Entertainment is hosted by supercolumnist Marina Hyde and TV producer and best selling novelist Richard Osman. (Apparently they met when Marina was a contestant on Richard’s gameshow, House of Games. Thanks Wiki.) And darn it - what an inspired pairing this is. As a long time fan of Hyde’s (her political column is a thing of beauty) I was intrigued to hear her on the show. Having heard her, I confess to thinking of podcast Marina as slightly separate from newspaper Marina. No shade - and I don’t know why, but I do. 

    So: Podcast Marina. Her voice is exquisite, her comments are often exactly as arch as you would want a Marina Hyde comment to be, she is hugely knowledgeable about the workings of medialand and her recent monologue on the Baillie Gifford /literary festival story was a thing of absolute beauty. Her “top threes” are just perfection, too. 

    Richard Osman, I will confess, I knew less well before becoming a T.R.I.E. mega-fan. But it turns out I like him a lot. He’s funny and very quick and has an actual well of media knowledge, which he pours generously into each episode. Want to know who composed the theme tune to Fawlty Towers and why it’s a quartet that plays it? Osman is your man. Want to find out who has the hardest job in TV and why? Osman definitely knows and has a well thought out reasoning, too. Want to know if the set on Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel is CGI or not? Osman has the skinny on that, for sure. 

    The podcast is really wide-ranging: from exposing the nuts and bolts behind the scenes of the media which explains the wizardry of telly or film; to the politics of forgiving Will Smith after *that* awards incident; to the economics of the price of gig tickets. Marina and Richard tackle it all with enthusiasm and a rolodex of anecdotes, jokes and facts. I thought their episode on the Baby Reindeer controversy was just excellent, particularly at explaining the role (and importance) of compliance departments in organisations like the BBC. And elsewhere, if like me you have ever wondered whether productions are legally bound to fish out props from the ocean, or if it is more expensive to blow up a car or make a CGI car-fire… well wonder no longer. (As a side note: Hyde and Osman also do some of the best adverts in Podland. This week they moved seamlessly from set design to favourite screen dogs - because their sponsor was a petcare company. Rin-Tin-Tin and Eddie from Frasier, aka Eddie Spaghetti, in case you were wondering. Hyde and Osman respectively.)

    As I type they are chuckling about brilliantly named sequels. Dude Where’s My Car and Seriously, Dude, Where’s My Car and The follow up to Chipmunks: The Movie, Chipmunks: The Squeakquel are two which are making them lol. Me too. 

    The Rest is Entertainment is twice a week, a full episode and then a Q + A episode which honestly kind of feels like a regular episode anyway. I could personally handle more. 

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