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New Discovery

New Discovery: The Sidebar

A new celeb gossip show with surprisingly broad appeal hits platforms

3:00 PM GMT on March 14, 2024

    Celebrity gossip was not really my thing until I started reading Heat for the Recommendation Engine. It felt gauche and obnoxious, and more than a little irrelevant. Yet as I started to flick through glossy pages on my way to Heat’s “Top of the Pods” feature each week, I slowly found myself realising how much fun it all is.

    That fun is the raison d'être of The Sidebar, a breezy new showbiz gossip podcast from the Daily Mail. Hosted by veteran of British pop culture, Richard Arnold, with a rotating cast of regular contributors, it provides listeners with the inside track on the latest stories gracing the headlines.

    The insider element could be fatal to a podcast dealing in gossip, with those on the mic needing to be overly careful with what they say about whom in case they end up working together or chatting at a swish showbiz party. But The Sidebar has so far handled this excellently, with Arnold and his guests free to give plenty of personal anecdotes without seeming to go out of their way to avoid naming names or withhold the juiciest details.

    Coming from a diet of print-based gossip, I was most impressed at how mature this feels in podcast form. Despite the fun they have, The Sidebar treats its showbiz news as news, with all the respect that deserves. Fundamentally it’s three people talking like grown ups about the things they’re most interested in, a little way removed from the screaming headlines that normally announce these kinds of stories.

    We’re only two episodes in, and many podcasts at this stage understandably feel like they’re still finding their feet. Not so with The Sidebar. With Arnold at the helm, the show already feels fully formed and in very safe hands. Those in the market for a well executed romp through the week in celebrity culture could do a lot worse than giving this a go.

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