So far Series 6 has featured actor, John ‘Boycie’ Challis, mental health campaigner, Jonny Benjamin MBE, BBC Four’s Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle (with writer and SNS returnee, Carmen Harris), Amblin Entertainment’s script writer/showrunner, Mickey Fisher, Widows/Prime Suspect creator, Lynda La Plante CBE , then four Bitesized shows spotlighting vibrant new theatre – starting with Tariq Jordan’s Israeli/Palestinian love story, Ali & Dahlia, the life of recent SNS guest, Jonny Benjamin MBE, in The Stranger On The Bridge, an all male version of Romeo & Juliet and a revival of Philip Ridley’s Vincent River. Our brand new show, tied in with the release of our website, is showcasing the wonderful Brad Wolfe, a musician/singer/songwriter based in Melbourne. Plenty more to come, including Dame Esther Rantzen, the 1980’s Soho sex industry stripped bare, musician, Michael Armstrong and Tales of the City author, Armistead Maupin.
I think the word we’re looking for is…eclectic!”
20 year old musical prodigy, Alex James Brierley, kicked off Series 5, with a live acoustic set in the studio, stemming from his Steve Levine produced EP, Listen (mixed at Abbey Rd Studios). We then devoted the next four shows under the banner, “Rise Up, Women!”, kicking off (on International Women’s Day) with SNS returnee, Louise Jameson, discussing Big Finish’s new audio series, ATA Girl. Suffragette historian and author, Diane Atkinson, then joined us to help celebrate 100 years of partial voting rights for women in the UK with her brand new book, The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes, before iconic Blue Peter editor, Biddy Baxter MBE, came to the studio to talk about her life and work. Finally, children’s author, Carolyn Robertson, talked about her inclusive range of LGBTQ picture books for the under 5’s (one of which has since been read out on CBeebies Bedtime Stories by Will Young).
Then we were Norfolk bound to showcase a family run music/arts festival, Trunchonbury, before Radiophonic musicians, Howlround, joined us (in both the studio and on location). We then travelled back to Norfolk to showcase BBC Introducing, before heading further afield to Manchester, where we interviewed the current Blue Peter team, in acknowledgment of 60 years of the longest and most popular children’s show in the world.
Finally, and to wave a modest flag at no less than 10 years of the SNS brand itself (harkening back to our RTÉ origins), a series of special shows began with The 5 Debaters, where four past guests (as well as presenter, Nick Randell), discussed the many changes that had occurred in the last ten years. We also featured two ‘Collective Catch Up’ shows with other past guests, an exclusive DJ set by SNS’s resident DJ, Jaded Kid, a feature on a new play with Julie Hesmondhalgh, an interview conducted by SNS returnee, Mark Elliott (to presenter, Nick Randell) about the SNS brand itself, and a collection of happy birthday shout outs from a wide range of guests featured on the show. T’Pau’s Carol Decker rounded up the series with a Christmas catch-up – also featuring her brand new single, Run.
A beautiful, haunting piece of prose set to music was our opening to Series 4, with opera supremo, Melissa Alder, singing ‘Fallen Soldier’ for Remembrance Day. We interviewed both Alder and the song’s lyricist, non other than best selling thriller novelist, Frederick Forsyth CBE, about the origins of the song. Afterwards we were Manchester bound to join the launch party of Changing Stations, a concept album based on the lines of the London Underground, composed by Daniel Liam Glyn and produced by Katie Tavini.
Following this, and as a pre-cursor to 60 Years of the Cavern Nightclub (also as a nod to Christmas 2016), we chatted to musician, Mike Armstrong, who had just breathed new life into a song written by the Cavern’s owner during the swinging 60’s, Alf Geoghegan, for his daughter, Debbie – ‘Little Girl: Bells of Christmas’. Post Santa Season, we headed straight up to Liverpool to catch up with Debbie (now Greenberg) and her husband, Nigel – in the Cavern itself – to talk about the iconic venue and it’s incredible history. [A shortened version of this episode was aired on 12 local BBC radio stations during their ‘Drive Time’ slots.]
The tone couldn’t change more for our next show, Monty & Co. – a brand new pre-school puppet series, created by SNS returnee, Gail Renard, and puppeteer/actor, Nigel Plaskett. Then, after a short clip show featuring extracts from all four series to date, we tackled media/arts heavyweight, Alan Yentob, in a show released on his 70th birthday. Two piece band, The Beautiful Secret, then joined us in the studio – both performing tracks from their new album and discussing their work (the show was released on World Autism Awareness Day, linking one of their tracks, “What’s Inside”). Downton Abbey/Mary Poppins Returns’ Jeremy Swift was next in line, before we time travelled back to the 1980s with a celebration of Stock, Aitken & Waterman’s music, via pop journalist and author, SNS returnee, Mark Elliott, and his brand new book – Ministry of Pop. A trio of musical talent filled our next three shows with Californian synth-pop musician, Color Theory, international guitar playing legend, Hank Marvin and electro-funk Collective, The Winachi Tribe. And finally, we headed up to Edinburgh to celebrate no less than seventy years of the Fringe Festival, in a special 2 part show, featuring over 40 interviews with actors, writers, producers, stand-up comedians – and more!
We had a spooktacular start to Series 3 with our first show, Dark Shadows, being released…on Halloween! Here we chatted to SNS returnee, Joe Lidster, as well as fellow scribe, Aaron Lamont, about bringing the iconic US 60’s TV series, Dark Shadows, back to life (rather like some of the characters!), as an audio strand for the mighty Big Finish Productions. Presenter, Nick Randell, ended up being thrown into a cursed well, but you’ll have to listen in to find out why..! Our next show tied in with World AIDS Day, as we chatted to author, Paul Thorn, about his new book, HIV Happy. Then Paul Condon’s 1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die was put under the spotlight, before heading to Kennington to watch a new play written by Ian Dixon Potter – one that was hoping to redress the balance regarding Richard 3rd’s reputation, in ‘Good King Richard’. Afghanistan called for our next show when we spoke to BBC journalist, Zarghuna Kargar, about her book, ‘Dear Zari: Hidden Stories from Women of Afghanistan’. Then it was the astounding Puppet Rebellion, an impressive Brit Pop band based in the heart of Manchester, who featured. Following on from these talented chaps, script writer come spiritual healer, Carmen Harris, joined us in the studio, before we headed to the home of actress, Ann Mitchell, to talk about her work. Stand up sensation, Thea Downie, made us laugh, and then the SNS spotlight was beamed on a brand new play, ‘Boy Stoke Girl’, that dealt with an androgynous character in a relationship with a heterosexual man. The Holding Hands 4 Equality campaign was revisited one year on, before presenter, Nick Randell, was put under the ‘fluance by clinical hypnotherapist/broadcaster, Peter Mabbutt – the end result being that Nick believed he was Queen Nefertiti… Finally, we headed to Bath for a special 2 part show with actor/writer, Derek Fowlds – wrapping up a bumper packed series!
Series 2 began with one of the nations favourite UK actors, Julie Hesmondhalgh. We spoke to her in the Royal Court theatre about her new play with Amanda Abington, God Bless The Child, whilst also fondly remembering 16 years of Haley Cropper in Coronation Street. We tied in the show with the arrival of Cucumber on Channel 4, a new Russell T Davies drama in which Julie featured. Actor/writer/stand up comedian, Toby Hadoke, followed, where we put him to the rest in a special Dr Who Mastermind round. Other shows featured There’s a Girl in my Soup author, Terence Frisby, digital-folk musician, Minute Taker, Andy Cast’s Holding Hands 4 Equality LGBTQ campaign, Coronation Street actor, Cherylee Houston and T’Pau’s very own Carol Decker, in a two part special. Two shows featured Paul Joseph, the first promoting a new film, Honeytrap, and the second focusing on Paul’s very own campaign (with his partner, Tim), to get Shirley Bassey back In the saddle to sing the next Bond theme! And it’s proved to be one of the most popular shows we’ve done!
SNS Online was launched in 2013 with one of our favourite UK stage and screen actors, Louise Jameson.
Another, Emma Stace Darling, was discovered via a friend on Facebook, and proved to be a fascinating blend of artistry – painting, singing, published poetry, plus her very own range of Haute Chocolate! Norfolk DJ/musician with a wide and accomplished range of genres, Tom James, followed, and we finished on a high with Doctor Who actor/writer, Katy Manning, who relayed her most incredible life journey in a two part special.
SNS Online started its life as a weekly hour long magazine show on national Irish dance music station, RTÉ Pulse – running for four years.
Since then the show has evolved as a showcase for actors, musicians, authors, script writers, stand-up comedians and more – usually in the form of an in-depth, one to one interview (with full illustration and free download availability). These o the highest professional standards and are non-profit shows are independent podcasts produced taking.