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Unfiltered with James O'Brien
65 minutes | Sep 24, 2018
James O'Brien: Conscience, empathy, and learning how to be right (with Fi Glover)
After 50 fantastic episodes, James O’Brien’s time at the helm of Unfiltered is sadly coming to an end. In this special episode with BBC Radio 4 presenter Fi Glover, James signs off from the interviewees chair with a touching conversation about his life. James shares his experiences from growing up adopted and getting expelled from school to breaking into journalism through gossip columns and showbiz, before ultimately finding his ideal platforms at LBC and JOE. He talks about the curse of being right when all is going wrong, his personal politics, views on free speech, the dangers of amplifying extremists, that infamous Nigel Farage interview, and offers his thoughts on private education, capitalism and economics, feminism, sexual abuse, #MeToo, the future awaiting Britain, and of course, Brexit. Unfiltered will return with a new presenter after a very brief hiatus.
59 minutes | Sep 17, 2018
Gina Miller: Brexit, taking on the government, and ending the chaos
You probably know Gina Miller as the woman who took the government to court for attempting to implement Brexit without a vote in Parliament, but there’s much more to Gina Miller than the headlines. In this fascinating interview with James O’Brien, Gina shares her story, moving from Guyana to the UK, becoming a successful businesswoman, her campaigns and crusades for transparency and fairness, culminating in the Brexit legal challenge and the fallout that followed.
56 minutes | Sep 10, 2018
Alan Rusbridger: phone hacking, WikiLeaks and digital revolutions
Former editor-in-chief of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger joins James O’Brien for a fascinating interview about the extraordinary stories and technological revolutions that defined his tenure, from the News of the World phone hacking scandal to the WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden revelations, through to the future of journalism in the information age.
40 minutes | Sep 3, 2018
Spike Lee (with David Lammy): American terrorism, the KKK, and becoming a master filmmaker
Legendary film director Spike Lee joins guest host David Lammy for a fascinating interview about his extraordinary career, his latest effort BlacKkKlansman, reflecting on the presidency of Barack Obama, and a little North London rivalry between Spike’s Arsenal and David’s beloved Tottenham Hotspur. Normal service will resume next week when James O’Brien returns from holiday.
46 minutes | Aug 27, 2018
Idris Elba (with David Lammy): being the best and never fearing failure
David Lammy steps into the interviewer’s chair while James is on holiday for a very special interview with Idris Elba. The pair chart Idris’ journey to stardom, from his childhood spent mostly alone, getting the buzz for acting, moving to America and getting his big break on The Wire, right up to his first film as a director, Yardie. There’s no talk of James Bond in this conversation, but we think you’ll agree, there are much more interesting things to talk about with Idris Elba. Yardie is out 31st August. Book your tickets at yardiefilm.co.uk
54 minutes | Aug 20, 2018
Kate Tempest: transcending life and exploring the human soul
Poet and two-time Mercury Prize-nominated rapper Kate Tempest joins James O’Brien for a deep and fascinating interview about art, poetry, transcendence, the human condition, and the dark and beautiful worlds that art and performance can take you to, and we think you’ll agree that this conversation goes to some extraordinary places too.
57 minutes | Aug 13, 2018
Shaun Ryder: pills, thrills and Happy Mondays
Happy Mondays and Black Grape frontman Shaun Ryder joins a starstruck James O’Brien for a rock ’n’ roll rollercoaster of an interview. We journey from Shaun’s early days in ‘monochrome’ Manchester, to the formation of the Mondays, the technicolour highs and explosive lows of band life, break ups and reformations, coming off drugs and embarking on new journeys with Black Grape.
59 minutes | Aug 6, 2018
Steve Aoki: Building movements, creating community and throwing cakes
He’s a DJ, a record label boss, a producer and an entrepreneur, but Steve Aoki is really only interested in one thing: building a community. This insightful interview with James O’Brien takes us through Steve’s journey to superstardom, from his childhood struggles with otherness and racism, finding solace in music and the constructive rage of hardcore punk, sowing the seeds of what would become his empire, and finding his way back to the stage as one of the biggest EDM performers in the world.
58 minutes | Jul 23, 2018
Mark Steel: stand-up, socialism and searching for answers
It’s a laugh-packed interview this week! James O’Brien chats to comedian Mark Steel about growing up in a town that was boring by design, the hilarious misadventures that come with living in a squat, Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing politics, and his varying degrees of success in trying to trace his biological parents. Oh, and Mark has possibly the deepest voice ever recorded on a podcast. Enjoy!
50 minutes | Jul 16, 2018
Unfiltered: The best bits you might have missed
James is away finishing his new book, so we’re doing things a little differently this week. Yes, it’s a ‘Best Of’, but it’s the best of the guests that might have slipped under your radar. They may not be household names, but they have rich and interesting stories that we think you’d like to check out. Normal service will resume with a brand new interview next week, but in the meantime you can go back and check out the episodes mentioned in the show here. Scroobius Pip: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/35-dave-haslam-on-madchester-ecstasy-ha%C3%A7ienda-art-djing/id1290769207?i=1000413419523 Paris Lees: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/14-paris-lees-inspiring-journey-to-become-first-trans/id1290769207?i=1000399993418 June Sarpong: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/6-june-sarpong-talks-diversity-and-the-british-class-system/id1290769207?i=1000394493486 Michelle Lyons: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/31-michelle-lyons-278-executions-life-watching-death/id1290769207?i=1000411332918 Dave Haslam: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/35-dave-haslam-on-madchester-ecstasy-ha%C3%A7ienda-art-djing/id1290769207?i=1000413419523 Jack Monroe: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/19-jack-monroe-poverty-politics-and-life-on-the-margins/id1290769207?i=1000402956881 John Amaechi: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/18-john-amaechi-talks-race-breaking-nba-homosexuality/id1290769207?i=1000402058077 Nimco Ali: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/15-nimco-ali-the-fight-to-end-female-genital-mutilation/id1290769207?i=1000400440975
60 minutes | Jul 9, 2018
Danny Wallace: the strange and wonderful adventures of an inquisitive man
What happens when you just say ‘yes’ to everything? What happens when you ask random people to join you, when you’ve no idea what you’re asking them to join? Danny Wallace asks these kind of questions, and boy, does he get answers. Danny joins James O’Brien for a witty and revealing interview about his his early days working with Ross Noble and The Mighty Boosh, having Jim Carrey play a version of him in a movie, and his undying belief that people, on the whole, are good.
57 minutes | Jul 2, 2018
Vicky Beeching: the secret life of the poster girl for the Evangelical church
In the world of Christian music, Vicky Beeching was one of its biggest stars, but she had a secret, something she’d hidden away for over 20 years: she was gay. In this inspiring interview, Vicky takes James O’Brien through her journey, discovering a talent for music at a young age, her struggles reconciling her feelings with her faith, and a life-threatening illness that changed everything.
59 minutes | Jun 25, 2018
Caitlin Moran: bad sex, good advice and how to be famous
Caitlin Moran has a lot to say. Some of it is rib-crackingly funny. Some of it is eye-opening and jaw-dropping. Not all of it is related to the human anatomy, but every word is worth your time. James O’Brien is certainly kept on his toes in this whipcrack of an interview, covering everything from masturbation to politics, Love Island to feminism, and a lot of chat about vaginas. Strap in, folks. We’re going full force on this one.
57 minutes | Jun 18, 2018
Howard Jacobson on Jewish comedy, identity, and the dismal state of the world
Novelist, journalist and top-notch conversationalist Howard Jacobson joins James O’Brien for a gloriously sprawling interview, exploring everything from Howard’s birth during a WWII bombing raid, his disdain for “the will of the people”, everyday antisemitism, and his late success as an author, proving beyond proof that it’s never too late for anyone to become what they were meant to be.
58 minutes | Jun 11, 2018
Dave Haslam on Madchester, ecstasy, the Haçienda and the art of DJing
In the late 1980s, something was happening in Manchester. A melting pot of music, art and culture was bubbling away, ready to explode, and Dave Haslam was right there in the middle of it. In this fascinating interview, the DJ and writer talks to James O’Brien about his passion for Manchester’s alternative music and culture, DJing at the Haçienda, the introduction of ecstasy to rave culture, and the soaring highs and destructive lows that followed.
58 minutes | Jun 4, 2018
Simon Thomas: grief, faith, and perseverance in the face of devastating loss
You may know Simon Thomas from his work on Sky Sports and Blue Peter, but the devastating loss of Simon’s wife Gemma brought him to a prominence that no one could ever wish for. In this emotional and inspiring interview with James O’Brien, Simon shares his story, from getting his big break on Blue Peter and forging a career in the media, to meeting his wife Gemma and the devastating circumstances that took her from him and their young son. Simon bravely decided to share his grief publicly, and so started a conversation about the way we deal with loss, a conversation that continues here.
57 minutes | May 28, 2018
Ronan Farrow on bringing down Harvey Weinstein, Trump’s America, and the power of the pen
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow normally asks the questions, but this time he’s in the hot seat. In this sharp and incisive interview with James O’Brien, Ronan takes us through his prodigious childhood, working in the Obama administration at 21, then going on to forge a career in journalism, most famously as one of the reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and now training his eye on the decline of American global influence, both under Trump and before.
57 minutes | May 20, 2018
Akala: race and class in the ruins of empire
Rapper, poet and scholar Akala joins James O’Brien for a scintillating interview, in which they discuss two issues that run to the heart of modern Britain: race and class. In a breakneck hour of conversation, Akala picks apart many of the modern myths around gangs, street violence and black youth, looking at the ways these are perpetuated in the media and who benefits from perpetuating them, as well as looking back to the Windrush generation and the institutionalised injustices that led to the recent crisis. It’s an education.
57 minutes | May 14, 2018
Michelle Lyons: 278 executions, and life watching death row prisoners’ final minutes
In her time working with and for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle Lyons was witness to nearly 300 executions, and though she watched hundreds of inmates be put to death, she’s one of the most cheerful people you could ever meet. In this extraordinary interview with James O’Brien, Michelle takes us into the execution chamber, into the lives of the inmates that she came to know, and the personal, professional and moral conflict she was forced to grapple with. Last chance to vote for Unfiltered at the British Podcast Awards! Simply go to britshpodcastawards.com/vote and search for ‘Unfiltered with James O’Brien’. Voting closes on May 17. Thank you.
58 minutes | May 6, 2018
Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef’s crusade to change the world
More than almost any other Unfiltered guest so far, you know exactly who Jamie Oliver is. Except, you don’t. In a revealing and impassioned interview with James O’Brien, Jamie takes us back to being a young boy in Essex working in his parents’ pub, not only discovering his passion for food, but his passion for what food can do. The Naked Chef saw Jamie become a household name overnight, and while he may have sold a few cookery books off the back of it, his fame enabled him to pursue the thing that he’s best known for: trying to make a difference. Vote for Unfiltered! We're up for the Listener's Choice Award at the British Podcast Awards. Head to britishpodcastawards.com/vote and search for 'Unfiltered with James O'Brien'. Thank you!
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