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In My Defence

Can martial arts save your life? Self defence instructor Kriss Pyke says they can - not just because the moves themselves offer protection in a skirmish, but because the physical confidence you gain deters opponents in the first place.Kriss’ views and teaching style are shaped by his own experiences at the sharp end of a vicious street attack, as he recounts to Olly in this month’s middle feature. In the Zeitgeist this episode, Ollie Peart investigates the trend for insect-based pet food,...


Surgery On The Front Line

Adrenalin, stress and composure is in the job description for a trauma surgeon. But how do doctors cope with routinely operating on patients with devastating injuries? Does it ever get easy to deliver difficult news?In this intimate conversation, Olly meets Dr. Allan Philp, chief trauma surgeon of Allegheny Health Network, Pennsylvania, and Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy, trauma lead surgeon for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, to discuss alleviating anxiety, performing amputations - and how...


Porn Messed Up My Brain

Sebastian Schub was 19 when he first experienced erectile dysfunction. But he wasn’t a big drinker. There was no clear medical cause, such as heart disease. However - like most men his age - he was an avid user of porn tube sites.Googling his symptoms, he discovered the Reddit ‘no-fap’ community, and diagnosed himself with PIED (‘porn-induced erectile dysfunction’). Spurning masturbation, he attempted to ‘reboot’ his brain… as he recounts to Olly in this frank, fascinating...


Let's Build A Brewery

With zero experience of beer-making, Tommy Barnes quit his safe, corporate London job to start his own beer business. As if that weren’t precarious enough, he located it in the Loire Valley - the heart of French ‘wine country’. In this entertaining conversation with Olly, Tommy recounts how he followed his business dreams, balanced the books and perfected his beer recipe - even in the face of en masse Gallic shrug. Tommy’s hilarious memoir, A Beer In The Loire, is out now (Muswell Press,...


Credit The Con

Private Investigator Bob Nygaard specialises in bringing psychics to justice. Fortune-tellers, who offer palm-reading for as little as ten dollars, are a common sight in New York City. But when they swindle their clients out of six-figure sums, it’s ex-NYPD officer Bob who’s on their case. In this sensational interview with Olly, Bob reveals how the criminals he pursues prey on vulnerable victims, the techniques they use to convince clever professionals to hand-over huge amounts of money,...


Air Born

Jen Bricker was abandoned at birth by her biological parents. Due to a genetic defect, she had been born without legs. Her adoptive family showered her with love and self-belief. Inspired by her idol, Olympic gold-medalist Dominique Moceanu, she pursued gymnastics. She competed against able-bodied entrants at the Junior Olympics. She won a state championship. But an astonishing family secret was about to rock her world… Now 31, Jen is a gifted aerialist and trampolinist, who's performed...


'Pupil A'

Ben used to be a secondary school teacher. He isn’t anymore. In a brutally honest feature interview, he tells Olly his compelling story. Trigger warnings: see end of show notes Meanwhile, in this month's Zeitgeist, Ollie Peart takes Olly - and Milo, his faithful Jack Russell/Chihuahua - for a walk round Regent’s Park, to test out the trend for dog subscription boxes Tails and Buster, and training app Dogo. Elsewhere, down The Foxhole, Alix Fox explores a world of adoption alternatives,...


How To Be A Dad, Part 5 (Season 9, Ep 10)

Tom Price and Stuart Goldsmith join Olly Mann once again to discuss the dilemmas faced by the modern Dad. How can you control a toddler who has no concept of time? Why aren’t Dads as good as Mums at making friends? When does your role as educator impinge on their imaginations? In this fifth instalment of our ‘How To Be A Dad’ series, our trio - whose sons are now three years old - swap stories about potty training, faith schools, Spotify playlists, and the ‘self-deleting baby years’ that...


Christmas in the Vicarage (Season 9, Ep 9)

It’s Christmasssss!... well, nearly: so time is running out for our charity single, ‘The Sounds of Christmas’, to crack the UK festive Top 40. In this week’s Zeitgeist, Ollie Peart reveals the surprise celebrity friends who’ve added their weight to the campaign, whilst a generous Mann-fan blows our fundraising target out of the water. Meanwhile, Olly heads to St Andrew’s Church, Islington, to meet Reverend Jessica Swift, an inner-city vicar managing a diverse congregation; some reliant...


The Case Against Snow White (Season 9, Ep 8)

Actors with dwarfism rarely get cast in title roles, but in panto season there’s an obvious exception: the many major productions of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ staged across Britain. But what does the prevalence of this pantomime do to affect the lives of ordinary people with dwarfism, who aren’t performers? Activist and writer Eugene Grant, who has achondroplasia, believes if the first time most people see someone with dwarfism is on stage as a fairy-tale stereotype, it has a...


The Empty Seat (Season 9, Ep 7)

Samuel was nine years old when he first asked his Dad, Martin, to raise some money for the other children on his ward to have some nicer meals. Samuel’s Charity is now registered, and has raised over £200,000 for under-funded children’s wards. In this moving interview with Olly, Martin explains why small charities are so very necessary, how even teaspoons and toasters can make a dramatic difference to the lives of unwell children, and how Samuel’s mission helps him cope with his...


The Face Detectives (Season 9, Ep 6)

Don’t you hate it when you forget a face? Spare a thought for the 1.5 million people in the UK suffering from developmental prosopagnosia - facial blindness. In its most acute form, they’re unable to recognise their friends, their family… even their own reflection. Dr Rachel Bennetts, psychology lecturer at Brunel University, specialises in researching facial processing disorders. In this fascinating interview with Olly, she explains what life is like for those who can’t follow the...


Fastest Fingers First (Season 9, Ep 5)

How do you win a game-show? Olly’s assembled a dream-team to find out: Fifteen To One grand finalist Will Howells, Chase question-setter Julia Hobbs and serial quizzer Jason Hill, who’s appeared on 14 shows including Pointless, Eggheads and Countdown. What’s the best way to get chosen by the production team? How do you swot up before the big day? How should you calm your nerves under pressure? How do you refine your strategy - and win big money? And what is the most coveted prize in...


What Nobody Tells You About Rape (Season 9, Ep 4)

Martha Adam was raped. For a week afterwards, she couldn’t even say the word. Couldn’t tell her parents what had happened to her. But she did report the assault - and faced hours of courtroom questioning that both embellished and undermined her trauma. In this wide-ranging conversation with Olly, Martha explains how these events restricted her lifestyle, affected her relationships, and made her question her own sanity. It’s what nobody tells you about rape. Elsewhere, for this week's...


The Only Way Is Up (Season 9, Ep 3)

Suspended from 100 helium balloons, Tom Morgan flew 15.5 miles across South Africa, seated in a collapsible camping chair. And now he wants YOU to do it, too. Could this hare-brained scheme really be the future of adventure travel? Or is there more hope for his other concept - getting travellers to build their own biplanes out of plywood, to fly over the Pacific? In this chat with Olly, Tom explains how his serendipitous, risk-taking approach to travel begat the Mongol Rally - an event...


The Downing Street Heckler (Season 9, Ep 2)

Shouting at Prime Ministers was off-limits at BBC Westminster before Paul ‘Gobby’ Lambert. He was the Producer who cried, ‘ANY MONEY IN THE BOX, CHANCELLOR?’ at George Osborne on Budget day and got Bill Clinton to talk to the News Channel by shouting, ‘OI, BILL!’. In this interview with Olly, Paul recalls how his inspired pursuit of Cherie Blair made several front pages, bemoans the current crop of journos who’d rather seek out sources on Twitter, and reveals how the murder of Milly Dowler...


My Head Is Killing Me (Season 9, Ep 1)

Dr Stuart Farrimond was a disillusioned Junior Doctor. Night-shifts, the grim reality of hospital life and emotional exhaustion were all taking their toll - but he was in denial about what might be killing him. In this extraordinary interview with Olly, he explains how an eating disorder and an unexpected diagnosis derailed his career and his marriage - but also how, in the most desperate of circumstances, his life could still change for the better. Stuart’s latest book, The Science of...


The Inseminator (Season 8, Ep 10)

Sperm donors are anonymised in British clinics. Recipients don’t even get to see a photo of the man who will father their child. Donor-conceived kids can only discover the identity of their biological father upon reaching adulthood themselves. But Mitch Kennedy is a private donor. His sperm has been used by 23 couples - and he’s met them all. In most cases, he’s slept in their spare room during the conception. He has around 40 children. In this fascinating interview with Olly, Mitch...


Hannah Witton: Stomasexual (Season 8, Ep 9)

At 25, YouTube star Hannah Witton suffered acute abdominal pain. She’d had a decade in remission from ulcerative colitis, but the episode was so severe she opted to have surgery to remove her colon. Now, she’s readjusting to life with an ileostomy bag. As she reveals to Olly in this open-hearted interview, that means recalibrating her attitude to sex, body confidence and her role in the YouTube community. You can see and hear more of Hannah at Elsewhere this episode,...


Cruising With Mickey (Season 8, Ep 8)

Working aboard Disney’s cruise ships requires a commitment to customer service, a never-fading smile, and a mastery of ‘the Disney point’. But for Andy Young - a twentysomething bartender on Disney Wonder in 2002 - it also served as an introduction to excessive drinking, clandestine romps and a salary of just $26 per fortnight, plus tips... Elsewhere this week, Ollie Peart travels to Paris to investigate the trend for ‘floating’ Bird scooters - dockless adult scooters hired via smartphone...