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The High Low

Entertainment & Media

A weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture.

A weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture.


United Kingdom


A weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture.




A Plunge Into The Body Politics and Choice Feminism of An Instagram Age

Doll's Polls is back, with a strange fact about what heterosexual women most look for, in a man. A handsome face? A tight tush? Nope -- quite frankly, you'll never guess. We also discuss a beautiful ode from a coupled-up woman to her single friends, Matt Haig's new book about finding hope in the lives you could have lived, and a couple of our favourite comedy shows by women. And - deep breath - we dive into the issues raised by a personal essay penned by the model and actor Emily...


The Joy of A Buffet, Zadie Smith's Lockdown Essays & Ofcom's Diversity Problem

In today's episode we discuss news of the telly: decade-defining reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, is ending after 20 seasons; US soap The Bold & The Beautiful are using dummies in their snogging scenes; and most depressingly and shamefully, Ofcom have received 22,000 (15,600 at the time of record) complaints over dance troupe Diversity's moving dance rendition of George Floyd's death on Britain's Got Talent. Also today, we discuss the joy of a buffet (with an excerpt from new...


Revising Our Thoughts on Gwyneth Paltrow, Dettol's Dubious 'Back To Work' Ads & The Best of Garage (Sort Of)

We reminisce over garage music (without being entirely sure what officially defines a garage track), discuss the dicey new Dettol ad that's got everyone's knickers in a twist and why we both felt ashamed when we read Gwyneth Paltrow's recent piece about the trauma of her 'conscious uncoupling', ten years ago. Plus, the sensitive and moving BBC drama about a life never lived, Anthony; a brilliant pocket-sized book on race by Ijeoma Oluo; and Dolly's favourite show, Circus of Books, about a...


Selling Sunset, Gendered Care Work & How Often Do YOU Clear Out Your Pants Drawer?

We back! And it's the old mixed bag of content: from grubby gussets to bathroom-heavy mansions in WeHo, via a revisitation of our noughties book shelves. Links below, you know what to do. Shop Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% profits go to charity (Freedom Charity and Black Minds Matter) Links Watching/ listening Mrs America on Netflix Selling Sunset on Netflix Shagged Married Annoyed on all podcast apps Jim Nicholson on Fresh Air...


Wiley’s Anti-Semitism, Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age & An Author Special w/ Nesrine Malik

It’s our last episode of the season - and boy, do we have a bumper episode for you. In this week’s show we discuss what Twitter’s failure to suspend Wiley says about our failure to combat anti-semitism (and what you can do to help), the graphic and glorious podcast of the year, Brown Girls Do It Too, Kiley Reid’s incisive and compulsively readable novel Such A Fun Age and an author special with the inspiring and thought-provoking columnist and author of We Need New Stories, Nesrine Malik...


Lockdown Sexscapades & Friendship in Old Age

We dig further into the cultural conversation around parenting, courtesy of masses of feedback from our listeners on last week's ep and a thoughtful piece on same-sex parenting. Also today: Taffy Brodesser-Akner's short story, Dolly's favourite new dating columnist, a novel that delves into the foibles as much as the grand themes of old age, and why people are happier by the sea. And we introduce our new charitable outlets for The High Low shop. E-mail...


A Deep Dive Into The Child-Free Vs Motherhood Dialogue

Today we discuss how motherhood and child-free women are culturally discussed and pitted against one another, referencing podcasts, a journalistic series and Emma Gannon's new novel, Olive, along the way. We also answer an Ask The High Low from a woman whose partner wants children, but she's worried about how pregnancy, birth and motherhood may affect her mental health. Also today, we talk about a candid interview with Thandie Newton, where the actor reflects on a 30 year career often rife...


On Why We Shouldn't Look For Relatability in Celebs & An Interview with Adam Kay about Dear NHS

The pubs have opened; but why is the beauty sector still in lockdown? Also today, we discuss the slew of videos of children interrupting their parents during a pandemic, a new book about love and loneliness in 1950s suburbia, and a deep-dive into Nora Ephron. And Dolly interviews the brilliant former doctor, comic and writer, Adam Kay, about a new book he has edited, Dear NHS: 100 Stories To Say Thank You. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop -...


The Glastonbury That Never Was; & Ruby Tandoh on The Art of Quitting

Wishing you were at Glastonbury? Get stuck into Zing Tseng's piece, instead. Ruby Tandoh reads us an excerpt of her beautiful piece on quitting, and we discuss why quitting is not just a physical act - but a state of mind. Also today: a Doll's Polls on first date turn-offs (verdict: most of them are unavoidable), a hilarious analysis by Diyora Shadijanova of what Gen Z'ers really think about millennials (verdict: old and boring), plus a great primer on white privilege by Robin DiAngelo and...


The Madness of 2020 Can Be Summed Up In Lynx Africa's Marmite Edition

Mmmm get that yeasty pong. Today we recall the wisdom of Zadie Smith, chat more about the jaw-dropping drama that is Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You, discuss Naoise Dolan's piece on how autism has shaped her work and recommend Munroe Bergdorf's Table Manners interview. We also drop a lot of not entirely irrelevant but mostly random animal facts - including the retirement of Diego, the Warren Beatty of tortoises. Plus, an Ask The High Low about what to do when you're single, and none of...


Lockdown Sex, I May Destroy You, and Rhik Samadder's I Never Said I Loved You

In today's episode, we discuss the findings on Sex In Lockdown: Keep Shagging And Carry On; the astounding work that is Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You and in light of JK Rowling's comments last week, some recommendations for understanding the trans experience. We also feature an exclusive extract from the writer Rhik Samadder's memoir about mental health, love and family, I Never Said I Loved You and lots more podcast recs from Dolly. Plus! Ask The High Low is back. E-mail...


After The Hashtags

We discuss online vs offline behaviour, when it comes to social change; and why historical progress has long relied on the removal of monuments. Also today, tons of podcast recommendations, an homage to Gogglebox and the size 75 shoes made especially for social distancing. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Links Social media @multiculturalkidsbooks on IG @diverse_kids_books on IG @novelallure on IG Reading Knights Of bookshop Anti-Racist...


Anti-Racism Resources & An Author Special with Candice Brathwaite

This week’s episode is focused on the resources we can access to educate ourselves on racism. These lists are not exhaustive but may provide a starting point. We also interview the creator of Make Motherhood Diverse, Candice Brathwaite, about her searing new book I Am Not Your Baby Mother. Non-Fiction Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite White Fragility by Robin...


Why Moments of Insanity Are Part of Keeping Sane; And The Worrying Increase in Lockdown Mullets

Did you know there is a word in German for 'social distancing whilst wearing swimming pool noodles as a hat'? We're sceptical, but charmed. As the heaviness weighs on many of you, we have a batch of podcasts, books, articles and surprising lockdown stats to cheer and distract you. Please do e-mail any questions or issues to Or you can tweet us @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity (Women's Aid and NHS Charities urgent cover...


'Seksbuddies', Robert Pattinson's pasta & information overload

It's a pot noodle of an episode this week. From our favourite pandemic stories around the globe - selected especially to cheer you up - to a bunch of recommendations, a deep-dive into the way we metabolise information now, and a compulsory dwell on Stanley Tucci. E-mail: Tweet: @thehighlowshow Shop: where 100% of profits go to charity (Women's Aid and Covid-19 NHS Urgent Appeal) Links Book a Migrateful cookery class at The...


Cottagecore, Covidism & Other Lockdown Theories; Plus, An Author Special with Samantha Irby

Today we discuss the surprising lockdown sales boom, an animal fact and a few new pandemic lifestyle theories. Just another episode of The High Low, then. We also ring up Samatha Irby in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to discuss her hilarious new essay collection (a joy for anxiety-ridden times) wow, no thank you. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop at - 100% of profits go to charity (currently Women's Aid and the COVID-19 NHS Urgent...


Are Your Book Shelves A Reflection of Your Character - Or Your Curiosity?

This week we discuss what your books on your bookshelf say about you, the new lockdown lingo (are you drinking furlough merlot?), whether lockdown telly might have reached its apex, and the concept of heteropessimism. You can e-mail and shop at - 100% of profits go to charity. Links Apply here for Penguin's WriteNow scheme: If I Had Your Face, by Frances Cha Culture Call,...


The Micro-Trends of Lockdown & The Wonder That Is The Quarantucci

Thank you for bearing with us. We weren't able to bring you an episode last week for personal reasons, but we will try and make it up to you today - starting with a BIG apology to Lizzo for saying it wasn't possible to jam on a flute. It bloody well is. Mea culpa. Today we discuss the micro-trends of lockdown (are you a lockdown cliche?) and a Dolls Polls about what we're all apparently buying. You will never guess the top billing (no - it's not loo roll. Or pasta.) Also today, a new...


An Author Special with Holly Bourne & The Problem With Tiger King

It's Week 4 of lockdown and we hope all you cats and kittens are doing okay. Sorry - blame Carole Baskin. We've been watching Tiger King and eesh, do we feel icky. We discuss why that is and why streamed content is becoming increasingly crass. What does the flatpacking of problematic people into entertainment, reveal about us? Also today, Dolly interviews the YA and contemporary novelist, Holly Bourne, about her new book, Pretending. They discuss sexual violence, the cultural expectations...


An Extra Easter Treat & The Return of Ask The High Low

It's been a rough few weeks so we thought we'd bring you an extra episode for the long Easter weekend. Lots more culture reccs and more thoughts on lockdown life (with a belated shout out to Madonna's Instagram page.) We've also bought back Ask The High Low! You can e-mail us with your question at and we will be answering a few every week. You can shop our merchandise at and 100% of profits go to charity - 10% to Women's Aid and 90% to the...