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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. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


United Kingdom


A weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.





It’s here! Expect many tears, intense nostalgia, beautiful letters from our listeners and a big ole dose of DJ CJ to celebrate the last four glorious years of The High Low. Book tickets to the last ever High Low live show, streaming next week and raising money for Blood Cancer UK Recommendations: Michaela Coel on Grounded with Louis Theroux Billy Crystal on Awards Chatter Pandemic at the disco playlist Connect, by School of Life Big Ideas for Curious Minds, by School of Life A Promised Land by Barack Obama Tiny Lungs - 28 poems by Joanna Bennett Small Axe by Steve McQueen, on BBC iPlayer Mangrove, on BBC iPlayer Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


An Author Special with Graham Norton - And Some News

We are so thrilled to have the one and only Graham Norton on today's episode, talking all about his new novel, Home Stretch, his favourite celebrities to interview on his chat show, and the weird wonderfulness that is Eurovision. Graham is The High Low's last ever author special - because the High Low will be coming to a close next week, after 4 joyous, life-changing years for us both. But before we go, we have one last LIVE show for you: the High Low Christmas LIVE will be live streamed on Vimeo at 7pm on December 8th, with all proceeds going to Blood Cancer UK, a charity that is very close to both of our hearts, in memory of Florence Kleiner and Enzo Saunt. We promise a festive extravaganza featuring a VERY special musical performance. Tickets start at £10, please book yourself a ticket at: With special thanks to Fane Productions, and our sponsor, the eco-friendly brand Method (and their delicious pink grapefruit cleaning spray) for making this live show possible We will see you next week for our last ever podcast! E-mail (while the inbox is still open!) Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop where 100% profits go to Fare Share Links Home Stretch, by Graham Norton Wintering, by Katherine May Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen inteview by Chris Godfrey for The Guardian Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Maggi's Mary Wollstonecraft, Princess Diana and A Plunge Into The Christmas Ads

Brace yourself: Emily in Paris is back for a second series. More importantly: the Christmas ads have dropped! We discuss some of them, and why a great Christmas ad doesn't actually.... have to have anything to do with Christmas. Also today, we discuss Maggi Hambling's controversial nude statue of founding feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Rupert Everett's new autobiography, a documentary about Vivienne Westwood and the punk movement, and we deep dive into the Princess Diana content of the last week: the two-parter on ITV, with staggering allegations made against Martin Bashir, and the new series of The Crown, starring the magnificent Emma Corrin as Diana. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits for November go to Fare Share Links To The End Of The World, by Rupert Everett The Crown series 4 now on Netflix The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess, on ITV Player What I've learned from 7 years of being single, by Camille Charriere for Harper's Bazaar How long Covid forced me to confront my past and my identity, by Kathryn Bromwich for The Guardian Vivienne Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist Candice Carty-Williams on The Adam Buxton Podcast, Glenn Close on WTF, Keir Starmer on Desert Island Discs and What Trump Might Do In His Remaining Weeks in Office on Fresh Air Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Election Gaffes, Celebrity Truth-Tellers & The Undoing

What a week to be alive! We discuss some of the many ridiculous things that have happened, mainly on the television, during this last monumental week, plus the riveting revelating that Dr Fauci of the Coronavirus task force in the US, had a celebrity zoom to help stop the spread of misinformation during the pandemic. Plus, swans in love and what we'd call our pet tortoise. And we talk telly: The Undoing, The Queen's Gambit, Emily in Paris (again) and Been So Long, an ambitious, upifting musical rom-com starring Michaela Coel. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop, 100% of profits for November go to Fare Share Links You're Wrong About podcast Been So Long on Netflix The Queens Gambit on Netflix The Undoing, on Sky Making Love With The Paint, on BBC iPlayer Octavia Bright on her father being in a care home during lockdown, for The Sunday Times: Modern Love in The New York Times Buy There's Something About Wallace: Lockdown Love on Hampstead Heath by Louisa Green: Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


No Nut November, National Sandwich Day, and an Author Special with Otegha Uwagba on Whites

Are you familiar with No Nut November? Move over Movember, there's a slightly queasy new internet challenge in town. Also today, we discuss whether a burger is a sandwich, the concerning omission from the Sean Connery obituaries, and the new YouTube record-breaker. And we have an author special today with Otegha Uwagba, who came on to discuss her new long-form essay, Whites. E-mail Tweet@thehighlowshow Shop where 100% of profits go to Fare Share Links Whites, by Otegha Uwagba, out 12th November Sacha Baron Cohen on Fresh Air: The Undoing, on Sky You're Wrong About, on all podcast platforms Ghosting stories at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


The Southern Charm of Matthew McConaughey; Free School Meals; & The Web Server That Slows Down Information Overload

From a naturally green puppy called Pistachio, to a charming and surprising memoir by Matthew McConaughey, this week is your usual mixed bag -- including discussion of the government's abhorrent decision to stop funding free school meals for vulnerable children outside of term time (see a petition you can sign and charities you can donate to, below) and some television that has moved us. Also! A book that made Dolly's week, and Pandora's new favourite podcast. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% profits go to charity, 50% to Black Minds Matter and 50% to The Freedom Charity. For November, all profits will be going to Fare Share Links Reading Elle Hunt on Matthew McConaughey's memoir, Greenlights, for The Guardian What happened when me and Kim Kardashian both turned 40? By Eva Wiseman, for The Observer Help Yourself, by Curtis Sittenfeld Quite, by Claudia Winkleman Watching Enslaved on BBC iPlayer Maggi Hambling on BBC iPlayer Out Of Her Mind, on BBC iPlayer Listening You're Wrong About podcast Dawn French on Table Manners podcast Elvis Costello on The New Yorker Radio Hour podcast Timothy Leary on Fresh Air podcast Sign and donate for free school meals Sign Marcus Rashford's petition for free school meals for vulnerable children, here: Charities to donate to: Fare Share Feeding Britain Kitchen Social The Trussell Trust Magic Breakfast Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Cow Hugging, Daddy by Emma Cline & An Exclusive Clip from Joan & Jericha

Today we discuss a love story in Venice, the new "wellness" trend of cow hugging, Matt Hancock's personal app (???) and listeners tell us what they think makes "a good deed". And some things we've been loving, including the feel good Love Life on Netflix. Plus! An exclusive, filthy extract from Joan and Jericha's new book, out on the 29th October. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity, 50% to Black Minds Matter and 50% to Freedom Charity Links Max Woosey's fundraising page for North Devon hospice Daddy, by Emma Cline, out now Luster, by Raven Leilani, out in January 2021 and available for pre-order now Love Life, on BBC iPlayer Nigella Lawson on the fallacy of guilty pleasures for The Guardian: The role of food in Jewish celebration for Radio 4’s The Food Programme: How My Mother and I Became Chinese Propaganda, by Jiayang Fan for The New Yorker (listen to the audio on the same link) Dear Joan and Jericha: Why He Turns Away, Do’s and Don’ts from Dating to Death, out on the 29th October Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Progressive Penguins, Emily in Paris, & What Makes A Good Deed?

We continue our conversation about sharing grief in the aftermath of a still birth or miscarriage, with a special contribution from the grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel MBE. We also discuss penguin and seahorse reproduction, a delicious piece of Hollywood gossip involving Cary Grant and Clark Gable, and - mais bien sûr - we plunge into Emily and Paris aka 2020's answer to Sex And The City and all its associated controversy. E-mail Tweet@thehighlowshow Shop - 100% profits go to charity, 50% Black Minds Matter and 50% to Freedom Charity Links 10 Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, by Jaron Lanier summarised on Blinkist What to say to women going through miscarriage and baby loss, by Alexandra King for CNN I find myself apologising for the complex nature of my motherhood, by Sophie Beresiner for The Sunday Times Style Follow Sophie @motherprojectofficial and pre-order her book here Titting About, an Audible podcast series by French and Saunders Emily in Paris, on Netflix Everything that's wrong with Emily in Paris by an actual French person, by Marie Telling for Buzzfeed Would Emily's Bot actually go viral? By Rachel Handler for Vulture On The Rocks, at cinemas now Samantha Morton on Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 Floella Benjamin on Desert Island Discs, Radio 4 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Grief Around Miscarriage, The Social Dilemma & The Phrases Dying Out With Gen Z

We discuss Chrissy Teigen's social media posts about the death of her baby Jack, and the judgement around public grief. Also today, we dissect a list of words and phrases facing expiration (40% of under 30s don't know what "getting sozzled" means) and the fascinating docu-drama, The Social Dilemma. Plus, Pandora falls in love with a film called Rocks, and Dolly has a(nother) Springsteen moment. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% proceeds go to charity (50% to Black Minds Matter, and 50% to The Freedom Charity) Links If Chrissy Teigen wants to share the agony of losing her baby, let her, by Barbara Ellen for The Observer Why Chrissy Teigen's story is so helpful to other women, by Jennifer Handt for WBUR The Social Dilemma, on Netflix Rocks, on general release and now on Netflix Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, by Jaron Lanier (2018) A Life in The Day interview with Tom Hollander for The Sunday Times Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours, on BBC Sounds Once Were Brothers on Amazon Video Robbie Williams on The Adam Buxton Podcast The Duchess on Netflix Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020 on demand Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Pandemic friendships, and how to mend a broken heart

This year has seen even our closest friendships turn into long-distance ones; what is the impact - and the thought spirals - of your A-list friends becoming peripheral specks in your vision? We discuss, with a funny and thought-provoking piece by Katie Heaney for The Cut. Also today, we natter about how to mend a broken heart, and the evolving nature of romantic relationships, with a special reading from the author Nick Hornby. E-mail Tweet@thehighlowshow Shop with 100% profits going to charity (50% Black Minds Matter, 50% Freedom Charity) Links Are All My Friends Mad At Me? By Katie Heaney, for The Cut High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby Schitt's Creek, on Netflix Guys We Fucked - Heartbreak Is Universal? with Guy Winch The Psychology of Friendship, by Mahzad Hojjit Us, on BBC iPlayer Safe Spaces for Black Women, created by Leyla Hussein Dawn French's Desert Island Discs, 2012 on Radio 4 The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 Ratajkowski, that blew up certain parts of the internet this week, about who owns a public image. We address women's bodies and the ethics of sharing in the age of Instagram, with a side order of choice feminism. You can share your thoughts with us via e-mail -- we're sure you'll have a few. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity, currently Black Minds Matter and Freedom charity Links Emily Ratajkowski on reclaiming her own image, for New York magazine The Emily Ratajkowski effect, by Haley Nahman for her Maybe Baby newsletter The Duchess, on Netflix RBG, on Netflix Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death means pro-choicers have a fight on their hands, by Zoe Williams for The Guardian Tracks, on BBC Sounds The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig, out now This Way Up on All4 Seven Pledges to My Single Friends by Caroline O’Donoghue Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 book In The Kitchen read by Joel Golby), the world's first ever A.I. model agency and the emergence of lockdown literature, featuring Zadie Smith's booklet of essays, Intimations. E-mail us Tweet us @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity: Black Minds Matter and Freedom Charity Links Intimations by Zadie Smith Zadie Smith on Adam Buxton podcast In The Kitchen: essays on food and life Is this the end of the buffet? by Joel Golby Keeping up with the Kardashians is ending. What does it all mean? by Rosa Lyster Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 famous gay pornography and bookshop of the 1980s. Oh! And Dolly's solved the mystery of Francesco - her long-term house ghost. You're welcome. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity (50% to Black Minds Matter, 50% to Freedom Charity) Links Gwyneth Paltrow on her experience of conscious uncoupling Circus of Books, on Netflix So You Want To Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo Anthony, on BBC iPlayer Bella Mackie on the joy of small purchases for British Vogue, Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 Reading The Confession by Jessie Burton Dominicana by Angie Cruz Lost To The Virus, a series for The Guardian by Sirin Kale 26a by Diana Evans Two Lives by Vikram Seth 'Heirlooms' a short story by Bryan Washington for The New Yorker More Than A Woman by Caitlin Moran High Fidelity by Nick Hornby How to Live On 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 about why we must resist cultural myths. Plus, some newsletters to subscribe to right now, and an Ask The High Low question about dating after cancer. We’ll be back in early September! E-mail: (but please do note the inbox will be unmanned for August) Tweet: @thehighlowshow Shop: where 100% proceeds go to charity - 50% to Black Minds Matter and 50% to Freedom Charity Links Following/ signing @geraldstratfor3 on Twitter Sign the petition for Wiley to have his MBE removed Write to to request the removal of Wiley’s MBE Reading The Waiting Room, a newsletter by Amelia Tait Sidenotes, a newsletter by Sophie Wilkinson The Red Hand Files, a newsletter by Nick Cave The Meander, a newsletter by Dolly Alderton Such A Fun Age, by Kiley Reid We Need New Stories, by Nesrine Malik Hot Little Hands, by Abigail Ulman Listening/ watching Brown Girls Do It Too, on BBC Sounds In Writing podcast, by Hattie Crisell Call My Agent, on Netflix Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 Tweet@thehighlowshow Shop at - 100% of profits go to charity (50% to Black Minds Matter, 50% to The Orchid Project.) Links The Weekend, by Charlotte Wood A Curious Career by Lynn Barber Taffy Brodesser Akner's short story Annie Lorde's dating column for Vogue What adopting as a same-sex couple taught us, by Ben Fergusson for The Guardian Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 with micro-aggressions and misogyny, Nick Hornby's new novel and recommend two social and mentorship networks: City Girl Network and The Black Agents and Editors Group, for people of African descent working in publishing or media. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity, 50% to Show Racism The Red Card and 50% to Women's Aid Links Reading Olive by Emma Gannon Just Like You by Nick Hornby Thandie Newton interview by E Alex Jung for Vulture Michaela Cole interview by E Alex Jung for Vulture 'Am I willing to risk my mental health to have a baby?' by Bella Mackie for The Sunday Times Guardian US series on being child-free Listening/ watching Helen Mirren on WTF with Marc Maron Sian Harries and Grace Dent are ambivalent about motherhood Networks, petitions and mentorship City Girls Network The Black Agents and Editors Group Sign the petition to protect free hospital parking for NHS staff Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 - 100% profits go to charity (50% to Show Racism The Red Card, 50% to Women's Aid) Links Small Pleasures, by Clare Chambers, out now The Old Man, by Roger Angel Everything Is Copy, on NOW TV via Sky Documentaries Dear NHS: A Collection of 100 Stories To Say Thank You, edited by Adam Kay - out 9th July Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 Channel 4's documentary, The School That Tried To End Racism. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% profits go to charity (50% Show Racism The Red Card, 50% Women's Aid) Links Zing Tseng on festivals for Vice Ruby Tandoh on the art of quitting for WePresent Eat Up, by Ruby Tandoh What Gen Z'ers think about millennials, by Diyora Shadijanova Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story, by Robin DiAngelo The School That Tried To End Racism, on Channel 4od Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations: Ellen DeGeneres Comes Out Desert Island Discs - Chili Bouchier The Great Godden, by Meg Rosoff Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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 your coupled up friends understand. E-mail Tweet @thehighlowshow Shop - 100% of profits go to charity (Women's Aid and Show Racism The Red Card) Links A Ladder To The Sky How Being Diagnosed with Autism Changed My Life, by Naoise Dolan for The Sunday Times Style I May Destroy You, on BBC iPlayer Arena: Desert Island Discs 1982 on BBC iPlayer Big Brother: Best Shows Ever on 4OD Zadie Smith on Literary Friction Munroe Bergdorf on Table Manners Hosted on Acast. See for more information.