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Unfiltered with James O'Brien || JOE-logo

Unfiltered with James O'Brien || JOE

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Podcast by Unfiltered with James O'Brien || JOE

Podcast by Unfiltered with James O'Brien || JOE
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Podcast by Unfiltered with James O'Brien || JOE




32 - 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...


31 - 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...


30 - 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...


29 - Plan B on rap, soul and our degraded moral system

Before he was Plan B, a young man called Ben Drew was growing up in London’s Forest Gate. With a guitar and the music of Smokey Robinson to work with, Ben set about becoming what he is today: a chronicler of our times. In this enthralling interview with James O’Brien, Ben shares his story, a story that is inextricably tied to his music, experiencing violence at home from a young age and losing friends to crack and heroin, and how he channelled those stories into songs, breaking into the...


28 - Shappi Khorsandi: Revolution, assassination plots, and stand-up comedy

You know comedian Shappi Khorsandi from Live at the Apollo and her legendary shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, but Shappi was learning how to make people laugh well before she picked up the mic. In this funny, fascinating, and at times emotional interview with James O’Brien, Shappi shares the story of her family fleeing Iran in the face of revolution, the uncovering of an assassination plot against her father and the paranoia that revelation instilled in her family, and her struggles adapting...


27 - Nigel Owens: struggles with sexuality and the road to self-acceptance

Arguably the best rugby union referee in the world, known for his witty one-liners and no-nonsense attitude, Nigel Owen’s career highs came with some unimaginable lows. In this vulnerable and moving interview with James O’Brien, Nigel shares his struggle as a young man in rural Wales coming to terms with his sexuality, surviving a suicide attempt at the age of 26, and his journey of self-acceptance that led him to the top of his game. Vote for Unfiltered at the British Podcast Awards! Head...


26 - Russell Kane: robbed by birth, funny by nature

In one of the funniest Unfiltered interviews to date, James O’Brien meets the whirlwind that is comedian Russell Kane who, as you’re about to discover, has a lot to say. The pair cover everything, from Russell’s relationship with his rough ’n’ tough father, to his unique passion for watches; from the stresses and pressures that success put on your relationships, to the realisation that his working class upbringing was going to hold him back, but he wasn’t about to let that happen....


25 - Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting, heroin and pilates

Most authors never have a bestseller. Even fewer come to define an entire decade. Trainspotting, both the book and the film that followed it, was a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s, catapulting writer Irvine Welsh into literary infamy. In this unflinching interview with James O’Brien, Irvine talks candidly about the drug-fuelled hedonism of the ‘80s and ‘90s that he both participated in and distilled into stories, how he pulled himself out of a vicious heroin addiction, the whirlwind of...


23 - Lord Alf Dubs: escaping the Nazis and fighting for refugees

As the Nazis closed in on Prague, a six-year-old Alf Dubs was carried away from his native Czechoslovakia on the Kindertransport rescue operation that saved 669 predominantly Jewish children. In a remarkable interview with James O’Brien, Lord Dubs talks about the modest bravery of Nicholas Winton, the man who organised the rescue, growing up in Britain with a love of politics, the horrors he witnessed in the Calais Jungle, and spending his life fighting for the rights of refugees even...


20 - Scroobius Pip: rap, poetry, podcasts, and the stutter that started it all

After almost drowning at the age of four, Scroobius Pip developed a stutter. Not only did it not stop him from becoming a successful rapper, spoken word poet, actor and fellow podcaster, he believes it was directly responsible for all of it. He joins James O’Brien for a fun and thought-provoking interview that will leave you believing that you too can do anything, just as long as you put your mind to it.


19 - Jack Monroe: poverty, politics and life on the margins

In 2012, at the end of their tether, Jack Monroe wrote a blog detailing the depths of the bitter poverty they had fallen into. After going viral, the post catapulted Jack from the brink of despair and into the spotlight. In a raw and exploratory interview, Jack takes James O’Brien through struggling to making ends meet, the realities of austerity in Britain, identifying as a non-binary and preferring the pronoun ‘they’, and their legal battle with Katie Hopkins.


18 - John Amaechi talks race, breaking the NBA, and homosexuality in sport

Few British psychologists can also boast a successful career in the NBA, but John Amaechi can. In this enthralling and thoughtful interview with James O’Brien, John recounts his struggles growing up black, nerdy and exceptionally tall in 1980s Stockport, a chance encounter with a stranger that led him to pursue basketball, his decision to come out after leaving the NBA, and the realities of being a gay professional athlete.


17 - Sir Nick Clegg: live by the sword, die by the sword

Politics is a brutal game, and few politicians know this as well as Nick Clegg. The former Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Liberal Democrats leader gives James O’Brien an in-depth and revealing interview, covering his years in coalition with the Conservatives and his relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron, the Lib Dem massacre at the 2015 election and subsequent decline of the party, and his belief that Brexit can, in fact, be stopped.


16 - Gary Lineker: humanity, free speech, and the dark side of the beautiful game

If there’s one thing Gary Lineker is not going to do, it’s ‘just stick to football’. The broadcaster joins James O’Brien for a boundless interview, from his time at the top-flight of football to dealing with the corruption rotting its core, to facing the fire and fury of the right-wing press for simply speaking his mind.


15 - Nimco Ali: the fight to end female genital mutilation

Nimco was seven when she was taken to Djibouti to be cut. In an unflinching interview, activist Nimco Ali takes James O’Brien on her incredible personal story, from fleeing her native Somaliland as a child refugee escaping civil war to finding her place on the FGM frontline, fighting to bring the practice to an end.


14 - Paris Lees: from troubled boyhood to fearless woman

Even as a young child, Paris Lees knew that she didn’t feel right in her body. In a bold and revealing interview, Paris takes James O’Brien on a journey from experimenting with tights and make-up, a reckless adolescence selling sex and spending time in prison, to becoming the first trans woman to feature in Vogue.


13 - Iain Lee talks failure and success, battling depression, and the trials of I’m A Celebrity

When Iain Lee went on I’m a Celebrity, he never expected to come out and be ambushed by 190 selfie-demanding school kids. The broadcaster and presenter joins James O'Brien for a frank and funny interview, discussing the ups and downs of his career, his challenges with mental health, and of course, what went down in the jungle.


12 - David Baddiel on anguish, laughter, the antics of his parents, & tactics to tackle antisemitism

David Baddiel’s mother had an impressively open 20-year-long affair with a golf memorabilia collector, and his father’s rare form of dementia removed his sexual inhibitions and causes him to swear incessantly. The comedian and writer joins James O’Brien for a funny and thoughtful interview that looks at family, comedy and the line that divides the two.


11 - Jon Ronson: shame, psychopaths and how internet porn changed the world

Writer and now fellow podcaster Jon Ronson joins James to dive into some of the dark worlds his work inhabits, from public shaming to psychopaths, right up to internet porn revolution and the twisted journeys it took Jon on.


10 - Matt Lucas on Little Britain, TV controversy and his relationship with David Walliams

Comedy legend Matt Lucas joins James O’Brien to talk about the staggering success of Little Britain and the controversies it provokes today, the pain and pitfalls of his coming out, and how David Walliams helped him to accept his own sexuality.


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