The week in audio: The Nolan Show; Jimmy’s jobs of the future; Now you ask; Room 5 | Radio

The Nolan Show (BBC Radio Ulster) | BBC Sounds
Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future | apple.com
Now You’re Asking with Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Room 5 (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds

“Stephen, I use my milk until I see all the little white bits floating on top of the cup,” says Norman from Bangor. “I remember getting a packet of crisps and they were a year out of date. I ate them and they were as good as the crisps you would buy tomorrow in a store.”

It’s Tuesday morning, the day after the revelations about the evening of containment n ° 10 bring your alcohol. On Radio 4 Today program, on 5 live and LBC, we talk about little else. Even Mike Graham on TalkRadio stammers at Johnson’s hubris: “All of you who say it doesn’t matter, move on: I’m afraid it won’t.” On LBC, James O’Brien talks on repeat about Johnson’s psychology: “The only question is, why do people land on his hand like a little sparrow and start pecking at those grains of dishonesty, what get- they in return?”

But on by Stephen Nolan On BBC Radio Ulster’s mid-morning show, Nolan and his listeners discuss whether “the sniff test” can tell if your food is edible. What about ice cream, for example? Does it turn off? “I bought a tub of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream,” says Nolan. “I got it on offer and actually drove about three miles down the road to get the offer. But then I forgot about it for three days! I was furious! I didn’t touch it! Caramel Chew Chew! The show also discussed whether Unionist politicians would refuse to enter government if Sinn Féin won the next Assembly election. But the sniff test chat was much nicer.

Speaking of No 10, which we’re definitely not, the fourth series of the Jimmy’s Jobs of the Future The podcast began last week, in which former Downing Street councilor Jimmy McLoughlin interviews ‘top entrepreneurs’ about modern jobs. (It’s usually something disruptive in childcare, or finance, or gas and electricity.) The interviewee? Rishi Sunak. Sunak was perfectly nice, even though it seemed like he and McLoughlin were talking about another country to, say, Nolan. “From your phone, it’s easy to view your portfolio, make selections,” Sunak said. “If you have an interest in ESG [environmental, social and governance] investing, or net zero, or emerging markets, whatever you want to do. Make it easy, make it personalized. As if everyone has money to invest or free time to monitor what they invest in. We’re too busy sniffing our food to see if it’s edible.

Problem solvers: Tara Flynn and Marian Keyes. Photography: BBC

If you’re looking for more joy and Nolan isn’t for you, then there’s plenty of warm joy to be found in Now you ask, a new Radio 4 show in which actress Tara Flynn and writer Marian Keyes tackle listener issues, such as how to deal with a neighbor who places flamingos in the communal garden. No one so far has a Caramel Chew Chew question, but you think such a dilemma would be ideal for Flynn and Keyes, especially if given a personal twist, eg ice cream is your poor mom’s favorite; should I refreeze and serve it? Their advice is funny and surprisingly touching, and the show goes by quickly.

Helen Merriman
Helena Merriman, ‘completely absorbing’ Room 5 presenter. Photography: Robert Shiret

Also on Radio 4, producer/presenter Helena Merriman has a new series, Room 5. As she did the excellent Cold War investigative podcast Tunnel 29, you might expect this show to be a glimpse of, say, an interrogation room during a war. Really, Room 5 refers to something more personal. In 2019, in Room 5 of her doctor’s office, Merriman was diagnosed with a relatively rare medical condition – otosclerosis – which required a delicate operation and a long and bumpy recovery. Her life was forever changed by her diagnosis, and in this series she interviews people who have gone through something similar. A sensitive and intelligent interviewer, Merriman is interested in what happens after the moment in Room 5. The drugs, the rehab, the strain. The real consequences of a few sentences spoken in a play.

His first interviewee was Bex, who, aged 20, suffered from a series of rapidly worsening symptoms that culminated in an almost continual state of psychosis. She heard voices, had fits, and believed everyone was conspiring against her. She couldn’t tell what was real. A neurologist noticed that Bex had become very attached to a toy penguin, and it reminded him of a similar case he had seen many years ago. The show was reminiscent of Oliver Sacks The man who took his wife for a hat – weird diseases and how they can affect our brains – and it’s very absorbing. Something to think about as you gaze at your melted Chew Chew.

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