SPOILER: Reviewing movies, books & TV shows in their entirety

Joe Shmo

Discussing movies, books and TV shows in their entirety – twists, endings and all – without fear of spoilers. British Podcast Awards & Audio Production Awards nominated.

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“Hello and welcome to the first ever Spoiler awards” In this special lockdown edition of Spoiler, an isolated and delusional Andy fantasises that he is the host of a large scale awards ceremony, The Spoilers, celebrating the cream of the talent involved in the films, TV shows and novels we’ve discussed in our previous fifty-five episodes. Created in conjunction with a feature we ran on our Facebook and Twitter pages in which listeners were asked to vote on nominees in various categories, The Spoilers features big name guests (most of whom decline to make speeches), musical interludes, cornball comedy and a chance to look back at some of the discussions that have made our little show the award-nominated phenomenon that it is! With Rachael, Paul and Jonny all reluctantly dragged along for Andy’s egotistical evening in the spotlight, we hope you’ll join us too to toast the winners, commiserate with the losers and relive those moments from the first five years (how long?!!) of Spoiler that helped us build a new podcast and new friendships. Stay safe everyone.

May 2020

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“When you're in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, that's the best feeling in the world.” Fans of fun, come on in! In our series 8 finale, the Spoiler team are watching Matthew Warchus’s biographical comedy-drama ‘Pride’ and there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that the whole team are going to love it. A traditional Spoiler love-in becomes a full-on celebration of love as the team share the moments that made them cry, laugh and cheer. Paul enthuses about the soundtrack, leading Andy to share his research on whether King, Queen, Prince and Princess have ever all been in the top 40 at the same time. Politics inevitably rears its head, with Rachael delivering a passionate viewpoint on the miners strike, while Paul defends his right to watch films on his phone. Andy waxes lyrical about the beauty of buying someone a pint and everyone takes a moment out to remember the genius of Victoria Wood. After a series in which every episode has seen the team divided, Pride at last unites the group for an uplifting finale. Elsewhere, Andy looks at the growing prominence of LGBTQ representation in children’s TV shows, including ‘Arthur’, ‘The Legend of Korra’ and ‘Steven Universe’. This week’s scale: Did it fill you with pride or Could you not abide pride so much you cried and you thought it was snide no matter how hard you tried you’ve gone against the tide no matter how well you hide inside you’ve died, your brains have been fried all because you couldn’t be plied with Pride!

Jan 2020

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“What if everything that came from the past was influenced by the future.” This week we’re heading to Winden for the time-travelling Netflix drama ‘Dark’ and not everyone is overly impressed with this cult phenomenon. While Rachael is a dedicated fan immersed in the twists and turns of the show’s convoluted family tree, Andy is completely baffled, bored and ultimately bedraggled by his attempts to wade through all ten episodes. And while Paul is on the fence once again, he is disappointed by the fact that the series can travel to three completely different eras and not find a scrap of humour in any of them. While Andy moans endlessly about how thin and uninteresting the characters are, Rachael fights a gallant but losing battle to convince the others that ‘Dark’ is worth the hype. Paul considers whether an electric chair is an appropriate parenting aid and Andy weighs up whether he’d rather face the gallows or season 2 of ‘Dark’. Rachael bemoans the quality of the English dub and extols the importance of setting the language options correctly, something which a bewildered Andy has trouble with. Paul wonders if he’d look good in Jonas’s yellow coat. And while not everyone loves ‘Dark’, the whole team can at least agree on the greatness of Cyndi Lauper. Elsewhere, Andy and Jonny go on a quest through time to find a lost gem amongst time-travel movies of the past, including ‘Biggles: Adventure in Time’, ‘12:01pm’ and ‘Timescape’. This week’s scale: Dunkel (Dark) or Leicht Bewölkt (Slightly Overcast)

Dec 2019

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“You don't have time to think up there. If you think, you're dead.” This week we’re watching Tony Scott’s action drama ‘Top Gun’ and, while the whole team is in agreement that Tom Cruise is a classic movie star, not everyone thinks this is a classic movie. Surprisingly, it's Andy who enjoyed it the most, leaving Rachael and Paul agog at his enthusiasm. Rachael recalls her old headmaster’s love of the film, while Paul relates his bizarre experience at a Tom Cruise lookalike competition. Rachael is shocked at just how cheesy and sweaty ‘Top Gun’ is, while Andy sets aside his appreciation of the film to examine the significant shortcomings of the script, which he feels contains one of the most offensive lines in 80s cinema. The whole team wince at Maverick’s obnoxious toilet-invading persistence and a steamy scene of stomach-turning snogging, before debating the relative merits of Val Kilmer. Paul shares his phobia of hot air balloons and everybody gets the giggles at the mere mention of the word “bogeys”. And the team discuss their hopes and reservations about the upcoming sequel ‘Maverick’. Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at the relationship between cinema and flight, from the airborne derring-do of ‘Wings’ to the famous flying bicycles of ‘E.T.’ This week’s scale: Top Gun or Bottom Burp

Nov 2019

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“Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” This week we’re reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and in a strange twist of events Rachael arrives underprepared while Paul has conducted extensive research! Rachael confesses that she left it until the last minute to read the book but attributes her mixed reaction to years of watching film and TV adaptations of this story which have drained away the element of surprise. Andy, a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, explains why a mystery with such a disappointing ending still stands out among Conan Doyle’s canon and Paul coerces everyone into admitting that Sherlock Holmes is a bit of a git. Andy recreates his experience of visiting 221B Baker Street and what a disappointment it was meeting the “real” Dr. Watson, while Rachael wonders whether a demon dog is any more cause for “brown trousers time” than a regular dog that still goes for your throat. And just what is a Grimpen Mire? Paul, of all people, has looked it up! Elsewhere, Rachael looks at some of literature’s greatest haunted houses, including ‘Jane Eyre’s Thornfield Hall, ‘The Woman in Black’s Eel Marsh House and Edgar Allan Poe’s House of Usher. This week’s scale: As dapper as a deerstalker or As stinky as a pipe filled with shag tobacco that’s been left to rot in the Grimpen Mire

Oct 2019

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“It goes on forever, six bloody minutes!” This week we’re watching Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher’s Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Not every member of the Spoiler team is a Queen fan and not everyone is a fan of this film either. While Rachael knows she’s being manipulated by the film but is happy to enjoy the experience, Andy unleashes a tirade against bad writing, overrated acting and cheap tactics. Paul, meanwhile, is on the fence but a wobblier fence that usual, with a dodgy recreation of Live Aid threatening to knock him off his splintered seat. The team finally find themselves in perfect harmony when they bond over some amazing isolated vocal tracks of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, Rachael discusses the positive effect the film had on her nephew and Andy defends the film against accusations of homophobia. And, of course, we talk about those teeth! Elsewhere, Paul takes a look back at Live Aid; the highs, the lows and the lasting legacy of the event. This week’s scale: Aaaaaayyyyyyy-ooooooooohhhh or Oooooooohhh-nooooooooo

Sep 2019

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“The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love” The Spoiler team are back for series 8 and what better way to celebrate our 50th episode than by finally acknowledging the elephant in the recording studio that’s been hanging over Paul since series 1; Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s definitive film musical ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. It’s no secret that Andy and Rachael both adore this eternal classic but a self-sabotaging Paul is having none of it, putting off watching it until the first day back at work after the Christmas holidays and subsequently dismissing everything as annoying, bizarre and too yellow. That said, he just can’t get the ‘Good Morning’ song out of his head! Andy tells the story of his previous, magical viewing of the film on the big screen and Rachael warns of the dangers of trying to recreate the dance moves in real life. While everyone agrees that the central romance completely lacks chemistry, a grumpy Paul fails to get anyone else to say a bad word about Donald O’Connor’s Cosmo or the famous title routine, which he thinks Morecambe and Wise did better. And Andy gives Paul an intensive grilling with a specially-prepared set of notes designed to highlight the contradictions in our beloved host. Elsewhere, Andy takes an in-depth look at a comparatively overlooked Hollywood musical, Mervyn LeRoy and Busby Berkley’s 1933 classic ‘Gold Diggers of 1933’. This episode of Spoiler is brought to you by the letter C. This week’s scale: Singin’ in the Rain or a wet Wednesday night in Wigan

Aug 2019

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“We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” It’s the end of series 7 and the Spoiler team have finally got round to a Steven Spielberg film. So which classic have we gone for? ‘Jaws’? ‘Jurassic Park’? ‘Schindler’s List’ perhaps? No, we’ve opted for probably the most reviled film in this great director’s canon; the 2008 Indiana Jones revival ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’. With the intention of giving this fan-lambasted underdog a fair hearing, the team discover much to enjoy in the extremely-flawed but lively romp including a charisma-oozing Harrison Ford, the return of Karen Allen to our screens, a would-be-iconic reintroduction of the beloved central character and some fun, exciting action scenes. Hell, they even loved the ants! But don’t despair ‘...Crystal Skull’ haters, there’s plenty of downsides to discuss including easily-deletable characters, ropey CGI, cliched plot developments, awful accents and, of course, that lead-lined refrigerator. Also discussed is the ongoing debate on whether this film is better or worse than ‘Temple of Doom’, how Rachael was in love with practically every cast member from the original trilogy and why the blazes Paul has still not seen ‘...Last Crusade’. And just what is The ‘Ratatouille’ effect? Andy explains. Elsewhere, Andy becomes a treasure hunter himself as he goes searching for hidden Easter Eggs in vinyl albums by The Beatles, the Monty Python team and ELO. This week’s scale: A £500 bottle of Cristal from Fortnum and Mason or a bottle of Blue Nun from the corner shop

Nov 2018

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“Is it not better some things remain hidden from our minds?” This week, against Paul’s express wishes, the Spoiler team have accepted a listener request and are reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s philosophical fantasy novel ‘The Buried Giant’. This dense meditation on collective memory pretty much splits the team three ways, with professed fantasy fan Rachael wishing for more fantastical elements and Andy, who is ambivalent at best about the fantasy genre, pleased to find the emphasis more on themes and ideas than on ogres and pixies. Paul, meanwhile, is perplexed and frustrated by the slow pace, the lack of action and the fact that everyone is so unnecessarily courteous. It doesn’t help that certain elements of the book also remind him of Chris de Burgh! Regardless of their opinions on the text itself, the team use it as a jumping-off point for interesting discussions on our reaction as human beings to concepts and events that we struggle to process. And everyone agrees that the numerous critical comparisons with ‘Game of Thrones’ are as lazy as DJs who play The Bangles ‘Manic Monday’ on a Monday morning. Elsewhere, Rachael takes a sublimely uplifting look at Kazuo Ishiguro’s lesser-known stint as a jazz lyricist, with plenty of lovely musical interludes to enjoy. This week’s scale: A giant in the world of fiction or a book that should be buried deep, deep in the ground

Nov 2018

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“Wasting my time, employers' time, your time. And all it does is humiliate me, grind me down. Or is that the point?” This week, in a very special bumper episode of Spoiler, we’re watching Ken Loach’s 2016 drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and the team are all in agreement that it is one of the most important films of its era. With strong opinions coming from all sides, emotions run high as we discuss the benefits system, food banks, homelessness and dignity. Paul asks whether the depiction of job centre employees in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is fair and Andy, who has been through several periods of unemployment, shares some of his own experiences of the system. Rachael celebrates the film’s refusal to pander to stereotypical expectations regarding the unemployed and everyone doffs their caps to the performances of Hayley Squires and Dave Johns, who make a film that could have seemed relentlessly bleak into something genuinely entertaining. Paul shares some of his much loved IMDB trivia about job centre water-coolers and the whole team share the specific moments in the film where they shed tears, including the already-famous food bank scene. Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at some other screen depictions of unemployment including ‘Bicycle Thieves’, ‘Drifting Clouds’ and ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’. This week’s scale: Why Aye, Daniel Blake or Nay Chance, Daniel Blake

Oct 2018

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“Isn't it strange, to create something that hates you?” This week the Spoiler team are trying to get to grips with the intricacies of Alex Garland’s psychological sci-fi thriller ‘Ex Machina’ starring Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. A film that has long been on the Spoiler back-burner, ‘Ex Machina’ ultimately proves divisive among the team with Rachael and Paul enjoying it more than Andy, whom Paul declares has “lost it” after he declares that he doesn’t like ‘Black Mirror’ either. While Rachael yearns for a sci-fi film with a happy ending for a change, Paul promises to share a theory about one of the character’s fates that will blow the whole discussion wide open and may just provide that coveted glimmer of hope. There’s no hope for Andy though, who isn’t even completely convinced by Oscar Isaac’s acclaimed performance as the unpredictable genius Nathan. Paul takes a moment to flag up the overlooked fourth character Kyoko in a film that is often referred to as a three-hander and the team discuss how the illusion of synthetic bodies changes the nature of screen nudity. Elsewhere, Rachael takes a look at unexpected dance scenes in films including ‘Pretty in Pink’, ‘Blast from the Past’ and ‘Love Actually’. This week’s scale: Ideal viewing on a flight to Norway or “There’s Norway I’m watching that again”

Oct 2018

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“Tea without sugar is just vegetable soup” This week we’re watching the first series of Mackenzie Crook’s 2014 sitcom ‘Detectorists’ and, perhaps predictably, it’s a complete love-in. With no-one willing to criticise such a brilliant series just for the sake of it, Andy talks about how the show made him almost glad to have a cold, Rachael tells of how she overcame her initial misgivings about where the romantic subplot was heading and Paul once again proves that his aversion to recommendations is doing him more harm than good. The team discuss an encouraging trend towards more progressive attitudes in modern sitcoms and how ‘Detectorists’ refusal to undercut moments of genuine sentiment make it a truly adorable series. Meanwhile, Paul manages to get in another reference to ‘Horrible Histories’. And just what is a “Detoctorate”? Find out by downloading this episode. Elsewhere, Andy takes an epic look at the more experimental side of sitcoms with reference to ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, ‘MASH’ and ‘The Young Ones’. This week’s scale: A gold dance or a year’s subscription to Ringpull Monthly

Sep 2018

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“If she ever kisses you, I'll turn you into a prince. Prince of the Land of Stench!" The Spoiler team are back for series 7 and we’re kicking off by watching Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy adventure ‘Labyrinth’ starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and an array of fantastic puppets. As lifelong Jim Henson devotees, Rachael and Andy are suckers for this film, but due to a childhood trauma involving basketball and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, Paul needs a little more convincing. Andy relates how ‘Labyrinth’ made him a better, less pretentious critic while Rachael explains how Bowie is really the Goblin King pretending to be David Bowie. The relative merits of puppetry and CG are debated, Andy has something controversial to say about the ‘Paddington’ films and Rachael dips into the IMDB Parent’s Guide to see just what they have to say about that infamous codpiece. Ultimately, Paul’s inability to comprehend the idea of partying with goblins shines a light on how ‘Labyrinth’ may work better for those whose connection with their youth wasn’t severed by an encroaching obsession with Depeche Mode B-sides. Also, we answer the age-old question: Jennifer Connelly. Too much? Elsewhere, in a touching tribute to the architect of her childhood, Rachael casts and affectionate eye over the life and work of Jim Henson and the affect the great man had on her personally. This week’s scale: Golden Years or The Tin Machine of Stench

Sep 2018

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In the run up to our series 7 première episode on Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’, the Spoiler team are proud to present a very special episode on the art of puppetry in which Andy talks to British puppeteer, actor, producer and director Nigel Plaskitt about his long and varied career. Nigel discusses his work on the sophisticated pre-school series ‘Pipkins’ in which he played the iconic character Hartley Hare, including the pioneering approach the series took to the death of its presenter and the reason for Hartley’s distinctive, “manky” appearance. Nigel also reminisces about the excitement of being involved with the savagely satirical British comedy series ‘Spitting Image’, the experience of working on Hollywood classics ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into setting up international versions of ‘Sesame Street’ and training new puppeteers for the stage musical ‘Avenue Q’. Other subjects include how Nigel upset Billy Ocean by pipping him to the number one spot, whether empathising too much with your puppets is a doorway to madness, and why the classic children’s series ‘Round the Bend’ still hasn’t been released on DVD. Nigel also talks for the first time about his new pre-school series ‘Monty and Co.’ and what it is like to work with a lawyer who has also written episodes of ‘Chucklevision’. You can find out more about Nigel and his work at his website www.nigelplaskitt.com and about this new children’s series ‘Monty and Co.’ at www.montyandco.co.uk.

Jun 2018

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"I just thought there would be more than this..."  It’s the end of series six and the Spoiler team are going out on a high by looking at Richard Linklater’s experimental coming-of-age drama ‘Boyhood’. With a two hour plus film covering a twelve year timespan to get through, Andy and Rachael try desperately to make Paul come to terms with the fact that Linklater chose to open the soundtrack with Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’. With this stumbling block successfully traversed, the team get to grips with ‘Boyhood’s daunting scope, with Andy finding the film to be a valuable historical document of an era and Rachael asserting that, far from being about nothing as its harshest critics have suggested, ‘Boyhood’ is about everything. Paul declares Ethan Hawke’s performance to be a revelation, sparking a barrage of recommendations from long-term Hawke-fans Rachael and Andy, and Patricia Arquette is recognised by everyone as “quietly brilliant”. Andy sets about fixing Ethan Hawke’s failed attempt to put together a coherent compilation of solo Beatles songs and the relative merits of ‘Mull of Kintyre’ and ‘We All Stand Together’ are debated. Rachael condemns the repetitive trope of the alcoholic husband, while Paul, as a parent himself, sympathises with the paraphrased quote “Get in the car and cut the horse-poo atttitude”. Elsewhere, Andy looks back at his love affair with indie cinema and attempts to define the elusive term ‘independent’. This week’s scale: Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ or Doves’ ‘The Cedar Room’

Jan 2018

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"At least you'll never be a vegetable. Even artichokes have hearts!”  The Spoiler team are dusting off their best GCSE French as this week we take a look at Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s quirky romantic comedy ‘Amelie’ starring Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz. While this is one of Rachael’s favourite films of all time, the rest of the team might take a little more convincing. With Paul on the fence once more, whose side will he ultimately come down upon? Will it be Rachael’s side, where the allure of Parisian apartments and café culture looms large and there is ample room to project our fantasies and desires onto the lead characters? Or will Andy’s talk of non-entity romantic leads, kitten photographs and too many subplots coax Paul into his slightly more withered garden of doubt? Would Audrey Tautou have been better suited to silent cinema than the talkies? Is talking about Princess Diana as controversial as upsetting cat owners? Did art take over to stop this film from becoming a masterpiece (whatever the hell that means!)? We tackle all these burning issues as well as answering the ultimate question: kissing on the eyes… romantic or ooky? Elsewhere, inspired by ‘Amelie’s enrapturing effect on her, Rachael counts down her top 5 feelgood French films to lift your spirits on those rainy days of the soul. This week’s scale: Tres bien or Tres mal

Jan 2018

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"He's a natural born world-shaker"  This week we’re watching Stuart Rosenberg’s classic prison drama ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and the team are all getting steamed up over how devastatingly attractive Paul Newman is. But while Paul is happy to ogle him online and try to emulate his lean, he is not totally convinced by a film that seems like a badly stitched together set of sketches. In an attempt to get to the bottom of exactly why he didn’t connect with ‘Cool Hand Luke’, Paul asks Andy and Rachael to explain why the film is considered a classic. While Rachael goes straight to her beloved music and sings the praises of composer Lalo Schifrin’s jazzy score, Andy pinpoints performance as the key to the film’s brilliance. While no-one’s that taken with the heavy-handed religious angle, Andy and Rachael struggle to convince Paul that a symbol of oppression is worth anything if they happen to be dead. Still, everyone enjoys the egg-eating scene and, despite once believing it was impossible, Andy unearths details of the current record-holder in boiled egg eating, who has bested Luke’s record by some considerable distance. Also, the team discuss whether the life story of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ screenwriter Donn Pearce would make a better movie in itself. Elsewhere, inspired by the numerous collaborations between Stuart Rosenberg and Paul Newman, Rachael looks at some other long-term actor-director partnerships. This week’s scale: Cool Hand Luke or Cool Hand Puke

Dec 2017

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“The D is silent” This week we’re watching Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist western ‘Django Unchained’ starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio and the team are in two minds about its uncomfortable mixture of tones. While Paul wonders if presenting Spoiler has made him extra-sensitive, Rachael discusses her differing reactions to cartoonish splatter and realistic brutality, while Andy feels that the film merely uses slavery as a catalyst to stoke the flames of the audience’s bloodlust. While Rachael cringes at Tarantino’s decision to include jarring modern music on the soundtrack when he had access to the supreme Ennio Morricone, Andy suggests that Tarantino’s penchant for homage may undermine his own unique voice. Paul explains the etiquette of watching violent 18 rated films in coffee shops and the team discuss whether revenge films are morally acceptable in a society that is perhaps too in love with violence already. On the plus side, everyone adores Christoph Waltz. And is Quentin Tarantino really comparable to J.K. Rowling? Elsewhere, Andy explores whether real life tragedy can ever be successfully combined with fiction, with reference to the ‘X-Men’ films, ‘Quantum Leap’ and Jerry Lewis’s lost item of cult obsession ‘The Day the Clown Cried’. This week’s scale: Taranti-no or Taranti-yes

Dec 2017

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“There should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives” This week the Spoiler team are feeling inspired as we read R.J. Palacio’s children’s novel ‘Wonder’. Paul predicts that Andy, given his favourite film is ‘Dumbo’, will enjoy this (for the record, Paul’s favourite film is ‘Paddington’) and its themes of kindness make Rachael a shoo-in but Paul teases the group by managing to spin out his opinion for as long as possible. Still, all the misdirection in the world can’t ultimately hide the fact that everyone loved this book and tears flow freely as Paul deliberately skirts the issue of Daisy the dog’s passing, Andy recounts a childhood experience of prejudice and Rachael remembers her relationship with her own grandmother. Rachael illustrates the difference between bullying and a gentle ribbing by making fun of Paul's strange pronunciation of the word ‘Mobile’, while Andy wonders if the novel could have found a place for the voice of school bully Julian. On the subject of voices, Paul struggles with his usual routine of listening to the audio book when he finds the impersonation of a child’s voice unlistenable but fortunately the YouTube channel ‘Mrs. Powers Loves to Read’ comes to his rescue. And the team get to the bottom of the mystery of the strange man who has been seen around Lincoln punching the air and crying at birch trees. Elsewhere, Rachael decries the modern phenomenon of replacing book covers with images from their movie adaptations, a dubious honour bestowed upon ‘Wonder’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. This week’s scale: A respectful abstention

Nov 2017

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"What is so special about Josh Baskin?” “He’s a grown up!” The Spoiler team are back and we all reckoned it was criminal that we still hadn’t looked at a Tom Hanks film yet. We’re rectifying this by kicking off series 6 with Penny Marshall’s 1988 fantasy comedy ‘Big’. While Andy and Rachael both grew up with ‘Big’, Paul lives up to his reputation for procrastination by only having seen it for the first time a couple of days ago. While this precludes Paul from joining in with the rest of the team’s impromptu recreation of the ‘Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop’ song, the magic of this charming film proves as effective on a 41 year old man as it was on two wide-eyed pre-teens. Andy reluctantly recounts his inadvertent encyclopaedic knowledge of body-swap comedies and reveals how he himself fared when he took on the Ice Wizard (spoiler: his hesitancy cost him dearly!). The team also discuss some of ‘Big’s more questionable elements, such as the scene of “hand-on-bra action” between a 13 year old boy and an adult woman. Rachael wonders whether switching the genders of the lead characters would have made a difference to audience reactions and, of course, highlights the importance of the score in diminishing our misgivings. While Andy tries desperately to stop a determined Paul from asking all the questions you’re not supposed to ask about the Zoltar machine, everyone appreciates the authenticity of the classic ‘Heart and Soul’ piano scene, bum notes and all, but Rachael wonders whether ‘Big: The Musical’ might have been a step too far. Elsewhere, inspired by John Heard’s performance as Paul Davenport, Andy reveals his top 5 baddies who weren’t really that bad, including Walter Peck from ‘Ghostbusters’, the hyenas from ‘The Lion King’ and Eddie Cochran’s parents in the rock ‘n’ roll classic ‘Summertime Blues’. This week’s scale: Big or Gib (and yes, it is a word!)

Nov 2017

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In the final in a short series of very special episodes of Spoiler, Andy continues his quest to convince people that animation is more than just ‘kid’s stuff’ by talking to some of the medium’s greatest names. In this episode Andy talks to Canadian animator and artist Sheldon Cohen about his long and distinguished career. Best known for the Canadian institution that is ‘The Sweater’, Sheldon provides insights into the making of this beautiful and consistently popular film, recalls his positive experiences with the National Film Board of Canada and shares his initial intentions of becoming a dentist. Dentistry’s loss is quite clearly animation’s gain, although Sheldon also shares his theory that animation is “insane” but also speaks lovingly of the magic inherent in the medium, as evidenced in his wonderful adaptations of the children’s books of  Dayal Kaur Khalsa. With his recent return to the world of animation with his latter-day masterpiece ‘My Heart Attack’, Sheldon also shares his experiences of animation as an outlet for telling a deeply personal story and as a therapeutic tool. You can find out more about Sheldon and his work at his website Bysheldoncohen.blogspot.co.uk or in his memoir ‘This Sweater Is For You’. You can also check out Andy’s list of 1001 Animated Shorts You Must See at andystoons.wordpress.com.

Nov 2017

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In the fourth in a short series of very special episodes of Spoiler, Andy continues to sing the praises of animation as an overlooked medium and illustrates the point by interviewing some of animation’s brightest talents. In this episode Andy talks to Canadian animator John Weldon, who provides fascinating insights into a career spanning over four decades. John discusses the wide range of styles in which he has worked, including hand-drawn, computer and stop-motion animation. He talks about his pioneering work in the combination of live action and animation and the creation of his own personal technique Recyclomation. John also discusses his Oscar winning 1978 short ‘Special Delivery’ and the controversy that surrounded its depiction of crime and adultery versus it just being really funny! Despite being known for his literate, philosophical scripts, John also shares his surprise at being informed by a Korean film crew that his film’s have an epistemological theme. You can find out more about John and his work at his website Weldonalley.ca. You can also check out Andy’s list of 1001 Animated Shorts You Must See at andystoons.wordpress.com.

Oct 2017

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In the third in a short series of very special episodes of Spoiler, Andy pushes on with his mission to convince the world that animation is an under appreciated, magical medium by interviewing some of his favourite animators. In this episode Andy talks to Canadian animation team Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, creators of the Oscar-nominated shorts ‘When the Day Breaks’ and ‘Wild Life’. Wendy and Amanda offer insights into their unique animation techniques, their fondness for the collaborative process and the delicate balance in finding the perfect tone for your film. Wendy gives a fascinating account of producing a paint-on-glass animation while Amanda extols the virtue of animating as a joyous escape. As huge animation fans themselves, Wendy and Amanda also share their experiences of hosting the annual Bleak Midwinter animation festival in their hometown of Calgary and extend a warm-hearted invitation to Andy to drop by if he ever makes it over to Canada. You can find out more about Wendy, Amanda and their work at their website Tilbyforbis.com. You can also check out Andy’s list of 1001 Animated Shorts You Must See at andystoons.wordpress.com.

Oct 2017

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In the second in a short series of very special episodes of Spoiler, Andy is given free rein to wax rhapsodic about the medium of animation and interview some of his heroes from the animation community. In this episode Andy talks to British animator Joanna Quinn, creator of the formidable Welsh housewife Beryl and director of Channel 4’s Oscar-nominated Christmas classic ‘Famous Fred’. Joanna share her experiences of the differences between commercial and personal animation and between animating for adults and children. She also recalls the surreal experience of hearing you’ve been nominated for an Oscar and extols the importance of redressing the gender imbalance in animated films. Joanna also explains the origin of her satirical masterpiece ‘Britannia’ and how it has had a resurgence of popularity in the current political climate, and provides a tantalising glimpse of her top secret new Beryl film. You can find out more about Joanna and her work at her website Berylproductions.co.uk. You can also check out Andy’s list of 1001 Animated Shorts You Must See at andystoons.wordpress.com.

Sep 2017

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In the first in a short series of very special episodes of Spoiler, Andy attempts to demonstrate how underrated animation is by interviewing some of the brightest talents associated with the medium. In this extraordinary feature-length episode Andy talks to American writer, director and animator Jerry Rees. Jerry joined Disney at a key transitional time and worked as a character animator on the 1981 classic ‘The Fox and the Hound’. Jerry shares tales of his immense good luck in finding a position with Disney at such a young age, his encounters with legendary animators and the frustrations experienced by a new wave of animators trying to innovate within a rigidly established regime. Jerry also shares his experiences of working on the computer effects for the 1982 film ‘Tron’ and the differing reactions to computer animation in its infancy. Fascinating as this all is, both Andy and Jerry are clearly keenest to talk about Jerry’s own animated directorial debut ‘The Brave Little Toaster’, a film that Andy believes to be one of the top five animated features of all time and which Jerry poured his heart and soul into getting made. Along with insights into the production process, the voice casting and the music of this underseen masterpiece, Jerry shares details of how to find the perfect sound effect for a lamp bedding down for the night, how to motivate an actor to record all of their lines in a single voiceover session and serenades Andy with his pitch-perfect impersonation of Jon Lovitz. You can find out more about Jerry and his work at his website Jerryrees.com and about the prospect of a ‘Brave Little Toaster’ sequel at Reflectionsofatoaster.com. You can also check out Andy’s list of 1001 Animated Shorts You Must See at andystoons.wordpress.com.

Sep 2017

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“A man becomes a critic when he cannot be an artist” It’s the end of series 5 and the Spoiler team celebrate this momentous landmark by returning to our very first episode in which Paul, in a fit of pique over Alejandro Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’ beating ‘Whiplash’ to the Best Picture Oscar, hinted at his dislike for the film, Rachael defended it and Andy declared himself undecided. Nearly two years down the line, how have the team’s opinions changed? Despite still feeling that it’s “too actory”, Paul surprises everyone by absolutely loving ‘Birdman’ second time round, while Andy (for whom this is the fourth time round) has decided the film is “tonally weird”. Rachael highlights the importance of the excellent performances and the team all agree that Michael Keaton is an underrated talent, even if this may be the first role he could really get his teeth into since ‘Beetlejuice’. Paul reminisces about recording TV theme tunes on his ZX Spectrum tape recorder, Rachael tries to keep her heartbeat in check as it attempts to mimic ‘Birdman’s rhythmic drum score and Andy attempts to think of a better alternative ending for the film than Birdman on the toilet. The series ends with the team in tears of laughter as Paul unleashes his unexpected rating scale. Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at the ‘it was all a dream’ trope in movies and TV shows and examines the theory of the ‘Tommy Westphall Universe’ which suggests that 90% of the audiovisual entertainment we love is taking place inside the head of one young boy. This week’s scale: Birdman or Bird-bob man

Jul 2017

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“If love be rough with you, be rough with love” Three reviewers, alike in temperament (if not always in opinion), sit down this week to talk some serious culture as the Spoiler team take a look at Baz Luhrmann’s Shakespeare adaptation ‘Romeo + Juliet’. Paul wonders just how many meads he must have had when he suggested we tackle the Bard, while Andy shares his concerns that talking Shakespeare could expose the fact he’s not as clever as he’s often credited with being. Self-proclaimed Shakespeare traditionalist Rachael struggles with the MTV style of Luhrmann’s film but applauds his contribution to making the Bard’s work the visual experience it was always intended to be. While Paul bemoans the fact that Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (For a Film)’ is not as deep as he once thought but delights in the fact that Billy Bragg’s ‘Between the Wars’ gets even better with age, Andy questions whether Rachael’s interest in the ‘Hollow Crown’ series has more to do with her love of language or the presence of a certain Mr. Hiddleston. And the team debate whether the word ‘punished’ is made more dramatic by the addition of an extra syllable. Elsewhere, Rachael takes a look at some less-obvious Shakespeare adaptations that reinterpret the Bard’s work in a looser fashion, including ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘The Lion King’. This week’s scale: True love or “All are punish-ed”

Jul 2017

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“Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices” This week we’re watching Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian thriller ‘Children of Men’, starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Pam Ferris and not all the team are entirely convinced. While Rachael is “saturated” in the film and Paul wonders how this hidden gem passed him by, Andy finds it impossible to connect with ‘Children of Men’ on an emotional level and would rather spend the show discussing daytime quiz show ‘Countdown’. While the team are in full agreement about the film’s technical excellence, Andy and Rachael are at odds over the performances of the cast and Paul takes issue with claims that the film is a story that has had its guts ripped out and nothing put back in their place. Despite the disharmony, Paul shares his plans for surviving an imminent apocalypse and gives the team 4 hours to join him in his Co-Op distribution centre. And for all you Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon fans, we’ll be showing you how to get from Clive Owen to our own producer Jonny Haw in just two moves. Elsewhere, inspired by the cat that likes to climb up Clive Owen’s leg, Rachael takes a look at some of her favourite cats in films, including Jonesy from ‘Alien’ and Cosmic Creepers from ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’. This week’s scale: Clive Owen or Danny Dyer

Jun 2017

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“I just want to cry… all the time” This week we’re watching Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark comedy ‘Fleabag’, starring Waller-Bridge herself, Sian Clifford, Bill Paterson, Olivia Colman and Hugh Dennis. Both Rachael and Andy share stories of how their own mental health issues affected their first viewings of the series, which the whole team concur is an astounding piece of television. While Paul wonders if the play from which the series originated might cure his aversion to the theatre, Rachael yet again finds herself falling in love with a captivating leading lady. As Andy celebrates the presence of Bill Paterson with a simple one-word declaration, Olivia Colman’s dead on portrayal of an evil stepmother brings out Rachael’s inner slapper! And Paul uses the presence of Hugh Dennis as an opportunity to quote the ‘Mary Whitehouse Experience’ sketches that he knows word for word. Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at the time-honoured art of fourth-wall breaking and asks the all-important question: Is ‘Deadpool’ any more revolutionary than ‘Lovejoy’? This week’s scale: BBC3 or ITV3

Jun 2017

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“You never had a camera in my head” Have you ever had the feeling you’re being watched? The Spoiler team certainly have and we share those experiences as we take a look at Peter Weir’s comedy-drama ‘The Truman Show’, starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris and Natascha McElhone. While Andy calls ‘The Truman Show’ “one of the defining films of the 90s", Paul wonders whether his problem with Ed Harris extends beyond the hat he wears in this film and Rachael recounts how she came to see Jim Carrey as more than just a “gurning bloke”. The team get serious as they examine the psychological implications of Truman’s imprisonment and discuss the real life condition known as The Truman Show Delusion, while also wondering why on earth we don’t see more of Laura Linney and Natascha McElhone in leading roles. Rachael offers the team nuggets of trivia mined from her newly acquired second DVD copy of the film and Andy throws down the gauntlet to Richard Herring over the comedian’s assessment that ‘The Truman Show’ is a “good idea, badly and illogically explored”. Elsewhere, Rachael lists her top 5 comic actors who have successfully undertaken serious roles, including Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and, of course, Robin Williams. This week’s scale: Big Brother from ‘1984’ or ‘Big Brother’s Nasty Nick

Jun 2017

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“Now I know what a TV dinner feels like” The Spoiler team are back and we’re kicking off series 5 with a listener choice, John McTiernan’s action-thriller ‘Die Hard’, starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia and Alan Rickman. Despite Paul stating emphatically in his introduction that ‘Die Hard’ is not a Christmas film, Andy and Rachael set about trying to convince him that it is by employing tenuous links and obscure lines of dialogue. As Rachael and Paul struggle to remember if this is the one with the building or the aeroplanes, Andy ties himself in knots with elaborate theories on symbolism, all for the sake of a lousy pun. While the team seem to enjoy the film, they also enjoy picking it to pieces for its racial stereotypes, wobbly dialogue and an inverse snobbery about people who work from behind desks. Andy has to be restrained and, ultimately, censored in his determination to quote the movie’s most famous line, Rachael admires Bruce Willis’s funny little pout and the team imagine an alternate universe in which Frank Sinatra played the role of John McClane. And, of course, everyone loves Alan Rickman. Elsewhere, Andy looks at the art of the movie sequel and lists five sequels which have equalled or surpassed the original films from which they stemmed. Controversially, at least as far as Paul is concerned, the list does not include ‘Ghostbusters 2’. This week’s scale: 640 million dollars in bearer bonds or £6.40 in a postal order

May 2017

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In a prestigious special episode of Spoiler, the rest of the team stand down to allow Rachael a whole show in which to explore her passion for the composers without whom the films and TV shows we love so much would not be half as effective. Having made her point by imagining a world in which Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ was scored by Vangelis, Rachael probes further into the world of score composition in interviews with Classic FM composer in residence Debbie Wiseman (‘Wolf Hall’, ‘Dickensian’), American composer Deborah Lurie (‘An Unfinished Life’, ‘Safe Haven’) and Stephen Rennicks, whose regular collaborations with director Lenny Abrahamson include award-winning scores for ‘Frank’ and ‘Room’. Among other insights, Rachael discusses her guest’s proudest achievements among their own compositions and whether they consider composing to be a vocation. She receives invaluable advice on how to approach the challenge of getting into the business and on maintaining that all-important balance between artistic freedom and commercial success. Elsewhere, Rachael discovers to her horror that Stephen Rennicks is not overly found of the music he composed for ‘Room’ and takes him to task over this audacious heresy! The Spoiler Composer Special is also the perfect opportunity to hear rousing excerpts from the scores that have so inspired Rachael and millions of other film, TV and music enthusiasts. Incidentally, if you enjoy the music in the show, we've put together a Spotify playlist of all the featured tracks.

Mar 2017

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“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”  It’s the end of series 4 and love is in the air in this bumper length show as the team discuss Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally...’ As Rachael and Paul tussle with the distinction between rom-coms and chick-flicks, Andy slightly flusters the rest of the team by declaring his love for them, before unleashing a five minute diatribe on the state of the modern romantic comedy. Paul reminisces about the video shop at the end of his street, Rachael tries to define what makes Meg Ryan so damn captivating and Andy comes up with an analogy for why the famous orgasm scene works so well that might just get the whole team banned from further broadcasting. Rachael offers a touching tribute to the film that sparked her own lifelong love affair with jazz while Paul tries to crib notes from Andy’s adoring stories about his wife and, despite claiming to be little more than an awkward boy at heart, shares his own love for making his wife laugh. But it’s not all flowers and chocolates, as elsewhere Rachael looks at the disappointment that can result from letting rom-coms set your romantic expectations and Andy takes a look at one-line wonders, our cinematic surrogates who somehow manage to bag the best lines. This week’s scale: I’ll have what she’s having or a wagon-wheel coffee table

Jan 2017

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“I don’t work for you. I work for the building” This week we’re watching Ben Wheatley’s film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s supposedly "unfilmable" dystopian thriller ‘High-Rise’ and the team are at odds again, though not about Tom “so handsome it hurts” Hiddleston. With Andy occupying Paul’s usual spot on the fence, Paul wonders how anyone could possibly put themselves through this film more than once, while Rachael advocates reading the original novel as a possible way to unlock the film’s appeal. While Andy compares ‘High-Rise’ to the music of The Fall, Paul experiments with a new way of saying Rachael’s name while Rachael tries to find a point of entry, causing everyone else to look for a point of exit! Despite Paul’s hankering for some politically-inspired vandalism, everything remains fairly harmonious until the subject of ‘No Country for Old Men’ comes up. Elsewhere in two very different features, Rachael takes a dreamy look at the highs and lows of being a Hiddlestoner while Andy plunges headlong into the nightmare world of screen violence. This week’s scale: Soft, delicious mashed potato or 1980s robot-advertised instant mash

Jan 2017

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“Just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does” This week we’re reading Douglas Adams’ cult sci-fi comedy novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. While Paul wonders if anyone anywhere dislikes this book, Rachael tries her best to cast a critical eye over this beloved work by comparing it to the original radio series, while Andy shares his favourite joke of all time with the team (it involves hippos). Paul describes the difficulty of trying to simultaneously cope with jogging, having a mid-life crisis and listening to this audio book, Andy suggests that knocking back a few drinks might help to realign the brain to Adams’ distinctive brand of logic and the naturally squiffy-brained Rachael sets down her very strict rules for discovering more books that mix the mundane with the fantastical. Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at strange and ludicrous character names in films, Rachael explores the potentially controversial practice of new authors taking on existing series, and both manage to have a pop at James Bond’s sexual politics in the process. This week’s scale: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster or Vogon poetry

Dec 2016

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“I hope that I never see that face ever, outside of a dream” In a first for Spoiler, this week we’re tackling a listener request by watching David Lynch’s neo-noir mystery ‘Mulholland Drive’. In an attempt to disprove his former woodwork teacher’s accusations that he is “easily distracted”, Paul keeps a tight grip on the reins as he leads the team into the labyrinthine world of Lynch’s Los Angeles. Lucid dreamer Rachael ponders whether her connection with the film indicates that she is slightly unhinged, while Andy wonders whether the horror behind Winkie’s could possibly be worse than Billy Ray Cyrus’s line-dancing. As the conversation becomes more complex than the film itself, Paul states his intention to invent a new form of toaster and learn to play the theme tune from ‘Cheers’ on the piano, while Andy and Rachael discuss whether sex and nudity in films is always exploitative and unnecessary. Elsewhere, Andy take a look at three directors whom he believes bring a greater sense of magic to their films than most mere mortals are capable of doing and the team ruminate on whether magic exists in the real world and what form it might take. This week’s scale: Not at all satisfied, Slightly satisfied, Neutral, Very satisfied or Extremely satisfied

Dec 2016

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“I’m watching you” This week we’re watching series one of Channel 4 and AMC’s sci-fi drama ‘Humans’ and for the first time in months the Spoiler team are a house divided. While Rachael finds the series gripping and thought-provoking to the extent that she spends entire evenings mulling it over, Andy arrives with a laundry list of pernickety issues which he wants to go through “systematically”.  Meanwhile, Paul is still enjoying that marvellous view from the fence. While the team manage to find some common ground, things get particularly heated in relation to the quality of acting in the series and Rachael and Andy turn in their own auditions for the roles of Mia and Leo respectively. Suspicions are raised that producer Jonny might be conducting a dual affair with both Andy and a home-made Gemma Chan synth and Paul wonders why, with all this talk of robots, no-one has seen fit to mention Metal Mickey. Elsewhere in a packed show, Rachael reveals her top 5 sympathetic synthetics and Andy takes a look at the underappreciated art of the TV recap sequence. Also, Rachael trails her upcoming Spoiler Score Special, in which she’ll be talking to film and TV composers including Stephen Rennicks, Debbie Wiseman and Deborah Lurie. This week’s scale: Will we be watching series 2?  

Dec 2016

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“I’m in a park and I’m practically dead” The Spoiler team are back from holiday but we’re off on holiday again… by mistake. This week we’re watching Bruce Robinson’s “plotless” black comedy ‘Withnail and I’, starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann and Richard Griffiths. While Paul reluctantly recalls his own experiences of squalid living conditions in the 90s, the “far-from-teetotal” Andy confesses his initial confusion with his subsequently beloved home video edition of the film. Rachael sets about translating chunks of public schoolboy Latin and Paul hits a new broadcasting low with a dull conversation about zippo lighters that rivals the late-night ramblings of Camberwell Carrot devotees. The team also imagine an alternative universe where Withnail was played by Kenneth Branagh and ask whether Paul McGann’s character would have been better left nameless. Elsewhere,the perennially sober Rachael counts down her top 5 movie drunks and, inspired by Richard Griffiths’ performance as Uncle Monty, Andy takes a look at the often uncomfortable relationship between cinema and homosexuality. This week’s scale: 1953 Margaux or lighter fluid  

Nov 2016

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"Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place" This week we join the brat pack in John Hughes' 1985 coming of age comedy drama The Breakfast Club. We discover that this movie is more than just daft haircuts and angry power chords as Paul, who loved The Breakfast Club as a teenager, finds watching it again all these years later a therapeutic experience and he finally accepts he WAS Brian.  Meanwhile, Rachael reveals she was a straight A student and Andy discusses his love/hate relationship with the movie. Later, Paul decides to dress up as Ally Sheedy, which worries a confused Andy who had a crush on the actress, and, as he unleashes his anger at the makeover of his beloved ("a lovely woman ruined"), Racheal takes a look at some other movie makeover scenes including Grease, She's All That, Pretty In Pink and Muriel's Wedding. Andy continues his hot & cold relationship with The Breakfast Club by discussinghis frustration at the ending, and looks at some other movies with disappointing denouements, including It's a Wonderful Life and the first two Superman movies.  And is that a chicken drumstick in Judd Nelson's hand at the end? We love a bit of movie trivia on Spoiler, and The Breakfast Club is a veritable trivia-fest, as we discover that Rick Moranis, John Cusack and Laura Dern were all in the frame for roles in the movie, that Simple Minds weren't the original choice to record "Don't You Forget About Me", and we even find out the make and model of Brian's pen. And we end this series with another of our fiercely fought music quizzes. This time, Andy tests Paul and Rachael's knowledge of 80s movie themes and raises the stakes with two specially made mix tapes as prizes: "The Best of the 80s" for the winner, and "The Worst of the 80s" for the loser, which they MUST promise to listen to in its entirety, despite it including "Daddy's Home" by Cliff Richard. This week's scale: The Breakfast Club or School of Rock

Aug 2016

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"When I was small, I only knew small things" This week we're watching and reading "Room" by Emma Donoghue as we take a look at both the original 2010 book and the 2015 film adaptation starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. The team approach this powerful story with trepidation, especially Paul who was unable to bear the tension of watching the film from start to finish. Andy and Rachael find themselves feeling so protective towards Jack and Ma that they didn't want to close the book and "leave them on their own".  And as we compare and contrast the book with the movie version, we look at what was lost in the adaptation to the big screen, but also what was gained in the brilliant performances of all the cast,in particular the outstanding Jacob Tremblay. Meanwhile, inspired by some of the themes in Room, Andy takes a nostalgic look back at a room which played a big part in his life. This week's scale: Book or Film

Jul 2016

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"I'm not gonna crack up" This week we're watching Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Vertigo starring Kim Novak and James Stewart. Hitchcock virgin Paul is confused by the appearance of Gavin Estler from BBC News 24, Andy reveals that Hitchcock was forced to shoot a rubbish alternate ending which thankfully was never used, and the team consider whether the whole thing could have been avoided if the creepy Nuns had just kept the bell tower door locked. Meanwhile, Rachael lasts a whole 3 minutes before mentioning the soundtrack, which leads her to take a closer look at the work of composer Bernard Herrmann, including his famous score for Hitchcock's Psycho. And Hitchcock fan Andy investigates the Director's penchant for making cameos in his movies. This week's scale: "Vertigo" the movie or "Vertigo" the 2004 U2 song that represents the modern shame of a once great band who used to pay their taxes

Jul 2016

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"At my signal, unleash hell" The keyword this week is EPIC as we watch Ridley Scott's Gladiator, and we quickly discover that our very own Rachael actually worked on this movie!  She lets us in on the experience of making a wig for the modest and self-effacing Russell Crowe and decries the lack of credit given to wig makers in movies.  Paul has been working on his best Maximus Decimus Meridius impression, eulogising Oliver Reed and spotting "The Voice of Iggle Piggle", and the team are mystified at Russell Crowe's Oscar win and come to the conclusion he won it mainly for "squinting a bit". And we hear about a cancelled sequel which would have featured a time travelling Maximus in Vietnam – which Paul swears he hasn't made up. Meanwhile, Andy's verdict:  "It was good". Elsewhere in a packed show, Rachael is inspired by one of the famous improvised lines in Gladiator to look at some more unplanned moments in movies, including Pretty Woman, Good Will Hunting and Harry Potter. And Andy is surprised by the appearance of UK comedian Omid Djalili in Gladiator and seeks out some more unexpected appearances of UK television stars in big Hollywood movies, including Leonard Rossiter and Keith Chegwin! This week's scale:  Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

Jun 2016

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"I’m not a dwarf!" This week we're watching Series 2 of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith's dark comedy anthology Inside No. 9, concentrating first on the wet-your-pants-scary "Séance Time" which had the emotionally available Rachael slamming her laptop shut in terror. In the second half of the show we move on to discuss perhaps the most talked-about episode of series 2, "The 12 Days of Christine", which has the team waxing lyrical about the outstanding class Sheriden Smith brings to this beautifully written and moving episode. Later, Paul reveals how he once spent a lunch break stalking Reece Shearsmith through the streets of Nottingham, and the team are horrified by Andy's revelation that he doesn't find fart jokes funny! Meanwhile, inspired by Inside No. 9's claustrophobic settings, Andy takes a look at other TV shows which have attempted so-called "bottle episodes", including Porridge, One Foot In The Grave, Seinfeld and Red Dwarf. This week's scale: Laugh or Scream

Jun 2016

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"You look like a radioactive tampon" This week we're watching Duncan Jones' 2009 British sci-fi drama Moon starring Sam Rockwell. Paul thanks his drink-ravaged brain for the opportunity to enjoy this film’s twists all over again, while Rachael enjoys the “juicy” soundtrack of this little masterpiece.  Meanwhile, Negative Nancy Andy nearly falls out with Paul over his tiny niggles about this “too blinkin’ good" movie. Later, inspired by Sam Rockwell’s long career as a supporting actor before landing the lead in Moon, Andy looks at some other successful second fiddles. This week's scale: Venus, Mars or Uranus?

Jun 2016

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"Have you ever slept with a dwarf?" This week we step back into 1930s Berlin with Bob Fosse's 1972 musical Cabaret, and Paul finds increasingly elaborate ways to describe his dislike of the lead character Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) while Rachael and Andy try valiantly to argue the film's merits.  Meanwhile, Rachael takes a look at some musicals which may just win over Paul and his fellow musicals haters,and we round off the series with another of our hotly contested Music Quizzes,this time Paul takes on Rachael in a series of questions set by Andy who,sportingly, has attempted to tip the odds in Paul's favour… This week's scale: Parp or Gong?

May 2016

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"It got serious" This week we step into the relatively unexplored and perhaps underappreciated world of Iranian Cinema as we watch Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation", and it's fair to say it's an all-round love-in as the team struggle to fault this powerful and complex drama.  Meanwhile, Andy takes a look at the thriving Iranian sub-genre of movies featuring a child's-eye view of the world dubbed The Cinema of Childhood. This week's scale: No scale

Apr 2016

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“Going outside is highly overrated”  This week we're reading Ernest Kline's "nerdgasm" of a book, Ready Player One.  As Rachael and Andy get in touch with their inner geek, Paul has been frittering away more of his short time on this earth collating every pop culture reference in the book and putting them into another of his legendary remixes (see video version below…). Meanwhile, the dystopian setting of Ready Player One leads Rachael to consider the popularity of dystopian settings in teen fiction, and there's an unscheduled interruption from Andy… This week's rating scale: Tron or Tron: Legacy?

Apr 2016

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"He's a crazy smeg who eats schlanger!" This week we're enjoying/enduring George Miller's 2015 action movie Mad Max: Fury Road, and it turns out to be one of our most divisive subjects yet as Rachael catches her breath long enough to expresses disbelief at its Best Picture Oscar nomination and Andy tries to shake the image of the so-called feminist movie's "hosing down" scene.  Meanwhile, Paul ponders who exactly the Organic Mechanic was. Later, inspired by George Miller's frankly bizarre filmography, Andy takes a look at some other directors who have made weird stylistic shifts.   This week's rating scale:  George Miller, Johnny Lee Miller, Sienna Miller or Windy Miller?

Mar 2016

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"Aw, c'mon. Elephants ain't got no feelings" This week we’re watching the 1941 Disney classic Dumbo.  This “kids film” is one of fully-grown man Andy’s all-time favourites, but will it win over a sceptical Paul and “emotionally available” Racheal? Meanwhile, Andy takes a look at some of Walt Disney’s most pant-wettingly scary moments, and Racheal sets a Disney music quiz, pitting Andy, who has a large collection of Disney DVDs in numbered order, against Paul who “doesn’t watch kids films”... This week’s scale: Champagne, Cava or Blue Nun    

Mar 2016

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“Well, we got a year of happiness” This week we’re watching the (possible) finale of Shane Meadows’ This Is England series, This Is England ’90.  The 4-part series sends Paul, Andy and Rachael on an emotional rollercoaster, from the highs of “It’s Mr Squires in a cupboard!!” to the lows of THAT dinner table scene. Meanwhile, Andy takes a personal look at the life and career of the musician and longtime Shane Meadows collaborator Gavin Clark. This week’s scale: Stone Roses or Brother Beyond?

Feb 2016

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