In the UK, Alastair Campbell’s political podcast is acclaimed by listeners

He swam, as he did every morning, in an unheated swimming pool
quarter. He is proudly wearing a sweatshirt “The rest of the year” (“Brexit’s worst opponent of the year”), offered by the “Vote Leave” team, which campaigned for the exit from the European Union in the 2016 referendum. residence in north London, he could talk for hours… Alastair Campbell , 65, former communications director for Tony Blair, assures in early November “never been so depressed” of British politics.

He seems in good shape though, all about his new project. The former journalist DailyMirror, editor of the weekly magazine New European, prolific writer and passionate advocate for Europe and the left, in March launched a podcast called “The Rest is Politics” with stalwart Conservative Rory Stewart, who was Theresa May’s Secretary of State for International Development. Since the broadcast, the success has not been denied: the podcast, which comments twice a week on the spot and for about 45 minutes on national and international news (the fall of Liz Truss, the Brazilian election, the eventful arrival of Elon Musk on Twitter…), ranks for weeks at the top of Apple’s UK downloads. By October, it accumulated 6 million downloads.

” I can not believe it “, confides this regular on the small screen, who claims to be approached more on the street for “The Rest is Politics” than for his appearance as host of the reality TV show Make me prime minister on Channel 4, where fake prime ministerial aspirants clash. Among Apple’s podcasts, there is another political program that follows “The Rest is Politics”: “The News Agents”, launched this summer by three former star BBC journalists, Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall.

Exchange without getting angry

“People say they are tired of politics, but these successes show that there are still many British people who are passionate about the subject, emphasizes Alastair Campbell. They want to be told differently. » With Rory Stewart, they have a principle: exchange without getting angry, respect the other’s opinion. “The media is so polarized now. For some you are zero, for others brilliant. We try to be more nuanced, to rely on facts. »

A few months ago, football fan Alastair Campbell was approached by Tony Pastor, head of Goalhanger Films, a small production company founded by legendary ex-centre forward Gary Lineker. “Tony and I are both supporters of the Burnley team [dans le nord-ouest de l’Angleterre]. Tony asked me to participate in a podcast on “The Rest is History” that he was already producing, with two historians discussing politics. » Tony Pastor sets a condition: his interlocutor must not be from the left. The production first thinks of Dominic Cummings, the former director of the pro-Brexit campaign. Alastair Campbell declines: he fears he won’t last long with this former special adviser to Boris Johnson.

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