Kermode and Mayo leave the BBC

I have listened to Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review podcast on an iPod and more recently on podcatcher apps on my phones, since 2011. The podcast was a recording of a radio program broadcast on the BBC Radio 5 channel in the UK, with added audio.

In the podcast on April 1, 2022, Simon Mayo mentioned that his pass to a BBC building had been cancelled before he had tried to enter the building for the Friday afternoon radio broadcast and podcast recording. The hosts also recorded a call to the versatile British actor Jason Isaacs. (His performance as Marshall Zhukov in the black comedy The Death of Stalin was brilliant). While the hosts had made “Say Hello to Jason Isaacs” a meme, they only had had Jason Isaacs on the show when he was interviewed about a movie.

The broadcast on April 1, 2022 was the final episode. The end of the show had been mentioned in the show and podcast March 11, 2022. I had missed or misunderstood the announcement. On March 11, 2022, the hosts had announced that the show was ending in tweets, which I had not seen.

My podcatcher did not save the episode, which I expected on April 8. I searched. The seach engines took me to the BBC program and podcast pages – which had become archives of the BBC programs. The BBC did not say, on this pages, that the podcast and the program had stopped. The BBC had posted a news item on March 11, 2022. The Guardian published an informative article which suggested that the hosts would be starting a new program with another publisher, but did not provide a way of finding the new broadcast or podcast. Information about the new show was published in an article in the Independent on April 1, 2022. There will be a public podcast called Kermode and Mayo’s Take starting May 5, 2022, indexed by the podcast sources and available free by subscription in most or all podcatching platforms. There is to be another podcast to be called Take 2 available on a paid subscription basis in the Apple store.

The articles and stories do not explain why and how Kermode and Mayo left the BBC. They had a successful show with a loyal following. They were also boomers, with an older audience interested in modern cinema, perhaps an elite niche in coverage of popular culture. Simon Mayo had been popular as host of popular music programs, and had shifted his emphasis to literature and other cultural interests. The BBC is a complicated organization. I recently read Beebology, a review of two histories of the BBC, published at the London Review of Books. The BBC could have resisted paying as much as the hosts wanted, or usedthe end of the show as an excuse to promote younger talents, more amenable to the ideas of young managers and to working in a gig economy model of public broadcasting.


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