Rank #1: How Bill Browder became Vladimir Putin's No. 1 enemy
Rank #2: James O'Brien: Conscience, empathy, and learning how to be right (with Fi Glover)
In this special episode with BBC Radio 4 presenter Fi Glover, James signs off from the interviewees chair with a touching conversation about his life. James shares his experiences from growing up adopted and getting expelled from school to breaking into journalism through gossip columns and showbiz, before ultimately finding his ideal platforms at LBC and JOE. He talks about the curse of being right when all is going wrong, his personal politics, views on free speech, the dangers of amplifying extremists, that infamous Nigel Farage interview, and offers his thoughts on private education, capitalism and economics, feminism, sexual abuse, #MeToo, the future awaiting Britain, and of course, Brexit.
Unfiltered will return with a new presenter after a very brief hiatus.
Rank #3: Gary Lineker: humanity, free speech, and the dark side of the beautiful game
Rank #4: Mark Hamill on Star Wars, life as Luke Skywalker, and Carrie Fisher
Rank #5: Akala: race and class in the ruins of empire
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 the recent crisis. It’s an education.
Rank #6: Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting, heroin and pilates
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 success that followed Trainspotting, and his unbridled passion for tennis and Andy Murray.
Rank #7: Caitlin Moran: bad sex, good advice and how to be famous
James O’Brien is certainly kept on his toes in this whipcrack of an interview, covering everything from masturbation to politics, Love Island to feminism, and a lot of chat about vaginas.
Strap in, folks. We’re going full force on this one.
Rank #8: Idris Elba (with David Lammy): being the best and never fearing failure
The pair chart Idris’ journey to stardom, from his childhood spent mostly alone, getting the buzz for acting, moving to America and getting his big break on The Wire, right up to his first film as a director, Yardie.
There’s no talk of James Bond in this conversation, but we think you’ll agree, there are much more interesting things to talk about with Idris Elba.
Yardie is out 31st August. Book your tickets at yardiefilm.co.uk
Rank #9: Howard Jacobson on Jewish comedy, identity, and the dismal state of the world
Rank #10: Russell Brand on recovery, addiction, life, love and fatherhood
Watch a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/h7gnhFHsHdY
To get a new episode of Unfiltered with James O'Brien every Tuesday, subscribe at hyperurl.co/unfiltered
Rank #11: Michelle Lyons: 278 executions, and life watching death row prisoners’ final minutes
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 vote for Unfiltered at the British Podcast Awards! Simply go to britshpodcastawards.com/vote and search for ‘Unfiltered with James O’Brien’. Voting closes on May 17. Thank you.
Rank #12: Simon Thomas: grief, faith, and perseverance in the face of devastating loss
In this emotional and inspiring interview with James O’Brien, Simon shares his story, from getting his big break on Blue Peter and forging a career in the media, to meeting his wife Gemma and the devastating circumstances that took her from him and their young son. Simon bravely decided to share his grief publicly, and so started a conversation about the way we deal with loss, a conversation that continues here.
Rank #13: Sir Nick Clegg: live by the sword, die by the sword
Rank #14: Russell Kane: robbed by birth, funny by nature
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.
Russell's new podcast 'Evil Genius' is available now via the BBC.