EXCLUSIVE: Elis James to launch new independent history podcast ‘Oh, What A Time’

Quickly Kevin’s Chris Scull and comedy writer Tom Craine join in on project

Award-winning comedian and podcaster Elis James is launching a new independent history podcast, as exclusively announced on the latest episode of the PodPod podcast.

The series, titled Oh, What A Time, is a collaboration between James, Chris Scull, presenter and co-host of 90s football podcast Quickly Kevin, Will He Score?, and comedy writer Tom Craine, who has been friends with James since university and has written for one of the TV shows he co-hosts, Fantasy Football League. 

The podcast, which James told PodPod is set to be released in mid-July, will start off with an initial 12-episode series, followed by another run of 12 episodes at a future date.

“The three of us really like history; I did a history degree and a history MA so in a sort of parallel universe, I would be a historian,” James told PodPod. “And we've got a historian working with us, he provides us with the research so that it's sort of academically rigorous, but then the three of us go off on flights of fancy.”

James is known for co-hosting a self-titled radio show and podcast for BBC 5 Live with fellow comedian John Robins, as well as its companion mental health podcast How Do You Cope? which has returned for its fourth season today. James also co-hosts Bar Nata Media’s award-winning Socially Distant Sports Bar comedy podcast with Mike Bubbins and Steff Garrero. 

The new podcast is an independent project that will see James explore a completely new genre, different from the sports and comedy podcasts that he’s previously done. James told PodPod that independent projects allow creators to be in control of where their revenue is coming from, and that dedicated fans can help give them that income with subscription services such as Patreon, as he currently does with The Socially Distant Sports Bar. 

He also added that this makes the podcaster less reliant on “the whim of commissioners”, speaking from his personal experience of being told to go ahead with writing a project only to be let down by the commissioner or limited creatively by strict deadlines. 

“The thing with curating your own audience… as long as the work you do is still of a high quality, then you're not at the whims of other people whose preferences you can't control,” said James.

“As a creative person, I suppose it's a very exciting place to be, because you are in control of your own destiny and I think that what a lot of writers, particularly the ones who don't perform in comedy, find so difficult to handle is that they can be brilliant but if the wrong person doesn't like you, you're done.”