Ex-politicians Ed Balls and George Osborne are to launch a new political economics podcast, it has been announced, produced by the makers of Global’s smash hit show The News Agents.
The former political rivals and “frenemies” previously served top roles in Westminster - Osborne as Chancellor and Balls as Shadow Chancellor - before going on to leave politics. Osborne now serves as chair of the British Museum, following a spell as editor of the Evening Standard, while Balls has become a regular fixture on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Their new weekly podcast, set to launch in autumn this year, will tackle the world of economics and how it impacts ordinary people’s lives, as well as how it’s affected by decisions made by Westminster.
“Ed and I are frenemies,” said Osborne; “once bitter foes, and now firm friends. When we talk politics and economics I find myself talking to someone who brings a different perspective but with an insight and intelligence I rate. We want to bring listeners into that conversation in the hope that people better understand what’s really going on inside the corridors of power from those who’ve been there - and have some laughs along the way.”
“George and I want to bring economics back to life and on the agenda,” Balls added, “with explanation and entertainment in equal measure. Politics is never far from the markets so I'm looking forward to teaming up with my old political rival as we throw all our experience from Whitehall and Westminster into the show.”
News, politics and current affairs podcasts have become highly popular in the UK, and the new show - the title of which has yet to be announced - joins a wave of podcasts being launched by high-profile commentators and political figures, such as The Two Matts from The New European.
The show’s setup - with two co-hosts from opposite sides of the political aisle - bears a striking similarity to The Rest Is Politics, Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart’s political podcast which has become a mainstay of the UK podcast charts. Campbell’s podcast has been engaged in a friendly rivalry with The News Agents, which was also created by Persephonica, the company behind Osborne and Ball’s new show.
“With their rigorous analysis and constructive debate, there can be few individuals better placed and informed than Ed and George to take listeners through the demands on the nation’s public finances,” said Dino Sofos, CEO and co-founder of Persephonica.
“Persephonica is delighted to partner with these two titans of political economy. We will deliver a weekly dose of clarity for citizens, voters, business owners, financial professionals and anyone with an interest in making sense of the economic realities that shape our policy choices.”
Persephonica also produces advice show Dua Lipa: At Your Service, which this week announced its third season. The new season will be coming to BBC Sounds for the first time, available ad-free for UK listeners, as well as ad-supported on other podcast platforms, with the first episode available tomorrow.