Moving away from the BBC was “very liberating”, say Birthday Girls cast

Going independent gave the Birthday Girls House Party podcast more freedom, according to co-hosts

Going independent and moving away from the BBC allowed the Birthday Girls House Party podcast more freedom to say and do whatever they want, according to the show's co-hosts. 

The comedy podcast, co-hosted by actors and comedians Beattie Edmondson, Rose Johnson and Camille Ucan, has been running since 2019 with the first two seasons produced under BBC Sounds. It has since become an independent production, now in its seventh season, after the co-hosts were able to retain rights to the series, although the first couple of seasons remain exclusive to the BBC Sounds platform. 

Edmondson and Johnson spoke about this transition in the latest episode of the PodPod podcast and how they found it to be “very liberating” with less restrictions on what they can and cannot say on the show. 

“[The BBC] had weird compliance stuff that is not really in line with our vibe,” said Johnson. “We would often find out that bits that we'd really liked had been edited out, so it was really liberating to be able to swear and to be able to say what we wanted and say controversial stuff.

“When you're on the BBC, you can't say anything that could be deemed irresponsible really, so now we're telling the kids to drink and smoke 24-7!” 

The co-hosts initially moved to an independent production company in order to ease into the workload before going fully independent and launching a Patreon subscription service with incentives for fans such as shoutouts, extra weekly content, discounts to live shows, and an extra monthly episode. 

Being able to control the format of the show and moving the podcast in-house also allowed for the co-hosts to make creative choices such as choosing to go guest-less in the latest season of the podcast. The decision to no longer primarily have guests on the podcast was due to a mix of scheduling issues and last-minute cancellations, as well as changes in their personal lives with both Edmondson and Ucan now having children. 

“When there's already three hosts and then there's somebody else's schedule, and if something else comes and one of us has got to take it, it's just very difficult,” said Johnson. “When you are recording a long series, you can get to the point where you are like ‘we don't have an episode to go out this week’, and it's really stressful when everything's sort of scheduled down to the wire; we try to kind of get ahead with recording, but sometimes you just can't or you catch up with yourself.

“I think it basically had got to the point where, we were like, this is unsustainable as it stands, the effort and the reward is not worth it.”

“I think we will still have the occasional guest, but I think we've developed enough experiences as podcasters ourselves to be able to do it with just us three,” said Edmondson.