BBC taps former Sun editor to host upcoming crisis comms podcast

David Yelland to co-host show alongside PR veteran Simon Lewis

BBC Radio 4 is launching a new current affairs podcast exploring major PR disasters, co-hosted by former Sun editor David Yelland and former director of communications for the Queen Simon Lewis, the corporation has announced.

The podcast is titled When It Hits The Fan, and sees Yelland and Lewis exploring the world of crisis comms, looking at what goes on behind the scenes during a PR disaster. The first episode premieres on 6 September and will continue to be released every Wednesday both on-air and on-demand through BBC Sounds. 

“David and Simon are our best guides to the exact moment the proverbial hits the fan and what’ll be going on behind the scenes to fix it,” said BBC Radio 4 podcasts, formats, and digital commissioning editor Rhian Roberts. “This is the podcast for anyone who’s ever wondered about the origins of a monumental PR cock up.”

Both co-hosts are experts in the PR field, with Yelland having founded public relations and communications company Kitchen Table Partners in 2015 and having previously served as senior vice chairman of PR consultancy firm Weber Shandwick in 2004. Lewis’ experience includes acting as director of communications for notable figures including former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and companies like Vodafone as well as previously serving as former chief executive of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe. 

“My career is a game of two halves: the first half causing crises at The Sun and New York Post and the second half advising the companies and individuals actually in the middle of those crises,” said Yelland. “The time has come to lift a lid on what actually happens when 'it’ hits the fan. I can’t think of a better person to be doing this with than Simon.”

“During my career in communications, I have been in the room during some extraordinary moments in corporate and public life,” said Lewis. “Every crisis is different but what David and I are aiming to do in this series is to look under the bonnet of fast moving situations to analyse and interpret what is actually going on when it hits the fan.”

“I am really looking forward to working with David who brings marvellous insights from his unique career.”