When The Sun newspaper branded BBC show The Naked Podcast ‘filth’, its presenters ‘found it hilarious’.
Jenny Eells and Kat Harbourne spoke at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week about how they turned the bad publicity around.
The podcast, which sees the pair and one guest strip off for each episode, received the backlash in the tabloid this year.
The Sun described the show – which covers a range of topics such as pubic hair, piercings and BDSM – as ‘sex chat’ and questioned why licence fee money was being spent on it.
Until the article, the show had received no significant backlash for the three years it had been running – so when Jenny and Kat heard about the upcoming piece, they initially planned to pay it no attention.
However, after searching the article and discovering how they had been portrayed Jenny said: “I just laughed.
“It had completely missed the point of what we were all about.”
Instead of dismissing it, they shared the article widely and the press generated from those defending them was ultimately beneficial.
Despite finding the article ‘hilarious’, Kat told students this afternoon: “It’s not filth to talk about to talk our bodies, it’s not filth to talk about mental health, it’s not filth to talk about body confidence or disability or sexuality.”
Despite the podcast’s success, the pair admitted that even they did not originally think it would be suitable for the BBC.
In fact, they planned the content and structure and recorded the first few episodes thinking it would be a side project.
“We were just going to go it alone.”
Jenny and Kat are both reporters at BBC Sheffield so, thinking their new side project might see them sacked from the BBC, the pair brought it up with their boss.
Kat said: “I thought she would laugh us out the room or just be quite shocked or horrified.”
However, instead of losing their jobs, they were given the opportunity to make the podcast with the BBC.
And the pair have since hosted a range of guests such as Radio 2 presenter, Reverend Kate Bottley, and Radio presenter Stephanie Hirst and are never shy when it comes to talking about ‘taboo’ topics.
In spite of the headline in The Sun and despite the pair thinking the show would not make it onto the BBC, they have hit on a winning formula which sees guests revealing things they would not normally.
Kat said: “It changes the dynamic, it changes the atmosphere.
“Getting naked with somebody is funny, it’s embarrassing, it’s weird, it’s all of those things wrapped up.
“That’s where the conversations and revelations come from.”