Ian Wright’s Everyday People is a Somethin’ Else production that aims to highlight everyday people who have achieved extraordinary things, despite encountering trials along the way. Hosted by footballer and broadcaster Ian Wright, the podcast talks to individuals who have experienced issues such as discrimination, cancer diagnosis, mental health problems and loss. Now at the end of its first season, I wanted to reflect on the show, and why I enjoy it so much.
Ian is a wonderful host. If you have listened to some of his own interviews (especially his appearance on Desert Island Discs) it is evident that he himself is a great storyteller, and this comes across in his interview style. He is not rigid and when he wants to find out more, it is done in an inquisitive nature. He sounds like a friend who really cares when you are catching up – not like a reporter wanting the next headline.
This approach creates the perfect environment for trust, which always results in an honest interview. In episode one, simply titled ‘Chris’, Ian sits down with Chris Brannigan, who talks about walking the length of Britain barefoot, to raise money for treatment of his daughter’s CDLS diagnosis, a rare genetic disease. When Chris mentions walking to Downing Street in so much pain, Ian goes back and encourages him to go into detail. This is a nice and subtle touch really reflecting how much Ian cares that Chris’ story is fully told.
Ian also shares his own personal stories to connect to the interviewee’s story – from vulnerable moments from his difficult childhood to his failures and triumphs throughout his football career. This is a great reminder that despite our different paths – whether you are a poet, musician, academic or athlete – we are all connected because we have been through difficult moments and somehow have come out of the other end.
I also noticed that the beautiful sound and mixing allows the guest’s story to be fully indulged by the listener through carefully selected pauses, which heighten the emotional parts. An example of when this is done well is episode two ‘Mel’. Mel is a mother who takes us through the night when she found out her son had been assaulted. Many times these stories are told through the headline of the assault but here, we hear about how 25 year old Jordan Sinnot loved football, had the biggest smile in the room and how he sang ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ to his partner.
There are plenty more episodes like this that remind us that there is a person behind the tragedy, like Munira, mother of two, who lost her home in the Grenfell Tower fire and had to start again. With moving from one temporary accommodation to another Munira was determined to hold on to her love of cooking and as a result curated a space where the community can come together to enjoy food and/or just have a chat.
Ian Wright’s Everyday People has a simple format of people sharing how they got through their most difficult moments. Where the beauty lies is that these stories of resilience are always needed and can help us reflect on our own trials and tribulations. Bring on season 2.