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Podcast Review: The People Outside

Reviewer: Miriam Sallon

Writers: William Drew and Laura McGrady

Creators: William Drew, Laura McGrady, Kieran Lucas, Helen Duff, Charles Craggs and Hannah Louise Batt.

Lockdown has been a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Not only is this easily the weirdest international crisis of our time, but owing to the fact we’ve all been sitting on our hands for months and months, the mind tends to wander…

The People Outside is set in a similarly restrictive lockdown to our own, although in this case the government’s reasoning is simply a vague warning about public safety and maintenance works, rather than a global pandemic. We’re tuning in to Corby-On-Sea’s local radio show with DJ host Stephanie and various call-in guests, all of whom are noticing strange behaviour and occurrences about town: missing pets, cardboard cut-outs of neighbours at their windows, killer whales on the coast. But no-one can seem to finish a sentence on the subject, thanks to the radio show’s odd new producer, Simon, who keeps cutting everyone off.

On the one hand, with each episode at only around twenty minutes, there’s hardly enough time to get distracted. On the other, there’s hardly enough time for anything much to happen. Writers William Drew and Laura McGrady have gone to great efforts to create a full alternate reality, making multiple sponsor jingles and re-writing pop songs to suit the story’s agenda. But these take up an awful lot of the episode, and there are moments it does actually feel like one is tuned into a sleepy town’s fluff-filled local radio show, which, while impressive in a way, is also not ideal.

Within the four episodes currently available, there’s definitely an interesting story emerging but it’s hard to know if anyone would stick around to find out what it is. It might be better if the episodes were twice as long, and twice as story-dense.

Available from most platforms

The Reviews Hub Score

Short, silly, conspiratorial

The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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