Crisis What Crisis?

Crisis What Crisis?

By Andy Coulson

Crisis What Crisis? provides authentic, judgement-free and useful storytelling from those who have been at the brutal, sometimes life threatening, sharp end of crisis and who survived and thrived in the process. Host Andy Coulson’s own background as a newspaper editor, Downing Street Communications Director, one-time inmate of HMP Belmarsh and now sought-after adviser to CEOs, allows him to bring a unique perspective to these conversations.


83. Ben Wallace on leading through crisis and the private toll of an addiction to politics

Key words: Military, Conservatives, politics, Boris, Brexit, crisis, defence, army, drama As a soldier and politician Ben Wallace was tasked with keeping us safe through some of the most dangerous moments of recent times.As Security Minister and then as the longest serving Conservative Defence Secretary since Churchill, Ben Wallace managed crises including the 2017 Westminster terror attacks, the Salisbury Poisonings, the military response to the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Earlier in life as a Scots Guards officer, he was mentioned in dispatches after thwarting an IRA attack.Against a backdrop of near constant political chaos, Ben has stood out as a politician who put service first … more often than not avoiding the Westminster game playing that has plagued his party for a decade.He will stand down at the next election and in this episode talks about the very personal, very heavy price he’s paid as a result of the jobs he’s held.A revealing conversation with a leading politician now free to speak his mind about all things crisis.Full transcript available here: Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy Coulson CWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel Pickering With special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact –
29/02/24·1h 12m

Courtney Lawes' Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners and viewers will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments. Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and more importantly, useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems. In this episode we are joined by one of rugby’s finest international players; Northampton Saints legend, British and Irish Lion and former England Captain Courtney Lawes. As you would expect from someone as dedicated and resilient as Courtney, he has some very simple but effective remedies for getting back on track. And of course, if you enjoy this shorter episode, you can listen to our full conversation with Courtney on the link below.Full episode: Links Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel PickeringWith special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact – podcast@coulsonpartners.comFull transcript available here:
22/02/24·5m 50s

82. Courtney Lawes on facing down the haters, fighting for family values and refusing to take the knee

Key words: Premiership Rugby, Northampton Saints, Six Nations, British and Irish Lions, England, Sports, Family, BLM, Leadership, The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)In this episode we are joined by one of rugby’s finest international players: Northampton Saints legend, British and Irish Lion and former England Captain Courtney Lawes. When Courtney decided to retire from international rugby after last year’s World Cup, there was some shock – not least because he was still in the form of his life. But the Dad of four was clear that the time had come to be at home with his young family, not on tour or training with his England teammates. That belief in the importance of family is central to Courtney. Having seen up close how life can go wrong without that stable background, he is a passionate supporter of the Centre for Social Justice and their work promoting the importance of family and the value of sport. Serious injuries, a result of Courtney’s uncompromising style of play, have led to long periods on the sidelines. The uncompromising opinions that he holds off the pitch have brought vitriol on social media, most famously when he dared to offer a view around Marcus Rashford’s campaigning. His resilience in those difficult moments, on and off the pitch, is just one of the revealing and useful discussions we have in this episode. My thanks to Courtney for joining me.Full transcript available here: Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel Pickering With special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
15/02/24·1h 13m

Jason Watkins' Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners and viewers will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times.Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments. Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems. In this episode, Jason Watkins, award-winning actor and campaigner, shares his Crisis Comforts with us. Jason has won a best actor Bafta for his role in the Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, and has starred in The Crown, Macdonald and Dodds, Bridget Jones and of course the hilarious Nativity films. As one of Britain’s leading performers, he has got us thinking, made us laugh and even cry, and his Crisis Comforts are as creative and emotive as you would expect. Full episode and transcript available below: Jason’s Just Giving Page in memory of Maude for The UK Sepsis Trust - UK Sepsis Trust - Surviving the Loss of your World - Bereavement UK - Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel PickeringWith special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
08/02/24·8m 2s

81. Actor Jason Watkins on losing his daughter Maude, battling depression and shining a light on grief

Key words: ADHD, child bereavement, dyslexia, grief, sepsis, suicideIn this episode I am joined by the award-winning actor and campaigner Jason Watkins. One of Britain’s leading performers whose roles across drama and comedy – on TV, film and stage – have got us thinking, made us laugh and even cry.Jason has won a best actor Bafta for his role in the Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, played Prime Minister Harold Wilson brilliantly in The Crown and stars in the hit series Macdonald and Dodds. On the big screen he appeared in Bridget Jones and of course the hilarious Nativity films. But it’s as a result of personal tragedy that Jason has taken on the role of campaigner. Following the sudden death of his two-and-a-half year old daughter Maude on New Year’s Day 2011 (ck this!) Jason and his wife Clara have worked tirelessly as Ambassadors for the UK Sepsis Trust. In the ITV documentary ‘In Memory of Maudie’ they shone a powerful light on the process of their own terrible grief in the hope that it will help others.I also talk to Jason about his earlier struggles with mental health, his recently diagnosed ADHD and how through resilience, humour and the support of his family he remains, in my view, destined to become a national treasure. My thanks to Jason for this moving and brave conversation. And if you take away one thing from this powerful episode, please make it this; if you’re worried about someone’s medical condition just ask the doctor “could it be sepsis?”This episode includes a discussion about the loss of a child.Links:Jason’s Just Giving Page in memory of Maude for UK Sepsis Trust - Surviving the Loss of your World - Child Bereavement UK - UK Sepsis Trust - Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy Coulson CWC team: Jane Sankey, Louise Difford, Zach Ellis and Mabel Pickering With special thanks to Ioana Barbu and the brilliant people at Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact –
01/02/24·1h 15m

James Landale's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments.Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode James Landale, the BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent, shares his Crisis Comforts with us. The full episode is available below.Full episode and transcript available below: Links:Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
25/01/24·5m 42s

80. BBC’s James Landale on conflict, cancer and why we get it so wrong with death

In this episode I am joined by the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, James Landale.Drawing on a 30-year career spent on the front line of so many political and geopolitical crises, James offers insight into the role that diplomacy can – must - play in resolving the conflict in the Middle East and across a troubled world.Reflecting on his experience living with cancer, James offers invaluable advice on coping with chemotherapy. He talks movingly about how he approached a sudden diagnosis of Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his recovery and how it altered his view on life … and the flawed way we approach death and grief.My thanks to James for such an interesting, moving and useful conversation. I hope you enjoy the episode.Links Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: teamHost – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
18/01/24·56m 55s

Pauline Stonehouse's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments.Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems. In this episode Pauline Stonehouse, a victim of the appalling Post Office scandal, shares her Crisis Comforts with us.Full episode and transcript available below: Links:Nick Wallis Post Office scandal reporting website: https://www.postofficescandal.ukJustice For Sub postmasters Alliance: Horizon Scandal Fund Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
11/01/24·3m 33s

Rory Stewart's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments.Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode Rory Stewart tells us about the things that cheer him up and why silence is golden. The full episode is available below, but here is a little taster… Full episode and transcript available below’s latest book - Politics On the Edge - Places In Between - Hazards - Marches - Intervention Work? - Rory’s website - Rory on Twitter - Mountain Foundation - ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Production team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
04/01/24·2m 45s

Sajid Javid's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times.Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments. Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode Sajid Javid, former Health and Home Secretary, shares his Crisis Comforts with us. The full episode is available below, but here is a little taster…*DISCLAIMER – This episode includes a discussion about racism and includes words which some may find offensive. Full episode and transcript available below Links: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Production team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
29/12/23·3m 33s

79. Sajid Javid on racist beatings, how Boris and Cummings 'burned the house down' and losing his brother to suicide

In this episode I am joined by the politician Sajid Javid.The former Health and Home Secretary talks frankly about a childhood blighted by racism, his ‘survivor’s guilt’ after his older brother Tariq took his life and the extraordinary conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that led him to quit as Chancellor.A fascinating, revealing conversation with a man who has a claim to the title Secretary of State For Crisis.*DISCLAIMER – This episode includes a discussion about racism and includes words which some may find offensive. Links: Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Production team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
21/12/23·1h 12m

Davinia Taylor's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments.Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode Davinia Taylor, best-selling author and biohacking superstar, shares her Crisis Comforts with us.The full episode is available below, but here is a little taster…*DISCLAIMER – This episode includes discussion about addiction issues. Anyone struggling should seek professional help from an expert. episode and transcript available below Links:https://www.willpowders.comHack your Hormones, Davinia Taylor (Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller) -’s Not a Diet (Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller) - ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
14/12/23·5m 59s

78. Davinia Taylor on addiction, losing custody of her son and her biohacking superpower

Former Hollyoaks star, best-selling author and biohacking superstar Davinia Taylor’s story is a true masterclass in how to turn personal crisis into a rocket-propelled positive.In this episode she talks about it all with raw honesty, emotion and humour. And all done without a hint of self-pity.*DISCLAIMER – This episode includes discussion about addiction issues. Anyone struggling should seek professional help from an expert. https://www.willpowders.comHack your Hormones, Davinia Taylor (Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller) -’s Not a Diet (Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller) - Stream/buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Production team: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
07/12/23·1h 5m

Lord Peter Hain's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times.Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments. Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode the politician and activist Lord Peter Hain shares his Crisis Comforts with us. The full episode is available below, but here is a little taster…Full episode and transcript available below Lord Hain on growing up in crisis, letter bombs and a Kafka-esque plot ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Buy Peter’s latest book here – The Elephant Conspiracy: Volume 2 Also read his earlier book – ‘A Pretoria Boy: The Story of South Africa’s ‘Public Enemy Number One’ Team:Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
01/12/23·4m 44s

77. Lord Hain on growing up in crisis, letterbombs and a Kafka-esque plot

Former Secretary of State Lord Peter Hain’s remarkable life was forged in crisis. His parents’ peaceful but determined activism against apartheid – and the drama that surrounded his family as a result – was the backdrop to Peter’s upbringing in South Africa. The Hains were constantly harassed – and at one stage jailed by the South African security services.When a close family friend was convicted and executed for the bombing of a railway station – an attack which his family condemned – it was Peter, aged just 15, who spoke at the funeral. Peter’s parents moved to the UK in 1966 … exiled from the country they loved. He joined the British anti-apartheid movement and aged just 19 became the Chairman of the infamous Stop the 70 Tour which organised direct action against South Africa’s proposed cricket tour of England. A major success for the anti-apartheid movement. Peter’s campaigning led to him being followed and bugged by Mi5, receiving death threats and becoming the subject of an assassination attempt. A life in British politics beckoned for Peter … but not before more extraordinary drama and crisis. As a Labour politician he held office as Welsh Secretary, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Northern Ireland Secretary, playing a key role in negotiating the power sharing settlement in 2007.His time in politics also brought more personal crisis – a donations scandal that he described as a ‘soul searing experience’ Now in the Lords, Peter continues to campaign and as an author he’s written 29 books including biographies of Mandela, his own brilliant biography A Pretoria Boy and a series of novels focused on the crisis of animal conservation. The latest, The Elephant Conspiracy (see link below) has just been released. A fascinating conversation with someone who has lived, breathed and experienced crisis from so many different angles.Links:Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Peter’s latest book, The Elephant Conspiracy: Volume 2 – Also read his earlier book, A Pretoria Boy: The Story of South Africa's 'Public Enemy Number One' – Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact –
23/11/23·1h 4m

Timbaland's Crisis Comforts

As regular listeners will know, at the end of all our conversations we ask our guests for their three crisis comforts; their go-tos for inspiration and strength during the challenging times. Short but perfectly formed advice for getting you through the tough moments. Over the years we have heard some incredibly interesting and useful tips for anyone who might be feeling the weight of their own problems.In this episode Timbaland, legendary music super producer, shares his Crisis Comforts with us. The full episode is available below, but here is a little taster…Full episode and transcript available below Timbaland - on addiction, depression and why he’s kept the bullet inside him Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to GlobalFor all PR and guest approaches please contact –
17/11/23·4m 51s

76. Timbaland on addiction, depression and why he's kept the bullet inside him

Our guest for this episode is music legend Timbaland. With more Top Ten hits than Elvis, Tim is one of the world’s most successful super producers, performers and music entrepreneurs.He’s worked with artists including Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. And yet despite this incredible success, Tim has faced down a number of life-threatening crises.Accidentally shot in the neck as a teenager, he still carries the remnants of the bullet that left him partially paralysed for more than a year. A reminder, he says, of the fragility of life but also his innate resilience.Years later the legacy of that injury came back to impact Tim, causing him to become seriously addicted to the painkiller OxyContin - a habit which almost claimed his life.Tim is passionate about the issues of addiction and depression, particularly in the music community from where he‘s lost a number of close friends. He states that while he came ‘from the era of drug dealers’ making rap hits, we are now in ‘the era of drug users’.So in this episode you’ll be in the company of someone who has experienced the true highs of show business success and all it has to offer … but who also knows about the deadly pitfalls, those crises he has somehow managed to navigate.My thanks to Timbaland for joining us on Crisis What Crisis? I hope you enjoy the episode. *Disclaimer – This episode includes discussion of addiction issues. Anyone struggling with addiction should seek professional help from an expert. Here’s where to find support ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact –
09/11/23·55m 41s

75. Steve Gallant on his journey from murderer to hero

If you pitched the story we discuss in this episode as a fictional film script you’d be laughed out of the room … so shocking, so unlikely is this tale of crisis.In 2005 Steve Gallant was convicted of the brutal revenge murder of a man he claimed had attacked his then girlfriend. After being sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum 17-year term, Steve made a vow to never again use violence. He kept that vow for 14 and a half years until, on November 29th 2019, he was allowed out on day release for the first time to attend an educational event at Fishmonger’s Hall near London Bridge. On that day Usman Khan, a former prisoner, unleashed terror – killing two young graduates Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones. Steve, along with two others, confronted Khan, who was wearing what turned out to be a fake suicide vest, and chased him out of the building, bizarrely using huge Narwhal tusks and a fire extinguisher. With no concern for their own safety, they took him down before armed police then ended his life.The reaction to Steve’s incredible bravery was mixed. For some, including then PM Boris Johnson, he was lauded as a hero. But for others it raised questions about his rehabilitation … about whether his reactions on that day demonstrated a continued willingness to use violence.Steve was eventually awarded the Queen’s Medal for Gallantry and granted a Royal Prerogative of Mercy, reducing his minimum term by 10 months. He details his time in prison, essentially a story of change in the face of daily crisis, in his compelling new book The Road To London Bridge. And in this conversation we explore his journey – from a difficult and violent childhood, through the shame of his appalling crime, his determination to change as he navigated his way through the prison system, to that day of truly astounding, instinctive bravery.This is a crisis conversation unlike any we have had. My thanks to Steve for joining us.Steve’s Crisis Comforts 1. Perspective – Knowing what you have and understanding there is always someone worse off than you.2. Cup of tea – I love Yorkshire tea bags. You can’t beat it. Yorkshire Tea was a lifesaver in prison.3. Exercise – Staying physically healthy helps the mind and in prison keeps the odd idiot at bay.LinksStream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Watch the documentary - London Bridge: Facing Terror Read Steve’s book – ‘The Road to London Bridge’ - Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global For all PR and guest approaches please contact –
27/10/23·1h 10m

74. Tom Fletcher on the Israeli crisis, avoiding assassination and the art of diplomacy

Our guest this week is Tom Fletcher, former Ambassador to Lebanon, Downing Street Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to three successive Prime Ministers and author. Given Tom’s experience at the sharp end of geopolitics, the timing of our conversation could not have been more useful.Tom, who is now Principal of Oxford University’s Hertford College, has first-hand, visceral experience of managing conflict in a region now beset with tragedy and terror. Experience that included facing the regular threat of assassination as well as the complex management of an Embassy at a time of extreme challenge.As a diplomat, Tom has a tried and tested operational formula when it comes to crisis. But he is also a man with strong and useful views across the range of other risks and threats we face across politics, education and other areas. A former diplomat (or recovering Ambassador as he puts it) who is not afraid to have opinions.Tom is also someone who believes in the strategic power of a sense of humour, even when you’re in a room full of world leaders. Stand by for a cracking anecdote about Silvio Berlusconi and his budgie smugglers. Hope you enjoy this episode and find it as useful as I did. My thanks to Tom. Tom's crisis comforts: 1. A small piece of land – to put my hands in the soil and sit under my fig tree with a Negroni.2. A good Spotify playlist – Music is always a good place to put my head. 3. The basics – air, water and sleep – simply remembering to breathe, stay hydrated and always get your seven hours sleep. Links: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Books by Tom: The Naked Diplomat - The Ambassador - Ten Survival Skills For a World in Flux - The Assassin - Naked Diplomacy - Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global.
13/10/23·1h 1m

73. Sir Anthony Seldon on managing tragedy, the resilience crisis and political failure

In this episode I’m joined by the eminent and progressive educator, renowned author and political historian Sir Anthony Seldon. As a Headmaster, he has led some of Britain’s most prestigious schools, including Brighton College and Wellington and most recently Epsom College, a role he took on following the shocking murder of former Headmistress Emma Pattison and her daughter, Lettie.Anthony talks about that challenge and other personal crises he has faced and managed. Along the way we discuss his passionate belief in the importance of developing resilience in our young people. As he puts its: “What really matters is helping young people learn how to live meaningful, contented, productive, enjoyable lives without dependencies and without the need to trash themselves.”His work on this subject was well ahead of its time … and even prompted severe criticism from other teachers.Anthony’s own school education was far from plain sailing – he flunked his A Levels and was later, as he eloquently puts it, ‘invited to leave the school’. After the intervention of an English teacher who recognised his talent, he got back on course and, after some more bumps in the road, began the career in which he has helped so many young people.Anthony also speaks movingly about the death of his first wife Joanna and explains why he feels he did not handle his grief well.I loved this conversation both for the range of subjects we covered and for the wisdom Anthony shared so brilliantly. I hope you enjoy it too.Sir Anthony’s Crisis Comforts1. Writing whilst walking – Walking is sensational. I dictate what I’m seeing and noticing, and then at the end of a day’s walking I put it all together. 2. Eating and drinking with friends – There is nothing more heavenly and grounding than being in France by a river having lunch with people who one loves.3. Teaching – It’s in teaching that we learn. It is an unbelievable privilege talking to young people and sharing ideas with them.LinksStream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Book By Anthony Seldon: The Path to Peace: Walking the Western Front WayBook By Martin Seligman: TomorrowMind: Thrive at Work with Resilience, Creativity and Connection, Now and in an Uncertain Future.Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global.
29/09/23·1h 2m

Trailer - Featuring former guests

In this short trailer you can hear snippets of our compelling conversations with previous guests on the podcast, including – Richard Bacon, Fergal Keane, Nile Rodgers, Piers Morgan, Sarah Standing, Bill Browder, Vicky Pryce and Lisa Squire. A reminder of the broad range of topics and conversations around crisis that I’ve had with some truly exceptional people. Our stories range from the devastating personal impact of surviving a terror attack, to life in the eye of public storms; grief, PTSD, addiction and mental health issues. But these conversations are really about finding inspiration from their stories of struggle, offering a judgement free zone where guests willingly share their story with honesty, authenticity and often humour. All episodes featured can be found on our website or wherever you get your podcasts from. LinksStream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
15/09/23·3m 56s

72. Andy Coulson on regrets, resilience and recovery

In today’s episode we revisit a conversation from three years ago, when I swapped seats and let my friend, the journalist and broadcaster Jane Moore ask me the questions. Listening back to this interview, my approach to life after crisis remains relatively unchanged, but I also realise that there’s so much more I’ve learnt as a result of the 60+ episodes I’ve recorded since then.The judgement free platform we provide for our guests to talk about their experiences of crisis, mean that we’ve been able to build an incredibly valuable archive packed with useful, practical tools for anyone facing a challenge. I hope you enjoy this episode and please do have a listen to the other guests I’ve had the privilege to talk to.Andy’s Crisis Comforts 1. Charles Dickens – The Pickwick Papers – I could not have been more delighted on the day that I finally got into the library at HMP Belmarsh, and even more delighted that there was a whole shelf of Dickens.2. Ben Howard – ‘Keep Your Head Up’ – Music has been incredibly important for me and my family. This has been a bit of a family anthem. 3. Château Musar – A very tasty Lebanese wine - Liquid proof that there is some good that can come of crisis. LinksStream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
04/09/23·1h 6m

71. Saad Mohseni on losing colleagues to terror and running a media business in Taliban ruled Afghanistan

Surviving crisis is one thing. Building a business empire in the midst of one is quite another. In this episode we are joined by media mogul Saad Mohseni – the creator of Afghanistan’s first news and entertainment TV network. The son of an Afghan diplomat, Saad was born in London but spent his childhood years in Kabul until the Soviet invasion in 1980 when his family sought political asylum in Australia. Saad found early success in finance before deciding that his future lay in the media industry – but not in New York, London or Sydney. In 2002 Saad brought popular television and news to Afghanistan for the first time with businesses including Armen FM and TOLO TV. But that came at a price with not only personal death threats but also terror attacks against his staff, including a targeted bomb attack in 2016 which killed seven of his employees. Despite all this – and the sudden withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan two years ago, Saad continues to operate in a country now ruled by The Taliban. Determined to deliver accurate news to a nation facing so much difficulty, he has, so far, managed to persuade those Taliban leaders to keep him on air. Saad has also been in the room with Presidents, Prime Ministers and Afghan leaders – and witnessed first-hand the appalling impact of political failure. And his account of the final days of the Afghan regime and the President’s delusion – told from within the bunker – is utterly fascinating. So, this is a conversation about how to stay focused in an environment of chaos and death. About how to stay strategic against a backdrop of uncertainty and risk. And how to speak truth to power … even with a fatwa declared against you. Saad’s informed and balanced analysis of the Afghanistan dilemma is definitive and most worthy of a listen for anyone interested in a country that remains a capital of crisis. Saad’s Crisis Comforts Humour is very importantRunning in order to clear your headClassical Music – Rachmaninov & BeethovenLinks Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host: Andy Coulson CWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane Sankey With special thanks to Global
18/08/23·1h 21m

70. Crisis Comforts - Victoria Milligan & Henry Scowcroft

This Crisis Comforts episode features previous guests Victoria Milligan and Henry Scowcroft. Victoria, who joined us early in Series One, described how in a moment she went from a perfect life to becoming a “widow, a bereaved parent, a single parent and an amputee” all in one horrific boat accident in 2013. In her Crisis Comforts, she explains how she navigated her appalling grief by focusing on doable, achievable goals and learning how to seek out and embrace joy in the small pleasures of life.Henry, a guest from Series Four who lost Zarah, his girlfriend of six years to cancer, explains how through the writing of his book Cross Everything he was able to provide not only a powerful legacy for her but a useful guide for others facing down a cancer diagnosis. Henry also talks movingly about avoiding the ‘shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’ trap that often comes with facing the loss of a loved one. As he says: “Focus on the horizon, not over your shoulder.” Please listen to their full and inspiring episodes here: Other Links: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: in the Rain by David Crosby: Bereavement UK: Research UK: Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
04/08/23·8m 24s

69. Sir Nigel Wilson on failure, leading in crisis and a move into politics

Nigel Wilson is the Group Chief Executive of Legal & General, the 200-year-old multi-national institution, and is one of Britain’s most acclaimed business leaders. He joins us to share his remarkable story from a boy raised in a two-bedroom council house in Darlington to now leading a global company managing £1.2 trillion. We learn about what drives him and motivates him, his strategy of ‘inclusive capitalism’ and his invaluable perspective on the economic, political, and commercial crises that dominate our world. A must listen for anyone trying to gain or maintain control of their own business or life. We speak to Sir Nigel, who is also a masters championship winning runner, before he steps down from the role in January 2024, following a characteristically well-organised succession plan, to then begin the next lap of his life. No doubt to be run at an even faster pace. An unusually candid conversation with a true titan of British business. Nigel’s Crisis Comforts 1. Running – with a stopwatch because a stopwatch never lies. It’s just total focus. 2. Reading – I love reading and learning through reading. My favourite book of all time is still To Kill A Mockingbird because it had such an impact on me. 3. Live entertainment – I love live entertainment, pretty much any sporting event, anywhere, at any time. Concerts, theatre… watching other people who are brilliant at what they do, having a sense of admiration because they’re better than me and they’re just fantastic to observe. Links: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host: Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
21/07/23·1h 11m

68. Mark Beaumont on breaking records, cheating death, and pedalling with purpose

My conversation today will focus on a key crisis skill – endurance. And I’m thrilled to say that we have the perfect guest to help us – record-breaking, long-distance cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster and author Mark Beaumont.Mark is a man who certainly knows what it means to endure. In 2008 he broke the world record for a circumnavigational bike tour of the world, travelling 18,000 miles from Paris to Paris. The new record was set at 194 days and 17 hours, beating the previous record of 276 days. His video diaries of that ride won him a BAFTA nomination.Swapping the bike for a boat, Mark rowed through the Canadian Arctic to reach the North Magnetic Pole, the furthest north anyone had rowed. And then in early 2012 he joined another crew in an attempt to break the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. But after 27 days and over 2,000 miles into the expedition the boat capsized. Mark’s retelling of the terrifying 14-hour ordeal that followed – and the reactions of all involved – alone make this an episode worth listening to.When someone had the nerve to break Mark’s circumnavigation record, his reaction of course was to get on his bike. And during the summer of 2017 he smashed the new record with a total time of 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes. Mark has also authored a number of successful books including The Man Who Cycled the World, Around the World in 80 Days, Africa Solo and Endurance. In the 2018 New Year Honours he was awarded the British Empire Medal for Services to sport, broadcasting and charity. Cycling fan or not, this is a valuable episode for anyone looking to push the limits of human potential and understand why increasing our endurance can transform our ability to survive and thrive in crisis.Full episode transcript available at: Mark’s Crisis Comforts: 1. The Bach suites. I’m a cellist, I mastered the Bach suites when I was quite young, and they’ve always been an absolute go-to. I appreciate that familiarity, that comfort., they give me.2. If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree. If you’re in a crisis, if things are going wrong. Move. Don’t sit with it, don’t dwell with it, don’t stew with it, move. You’ve got the choice to move, have the confidence to move.3. My mum’s cheesecake. I often say to people, “If you’re having a psychological crisis, it’s normally connected to a nutritional crisis.” So, if you’re having trouble, eat something. That’s got me out of a lot of difficult places. It’s amazing, the power of food, to reframe your thinking, your stress.Links: Buy Mark’s latest book – Endurance - Mark’s website - Follow Mark on Twitter - Follow Mark in Instagram - Follow Mark on Facebook - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
30/06/23·1h 16m

67. Aasmah Mir on racism, merciless bullying and family trauma

My guest for this episode is the multi-award-winning broadcaster, journalist and writer Aasmah Mir. Starting her career on Scottish TV, Aasmah has worked on our screens and radios for more than 25years including as co-presenter of Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Radio 5’s Drive show and now as the co-presenter of Times Radio’s Breakfast show.But beneath Aasmah’s trailblazing success lies a story of resilience and triumph over adversity. As the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Aasmah faced the turbulent challenges of racism, identity crises, and the painful experience of seeing her beloved, severely autistic brother being sectioned. In her teenage years, and facing the trauma of severe bullying, Aasmah almost lost the very voice that would later resonate with millions. In her moving memoir A Pebble In The Throat, Aasmah unflinchingly details her personal odyssey, interwoven with her mother Almas' experiences. This joint memoir chronicles a saga spanning five decades and two continents, as Aasmah's remarkable storytelling captures the essence of resilience, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Astonishingly, she embarked on her book while navigating the challenges of being a single parent following the sudden collapse of her marriage.My thanks to Aasmah for sharing her astonishing story.Aasmah's Crisis Comforts: 1. Fizzy cola bottles. I’m not the sugar fiend that I used to be, but there’s something very comforting about fizzy cola bottle sweets. I always have some of them on hand.2. Tea. Not just drinking tea, but the act of making tea. So, the little infuser, tea leaves, the best ones from Fortnum and Mason, and I just go through the whole thing – it has always calmed me down.3. My bed. I just love being in my bed. I love pulling up the covers, it reminds me of being a teenager actually, I used to take comfort then as well. I just feel like I’m on a little island floating away from all my trouble.Links:Aasmah’s book – A Pebble In The Throat - Aasmah’s Twitter - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
16/06/23·1h 15m

66. Michael Gove on being fired by Boris, battling with The Blob and the day he almost quit politics.

Our guest for this episode of Crisis What Crisis? is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, Michael Gove. A man who has held numerous jobs in Cabinet, working under four Prime Ministers – he is of course now the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.For well over a decade, Michael has been at the heart of a series of political crises, including the forming of the Coalition in May 2010 (when we worked together), Brexit, the pandemic, and more recently the aftermath of the Liz Truss experiment.In the moments of relative calm, including four years as the Education Secretary, Michael has built a reputation as a politician who gets things done. A fierce intellect coupled with a brilliant sense of humour makes him one of politics’ most engaging and effective operators.Adopted as a baby, Michael grew up in Aberdeen. Like so many other politicians, including Boris Johnson, he found professional success first as a journalist at the BBC and the Times before deciding that reporting on Westminster was not enough for him.Michael has a reputation as one of politics’ most courteous individuals, but at times, often at times of crisis, he has also shown himself to put it (as he would, politely) as someone capable of ruthless decision-making.Full episode transcript available at:’s Crisis Comforts:1. Scotland. I do feel calmer when I get back home. It’s not just seeing my mum, wherever you grew up frames you. So Aberdeen – whether it’s in a nightclub, a pub or walking on the beach.2. Exercise. I do like dancing but I also like running – I’m not very fast, I’m not very good, I’m not an athlete, but any sort of exertion that takes you out of yourself… going for a run even if it’s just half an hour, just helps to clear your head.3. A glass of red wine. It has to be after six o’clock in the evening, normally it’s much later. And there’s a particular type of Bordeaux wine – Saint-Julien.Links:Michael’s website:’s Twitter:’s Facebook: – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
02/06/23·1h 20m

65. Ben Goldsmith on losing his daughter Iris, a desperate search for meaning and how nature saved him

Our guest for this episode is the passionate environmentalist and financier Ben Goldsmith. A leading figure in the UK’s rewilding movement, as well as a pioneer of green investment, Ben’s focus on our environmental crisis is now entwined with a deep sadness. In July 2019 he lost, unexpectedly and tragically, his 15-year-old daughter Iris, in an accident on the family farm in Somerset. Paralysed by grief, Ben threw himself into an extraordinary search for answers, attempting to make sense of the tragedy, but also to maintain his deep bond with Iris. In that search Ben talked to other grieving parents, leaders from a range of religions and faiths, a medium, all leading to a final, astonishing moment of revelation. The result of all this is his new book, God is an Octopus, a brilliant, compelling tribute to Iris and an examination of human nature in the context of the worst kind of crisis, and an explanation of the comfort he and his family found in nature itself. It is, I think, an important book that adds so much to this discussion around the crisis of grief.An episode filled with emotion, sincerity and reflections on life and death that are as fascinating as they are useful. My thanks to Ben for sharing his story and I hope you find this podcast useful.Full episode transcript available at:’s Crisis Comforts: 1. Wild swimming. Anywhere I go, I love to swim in wild water. In the sea, swimming in the sea, we all love it, but swimming in rivers, ponds, I find that somehow cleanses me of emotional overload.2. Walking in nature. I think we need this every day. If I don’t spend a little bit of time in nature, just for a few moments each day I start to feel short of something. I start to feel anxious. 3. Playing with children. Just rolling around on the floor with children and playing games and you know, just losing yourself in play with children, your own or someone else’s, I think is enormously cathartic. Links:Ben’s book - God Is An Octopus: Ben’s podcast - Rewilding the World with Ben Goldsmith: The Iris Project - Ben’s Twitter: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
19/05/23·1h 11m

64. Piers Morgan on failure, grief and the unsubtle art of not giving a f**k

Joining us in this episode is Britain’s, arguably the world's, most followed journalist - former newspaper editor, presenter, news broadcaster, author and self-confessed controversialist Piers Morgan. As you’ll most likely be aware, Piers is someone with opinions. Those clear views, alongside an absolute obsession with news and an unrelenting work ethic, have driven Piers to tremendous success both here in the UK and in the US. But there have also been high-profile moments of failure and drama. Career setbacks and criticism that would have sent most people diving under their duvet – death threats as a result of stories he’s run, sacked as Editor of the Daily Mirror and, more recently, a dramatic exit from ITV’s Good Morning Britain. And there’s also been personal trauma too.Piers’ response has always been to turn those moments of crisis into new opportunity and inspiration and to go again. So, this is a conversation about crisis with someone who's created and lived more than a few, and who, you will be unsurprised to hear, has a very clear opinion on where we're all heading from that resilience perspective.Full episode transcript available at:’ Crisis Comforts: 1. A pint of Harvey’s. I go to my village pub; see the village boys and we’ll have a pint and it has to be from the local brewery Harvey’s. A pint of Harvey’s makes all the troubles go away. 2. Montecristo No.2 Cigar. It’s got to be number two. I’ll thoroughly enjoy luxuriating in a big fat cigar – everything feels better when you have one of those. 3. A Rocky film. The best film is the first one. I love the Rocky Balboa story, I love his attitude. Links:Buy Wake Up: Why the world has gone nuts - Buy The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade - Piers’ Twitter: Piers Morgan Uncensored YouTube: Piers’ Instagram: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
05/05/23·1h 8m

63. Nick Goldsmith on combat, PTSD and the healing power of nature

Having completed six tours in the most hostile of environments, including four in Afghanistan, former Royal Marine Commando Nick Goldsmith was a broken man. Diagnosed with complex PTSD, Nick was paralysed with paranoia, shame, and as he describes it, survivor’s guilt. All a result of horrific experiences that saw him lose close friends in battle and become submerged in the other horrors of war. Oncew back in the UK Nick was initially lost in the military health system, eventually receiving the intensive psychiatric support he needed.But it was a very different type of therapy that accelerated Nick’s recovery and led to him supporting so many others who had been traumatised from serving in the armed forces and the emergency services. Nick and his wife Louise established Hidden Valley Bushcraft, where he teaches others to rebuild through a visceral connection with nature. Now, in his new book Rewild Your Mind, Nick shares his dramatic story and the practical techniques that helped him master the outdoors, and in doing so, master his past.Nick’s Crisis Comforts: 1. Change your environment. If you’re feeling stressed, go for that walk. No one ever went for a walk and came back feeling worse! 2. Listen… pick out the subtle things going on around you. Ideally, put a piece of music on. Music is a window to the soul and it has such an ability to evoke wonderful memories and feelings. 3. Food … evokes good memories. Make your favourite stuff you had on holiday in Greece, lamb kleftiko or whatever it is… Links:Nick’s website: Buy Nick’s book: Hidden Valley Bushcraft: Woodland Warrior programme - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
29/04/23·42m 0s

62. Rory Stewart on a love for risk, a battle with bitterness … and why a political comeback is on the cards

Our guest for this episode is Rory Stewart - the former diplomat and politician turned podcasting rock star. In a conversation that I hope you agree is compelling and useful, Rory talks about his greatest failures, traumas, his approach to risk and why a political comeback is on the cards. A proud Scot, Rory was born in Hong Kong and brought up in Malaysia. After Eton, he went on to Oxford and the diplomatic service but took a sabbatical to spend 20 months walking across countries including Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. A journey of self-discovery and frequent life-threatening dangers.After working as the Governor of an Iraqi province, Rory entered British politics as a Conservative MP – holding ministerial positions before making a bid to become Prime Minister. When Boris Johnson won the election in 2019, Rory resigned and threw his hat into the ring to become the new London mayor. After that contest was delayed by COVID, bruised and battered by the experience, he left politics and indeed later left the country. Rory talks about the influence of his beloved father Brian – a remarkable man who was D-Day hero and decorated spy. Rory reveals how, in 2015, he tried in vain to resuscitate his father who collapsed and died in his arms. It is a truly moving account not only of that terrible moment but also of the incredible bond that he shared with his dad.Rory now teaches international relations and politics at Yale University, runs a brilliant charity from his home in Jordan, all whilst co-hosting with Alastair Campbell the podcasting sensation that is The Rest is Politics.An episode packed with emotion, honesty and reflections on crisis that are as fascinating as they are helpful. I hope you enjoy it.Full episode transcript available at:’s Crisis Comforts:1. Meditation. I've done eleven-day silent retreats, which have been very important to me. And so in periods of extreme stress, I find deep meditation. An hour or two of meditation is very powerful.2. Childlike films or books on tape. I've been listening at the moment to the Hornblower series. When I'm a bit stressed, I put it on and it puts me back into a happy place of being a kind of 15-year-old in the 1950s.3. Animals. That relationship with your dog or a cat – learning from their virtues, I think is hugely important.Links:Pre-order Rory’s upcoming book – Politics On the Edge -’s website - Rory on Twitter - Mountain Foundation - Places In Between - Hazards - Marches - Intervention Work? - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
14/04/23·55m 37s

61. Julia Samuel on grief, post traumatic growth and dealing with our dark side

In arguably our most valuable crisis conversations yet, we’re joined by one of the world’s best psychotherapists – author and fellow podcaster, Julia Samuel – and in this episode we focus on possibly the most important theme that has come out of our conversations so far. That is grief. How we approach it, how we accept it and how we then move forward productively. In the sixty episodes we’ve recorded so far, we’ve had some incredible discussions with our guests on this subject - and so today we look back on some of those conversations with a real expert; someone who can help us navigate our way through this most difficult of crisis subjects.Julia has been helping people through loss and a range of other issues for more than thirty years. Her first counselling job was as a volunteer for Westminster Bereavement Services - where Julia found herself stepping into the homes (and indeed the lives) of people whose children had died under some of the most challenging of circumstances. It was clear early on that Julia had found her vocation. Ever since Julia has worked both in private practice and in the NHS, at London’s St Mary’s Hospital, where she pioneered the role of Maternity and Paediatric Psychotherapist. In 1994 Julia helped launch Child Bereavement UK, and as Founder Patron she continues to play a role in that brilliant charity today. Moreover, she has written a number of successful books including Grief Works, This Too Shall Pass and Every Family Has a Story, and she also hosts the successful podcast Therapy Works - which I could not recommend more.A huge thanks to the guests we discuss in this episode – for sharing their stories, but also to Julia for taking the time to help us take stock. You can find the full episode transcript at: covered:– Grief– Acceptance– PTSD– Good death vs bad deathJulia’s Crisis Comforts: Recognise that you are suffering. Let the emotions of the pain, of your suffering, through your system.Kickboxing. Keith, who’s my kickboxing teacher, I’ve been with him for 28 years. He cannot believe how much I want to hurt him… physiologically exercise is the equivalent to a low dose of antidepressants.I make sure I have fun. I don’t watch frightening things on TV – I drive my husband nuts because he wants to watch all the kind of frightening dramas, and I want to watch Mamma Mia. I want happy endings.Links:Julia’s Instagram – Works app – Works Podcast – Family Has A Story: How we inherit love and loss – Too Shall Pass: Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings – Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving – Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck – Death and Dying – Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
31/03/23·1h 9m

60. Sarah Standing on chemo, dodging Dr Google and life at full throttle

“Cancer not only makes the person going through it appreciate every nuance of life, it also make the people who love you speak their minds.”In this episode we are joined by Sarah Standing – journalist, toy shop owner and author.On the face of it, Sarah has enjoyed – and appreciated – a charmed life. The daughter of actress Nanette Newman and director, writer and actor Bryan Forbes, and sister of well-known TV presenter Emma Forbes, Sarah is also married to the brilliant British actor Johnnie Standing.Mum of three, grandmother to two … Sarah is the glue at the centre of a talented loving family and a network of friends that includes Sir Elton John.But in the space of a few hours on a November day in 2020 Sarah’s life changed forever. At 10am that day she went to see her GP, complaining of feeling breathless. By 4pm she’d been diagnosed with grade III Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.Sarah’s brilliant new book – Dancing With The Red Devil – tells the story of what happened next. It’s an account of facing down cancer and chemotherapy during those dark days of COVID but also the most wonderful, valuable memoir of family, of love and the power of friendship in crisis.Sarah is someone who loves to laugh but who also tells it like it is. This conversation, like Sarah’s book, is brutal in its honesty, moving, at times hilarious and full of insight that I think is valuable to anyone facing tough times or for that matter anyone who is in the orbit of someone dealing with crisis.Topics covered:- Cancer diagnosis- Chemotherapy and hair loss- Setting small goals - The language of crisis- Grief-TachycardiaSarah’s Crisis Comforts: 1. Cooking engages your senses and can sometimes invoke happy memories – comfort food in particular has the power to lift your mood.2. Music – Not just listening but getting up and joining in. Dancing and singing will trigger your brain to release endorphins which will automatically make you feel happier. 3. Jigsaw puzzles although requiring a huge amount of concentration can put your brain in a relaxed state of mind whilst distracting you from your problems. Links: Twitter - Instagram - With the Red Devil - Book - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
17/03/23·57m 42s

59. Special episode – Slavery at home

In this special episode, which is brought to you in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice, we’ll be shining a light on the crisis of modern slavery, and in particular the increasing prevalence of Cuckooing – a terrible new trend that you might have seen featured in the TV show Happy Valley. Cuckooing is a deeply damaging and frankly cruel practice used by criminals to take over someone’s home, someone’s life, as a base or as a cover for their own illegal activities.Led by the former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of my guests today, the CSJ’s vision is for those living in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities across Britain to be given every opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential. The CSJ, which Iain founded 20 years ago, was one of the first to call for greater action around modern slavery and is now focussing its efforts on Cuckooing.Also joining us is Louise Gleich, a senior researcher at the CSJ whose brilliant work is centred around the Modern Slavery agenda. And finally we’ll also be joined by Declan, a former police detective turned Victim Navigator for Justice and Care. Declan is operating day in, day out on the Modern Slavery frontline. This may feel like a crisis that is very unlikely to touch your life, but the reality is that it’s very likely to be happening right now, in a property not that far from you.Declan works closely with Modern Slavery victims, as such we won’t be revealing his surname or his full identity. For further information, advice and guidance on the contents of today’s episode – call the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700.Topics covered:- Slavery- Cuckooing - Exploitation - Human Trafficking & Migration- Community- Policing prioritiesFull episode transcript available at: report – Slavery at home - Centre for Social Justice - and Care -’s Twitter -’s Twitter - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy Coulson CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global

58. Andy McNab on being tortured, facing an execution squad and the upside of being a psychopath

“I’ve got the ability to kill people and not sort of worry about it too much.”In this episode, I’m joined by the former SAS soldier, hugely successful writer, campaigner and clinically diagnosed psychopath Andy McNab. Andy’s life began in crisis .. abandoned after birth on the steps of a London hospital, he was later adopted and raised in Peckham. After several run-ins with the law as a teenager, Andy’s life was transformed when he was given a choice – prison or the army. He went on to become one of the most decorated soldiers of his generation.In 1991 Andy commanded an eight-man SAS squad designated Bravo Two Zero, who were dropped behind enemy lines in Iraq on a mission to destroy Saddam’s lines of communications. His best-selling book about those events has sold over six million copies and has never been out of print.It told the incredible story of how, after seeing three members of his squad killed, he was captured and tortured. Andy was only released after enduring an horrific mock execution.Months after experiences that would break even the toughest of individuals, Andy was back to work in covert operations. How he coped, he tells me, is in large part due to his mental make-up. Years after leaving the army Andy was clinically diagnosed with psychopathy. “But I’m a good type of psychopath,” he says whilst admitting that his lack of empathy means that he is capable of killing for money, if his circumstances demanded it.Thankfully with a further 52 books now under his belt, that is unlikely to happen. Andy’s latest book, Shadow State, the first in a new series focused on the murky world of cybercrime, is out now.Essentially a psychopath’s guide to resilience, this is an episode you will not want to miss. Andy’s face has been obscured in the video recording of this episode. He explains exactly why at the start of our conversation.Full episdoe transcript available at: covered:– Abandonment– Psychopathy– SAS selection– Withstanding torture– Bereavement– Stoicism and the power of perspective– Money and moralityAndy’s Crisis Cures:1. Don’t start flapping. Just accept what’s going on. There is a crisis. It’s here. It’s happening.2. Take action. Once you’ve accepted the truth, you’ve got to get on. You’ve got to rectify it slowly to get out of the crisis. Take responsibility for it.3. Accept that the world isn’t that perfect. You may not come out of that crisis completely clean. You’ve just got to get on with it and try and get some resolution. Because the next one is coming down the road, and you don’t want them to all compound on top of each other.Links:Shadow State – to the Wire – Two Zero – – @The_Real_McNab – Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
17/02/23·59m 2s

57. Crisis Cures: Richard Bacon & Ruby Wax

The two guests joining us in this Crisis Cures episode have both enjoyed stellar careers in broadcasting, but it’s not been a straightforward journey at all for either of them.Richard Bacon started out as a fully paid-up Blue Peter badge holder, presenting one of the longest running and most successful children’s television programs of all time. A tenure cut short when his private life came under tabloid scrutiny, temporarily bringing his time at the BBC to a premature conclusion.Ruby Wax, of course, has been a regular fixture on our screen since the mid-1980s, both as a writer and television personality, interviewing some of the biggest names on the planet. But behind all the comedy, all the professional brilliance, ruby was struggling with her bipolar disorder and ongoing battles with depression, something she now campaigns for and speaks very openly about.So in this Crisis Cures episode you can expect to learn about:Resilience and hard workCommunity and belongingState of mindPersonal enrichmentAs you will hear, it seems that there is much common ground in Richard and Ruby’s approaches to finding an equilibrium and the right state of mind in order to see them through the tough times. Richard’s Crisis Cures:Avoid alcohol: ‘I think if I’m going through a dark day the thing is to not drink because that can very quickly bring out anger.’Vinyl music: ‘I often play sixties bands, whether it’s The Who or The Kinks or The Beatles or The Stones… nothing makes me happier than putting on a piece of vinyl, I just love everything about it.’Babington House: ‘I got married there and it still retains its kind of magic quality…it’s hard not to go there and do anything other than feel much better.’Richard’s full episode: Ruby’s Crisis Cures:Community: ‘Not just a wine tasting club, but a place where you genuinely talkto each other’.Compassion: ‘When I’m in a queue sometimes I’ll find somebody in a really bad mood, and I’ll start talking to them or somebody who’s giving me grief. It’s just an experiment… I’m trying to exercise those [stress] muscles.’Mindful exercise: ‘Tai chi, Pilates, Yoga… but not something mindless. You have to notice what’s going on in your body.’Ruby’s full episode: Links:ADHD Foundation –’s Frazzled Café – www.frazzledcafe.orgRuby’s latest book – A Mindfulness Guide for Survival – Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey.With special thanks to Global.
03/02/23·9m 5s

56. Professor Robert Winston on grief, guilt and the truth about fertility

“You start wondering if your own life is worth continuing. It’s obvious that you think about that. But what do you learn? I don’t know. I think people learn different things and people react to grief very differently.”Joining us for this episode is Professor Robert Winston – scientist, author, broadcaster and politician. Devoting much of his adult life to the crisis of infertility – IVF pioneer Lord Winston is that rare breed … a scientist who can speak fluent human.With fertility and genomics never far from the headlines, Lord Winston continues to face down considerable controversy – periodic media storms that would send most scientists sprinting back to the safety of the lab. In this conversation Lord Winston lays bare the harsh statistical truth about IVF … facts, he says, you will not learn from the fertility industry.A one-time Peer of the Year winner, Lord Winston also has an active political life beyond his career addressing the crisis of infertility. Sadly, it was in the Lord’s last year, that he revealed an altogether different, very personal crisis with the sad loss of his wife Lira, who died suddenly at their home. In this episode you’ll hear how, with Lira in his arms, he called 999, only to be met with an operator who wasted precious time in getting an ambulance. Lord Winston also tells us movingly how Lira’s death caused him to question whether he could live on without her.Topics covered:The truth about fertility success ratesCollaboration & resilienceHow to cope with public scrutinyGrief & guiltThe NHS CrisisThe dangers of genomicsRobert’s Crisis Cures:Find mentors who you trust. Anne McLaren was a very good example – a brilliant female scientist.Work in collaboration with a team you get on with.Be persistent but recognise your failures. Because failure teaches you to do it better next time.Links:Twitter – – Research Trust – Incredible stories of the world’s most ingenious inventions – A Scientist: Professor Robert Winston Answers 100 Big Questions from Kids Around the World! – Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
20/01/23·52m 8s

55. Lisa Squire on Libby, loss and legacy

This is one of the most difficult crisis conversations we've had to date and some will find this episode distressing. It’s a discussion about unimaginable trauma - the loss of a child in the most horrendous circumstances. Our guest is Lisa Squire, mother of Libby, a 21-year-old student who disappeared after a night out in Hull with university friends in January 2019. 48 days later Libby’s body was discovered in the Humber Estuary. She had been raped and murdered by Polish 24year old Pawel Relowicz.The terrifying initial uncertainty of Libby’s abduction, the horror when her death was discovered and the pain of a court case that ultimately offered only some degree of closure, make this a crisis like few others. Lisa, as you will hear, has taken these experiences and is now putting them to work in her own unique way, on behalf of others and, of course, Libby. Relowicz had committed a number of non-contact sexual offences against other women in Hull before he abducted Libby. Lisa is now campaigning for those types of crime to be taken more seriously, to encourage victims to report them, but also for sentencing levels to be raised. She is also campaigning for mandatory life sentences for those convicted of rape and murder.My thanks to Lisa who felt strongly that this episode should be heard. First and foremost to raise her campaigning issues in Libby’s name. But also to offer perspective and lessons to those facing grief or other challenges.Full episode transcript available on our website.Lisa's Crisis Cures: 1. Talking – Whether that's to my husband, the children, my friends, my mum and dad, or Libby. You have to get it out.2. Writing – I write things down when they come to me, that lessens it because you can see it in black and white.3. Work out what you can and can’t manage that day – break it down into little bits, because the mountain is huge. I take it in five-minute blocks.Get involved:We’ll keep you updated on the Libby’s Legacy campaign on our social media channels. In the meantime, if you take anything away from our conversation today let it be the following: 1. Report. Report. Report. Take non-contact sexual offences seriously.2. If your friend can’t get into a nightclub there’ll be another opportunity. Don’t leave your friends.3. If you see somebody, like Libby, and you feel it in your gut that something doesn’t seem right, pick the phone up and call the police, call an ambulance.4. Don’t let the conversation end here.Links:The Compassionate Friends - launch campaign with Libby Squire's family urging people to report low-level sex offences - You can watch Libby, Are You Home Yet? On Sky Crime or online at - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
06/01/23·1h 8m

54. Crisis Cures: Roopa Farooki & Virginia Buckingham

In this Crisis Cures episode we hear from two remarkable women who faced down two very different challenges. For Roopa Farooki, that took the form of facing down the daily crisis of Covid, with all its drama and tragedy, during the peak of the pandemic in her role as an NHS junior doctor. And for Virginia Buckingham, the former boss of Logan international airport in Boston, it was the shocking personal impact of being widely, and very unfairly, blamed for the 9/11 attacks in New York. In these extracts from our full podcast conversations (links below) both women explain what they relied on to get through the toughest of times. Roopa & Virginia’s Crisis Cures: 1st Crisis Cure –Roopa – Stick to your routine during a crisis.Virginia – Create a haven in your home in which to heal.2nd Crisis Cure –Roopa – Writing – I like to make sense of what’s happening in my life.Virginia – Find a purpose outside of yourself and your crisis.3rd Crisis Cure –Roopa – Believe in what you’re passionate about.Virginia – Do Good with something badLinks: Virginia’s full episode:’s full episode: –‘On My Watch’ – Memoir by Virginia Buckingham – is True: A junior doctor’s story of life, death and grief in a time of pandemic – Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey.With special thanks to Global.
16/12/22·5m 49s

53. Crisis Cures: Nile Rodgers

Legendary musician Nile Rodgers has endured and managed dramatic crises for him and his loved ones throughout his life. Here he gives us his three top Crisis Cures for when life unravels. You can listen to this valuable conversation in full and all previous episodes, here or wherever you get your podcasts.Nile's full interview is available here: episode transcript available at:'s Crisis Cures: 1st Crisis Cure – Work – I look to my art and my work. 2nd Crisis Cure – Simple exercises – I train myself to do something new to make my body and brain aware.3rd Crisis Cure – Music – John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’. It puts me in a space where the world becomes a peaceful place.Links: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy Coulson.CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey.With Special thanks to Global.
02/12/22·6m 28s

52. Col. Andrew Milburn on Putin’s big mistake, addiction to crisis and grief

Andrew Milburn is the British educated would-be lawyer who became a decorated US Marine Colonel. A 31year career spent in the midst of crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Now, as the Founder and CEO of the Mozart Group – a response to Putin’s evil Wagner Group – he trains and rescues Ukrainian civilians. In this conversation, Andrew gives us an extraordinary insight into the psychology of those fighting on both sides and describes how Putin has misjudged the incredible resilience of the Ukrainian people. Andrew is also no stranger to personal crisis. He suffered a terrible personal loss with the death of his daughter, Kaela in a road traffic accident. Andrew sets out in moving detail how, despite a life of successfully managing extreme crisis, he could not, for a period time, cope with his grief. A conversation that provides crisis lessons from geo-politics to the most personal of challenges. My thanks to Andrew.Full episode transcript available at:'s Crisis Cures:1st Crisis Cure – Writing – Alongside my book I also enjoy writing articles – it’s something I will always maintain.2nd Crisis Cure – Reading has been my companion since childhood. Most of my favourite books are non-military with one exception – Quartered Safe Out Here by George McDonald Fraser.3rd Crisis Cure – Exercise – It’s a daily graft for me but essential for my mental health – it’s more about clearing my mind.Links:Support The Mozart Group -'s book - When the Tempest Gathers - Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy CoulsonCWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane SankeyWith special thanks to Global
19/11/22·1h 9m

51. Fergal Keane on addiction, PTSD and why he will never go back to the frontline

Fergal Keane is the multi-award-winning BBC Foreign Correspondent and author - a man who through the very nature of his job has spent much of his 33-year career immersed in crisis. The newsreels of genocide and mass atrocities in places like Rwanda and Sudan, that we all have watched from the comfort of our homes, are first-hand horrors embedded in Fergal’s mind. Memories that have caused him to be diagnosed with complex PTSD and other mental health issues. So, this is a conversation first and foremost about resilience. But it is also a discussion about how to find positive ways to, as Fergal brilliantly puts it, mitigate against your difficulties. A useful episode, I hope, for anyone struggling with traumas of the past. My thanks to Fergal for sharing his story.TW: this episode includes references to multiple forms of trauma, including intergenerational trauma, sexual assault, and violence.Fergal's Crisis Cures:1st Crisis Cure – Writing a gratitude list – reminding myself each day of the things I am thankful for. 2nd Crisis Cure – My dog Deilo. He can sense when I’m in difficulty and will nudge me to take him for a walk.3rd Crisis Cure – Watching Ireland’s greatest rugby tests. Watching sport takes me so far out of myself.Links:Pre-order Fergal Keane’s brilliant new book -'s Twitter - ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: episode available at: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford

50. George Osborne on Truss, Boris and the Tories’ self inflicted crisis

In what is possibly our most topical episode to date our guest is the former Chancellor George Osborne. Talking on the day after Liz Truss’s resignation, George delivers a detailed view on the unravelling political and economic crisis and explains why he fears the end is nigh for the Tory government. And he also talks revealingly about the crises that came before … from the 2008 financial collapse to Brexit and his role in it. Delivering a lesson that any employer should hear, he tells me what happened on the day he was brutally fired – after six years as Chancellor – by Theresa May. And why it caused him to seek revenge. It’s quite a story. I hope you enjoy this timely and useful conversation.George's Crisis Cures: 1st Crisis Cure – Finding the time to clear your mind. 2nd Crisis Cure – Not being afraid to take advice 3rd Crisis Cure – A glass of red wine at the end of the day.Links: 1.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford
21/10/22·1h 12m

49. Britain’s lockdown shame – the story of the Forgotten 500k

In this special episode we reveal the ongoing crisis being endured by the Forgotten 500,000 … those British people whose compromised immune systems mean they live in constant fear of infection, serious illness or death. For a large number of those men, women and children lockdown has never ended because of a government refusal to act. You’ll hear a shocking first-hand account from English Professor Martin Eve, who is now entering the 134th week of isolation at home. He’s joined by Dr Lennard Lee – a leading NHS oncologist who is campaigning with Martin to bring an end to this appalling situation. They want to see the introduction of the Cambridge made drug Evusheld which acts as a barrier against infection, allowing patients to live more normal lives. Although Evusheld has been exported and is being used successfully in 32 countries, it is being denied to people living here in the UK. This is the story of a crisis that has been out of sight and out of mind for too long. Please support the campaign if, after listening to this episode, you agree it’s time to act.Martin’s Crisis Cures:1st Crisis Cure – Providing a home for an unwanted pet: I found comfort in adopting an older dog from a shelter.2nd Crisis Cure – Making music and creative writing: Creativity offers a fantastic therapeutic outlet and can put you back in control.3rd Crisis Cure – Technology: Dependence on technology whilst I continue to shield gives me invaluable access to the people I love.Links:Campaign website – to your MP here (letter templates available) – the petition here – episode transcript available at: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream:– Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford
17/10/22·39m 47s

48. Gay and Roxy Longworth on coercion, psychotic breakdown and the long road back

Gay and Roxy Longworth are a mother and daughter who overcame an incredibly difficult, long and dangerous mental health crisis and collaborated to write a powerful book, ‘When You Lose It’, documenting each shocking step.  Although at times extraordinary, the story they tell in this episode will, I think, resonate with parents and teenagers struggling to navigate the dangers of the modern, digital world.When Roxy was just 13 years old, she was pressurised by much older boys from her school into sending intimate photographs of herself.  Over time, these demands grew and finally after a series of coercive and threatening messages, Roxy, who was hiding all of this from her family, returned to school to find the pictures had been widely shared amongst her peer group and brought to the attention of her teachers.What followed was a series of events which led to Roxy suffering a psychotic breakdown. She was admitted to a mental health facility - voices in her head now controlling her every move. Roxy’s breakdown caused deep distress for her of course, but it also ripped through her family and in particular her relationship with Gay, a successful author.  The book tells the story of Roxy’s illness from both their perspectives. It is, at times, a brutal account of their relationship.This conversation is an important one, because, of course, this is not an isolated incident. With phones now such a central part of our children’s lives – and from such a young age - it’s easy to lose track of what they are looking at, who they are communicating with, what they’re sharing and of course what pressures they’re under.  As Roxy says in this conversation, “Once they had those photos, they owned me.”Roxy, is now studying maths and statistics with neuroscience at UCL. Although at times it’s clear she finds it hard to talk about some of these events, she has moved forward in her life brilliantly and wants her story to send a powerful message. Not only to discourage youngsters from doing what she did, but also to boys who may coerce others and to teachers who as she says, “tell you a million times what not to do, but not what to do if you’ve already done it.”My thanks to Roxy and Gay for sharing their story and I hope you find this episode useful.Gay's Crisis Cures: 1. Find people who know more than you do. Friends, neighbours.. anyone. That’s key in the position I was in.2. I need to go to a really quiet place by coming out of my head and back into my body. I have a trick which is to stand on one leg because you have to focus to balance. If that doesn’t work, try doing it on tip-toes or with your eyes closed.  That definitely gets you to focus the mind.3. When you have big decisions to make – particularly when the outcomes could be life altering, try to view them as informed choices. So if they don’t work out in the way you need, you can look back and think – I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.Roxy's Crisis Cures:1. I work very hard and fully commit all of the time. I always make sure I’m doing at least four things at once too because I manage best when there’s as little time to think as possible.2. I found an amazing therapist who helped me navigate my way through, working out where I could take responsibility for things I’d done and where I needed to accept I’d been taken advantage of. He showed me how to manage my brain and use it to my advantage.3. I draw cubes – literally everywhere. I can use them to help ground myself and keep myself calm when I feel like I’m spiralling.Full transcript available on: you lose it - 4 - ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream:– Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford
04/07/22·1h 8m

47. Richard Clemmow on the terror of brain cancer, fighting for time and the desperate need for a new approach

My guest for this episode is the journalist, documentary maker and radio script writer, Richard Clemmow. Richard and I are both trustees of Our Brain Bank, a charity which supports people affected by Glioblastoma – one of the most complex and aggressive brain cancers. GBM is a cancer which sadly we both have a very personal connection with. I became a trustee after my family lost my sister Deb almost four years ago after she was diagnosed with a GBM.Richard was married to the pioneering TV executive Jana Bennett. As Director General at the BBC, Jana reached higher office than any woman before her. She transformed the corporation’s science coverage, creating Walking With Dinosaurs and later overseeing the introduction of the iPlayer. Jana also sadly died of a GBM earlier this year – she was just 66 years old, leaving Richard and their two children completely devastated.In this podcast, Richard and I talk about our shared experiences with GBM, for which treatment has not developed significantly in the last couple of decades. We discuss why that is, the shocking lack of information that is available to GBM patients and their families and why OBB is so determined to shine a bright light on this terrible, terrible disease.Richard talks with power, clarity and in incredibly moving detail about Jana’s determination and courage. But this is also a story about his courage as he effectively played detective to try and prolong his wife’s life by finding new treatments.As this episode becomes available, I should be crossing the finish line having cycled from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in aid of OBB. So, if you feel moved by what you hear, Richard and I would be grateful if you would support our efforts by clicking on the fundraising link below. Huge thanks if you do and in any event thanks for listening.Richard’s Crisis Cures:1. I think that’s really important – understanding the situation you’re in, to the best of your ability and therefore knowing your options and where you might go. It makes you feel more empowered.2. The right kind of music will do it for me. Mozart’s Requiem or Beethoven’s String Quartet. Also Harvest Moon by Neil Young – that’s the song that got Jana through the first 9-hour surgery when she was awake while the surgeon was digging into her head.3. Hiking in the mountains – that would be my third.Links: Support Andy Coulson, raising funds for Our Brain Bank on the LEJOG ride – Brain Bank – ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream:– Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford
24/06/22·1h 3m

46. James Timpson on almost losing it all, the UK’s prison crisis and the underrated power of kindness

My guest this today is James Timpson OBE – the inspiring and successful businessman whose family-run company boasts over two thousand Timpsons, Snappy Snaps and other high street brands. In this conversation you’ll hear how the impact of lockdown almost took the company down. As he said, “half of me thought, this is a business experiment to see if we can survive - the other half thought, if we’re going to go down, we might as well go down in style sticking to our values.” You’ll also hear about his loving but somewhat unconventional upbringing in a home that over the years was a refuge to some 90 foster children. An environment he says, that could go from “calm to chaos in a matter of seconds.” It’s clear that this early exposure to crisis in its’ rawest form is where Timpson’s culture of kindness was born. It also led to James’s other great passion in life – the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. James is Chairman of the Prison Reform Trust. But he also walks the talk in his business life. Timpson’s programme of recruiting former prisoners is one of Britain’s most progressive and successful re-employment initiatives. But as James says, it’s only when he sees a reformed ex-offender become the CEO of a well-known public company that he will begin to believe we are truly changing our attitude towards criminal justice. So this conversation is an inspiring one and I think demonstrates how a little kindness and generosity of spirit toward those in crisis, can go a very, very long way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.James' Crisis Cures: 1 - Breathing – learning how to breathe. I try hard to be calm and thoughtful. My mind’s too busy to meditate. 2 - Physical exercise – we’re a Peloton family. 45 minutes on that trying to beat my target. I always feel better after that. 3 – Car rallies with the kids or music festivals. When you’re dancing or in a car – nothing seems to worry you.LINKS: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at:
10/06/22·1h 5m

45. Dr Nate Zinsser on how to develop the confidence to survive crisis

In this episode I’m joined by the world-renowned performance psychologist, Dr Nate Zinsser. Dr Zinsser (or Dr Z as he’s known) - is the Director of the Performance Psychology Programme at West Point, the US Army’s famous officer training facility. In that role he prepares new and experienced soldiers for the mental stresses of battle. He also works for the FBI and is a top US sports psychologist, helping to guide a number of NFL and Olympic athletes to glory. Dr Z’s new book, The Confident Mind – a Battle Tested Guide for Unshakable Performance - is packed with useful, practical tips on how to discover and maintain your confidence. Dr Z’s approach is far from the world of positive thinking fluff, that publishers seem to love these days. His formula is brutally frank, down to earth, and doable. In this chat Dr Z talks us through his confidence framework. And along the way he explains how the recently jailed Boris Becker can turn his downfall into a positive. He also delivers a compelling message to the men and women fighting the war in Ukraine. There really are some gems to remember here. Like - “There’s a big difference between positive thinking and effective thinking” and “Crisis is an opportunity to get to a better life, not to just get back the life you had” and my personal favourite “Bitterness is not a clean burning fuel … it will always leave a residue.” Some great stuff here. My thanks to Dr Z and I hope you find it as useful as I did!Dr Z's crisis cures: 1 – Start by not categorising your situation as a crisis in the first place! I try to be as rational and as careful about how I think about the problem. My response is always to stop. Breathe. Hold back the emotion – be as objective as possible. Ramp down the alarm bells and see this as a situation that’s going to require a considerable input of a particular type of energy. I don’t want to be telling myself that I’m in a crisis.2 – Define the situation appropriately – are you in a situation that means the world is going to end or one that you just wouldn’t choose to be in? Remember you have agency and capability.3 – Decide to act. Remember, you are the leader, and you make the decisions when it counts.LINKS:Facebook (@DocZinsser)Website: www.NateZinsser.comBook: - Andy Coulson Producer - Louise Difford Full transcript available at:
03/06/22·59m 4s

44. William Hague on managing global crisis, the art of resigning and the pursuit of happiness

My guest today is the former Foreign Secretary William Hague. As someone who has been ‘in the room’ as the decision maker at so many moments of political drama, Lord Hague has an incredibly valuable voice to add to this conversation that we’re having about crisis. From his challenging time as Conservative Party leader, the wilderness years out of frontline politics, the four he spent as Foreign Secretary - and now as businessman and commentator - William has a unique perspective on what makes a crisis and how those in public life should approach managing them. Threaded throughout our discussion on Ukraine, Brexit, political resignations and why being Prime Minister is not the route to happiness, William gives us the Hague formula for crisis management. It is, perhaps as you might expect, pretty no-nonsense. Interestingly, William thinks his keep calm, keep perspective approach is out of kilter with the modern world of instant decision making and instant judgements. I suspect, after listening to him you’ll think, like me, that it’s exactly what the bonkers world of politics needs right now. William and I worked quite closely together more than a decade ago and this conversation also reminded me just how reasonable a bloke he is.  God knows we could do with a bit of that. I hope you enjoy this conversation and thanks so much for listening.William's Crisis Cures: 1 – Nature – The Japanese like forest bathing – it’s not a bad idea.. when in trouble go and walk amongst the trees, the plants and wild animals – it gives you a different perspective.  Certainly a calmer one.2 – History – Often you can see things in better perspective if you can remember how terrible things were before for the previous generation.  Don’t feel so sorry for yourself when you consider those aged 20 in the 1940’s going off to war.3 – Exercise – When I was in the Foreign office I used to say ‘I can do without sleep or food, but I can’t do without my exercise.’  I have to have a run or a swim in the morning. When I’m in big trouble I need even more of that because I think it gives you an energy and a self-confidence and again, a sense of perspective and some time to think.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream:– Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull episode transcript available at:
27/05/22·1h 2m

43. Andrew Marr on his stroke, survival and squeezing the juice out of every day

My guest today, I am thrilled to say, is one of Britain’s best broadcasters – the brilliant Andrew Marr. Perhaps best known for his Sunday morning politics show, which he recently left after more than 20 years, Andrew is a true polymath – a man who can not only present but who writes prolifically, is a talented painter and who has forgotten more than most of us have learnt about Britain’s history.Andrew is also a survivor – in 2013 he suffered a catastrophic stroke that his wife and children were told would claim his life. He defied his doctors, of course, although has been left with permanent paralysis on his left side. Then four years ago Andrew was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He batted that challenge away with determination and self-deprecation. This is not a man to wallow in his own troubles, I can tell you. But he has analysed and made sense of those crises and talks to me in this podcast about them in a way that is both fascinating and I think valuable. He says, “After the stroke, my life became a long list of can’ts... Can’t run, can’t cycle, can’t swim, can’t ski. I decided instead to concentrate on the cans. And I now try to squeeze the juice out of every day.” Brilliant.This is a compelling episode with a truly compelling guest. My thanks to him and I hope you enjoy it.Andrew’s Crisis Cures:1 – A good malt whisky calms me down. Half and half with water, looking into the middle distance. Brings the blood pressure down and pulls everything into perspective.2 – Music – I listen to a lot of classical and piano music, more and more as I get older. I like to walk around Regents Park with headphones on almost certainly listening to either Beethoven or my new discovery – Haydn’s piano sonatas, which are heart-stoppingly beautiful3 –The sky – Get outside in all weathers and be surrounded by nature. Full transcript available at: with Andrew Marr: Twitter – – ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here:

42. Virginia Buckingham on 9/11, the unbearable burden of blame and moving forward

To kick off this new series I’m joined by Ginny Buckingham – the quietly spoken, devoted mum-of-two who for a period of her life faced the frankly unfathomable trauma of being publicly blamed for thousands of deaths.Ginny was the boss of Boston’s Logan Airport where, on the morning of September 11th 2001, a group of terrorists boarded American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, airliners that of course very soon after take-off, they would hijack and later fly into New York’s World Trade Centre.Ginny led a daunting, frankly unprecedented crisis management operation at Logan but within 48hours of the attacks, the blame game began.It was wrongly claimed that the terrorists had targeted Logan because of its weak security systems and links to Boston politics.There were angry demands for Ginny to resign and, as one newspaper put it – ‘atone’ for the massacre. Her political bosses – as so often happens in crisis – saw the opportunity for a scapegoat. Blame, as Ginny puts it, gave them the opportunity to get control of an uncontrollable situation.Six weeks after the attacks, she was forced to resign but faced years of continued accusations and a personal legal claim from the wife of a 9/11 victim. As the second anniversary of the atrocity approached, Ginny sat alone in her car and considered suicide.This is a conversation about blame, the psychological impact of public scandal, guilt and recovery. Of how when crisis, politics and media collide, those in the crosshairs can find themselves in the most brutal of positions.In her book On My Watch (and indeed during this pod), Ginny stresses time and again that her difficulties are nothing as compared to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the families they left behind.But hers is a story of how public crisis can so often create powerful tides of misplaced retribution and blame that wreak havoc on those unfortunate enough to be in the way. That even after she was very publicly exonerated by the 9/11 commission, the psychological damage, continued, demonstrating I think, that crisis can have a very long, unseen but very damaging tail.Ginny hopes that by telling her story, our leaders might think twice before reaching for the scapegoat button when trouble comes – and I hope she’s right. Huge thanks to her for joining us and I hope you find this podcast useful.Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford‘On My Watch’ – Memoir by Virginia Buckingham – transcript and links available at: Ginny's Crisis Cures:1 – Make a room in your home a haven for you during crisis and while you’re healing. I have a sitting room in the corner of my house that has my candles and my artwork and my books – that’s where I curl up in the corner, take a breath and say, “Okay. Go at this again tomorrow.”2 – Find a purpose outside of yourself and your current situation to devote yourself to. In my case I was very lucky that I had two little children to take care of and devote myself to outside of what was happening. But whether it’s parenting or taking care of your dog or your neighbour – it gives purpose and meaning to your day to day.3 – Do good with something bad. In my case, I took my story and I put it in a book and I put it out in the world. So don’t just let the bad things sit. Take advantage of the crisis and do good with it.Ginny's Crisis Track: Bruce Springsteen ‘The Rising’
13/05/22·1h 4m

41. Ukraine Special Episode – Jeremy Bowen speaks to Andy Coulson from Kyiv

My guest for this special episode – talking to me from the world’s crisis capital Kyiv – is BBC broadcaster Jeremy Bowen.Jeremy’s dramatic dispatches, with his trademark focus on the moving, at times frankly horrific, human stories of loss and despair, have revealed the appalling impact of Russia’s invasion.This is a truly frontline crisis conversation with a man who felt compelled to put himself in danger once more to tell what he describes as the most important story of his 38year career in news.A love for, and perhaps even an addiction to, the story is what led him to join the BBC team in Ukraine. As Jeremy played down the risks of his assignment, our pod was interrupted by a tannoy message from the hotel suggesting to guests that they should use the bomb shelter below to stay safe through the night. Jeremy, of course, was having none of it.In this conversation he gives us his brilliant analysis of how we got here and where this war might take us. But Jeremy also is able to give us a powerful, first-person account of how the people of Ukraine have dealt with an existential crisis for them, their families and for their country. “They are surviving because they are stoic,” says Jeremy.So, this is a unique episode packed with real-time crisis insight. I hope you enjoy it and we’ll be back with a new series of Crisis What Crisis? soon.Jeremy and I would ask that that if you find this episode useful please donate to: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at:
01/04/22·55m 36s

40. Nick Robinson on political crisis, cancer and the long-tail of grief

Nick Robinson is a man who for more than 25 years has had a seat in the front row of so many political crises.  First as a news producer and then in front of the camera as political editor for ITN and the BBC Nick really has witnessed it all when it comes to Westminster drama.Since 2015 Nick has also, of course, fronted Radio 4’s Today Programme, a role in which his piercing interview style has made him respected and feared by our politicians in equal measure.But Nick is also someone who has faced down a personal crisis of the most dramatic and tragic nature. Aged just 18 whilst on holiday in France, he was involved in a head on car crash which instantly claimed the lives of his two friends James Nelson and Will Redhead. Nick was left  trapped in the back seat as the car exploded into flames.  How he escaped is still a mystery to him.  How he came to terms with such an appalling trauma is one of the issues we discuss in depth here.Another is the desperate moment in February 2015 when Nick was told by his doctor that he had lung cancer. He underwent emergency surgery and chemotherapy. Thankfully the tumour was removed but in the process the nerves leading to Nick’s vocal chords were damaged. He feared that he’d lost his voice forever – and with it the career he had worked so hard to build.So, although this is a fascinating and revealing podcast about what Nick has seen and learnt about political crisis, it’s more usefully, I think,  a conversation about his approach to those challenges much closer to home. The Nick Robinson Crisis Formula is stoic and no-nonsense. But it’s also respectful to the ever-present danger …  that long tail of crisis that can suddenly whip around and hit you when you least expect it. Something Nick has experienced himself very recently.My thanks to Nick for such a valuable conversation – and for giving us such a great end to Series 5.Nick's Crisis Cures: 1. A hot bath - gets you relaxed, opens your mind to recovery.2. Fresh Air - it’s a cliché but a walk round the park. Put the phone away, breathe and everything seems clearer.3. Communication – if your crisis is caused by others, try to work out what’s going on in their head. See it from their perspective.Links:Election Notebook – From Downing Street – Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: transcript available here:
04/02/22·1h 8m

39. Ellis Watson on the search for his Mum, success from crisis and how to spot a bad billionaire

For our first outdoor episode media business leader and one of a kind motivational speaker Ellis Watson joins me for a walk in the Scottish Highlands.Ellis has worked at the sharp end of corporate crisis – heading a national newspaper business, turning around The Greyhound bus operation in the US and as Global CEO of Simon Cowell’s Syco Corporation, before taking charge of UK media group DC Thomson.But behind his professional success is a personal story of resilience and hope. Ellis was given up for adoption as a baby and his teenage search for his birth parents ended with a truly astonishing revelation.This is a story told with humour and passion but without a scintilla of self-pity. He speaks with incredible candour about the extreme ups and downs of a career spent in the company of billionaires, one of whom was Rupert Murdoch – the boss he walked out on in a scene worthy of Succession. Ellis also reflects on the mountain top drama that almost cost him his life.Known as one of the most inspiring and entertaining keynote speakers in the country, Ellis is one of the few people to have been invited back to deliver a second TEDx talk. In this conversation he provides brilliant insights for anyone interested in how crisis can fuel and drive growth and deliver life-changing perspective.Ellis’ Crisis Cures:1. Exercise – I hate the thought of doing it but afterwards it gives a sense of calm and perspective. In crisis it makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, no matter how modest. It makes you feel like you can take control and overcome adversity and difficulty.2. Sleep – Crisis causes you to have interrupted or poor sleep and of course when you have poor sleep you’re much, much worse at handling crisis. As vicious circles go, it’s about as destructive a thing as you can get.3. Dogs – I get excellent counsel and feedback from a chat with my dogs. Mine think I’m pretty clever and agree with me – especially just before they’re about to get fed.Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
28/01/22·57m 30s

38. SHORTCUTS - Roopa Farooki on grief, betrayal and Boris

In this week’s Shortcut episode, we are joined by award-winning author and junior doctor, Roopa Farooki. In February 2020, Roopa - who is the daughter of the celebrated Pakistani novelist, Nasim Ahmed Farooki - lost her sister Kiron to breast cancer.  Then weeks later she found herself struggling to cope in an overstretched and under-resourced ITU department, caring for the critically ill Covid-19 patients who were arriving daily at an alarming rate.Her powerful memoir Everything is True, acclaimed by the Guardian as a 2022 must read, is a story of bravery at a time of personal grief and professional crisis - written in snatched moments between 13-hour shifts.   It’s both moving and at times shocking with its brutally honest account of life on the NHS frontline.Roopa is not a woman to hold back about the challenges she and her colleagues faced, not least for her and others in the higher risk BAME demographic, but also of the betrayal she and others have felt following the No10 party revelations.As she says: “It still makes me angry, that while we were giving up an ITU bed for our Prime Minister they were not even personally following the rules that they put in place for the population, rules which were robbing relatives of their last moments with their families.”This is an immensely revealing and timely Crisis Shortcut episode providing a powerful perspective on the Covid crisis.Roopa's Crisis Cures: 1 - Routine. I think stick to what creates comfort in your routine. I always do half an hour of exercise and that includes a bit of yoga and I always feel better for doing it.2 – Writing.  I write a bit every day to try make some sense of what’s happening in my life. As opposed to reading or doom-scrolling through what everyone else has thought, I think sometimes collect your own thoughts and to put them down. I think that’s really, really helpful for me.3 - Believe in what you’re passionate about. For me I’ve always been passionate about looking after my patients and providing care. There is nothing else that I would rather do than do what I do every day.Links: Everything is True: A junior doctor’s story of life, death and grief in a time of pandemic – – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
21/01/22·19m 15s

37. Professor Steve Peters on how to train your brain for crisis

In this episode we have something different as I’m joined by the brilliant psychiatrist Prof. Steve Peters, author of the best-selling The Chimp Paradox.Steve’s landmark book has become a bible for anyone looking to cope with crisis or break down the barriers that can prevent us from living a fuller, happier life. During an illustrious career Steve has worked with people facing life threatening challenges to athletes looking to improve performance - most famously the British cycling team.The Chimp Paradox, which gave Steve rock star status as a psychiatrist, sets out a mind management system based on the premise that there are three forces at play in our brains.  The emotional and primal ‘inner chimp’ - who thinks and acts for us without our permission, the ‘inner human’ who is the real person – rational and humane - and our memory bank, the ‘computer’.   For me it’s been a powerful and entirely logical toolkit for handling stress and those moments of difficulty in my life.  In our chat Steve talks about how the chimp system applies itself to crisis and how it can help anyone, to navigate their way through a world increasingly influenced by those black and white judgements of social media.  His new book – ‘A Path Through the Jungle’ (link below) sits neatly alongside The Chimp Paradox as a ‘Hayne’s Manual’ for the brain.This episode is a fascinating analysis of what crisis actually is and how our minds work when we’re in the midst of significant trouble. Full of gems I guarantee you’ll want to make a note of.Steve's Crisis Cures: 1 – My values – I get myself on my own and ask myself, ‘Have I done the right thing? Have you got integrity, honesty?  Are you working with compassion? If I know that to be true, I can’t stop the world thinking what it thinks.  Therefore, whatever the crisis is, that stops me being thrown around. 2 – Acceptance – I find this as soon as I can so I can work forward in the situation, rather than fighting the injustice or crisis.3 – Perspective.  At the end of the day, we have very short lives.  Now I’m older, perspective is really important to maintaining the status quo in my mind.Links: Path Through the Jungle – Chimp Paradox – Book - – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
14/01/22·1h 3m

36. SHORTCUTS - Peter Owen Jones on adoption, authenticity, and unanswered questions

Peter Owen Jones is the former ad man who gave it all up to become a parish priest. By the late 1980s, the former farm boy had carved out a successful career working as a creative director for a top London agency.  But shortly before his 30th birthday, Peter walked away from his lucrative career to embrace a simpler, more meaningful life.Known to many as the ‘vicar in the hat’, and seen often on TV, Peter is an unconventional priest – whose views and approach are often at odds with classic Church of England doctrine. Given up for adoption at six weeks old, he says this void left him feeling as though he had a space inside himself, full of unanswered questions. So, when he himself became a father, he set out to find his birth mother. Six months later they met for the first time on a train platform in Scotland.During our conversation Peter discusses the power of embracing vulnerability and putting it to work. As we all reach the end of another difficult year, there are some useful lessons here which can be put to good use, regardless of your faith.  A perfect Crisis Shortcut for Christmas.Peter's Crisis Cures:1 – Lie down.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, when you’re feeling deeply distraught and the full force of crisis hits – lie down.2 – Pray.  To open yourself to feel the full force of the pain you are experiencing and invite healing into that place.3 – Walk.  St Francis of Assisi said “Solvitur ambulando – it can be solved by walking.”Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
24/12/21·14m 49s

35. Pauline Stonehouse on injustice, scandal and survival

Pauline Stonehouse found herself at the centre of what is one of Britain’s biggest miscarriages of justice. Between 2000-2015, the post office bullied and prosecuted more than 700 innocent sub post masters and post mistresses. Those prosecutions carried out by the post office’s criminal law division were based on evidence gathered from a recently installed but as it turned out fatally flawed computer system. Some went to prison following convictions for false accounting and theft. Many were financially ruined and shunned by their communities. Others died before their names were cleared. Pauline was forced into bankruptcy, lost her home and in 2007 was convicted of six counts of false accounting. Convictions which were formally overturned only very recently.This is an appalling story of an entirely unnecessary crisis, driven by a misguided, institutional belief that hundreds upon hundreds of sub post masters were not pillars of their communities but instead that they were all, individually and quite independently – sophisticated criminals. In Pauline’s case, the post office decided to trust a machine over a mum and an employee who was both respected and experienced. And then they set out to ruin her life, with her husband and two daughters as collateral damage.This was a very British scandal, uncovered with thanks to journalists like the brilliant Nick Wallis and those victims are now set to get compensation.Pauline handled the unravelling of her happy life with incredible strength, without a hint of self-pity and as you’ll hear, with a heavy reliance on her sense of humour – a much undervalued crisis tool.This is the story of an ordinary woman thrown into the centre of a truly extraordinary crisis and it’s packed with lessons for anyone who has lost or fears they might lose control of their lives.Pauline’s Crisis Cures: 1 – Sense of humour2 – Reading – I love the sense of escaping into another world. I read anything and everything on my kindle. I download books constantly. Whatever spikes my fancy. From love stories to thrillers, to historical.. whatever floats my boat at the time3 – Jigsaw puzzles – I love them. A big 2000 piece on my dining table! I’ve been doing them since before my daughter was born. It’s another form of methodical escapism. It occupies your mind in a different way.Links:Justice For Sub postmasters Alliance Stonehouse twitter Wallis’ book – Scandal Fund - Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
17/12/21·1h 8m

34. Bill Browder on murder, guilt and living with fear

Bill Browder describes himself, with justification, as Vladimir Putin’s number one enemy. His best-selling book Red Notice – an autobiography that reads like a thriller - tells the story of how the grandson of one of America’s best-known communists became one of Russia’s most successful capitalists.Bill is founder of The Hermitage Fund which at its peak became not only the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia but the best performing fund in the world. But when Bill fell foul of Putin’s personal agenda, he was suddenly and dramatically kicked out of Russia. Bill reacted by setting out to expose a shocking case of state-sponsored corruption. His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky was later arrested, tortured and in Nov 2009, whilst in custody, brutally murdered.Bill has since devoted his life to creating a legacy for Sergei and his family.  Something he achieved against the odds with the implementation of The Magnitsky Act – a law to punish Russian human rights violators - since adopted in a number of other countries. To say that this one-man crusade has irritated the Russian President would be an understatement. Putin has repeatedly abused Interpol’s Red Notice system in a number of failed attempts to have Bill arrested and brought to Russia.Bill continues to live in fear that the shifting sands of global politics will somehow allow Putin to one day get his revenge. Bill is certainly no friend of President Trump and fears that were he to return to the White House that this could lead to him being a pawn in a Russian/US deal.Though a staggering story of crisis for Bill, he maintains that it is a much more important one for Sergei and the family that he left behind.  The way in which Bill describes his burden of guilt over the death of his friend, who demonstrated astonishing bravery in the weeks before his death, is deeply moving.But it is the way in which he has come to terms with a life of constant crisis and threat, at least for as long as Putin is in power, which is for me the most fascinating and chilling aspect of this conversation. Bill's Crisis Cures: 1. I have a Peloton in my basement and the worse things get, the harder I work out – so I’m in the best shape when times are really bad.2. I focus on my family. It’s kind of weird to be fighting murderers on the one hand and then being at the school gates.  The normalcy of bringing up a family is incredibly helpful in these situations.3. I listen to country music. There’s a song called ‘Beer For My Horses”. It’s about a bunch of Texas lawmen who after they’ve rounded up a bunch of bad guys and hanged them, serve beer for their horses and Whiskey for their men. I love it.Links:Freezing Order – Red Notice – Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
10/12/21·1h 11m

33. Guy Hands on fortune, failure and the fear of the ‘Under Toad’

In this first episode of our fifth series I talk to Guy Hands - a man who Tom Wolfe would have described as ‘A Master of the Universe’. A private equity titan who through his skill and sheer force of personality has been one of the most successful dealmakers of the last three decades.Not every deal has gone well though – some in fact have gone spectacularly wrong. Most famously his acquisition of EMI was a multi-million-pound failure which still stings. Guy talks with candid honesty about those professional crises and peels back the lid on the secretive world of private equity.But what’s truly remarkable about this episode is not the riches gained or lost. It’s the personal challenges that Guy faced before the success and indeed since, that really makes this a crisis story worth listening to.Challenges like his severe dyslexia – Guy still has a reading age of 13 and the spelling level of a seven-year-old, dyspraxia, chronic OCD and a number of other crippling conditions.Guy’s life under its successful veneer has often been one of significant struggle which at times has taken him to the darkest of places in terms of his mental health. A battle against what he describes (quoting from the World According To Garp) as The Under Toad – the constant fear of being dragged down to disaster.A reminder that whoever you think someone is – however perfect and successful a life they appear to be leading – the reality will almost certainly be something very, very different. Guy’s Crisis Cures:1. Gardens – Being able to smell the garden. If it’s raining a bit softly – even better.2. Yoga – I find it very, very useful. Partly the stretching which I really enjoy. Partly a little bit of physical exercise, but not too much. And partly just to clear my mind to think.3. Listening to music – The one that gets me up when I’m really down is Mama’s & Papas – Dedicated To The One I Love. It has that wonderful line about the darkest time being just before dawn. I can play that line over and over again. Links:Guy's book - Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford Full transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:

32. Dr Richard Shepherd on a career immersed in crisis, his unravelling and why Brits are so bad at death

Dr Richard Shepherd (Dick) is an Expert Forensic Pathologist who has conducted over 20,000 post-mortems throughout his illustrious career. Many of these have been in the aftermath of some of the world’s most shocking disasters of recent times – including 9/11, the Clapham rail disaster, 7/7 and the death of Princess Diana.But in 2016 Dick suddenly struggled to separate his work and homelife, something he’d always prided himself on being able to do. It started with a panic attack whilst flying a light aircraft over the town of his first high profile assignment, Hungerford. And it culminated with the simple chink of ice in his wife’s gin and tonic – the moment which, as he says, snapped his links with reality and sent him back to the mortuary at the Bali bombings.Dick is brutally honest during our conversation, about his inability at that moment to carry on, and the dramatic unravelling that followed which led him to consider suicide. Thankfully, with the support of his wife, herself a doctor, and the help of counsellors, Dick made a full recovery and was able to return to his work. Now aged 69, his passion for pathology is as strong as ever. Dick has written two insightful and brilliant books which I urge you to read before the summer ends. They provide a detailed account of what it is to be pathologist and the critical role it plays for us all. Including the ‘inconvenient truths found during a post-mortem’, as Dick puts it, that have ensured justice has been done and answers provided to those who have lost loved ones.Richard’s Crisis Cures: 1. FLYING – It just has nothing to do with my day-to-day life. To climb into my little plane and take off into a blue sky over the coast to France for lunch. Intellectually it is interesting to learn but it’s the freedom and it is a very good clearer of minds.2. MUSIC – I love music of all types. I’m very broad-church. If I’m very stressed it’s Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutti – Mozart. When I’m a bit grumpier, it’s the other end of the spectrum – and there’s always, Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall.3. Reading – I’m not very good because I usually fall asleep. Holidays are when I read most. 100 years of solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. It’s a tremendous story – I can keep going back to it.The Seven Ages of Death by Dr Richard Shepherd: The Unnatural Causes tour is starting on October 5th – find events at: Causes: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
27/08/21·1h 1m

31. SHORTCUTS - 15 minutes with author Henry Scowcroft

Henry Scowcroft is an award-winning science writer for Cancer Research UK.  In 2016, his girlfriend of six years, Zarah Harrison was diagnosed with an aggressive stage four tumour. After a short and brave battle she sadly passed away, with Henry by her side, just as he had been throughout her treatment. Struggling to cope and with a need to understand what had happened, Henry channelled his grief into writing ‘Cross Everything’ – a book which documents both his personal relationship with Zarah and her illness but also their struggle to understand and come to terms with her cancer.The result was a memoir and manual that has been described as the most emotional textbook you will read.In this shortcuts episode, Henry explains how, through his writing, he was able to provide a powerful legacy for Zarah – and a guide for others who face a similar challenge.  It is a detailed and deeply moving conversation about grief, making sense of the unfathomable nature of cancer and recovery. Henry's Crisis Cures: 1 – To carve out time for myself and make sure I’m looking after myself so I can be as helpful to the people around me as I can. 2 – Not getting caught up in the shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’ – there’s always a way to look back at the way you ended up in a situation you’re in and think, ‘if only I’d done X, if only I’d done Y, I wouldn’t be here.  But the fact is, you are where you are.  You’re here now.  Look forward, not backwards.  Focus on the horizon and not over your shoulder.3 – Music – Particularly the guitar which I’ve always loved playing.  I play in a band to this day.  I love listening to music – it’s so powerful at being able to get your head in a different space to where it is.  If you want to weep then music is incredibly good at taking you into that zone.  It was especially important when Zarah died.Crisis Track David Crosby – Traction in the Rain.Links: - - Henry's book: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
20/08/21·19m 23s

30. Nimco Ali on the brutality of FGM, intimidation and Girl Power

Our guest this week is Nimco Ali OBE.  A leading survivor activist, author and political strategist.  Born and raised in Manchester, at the age of six whilst on a trip to Somalia with her Grandparents, she found herself caught in the crossfire of a civil war.  Forced to flee and unable to return home, she was for a time a child refugee.  She found safety with her family but the following year, faced an altogether different trauma. Organised and encouraged by her own mother, Nimco underwent the brutality of FGM.   She later became seriously ill as a result of complications from that abuse. The mental scars continued for many years to come.  Despite this Nimco has become one of the world’s most powerful campaigners and activists against FGM – an act that still impacts many millions of women.In this conversation, Nimco speaks impressively about how she managed the impact of her crises including the complex and fractured relationship with her mother and family. To this day she is subjected to intimidation and criticism for breaking the code of silence that too often exists around FGM.In this podcast she talks powerfully about the methods she has deployed to survive and thrive including a sense of humour and a love of The Spice Girls.  Nimco is an extraordinary woman who, through her sheer force of personality and strength of mind, has brought about change in attitudes towards FGM here and abroad.Nimco's Crisis Cures: 1 – Humour – I find it in the people around me.2 – An App called Pattern – it’s about star signs… I’ve become more connected with the idea that our life path is charted before our birth.  I’m a great believer in fate and destiny.  We assume we’re more important than we are, rather than being a grain of sand in a broader conversation.  I hold true to the idea that if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.3 - The Spice Girls – I believe they were fundamental to my activism – a group of women who took on the patriarchy in a different way.  I was once asked what my favourite quote was and I said  –  “If you want to be my lover, you got to get on with my friends”Links: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull mention below: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: transcript available here:
06/08/21·1h 2m

29. SHORTCUTS - 15 minutes with former NFL player, Anthony Trucks

For our second Shortcuts episode, we are joined this week by former NFL athlete, Anthony Trucks. Anthony had an incredibly difficult start in life, given up by his mother at the age of three, he was placed into the US foster care system, where he was physically and mentally abused, tortured and starved. At the age of six he was finally placed into a loving family home and at 14 was adopted.Despite the stability, Anthony went dramatically off the rails as a teenager before football rescued him. He went on to play for three NFL teams but, after a career ending injury in 2008 and the death of his Mum he found himself battling severe depression.In this episode Anthony talks fluently and powerfully about how he took control of his life again – by coming to terms with his past, his failures and by focussing on compassion. He’s now a highly successful motivational speaker and creator of The Shift Method of personal development.Anthony’s Crisis Cures:1 – Reframing failure. We make it way worse than it actually is. If you can reframe the failure and find the lesson, you find a way to do better next time. It gives you hope to not have to face the same crisis again in the future.2 – Organisation. The reason a lot of us stay in crisis is we don’t know how to get out of it. We don’t want to take the wrong path, so we take no path. I bring everything down to earth and once I can see it, I can chart a path.3 – Action. Action ends suffering. We sit with emotional feelings with no action to change them. Feelings are born of actions and if you’ve taken an action that’s made you feel this way, the only cure is to take an action in opposition. That moment you don’t want to move, is the moment you must move and do something.Links: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
27/07/21·18m 48s

28. Sebastian Coe on Olympic crises, integrity and a sense of the absurd

Today’s guest is Lord Sebastian Coe. Double Olympic Gold Medal winner, politician and driving force of the brilliant 2012 London Olympics. Seb’s career has largely been one of triumph. But as President of World Athletics he has also known what it is to be at the centre of crisis … and to have your own integrity questioned. Seb talks about the ups and downs of his life in compelling and frank detail. And he explains how his resilience – both in times of success and difficulty – came from his Yorkshire upbringing and his father and trainer Peter, a man who survived a truly dramatic war time experience. As Seb says: “The human condition is landscape, it’s geography, it’s family, it’s friendships, it’s influences – with mine I was very lucky. I’m forever indebted.” This is an episode packed with sound, practical crisis advice from a man who has led a remarkable life in the public eye.Sebastian’s Crisis Cures:1 – Friends. If you can count the number of true friends on the fingers of one hand throughout a lifetime then you’re doing remarkably well.2 – Music. I’m a passionate Jazz aficionado – I’ve got thousands of recordings. I find jazz the most mood alerting music. I walked from the warmup track in Moscow to the final of the 1500 in the stadium listening to Sidney Bechet – Just a closer walk with thee’3 – Recognise the absurdity of life. Sometimes you just have to sit back and say, “this is beyond comedic and accept it for what it is.”Links:The Sebastian Coe Foundation – – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
20/07/21·1h 17m

27. SHORTCUTS - 15 minutes with Squeeze's Chris Difford

Chris Difford is a lyricist and co-founding member of 70’s & 80’s new wave pop band Squeeze. With classic hits such as Tempted, Up The Junction, Labelled With Love & Cool For Cats, his contribution to the British music scene has been considerable and long lasting.In this conversation Chris talks with power and candour about the challenges he has endured and survived including addictions and chronic dyslexia which impacted his childhood deeply.Despite being hindered by a stammer and labelled as ‘backward’ by an unsympathetic school system, Chris was determined to follow his dream to join a band and become a songwriter. Squeeze went on, of course, to have huge commercial success both here and in the US.But as the tours stacked up, Chris had clearly started self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, retreating slowly as he says to a ‘very dark place’. His chronic fear of flying and months spent on the road away from his young family began to take their toll and it was only with the intervention of a friend which made him see he had a serious problem, taking him to a treatment centre and helping him on his road to recovery. This week Chris celebrated 29 years of sobriety and continues to ‘pay it back’ in-between touring by holding song-writing workshops in prisons and raising money for food banks and NHS nurses.As Squeeze prepare to be one of the first bands to cross the Atlantic following lockdown restrictions, touring on both sides of the States with Hall & Oates before returning to the UK to tour with Madness, Chris shares his simple approach to keeping life within the four walls of his day. An impactful and heart-warming first Shortcuts episode.Chris’ Crisis Cures: 1. AA/NA Meetings – Listen to what’s going on. Buddy up with somebody – somebody will always be there to hold your hand and make you a cup of tea. You’ll never forget the taste of that cup of tea if you get the message.2. Adopt a piece of music – Have it around you at all times. For me that’s James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend.” I’ve always loved it. There’s something very moving about the chords and the words. They can lift you out of a dark place.3. Keeping things simple – Don’t live in the past. You can’t regret what you did yesterday because it’s gone, and you can’t know what’s coming in the future. We all like to live in the future but it’s quite dangerous. Living within the four walls of a day is the simplest thing to do. The routine of a day is extremely important.Links:–––– – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louis DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
09/07/21·14m 20s

26. Lorraine Pascale on rejection, the pity pool and making the mess your message

Scouted at the age of just 16 – Lorraine Pascale was the first black model to appear on the cover of US Elle magazine. She featured in the 1998 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and was photographed by the late Corinne Day for The Face magazine with supermodel, Kate Moss. When the modelling career came to an end, she went on to new heights as a chef, an author and TV presenter, achieving success on both sides of the Atlantic.But her early life was a far cry from her later triumphs. Fostered shortly after her birth, then raised by a woman in the grip of alcohol addiction, she was once more put into the care system, only to endure long years of pain and hardship. Lorraine speaks candidly about this time and how meeting her birth mother much later on, left her convinced that she was a complication she didn’t want, or need in her life.Despite all of the childhood trauma, Lorraine is positive and demonstrates throughout why her no nonsense practical approach to problem solving has earned her the nickname of ‘Mrs Solution Focused’ amongst her friends.Lorraine’s Crisis Cures:1 – Exercise – that’s getting up and going to the gym. Getting on the treadmill and each day trying to beat the previous run. It gives you a great sense of achievement and gets the dopamine going.2 – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Spring – I have it on repeat. I find it very powerful. Music is a great cure…3 – Constant self-talk – Affirmations. I was dumped on the day my mum died – that’s a crisis. It was the only way I got through it. Things like, “You’re going to be okay, you’re great, you’ve got this…” – It sounds weird, but it really, really works. Links:Tact Fostering – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website: transcript available here:
02/07/21·54m 56s

25. Nick Bailey on being poisoned, losing everything and finding peace

Former Detective Nick Bailey’s life changed forever with the simple opening of a door. In March 2018, whilst searching the property of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who’d earlier that day been found collapsed on a Salisbury park bench, Nick came into contact with the deadly nerve agent Novichok. The Salisbury Poisonings, as they came to be known, set off a chain of events which not only put Nick’s life in grave danger but also saw him and his family become collateral damage in an international incident.In this episode Nick talks us through those days of incredible drama and how, as he recovered physically, he faced the new challenge of losing his home, possessions and later the job he loved. This is a very human story of a life impacted by truly extraordinary events. Nick is open, candid and thoughtful about the poisonings and his battle to recover.Nick’s Crisis Cures:1 – Music – When I was in hospital, I couldn’t deal with anything. I was completely shut off. A friend of mine recommended that I listened to I Giorni’ by Ludovico Einaudi – It freed my mind. It made me smile, it made me cry. It was the most beautiful moment I had there. It means a huge amount to me.2 – Acts of Kindness. The support from the public was overwhelming. The generosity and gifts from people who didn’t want anything in return. We kept everything and still go through it now. We had an old lady offer us her TV after she heard we lost everything. For every negative, there were a thousand positives.3 – Running – it was a big thing for me. It didn’t fix anything, but I didn’t expect it to. Like I Giorni, it just freed up my mind. Then with the marathon I had the focus of raising money for Stars Appeal Charity at Salisbury District hospital (link below).Links:Charity – speaking – – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: transcript available here:
25/06/21·1h 15m

24. Nick Allott OBE on bringing theatre back to life, grief and the art of recovery

Nick Allott OBE is one of Britain’s most successful theatre executives. For over 40 years he’s been at the forefront of some of the biggest West End and Broadway shows, including Oliver! Cats, Miss Saigon and Les Misérables. He was executive producer of the Oscar winning Les Mis film and was one of the team who brought Hamilton to London. Now as Vice Chairman of Cameron Macintosh, Nick has also led the fight to save theatre – an industry stricken by the pandemic. In this episode he talks in detail about his approach to crisis management. But he’s also candid about a life peppered with personal crises, from the loss of his father in a helicopter accident at 15, the subsequent devastating impact on his family, his own near-death experiences and how he has approached the impact of grief. Nick’s eloquence, honesty and humour provide a brilliant start to series 4.Nick's Crisis Cures:1 – Having a morning routine and sticking to it. My dog wakes me at up 7am. Cup of tea, then back to bed with the iPad to read all the papers. Then it’s back up for some vigorous exercise. Finally, to finish - a really cold shower and you’re set up for the day.2 – Cooking. I had to learn to cook as neither of the key partners in my life cooked – my kids all do, so I love it when we all collaborate to make something together. Half are vegetarian and half eat meat so it’s a big meal. Number one dish is an Asian curry.3 – Music. It’s underpinned my whole life. For me the best experience is live music. I really miss crowds. If I’m depressed or worried, I listen to a live recording. If I had to commit myself to one, it would be - Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb. The first band I fell in love with. It never fails to thrill me. I cannot wait to get back into a room or field full of people. 4 – The one piece of theatre I could watch over and over again, and it would endlessly sustain me, would be the end of the first act of “Les Misérables” a song called ‘One Day More’.Links: The Theatre Artists Fund: Numb, Pink Floyd: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
18/06/21·1h 12m

Series Four trailer

In this fourth series of Crisis What Crisis, host Andy Coulson will be joined by an array of brilliant guests, all with extraordinary stories of crisis to share. From both a personal and professional perspective, all of our guests offer their wisdom and experience in an attempt to put together the ultimate crisis tool kit. This series also sees the launch of Crisis Shortcuts – shorter episodes that will sit alongside the longer podcasts, in which individuals tell us in their own words about their crises, and how they got through them.
14/06/21·4m 1s

23. Nicky Campbell on adoption, guilt and a dog called Maxwell

Nicky Campbell is one of Britain’s best-known radio and TV presenters - a voice and face of calm, decency and reason. A personality whose talent, craft and ambition led him to Radio One, Wheel of Fortune, Top of the Pops and Watchdog. For the last 18years he has presented the Radio Five Live Breakfast Show and since 2011 Long Lost Family – where he helps reunite adopted children with their birth parents. Yet for so many years, away from the microphones and cameras, Nicky was secretly battling mental health issues that flowed from his own adoption as a baby in Edinburgh. After meeting his birth mother, Nicky’s struggles for identity deepened, ending with a breakdown in 2013. After that dramatic collapse outside Euston Station, he was diagnosed as type 2 bi-polar … a condition that he discovered his birth mother had also suffered. Nicky came through thanks to the support and love of his wife Tina, their daughters and his beloved dog Maxwell. He has detailed his emotional journey in his brilliant new book One of the Family. A raw, intense but valuable conversation for anyone struggling to understand themselves and their identity.Nicky's Crisis Cures:1. The Beatles – I fell in love with them when I was 12. I remember hearing my sisters ‘With the Beatles’ cassette – they just spoke to me. It has a hymnal quality which I find incredibly moving - I want ‘Hey Jude’ played at my funeral. 2. The Highlands – We took our holidays there. The smell of the heather, the smell of the ferns. The burns, the fields and the farms and the midges and the rain – I adored it. It’s where I feel the happiest3. Book - On The Origin Of Species – Charles Darwin. I’ve got into the whole idea of common ancestry – I love that phrase of Richard Dawkins “The Magic of Reality” - the idea that science is more spiritually spine-tingly amazing than anything in the scriptures. I’ve really got into that.Links:Adoption UK: Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage: One Of The Family: Wild Swan at Coole - Yeats: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: notes: Nicky’s life as I’ve said throughout this interview was, until 2013, something of a slow-moving crisis. He says himself that his adoption provided a drive, an ambition that led him to being so successful. But it also laid the tracks for a darker, more difficult journey – a journey to discover his identity – and which ultimately led to the bipolar diagnosis he shares with his birth mother.He spoke thoughtfully about coming to terms with the paradox of adoption as he calls it … that he wanted to belong with his birth mother, but he didn’t want that to mean he’d no longer belong with his Mum and Dad Frank and Sheila.Nicky’s analysis of that paradox – and how he managed to resolve it – I thought carried wider lessons for anyone in crisis. As he puts it ‘It’s okay not to know how you feel and it’s okay to feel nothing – to just go with the flow’. Though simple, it’s an approach we can all deploy from time to time. The dogs in Nicky’s life have clearly played an important part too, offering him incredible support over the years. From Toby, the dog he spent the first nine days of his life with, then Candy – his childhood companion, through to Maxwell his current dog who inspired a book and as Nicky says – changed his life.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
15/03/21·1h 13m

22. Tracey Crouch MP on cancer, resigning from Government and Harry Kane

Former Government Minister Tracey Crouch is the kind of MP who restores your faith in politics. Authentic, no-nonsense and, as she puts it, determined to stay the same person who occasionally goes to the supermarket in her slippers. In this episode she talks us through the crises she’s faced in politics and her personal life, including a diagnosis last year with breast cancer. The Spurs loving former Sports Minister tells us how she managed that crisis with a pragmatic approach driven by perspective, a focus on the positives and a determination to ‘max out on life.’ In this episode Tracey also fights her way through a few unexpected bangs and crashes … caused by her cats coming in and out of the cat flap. Tracey is, literally, unflappable. Bags of lessons here for anyone facing their own challenges.Tracey’s Crisis Cures:1. Football: “I love it. It’s a real distraction. Although, I don’t feel so relaxed by football when I’m actually in the stadium…”2. My allotment: “I find my mind can completely empty of any stress or trouble when you’re sat digging over a bed.”3. Reading: “I love reading children’s books. I love going back to a time when things were just simpler. We should all find the time to sit quietly in the corner with Stig of the Dump.”Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Notes:Seemingly devoid of the usual politician’s ‘how will this play?’ break on her conversation. Tracey is so utterly authentic and genuine. From the reasoning behind her shock resignation from government to the trauma behind her cancer diagnosis, Tracey showed herself to be the right kind of team player. Or, as she put it brilliantly, “I’m a Spurs fan who doesn’t stand up because they hate Arsenal.”Tracey’s no-nonsense approach to her cancer diagnosis last June focused on the positives, the importance of perspective, exercise and mindfulness. This week she’ll begin professional counselling recognising that it’s often at the end of treatment that anxiety can really begin. My bet is that Tracey will be back in government pretty soon and it’s quite likely to be around the cabinet table.I’m sure that that girl from Kent whose resilience first developed as a latchkey kid will do brilliantly. Why? Because she is actively determined not to let politics change who she is. Or as she puts it “I want to be a mum, a wife, someone who occasionally goes to the shops in their slippers and someone who likes to shout obscenities at the referee”. How fantastic.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
08/03/21·1h 8m

21. Mark Sedwill on handling the COVID crisis, a gun in the face and the power of pizza

My guest for this episode is someone who can not only talk about what it is to personally face down a life-threatening crisis, but who has worked at the epicentre of multiple crises that have affected us all.Mark, (now Lord) Sedwill, was Cabinet Secretary from 2018 until last year. He was Britain’s most senior civil servant and, to quote from the musical Hamilton, ‘He is the man who was in the room where it happened.’ He has worked at the right hand of two Prime Ministers as they navigated crises including Brexit, the Salisbury poisonings and of course the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. But these were not the first intense dramas in our guest’s life of public service. In previous jobs he’s been threatened at gunpoint by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen and whilst serving as deputy high commissioner in Pakistan, he had a bomb planted under his seat.Mark Sedwill is the embodiment of that calm, unflappable public servant that is uniquely British and characteristically understated.Mark’s Crisis Cures:1. Pizza would be the first. One of the things you have to do is keep people going. Often in a crisis it’s the simplicity of a pizza. I like a Diavalo myself!2. Listening – Remember you have two ears and one mouth and there’s a reason for that. Listening actively. Encourage the quieter voices and don’t jump to conclusions. You often need to go slower in order to go faster.3. Communication – In any crisis, communication isn’t just explaining what you’re doing – it’s part of managing the crisis. It has to be central to what you’re doing.Links:Halo Trust: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Notes:This podcast was an absolute masterclass in crisis management. Although the stage Mark, Lord Sedwill has operated on is national, at times even global – the lessons still apply I think for anyone trying to navigate a proper problem.Mark, of course, is a man who found himself dealing with two of the biggest government crises of modern times – Brexit and most recently the pandemic. But it was his previous roles across government, the military, UN and the Intelligence Service, (not that he would reveal a thing about that, naturally!) that provided the muscle memory for him to step up when those big tests came in at number 10.His approach in essence was powerful in its simplicity. In crisis, you need to communicate more, not less – because communication is at the core of crisis management. You need to make sure everyone understands their job, including you – don’t try and play every position on the pitch. It’s important to understand that staying calm is contagious because how you behave and the words you use, will impact how others behave. And remember – when you’re talking or shouting, you’re not learning and sometimes the quietest person in the room has the most telling point to make.Mark was also clear that in crisis you must leave room for error and that includes your own. His admission that his analytical approach can sometimes mean he lacks empathy was revealing. As Mark says, ‘you won’t get everything right, but when those mistakes happen – recognise them, make sure that you’ve absorbed them, then move on.’This is an episode packed with useful takeaways from a man whose career has been dedicated to public service at the sharp end.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
20/02/21·1h 6m

20. Claire Danson on being paralysed, avoiding bitterness and finding purpose

This week’s guest is the remarkable former GB triathlete, Claire Danson. Claire’s life was torn apart on August 28th 2019 when she collided with a tractor whilst out training on her bike. Her injuries included the fracture of every bone in her neck, every one of her ribs, both wrists and shoulders and a puncture to both lungs. Tragically she also completely severed her spinal cord, leaving her paralysed from the chest down. Claire, who underwent multiple surgeries, which she was warned she might not survive, was forced to adapt her life drastically – in her words to “learn everything again.” With almost unbelievable willpower and strength of character Claire immediately focused on becoming a para-athlete. This is a story of a life transformed but also of the most astonishing positivity, optimism and resilience. It is an episode packed with the lessons of perspective and a testimony to the power of an individual’s spirit.Claire’s Crisis Cures:1. Doing something you love. For me that’s sport. But whether it’s reading books, listening to music – whatever makes you smile will definitely carry you through the darker times.2. Remembering it’s a moment in time. It’s valid and it’s awful but it can and will get better – so don’t give up. Because 99 times out of 100, if you don’t give up – you’ll get there in the end.3. Talking to someone. If you’re in a crisis – talk. It just makes such a difference. With so many things, people will be able to relate and it makes you feel less alone. And that, will see you through.Links:Wings For Life: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: Notes:Claire’s ability to find perspective in what was an unimaginable, life changing accident was truly humbling. Perhaps it’s the elite athlete’s attitude which allows her to focus on the goals she has set herself, goals which she uses as a coping strategy to push herself towards and beyond what she calls, ‘learning her new life.’ From the start of our conversation, Claire showed acute ability to get to the bigger picture and achieve clarity – crucial in any crisis. She immediately focused on what she could do – and not what she couldn’t. This drove her decision to reject any feelings of bitterness. That she uses the words ‘luck’ and ‘lucky’ so frequently is a demonstration of her indefatigable resilience and determination to stay away from corrosive negativity. Claire knows the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people – her friends and family have all played crucial crisis roles during the days of drama and probably more importantly since normal life has resumed. A truly remarkable and inspiring woman.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website: transcript available here:
12/02/21·58m 45s

19. Dame Jenni Murray on fat shaming, cancer and a call to the Samaritans

The renowned broadcaster and writer Dame Jenni Murray is my guest for Episode 19. For 33 years the brilliant and calm voice of Woman’s Hour, Jenni talks powerfully about the myriad private crises she has faced. Her difficult relationship with her mother led to a lifelong battle with obesity, low self-esteem and, at her most desperate, a call to the Samaritans. In 2006 - the same week that she lost her mother, Jenni was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer resulting in a mastectomy. Jenni, who underwent drastic surgery in 2015 to lose weight, speaks candidly about these and other challenges in her life. And how she got through them and her brilliant book Fat Cow, Fat Chance. Jenni is patron of British research charity Breast Cancer Campaign and the Family Planning Association, Vice president of Parkinson’s UK and a supporter of Humanists UK.Jenni’s Crisis Cures:1. Dogs – I could never be without a dog. I love seeing them run around the park enjoying themselves. Then we cuddle up in front of the TV in the evening watching ‘Call My Agent’. I adore them.2. Reading crime novels – I love reading. Val McDermid & Sarah Paretsky are my two favourites. Sarah didn’t write for a while but now she’s back and Val always has something that keeps you up till 3am because you can’t put it down.3. New Forest Ice-cream. We often go to Lymington and there’s an ice-cream shop where you can get a fancy cone with two scoops – I always have one vanilla and the other ginger, and that can cheer me up anytime!Links:Breast Cancer Now :’s book: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available here: Notes: To the millions who tuned into Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour – she was the consummate professional, completely composed broadcaster. That she was so down at one point that the only way forward for her was to phone the Samaritans was an astonishing and poignant revelation and speaks, I hope, to one of the most resonant lessons from these conversations. That crisis really doesn’t care who you are. Jenni’s frank assessment of her near life-long struggle with obesity alongside the cruel and counter-productive fat-shaming she received - both from strangers and most shockingly from her own mother, was also compelling. Her ability to recognise its impact on her life and yet find forgiveness, demonstrates her extraordinary resilience. Finally, Jenni’s coping mechanism throughout her crises struck a chord with me. That through it all, keeping busy, taking charge of the practical issues ahead, was her key device to avoid the darkness. Another example of that simple idea – focus on the things you can affect – however small and it will ease the anxiety caused by those things that you can’t change.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
05/02/21·1h 14m

18. Nile Rodgers on highs, lows and getting lucky

Our guest for episode 18 is the legendary writer, performer, producer and all-round genius Nile Rodgers. Nile is perhaps best known as the co-creator of Chic and the producer of an incomparable list of classic albums by artists including David Bowie, Madonna and Diana Ross. More recently he’s collaborated with Sam Smith, Disclosure and Daft Punk. All of this resulting in 500million worldwide album sales, 75million singles and multiple Grammy Awards. But Nile’s life, from birth, has seen a litany of crises interwoven with stellar success. An upbringing of continual drama, addictions, grief and cancer are just some of the mountains he’s climbed throughout a truly astonishing 68years. Nile, who is also the creator of the brilliant We Are Family Foundation, talks with captivating candour, humour and passion about his life as a music legend and crisis manager.Nile’s Crisis Cures:1. Work: I go to my guitar, my music, my art and look towards my work. I say to myself - I need to get better because this person needs my help. For me having a job to do makes me feel I have to be subordinate to the situation rather than be subordinate to my own ego.2. Simple exercises: I do simple things to make my body and brain aware. I’ll give you an example – I’m training my left hand to snap my finger.3. Music: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme. Not even a thought – my go to crisis song since a teenager. It puts me in a space where right away, the world becomes a peaceful place. If they put me in front of a firing squad and asked me for my last cigarette or last meal – I’d be like “No man! Just play the start of Love Supreme and you guys shoot away!”Links: We Are Family Foundation: Nile’s book: Nile’s website: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: notes: I’m not entirely sure how to reflect on my conversation with Nile. From the off, it was clear that I was in the presence of greatness. The legendary musical status needs no explanation …. just put his name into Spotify and see what you get. A breath-taking catalogue. But it was Nile’s extraordinary openness – his willingness to share his thoughts on the difficult moments of his life that at times left me open mouthed. That he was doing so whilst living another, painful crisis following his mother’s death, made those reflections all the more powerful. As Nile came to realise during our conversation, he is a crisis manager. But it’s not entirely selfless work. Solving or easing his and others problems is a form of therapy for him – it’s what’s got him through his own challenges too. And there have been plenty. There were so many words of wisdom to remember from this podcast but, for me, Nile’s near life-long credo is the unforgettable winner: He said: “I saw Ben-Hur as a child and will never forget when the commander tells the galley slaves ‘You live to serve the ship. Row well and live.’ And that’s what I do … I row well, live and every day do my best to get the ship to port.”Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
29/01/21·1h 13m

17. Hemant Oberoi on the Mumbai attacks, loss and humanity

In this first episode of our third series, we talk to Hemant Oberoi. One of India’s best-known chefs, Hemant has cooked for world leaders, Bollywood and Hollywood stars. He is also a man who, when crisis came to his door at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, reacted with a level of courage and selflessness that’s almost impossible to comprehend. In our conversation Hemant talks us through what happened in the terror attacks of 2008 – a few days of horror that left hundreds dead and injured. Thanks to the heroics of Hemant and the staff a significant number of guests at the Taj were saved from certain death at the hands of Islamic terrorists. In the process seven of Hemant’s staff were killed. It is only fate that prevented Hemant from being one of them. A visceral story of how crisis can bring out the very best in humanity when confronted with the very worst.Hemant’s Crisis Cures:1. Intuition and the gut feelings first. My intuition never fails me. When I don’t follow it, things go wrong for me one way or the other. It’s the gut feeling - I listen to my inner voice and that’s the way.2. I think one should be a team leader in a different way. You should be like a pyramid in life. Sometimes the top is down and sometimes the bottom is up. That way you can take the load off others in life.3. Help others as much as you can. Because you never know when you’ll need it.Links:Hemant Oberoi Restaurant: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: notes:It’s not often that a Hollywood dramatization plays down the real horror of a story. But Hotel Mumbai – the powerful re-telling of the Mumbai attacks – is not a movie that tells the full truth of what happened in November 2008. During my conversation with Hemant he revealed aspects of that nightmarish few days that left me stunned. The film ends movingly with a fictitious character (played brilliantly by Dev Patel) returning exhausted to his relieved family. In reality Hemant did just the same, once he’d secured the safety of his guests. Still wearing his bloodied chef’s outfit, he walked through his front door to find his family, friends and neighbours gathered – not in celebration but for his wake. Unknown to him hours earlier the TV news channels had announced his death. As Hemant says: “I walked in and they thought they had seen a ghost.” A few hours later he was back in the centre of Mumbai, walking through hospitals and morgues trying to account for every member of his staff. Tragically seven of them – including a number of young chefs he considered to be his proteges – were dead. All of them shot attempting to protect hotel guests from the gunmen who unleashed so much havoc and horror across Mumbai. Hemant witnessed some of those murders and narrowly escaped his own execution. Of one of those he found in hospital he says: “He pleaded [with the gunmen] that he was getting married in six months’ time, asking, ‘why are you killing innocent people?’ They shot him point blank. He died in hospital after 8 or 9 days.” The most astonishing aspect of this story is the instinctive behaviour of Hemant and his staff when they found themselves in the midst of the most terrifying crisis. Throughout their ordeal they had repeated opportunities to escape. Hemant gave his team that option, telling them there would be no shame in leaving to be with their families. But they stayed put. As Hemant tells me: “Whatever you do – if you cannot help others, then there’s no point being here. Everything comes back to you in this life. Hell, or heaven is here – it’s not anywhere else.”Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
22/01/21·1h 20m

Series Three trailer

In this third series of Crisis What Crisis host Andy Coulson will be joined by guests from all walks of life but all with crisis in common. At the time of recording, we’re once again in the midst of a national lockdown, trying to make sense of an uncertain world but with hope on the horizon. These personal, revealing and sometimes shocking conversations are designed to provide useful guidance and support for anyone facing down their own difficulties.
20/01/21·4m 18s

16. Wilko Johnson on mortality, miracles and music

Wilko Johnson is one of Britain’s most revered rock stars … the Dr Feelgood guitarist who inspired Paul Weller and Joe Strummer. He’s also a man with a unique perspective on mortality as well as music. After an astonishing career (that included a role in Game of Thrones) Wilko was told in 2013 that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and only months to live. He rejected chemotherapy and set about saying goodbye to his fans around the world in the only way he knew how … with a farewell tour and hit album. Towards the end of his last year a fan – who was also a cancer specialist – urged him to seek a second opinion. Wilko had been misdiagnosed and after an 11hour operation was saved. In this bonus episode, Wilko talks with clarity and power about the 12 months he spent believing his death was imminent. A year he describes as both vivid and profound. Wilko’s Crisis Cures: 1. Not Drinking: Alcohol can turn depression into despair. 2. Moby Dick: I love to read and what a book! 3. Van Morrison: Almost Independence Day from the album Saint Dominic’s Preview. It finishes with this long droning synthesizer note – you hear that and think everything’s going to be alright. Links:Wilko’s book:'s Charitable Trust: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: Notes:I’ve talked on this podcast with a number of people who’ve faced the prospect of death either in an accident or through illness. But this is the first conversation with someone who knew – with absolute certainty – that their death was imminent. Wilko Johnson’s incredible story would not, as he says himself, get past the scriptwriting stage of any drama. So unbelievable were the chain of events that led him to losing and then regaining his life. The insights that journey afforded Wilko left me mesmerised. “Everyone imagines how they’ll react with a cancer diagnosis,” he told me. “I was absolutely calm. I just thought – Oh! This is how it ends .. For me, the question of mortality was answered. I pitied everyone else walking around fearing death.” Wilko is a man who has lived a rocker’s life … full of the superficial ups and downs of what he calls ‘the biz’. But he’s also a man capable of the most breath-taking insight and it was a privilege to listen to his analysis of a truly unique crisis.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
28/12/20·50m 1s

15. Lemn Sissay MBE on his stolen childhood, a fight for the truth and forgiveness

In this bonus episode I talk to the poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, MBE. Lemn was born in the late 60s to an unmarried Ethiopian woman who was forced to hand him over to social services. Renamed Norman by a social worker of the same name he was fostered by a deeply religious Lancashire family. His mother’s efforts to get him back were ignored and he remained with the same family until the age of 12 when, inexplicably, they handed him back into the care system. Lemn then spent the next eight years being moved around homes, including one that was more like a prison, where he suffered mental and physical abuse and, as a result, a breakdown. Despite all this, his talent for poetry blossomed and by 18 he was on his way to finding himself and his birth mother. At times disturbing but ultimately uplifting, this is a conversation about the power and resilience of human spirit. Lemn, whose brilliant memoir ‘My Name Is Why’ which I urge you to read, is now a passionate campaigner on behalf of children in care. His charity Christmas Dinners each year delivers a festive party for hundreds of care leavers across Britain. Lemn’s Crisis Cures: 1. Music: It’s a strange thing – it can hook onto a time, a place and an emotion at the same time. It can really lift me emotionally out of crisis, into a smile and deep contemplation. I love to listen to Swan of Lake by Sibelius. 2. Walking: Crisis makes us find good answers to living and then when we don’t have a crisis, we don’t use them! Everything changes in the countryside, nothing stays the same so there’s always new stuff to experience, whereas when you’re in a crisis everything is stuck. 3. Meditation: Again, it’s something that we should all use in our everyday lives. Some people pray but meditation is so important. I use the Calm and Headspace apps. Links: The Christmas Dinners: My Name is Why: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford Full transcript available here: Notes: Five minutes in the company of Lemn Sissay will, I guarantee, leave you energised. To have spent more than an hour chatting with the life force that is Lemn was, therefore, a total privilege. What a man. And what a story. A crisis that began in the days after his birth, when his mother was forced – coerced in fact – to hand him over to Wigan Social Services, and that continued deep into Lemn’s adulthood. At times listening to his crisis story – his crisis saga - I was left speechless. By the sheer heartlessness of the system and the foster family who let him down so tragically. But more by Lemn’s refusal to give in to what would be a totally justified, totally understandable bitterness. As he says: “I had to forgive my foster family, because I had to release myself from the bondage of anger and hatred and bitterness and loss.” Lemn Sissay is a true one-off – a man whose talent for poetry and storytelling should have been smothered, snuffed out by his circumstances. Instead, it survived and thrived to move and motivate so many people across the world. Lemn is in many ways the embodiment of an idea we’ve talked about before on this podcast …. that from crisis often comes something good, powerful and valuable. Enjoy this episode and, if you’re able, please make a donation to Lemn’s brilliant Christmas Dinners charity. Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
11/12/20·1h 9m

14. Connie Yates on the fight to save her son Charlie Gard, losing control, and the power of hope

In this final episode of series two I talk to Connie Yates, mother of Charlie Gard who in 2017 was at the centre of a crisis and debate that stretched from the High Court in London, to the Vatican, the White House and into homes across the world. That debate raised issues of medical ethics and the fundamental rights of parents. But for Connie and partner Chris it brought only pain. For the question being asked was the most heart rending imaginable – should their son be kept alive to receive treatment that might extend his life? This is ultimately the story of a mother and father’s unbelievable determination in the face of systemic resistance. From Charlie’s diagnosis to a final court case to decide where he would die, Connie charts the full shocking detail of their fight against Britain’s medical and legal establishment. This is, of course, ultimately a story that ends in heartbreak. But it’s also a story of hope and of a mother’s fight for control against a tide of unrelenting crisis. An episode full of lessons and perspective for anyone facing their own challenges.Links:Charlie Gard Foundation: Charlie’s Law: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFul transcript available: notes:This was our longest episode so far – and for good reason. Connie Yates and her husband Chris are remarkable people. They faced the unimaginable – a devastating diagnosis for their first born. But what singles them out is their determination to fight against the consensus view every step of the way – each step a crisis in its own right. To get their sick son to Great Ormond Street, to refuse to accept that his condition was untreatable, to raise over £1m to fund the treatment in the US and to fight in every court in the land to get him that treatment. And then, when time ran out, to fight in the courts a final time so that Charlie might die at home and in peace. Connie’s background as a carer for disabled children (her Mum remarkably did the same job) clearly gave her a certain perspective. But in the end, it was an inner determination – a stubbornness – that drove Connie to fight against the medical and legal systems. Her greatest frustration came when the courts intervened to stop Charlie from being transferred from one hospital that wanted to end his life to another that wanted to save it. “I had no idea the courts could do that,” she says.Most of us, thankfully, will not live the heart-breaking crisis that Connie and Chris Yates faced. But in their story there are lessons, I think, for anyone dealing with a crisis. First the power of hope – the fuel for any long running campaign. But also the power and importance of control. Quite often we talk in this podcast about the need to work out what you have control over and what you don’t. No-one would have criticised Connie if she surrendered to the system much earlier in her story. But she did not … instead taking each defeat as a challenge to find another way forward.As Connie says: “It’s not that I wanted the control, I just wanted the best for my baby.”Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
02/11/20·1h 22m

13. Sir Kim Darroch on Trump, leaks and the art of the resignation

Sir Kim Darroch is the US Ambassador who, after his unflattering views of President Trump were leaked, found himself persona non grata in the White House. In this episode Sir Kim gives a full and detailed account of the crisis that led to his shock resignation last summer. And he explains how he managed and coped with the high-profile political scandal that brought an end to his 42year diplomatic career. With just days to go to the US election, Sir Kim, whose memoir Collateral Damage is now available, also shares his unique and waspish insights on the President and his democrat rival Joe Biden. And he predicts who he believes will win the most important political contest on the planet. Kim's Crisis Cures: 1. A half-hour walk: “Just get away from it, leave your phone at home and ground yourself in a different reality.” 2. The fiction trilogy Three Body Problem: “I love to read and this is a stunning work which conjures up images that just transfix you.” 3. Five Easy Pieces: “I’m a movie buff and this Jack Nicholson film is my favourite film of all time.” Links: Collateral Damage: Britain, America and Europe in the Age of Trump: – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: notes: Sir Kim Darroch’s admission that he still feels ‘bursts of anger’ gave a glimpse of the impact his resignation as US Ambassador has had on him. His concern, that an otherwise stellar diplomatic career would be defined by the events of last summer, is real and raw 15months on. As a resigning recidivist myself, I found Kim’s detailed account of the thought process that led to the decision to quit, fascinating. As we discussed, resignations are lonely decisions that, in the end, are values based. That Kim’s only regret (anger of the leaks aside) is that he didn’t quit sooner, speaks volumes about his integrity. In terms of precedent and practicalities, his stepping down was, of course, inevitable. How can a US Ambassador do his job, unwelcome in the Washington corridors of power? But I couldn’t help but wonder how amusing it would have been for the PM to keep Kim in place, if only to get even further up President Trump’s nose. Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
26/10/20·1h 2m

12. Payzee Mahmod on child marriage, honour killing and freedom

In this episode fashion stylist and activist Payzee Mahmod gives an intense and moving account of a young life etched with horror, pain but now also, years later, with hope. Payzee was just 15 and living in South London when her Kurdish father ordered her to marry a stranger twice her age. Her 17-year-old sister Banaz had already suffered the same fate. Whilst Payzee lived her own nightmare with an abusive husband, Banaz managed to run away from hers. When she later began a relationship with another man, her punishment was to be abducted, raped and murdered. With a police investigation underway, Payzee was then able to escape her own forced marriage. Banaz’s death, as she puts it, enabled her freedom. But the awful truth about what happened in January 2006 then became apparent. Banaz and Payzee’s father and uncle, along with other male relatives, were later convicted and sentenced to life for her murder – a so called honour killing. Payzee now devotes her life to a campaign to make all forms of child marriage in the UK illegal. This is Payzee’s story told with heartbreaking detail, clarity of thought and driven by a breathtaking, awe inspiring sense of purpose. Sign Payzee’s petition: Payzee’s Crisis Cures:1. Creativity – If I’m not in the best place I want to make something.2. Social media - For me, it’s where I’ve really found a great deal of support and friendships. I never knew that speaking out and telling my story would encourage so many young, especially Kurdish girls and women to tell me their stories.3. Walking with my dog just soothes and calms me.Links:Payzee’s website: Chat with Payzee podcast: Savera UK: IKWRO: Freedom United: Payzee’s petition: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: notes:This episode is, at times, a difficult listen. At several points in our conversation I struggled to find an adequate response to Payzee’s eloquent and painfully honest description of her young life. How does someone survive or cope with all that Payzee and her sister Banaz endured? What perhaps struck me most deeply was the inexplicable absence of support for Payzee and, of course, her sister. How could an ordeal lived in plain sight in modern day London be ignored so often and so comprehensively? By schools, shopkeepers, the registrar who married her and, of course, the police. As Payzee said: “It blows my mind that not one person in my life asked if I was ok.” What is also astonishing is that Payzee has only recently been able to find and receive the professional help she needs. She now, thankfully, has a Kurdish counsellor who understands the multi layered complexity of her experience. Payzee is determined, on Banaz’s behalf, to campaign for an end to all forms of child marriage. Through her passionate activism she has turned the oppression that killed her sister, into an inspiring, powerful tool for good. As Payzee puts it: “My sister deserved better. What happened to her and what happened to me – it can’t happen to other girls. That’s what drives me.” Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
19/10/20·1h 13m

11. Mark Hix on going bust, losing his name and battling back

Mark Hix is one of the greats of British food. His HIX empire spread across London and beyond with a string of critically acclaimed restaurants. But when the COVID lockdown struck, the HIX group quickly crumbled. Mark – having previously handed control to investors – lost everything including the right to use his own name. In his words, he was: “Done, gone, finished for good”. Back in his native Dorset, and a bottle of wine in, he decided to get back in the game … by buying a mobile food truck, converted from an American ambulance, on eBay. This is the astonishing story of a famous chef’s refusal to surrender to the collateral damage of COVID and the vagaries of the hospitality trade. A must-listen for anyone facing or fearing business collapse in these challenging times.Mark’s Crisis Cures:1. Stay positive 2. Just keep earning - however small the amount 3. Drink the best wine possibleLinks:The Oyster & Fish House: HIX Oyster & Fish Truck: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: notes:Rarely on the podcast do we talk to someone still in the midst of their crisis, so it was a privilege to chat with Mark this week. He is a brilliant chef whose move from the kitchen to restaurant owner 12 years ago was seamless and successful. But as he explained with such brutal honesty, the financial reality of his business was not always as it appeared to customers and the media. “People would say, ‘Hix SoHo looked really busy last night, Mark’ when actually, we were losing £200k a year because the landlord put up the rent.”That financial reality pushed Mark into a partnership that in turn led him to cede control of his business. And when COVID struck that meant the decision to close was not his, and that he lost the right to use his own name as well as the ability to protect his 130 staff.The shock of those developments would send most people into the darkness. But instead Mark went back to basics, remembered that his talent had not evaporated with his business and found a small but smart way to keep in the game. Even if it meant making mayonnaise in his own kitchen before a day’s work that would pay only £140.I think the HIX food truck is a great totem for Mark’s astonishing resilience - mobile, flexible and sturdy. Mark had lost it all but having reset himself and his expectations he is able to focus on the rebuild. More modest, for sure, but also more experienced and independent. And the food is just as good.Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
10/10/20·1h 10m

10. Frank Warren on near-death, fighting Mike Tyson and staying positive

Frank Warren, one of boxing’s greatest ever promoters, has survived and coped with an astonishing amount of incoming crisis throughout his 40-year career. An attempt on his life, a high-profile court case that could have seen him jailed, and the collapse of his dream venue, The London Arena are just three of the dramas that Frank has bounced back from. The question, of course, that I wanted to focus on in this conversation was “How?”. Frank’s formula for resilience is anchored in his ability to stay focused and strategic when all seems lost. As he explains: “I get a big rush of adrenaline when things are against me – and that makes me really focus and gives me a clear mind to what I’m going to do. I don’t panic about things.”Franks’ motivation for survival is crystal clear: “You’ve just got to be true to yourself and the most important thing is you’ve got to make sure your family is safe. You’ve got to make sure that you’re protecting them”. Speaking about his younger brother Mark, who very sadly took his own life, Frank shared his thoughts on mental health and revealed how a brief spell of therapy helped him understand aspects of his personality. In this conversation my friend of 25years, gave an authentic, powerful account of his approach to crisis and to life. Family, friends, loyalty and fun are the guiding lights of Frank Warren’s incredible life.Frank's Crisis Cures1. Just being home.2. My family photo album... because my wife Susan and my children are what drives me. 3. I love music and The Temptations - The Way You Do The Things You Do is guaranteed to lift my mood. Links:DEBRA: Website: https://www.frankwarren.comHost – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Velvet Morning Website:
05/10/20·1h 6m

9. Ruby Wax on anger, optimism and taking ownership of your crisis

TV presenter, best-selling author, mental health campaigner and academic – Ruby Wax is a woman always on a mission. That she’s achieved so much whilst managing clinical depression and the burden of a deeply troubled childhood, makes her all the more remarkable. In this episode Ruby talks with power and honesty about how she confronted her demons to reach a deep understanding of what makes her brilliant, but at times troubled, mind tick. And – after travelling far and wide to research her inspirational new book And Now For The Good News – To The Future With Love - she also speaks movingly about how she found hope for all our futures in the most desperate of places. Ruby's Crisis Cures:1. Community: ‘Not just a wine tasting club, but where you genuinely talk to each other’. 2. Compassion: ‘When I’m in a queue sometimes I’ll find somebody in a really bad mood, and I’ll start talking to them or somebody who’s giving me grief. It’s just an experiment… I’m trying to exercise those [stress] muscles.’ 3. Mindful exercise: ‘Tai chi, Pilates, Yoga… but not something mindless. You have to notice what’s going on in your body.’ Links:And Now For The Good News...: Frazzled Cafe: Instagram: Twitter: Host – Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise DiffordFull transcript available at: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
28/09/20·51m 26s

8. Andy Coulson on regrets, resilience and recovery

In this first episode of the second series, Andy puts himself on the other side of the microphone and talks to journalist and broadcaster Jane Moore about his five-year crisis. A high-profile scandal which unravelled his life and led to a spell in prison. Andy talks about confronting his mistakes and the strategies he deployed to cope and recover. As Andy says, having heard so many crisis stories from others on the podcast, he thought it was only fair that he now shares his. Andy's Crisis Cures: 1. Charles Dickens and The Pickwick Papers: “The old marketing slogan for The News of the World was ‘all human life is here’ and that’s true of Dickens. It’s definitely true of The Pickwick Papers because you’ve got politics, you’ve got the law, you’ve got prison, you’ve got journalism. Everything is there in that book and it’s a cracking read.” 2. Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up: “Music has also been incredibly important for me and for the family. If I had to choose one [song] it would be Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard which is a bit of a family anthem.” 3. Château Musar: “It’s what I send to every podcast guest when it’s appropriate… it’s from the Lebanon and I chose it because it is really tasty and also because it is liquid proof that there is good to come from crisis.” Links: Website: Instagram: Full transcript available at: ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:– Andy CoulsonProducer – Louise Difford
18/09/20·1h 3m

Series Two trailer

In this second series Andy Coulson, former newspaper editor, No10 Communications Director and inmate of HMP Belmarsh, will be joined by another fascinating and eclectic mix of guests. They all have one thing in common...survival in the face of crisis. With such uncertainty remaining in all our lives, these are shocking, moving and, at times, amusing stories worth sharing.
10/09/20·4m 10s

Series One wrap-up

In this short wrap-up episode Andy draws out the key insights on how to cope with crisis from Series One. And he gives a preview of what’s to come in Series Two.
24/07/20·5m 20s

7. Chris Lewis on incarceration, cricket and the long walk back

Chris Lewis is the England cricketer who when his fortunes faded turned to drug smuggling. On 8 December 2008 Chris was caught with 3.5 kilos of liquid cocaine hidden in fruit tins as he arrived from St Lucia, convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison. A shocking fall from grace for a man who arrived in the UK from Guyana as a 10-year-old and who achieved his dream playing for England in 30 Test Matches. In this episode Chris talks with a straight bat and without self-pity about his self-inflicted crisis and his journey back to freedom and repentance. This is the first time that Chris and Andy have talked since they last met in prison six years ago. Chris' Crisis Cures: 1. Find nature: “Whether it’s going into the park or down to the river I love taking walks. Getting out distracts you from your problems. And distraction often helps me find solutions.” 2. A Course In Miracles by Helen Schucman: “A long read but all about taking control, understanding that you are responsible for what happens in your life, not other people.” 3. Meditation: “I started in prison and try to meditate whenever I can. It’s about finding that place to off load and start again with a fresh mind.” Links: Chris Lewis – Crazy, My Road To Redemption: transcript here: Notes: Chris Lewis was coming towards the end of his six-a-half-years in jail when we met at HMP Hollesley Bay in 2014. We shared a few chats during our time there, but never did he talk with such depth and detail as he does in this podcast. There is no doubt that Chris is a changed man. Chastened by his spectacular mistake and devoid of self-pity. “I blame no-one but myself,” he says repeatedly. In preparing for our conversation I found a YouTube clip of Chris being interviewed at the Oval. He had just joined the Surrey Twenty20 team – at the age of 40. Calm, assured and charming – this was a man who had been given a final chance at glory. But Chris was injured almost immediately and just nine months later was arrested at Gatwick. How Chris calmly explains the chain of events that led to such a catastrophic decision was a compelling feature of our conversation. But more interesting was the journey of self-awareness that Chris has been on since that moment. He now talks to young cricketers about the dangers that lie ahead when sporting success fades. A story of redemption but also a cautionary tale of epic proportions. Stream/Buy 'Allies' by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
18/07/20·58m 10s

6. Victoria Milligan on tragedy, survival and human spirit

Victoria Milligan’s life changed forever on May 5th 2013 when a boat trip in Cornwall with her husband Nicko and children, Amber, Olivia, Emily and Kit, then aged four ended in horror. Thrown into the water at high speed, their boat circled back on them, killing Nicko and Emily. Victoria lost her leg and Kit was seriously injured. “In a moment,” she says “I went from a perfect life to becoming a widow, a bereaved parent, a single parent and an amputee.” In this episode Victoria, who is now training to be grief therapist herself, explains how she coped with a multi-layered trauma, and ensured that she and her children not only survived but thrived carrying the memory of Nicko and Emily with them into a new life. A true testimony to the power of human spirit. Victoria’s Crisis Cures: 1. Small achievable goals. Don’t plan too far ahead. That has massively helped me and still does every day. 2. Find your mantras. Mine is: “We are good enough”. I try and start every day by saying that to myself, however I feel. Don’t wake up and tell yourself you should have got more sleep, or I shouldn’t have drunk so much. And I start the day positively through exercise. That works for me. 3. Self-care is key. We are all natural care givers but we have to make sure we put enough time in for joy and happiness. If we’re not in a good place emotionally and physically we’re not in the right place to look after others. Being a little bit selfish is not a bad thing. Links: Victoria’s website: Child Bereavement UK: Cornwall Air Ambulance: Julia Samuel: Full transcript available here: Notes: We’ve talked a lot already about self-pity in this podcast. But no-one would blame Victoria Milligan, even now seven years after the accident, if the first words she uttered were ‘Why me?’ But it was clear, in the first five minutes of our conversation, that they are not in her vocabulary. The total lack of self-pity was, for me, one of the defining features of this podcast. The strategies she deployed to make sense of the senseless, as she puts it, were another. Dealing with just one of Victoria’s tragedies would be devastating. Tackling them all is unimaginable. But it’s through recognising them all as separate individual challenges that have to be broken down and dealt with using different tools and emotions that has enabled Victoria to cope. Taking one day at a time, how being kind to yourself will allow you to take care of others and the fundamental importance of finding the right way to manage your pain. That there is no manual for grief. Victoria rejected therapy when it was first offered. “All I wanted was Nicko and Emily back and no therapist could do that, so what use would they be?” she says. But overtime she came to understand the enormous value of grief counselling to help her through the loss of her child and her husband and to come to terms with her injuries. That she now wants to put all that she has learned to positive use as a therapist and writer herself - to find a positive from her tragedy – speaks volumes. A heart-breaking story told by an inspirational woman. Stream/Buy 'Allies' by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
10/07/20·59m 46s

5. Johnny Mercer on mental illness, grief and grit

Johnny Mercer, government minister and former Commando, talks with brutal honesty about his childhood battles with mental illness, including severe OCD. And, with astonishing frankness, he describes his brutal and heart-breaking experiences in Afghanistan where he was witness to countless horrors, not least the death of his close friend Mark Chandler. An emotional, powerful – and for those looking for crisis lessons – useful episode. Johnny’s Crisis Cures: 1. Stay strategic: “You have your goals and they have to be realistic; but once they are set the key is to focus on those and not get distracted by the niff naff and trivia.” 2. Keep perspective: “So much is down to luck; whether it’s an accident, whether it’s your career, whether it’s war, luck has such a heavy hand to play that you have to bear everything you do in perspective.” 3. It will end: “Seize the initiative; you’re never going to be in a crisis forever... whatever you’re going through things will return to normal just stick it out.” Full transcript available here: We Were Warriors – One Soldier’s Story of Brutal Combat is available via OCD-UK: Tickets For Troops: Help for Heroes: Episode Notes: Johnny Mercer is the non-graduate who should never have succeeded at Sandhurst – but who went on to be one of the most combat experienced officers in Afghanistan. The non-voter who should never have got elected, but who is now a Government Minister tipped as a potential future PM.   What’s more remarkable are the challenges – as both a child and adult – that Johnny has faced down. An upbringing in a strict religious household that almost, in his words, destroyed his mind. A childhood that led him to develop an extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the management of which Johnny describes as a continual ‘work in progress.’ His approach to these crises, with the support of CBT and other treatments, was to find a greater, tougher challenge to focus on. That came in his three Afghan tours during which he risked his life almost daily. But it also left him confronting visceral grief when his close colleague and friend Mark ‘Bing’ Chandler was killed instantly as they fought side by side. I found Johnny’s methods of coping in these extreme situations compelling. Accepting and embracing that luck plays such a huge part in crisis situations, understanding and accepting your limitations as well as your potential and, perhaps most powerfully, remembering always that courage is just as contagious as fear. Stream/Buy 'Allies' by Some Velvet Morning -    Some Velvet Morning Website:
02/07/20·1h 10m

4. Vicky Pryce on prison, pushing on and the healing power of football

Vicky Pryce is a whirlwind of positivity, productivity and energy - economist, academic, author and mother of five. But in 2013 her high-powered life took an unexpected and damaging twist when she was found guilty of accepting her ex-husband’s driving licence penalty points and was jailed for Perverting the Course of Justice. Vicky gives us a startlingly human account of her high-profile crisis. She talks of the lessons learned in prison and details the strategy she undertook to steer her life towards a successful recovery.Vicky’s Crisis Cures: 1. Football: “I support Chelsea, I’m a season ticket holder, I go with my kids and that’s a great release from tension – although of course you substitute one type of tension with another.” 2. Books: Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene. “It’s a book about greed and it shows that the richer you are the greedier you are and the more risks you’ll be prepared to take to make more money. It’s an incredible book that I’ve read and re-read.” 3. The sea: “When I want to relax, I think of swimming and looking at the horizon on a beach in Greece.”   Links: Twitter: Pro Bono Economics:   Women in Prison: Working Chance: Women vs Capitalism – Why We Can’t Have It All in a Free Market Economy: transcript available at: Notes: Economists pride themselves as planners and forecasters. But Vicky Pryce is a woman who found herself in the midst of an extraordinary life experience that no-one could have predicted. Or as she puts it: “What I learnt about life is that things can just happen, just like that and you can’t control it”. How does someone whose successful career has been anchored in logic and data, cope when a chain of events lead to a prison cell in Holloway?    Vicky leant heavily on her analytical skills – deciding to research and write her book whilst in prison. As she says: “I just decided in my mind to consider this as going off for a while to do a particular job... The way I survived was by almost becoming an observer, I found it fascinating, something I could learn from, you’ve got to avoid thinking of yourself as a victim right in the middle of it all.” But the fierce independence that led Vicky to leave Greece at 17 and pursue a career in London also played a key part in her recovery. For me, the most revealing moment of our conversation came when I asked Vicky if she still saw herself as that 12-year-old, riding a motorbike through the streets of Athens. “Yes,” she replied instantly, “You don’t change and I’m very much the same person .. I know more and through the process one has made loads of mistakes .. but one remains like that.” So, remember who you are, drive forward, don’t look back – the Vicky Pryce method of crisis recovery. Stream/Buy 'Allies' by Some Velvet Morning -   Some Velvet Morning Website:
25/06/20·54m 25s

3. Richard Bacon on battling scandal, addiction and nine days in a coma

If this podcast is about analysing crisis in all its forms then Richard Bacon, one of Britain’s brightest TV presenters and producers, is a guest who has survived more than anybody’s fair share. A career shattering scandal, addiction and mental health issues and a sudden illness that left him in a coma and fighting for life. In this episode Richard talks about what he has learnt from his dramas – self-inflicted and otherwise - with disarming frankness, brutal self-analysis and plenty of humour. Richard’s Crisis Cures: 1. Avoid alcohol: ‘I think if I’m going through a dark day the thing is to not drink because that can very quickly bring out anger.’ 2. Vinyl music: ‘I often play sixties bands, whether it’s The Who or The Kinks or The Beatles or The Stones… nothing makes me happier than putting on a piece of vinyl, I just love everything about it.’ 3. Babington House: ‘I got married there and it still retains its kind of magic quality…it’s hard not to go there and do anything other than feel much better.’ Links: Twitter: Instagram: The ADHD Foundation: ICR Everyman appeal: Full transcript available at: Episode Notes: Richard Bacon is a man on a mission. Already an established entertainment and news presenter in both Britain and the US, he recently signed a deal with NBCUniversal to devise and produce new show formats. All this a testament to his energy and optimism. But transatlantic success can also be traced directly back to a decision made in the white heat of a crisis in 1998. Caught taking cocaine by the News of the World (under a previous editor!) whilst he was presenter of the BBC’s flagship kids show Blue Peter - Richard could have taken the view that fame and TV were not for him. Instead, aged just 23 he decided to ‘own’ his crisis and march headlong into, not away, from the drama. The bold innocence of youth, perhaps.  But it also took courage, focus and determined self-belief – three critical crisis management skills. But success has been a tough road for Richard in part because of ADHD. A condition that he believes has contributed to his dependencies. As he puts it: “I’m a run towards, not a run-away addict. I’m not running away from anything.” Richard’s restless curiosity, and the support of his wife Rebecca, have been his saviours professionally and personally. A willingness to engage with his own strengths and weaknesses and to confront the truths of them is another crisis lesson worth noting. A big believer in the power of therapy (and, fortunately, podcasts), he says the simple, but not always easy, act of talking about your problems takes you a long way towards being able to fix them. Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
18/06/20·47m 23s

2. Martha Lane Fox on near death, denial and disco

Baroness Martha Lane Fox is a force of nature – entrepreneur, philanthropist, cross bench peer and one of the most influential people in digital for the last 25 years. The co-founder of, she also now sits on the board of Twitter, the Donmar Warehouse and Chanel. But Martha is also someone who can talk with power and authority on the subject of crisis. In 2004 she was left fighting for her life after a car accident in Morocco that broke 28 of her bones, including a shattered pelvis. In this episode Martha talks powerfully about the practical techniques – both mental and physical – she has developed to cope with a crisis she must confront every day of her life. Martha is, I think, an inspiration to anyone dealing with their own trauma. Martha’s Crisis Cures: 1. Boxing: ‘It’s so fundamental to my mental and physical wellbeing...even just imagining doing exercise can build the muscle mass. It’s quite extraordinary the relationship between our brains and our muscles.’ 2. Books & Poems: ‘The poem Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver, it’s about joy…even when the world is bleak and there’s always something awful happening it doesn’t mean you should begrudge yourself joy.’ 3. Pant Discos: ‘Putting some music on, blaring out way too loud (sorry neighbours) and having a couple of minutes moving about. Nothing beats it.’ Links: Twitter: Peers for the Planet: Doteveryone:   The Open University: Queens Commonwealth Trust: Just For Kids Law: Lucky Voice: Full transcript available at: Notes: Two things strike you immediately about Baroness Martha Lane Fox. A total and utter absence of self-pity is first. But an authentic, compelling honesty about her crisis and its impact is second. Honest that nothing good came from her accident. Honest that, for her, denial has been an invaluable weapon in the years since. As she says: “Denial is a very, very important part of how I function. I’m sure there are lots of people who would say there is lots about that that’s not healthy. The way I don’t get scared or feel as though I am a fraction of what I was, is by denying that I might fall over, that I have massive physical challenges. Some things you have to park.” The power of denial is not a strategy for crisis that you’ll find in any self-help book but I thought it was incredibly valuable because, as Martha herself says, “Crisis is not a competition.” There is no authoritative manual for crisis because every crisis is different. The key is in taking the time to work out what is best for you. And for Martha, one of the most positive people I’ve had the good fortune to talk to, denial has – when she feels she needs it – absolutely worked. Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
12/06/20·44m 50s

1. Jeremy Bowen on addiction to danger, facing loss and battling cancer

Jeremy Bowen is a man who has spent most of his professional life in the company of crisis. As the BBC’s Middle East Editor he has reported from more than 90 countries and conflicts including Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Lebanon. In this first episode, Jeremy talks frankly about his addiction to danger – how and why he repeatedly put his life at risk in pursuit of a story. And he details how that addiction turned to deep anxiety and grief when his friend and fixer Abed Takkoush was killed while working alongside him. Jeremy talks openly about mental health, and his good and bad experiences with counselling. And how, ultimately, he conquered his demons, only to face down an altogether different challenge when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Throughout the episode Jeremy reveals the tools he’s relied on most to manage those moments of crisis. A revealing and thought-provoking conversation to kick off the series. Jeremy's Crisis Cures: 1. Quotidian, humdrum things: ‘I was working in Damascus, the war was going on, you can hear the war through the window, you could see the smoke rising from the suburbs…but it was quite nice putting an edited story together about the Syrian war with the sound of the washing machine in the background.’ 2. Exercise: ‘The natural anti-depressant. In Sarajevo I used to take a skipping rope, I used to skip in the stairwell of the hotel. In Baghdad I would jog around the streets – they thought I was insane.’ 3. Old World War II movies: ‘Often John Mills is involved in some way, and Jack Hawkins. I find those quite reassuring to leave on in the background. Maybe even past crises…those reminders that you do get out of them in the end.’ Links: Twitter: Instagram: Bowel Cancer UK: Look UK: Full transcript available at: Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: Some Velvet Morning Website:
10/06/20·1h 1m

Series One trailer

In this new series, Crisis What Crisis? Andy Coulson – former newspaper editor, Downing Street Communications Director and inmate of HMP Belmarsh – talks to the embattled, shamed, courageous, ruined, resilient, unlucky (and lucky) survivors of crisis. Some names will be familiar, some less so. But they will talk honestly, with humour and in the hope that they have valuable lessons to share at a time when crisis has become the new normal. Crisis What Crisis? is all about frank, authentic and useful storytelling. First episode coming soon...
05/06/20·2m 5s
Heart UK