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bit mean to judge on just a few episodes.) Anushka Asthana, the Guardian’s for­mer joint po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor, is the main pre­sen­ter. Asthana has plenty of broad­cast ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing worked on Sky News, and her pre­sent­ing is an ex­cel­lent mix of re­laxed and en­quir­ing. So far, the sto­ries cov­ered have been on point: a re­port on new Brazil­ian pres­i­dent, Jair Bol­sonaro; the in­evitable US midterms, with Gary Younge; a look at the cam­paign for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on Brexit; Bri­tain’s role in the Ye­men cri­sis; what’s wrong with univer­sal credit.

I like the pod­cast’s easy flip­ping be­tween na­tional and in­ter­na­tional, and its abil­ity to lay out the lead-up to a cri­sis, as well as the cri­sis it­self. I don’t mind the short opin­ion piece at the end (Ge­orgina Law­ton on who gets to iden­tify as black, and nat­u­ral­ist Bernie Krause on chang­ing nat­u­ral sound­scapes, were both ex­cel­lent). The sound­scap­ing is sub­tle and so­phis­ti­cated, which is rare in UK news pod­casts. As a news junkie, I’d quite like an ex­tra “what else is go­ing on in the news” fea­ture. But that’s just a quib­ble. I have sub­scribed, and To­day in Fo­cus has re­placed The Daily in my af­fec­tions.

Evan Davis is back on Ra­dio 4, though he never went that far. His News­night ex­per­i­ment is over and he has taken over from Ed­die Mair as host of PM. Well, hooray to that. Davis – like Mair – is good on TV, but bet­ter on ra­dio, warm and funny. He’s also much bet­ter in a late af­ter­noon slot than ei­ther early morn­ing or late night, and I en­joyed his “these are the ques­tions we would have asked the gov­ern­ment min­is­ter about coun­cil cuts, had one come on the show” sec­tion on Tues­day (very PM!). Davis will have to up his em­pa­thy a lit­tle to get the amaz­ing real-life in­ter­views that Mair did, but he has had a great start.

Just room for a spot of Mark Ker­mode. The busiest man in film (and this pa­per’s lead film critic) has re­leased an­other show, a pod­cast, to join his ex­cel­lent BBC Four TV se­ries, Se­crets of Cin­ema; his live BFI show, MK3D; and his longliv­ing, multi-award-win­ning 5 Live pod­cast, Ker­mode and Mayo’s Film Re­view. (Will this show have to end once Si­mon Mayo is snapped up by a non-BBC ra­dio sta­tion?)

The three episodes of Ker­mode on Film out so far show­case what we can ex­pect: the first fea­tures a lively re­view sec­tion with younger film buff Jack Howard, plus a few clips from MK3D; sec­ond, a straight­for­ward record­ing of MK3D with Hay­ley Squires, Mike Leigh and Hugh Grant; third, a walk around Belfast with David Holmes, plus an­other record­ing of Ker­mode’s live in­ter­view with De­siree Akha­van. I’d like a lit­tle more care with the sound pro­duc­tion and edit­ing (you can barely hear Ker­mode in the first show) and a few more pod­cast-only bits (Hell’s Video Store is fun), but he is great value, as ever.

‘Re­laxed and en­quir­ing’: Anushka Asthana in the To­day in Fo­cus stu­dio. Pho­to­graph by David Levene

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