When TV producer Claire Mutimer left her busy life in London to marry a local farmer and bring up their children, she decided to find a way of getting back into the broadcasting career she loved that would fit with hew new life in Norfolk.
A year on and the Backstory podcast is getting ready to air its first episode on September 12 to tie in with the London Podcast Festival.
Claire, who worked on The Great British Bake Off, has made documentaries about children in care and deaf teenagers and, with business partner Suzy Coulson, quickly realised that there were amazing human stories that could be told through a podcast. “The idea of the Backstory is that we all have one, everyone has a tale to tell about something that’s happened that’s changed the course of their life, perhaps made them who they are today”, says Claire. Each episode of the backstory tells a different tale, many of them from within our region. “We put the word out and soon found some fascinating stories that we think everyone will be interested in.”
The first episode takes us back to a tragic event that many will remember from a few years back, the murder in 2012 of Andrea Johnson by her husband and former Cromer mayor Keith Johnson.
Suzy explains why they chose to cover this story. “I remember so clearly when Andrea was killed and the understandable shock that everyone felt, explaining Keith’s actions as a moment of madness. I felt at the time that there must have been more to it, that these things don’t happen out of nowhere, and I wanted Andrea’s parents to tell their story and, through them, to tell Andrea’s story of her life with Keith.” Later episodes include people talking openly about having a dad in prison, living with a little-understood form of OCD, being diagnosed later in life with autism and choosing to have an arranged marriage.
There have been many new skills to learn along the way, as Suzy explains. “We’ve taught ourselves how to edit, where to source music, how to upload a podcast – it’s been a steep learning curve. Our office is Claire’s kitchen table, her wardrobe is our recording studio and sometimes we have 10 children racing around in the background!”
So, what is a podcast? Most podcasts are audio, so it’s like a radio show that goes out over the internet. You can subscribe using an app and each time a new episode is released it will automatically be ready for you to listen to. Although you need to be linked to the internet at some point for the episodes to download, once they’ve downloaded you can listen to them offline. “There’s a whole world of content out there – true crime, drama, comedy, current affairs.. whatever you’re into there will be a podcast about it!”, says Claire. “They’re great to listen to when you’re walking the dog, exercising or cooking.”
Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast providers. Find out more at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you have a story to tell for the backstory season 2 then get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Mutimer (left) and Suzy Coulson (right) working at Claire’s kitchen table.