From fame to fired

Plus: a wacky American inventor

Cruellest Cut

Episode: "Tristesse" | Podcast: Dead Eyes | 39m46s

Connor Ratliff has carved out a successful career as a comedian who also plays minor dramatic parts on TV and film. Yet he is haunted by the fact that he was fired by the famous producer of the 2001 mini series Band of Brothers with the following devastating statement: "Tom Hanks has seen your audition tape and he's having second thoughts. He thinks you have dead eyes." Ratcliff is now, 20 years on, via this podcast investigating why Hanks took against him. This episode is about auditions, and features Jon Hamm (39m46s)

Air Time

Episode: "Suck And Blow" | Podcast: The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong | 33m17s

Podcast series about getting things wrong profiles Alfred Lawson, a wacky American "inventor" who was, during his long life, a professional baseball player, a pioneer of aviation, a populist politician and the founder of a weird university. His philosophy rested on the rejection of all previous scientific discoveries. The extraordinary thing is that for a while Lawson had great credibility — he was instrumental in creating the forerunners today's airliners — until his descent into eccentricity brought about his downfall (33m17s)

No Thanks

Episode: "The Fame Game With Sharon Horgan" | Podcast: Changes With Annie Mac | 49m54s

Irish actor and writer Sharon Horgan talks to DJ Annie Mac. The theme of the podcast is "change", and in Horgan's case this is applied to her relatively recent success and the fame it has brought her. She has an odd twilight kind of celebrity: she is recognised while her series is on television, she says, and then immediately goes back to being a nonentity. Some good insights here too on how slow moving a medium TV is — a quick, lucky commission can take three years to get from the initial idea to actually appearing on screen (49m54s)

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