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BBC signs Sky Sports’ Chris Kamara to replace Peter Crouch in new football podcast show ‘Unbelievable’

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Unbelievable, indeed.


The BBC is taking on tech giants in the lucrative podcast market by signing Chris Kamara to front a new football show following the pundit’s shock departure from Sky Sports.

Famed for his exuberant on-air personality, Kammy will replace Peter Crouch, who took his top-performing podcast to a commercial rival during what was described as an “exodus” of BBC talent.


The BBC is now fighting back with a raft of new podcasts on its BBC Sounds app.

Sam Smith will tell the story of HIV treatment in Britain and there is a final series from Emily Maitlis, who left the BBC to front a new podcast and LBC radio show for the Global media giant, with Jon Sopel.

The BBC had been determined to sign a star replacement for That Peter Crouch Podcast, which topped listening charts and recorded 60 million plays on Sounds.


Kamara disappointed fans when he announced he was leaving Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday at the end of this season after 24 years of excitable match reports.


The former Leeds United player said he was having treatment for apraxia, a neurological disorder that affected his speech.

The BBC swooped and Kamara will be reunited with his Sky Goals on Sunday co-presenter Ben Shephard for the Sounds series, called Unbelievable, after Kammy’s catchphrase.

Promising big-named guests from sports and entertainment, Kamara said: “This is a dream transfer and I can’t wait to tell you more about my new BBC podcast later this summer.”

Jeff Stelling, who formed a famous double act with Kamara on Soccer Saturday, said he had initially planned to join his friend on the BBC show but decided to stay at Sky for one more season.

Podcasts giving listeners a deep dive into their favourite sports are becoming big business.

BBC producers have been given unparalleled access to two football managers – Paul Warne (Rotherham United) and Karl Robinson (Oxford United) – as their teams fought for promotion from League One in a “raw, ground-breaking” new podcast called Moment of Truth, narrated by James Nesbitt.

The BBC has struggled to hold on to talent attracted by the editorial freedom and salary increases offered by commercial rivals. Star departures include Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode who quit their Radio 5 Live film review show after 21 years to create a new twice-weekly podcast series backed by Sony.

Maitlis, who co-presented the Americast show, takes her BBC final bow with The People Vs J. Edgar Hoover, a Radio 4 podcast she recorded in the US after presenting her final edition of Newsnight.

The series investigates the legacy of the all-powerful FBI director who employed surveillance and information-gathering powers to collect damaging information on politicians.

Maitlis will ask whether the wiretapping techniques used by Hoover to “keep America safe” contributed to the distrust of government and embrace of “deep state” conspiracy theories in the US today.

Sam Smith presents A Positive Life: HIV from Terrence Higgins to Today. The eight-part series examines how life with HIV has drastically changed since the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s.

The singer meets people who helped fight for treatments that changed the face of HIV, as well as those who are now working to end stigma for all people living with HIV.

Podcasts are a booming global industry. The controversial comedian Joe Rogan became the world’s highest-paid broadcaster when he signed a £24m deal with Spotify.

BBC Sounds reported a record 405m million plays of radio, music and podcasts in 2022 so far.

The most listened to podcast was The Coming Storm, in which reporter Gabriel Gatehouse investigated the influence of the US right-win conspiracy movement, QAnon. Ukrainecast, the analysis series which launched at the outset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has also proved popular.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, this week warned that the licence fee freeze meant the BBC would have to reduce the number of original podcasts it makes. He told a House of Lords committee that Sounds would still air “thousands of hours” of new content.

Maitlis, Louis Theroux and Alice Levine, co-presenter of the award-winning comedy podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno, will on Wednesday appear at The Podcast Show, a festival attended by the industry’s power-players.

Participants including Wondery, the US podcast publisher bought by Amazon to help it to compete against Spotify. Wondery has identified the UK as a talent base, hosting shows by Levine and political comedian Matt Forde.

Jonathan Wall, Director of BBC Sounds, said: “We are delighted to welcome such an array of talent to the BBC Sounds line-up. Kammy leads a feast of footballing shows which includes the ultimate access all areas sports documentary series Moment of Truth.”

“Today marks another big step change in the BBC’s ambitions in podcasting across storytelling, sport and entertainment.”

Presenters returning to BBC Sounds include Joe Wicks, Michelle Visage and Paris Lees. The award-winning Brown Girls Do It Too with Poppy and Rubina also returns in July.

In Radio 4’s Welcome to the Neighbourhood, comedian Jayde Adams seeks local gossip and cul-de-sac clashes.

The podcast invites a different guest each week to join Jayde for a deep-dive into listeners’ submissions from the feisty world of community WhatsApp groups, message boards and apps.



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