Some podcasts are just so big, and come up in conversation so much, I just can't ignore them. Eventually, I have check them out just to see what the fuss is about. Sometimes they turn out to be overrated, but other times they turn out to indeed be worthy of the praise. That brings us to the podcast we'll be reviewing today. We're taking a look at A Scottish Podcast.
A Scottish Podcast follows two Scottish dudes named Lee and Douglas. Lee used to be a radio DJ, but he recently lost job. In his quest to not starve, Lee has stumbled across, what he thinks, will be a surefire path to success: starting a paranormal investigation podcast. Lee soon drags Douglas along for the ride, and the two set out to make the best paranormal investigation horror podcast set in Scotland.
Well, I must admit, I'm glad I finally gave this podcast a listen. I wouldn't so much call A Scottish Podcast a horror podcast. I'd say that it's more of a comedy/slice-of-life podcast that happens to include horror elements. The podcast primarily focuses on Lee and Douglas' day-to-day lives, and the various mundane aspects of running a podcast. Still, there's plenty of laughs to be had, and shout-out to other podcasts. Lee models the podcast, known as The Terror Files, as essentially a Scottish version of The Black Tapes. Haven't listened to that one, but from what I understand, it's kind of like the X-Files. Though, The Black Tapes is a fiction podcast, whereas The Terror Files would, in-universe, be a non-fiction investigation podcast. In other shout-out, at one-point Lee and Douglas discuss an episode of Campfire Radio Theater that is set in Scotland. It's a meta joke, because Lee and Douglas' voice actors, Rob Cudmore and Matthew McLean, played the lead roles in that episode. Two other podcasts Lee hopes The Terror Files will be able to rival is The Message and Limetown. Like I said, plenty of shout-outs and love to go round.
Now let's talk characters. A Scottish Podcast is very much a character-driven show. There are plot threads that are set up at the start of the season, but it really is the characters, and the focus on their lives, that carries the show. Granted, there are hints of horror throughout the seasons. Things also tend to come to a head during the finale episodes of each season, which take a more serious tone, at least at the start.
Anyway, back to characters. Lee has a freewheeling devil-may-care personality. He's the type to jump in first and hammer out the details as he goes along. That pretty much describes how he created The Terror Files. By contrast, Douglas is more sensible and cautious. Well, he did agree to Lee's crazy idea, but otherwise he's pretty sensible. He's also got a bit of a chip on his shoulder due to the time he shit in his pants on live television.
Lee and Douglas' primary financial backer is a gangster named Bruce. He's the top gangster in Scotland, and widely considered to be the most dangerous man in Britain. He's also a huge fan of horror investigation podcasts, and The Terror Files is right up his alley. Douglas was a bit hesitant about being sponsored by a violent criminal. Lee meanwhile, pretty much said "where do I sign?" immediately. Though, considering their primary sponsor prior to that had been a hemorrhoid cream company, perhaps it is understandable why Lee said yes so quickly. A good bit of humor comes from how Brice his always cordial and polite, even when he's doing gangster stuff. For example, one time he politely calls to ask how the podcast is going, while also murdering a man in a cement mixer. He's also speaking with an English accent, which I found a bit odd. Is that common with Scottish gangsters? I once took a school trip to London (and Paris and Venice) and encountered a Scottish drug dealer selling marijuana. I had to do my best to defuse a tense situation after one of my stupid classmates pissed him off, but I digress.
In other notable characters we have Helen, the perpetual drunk who practically lives at the local bar. I'm not sure how I feel about her. She was amusing at first, but then she got kind of annoying. Still, the prequel episode where she fills in for Lee as Santa at a charity even for sick kids was kind of fun. Helen, being Helen, rented some vans and took the kids to the pub, and bought them all jäger bombs. That was probably one of the best Christmases those sick kids ever had. It was also amusing when Lee think he's died and gone to Hell, which appears to him as the local pub. When questioned, Helen basically says, "it's Hell, everyone is Scottish."
In season two, Lee and Douglas are joined on their adventures by an American woman named Gina. She's a big fan of The Terror Files, and I though she provided a good foil to Lee and Douglas. There are plenty more characters, but those are the ones who really stand out. So then, let us move on to other subjects.
I must also take a moment and talk about the fantastic voice acting this podcast has. I also must be very careful about how I chose my words. The team behind A Scottish Podcast are usually good sports about negative reviews. In fact, they've turned several of their negative reviews into drink coasters that you can purchase. All the same, I'd prefer if my reviews didn't wind up on a drink coaster for the wrong reasons. I'd also just like to say the official series title card is awesome. Even more than good word-of-mouth, it is what really convinced me I needed to give A Scottish Podcast a try.
Okay, so how do I put this delicately? Fine, I'll just be brutally honest. I've always found Scottish people to be kind of annoying. They always sound like seals barking, which I, half-jokingly, suppose explains where the legend of the selkie comes from. However, I found the cast to all be rather pleasant to listen to. They're all very talented, and clearly hard working and devoted to their craft. Also, if this does wind up on a coaster, I demand a royalties check. Just putting that out there now.
In addition to the main show, A Scottish Podcast has had many fun special. They did a Burns Night Special, where the characters all read poetry, but it was all original works, rather than the poems of Robert Burns. They also did a special where the characters all read poems written by HP Lovecraft. This was framed as a poetry contest that Bruce was running to sponsor a butcher shop he owns. They're famous for their meat pies...if you know what I mean. Naturally, he was declared the winner, because everyone was too scared of what would happen if he didn't win.
Lovecraft was clearly a pretty big influence on the creators. Several of the strange things Lee and Douglas investigate have strong Lovecraftian undertones to them. For example, in season two they investigate a professor from Miskatonic University who conducted experiments for the British government during World War II. Also, apparently Miskatonic University is real in the world of A Scottish Podcast; albeit as a mundane university that is a bit annoyed that Lovecraft featured them in his works. Season one also featured Lovecraftian horrors lurking beneath Edinburgh, but also an undead cannibal warrior from the 10th century.
There was also an episode where A Scottish Podcast crossed over with several other horror podcast audio dramas. The episode featured Lee and Douglas attending a podcasting convention, and meet with the creators and/or characters of the other podcasts. However, they were all podcast I don't listen too, so I didn't quite have the intended effect on me. Still, for fans of those podcasts, I'm sure they were over the Moon. I know I got excited when A Scottish Podcast merely mentioned Campfire Radio Theater, one of my favorite podcasts.
So there you have it. A Scottish Podcast is a comedy/slice-of-life podcast about two Scottish dudes trying to create their own horror investigation podcast. It's a name you often hear in the world of audio drama podcast, and I'm glad I finally gave it a listen. Give it a listen yourself, you'll be glad that you did.
Well, I think that should be enough from me for now. I will see you guys next time.