Broadcaster Caroline Feraday and journalist Claire Bullivant met in the pub, in true Brit style.
‘That was about three and a half years ago now,’ remembers Caroline, ‘And Claire has been nagging me to do a podcast with her for about three of those years!’
‘Even before I properly met Caroline, I just remember her being so witty. She kept cracking funny one-liners throughout a pub quiz we both go to at the Pikey on Sunset Blvd. She was always so vivacious, funny and has the most amazing voice – I just knew she’d be the perfect podcast hosting partner,’ recalls Claire.
The pair built up a firm friendship, which you can hear in their on-air partnership as they chat to celebrity names and industry insiders on their popular weekly ‘Brits in the Wood’ podcast. They say their aim is to discover what it takes to live the dream and make it in LA by talking to those that have done just that.
Journalist Claire has been a ‘Brit in the Wood’ – aka Hollywood – for ten years after first moving here with her now ex-husband who was doing his MBA at the University of Southern California at the time. She started her career as a journalist and magazine feature writer but is also a screenwriter with four romantic comedies under her belt.
‘I came here not knowing a soul and when my ex started his MBA, I found myself all alone in this new big city, twiddling my thumbs a little. I’d always been so busy in the UK, working as a journalist and running the magazine division of our family business – Bullivant Media. So after a few weeks of getting a great tan I decided I couldn’t lay out by the pool forever and instead dived into LA life. I set up a social group for all the other MBA partners who were here and we’d go out and explore all that LA has to offer. The partners club was so successful I even got a mention at the MBA graduation ceremony!
‘From there it kind of became a passion of mine – helping people get acclimatized and promoting all that LA has to offer. A podcast was just the next logical step,’ Claire explains.
‘Whether you want to be an actor, a pop star, a comedian, a screenwriter… everyone who moves here goes through a fascinating journey. It’s brave coming to a new country and starting anew but it’s also so exciting. LA is magical if you put yourself out there,’ adds Claire.
‘We hope to offer inspiring insights, a bit of laughter and an entertaining and informative hour for our listeners – and to show them a little bit of that LA magic… that ‘anything is possible’ American philosophy,’ continues Caroline.
Broadcaster Caroline has been in Tinseltown for four years, but first came here in 2001 for her then BBC Radio Five Live show, and in 2002 for GMTV for a stint as their West Coast correspondent. She started her career at Capital Radio London alongside Chris Tarrant, Neil Fox and Tony Blackburn. A journalist, and a DJ so she was sent up in the Flying Eye daily for six years, and had her own shows like the London Chart, Early Breakfast and dance show. She was snapped up for national talk station Five Live and then London’s LBC where she hosted Drivetime 4-7pm on weekdays. Caroline’s voice is familiar not just from the radio, but from thousands of commercials on television and in movie theatres, from X-Box to Sketchers to Mail on Sunday to Citroen cars.
On screen, she hosted her own shows on VH-1 and Sky One, and has anchored BBC News and Sky News. Caroline’s also appeared on ITV’s This Morning and Titchmarsh many times and major live shows on Sky One including Celebrity World Cup and the Fifpro Awards. She won an award from Prince Philip for journalism and was credited by Women’s Own magazine as being the woman who took on Anne Robinson and won, during a Celebrity episode of The Weakest Link.
Caroline certainly has a sharp wit, which led to her being called the ‘funniest woman I’ve ever met’ by comic Frank Skinner, and between her and Claire they create a relaxed atmosphere which gets the most of their stellar guests.
‘We’ve had some amazing names on the show already,’ says Caroline, ‘Mostly Brits who are doing their thing in Hollywood but also people we think will be interesting to Brits who want to know what it’s like to live here – for instance we had the head monologue writer for Conan O’Brien on the show. He’s very funny in his own right, obviously, but also knows what it takes to do a gig like that for 14 years.’
Caroline adds, ‘We had a wish list of big names we wanted – from Chesney Hawkes to Mr C from the Shamen to Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet – it’s rare to get them to do interviews and we were really lucky… afterwards they not only said how much they enjoyed coming on the show, but said they felt so relaxed that they really opened up. People do seem to tell us things, it can be most eye-opening.’
‘We’d really like Bradley Cooper and Channing Tatum on soon… let’s hope they read this and get in touch!’ adds Claire with a glint in her eye.
The podcasts are just under an hour long, so the perfect length to download and keep as a regular subscription to listen to in the car whilst stuck in LA traffic. Fans of the show, and there are many already, say how much they enjoy hearing the British banter.
‘We aren’t doing a show solely for Brits in Hollywood – although we know they will get a lot out of it, but we are more aware that we are fish out of water in this town so we call it “popping on Brit-tinted spectacles” and then taking a look at this crazy town through those,’ we spend a lot of time puzzled by it,’ explains Caroline. ‘Well, I do – Claire is the nicest person ever and so positive and loves it here so she always reminds me of the good sides of being here… I just come in griping about some lunatic on the road.’