HELP I SEXTED MY BOSS | INTERVIEW
Communicative mishaps a-go-go with this popular podcast pairing and Buzz’s Carl Marsh, when William Hanson dials in from the Middle East. Jordan? No, Oman! No, Jordan North! No, he’s in London! And so forth.
It’s not every day you get to interview the 2020 runner-up of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Jordan North, Radio One DJ and co-host of Help I Sexted My Boss, is naturally to be found in London, whilst his podcast partner in crime, etiquette coach William Hanson, is Zooming me from his opulent hotel room in Muscat, Oman – a hotel that I instantly recognise, as I’ve stayed there!
Following the introductions with William, the Zoom link to Jordan isn’t working. His wifi is playing up, and William has to text him to find this out. What follows is an initial chat with William, who has to leave after 10 minutes, before Jordan calls me on the landline to continue the conversation.
William, you’re coming to Wales with the live version of Help I Sexted My Boss. As listeners will know, the podcast deals with many topics and offer advice to people who submit message. Will this be in the same format?
William Hanson: The first half will be Jordan and I, just chatting about our lives, what’s been going on that day or other anecdotes from the tour as we progress. I’ll be sharing a hotel room with Jordan, so there’ll be all sorts of things that pop out – and vice versa, I’m sure he would say. Then, during the interval, we get people to write their problems or dilemmas on question cards, which they can put in a pot at the front of the stage. As long as we can read people’s handwriting and have enough time, we get through as many as we possibly can.
You and Jordan both come from different ends of the spectrum of life. How did you come to team up like this, as agony uncles of a sort?
William: Our friend came up with the concept. He suggested to go through a list of dilemmas and see how often you agree or disagree – probably a 50/50 split. Genuinely, we thought we would do two series of 10 episodes, for people to say “oh, that’s nice,” and then we’d move on. We never realised that we would be doing tours that are so well received – thankfully, it’s now a 16-date tour, as last time it was seven or eight dates. It’s gone bonkers. We’re very pleased with that and I’m thrilled that we’re coming to Cardiff because every time we did a tour, people would say, “why aren’t you coming here?” And now we’ve done something about it.
When Jordan’s on Radio One, he can’t be as forthright with his opinions – or swear. And the same can be said about your day job, William! But with the podcast, there’s no filter. Are we going to get the authentic Jordan and William on tour, too?
William: Yeah, it is very much an unedited, unfiltered version of either of us. When I started doing the podcast, I was very, very nervous about doing it and whether it would shoot my career – meaning my proper job – in the foot. Thankfully, it’s gone from strength to strength.
When my partner started listening to it, he said it was, “the most ‘William’ version of William” – rather than the slightly tense and on edge William that you would sometimes get on BBC Breakfast or This Morning, or whatever. So that was quite nice to know, but it’s because I am talking to Jordan. Had I been talking to anyone else – someone I didn’t have that connection with – we may not have the result that we now have.
At this point William has to leave. Jordan calls me, and we start his part of the interview, after spending five minutes talking about how his dad was in an army regiment I got attached to whilst in Northern Ireland in the late 90s. Small world!
How did you and William get to become friends in the first place?
Jordan North: I was on work experience at Radio 5 Live, in my last year at uni. One night I was the tea boy for a show William was a guest on – I had to show him to the studio, make him a cup of tea, that kind of thing. I didn’t know we were the same age at the time – he was the UK’s leading etiquette expert, and when we met, I thought he was 30 or 40, maybe older! We said goodbye and I never thought I’d see him again; then, whilst still at university, we had a house party, and one of my housemates who knew him had invited him around. She said, “I’ve got a friend coming, he won’t be your cup of tea, don’t be rude,” and apparently said to William, “My housemate’s a bit rough around the edges, you might not get on, don’t be rude!”
We pretty much hit it off straight away, and he just took the piss out of me all night and made me laugh. And we’ve been friends ever since. I hate to use the cliché ‘chalk and cheese’, but we really are. In 2018, a friend of ours said, “You two should do a podcast together,” and we said, “yes, we should”. We’ve been friends for over 10 years now.
That friendship shines through on the podcast – even when you do take the piss out of each other, but in that way that would only come from a nice true friendship. If that makes sense.
Jordan: Yeah, what you see is what you get on the podcast. We are two very different people, but we get on, and he’s one of my best mates; we’re really close outside of the podcast. We don’t put on an act or a show.
On one of your most recent podcasts you mentioned the ‘pop man’ – the fizzy drinks equivalent of a milkman, from before the 90s. Was that one of those moments where William raises his eyebrows at you as if to say, “what the hell is he going on about?”
Jordan: This is the thing – we make each other laugh, but we still fascinate each other. And to be fair, it is more my grandma and my auntie that had the pop man. Just the other week, we were recording an episode – and like, he never fails to amaze me – he tells me he’s never had a pint of lager. I have one most days of the week! He’s never had a pint of lager in his life!
The other day [on another episode], I was talking about how I used to get bathed in the kitchen sink when I was younger by my mum and that it was normal – he’d never heard of that in his life. Over the years, he’s taught me some very good life tips and proper etiquette – I like to think I’ve made him a bit more streetwise, less naive, and more accustomed to what’s going on in the world.
We just really enjoy each other’s company. And when we record the podcast or go on tour, we want to make each other laugh. And we say it when we are on tour – it’s one of the things we end with –“Everything that’s going on in the world, there’s a lot of bad politics and stuff, but if two people from two different backgrounds with two different views on a lot of things can get on, then so can you.” And that’s the moral of our story, in a way.
words CARL MARSH