The Magic Sponge is a football-stroke-comedy podcast fronted by former professional footballer and perpetual Soccer AM video clip fodder Jimmy Bullard alongside co-host comedians Rob Beckett and Ian Smith. You may recognise Rob from his work fronting ITV2’s I’m A Celebrity panel show (a former series of which also saw Jimmy exiting the jungle after 17 days) while Ian has been in several sitcoms and recent BBC drama The Ark alongside David Threlfall.
Created alongside the TV channel Dave’s other slate of podcasts, The Magic Sponge serves an audience that Dave would not normally reach on TV with its limited sport output.
Each episode features a special guest from the footballing world, usually an ex-professional but sometimes coaches or referees – Ian quizzing Jeff Winter and the panel on bizarre refereeing rules is a highlight from the series.
And yes, a lot of the stories are completely un-broadcastable (see: The Christmas Special with Razor Ruddock which was cut down to 21 minutes from a record well over an hour).
Produced by myself in collaboration with fellow UKTV producers Joel Porter and Chris Reidy, alongside Alex Feldman from Pixiu, The Magic Sponge usually descends into madness within the first five minutes of record (if not well before).
Each episode is loosely scripted, with Rob keeping the group on track, in order to allow the conversation to flow without restricting the podcast’s content to a particular point in time – you can then listen to it whenever you want!
One of my favourite episodes came in the second series when former Wimbledon player turned TV presenter (and model!) Stewart Castledine made an appearance on the show. Alongside confusing Jimmy with his vocabulary he astonished the lads with his tales of the fabled Crazy Gang era of the early 90s.
Here’s a clip from the episode where he talks about taking on Newcastle United’s John Beresford and Phillipe Albert at push ups and drinking beer:
We also produced an on-television promo for the podcast (by Andy Evans, who also created the lovely Eden Shorts promo for us too) featuring an excerpt of one of the stories from series 1 where Jimmy talks about his first England training session with David Bentley…
You can listen to the The Magic Sponge on iTunes or various other podcast streaming services.