Exploring the stories of people who live, work, and create in Somerset. From food and drinks pioneers, and creators of music and arts, to local lifestyle and culture experts; join us as we meet the fascinating individuals and families that call this beautiful county their home.
From LAX to BA1, Evelyn Edwards' journey to Somerset came via a career in music and opera, acting roles in dozens of iconic TV shows and movies, and a constant passion for photography and all things historical. Last year, she launched her very own YouTube series – Queen of the Castles, which explores at the amazing personal stories and history behind some of this country’s most beautiful castles and ruins.
Somerset Stories meets vintage inspired model and pin-up, Scarlett Luxe. After training in dance and drama, Scarlett developed a passion for the classic fashions and Hollywood chic of the 1940s and 50s. Partnering with photographers, seamstresses, and Frome's vintage fashion retailer - Deadly is the Female, Scarlett has built a profile as one of the country's top pin-up models and influencers.
At the start of 2020, Somerset born-and-bred Lewis Matthews set off on a 3,000km run along the Te Araroa trail which runs the length of New Zealand. This week's episode is an inspiring conversation about the physical and mental journey that Lewis went through, and some of the things he learnt along the way. We talk about the motivation for taking on this challenge, the amazing sights and experiences, and what happened afterwards.
Mary Clare Rodwell is the current High Sheriff of Somerset. After living in Somerset for nearly 30 years, her longstanding contribution to the community here resulted in being selected for the role, which dates back to at least the 11th century.
However, days after she was officially appointed by the Queen, the country was put into lockdown, meaning that her time as Sheriff has been a truly unique opportunity to look at how the county has responded and adapted to the challenges of 2020.
We met a few days before Christmas to reflect on a huge variety of topics, from the history of the area, to mental health in Somerset.
Somerset Stories goes festive with a Christmas Special, featuring five extra-special guests from around the county. We touch all aspects of the Christmas season, from food and drink, to decorations, music, and reindeer! Get cosy with a glass of mulled cider, and listen to a wonderful conversation with Jazz singer Marvin Muoneke, Chew Valley Distillery's Joe Kelly, Lucy Housely from The Somerset Cutting Garden, Jules Horrell at Durslade Farm Shop, and Sarah Sutton, owner of the Somerset Reindeer Ranch. Merry Christmas Somerset!
Ladies & Gentlemen, children of all ages... Roll up! Roll up! Prepare yourselves for the amazing feats, the fantastic thrills, and the marvellous mystery of the circus. Somerset Stories meets our county's very own ropewalker extraordinaire... the one, the only, Chris Bullzini! Chris has performed a huge array of highwire walks around the country, and globally. We had a fascinating conversation about his personal journey, the history of ropewalking, and the mental and physical preparation that goes into this unique and powerful artform.
Jo Middleton is the creator of the blog Slummy Single Mummy. An award-winning parenting blog, known for its honest and authentic view of life as a parent. Jo grew up in Bridgwater, and has lived most of her life in the county. We spoke about Christmas shopping, teenage pregnancy, the strangest things about blogging, and the affect of the internet on being a parent. We also managed to cover off GCSE algebra problems, the 1990s TV show Gladiators, and whether or not you have to be cool to visit the lido.
Simon Beck is globally recognised as the world's number one snow artist. He's created over 500 stunning giant geometrical shapes across the snow of the Alps, and the sand of Brean Beach. We chat with him, and his drone photographer Raed Shakman about their work together, Simon's process and motivation, and plans for the future.
Snails were introduced as a food into the UK by the Romans. 2000 years later, Somerset became the home of the local delicacy - Mendip Wallfish. Having fallen out of popularity, Lyn Paxman - founder of Somerset Escargot is on a mission to revive this high protein, sustainable, and versatile food. We meet over the summer and talked about the history of eating snails, the delicacy of breeding them, and the different ways they can be eaten. All while exploring Lyn's very own Somerset Story.
Just outside Wells, in an disused quarry, chefs are preparing meals to feed families up and down the UK. Charlie Bigham's kitchen is the Somerset home of Bighams - the food business which he set up aged 28. We talk about Charlie's experience growing up, traveling the world, exploring flavours and cuisines, and the growth of his business over the last 25 years.
My guests for this final episode of the series are Jules and Steve Horrell - the husband and wife team who between them run the food and hospitality at Durslade Farm, the Somerset home of Hauser and Wirth. Since opening, seven years ago, Roth Bar and Grill has become a must-do destination for any visitors to Bruton, a culinary partner for local food producers, a haven for locals, and they've even had a visit from the Queen. Jules and Steve's whole outlook and vision is about creating a place to eat and enjoy with friends and family. With food that delivers great flavour without fuss and formality.
Secret Gardens of Somerset is the work of writer and gardening enthusiast Abigail Willis. After working at some of the country's most prestigious art institutions, and writing for national newspapers, Abigail moved to Somerset and discovered a passion for the gardens that surrounded her here.
Lynne Franks is one of the most influential figures in British contemporary fashion and culture. She is at the forefront of women's activism, and supports networks of entrepreneurs around the world with her Seed community, books, and workshops. Lynne has created The Seed Hub in Wincanton, a centre for wellbeing, nurturing, healing, and inspiration. We talk about the highlights of her fascinating career, and her thoughts and vision for a new future.
Mark Olver is a central figure in Bristol's stand-up comedy scene. He has worked with everyone in the industry - from long-term friend, Russell Howard, to Flight of The Conchords. Mark's series of "Belly Laughs" events raises money for a homeless charity, while his recently launched online comedy panel show "Who said that?" has proved that Zoom meetings can be funny. We chatted about the south west's comedy scene, collaboration amongst comedians, and how to deal with the repetition of doing TV warm-up.
Hestercombe House and Gardens offers a unique combination of three centuries of garden design: Georgian landscape garden, Victorian terrace and shrubbery and the stunning Edwardian formal garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens. Claire Greenslade is the Head Gardener at Hestercombe and chief custodian of this amazing horticultural site. We met her to talk about her discovery of gardening as an art form, mentoring young gardeners, and how the role of gardens is changing as our lives and culture learn to adapt to a post-Covid world.
Marcus and Penny moved to Somerset for a change of pace, to create from the land, and to bring their children up outside the crowds of London. Marcus' love of cheese, and Penny's honed networking skills combined for them to create an award winning cheese business at Feltham's Farm in Horsington, South Somerset. This year they have launched a new cheese, reached the tables of Michelin star restaurants in The Netherlands, and won Best British Cheese at the inaugural Virtual British Cheese awards. We talk cheese, music, parenting, and everything in between.
Paula Carnell built a successful career as an artist selling her silk paintings across the UK and globally. Opening a gallery in Castle Cary, exhibiting in London and the USA, Paula was fulfilling her dream. Then in 2008, she began to fall ill, becoming bed and wheelchair bound with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The following seven years were spent on a personal quest to find meaning in life, transforming from an artist to a bee speaker. We met to talk about her experiences, struggles, and inspirations throughout her fascinating life in Somerset.
The Clockspire restaurant in Milborne Port has quickly established itself as setting the bar for a fine dining experience in South Somerset. Head chef Luke Sutton, and Restaurant manager Thomas Gammella bring their experience in producing Michelin star food and standards to a restored former schoolhouse. We find out more about this dream team and their aspirations for the future.
We meet the founder of Hurd & Co. the award-winning knitwear and country gifts brand which puts ethically sourced materials, and giving back to the community over profit margin. We hear about Dawn's huge Somerset family, and hear how she is keeping rural traditions going with her own children.
Novelist Nicola Pryce has lived in Somerset for the past 25 years, and has written a series of five novels set around the Cornish coast in the late 1700s. We chat about her journey from nurse to author, and her favourite spots for inspiration.
Somerset Stories meets marine biologist and conservationist Sam Reynolds. We talk the science of coral, climate, and share surfing tips. As well as finding out how a love of rock pools can lead to a career in the tropics.
We meet private chef, and winner of game chef of the year, Jaimie Haselock. He shares some recipes, gives his thoughts on English wine, and talks about the benefits of eating game. Jaimie also reveals his inspiration for getting into the food business, and we chat about his podcast and documentary project: The Wild Bastards.
We meet the brilliant pair behind Bootmakers in Wincanton, a craft workshop which puts community and sustainability at its core. We talk about their careers in TV journalism, their passion for old buildings, and their time in Morocco, as well as finding out more about the Bootmakers experience.
We meet writer, musician, and fellow podcaster Tom Corneill in the very first episode of Somerset Stories. We talk about the highs and lows of life in a band, playing Glastonbury Festival, dealing with grief, and his mental health podcast: Everyday Problems.