WORLD’S WORST CENTURY
Sweet holy mother of everything that's heroically awful: we made it to 100 episodes! To celebrate Ben and Barry drill down into everything terrible about the number 100: from dodgy bank notes to terrible cricketers and golfers, suspiciously young super-centenarians, premature wartime celebrations and bang average cars.
As ever, we take you on a journey including all human life from Ancient Etruscans to disappearing Carolingians, via the Venerable Bede and Edward VII.
ANDREW O’NEILL - WORLD’S WORST GOD
We are getting blasphemous this week in every possible religion by denouncing the World's Worst God with comic, musician and practitioner of magic, Andrew O'Neill. We look at obscure ancient deities, eternal bacon, Dutch eel-vendors and Andrew tells us about the ultimate case of 'cutting your nose off to spite your face'.
Jack bernhardt - world’s worst president
Having already determined the worst monarch and emperors of all time we return to what can best be described as History's Marianna Trench of awful leaders to uncover the Worst President. And no, it's not who you think it is - but only because he's not had enough time to do that much damage.
Joined by BBC Radio 4 and Guardian writer Jack Bernhardt examine likely candidates from the IOC, the Hall of Presidents and a French President who died perhaps the most French death of all time.
oscar toeman - world's worst resignation
This week we are stepping down, shaking golden handshakes and leaving with our heads held high. Theatre director Oscar Toeman will guide Ben and Barry through the awkward history of the world’s worst resignations. Ben explores Ferdinand Marcos’ attempts to cling to power, Barry tells of a British peer who revealed his affairs a bit prematurely and Oscar sticks his head under the toilet cubicle doors in the old Wembley stadium to witness an England manager’s demise.
TOM HALL & ANDREW GRUEN - WORLD’S WORST ESCAPE
Over the past five years the phenomenon of escape rooms has exploded all over the globe and this week our two guests are creators of several remarkable ones in London. Tom and Andrew join us to talk about what goes wrong when people try to escape. There are tales of hidden papal tunnels, ice skating queens and the most Australian disguise in history.
Anuvab Pal - World’s Worst Empire
We are boldly setting out to civilise you this week, as we talk about the World’s Worst Empire. Our guest this week is regular contributor to satirical podcast The Bugle, comedian and writer Anuvab Pal. As a native of India, and with Barry’s as his sidekick, Anuvab gives the British Empire a bemused and loving revision. Barry takes us all the way from Haiti to a galaxy far, far away, and Ben has a nosey around the micronations of the world, in all their tax-evading glory.
MIKE STUCHBERY - WORLD’S WOERST EPIDEMIC
This week we're donning our sterilised plastic gloves, three face masks and a full hazmat suit as we prepare to deal with the world's most peculiar, disturbing and deadly epidemics. We're joined by outstanding historian and curator of one of the most informative and sinister Twitter feeds around, Mike Stuchbery.
Together we talk about renaissance nuns pretending to be cats, Singaporean men who think their wangers have disappeared and why it’s never a good idea to throw a smallpox party. We also discover the unusual genesis of cooties (hi America listeners!), dabble in some medieval witchcraft and discover why Portuguese schoolchildren have taken the biscuit with excuses for taking days off school.
LORD FEAR AKA TOM BELL - WORLD'S WORST EMPEROR
Listen to the sound of those really long trumpets with carpets dangling off them - it can only mean one thing, it's time for our episode about the worst emperors of all time.
We're joined by the master of the Knightmare dungeon Lord Fear, in heavy disguise as actor and comedian Tom Bell as we discover tales of incest, concubines, whoopee cushions, penguins, ghost-killing ceremonies, Ming the Merciless and fox-tossing.
Paul duncan mcgarrity - world's worst knight
Arise, ye noble listeners of Worst Foot Forward - sorry about accidentally slicing your heads off. Never mind, be of good cheer as Squires McStay and Van der Velde are joined by Sir Paul Duncan McGarrity, erstwhile archaeologist and comedian. Their quest: to venture forth in search of the World’s Worst Knight. Along the way they may face such dangers as Communist dictators with knighthoods, Queen Elizabeth I’s least favourite favourite, and a man armed with the most ridiculous weapon of all: a wasp gun.
nat tapley - world's worst head of government
Things are getting political at Worst Foot Forward as we all struggle to be Last Past The Post with our candidates for the World's Worst Elected Head of Government. Our guest is comedian Nat Tapley whose comedic characters include the dreadful Conservative MP Sir Ian Bowler, so he'll know a thing or two about dodgy elections and questionable leadership. Our worldwide tour takes us to far-flung Samoa, Turkmenistan and Switzerland. We jump back in time to Ancient Athens and admire trinkets like presidential statues, albums and cars. Oh, and there's an awful lot of Nixon. Awful being the operative word.
Stevyn colgan - world's worst policeman
Hullo hullo hullo...what have we got here then?
Why officer, it's an episode all about the worst coppers of all time. We invited on QI elf, novelist, lateral thinker and ex-policeman with over 30 years service Stevyn Colgan to join us in settling the subject. As you'd expect, there's plenty of disreputable plods and dastardly inside jobs including brothels, speed cameras, three-card tricks, cross-dressing, lollipops and a very enthusiastic revolutionary. Have a listen and we're sure you'll agree it's a fair cop.
Photo by Mark Page
felix trench - world's worst day
Having one of THOSE days? Then grab a listen to this episode and you'll realise that it could be much worse!
Our guest is the actor Felix Trench, star of the podcast sitcom ‘Wooden Overcoats’ (www.woodenovercoats.com) and history graduate who thumbs through the Worst Foot Chronicles to look for the World’s Worst Day. There are quite a few to choose from… Felix gives us a worldwide tour of the year 1556, Ben harks back to the day the 20th Century began and Barry does a double-take as he discovers his calendar has a February the 30th.
Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic
will seaward - world's worst pirate
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Cointreau, it’s time for these salty seadogs to tell ye a tale! Gather ye round as Cap’n Will Seaward, comedian and storyteller of yore, is piped aboard the good ship Worst Foot Forward by Cabin Boy Van der Velde and Able Seaman McStay. Avast and away, they set sail in search of treasure, namely the World’s Worst Pirates. But beware! For there be many dragons along the way, including a pirate monk, a man who it is said ate his enemies hearts and even the man who is the reason we wannabe pirates do be talkin’ like this. Take comfort in stories of pirate gayness, hat-bandits and the origin of the word barbecue. AAAARRRRGGGHHH!
Photo from WillSeaward.com
ethan lawrence - world's worst monarch
This is one of those episodes we've been looking forward to since the beginning of the podcast. Alongside actor, fellow history nerd and WFF fan Ethan Lawrence we go on a merry journey from China to Egypt, 13th century Bulgaria to 18th century France and finally to frontiersville San Francisco in front of the maddest, baddest, stupidest and occasionally most haplessly charming monarchs. Contained within are stories of men sown into bearskins and chased by wolves, cabbage kings, cannons used as alarm clocks and far too much nonsense about bagpipes.
Photo by Brandon Bishop
lolo brow - world's worst burlesque
We laid out the green carpet and welcoming the Lizard Queen of British Burlesque Lolo Brow to dish the dirt on the worst burlesque of all time. She's a woman who takes her job very seriously and reveals the challenges, skills, secrets and invention behind becoming a top class performer. Don't worry though, we've also got our usual helping of disaster, including a watery New Orleans show that shocked audiences in the 1940s, the story of the first ever striptease, some truly astonishing chastity pants and all the questions you ever wanted to ask about an elephant's trunk but were too afraid to ask.
Photo from Lolo Brow
amelia womack - world's worst environmentalist
As the storm clouds of climate change begin to whirl around us we thought it was time we talked to an expert who could help us point the finger at the worst environmentalists of all time. We uncovered hapless inventors, murderers with good(ish) intentions and extremely poor doings involving anyone called Nigel. Our guest and guide through these choppy waters is Amelia Womack, the Deputy Leader of the UK Green Party.
Photo from Wales Green Party
kiri pritchard-mclean - world's worst serial killer
Blood! Guts! Carnage! Trivia! Worst Foot Forward is a veritable crime scene this week as we investigate the World’s Worst Serial Killer. We’ve got a crack team on the case led by our guest, comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean of gory sketch group Gein’s Family Gift Shop, and host of her own serial killer podcast ’All Killa No Filla’ (https://allkillanofilla.libsyn.com). Among our prime suspects this week are a man who designed his ideal murder palace, a murderer whose secret weapon is a canal system and a serial killer that wasn’t a serial killer at all. Plus there's the Yorkshire Ripper's bollocks, the world's most narcissistic murderer and the mysterious murder of West End star Elaine Paige...
Photo by Drew Forsyth
A gay and a non-gay - world's worst friendship
For this episode we rolled out the red carpet for podcast royalty and bosom buddies James Barr and Dan Hudson, aka A Gay and a Nongay to discuss what happens when friendship turns sour.
As ever, we gallop through the history books to uncover the reality behind royal whipping boys, a strangled Moorish poet, a million ways to stab your brother in the back and what happens when you get to over-familiar with bears. (Massive clue: you get eaten and have a documentary made about you by a brilliant, yet creepy German guy.)
Spring day - world's worst family tradition
We’ve a spring in our steps and a Spring in the studio this week as Brooklyn’s sharpest wit Spring Day is with us to talk about the World’s Worst Family Traditions. We mine the murky world of Reddit and our very own listeners for pranks and Stacks, we shove vicious insects into various items of clothing and we put so many babies in peril. So many babies…
Photo from Spring Day Comedy
matt stellingwerf - world's worst punishment
Joining us in the Worst Foot forward clink is Kiwi comic and former criminologist Matt Stellingwerf to cover a seriously grisly topic: the world's worst punishment.
This episode comes with a serious content warning as we delve into the depths of human behaviour to discuss capital punishments with the sort of inventiveness normally reserved for Wallace and Gromit. Our search takes us from medieval Spain to Enlightenment Sweden, with nods to Greek myths, Greek history and depressing American present. You'll learn a lot in here and hopefully come away not too depressed about the nature of humanity...
Photo from MattStellingwerf.com
allan scott-douglas - world's worst santa
Ho ho ho - but enough naming our garden implements, it’s time for the Worst Foot Forward Christmas Special! Santa himself joins us on the show - or at least, his official body-double does. Yes, actor and professional Father Christmas Allan Scott-Douglas is our guest to tell us wintry tales of the World’s Worst Santa. Allan relates some true tales from backstage at the grotto, Barry takes us through the history of the real Saint Nick and his various hideous European mutations, and Ben introduces us to a goat in sexy red hot pants.
Photo by Alishia Love
ria lina - world's worst legal defence
Order in court as we tackle the thorny issues of terrible legal defences. With us is one of our most qualified and talented guests - an expert in forensics, criminology and how to get away with anything, plus a mean performer on the stand-up and cabaret circuit: it's Ria Lina.
With Ria's assistance Ben and Barry work out the best way to murder each other and then head onwards to the gnarly thickets of ridiculous legal behaviour. This mega-episode covers a huge amount including trial by combat (and ordeal and poisoned chicken skin) in medieval Europe and 19th century Madagascar, Al Capone's misdeeds in and out of the bedroom and the least plausible heart attack in history.
Photo from RiaLina.com
morgan and west - world's worst magic trick
Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy with a whole heap of magic and mystery. Ben and Barry are joined by Morgan & West, Time Travelling Magicians, who saw us in half, catch our bullets and pull rabbits from our nether regions in search of the World’s Worst Magic Trick. Among the weird and wonderful sights we behold are an Ancient Egyptian who could separate a goose from its head, a wartime prestidigitator of dubious repute and a whole London cab-full of doves.
Photo by Steve Ullathorne
sindhu vee - world's worst wife
One of the brightest and quickest rising stars on the UK stand-up comedy circuit, Sindhu Vee knows a thing or too about wifing and is not afraid to share them! Together we delve into the world of ancient history, hillbilly America, Hollywood and the deepest depths of the ocean to find the world's worst wife. There are tales of record-breaking matrimony, cannibalism, 12 hours near-fatal sex sessions and skiing mishaps.
Photo from We Are Funny Project
jim campbell - world's worst conspiracy theory
Pop your collar up high, make sure no one's tailing you and join us in the WFF basement, huddled around our oil can fire as we share some of the darkest and stupidest secrets of history. Find out who stole Shergar, why the US invasion of Iraq was so much more impressive, how rocks have been pulling the wool over our eyes for millennia and how Danny Dyer is at the centre of every web of intrigue.
We're joined by award-winning comedian and podcaster, 1/4 of the mighty Footbal Ramble team, Jim Campbell. Or are we...?
Photo from British Comedy Guide
James rowland - world's worst general
Charge! Worst Foot Forward goes to war in search of the World’s Worst General. Privates Ben and Barry are led into battle by their charismatic mastermind of a guest, actor and storyteller James Rowland. Having very much brought our sporks to a gunfight, we find ourselves huddled in a foxhole alongside such decorated heroes as the navy who lost to a cavalry charge, the geometric shapes of Nuremberg and history’s most hilarious and megalomaniacal sitcom pairing.
Photo by Toby Williams
Tiernan douieb - world's worst political protest
Episode five lands in a week where major protests are shaking the world in support of women's rights and refugees. So comedian and podcaster Tiernan Douieb joins us to look at some of the less effective and affecting protests that the world has ever witnessed - many of them from our new favourite nemesis, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. There are also bucketloads of red milky vomit, elephants being sucked into Pokéballs - and mink. A whole lot of mink. This podcast is essentially 85% mink. Enjoy.
Photo from TiernanDouieb.co.uk