Tea in the Sahara
Kev – Fiction Podcast Critic
Hey guys, are you ready to plunge into another paranormal myth-busting ghost hunt?
The creators of 2021’s GOAT podcast ‘The Battersea Poltergeist‘ are back with a new story – and guess what – so is this cynical podcast critic!
Back again like they never left – Danny Robbins, flanked by his crack team of experts Cirian O’Keefe, and Evelyn Hollow trek to a not-so-sunny Wales on the hunt of a supposedly haunted farmhouse set over eight episodes.
In a twist from last year, the listener switches city brogues for Hunter wellies to journey to the Brecon Beacons for this part documentary, part detective audio drama.
To be more precise, the sequence of events follows a young couple – Bill & Liz Rich – who bought a remote farm called Heol Fanog to start their family. SPOILER! Apparently, back in 89, there weren’t any rainbows, or pots of gold to be found in Brecon for our optimistic young family – anything but!
The format is simple, the timeline buffers back & forth from 89 to 22, with Danny trying to seek credence to this farm’s tale of lore, uncover truths, debunk fallacies, and engage with a listening audience hooked on unnatural phenomena. Simples right?
From my POV, I welcomed this series being set in the late eighties/nineties. Hopefully, this offers a greater probability of actual living eyewitnesses to corroborate some of the vivid stories of radiators doing the fandango, exorcisms, and inflation-busting energy vampires racking up the Rich family’s lecky bill.
IMO, The Witch Farm appears to be gathering pace quicker than its predecessor podcast. The live listening show is introduced earlier – within episode three – engaging the audience sooner, and on Halloween – very shrewd Mr. Robbins!
Again, this slick Q&A interaction offers listeners the unique ability to dial in directly with their own conspiracy theories on events.
So far my biggest question is more quirky – will Sarah Greene from ‘Going Live’ fame be guesting in an episode – and if not – is Pat Sharp available?
Quick theme music reference – The Witch Farm caters to BBC 6 Music fans – hurrah – offering an atmospheric, introspective, musical vibe created by Welsh singer Gwenno. Kev’s top tip – if you haven’t checked out Gwenno’s music before, you definitely should!
The big question then – is it worth going down to the farm with Danny & his team?
I have to say, so far, so good – The Witch Farm has all the early hallmarks of another slam dunk BBC podcast. The think-tank behind this podcast has certainly struck a winning formula with an entertaining approach to satisfy a nation’s thirst for the paranormal.
Nowadays listeners want more interaction with the shows they follow – and Danny & co have certainly embraced this participation. If this sounds like your particular jam, then you will thoroughly delight in The Witch Farm.
Although it’s still early doors, my inner nerd genuinely enjoys the new-age experiments Danny creates in order to draw parallel conclusions to events within this cold case. As the season progresses it will be interesting to see what other eerie circumstances transpire down at the farm. However, if you were left wondering which side I currently stand within this debate — I still comfortably remain within the non-believer camp.
Final thoughts before scores – being candid guys, this format for a podcast has legs to run further afield than just the UK mainland. That could be perhaps The Shetlands, or The Channel Islands, as no doubt there are a few haunted places between both those locations.
Or, controversially broader, I wouldn’t rule out seeing some version of this audio drama within Europe, or why not across the pond? If the BBC hasn’t already clocked it – this style of podcast has awesome potential outside of the UK. Remember you heard that here first folks!
This week’s ghostly scores look like this – 4.7/5
The Witch Farm can be found at BBC Sounds, or via the BBC Sounds App.
If you enjoyed this review, and like Danny & his team would like your fiction podcast considered for review by Tea in the Sahara please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org or via my socials. Cheers, Kev.
Cast & Crew
Bill Rich – Joseph Fiennes
Liz Rich – Alexandra Roach
Wyn Thomas – Owen Teale
Laurence Rich – Jonathan Case
Mr. Jones – Ioan Hefin
Written and presented by Danny Robins
Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow
Sound design by Charlie Brandon-King and Richard Fox Music by Evelyn Sykes Theme Music by Gwenno
Researcher: Nancy Bottomley
Produced by Danny Robins and Simon Barnard
Directed by Simon Barnard Consultant was Mark Chadbourn, author of the book on the case ‘Testimony’
A Bafflegab and Uncanny Media production for BBC Radio 4