Truth Be Told: a Love Letter to Storytelling



I first heard The Moth in 2008; two days before I lost my job at a national broadcaster and begun my career as a freelance podcast producer.

Those two events are not unconnected.

My employers were launching a series of radio stations and I was tasked with listening to hours and hours of these new ‘podcast’ shows that people were talking about.

I’d trawled through a lot of terrible, terrible shows before I heard The Moth. I loved the fact it was ordinary people, the kind that you never heard in mainstream media, getting up on stage and telling something so intimate. Listening on my way home to east London, my first thought was: British people are going to LOVE this. My second was: I’ll tell my boss in the morning.

The next day, our launch team are called together and unceremoniously sacked. The credit crunch is the wrong time to launch. Sorry. Your story show will have to wait.

It’s taken a while, but this month the wait is over. After a few years of gentle nudging, the BBC’s national speech station, Radio 4, asked me to make a show called ‘Truth Be Told’, which celebrates the storytelling clubs of the UK by showcasing the best stories the country has to offer - and it launched last week.

Hosted by Helen Zaltzman (of Radiotopia’s The Allusionist), it showcases three stories in a half hour show, plus tantalizing little anecdotes from the audience, all on the theme of ‘Escape.’



Why has it taken so long to make? Well, I think it could have been far longer. Without The Moth’s podcast, I doubt we’d have the hundreds of story clubs that have sprung up in the last seven years; I went on to join Spark London and make their podcast. Then there’s also Natural Born Storytellers in London, and Tenx9 in Belfast and Glasgow, plus many more besides in Manchester, Bristol, Oxford… and of course The Moth now have a base here, too, running storySLAMS and big events. And this programme features stories from them all.

So in many ways, Truth Be Told is a thank you from all of the many true story clubs The Moth have inspired. If you’ve ever wondered what living in Britain is really like, here’s your chance to find out.

You can hear Truth Be Told using the BBC’s iPlayer Radio app, or listen online at BBC Radio 4.

ALSO: great review at (and in the Observer) last Sunday.