Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
17 March 2021updated 03 Aug 2021 11:58am

Between Ourselves With Marian Keyes: breezy, mischievous radio

This four-episode series mixes winking chats between Keyes and Tara Flynn, with readings from Keyes’s non-fiction work.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Of all the overwhelming emotions that most people have cycled through during this pandemic – fear, uncertainty, grief, loneliness – perhaps one that is under-discussed is shame. “All of the terrible things I’ve done in my life have come back to haunt me,” Marian Keyes admits, breezily, in the second series of her radio show ­Between Ourselves. Without the distractions of work, travel and “going round the shops trying on foundation” to keep such unpleasant memories at bay, repressed emotions are finally able to resurface. But perhaps, Keyes suggests in her typically mischievous tone, this might be a good thing – a form of “emotional bloodletting”. “It certainly feels like bloodletting, all right,” her co-host and friend, the actor Tara Flynn, acknowledges.

This four-episode series mixes winking chats between Flynn and Keyes (Flynn, wisely, takes a back seat in discussions, but is a witty presence in her own right) with readings from Keyes’s non-fiction work. Programme topics include adventure, health, adulthood and, yes, shame – but guilt, awkwardness and embarrassment lurk across the whole season.

In the final episode, entitled “Adulthood”, Keyes reflects on how as a bored nine-year-old enduring Catholic Mass, she would fantasise about Donny Osmond and their “thrilling life together in Salt Lake City” – only to feel ferocious guilt afterwards.

[See also: Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death suggest that fame is a slow-working poison]

After spending years of her adulthood feeling “afraid and incomplete”, Keyes explained how she sought to fix herself with a variety of expensive but unconvincing therapies, from acupuncture to hypnotherapy, where she would pretend to be “under” while “speaking in a faint hypnotised-style voice”. Keyes has, she explains, learned instead to live with her shame – the “hole in her soul” – and not to panic about it.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

I laughed in recognition at Keyes’s ­admission that, in her twenties, she thought success was defined by “having your ­photograph taken” and “being in New York, often”. Now, her goal is simply to “feel calm”, something that, after a year of churning anxiety and bursts of despair, sounds more appealing than ever. 

Content from our partners
Why competition is the key to customer satisfaction
High streets remain vitally important to local communities
The future of gas

“Between Ourselves with Marian Keyes” is available to listen to on BBC Sounds

Between Ourselves with Marian Keyes 
BBC Radio 4

This article appears in the 17 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The system cannot hold