Sophie Black is the creator and host of the comedy podcast The Trap Door, where she talks to comedians, actors, writers and other people in the public eye about the emotional impact of having children, and how it has altered the relationships with their partners, families, careers and sense of self.
Working as a radio producer for almost 20 years, Sophie has produced radio programmes and short-form content across all the major BBC radio networks and independent outlets including the award-winning Prison Radio Association. She’s recently ventured into the world of podcasting producing Anger Management with Nick Clegg and the hugely successful Brexit discussion show Remainiacs.
Sophie is also a comedy writer, nominated for the Edinburgh Best Newcomer Award in 2006 and has written and performed on both radio and TV. You can subscribe to The Trap Door via Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, audioBoom and all other major podcast hosts. New episodes will be available every other Wednesday.
Describe a typical day for you?
This morning I was in my son’s bedroom trying to put his socks on and he accidentally headbutted my face leaving my upper lip a swollen bloody mess. Once the crying (his) and the bleeding (mine) had subsided I went downstairs to find that my daughter had flooded the kitchen by sticking a (yet to be identified) object in the sink and turning the taps on. She even threw my make up bag in there for good measure. I had to then go to a voice over looking like I had herpes/had been beaten up/both and no make-up to improve matters. Thankfully no day is the same – yesterday I nailed it (but you’ll have to take my word for that).
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
This is a tricky one for someone riddled with self doubt. I think often the things we see as our greatest achievements are the things that don’t come easily – we take for granted what comes naturally to us. Bleak answer but my biggest achievement is probably not sinking under the weight of that self doubt and still trying to do the best I can do.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
A plastic dinosaur, opened tampon, wallet, headphones, theatre ticket stubs and an old sock.
What are your ambitions in life?
To continue to be creatively stimulated and to have an honest and respectful relationship with my kids and my husband.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That no one really cares about what you’re doing so all that matters is to be true to yourself.
Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?
I’d like to continue my podcast and slowly build the listenership up, make some other series too and maybe write a book.
What advice would you give a budding podcaster?
If you have the budget make it as professionally as you can (using a podcast producer, recording in a studio etc) – I know this is unfashionable thinking but just because it’s ‘possible’ to edit on your laptop doesn’t mean everyone can do it well and it’s a major part of the storytelling. You’ll immediately stand out if you invest in that – plus good artwork/music etc too – it’s your shopfront after all. Also play it to people you trust but trust your instincts too. Making podcasts reminds me of how it felt doing Edinburgh festival shows – it can be stressful, expensive and shoestring but the creative freedom is unparalleled and an excellent platform to find (and hone) your voice.
What advice would you give a new parent?
None. Nowadays we’re tricked into thinking there’s a formula for everything but every child is different, every parent is different and every day is different. Life is chaotic. And the more you embrace that the more peace you will have. There will be good days and bad days, roll with the punches and see what happens.
Finally, happiness is…
An abundance of things – lovely feedback from listeners, a lie-in, my son not peeing on his sister in the bath…
Sophie Black records Nick Clegg’s podcast Anger Management with Joe Biden at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, 2018.