Edith Bowman on Sir Michael Palin before live recording of Soundtracking podcast at Bradford's National Science and Media Museum

Edith Bowman will speak to Yorkshire-born Sir Michael Palin in Bradford during a live recording of her Soundtracking film and music podcast. First, the DJ talks to John Blow.

Sir Michael Palin will sit down with Edith Bowman in Bradford tomorrow. Picture: John Swannell.

Edith Bowman and Sir Michael Palin are two household names with broadcasting careers spanning decades but were some generations apart in their introductions to world of sound and vision.

So when they meet in Bradford tomorrow for a live recording of Bowman’s popular podcast Soundtracking, does she regard it as something of a coup for the personal project that is her “pride and joy”?

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Actually, they used to be neighbours when she lived in London, so it should all be pretty stress-free.

Edith Bowman. Picture: Holly McGlynn.

“I have a lovely little bit of personal history with Michael and his family, actually," she tells The Yorkshire Post.

"I used to work with his daughter Rachel 20 years ago when I did a breakfast show on Channel 4...and then yeah Michael was my neighbour for a while, Michael and Helen (his wife).

“So I would see them at various parties and things that we would have and he would regularly run on Hampstead Heath, he’d bump into me all the time – just a really nice man.”

She adds: “When I reached out to him and asked if he’d be up for it he was so excited about having a day out and heading back up north. I guess he just doesn’t get the chance to do that often.”

Sir Michael, 78, who is from Ranmoor in Sheffield and made his name with Monty Python but more recently became the familiar face of television travelogues, will sit down with Bowman at the National Science and Media Museum, which is hosting the 25th anniversary of its annual Widescreen Weekend festival.

The attraction’s four-day exploration of cinema, which starts today and lasts until Monday, seems the perfect place for an audience to watch her on the Pictureville cinema stage record

Soundtracking, which features the Fife-born presenter interviewing directors, actors, composers, producers and anyone else who can speak about the powerful impact that music has on film and vice versa.

“I’m really looking forward to speaking to him personally about growing up and where music within the moving image connected with him, if there’s moment he remembers it made an impact and he recognised the importance of it,” says Bowman.

Sir Michael’s Monty Python colleague Eric Idle was the member who wrote Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, featured unforgettably in Life of Brian, but the use of sound was always key to their brand of comedy on a deeper level.

“Music and rhythm were so important to Python and how they wrote and what they wrote and those characters,” says Bowman, who has two children.

She also hopes to ask him about musical cultures he may have come across during his extensive world travels but stresses there are so many topics that could be raised with a man of Sir Michael’s experience.

Bowman made her name on MTV and the BBC Radio 1 airways, discovering new music and covering some of the biggest festivals.

Just before the pandemic, the Scottish DJ, who is married to Editors frontman Tom Smith, moved from London to rural Gloucestershire.

She created Sountracking in 2016 and it has since featured guests such as Bradley Cooper, Steve McQueen, Ron Howard, Peter Jackson, Guy Ritchie, Cillian Murphy and Hugh Grant.

The show won an Audio and Radio Industry Award for Best Specialist Music Show 2018 (after numerous nominations in 2017, when the ceremony was held in Leeds) and was the recipient of two Gold trophies for Best Digital Music Programme and Music Podcast at the New York Festival Radio Awards in 2018.

She really proud of the podcast, which was set up without corporate backing, and pleaed that “we’ve been able to put out an episode every week for the last five years. It’s our pride and joy, really.”

She still works in radio and elsewhere but describes the creation of the podcast as a “confidence-booster”.

Bowman says: “I feel really lucky that technology is where it is that I was able to do that and also be able to get all the guests that we’ve had on as well.

“I love how much I learn every week. There’s always something with every guest because in the 265 episodes that we’ve got, every episode is unique,” she says, though a personal highlight was her conversation with Thelma Schoonmaker, who has been director Martin Scorsese’s editor since his 1980 masterpiece Raging Bull.

“They’ve had a very long and successful relationship, creatively.

“She was just wonderful; such a generous woman.

“So enthusiastic about what she does and so kind of modest as well. Praising Marty for all his work and not really accepting how much her influence and her craft is important to the success of his films. And so she was an absolute joy to have.”

She is enjoying the process of creating her own projects and says: “I feel like I’m learning and when I’m not learning, that’s when I kind of shift gears a bit.

“I feel really driven, actually, by where I am career-wise. There’s so much I want to do. My agents, bless them, are like ‘Oh God, what’s she thinking about next?’ Because I’m constantly saying ‘What about this?’ and ‘What about that?’”

Equally, she gets anxious if she’s not involved in the world of the big music events and recently presented the Isle of Wight Festival’s television output.

“We did 21 hours of coverage over three days for Sky Arts at Isle of Wight and, oh, it was so great.”

At 47, she continues to keep her finger on the pulse of popular culture with projects such as a recent interview Daniel Craig, the outgoing James Bond, called A Life in Pictures for BAFTA, which it is hoped will be picked up by one of the television broadcasters.

Bowman’s Yorkshire links include Doncaster, where she has stayed with her aunt who has now moved to Hebden Bridge, and cousins in Leeds. Justin Lockey, her husband’s bandmate in Editors is also from the South Yorkshire town, along with various friends in the region.

She’s certainly looking forward to the trip over tomorrow as part of Widescreen Weekend and chuffed to be part of its 25th anniversary event.

“This will be the first live Soundtracking we’ve done post-Covid. The last one we did was Tim Burton at the BFI so it’s great to be able to get out with the podcast as well.”

She added: “I just think it’s a really great thing to be encouraging people back into the type of environment to watch film again on a big screen.

“Not everybody is confident yet to be going to cinemas to watch films but I think now more than ever we need that escapism.”

For more information about Soundtracking Live with Edith Bowman at 3pm tomorrow, visit the museum’s website at www.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk. Tickets are £15 for adults over 25 and £12.50 at a concession rate.