Russell Kane pilots Evil Genius for television

ExclusiveMonday 7th June 2021, 11:01am by Jay Richardson

  • A TV pilot has been filmed for Evil Genius, the podcast hosted by Russell Kane
  • The comedic format sees the comedian and guests discussing the merits and pitfalls of famous people
Evil Genius with Russell Kane

Russell Kane is seeking to explore cancel culture, by adapting his Radio 4 podcast Evil Genius for television.

A 30-minute pilot of the ethics debate format, in which Kane and his guests weigh the achievements of famous figures against their worst behaviour, before concluding whether they are evil or a genius, has been shot by BBC Studios, British Comedy Guide can reveal.

A fifth series of the hour-long podcast launched earlier this year, with subjects including Albert Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Amy Winehouse, Bernard Manning and Bill Hicks.

And Kane told social media entrepreneur Steven Bartlett on his The Diary of a CEO podcast that he would love to sell the format internationally, "because I think that would work globally as a format, very timely as well."

A spokesperson for BBC Studios told BCG that they wouldn't comment on productions in development.

Russell Kane

Guests on Evil Genius have included Alan Carr, Romesh Ranganathan, Tom Allen, Jayde Adams, Rob Beckett, Sindhu Vee and Athena Kugblenu, whose own Radio 4 sketch and stand-up show, Athena's Cancel Culture, aired last month.

No-one should be cancelled "in haste" Kane told Bartlett, lamenting the speed of trial by social media. "That's why we make Evil Genius.

"It's a show weighing up over the hour. We take the good and the bad, we have an intellectual discussion and it's very tongue-in-cheek and funny, but it's a long discussion about the people's merits."

The comic also expressed his desire to return to regular stand-up gigs as coronavirus restrictions lift. "So I'll be finding as many spaces where I can put a marquee vented at the side" he told Bartlett, "just to get back out there and stay sharp."

Kane, who has written two books, 2012's novel The Humorist and the 2019 memoir Son of a Silverback, added that: "I am working on a novel, I always am. I'm working on a sitcom, I always am. I'm developing formats, I always am.

"I'm always hustling, always trying. I'm yet to get that format away where I own it and it's my IP [intellectual property]."

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