Russell Kane's Evil Genius comes to Sky History

ExclusiveThursday 20th April 2023, 1:31pm by Jay Richardson

  • Sky History is adapting Russell Kane's Radio 4 podcast Evil Genius for television, with the comic and his guest panel debating whether famous figures from history are evil or a genius
  • Five hour-long episodes have been ordered, focusing on Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Pablo Escobar, Richard Nixon and Albert Einstein
  • The comic has also revealed that he is writing his first children's book - about dogs
Evil Genius with Russell Kane

Russell Kane's Evil Genius podcast is being adapted for television, with the comic also writing his first children's book, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

Sky History has ordered five hour-long episodes based on the Radio 4 podcast to air next year, with the working title Evil Genius With Russell Kane, in which the stand-up and his guests weigh the achievements of famous figures against their worst behaviour.

"I've never been so excited to take people I admire, then cover them in dirty truths," Kane told BCG.

Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Pablo Escobar, Richard Nixon and Albert Einstein are the subjects Kane will be discussing with guest comedians, celebrities, historians and experts. By the end of each episode, the comic will call upon his panel to cast a vote and settle, once and for all, the burning question: Evil or Genius?

Launched in 2018, the Radio 4 podcast has just concluded its seventh series, having looked at Johnny Cash, Marvin Gaye, Christopher Columbus and Cleopatra. For the most recent episode, Kane debated the merits or otherwise of David Bowie with fellow comedians Kerry Godliman, Esther Manito and Rhys James. All of the famous figures debated in the upcoming television version were previously discussed on the podcast.

Directed by James Kayler (Hard Cell, Harry Hill's Stars In Their Eyes) and produced by Simon Winkler (The Last Leg, Rob Beckett's Undeniable) for BBC Studios (Here We Go, Trying), the television commission follows a 30-minute, non-broadcast pilot of the format in 2019.

Evil Genius With Russell Kane was commissioned and executive produced by Dan Korn, vice-president of programming at A+E Networks EMEA, with Diana Carter, commissioning editor and head of talent at A+E Networks EMEA. The executive producers for BBC Studios are Mel Balac and Ben Knappett.

"BBC Studios Entertainment is thrilled to be producing our first commission for Sky History," said Balac. "Russell will be serving up some controversial truth bombs. It's going to be historical and hysterical in equal measure."

Korn adds: "Russell's clever and eclectic take on history is one of a kind. I'm delighted to be bringing it to life for TV audiences on Sky History alongside BBC Studios. The series is set to be educational, daring, funny, and surprising, and will involve viewers in history in a way that hasn't been done before."

The Sky History series is recording on 10th, 11th and 12th May at The Film Shed studio in Dalston, East London, with tickets available now.

Meanwhile, Kane is currently writing a children's book about dogs for the publisher Quarto, he told Jack Dee and Seann Walsh on their Oh My Dog! podcast.

"My daughter, who's seven, was obsessed with going through dog and cat breed profile books, which I was obsessed with when I was a kid," he said. "I realised that kids love it when you bring them to life with more of a character. With a pug, imagine if you had a lazy mate who just liked watching TV and farting. I thought, 'hello, there's a book there!' Quarto agreed, so I'm currently wading in dog breed research."

In 2021, Kane told entrepreneur Steven Bartlett on his The Diary of a CEO podcast that he would love to sell Evil Genius internationally, "because I think that would work globally as a format, very timely as well".

Evil Genius is the latest comedian-presented show to arrive on Sky History, following the Harry Hill-fronted Britain's Greatest Obsessions and Craig Charles: UFO Conspiracies last year, as well as the Al Murray series Why Do The Brits Win Every War? (2021) and Why Does Everyone Hate The English? (2018).

Kane is currently touring his Essex Variant stand-up show around the UK before taking it around Europe.

Russell Kane - Pet Selector!

By Russell Kane

Let comedian Russell Kane help you select your next best friend in this hilarious guide to choosing your very own cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, and more! Whether you're looking for the perfect pet or you just want to learn all about furry (or scaly) friends, look no further... and prepare to giggle!

Have you ever wanted to know the different personalities of cat and dog breeds, or stick insects for that matter? Well, Russell believes when choosing your very own pet, personality is the most important thing! Pet Selector is a perfectly hilarious guide to pet personalities, from their quirky characters to special skills, wants, needs, and even cuddling capabilities.

Infused with Russell's humour, personal stories, and anecdotes, Pet Selector is both a practical guide to finding a pet and a hugely entertaining account of pet personalities from one of the biggest animal lovers out there. Even Russell's adorable, stinky pug Colin gets a mention or two.

Each entry includes an overview of the breed, an account of its temperament, the history of the breed or pet, and a handy score so you can rank each pet based on playfulness, lovingness, and more. Every pet is brought to life with Erica Salcedo's charming illustrations, and a photograph of each animal is included for reference.

Meet over 40 pets and breeds, including:
Adorable pugs
Fluffy poodles
Hairless Sphynx
Floppy Ragdolls
Friendly RATS?
Chatty Budgies
... AND SO MANY MORE!

Pet Selector is both a hilariously fun read and a practical resource for pet lovers everywhere. Giving you the information you need to choose your very own pet or the details you've always wanted to know about dogs, cats, rabbits, and even insects, this is the perfect book for animal lovers of all ages. Russell will not only make you laugh but also convince you to love your current, imaginary or future pets more than ever.

First published: Thursday 5th September 2024

  • Publisher: Quarto
  • Pages: 112
  • Catalogue: 9780711290181

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