Ambushed By Snakes – Gray Report But Not, Unintentional Cakes, Brexit Freedoms and Steve Henderson on the cutting of the BFI Young Audience Fund

Released on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022.

Ambushed By Snakes – Gray Report But Not, Unintentional Cakes, Brexit Freedoms and Steve Henderson on the cutting of the BFI Young Audience Fund

The Gray Report is here. Sort of. A bit of it. The tiny few pages the police would allow. And it’s just enough for everyone except the Prime Minister to say its damning but for Johnson to assume he’s safe enough to spend the rest of his days ambushed by cakes. Another week of exactly the sort of horror you’d expect from Britain in 2022, but in joke form. Plus a chat with Steve Henderson (@Mr_S_Henderson) at the Manchester Animation Festival (@mcranimation) on how the government are even ruining kids TV.

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The Gray Report is here. Sort of. A bit of it. The tiny few pages the police would allow. And it’s just enough for everyone except the Prime Minister to say its damning but for Johnson to assume he’s safe enough to spend the rest of his days ambushed by cakes. Another week of exactly the sort of horror you’d expect from Britain in 2022, but in joke form. Plus a chat with Steve Henderson (@Mr_S_Henderson) at the Manchester Animation Festival (@mcranimation) on how the government are even ruining kids TV.


PseudoPod 795: The Last Séance, by Agatha Christie, narrated by Kat Day – 


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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that would in solidarity demand its removal from Spotify but I’m not sure anyone knows it’s on there in the first place. In fact, I’m not even sure it is. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as many people are angry that Sue Gray’s report has been published but not in full, won’t someone think of the Prime Minister and what’s left at the end of a day at a coat sale Boris Johnson who must be even more disappointed now he’ll never know if he attended a party that night or not.


Political analysts and historians often to look to previous politicians, governments and regimes to see who the current motley crew are influenced by. Oh, its Churchill, because just like him our Prime Minister is mostly off his face and is totally unbothered about making decisions that leave a lot of people unnecessarily dead. Or is it Thatcher, because the Prime Minister also gets only 4 hours sleep a night, but that’s because of all the parties. Or is it Ghenghis Khan because Johnson also has no idea how many kids he has? No. What those wonks are missing, is the open mindedness to look elsewhere, because this Prime Minister and government are clearly mainly influenced by the baddies in horror films because everytime we assume they’re dead and don’t double, triple make sure of it, they just keep coming back. Boris Johnson himself also takes influence from the near-microscopic animal the tardigrade, not just in his appearance like a half full hoover bag, but also depressingly in its ability to survive almost anything. Last week, the headlines were full of assurances that it was the end for Boris Johnson, as yet more reports of parties at No.10 emerged. It turns out the 467th reported illegal party was one for the Prime Minister’s birthday in June 2020, where while the country was banned from indoor gatherings, 30 people gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Johnson and have their cake, as well as eat it. It had been arranged by the Prime Minister’s wife and Fiona to his Shrek, Carrie Johnson, and the interior designer who you might remember from the flat refurbishment scandal also attended. Yes, and they said Avengers Infinity War was the most ambitious crossover in history. It’s only time before a big final story arc event is unveiled where it’ll be revealed No.10 had another party featuring all the donors, Owen Paterson, the test and trace app, everyone from Matt Hancock’s address book, everyone involved in Vote Leave, Ian Botham, Richard Desmond, the Hungarian government, and a mascot from Peppa Pig World, and we’ll just have to hope it ended with half of them being wiped out.


There were of course many excuses as to why this birthday gathering was allowed, including Northern Ireland Minister and man who looks like he stood too close to a plane engine before it took off Conor Burns, who insisted that the Prime Minister had no awareness this party was happening and that he was, in a sense, ambushed by cake. A scenario the rest of us plebs can only dream of. Oh, how I wish to be ambushed by cake. Nothing says to the rest of the world that Britain is a force to be reckoned with, like them finding out they could easily take out our leader with a surprise sponge. Forget defeating him with a strong political base, you’d just need a buttery biscuit one. Conor Burns later retracted his statement, saying that he could not confirm or deny there was a cake, which makes me wonder if the ambush happened so quickly, no one could be certain of what they witnessed? Terrifying on many layers, some filled with cream. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak who always radiates big sick energy, said that he accidentally attended the do and was unintentionally present for cake. Nope. I can’t trust anyone who’s unintentionally present for cake. He’s even worse than those having an illegal party, as he’s a gate-crasher to one and wasn’t even invited. I bet he filled his pockets with sausage rolls before leaving too. Typical stinge.


The Met Police, those arbiters of justice who are so against criminal activity they like to take part in themselves so that criminals won’t get a chance, decided that actually they did need to investigate the parties they said they wouldn’t investigate. And in fact, they needed to investigate it all so much, that cabinet secretary who looks like she’s being constantly bothered by a sad wasp, Sue Gray, would have to only make minimal reference in her report to those parties they’re also now looking at, or it could prejudice their investigation. And the Met hate prejudice almost as much as they hate crime, which is again why they try to do most of it to prevent others without the systematic experience of doing so from attempting it. It will be interesting when the Met when ask for witnesses to the events to get in contact and they end up having to call themselves. Actually, I say that but if you remember from that time she ordered police to attack all those mourning women with candles in order to protect people who suffer from keriophoba, boy from 70s school drama and Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick only attends legal gatherings so they should be able to come to a decision based on whether she was at her pal Johnson’s house or not.


This of course caused concerns that Sue Gray’s report would be watered down from what it should be, which was already a report by someone the Conservatives trust into the actions of the government that she works for. So, I’m not sure if you can dilute water, though I suppose might be possible if what you’re pouring water onto is the shit and piss filled rivers of English politics. Maybe the Met just understand the popularity of the true crime genre and thought it best to kind letting the British public put together the clues for themselves? So, Gray’s report was only allowed to contain minimal reference to the 12 events the police are looking into, which we all hoped just meant Gray would write about them in size 2 font and we’d be able to see what went on if we zoomed in. Instead, though, the report, or as its stated, an update and not the full report, arrived at No.10 Downing Street late on Monday morning, a dangerous place to send something so important when it could have been ambushed by cake or lost by police officers who had no idea where they were. And at only 12 pages the update – including annex and one left intentionally blank much like the Prime Minister’s memory – is not so much Sue Gray’s report, as merely 12 Shades of Gray, appropriate in that the entire country has once again been fucked over. We were told time and time again to wait for the report and see, but when it’s had so many spoilers it was unlikely to be what anyone wanted. There are some key points, including that some behaviour is difficult to justify which has never been a concern of the Conservative Party before. They’ve usually just blamed other people for being upset about. Gray says some of the gatherings were a serious failure to observe the high standards expected at the heart of government, which is a shock to me as I assumed they were entirely heartless. And that the parties represent a failure of leadership and judgement of No.10 and the cabinet office, which I mean, I could have told you that.


Boris Johnson says he has accepted Sue Gray’s findings in full, which is handy as they weren’t remotely in full and were barely even skimmed when it comes to findings. The Prime Minister said he wanted to say sorry for the things they didn’t get right, which is a bold statement when to properly do that he would have to continuously talk in the commons for at least 200 days straight. As it is, he didn’t apologise for anything at all, let alone the parties, and instead blamed civil servants and made some bullshit statement about how they must look in the mirror and learn, which we know he won’t do as then he won’t be able to use it to do lines off of at the next party. It was sadly, very clear he doesn’t intend to go anywhere unless he gets an invite and it says there’ll be free booze. The leader of the opposition and advert for Beconase Keir Starmer accused Johnson of being a man without shame, which isn’t really an insult when its just true and was proven by Johnson’s retort being about Starmer failing to prosecute sex offender Jimmy Saville, a man with whom the Prime Minister shared the hair-do and ability to only ever use the word fix as a malapropism. Former Prime Minister and wooden effigy Theresa May who also refused to resign several times and blamed everyone else for it, asked Johnson if he knew the rules or ignored them, but Johnson simply said the report doesn’t say either of those things because it doesn’t because it barely has enough content to be a coaster. And when Tory MP and someone put Matthew Perry through an aging app Andrew Mitchell told Johnson he no longer had his full-throated support, so I guess Johnson will have to rely on his other paramours for that sort of attention now. Now we must wait for the Met Police to finish their investigation, which there’s no doubt will be inconclusive unless there were candles on the birthday cake and someone there was sad, in which case Cressida Dick might take that as evidence of it being a vigil and therefore illegal. Scotland Yard have said they have more than 300 photos of the events handed to them by Sue Gray, so that should be enough for Dick to hopefully find some nice ones of herself to show friends when they ask what she’s been up to.


How will the public react? Well, the Prime Minister’s plan is to win them back with the Brexit Freedoms Bill, which will, as the government says, unleash the benefits of Brexit. I’ve no idea what those are and I wonder if this is their version of Wu Wei, the art of doing nothing? Have we had the Conservatives wrong all along, and their response to the pandemic was simply following Taoist concepts of inaction and by having parties while everyone else was in lockdown, just their attempts at creating universal balance? Is the Prime Minister and what’s left at the end of a day at a coat sale Boris Johnson only drunk all the time to denote a state of spirit? The answer: No. It is odd for the government to refer to them as Brexit benefits when they hate people on benefits and if Brexit is also claiming them, doesn’t that mean it’s not working? The Brexit Freedoms Bill is going to cut the EU red tape, which I didn’t think we had anymore and all the red tape we have left is from leaving the EU. I worry that this tape is actually just holding the cracks of the country together and with any further snips we could tumble into the sea. The proposals include a section about setting high standards at home and globally which is hilarious. The only people round the world who might now be using this country as an influence are pirates,


Then there is the announcement of the levelling up fund which will regenerate 20 towns and cities in England which have been fucked by the Tories through austerity in the last decade and not give them quite enough money to fix that properly. Nothing says levelling up like demolishing your tower block and giving everyone who was in it some sleeping bags ten years later and telling them it’s an upgrade. The funds are less than they got via the EU before Brexit, and it’s money that the government admits has been ‘recycled’ as it was already allocated for other things but has been removed from those to be put into this. Is it still recycling if you’re just taking it away from somewhere and using it elsewhere? Doesn’t it have to be used first? If I remove a plank of wood from someone’s scaffolding that they’re using and take it to use as a skate ramp for a hamster whose cage I’ve dismantled, am I recycling it or just being an unhelpful prick? Even Housing Secretary and congealed cup a soup Michael Gove is reported to have said the levelling up white paper is shit. And he’s someone who likes the Wham Rap. Meanwhile Sunak and Johnson have doubled down on their policy of increases to National Insurance from April as they say it must go ahead as it’ll help clear the NHS backlog. How? By making sure people starve or freeze to death before they get to rebooking their appointment? Sunak has been urged by think tanks to shift the burden of tax from work to wealth but then I suppose he’d be worried that wealthy people who don’t work would have to contribute to society and that’s not fair to all his friends and family. Someone’s got to cover the £4.3bn lost in fraudulent pandemic relief scheme claims that Sunak can’t be arsed to chase up, and it can’t be the people who made those claims as then that’d be reusing stolen cash and that only happens through the property market and party donations, so it’s less hassle if we just cough up for them.


It’s hard to see where we go as a country from now on, without constantly googling to see if it’s possible for an entire island to sink. But there is some hope as Boris Johnson is going to visit Ukraine next week, in the hope of quelling rising tensions between them and Russia. Johnson is going to reiterate the need for Russia to step back, but I’m not sure if they’ll give a shit unless he’s going to threaten that they can’t keep buying properties in London. The UK is unlikely to send any troops to the Ukraine, not least because they’re all too busy over here driving fuel lorries and helping deliver covid tests. So its really just Johnson’s attempt to look big on the world stage and show off. But I’m cool with that, because nothing says hope for all of us in Britain, than sending our Prime Minister to a potential war zone when he can’t even defend himself against a cake.



In other news, Foreign Secretary and vintage cartoon mug Liz Truss was revealed to have flown by private jet to Australia, costing the British public £500,000. You might say that’s a waste but to those people who would’ve had to sit next to her on a commercial flight for 24 hours, that’s a bargain. And hey, if they’d refused to let her fly back, it’d have been worth twice that. The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s decision that it would be unlawful for the Home Office to strip a person’s British Citizenship without notice. The Home Office, is of course, going to appeal the appeal as there’s no good use of tax-payer’s money quite like spending it until someone says you’re right to be an evil piece of shit.


Labour MP for Canterbury and woman who always looks like a background extra in a soap opera Rosie Duffield is considering leaving the party after ‘obsessive harassment’ after an article written by an anonymous party member said she no longer lives in her constituency and rarely even visits, nor does she even turn up to parliament very often. Must be a tough choice for Rosie to have to decide whether to leave her job as an MP or to continue not doing it anyway. Maybe she just realised the best thing for her constituents was if she kept as far away from them as possible and tried to make parliament forget they even exist? Similarly I’m considering giving up driving as all the other drivers on the road keep bullying me by beeping their horn and shouting things at me like ‘you’re a reckless dangerous prick and you’re going to get someone killed’.


A bill to make British Sign Language legally recognised has received government backing, which is great news. I suppose the worry is that even if its legally recognised, that doesn’t necessarily mean the government will pay any attention to it. Big shout out to all the BSL interpreters who translate broadcasts from parliament and somehow resist just doing wanker signs all the time.


And lasty, Conservative MP and man who looks like a cheap stand in in a Hammer horror film Huw Merriman, went to visit the lorry queue on the A20 and trod in human faeces. Still, what greater metaphor for our relationship to the EU meaning we’re now a turd country and I suppose we now can say that Merriman has first-hand knowledge of the shit lorry drivers are dealing with. He should really change his name to Poo Merriman.





So pleased the not report from Sue Gray was released half-way through writing this week’s show. Yes, I knew that might happen, no I didn’t plan for it and had to scrap half of this show. Yes, I am an idiot and should’ve learned by now. But isn’t that the joy of this podcast? That after 6 years of doing it, I’ve absolutely not learned a single thing and just keep ploughing on regardless of increasing difficulty and isn’t that in a way, why it’s so representative of British society? Exactly. Fuck me what a grim old week of draconian state of things news it has been and also exactly what you’d expect.


Sorry I mean, hello you. I bloody wish I could be ambushed by cake. Just once. Even just a cupcake. Some people have all the luck. There’s no cake in our flat right now but in a weird moment of needing to sort things out, I did count how many bottles of different hot sauce we currently have and it’s 25. Yep. That’s in need of an intervention levels of problem, isn’t it? No cake, we’re currently out of margarine but right now I have enough hot sauce to bathe in it. Which no, I won’t be doing. Not even for charity. Is this just middle aged where I increasingly crave the need to feel something, anything and hot sauce is fulfilling that? Or is it that by setting the inside of my mouth on fire repeatedly every day I’m merely having the most excitement I can handle in my life as currently even the idea of driving mildly over the speed limit for 2 minutes or walking on the other side of the escalator is exhausting to think about. I don’t know but please, do send help, or yoghurt. Probably lots of yoghurt. If I was ambushed by cake, I wouldn’t need such things. There are some good things in life though, right? On Friday night our daughter slept solidly for nearly 13 hours, though it was because we took her to an adventure park during the day and she ran around for 5 solid hours. So now I’m trying to see how much it’d cost to have a human sized hamster wheel in our living room. How do children just have endless energy? That was the first time we’ve successfully got her tired in about 6 months and it still didn’t wear her brain out. Right till bedtime she was asking 400 questions and saying things like ‘I wish I had teeth on my feet’. No, you don’t, you’d get through far too many socks. Anyway, I’ve now had one really good night’s sleep in the last 3 years and 10 months and I can feel so recharged I could eat some hot sauce, which is lucky really.


I hope you too have had some sleep or if you hate sleep then I hope you haven’t but also sort it out. It’s great. It is such a cruel trick of life that kids don’t want to sleep but when you’re an adult and have kids, it’s the only thing you crave. It’s like one of those sitcoms where the most opposite people live with each other, except its life and it’s mean. But thank you for being here sleep deprived or sleep nourished and big thanks this week to Marius, Anne-Marie and Christine for the kind ko-fi donations and should you wish to support this here show in a monetary way, then please chuck some dosh at or join the and I promise all money sent there is used only for good. My own good obviously, but you know, I won’t use it to buy any petrol at Shell with it or anything like that. I mean that’s partly because there’s not a shell garage near me but I won’t say that bit out loud. Ah. Oh well. If you can’t or just don’t want to support this show in a monetary way, please consider giving it a podcast review at one of the podcast places where you can do that, and telling other folks that this is here for all their cathartic political needs.


It’s another interview straight through episode this week. Is that ok? How’d do you like that? Do you miss me explaining a current issue badly in the middle of my chats with people who know things? Or is a shorter, sleeker podcast, ie one that if it had a beard would resemble me, ahem, is that better for you? Lemme know.


Some things this week to note. One is I’m on the Cross Borders Podcast which I recorded last week with host Chris Brown, no not that one, who usually does his podcasts on Canadian politics for a predominantly Canadian audience, but this week he asked me to explain British politics to him. So I ranted and swore for about 40 minutes, and still managed to leave a ton of stuff out. If that sounds like your cup of double double then the link is in the pod blurb. Also this week, regular pod helper Kat Day is the narrator on this week’s PseudoPod which I refuse to pronounce correctly. Sway-do? Sue-do? And she reads an Agatha Christie story and its ace. Link to that in the pod blurb too.


And my gag at the top of this show about Spotify, er, should I take this podcast off it? Not because it’d have any impact but because they’re bastards, unlike you know, Apple Podcasts or Amazon Music that this show is also on. I’ll be honest, I have no idea how to take this show off those places and would probably end up cancelling it entirely. But what a protest eh? Anyway, I might do it just so I can pretend I’m friends with Neil Young.


On this week’s show I chat to Steve Henderson at the Manchester Animation Festival about how the government is even ruining children’s TV. Which it is. But at the same time, they are providing a lot of inspiration for villains on children’s TV which doesn’t cancel that out, but it is handy.





I fully understand why some people are apathetic to politics because why would you watch some grown-ups shout at each other in an inadequate outdated building, when you could use that time to do something far more fulfilling like poke yourself in the eye or try to recite made up words in the hope you’ll accidentally say an ancient incantation and open a hellmouth. But in the words of someone, probably, it might even have been me, even if you try to avoid it and you think it doesn’t directly affect you, politics will happen to you somehow. A bit like piles or One Show, but more so. Once you skip all the big things politics ruins or causes, like the planet, human rights, poverty, war, whatever the other horsemen of the apocalypse are and trending twitter hashtags, you’ll see that politicians are quite capable of ruining everything else in your life too. For example, children’s entertainment. Last week the government announced they were cancelling the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund which is going to have a direct impact on the future of children’s media created in the UK, which is odd because I thought according to Boris Johnson, Peppa Pig world inspired him to think about UK creativity. But it seems he did, and realised he hated it. If taking his kids places has that effect on him, we need to persuade the Prime Minister that the Trident nuclear program is perfect for a day out, as is Scotland Yard and indeed the Houses of Parliament and hopefully they’ll all get defunded too. If you have kids, you’ll know that in today’s day and age children’s media can be a large part of their education and a big part of you having 10 minutes to breath and drink coffee like it might run out. If you don’t have kids, then you’ll probably have liked kids tv at some point in your life and look, let’s cut the crap, Paddington 2 is one of the best films ever regardless of how old you are. Don’t @ me. Plus, if there wasn’t so much excellent kids content, what else would those meddling kids do eh? They might be hanging around the fairground ruining the caretaker’s evil plans and no one needs their creative output ruined like that in today’s economy. Anyway, a lot of people are employed in the children’s media industry and these cuts along with the BBC licence fee freezes and general lack of support for the arts mean that it could spell the end for the industry. Which many children would find hard to do without shows like Alpha-blocks for example. Should we be surprised when we have a Prime Minister who when hearing about providing support for kids, just pretends they aren’t his and hopes people will stop asking questions?


This week I spoke to Steve Henderson, who is the Director and CEO of the brilliant Manchester Animation Festival, the UK’s largest animation event and he is also editor of the site for all the animation news you might need. Steve is, as you can probably imagine, very passionate about children’s media, especially animation and wrote a great piece about the culling of the BFI Young Audiences Content fund, so I thought it’d be good to get him on to talk about an area you might not think politics affects. I am, of course, a very biased interviewer because I started writing for a children’s animation last year and this very fund helped create shows my pals do, like Makeaway Takeaway on CITV hosted by the ever excellent Bec Hill, and without it, that show wouldn’t exist. But I hope this chat with Steve gives you an insight into yet another part of British life that the government are Sarah and Ducking up. I take that back, I can’t ruin Sarah and Duck like that, it’s too good. Quack.


Here is Steve:




Thanks to Steve. You can find him on Twitter at @Mr_S_Henderson and the Manchester Animation Festival will be on in November this year, and for more details check out or @mcranimation on Twitter. And Skwigly is at or @skwigly and is a brilliant resource if you’re at all interested in any side of animation.


Consider me hungry for more guests. Still on the hunt for anything optimistic about the future of politics, but also new ideas, more on ways to tackle the current shit and generally any area like this week’s chat where we don’t realise politics affects it but it does. Also things I haven’t covered in a while. I know I’ve not had anyone to talk about disability rights in a while, so trying to get someone on that. But look, what do you want to hear? Lemme know and holla at ya boy. Or any other type of bread at ya boy. I’ll eat all types, as long as you’ve written a suggestion of a guest on it in some sort of tasty spread.





And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Many gracious appreciations for your listenings to this here audible despairing and should you have not hated even a minute of it, please take a moment of your mortality to recommend it to someone you know in the real life or Metaverse so they too can indulge. If you actually enjoy it, and you know, aren’t just saying it to impress the cool kids, then why not buy me a caffeinated beverage at or join the in revel in such rewards like the sweet sound of nothingness and the joy of giving. If you can also give it a review on whichever podcast site apparently it helps promote the show but after 6 years of doing this now, I’m not actually sure that’s true but why not do it anyway?


Big ups to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik and Kat Day who narrates this week’s pseudopod so do check that out.


This will be back next week when the Met Police put all the 300 photos they have into a commemorative album for Boris Johnson and say they weren’t really investigating they just didn’t want Sue to ruin the surprise pressie for their pal.




This week’s show was sponsored by Ambush by Cake, a new fragrance from the 90s rock band to make you smell like you were never there.

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