Paddington & The Bear – War, Nuclear threats and Boris Johnson in a field. Plus journalist Anna Reid on the history of the crisis in Ukraine

Released on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022.

Paddington & The Bear – War, Nuclear threats and Boris Johnson in a field. Plus journalist Anna Reid on the history of the crisis in Ukraine

As you all know war and the threat of nuclear destruction is basically the ideal recipe for comedy. This week’s podcast navigates the absolute horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has a chat with journalist and writer Anna Reid about the history of this crisis.



– ‘Come Back Alive’ :

– Voices of Children

– LifeLine Ukraine:

– Vostok SOS:

British-Ukrainian Aid

– Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain:






Patreon at



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Further Reading

Linear liner notes 

As you all know war and the threat of nuclear destruction is basically the ideal recipe for comedy. This week’s podcast navigates the absolute horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has a chat with journalist and writer Anna Reid about the history of this crisis.


Key links and sources of info from Anna’s interview:


All the usual ParPolBro stuff:






Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that would only support an invasion of your ears. By this show I mean. Not spiders or war. I wouldn’t condone that. Oh no now I’m just thinking about spiders in ears. Oh, this has gone really wrong. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Russian President and water on the knee for a face Vladimir Putin threatens the possibilities of nuclear war, on the plus side, at least the electromagnetic pulses would knock out the internet so you wouldn’t have to see anyone’s hot takes on how actually radiation sickness is only as bad as the flu.


In the last four days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, President and lead singer of the Manic Street Preachers Volodymyr Zelenskyy has really moved the goal posts on what it means to be a comedian, his profession before he was elected to lead the country. He’s been defiant in staying in the capital of Kyiv and fighting against the onslaught, he’s made jokes while doing it and he’s not even complained once about how Russia are actually trying to cancel him. I am both in admiration of him, and also, I must admit, a bit thrown as to how the rest of us can begin to provide commentary on the situation when I didn’t even do a show in Nottingham on Saturday because I decided it would be too much effort. The thing is, as we’re all very aware, war or to call this more correctly what it is, an illegal invasion, isn’t in anyway a comedy goldmine. Hundreds of Ukrainians have been killed, their homes destroyed and many, many more displaced. On the other side, thousands of Russian soldiers, young men with inadequate food, armour or equipment have also been killed in one of those times where you wonder if those who usually cry for the need of a return to national service in Britain just hate young people and can’t express that enough by just voting Conservative. Yet side by side with the tragedy, is humour, for that’s where it dwells best. It’d be remiss to not look at Vladimir Putin’s failed efforts to capture Ukraine and well, find it unbelievably funny. What was, we were assured just a few days ago, a global superpower exerting its might on a smaller nation that wants to retain its independence, has become less of a Russian bear and more one of those small dogs in a teddy bear costume spending the whole time uncertain of who it is and where its meant to be. The man that likes to pose half naked on a horse to assert his masculinity in a way that has always actually said I’ve only had sex with inanimate objects is now being thwarted by a man who was the dubbed voice for the Ukrainian release of Paddington, a smaller but considerably more popular bear. Ukrainians have fought fiercely and taken back their cities mere hours after Russian forces have entered them, like a very violent version of being outbid on eBay then returning in the last minute to add 1p and winning.


Has Putin completely lost the plot or if he has always wanted it to return to that of an 80s action film where the villain is a despotic megalomanic Russian? It is a very weird angle to call for the denazification of a country you’re illegally invading to capture for your own empire. It’s like enforcing a detox on your whole house by insisting they only eat the burgers from your van. It’s clear that Russia is weaker now than it was last week with military power depleted and bank sanctions meaning the ruble is now worth less than 1 US cent. Still though Putin will be chuffed at the idea of how many American tourists that could bring in. Maybe they could pop some Helter-Skelters on the Kremlin and have all visitors greeted by a mascot dressed as a Russian doll who represents the country by starting big but then keeps emerging as a smaller and smaller entity. There have been worldwide protests against the war, including thousands of Russian citizens in St Petersburg and even previously staunch Putin far right supporters and different degrees of eroding potatoes Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orban have started to think maybe the horse with the creepy naked man on top was the wrong one to back. So backed into a corner of his own making because he’s a baby, Putin has resorted to putting his nuclear forces on high alert, which I would have thought they’d always been anyway knowing who was in charge of them. If I had to sit at one of those stations I’d be jumpy every time the phone rang in case ‘oh shit its Vlad and he’s been the vodka again, I’d better call my family first just incase’. It seems even threats aren’t safe from the need to reboot ideas from 40 years ago.


UK defence secretary and out of date fried egg sweet Ben Wallace says that Putin’s nuclear threats are merely a distraction attempt, because nothing distracts from a war going badly like the idea that it might go so badly absolutely everyone dies. I wonder if when Ben Wallace accidently cuts his finger while chopping something to distract himself from the pain he threatens to saw his own leg off. Some reports suggest that Putin only increased the nuclear alert after hearing comments from Foreign Secretary and what if Niles from Frasier had been embalmed Liz Truss. In-between her various fancy dress costume changes and photoshoots, vacant head for let said that she supports individuals who might want to go to Ukraine to join an international force to fight as she’s clearly the sort of person who’d see a paramedic treating someone on the street and step in to ask if there’s anything she can do, fall over the respirator and then take a selfie holding up a peace sign next to a dying body. This is the UK’s response all over though, helping in the way that causes a greater chance of nuclear war way. A first aid kit that doesn’t contain anything you need and is so heavy you have to leave behind other necessities to take it. Compare any of our responses to the rest of the world’s. The EU have said they will take in all Ukrainian refugees for three years with no visas or need for asylum. Over here, the Prime Minister and stupid hairy puffin Boris Johnson proudly announced that Ukrainians with relatives who are British nationals can come to the country, but no more due to security reasons. Whose? Is the Home Office worried that if they let too many people come here they might report back about just how shit it is to everyone else? Johnson said the UK would not turn our backs in Ukraine’s hour of need, but I suppose that’s because we have to face them to check their papers and deny them entry or they might just sneak in. According to the Prime Minister we are way out in front in our willingness to help refugees, so I guess he means in boats in the channel just waiting to turn them back or puncture their dinghies. The Home Secretary Priti Patel, the only person who would get stronger after an unsuccessful heart transplant, accused Labour’s Shadow Secretary and Goron from Breath of the Wild David Lammy of posting misinformation for saying the Home Office was still seeking normal visa restrictions to those fleeing Ukraine. She then posted a link to Home Office guidance that said that’s exactly what they were doing. I have no idea which bit she thought was misinformation but maybe the truth is that visa restrictions are too lax and Patel’s gone round saying that unless they want to buy some of the London property the Russian Oligarchs will have to give up then they just can’t come in. Home Office Minister and result of a face-swap photo between a man and a bollard Kevin Foster suggested that one of the routes refugees could take to get UK entry is as a seasonal worker. You can’t do pick your own for people Kevin, that’s not what it means. MP for Tonbridge and Malling Tom Tugendhat, with his face like a boy scout that just shat behind a tree for the first time and has never felt so alive, suggested that the UK could expel all Russian citizens. Great idea Tom. Rather than take in refugees, we just get rid of even more people, many of whom may be in the country to also escape Putin’s regime. Why don’t we get rid of anyone who’s ever heard of Russia too? Or even ever been in a rush? What about Ian Rush? Let’s kick him out too as clearly they all have the same level of complicity as Vladimir Putin’s top team as the other 73,000 Russian citizens in Britain.


Weirdly there’s been little said about the Russians in Britain that are connected to Vlad though, with no sanctions yet on oligarch and Damian Lewis in a hall of mirrors Oleg Deripaska, but then I guess the last thing the British government needs in the midst of a war is to run out of donation funds. Neither has there been any on Chelsea FC owner and Alan Sugar with sunstroke Roman Abramovich, whose managed to hand over the stewardship and care of Chelsea to the club’s charitable foundation and it didn’t even have to pick any fruit or anything. He’ll still be its owner though because the best way for the UK to sanction billionaire allies of Russia is by letting them keep all their dosh and have more free time on their hands too. Bet Abramovich will go nuts when he realises he can just dine in fancy restaurants and do what he likes without all the football club bother, yeah that’ll show him. Football obvs doesn’t count though, which is why FIFA have ordered the Russian team to keep playing in their world cup qualifiers but just without their flag, or national anthem and under the name Football Union of Russia so they sound like a school delegation. Yes, nothing says political statement of solidarity than suggesting they wear a hat and pretend they’re someone else. We are against Russia’s actions say FIFA, but er, Frussia, they can totally hang out.


So far the boldest move Britain seems to have made in support of Ukraine was when the Prime Minister went to what a Conservative councillor called the frontline, by visiting an RAF airfield in Oxfordshire. Very brave of Johnson to go somewhere so close to war despite the possibilities of him being in the line of fire from a passing bird and having so few emergency amenities what with only two pubs in the civil parish. This is what we get in Britain. While Ukraine is bravely led by a comedian, we’ve got a village idiot in a field. I think the best cherry-picking skill those fleeing war could display is choosing anywhere to go with even an iota more humanity than here.


Meanwhile racists are refusing to let war make them complacent as black, Indian and Arabic people trying to flee Ukraine are encountering a lot of racist abuse and difficulties crossing the border. Perhaps the thought is that by leaving only people of colour to the behest of Russian forces, soldiers will be hard pressed to think the place has been Nazified. It’s bizarre and depressingly unsurprising that the value of human life seems to still depend on skin colour to so many, and in that way, I guess Britain suddenly seems less racist as they are equally not letting anyone in regardless. A number of news reporters have declared that the situation in Ukraine is different to the Middle East because it’s a civilised country. Yes true, but that is what happens when you let the West loot a place till it has no culture left. Let some American soldiers pop by and make things worse and climate change kick in a bit and I reckon you’ll barely be able to tell the difference.



In other news, the government have launched a study on the post Brexit economic benefits of reintroducing imperial units, which I assume are very low as Storm Troopers’ armour costs a shit load.

And government proposals to change student loans mean anyone who achieves lower grades in GCSE’s won’t be eligible for them, while those that are will be paying them back for 40 years. This unfairly targets students that have a poor grasp of English or Maths, which is unfair as this could mean No.10 communications department or the treasury will be missing out on their ideal candidates.





Listen during a war – comedy was important in other wars, but as a distraction, not haphazardly trying to make jokes about it


Funeral, short pod










If you are anything like me, you will pride yourself on having a semblance of worldly knowledge and then see a situation like the war in Ukraine begin and think ‘oh god how did that happen’ and then have to google exactly where Ukraine is and be surprised when it’s not exactly the bit you thought it was. It obviously doesn’t help that the internet is flooded with 400 reasons as to why this war started ranging from secret biolabs in Ukraine developing super strength Covid from the same people who thought Covid wasn’t real making it very confusing as to what it is they’re actually concerned about, all the way to how this war was definitely caused by bots or woke culture or worse woke bots which is the point where you realise you’ve accidentally clicked a link, left twitter and started reading the wiki page about the terminator films. With Ukraine, much like, well any nation in the world, it’s not just the here and nows that have got the world to this point, but a long history of borders, invasions and revolutions that you can’t really digest because you’ve seen the loser from a reality TV show insult Putin using the medium of haiku. Context is, as they say, key, although if you’ve lost yours you can’t use it to unlock your front door. So on this week’s show, I spoke to journalist and writer Anna Reid to ask her to explain exactly what we need to know about Ukraine in order to really understand what’s going on. Anna was Kyiv correspondent for the Economist, and Telegraph during the 90s and since then has gone on to write many books about the Slavic and Eastern European region, including Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine. Anna has spent a lot of time in Kyiv and had not long returned from there when we spoke. As you’ll hear, our conversation ended up being mere hours before Russia invaded, so obviously a few things we say did not age well. But hopefully the rest of it will be a useful insight into a nation that has sadly had to deal with this far too often. Here is Anna:






Thanks to Anna for being on the podcast. As I mentioned before and as you could tell throughout, that conversation was in fact hours before Russia started their invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, which is pretty disturbing to think about how at just 2pm that afternoon we were saying we had no idea of when it could happen. Anna, obviously, very much knows her stuff and I would highly recommend her books and perhaps most key to current times is Borderland: A Journey Through The History of Ukraine. I’ve popped a link to that in the podcast blurb. Anna also writes articles about Eastern Europe and particularly Ukraine and Russia for a number of publications. After we spoke, Anna kindly sent through a list of charities as recommended by her Ukrainian friends who would be good to support in current times. So I’ll give those a quick read now and again pop the links into the podcast blurb though if you’re on social media you’ll have seen a ton of them shared already.


Ukrainian charities to support are Voices of Children which provides psychological support to children with war trauma. They are at

Lifeline Ukraine is a suicide prevention charity for war veterans, and they are at

Vostock SOS provides assistance to internationally displaced people. And then, I am wary of promoting anything that assists in military gear but as Anna said, its grim that its necessary but it is. So, without judgement, Come Back Alive, and no I won’t attempt the Ukrainian name, is a Kyiv based charity that provides Ukraine’s Armed Forces with equipment, software, personal body protection and things like that.


Then in the UK, there is the British-Ukrainian Aid which supports victims of the ongoing war, orphaned children, IDPs, the wounded, etc and The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain – London Branch are fundraising for humanitarian aid:


And phew, I have to thank the Ukrainian Institute in London who put me in touch with Anna and they have also posted a link of places to support so I’ll link to that too.


What can you do to support Ukraine & Ukrainians?





And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast, your final one stop audio shop for all things the violent fate of humanity and occasional 90s Welsh indie band references. If this has filled the comedic political hole in your life in a satisfying way then do consider recommending its ways to other humans, donating to the ko-fi or patreon sites, and maybe even popping a nice 5 star review somewhere people might read it but also might not scroll down that far.


Dyakuyu to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik and Kat Day.


This will be back next week when Putin complains that he only lost due to cancel culture and how you can’t say anything anymore. He’s pulls back his forces from Ukraine but regrows the Russian economy by releasing a series of Netflix specials.


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