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The Shift is a podcast that aims to tell the truth about being a woman post-40, created and hosted by writer and broadcaster, Sam Baker. Did you ever wonder why you stop hearing so many women's voices once they pass 40? That's where The Shift comes in - a frank, funny, sometimes heartbreaking, always honest look at what it means to be a woman in midlife and beyond. Work, life, love, health, sex, money, identity, body image... What does it all mean when everything around you (and inside you.. ...
 
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Who hasn’t looked at those things you should have done by the time you’re 30/40/50/whatever lists and rolled their eyes? And yet consciously or not many of us still live our lives according to those timelines. But what does middle age feel like if you’ve been acing those lists since you were 16 - and then suddenly you’re not? Today’s guest Emma For…
 
Today’s guest is the award-winning writer, Kit De Waal. Until she was 21, Kit had never read a book voluntarily. But once she started there was no stopping her. Kit started writing in her mid-40s and published her award-winning debut, My Name Is Leon, at 56. Since then she has used her success to work tirelessly to promote the voices of working cla…
 
My guest today is the author of the cult bestseller The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron. Part book, part tool-kit, part spiritual guide, The Artists Way has sold over 4 million copies globally and has inspired countless artists, writers, and creatives including Elizabeth Gilbert, Alicia Keyes, Pete Townshend and many more. In the 30 years since that wa…
 
Have you always wanted to wreak revenge on your worst enemies? Those who’ve wronged you, conned you or just crossed you? Well, if you’ve ever lain in the bath (or on the sofa or wherever) fantasising about how you’d get your own back, my guest today is your woman! Jane Fallon - aka the mistress of the revenge romp! Formerly a TV producer (Jane gave…
 
How does it feel to be catapulted to Internet fame, literally overnight. My guest this week, CJ Hauser, found out when she wrote a little essay back in 2019 about cranes (as in, the birds, not the machines!). Except CJ had just called off her wedding and The Crane Wife wasn’t about cranes, so much as the shapes we contort ourselves into in order to…
 
Hello everyone! I just wanted to let you know about a new initiative coming from The Shift. I launched The Shift with Sam Baker podcast 18 months ago on a hunch: I figured that if the way women's voices were silenced after 40 bugged me (OK, bugged is a bit of an understatement!) then the chances were it bugged you, too. I had no idea how right I wa…
 
By her own admission, today’s guest, award winning journalist Poorna Bell, wasn’t looking forward to 40. She feared, as society had taught her, that it might be the beginning of the end. And so, she set out to prove herself wrong. Poorna has written two memoirs about grief and mental health in the wake of her husband, Rob’s death by suicide. And fo…
 
My guest this week is never happier than when she’s making her readers feel uncomfortable. Lisa Taddeo was a skint journalist when she wrote the groundbreaking book, Three Women - the true story of the intimate desires of three American women. A bestseller on both sides of the atlantic, it is now being made into a TV series starring Shailene Woodle…
 
My guest today is the “queen of Scottish comedy”, Janey Godley. Janey has played Broadway, won loads of awards and written a bestselling memoir, Handstands in The Dark about her grim childhood. But you might know her for the viral VoiceOver videos she did of Nicola Sturgeon during lockdown. (If you haven’t seen them, check out her twitter.) Now Jan…
 
This week’s guest will make you wonder what you do with your time! Sabrina Pace-Humphreys is an award-winning business woman, a social justice activist, an ultra-runner, a mother of four and grandmother of three. (And as if that wasn't enough, right now, as of June 19th, she's running 268 miles along The Spine of the UK!) Not bad going for 44. But …
 
Last night Ruth won the Women's Prize for her wonderful novel, The Book Of Form And Emptiness, so I thought I'd give this another listen. Here are the original show notes: My guest this week is a novelist, film-maker - and Zen Buddhist priest. Ruth Ozeki was born in Conneticut in the 1950s to a Japanese mother and, as she puts it, caucasian anthrop…
 
I’ve lost count of the number of women I’ve spoken to who were taken totally by surprise by perimenopause but, to date, none of them actually had medical training. Todays guest changes all that. Before she was an award winning writer, Christie watson was a nurse. She spent 20 years on children’s intensive care before her debut won the Costa first n…
 
Today’s guest is nothing less than an acting legend. Although she probably wouldn’t have any truck with that. Dame Sheila Hancock is that rare thing – a successful actor with working class roots, an 89 year old who’s still beating off offers with a stick and a woman who refuses to be afraid to speak her mind. Sheila has done EVERYTHING from Shakesp…
 
My guest today is a 42-year-old mum of two on a mission to kick sexual shame into touch. Natalie Lee was just like many of the rest of us. Not mad keen on her body, not as familiar with orgasm as she’d have liked to be and, by her own admission, a latecomer to masturbation. Hands up if that sounds familiar. (And don’t worry, no-one can see you!) Th…
 
When you enter a relationship, you rarely consider how it might end. Let’s face it, how many of us would ever do anything if we crossed THAT bridge before we came to it. For today’s guest, writer and therapist Amy Bloom, THAT BRIDGE came all too soon when her husband Brian was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and decided he would rather “die o…
 
Welcome to this special bonus episode of The Shift, the podcast that aims to tell the no-holds barred truth about being a woman post 40. Created and hosted by me, writer and broadcaster, Sam baker. Listeners often ask why I don’t put myself on the receiving end of The Shift!? Well, a couple of weeks ago I did just that. When I was interviewed about…
 
My guest this week is one of the most enduring movie actresses of our (by which I mean my!) generation. Minnie Driver made her first film, Circle of Friends in 1995, and went on to follow that with a lead role in Stanley Tucci’s gorgeous ode to Italian food, Big Night, an Oscar nominated turn in Goodwill Hunting. And my personal favourite Grosse Po…
 
Today’s guest is a woman I’ve admired for the longest time: stage and screenwriter Abi Morgan. Throughout her thirty year career Abi has written some of our most memorable drama: Shame, Sex Traffic, The Queen, Iron Lady, The Hour (for which she won an Emmy), Suffragette and, most recently, the BBCone hit, The Split. In her work, female characters t…
 
My guest this week is the award-winning journalist Chitra Ramaswamy. And, lucky me, Chitra lives in Edinburgh so - before I go any further - let me revel in the joy that was recording this episode IRL! With an actual RL person! I know… Anyway, back to Chitra. Her first book, Expecting: the inner life of pregnancy was garlanded with praise and won t…
 
What happens when “one of the great comic writers of our time” hits menopause? That’s the conundrum that faced this week’s guest, award-winning novelist Nina Stibbe when she sat down to write her new novel. With five bestselling books under her belt, including her memoir, Love Nina, which was turned into a hit TV series starring Helena Bonham Carte…
 
Back in the before times, I had an idea to launch a podcast that celebrated the achievements and lives of women over 40. With a couple of friends and an idiot-proof microphone I recorded the first series of what was to become The Shift. This is a replay of one of the first episodes I ever recorded - with my friend Jojo Moyes. Little did we know tha…
 
Since I recorded this episode with Philippa Perry she's gone from strength to strength. Her already bestselling book has spent even more weeks at number one, she's got a new problem page in The Observer magazine - and it's brilliant. And now she's back on our screens with husband Grayson (and more importantly, Kevin the cat) in Grayson's Art Club. …
 
One of my favourite things about making The Shift podcast is all the fascinating women I get to interview - and learn a little bit from. This is a replay of one of my all time favourites. I was in awe of the indomitable Channel 4 international editor Lindsey Hilsum when I interviewed her 15 months ago and even more so now, as we watch her daily rep…
 
My final guest of the season is the acclaimed screenwriter and bestselling author, Delia Ephron. Unfailingly wise, warm and witty, Delia is perhaps best known as co-writer of the Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks smash hit You’ve Got Mail, with her sister, the writer and director Nora Ephron,. Delia’s new memoir, Left On Tenth, is the kind of story that would out…
 
Totally lost sight of your personal style? Feel like your clothes hate you? Whether it’s the result of two years in and out of lockdown, emerging from the motherhood tunnel or the advent of menopause, many of us no longer have a clue how to get dressed. Enter this week’s guest: Kat Farmer, better known by her instagram handle @doesmybumlook40 - bes…
 
When was the last time you read a book where the central character was not just perimenopausal but also talked and thought about menopause and its impact on her life. And she wasn’t a laughing stock? I’m prepared to bet never. That was the driving force for my guest this week, novelist Dana Spiotta. What if, she asked herself, the lead characters o…
 
It takes courage to lay yourself bare on the page the way today’s guest does. Journalist Clover Stroud has written three memoirs - The Wild Other, My Wild and Sleepless Nights and, now, The Red of My Blood. Each more visceral, more exposing, than the last. But then Clover has lived no ordinary life (whatever that is). Hers features adventure, divor…
 
My guest today is the Jamaican author, journalist, film maker and (no exaggeration) living legend Barbara Blake Hannah. Already an experienced journalist when she arrived in London in 1964, Barbara was shocked to discover her achievements counted for nothing because of the colour of her skin. But she made headlines anyway, in 1968, when she became …
 
By the time we hit our 50s, most of us have… let’s just say… lived a little. But few have been through the mill to quite the extent that Christina Patterson has. Christina was 49 and recovering from breast cancer when she lost the job that she not just loved but that defined her. Rebuilding her life and career in her 50s formed the basis for her fi…
 
This week’s guest needs zero introduction - and not just because she’s been here before. Marian Keyes was one of the first guests on The Shift and her episode [episode 2 if you’re interested!] is still one of the most popular. So I’m delighted that she’s agreed to come back to chat about her new book - the long awaited sequel to her smash hit Rache…
 
We all tackle ageing in different ways but very few of us do it the way this week’s guest did - by packing up her entire life and moving thousands of miles to a new city and a new life. Until her mid-forties, writer Jami Attenberg sofa-surfed her way around America - the year she turned 40 she slept in 26 different beds in seven months! Even for th…
 
My guest today is the international bestseller Dorothy Koomson. She started young - she had her first stab at writing a book at 13 - and, like me, worked on Just Seventeen, amongst many other magazines, before actually publishing her first novel at 30. She has now written 16 Sunday Times bestsellers and is the biggest selling Black author of adult …
 
I’m really thrilled to launch this season with one of my long time fantasy guests. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland since 2015, has been dubbed one of the most powerful women in British politics, if not in Britain, and she shows no sign of stopping. Now 51, she grew up the eldest of two in an ordinary working class family in Ayrshire. He…
 
It's season finale time. And have I got a festive special for you! There is no child of the 80s who won’t remember today’s guests. For a decade, Pepsi Demacque-Crockett and Shirlie Kemp - better known as Pepsi and Shirlie - were a fixture of the charts. First as part of Wham! With Shirlie’s school friends George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, then as…
 
My guest this week is a woman who - to coin a bit of 1980s jargon - punched through the glass ceiling for women in TV, creating not just one but a series of female lead characters who broke the mould. And not just any old female lead but OLDER female leads. There would be no Happy Valley or Scott & Bailey if it wasn’t for Lynda La Plante’s groundbr…
 
What do you do if the person you love turns out to hold the seeds to your own destruction? My guest this week has lived through it and discovered the answer to that question the hard way. Writer and broadcaster Liz Fraser was a divorced mother of three in her 40s when she met and fell in love with M. They moved in together, she became pregnant, and…
 
My guest this week was known for her willingness for say it like it is even before she made a TV show about the menopause. No, not THAT one. The one BEFORE. Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup was banging the menopause drum back in 2018 when her own ignorance about her symptoms at first shocked her and then prompted her to do something bout it. The resul…
 
If you, like me, have lived most of your life in fear of foundation, this week’s guest is your saviour. Because this woman saved us no-make-up girls’ lives. Back in 1991, Bobbi Brown was a makeup artist frustrated by the fact that most makeup looked like a mask so she produced a range of 10 lipsticks that actually matched people’s lips. Shocker! Th…
 
My guest this week is a novelist, film-maker - and Zen Buddhist priest. Ruth Ozeki was born in Conneticut in the 1950s to a Japanese mother and, as she puts it, caucasian anthropologist father. Despite always wanting to write, she didn’t publish her first novel until she was 40, because, in part, she “didn’t feel entitled to”. She needn’t have worr…
 
How do two sensible middle aged broadcasters become the voices of a generation of pissed off older women? My guests today can tell you aaallll about that. Fi Glover and Jane Garvey were off-air colleagues who turned their on-air sensible reputations (as hosts of The Listening Project and Woman’s Hour respectively) on their heads when they launched …
 
Today’s guest is former fashion journalist turned interiors blogger, Paula Sutton. For twenty years Paula lived a typical busy busy busy 9-to-9 London life. But the birth of her third child made her question everything. Ditching her glamorous job, she and her husband and three kids decamped to rural Norfolk. There, jobless, cash-less and identity-l…
 
Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has written 35 books (she thinks, but she’s stopped counting), sold over 17million copies and been translated into 40 languages. At the vanguard of female crimewriters, she’s created countless female sleuths but is probably best known for one of her male ones - Dr Tony Hill of the TV series Wire In The Blood.…
 
My guest this week has always been a self-starter. From flogging Blue Peter badges in the playground to earn a few extra quid to joining theaudience while she was still at school (famously telling her mum, ‘Sod school I’m going on a tour with NME’), Sophie Ellis Bextor has been doing it her own way for a very long time. Famous almost before she was…
 
The Shift has so many new listeners that it seemed like time to say hello, welcome and thank you for your support. It's been SO gratifying to see how many of you agreed with my hunch that there was a big appetite to hear older women talking about their lives, loves, losses and learnings. This is a replay of the first episode I ever recorded. We wer…
 
This is the second episode I ever recorded and the most popular episode of The Shift bar none. Marian Keyes has a legion of fans and for good reason. I thought I'd replay it in preparation for the upcoming 25th anniversary of her greatest hit, Rachel's Holiday, and its long-awaited sequel, Again, Rachel, coming February 2022. * Ask any group of wom…
 
This is a replay of an episode from earlier this year. If I had to choose one episode as my favourite - tough call, like choosing a favourite child! - this would probably be it. If you've heard it before, give it another listen - Isabel Allende is iconic, truly. If you haven't, you are about to meet your old bird role model.... The main word I can …
 
This is a replay of an episode first broadcast last autumn. I'm replaying it now to coincide with the publication of Denise's new novella, Rizzio, a gripping contemporary reimagining of the 1566 murder of Mary Queen of Scots' right hand man. (And also because Denise is a total legend (not to mention extremely straight-talking) and I'm pretty sure t…
 
My guest today has been MP for Birmingham Yardley since 2015. Jess Phillips still lives in Birmingham, with her husband and two sons, not far from where she grew up with her activist parents, going to women’s liberation playgroup and hanging out with her nan who listened to Prime Ministers Questions while ironing. Before becoming an MP, Jess worked…
 
Ever wanted to chuck it all in? I mean ALL of it? My guest today did just that - baby, bathwater AND bath. For 30 years, journalist Lucy Kellaway was a columnist on the Financial Times. Then, in the space of just a couple of years she ditched not only that but her home of 15 years, her husband of 25 years - and even her hair! (Not in that order.) I…
 
My guest today is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people I’ve ever interviewed - and I’ve interviewed A LOT. Writer and academic, Elif Shafak has written 19 books and 12 novels and been shortlisted for countless literary prizes, including the Booker Prize. Known for her bravery and outspokenness in the face of oppressive regimes, she has al…
 
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