Podcast of the Week: Stephen Fry’s 7 Deadly Sins

‘Pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth…’

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Stephen Fry is bacon for me. People rave about bacon but I’ve never truly seen the appeal. Sure, it’s tasty and I’ll eat the damn stuff, but on an English breakfast for example, bacon is the bit I’m least interested in. It’s a 7/10 food, for me. Fry is much the same. I often find myself interested in his work. I’ve seen TV shows here and there, I’ve read one of his books, but nothing Fry has produced has tended to grab me as it seems to others. I’m sure Fry himself is devastated by this development but he’ll have to soldier on, I suppose. Fry’s latest venture – a history podcast based around each of the seven deadly sins – is much the same. I was never bored but nor was I engrossed. I’ve listened to every episode but if the series suddenly stopped and I couldn’t listen to the last entry, I wouldn’t be too saddened. Anyway…

Stephen Fry’s 7 Deadly Sins podcast is an overview of each of the titular sins tied to some kind of historical context. One thing I do like about Fry’s work is that he often gives up a lot of himself. A participator rather than merely a presenter. 7 Deadly Sins is oddly reminiscent of gonzo journalism at times as Fry throws himself into each episode with gusto – a personal anecdote here, an admission of guilt there – Fry moulds his great intellect into something accessible and relatable.

Having said that, there are moments throughout 7 Deadly Sins in which Fry overreaches somewhat, his enthusiasm resulting in too much time spent on one subject. With each episode hovering around the hour mark, Fry has much to fit in and this results in some entries feeling a little rushed, too tightly packed perhaps.

This has all come across as a little more curmudgeonly than I intended it, in truth. 7 Deadly Sins is a vast undertaking and the sheer breadth and wealth of knowledge that Fry conveys is commendable. And so, it fits comfortably in the Fry cannon with the rest of the 7/10 material that he has produced. If you’re already a big Fry guy, you will love this podcast. For everyone else, it’s certainly worth a couple of episodes at least.

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