Closing Doors: The End of an Era

After over two and a half years of fun, my podcast Opening Doors will end after its third season this November. The final season, which is currently airing, will take a hiatus from next Monday and will return for the final five ever episodes in October.

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My ever-wise Aunt told me the other week that sometimes, there comes a time to let things go. It’s definitely very true when it comes to creative endeavours that things do indeed run their course and serve their purpose. I started work on my first podcast Opening Doors with Shaun Nolan when I was 16 years old and I am a completely different person now to who I was then. At that time, all I had ever done was blog, so the thought of starting a podcast excited me greatly. I had always wanted to make something that goes out in a series format and this seemed like the right thing to start with.

The first season of the podcast was amazing in so many different ways for me. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when it came to writing, producing or anything, so I went with my gut and learned a lot along the way, lots of valuable lessons that I still stick by now. When I decided to do a second season a year later, I had an even better time. I was using things I’d learned from the first time around and making it bigger than it ever was before. Then, on the day of the final episode going out, I left school and my whole life changed. Not only was my personal life completely turned upside down with change coming at me from every direction, but I also started accidentally working on Pickle, the kind of series I had been waiting to make for a long time. And almost immediately, I felt like Opening Doors had lost its sparkle.

It’s taken me a while to realise it, but it wasn’t that that made Opening Doors lose its sparkle at all – I have room in my heart for much more than one series-based project. When I pushed the third season of the show back by almost eight months, I began to realise what the problem was: it just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. When I started the show, podcasts were yet to boom in the way they have now and since that seismic change in the landscape, my relationship with and understanding of podcasting has changed drastically. A show in the style of mine was stylish and popular a few years ago, but it isn’t anymore. The most common podcasts now are mainly interview-style, but basically unedited. As is the case with fashions, my listening habits have adhered to that and so Opening Doors has slowly become less and less enjoyable for me to listen to, never mind create.

And it was around then, a few episodes into this current season of Opening Doors, that it really started to occur to me how I needed to move on. I was still making the same show that I made years ago when I could be spending my time making an even better, more exciting and new show instead. When an idea like that comes into your head, it’s hard to shake it and so, here we are.

I still love my show a lot; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother completing the third season. And I am also well aware that a small number of people are still dedicated listeners and avid fans. But I am also conscious of the fact that many old-school listeners feel the same way about the show as I do. I can tell that for myself from this season’s listening figures in comparison to before. Especially when you’re doing something which doesn’t rely on characters for listeners to bond with, it is hard to create longevity in a project. So, like all things, there comes a time to let them go.

“Evolve or die” is a phrase I love to use and in this situation, I’m going to do both: let Opening Doors die so that my podcasting mind can evolve.

Opening Doors with Shaun Nolan, as you may know if you’ve read this far, is currently in its third season with episode 25 having just been released. After Monday’s Footnote episode, the show will take a scheduled hiatus to make way for the second season of Pickle before returning for its final ever episodes – 26 through to 30 – on Friday October 26th. The show will conclude with a special edition “goodbye” Footnote episode on Sunday November 25th.

Along with this announcement, I’ll also take a moment to remind (or alert) you podcast fans that both Our Noughties Diary and Home or Away? with Abbie & Shaun will not be returning for new seasons.

This isn’t the end of the show just yet, so I won’t say goodbye right now, but I would like to take a moment to thank everybody that has made Opening Doors the success that it has been over these past few years. Thank you firstly to the incredible Emma Thorpe for composing every single piece of music that has been used on the show over the years. The show would be a shadow of what it has been without that score, so thank you for bringing it to life in such an amazing way. A huge thank you also goes to Tom Howells for producing the score for seasons two and three; again, without you Tom, the show would sound crap, which would be unfortunate considering it’s an audio-only medium. Thank you to both Em Jenkins and Rukaya Cesar for their photography skills over these past couple of years. Em was a meticulous and brilliant art director for the first two seasons, while Rukaya gave me her usual flair for season three. As always ladies, it’s very much appreciated. Thank you to all of my amazing guests over the years (there have been a lot of them) for making a show with me in your own time – a special shoutout goes to my fellow host Grandma Nolan for being in almost every single episode and sharing her thoughts on really random topics with the general public. I know it’s benefited her as much as it has benefited me.

And last of all, thank you. Thank you for being so dedicated to a podcast by me to listen to 48 hours of it (if you include the Footnotes). It takes around 100 hours a year to make the show and it’s been 300 hours well spent thanks to you.

I’ll see you again on Monday for another Footnote episode, and then again from October 26th.

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