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The Podcast Hour for Saturday 23 February 2019

Hunting for ET: So Where are the Aliens? 'Finding Drago' goes on the search for a mysterious writer. 'Conviction' is a true crime series starring a colourful private eye. And NEON explores the history behind our favourite films, TV shows and games.

So where ARE the aliens? New BBC podcast looks at what we know for sure

Do you believe extraterrestrials exist? Astronomer Seth Shostak explores what we do and don't know about potential life on other planets in the new BBC podcast So Where Are The Aliens?

Illustration of an alien lifeform


  • Listen to the full 27-minute programme on the BBC website here.
Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak Photo: Supplied

According to a recent study of 26,000 people in 24 different countries, around half of us do believe there's some other form of intelligent life beyond Earth.

And with hundreds of billions of other planets in our galaxy alone, there's no shortage of places to look.

Now chief astronomer for Silicon Valley's SETI Institute, Seth Shostak has devoted his career to searching for signs.

  • Listen to Seth Shostak 's 2015 conversation with Wallace Chapman here.

Finding Drago: the search for a mysterious writer


Finding Drago logo (Supplied by ABC)

Finding Drago logo (Supplied by ABC) Photo: Supplied by ABC

Ivan Drago's the villain of that epic boxing film, Rocky 4. He's a huge, scary, Russian guy, a mountainous man-machine played by Dolph Lundgren who sports a very distinctive peroxide blond flat top, and who kills Rocky Balboa's friend Apollo Creed in the ring.

Aussie film geeks and comedians Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James are big Rocky fans, and they got seriously obsessed with some fan fiction that follows the film franchise. It's a book about Ivan Drago's life after Rocky 4 called 'Drago: On Mountains We Stand' and it's written by a mysterious author called Todd Noy.

Image of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4 in 1985

Image of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4 in 1985 Photo: By Source, Fair use,

Noy seems to be a former sports journalist, he might have won a Pulitzer prize, he's reported to have disappeared in the early Nineties, and he also appears to have a son called Quince.

In 'Finding Drago' they go on the hunt for Todd Noy and explore some of the motivations of the people writing this kind of fan fiction. We play some of Episode 2 'The Search Begins' from Finding Drago from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, presented by Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James.


Conviction: true crime with a colourful private eye


"Manuel Gomez is a detective straight out of a detective novel. He carries a pen that's really a knife, wears a watch that's really a camera, adores Sherlock Holmes and Miami Vice. But the cases Gomez takes on are all too real: cases of young men in New York City who say they've been arrested for crimes they didn't commit".- Gimlet Media

Conviction logo (Supplied)

Conviction logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied by Gimlet Media

Conviction's a new release from the recently acquired Gimlet Media: it's a series that will feature a new piece of investigative reporting each season.

At the centre of this particular story's a colourful private detective called Manuel- or Manny- Gomez (who also really likes Phil Collins!). Reporter and host Saki Knafo tags along as Gomez tries to prove a New York teenager's innocence in a shooting, to get him out of jail.

We play some of Part 2 of Conviction from Gimlet Media called The Porsche presented by Saki Knafo where he and Gomez head out to investigate claims of police harassment and false arrests in a local neighbourhood.

NEON: the history behind popular culture

NEON logo (Supplied)

NEON logo (Supplied) Photo: Supplied

NEON uses our favourite films, TV shows and computer games as the vehicle to find out more about the history behind them.

I've enjoyed recent stories devoted to the Japanese animated film classic Akira, the TV series Vikings, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who had to be called 'Hero' Turtles in some parts of the world because 'ninja' sounded too violent!).

In each episode, host and historian Jem Duducu delivers an informative and chatty monologue exploring the historical facts that underpin these films and shows and games- so maybe it's what Viking life was really like, why anime is so popular in Japan, and whether ninjas did actually wear black!

We play some of an episode about the 1987 film Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which can be viewed as an allegory of The Vietnam War. And the NEON podcast is presented by Jem Duducu and produced by Dan Morelle.

Predator Movie Poster

Predator Movie Poster Photo: By Source, Fair use,