In this week’s London Calling, James and Toby argue about whether the global pandemic is over (Toby thinks it is, while James thinks it’s a false dawn) and discuss the Johnny-come-latelies who claim to have been lockdown sceptics all along. They compare them to repentant Communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

They also worry that it may be all over for their old friend Boris (well, James isn’t that worried) and what is going to offered up to satisfy the Tory base in “Operation Save Big Dog,” whether that puts the television license back on the table. And if the BBC is such great value for the money why doesn’t it become a subscription service?

Guess who has Covid – again? One half of our intrepid duo, that’s who.

After that personal update its off to the Madness Down Under and Men’s Tennis #1 Novak Djockovic’s battle with the immigration authorities over his vaccine status and his spot in the Australian Open.

In this week’s episode of London Calling, Toby collects his 50 quid and then he and James debate whether 2022 will be the year we return to normal or “The Great Reset” will continue apace.

What lies ahead in politics? What’s the line of succession in Scotland, what does the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell hold for the powerful around the world and what are the chances of Boris surviving until the end of 2022?

It’s our last show of 2021, in the 52nd week of another Covid year. And it’s a real Twixmas special! Toby and James discuss Boris’s postponement of D-Day, being ridiculed by their families over Christmas, their best Christmas gifts of 2021 and Toby’s public shaming on Twitter last week. And for a side of surprise James throws Donald Trump aside.

In Culture Corner Toby touts The Rescue (Disney+), Operation Mincemeat (Netflix release in US TBA, UK theatrical release in April 2022) and Munich: Edge of War (Netflix). James watches Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Disney+) and says, “Not really.”

To begin the week James sketches out his worst case scenario: Delingpole v. the NHS.

In the review of the week we start with the good news: the landmark free speech victory won by former constable Harry Miller (aided by the Free Speech Union) in the Court of Appeals.

As Boris talks the status of “Plan B,” James and Toby talk the status of “The Bet.”

The other big question is centered around the PM’s ability to remain in Number 10. Two years ago the Tories were celebrating securing an 80-seat majority and now the House is in rebellion and a by-election is scheduled for Thursday.

This afternoon in the House, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that community transmission of the new Omicron variant has taken hold in England. So far, this version seems to be relatively mild, which leads us to wonder why, instead of trying to suppress infection from Omicron, why aren’t we holding Omicron parties?

And speaking of parties, James and Toby also question the government’s new policies to crack down on drugs at the same time The Sunday Times is reporting about traces of cocaine turning up in Parliament.

This week our intrepid duo is armed and dangerous. The first segment of the show is dedicated to shooting and the hunt. After the fun we return to the news of the day which, of course, is dominated by Covid both at home and abroad.

In an abbreviated Culture Corner, James reviews the new Beatles documentary Get Back from director Peter Jackson and Disney+ and Toby sees Belfast from writer/director Kenneth Branagh and recommends that you run – not walk – as far away from this film as humanly possible.

James and Toby start out with their own Brideshead Revisited moment as they look back on their days as students at Oxford before getting into the news of the day, including the introduction of mandatory jabs in Austria, the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the forthcoming trial of Ghislaine Maxwell and the Prime Minister losing his place in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry.

There’s a lot of quick hits in Culture Corner: taking another look at The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), the season two finale of The Morning Show (AppleTV+), the awfulness of both The Lost Symbol (Peacock in the US, Sky Max in the UK) and An Audience with Adele (ITV, and not to be confused with Adele: One Night Only, concert and interview with Oprah on CBS/Paramount+), James offers a mea culpa about Midnight Mass (Netflix) and Toby takes on Sharpe’s Revenge.

We open the week with Toby and the terrible winter cold he’s got – which he tells us is far worse than his bout of Covid-19 last year. While he’s on the road and sounds a bit subdued, we throw our best sniffle filter into the mix and the show must go on.

Leading the news is the scuppering of the COP26 coal deal by India and China and the slim prospect of Greta Thunberg now turning her fire on the Chinese Communist Party, plus shoutouts to both David Perry, the hero taxi driver who prevented a suicide bomber from detonating a bomb outside a Remembrance Day Service in Liverpool and to John Cleese, who came to the defence of art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon who got into trouble for imitating Hitler at the Cambridge Union.

First up this week is a bevy of Covid stories including David Starkey’s assertion that vaccines should be compulsory; the new head of NHS England’s misleading claim that there are currently 14 times as many Covid patients in hospital as there were this time last year (when, in fact, there are fewer) and former Health Minister Matt “I Snogged at the Office” Hancock’s Telegraph comment piece saying the case for insisting all health workers are vaccinated is “unanswerable.”

We also talk about the ‘unholy trinity’ of moral causes – Covid, Climate and Social Justice – being used by governments to exert more and more control over their populations and before Culture Corner we find out why our producer never seems to get a reply to his emails to James.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer somewhere “near” COP26.

The world has gathered in Glasgow or, in CNN’s case, Edinburgh. (At 76 kilometers it’s as close as CNN comes to being right these days…)  This week is a COP26 special in which we discuss our Glorious Leader’s speech, the bizarreness of Greta and her loud army of protestors and a hypocrite-of-the-week contest.

Cartoonist Michael Leunig has been sacked by The Age over this image. Source: Instagram/leunigstudio

Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets.

After our intrepid duo review Toby’s great success in shooting, the conversation turns to the case of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig who was dismissed from The Age for comparing resisting mandatory vaccination to the fight for democracy in Tiananmen Square.

The murder of Sir David Amess, MP casts a large shadow over the proceedings this week. After assessing the implications for the future we take on happier topics, starting with James’ Delingpod adventure with Laurence Fox.

Speaking of Lozza, we also drop a zed and cover the rapper Loza Alexander and his new song, Let’s Go, Brandon. We also cover the billionaire race, the dancing Greta, and the humiliation of Matt Hancock at the UN.

It’s a Battle of Team James v Team Toby as we open up this week’s episode with Toby’s participation in the The Battle of Ideas Festival in London this past weekend.

We cover Rotten Tomatoes disabling the ‘Audience Score’ button for the new Disney+/National Geographic documentary Fauci, Toby’s encounter with fellow journalist Lynn Barber, the introduction of vaccine passports in Wales following a botched vote in the Senedd, and the New York Times’ correction regarding the number of kids in the US who’ve been hospitalised with Covid. Oh, yeah, Toby’s been nominated for the 2021 Contrarian Prize.

James and Toby spend more time on the road than Hope and Crosby but unfortunately it’s not together.

This week we’re all about James’s return to grey old England after his glorious week in Croatia and Toby’s trip to Scotland (in which he fails, spectacularly, to shoot a deer). After the personal preliminaries we touch on the redaction of the emails from Sir Patrick Vallance (the UK’s version of Anthony Fauci) about the Wuhan lab leak, and a discussion of who is more like Jimmy Saville – Toby or James (Hint: Neither one.)

A midweek release for this episode as James has been on the “last holiday” with his family and comes to us from Croatia and the shores of the Adriatic.

The big story this week is Britain’s fuel “crisis” and the PM’s decision to “bring in the army.” The blame, of course, is directed at Brexiteers, justified or not.

The announced easing of travel restrictions between the US and citizens of the UK get us going – but our producer, “Evil Brian,” isn’t sweating it because James will still need the double-jab to show up at his front door.

On the international front they cover (or stumble through) the Canadian Parliamentary election, the AUKUS security deal, and whether James is contaminating Toby’s “brand” by making people think he’s an anti-vaxxer.

Excuse the nationalistic pride, but James and Toby celebrate Emma Raducanu’s triumph in the U.S. Open Women’s Final but bemoan the way it was immediately politicised. But that gives way to the despair of this government’s Covid policy with passports and vaccines for healthy children.

In Culture Corner Toby watches THE Suicide Squad while James recommends Lovesick on Netflix (which was called Scrotal Recall during its first season run on Channel 4) and the Sussex clan gets bad news on the Emmy front.

We start the week in County Durham where James travels to see Kynren, the outdoor show that’s “a romp through 2,000 years of English history from the masks of the Roman invaders to the masks of Arthurian legend to the masks of Queen Victoria. Did we say that they were all wearing masks?

Then it’s on to the more serious: the Government’s incomprehensible decision to press on with its vaccine passport plans and the horror of vaccinating healthy 12-15 year-olds in the teeth of their parents’ opposition.