Damian Reilly

Damian Reilly

Does tennis have a doping problem?

Is it more remarkable that Romanian two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Simona Halep took performance enhancing drugs, or that she was caught? I ask only because the sport’s authorities seem to catch vanishingly few dopers, which surely means either they’re very bad at it, or elite players rarely cheat to win enormous sums of money.   Certainly, it’s

Bankrolled: Labour’s new paymasters

36 min listen

In this week’s cover story, The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls writes about Labour’s new paymasters – Keir Starmer’s party now receives more money from private donors than it does from trade unions. What do the new donors want, and what does Starmer want from them? Katy joins Will and Lara alongside the writer and Labour

Why the Enhanced Games won’t work

If like me you’re convinced a lot of professional sportspeople are doped to the gills, perhaps you’re excited by the launch of the Enhanced Games – a proposed rival to the Olympic Games in which competitors will be encouraged to take as many performance-enhancing drugs as they can get into their bloodstream.  After all, if so many are already juicing – and, crucially, not

Is this the end of the road for Meghan?

Has there ever been a more brutally effective piece of social satire than the South Park episode that mocked Harry and Meghan?  Since it aired in mid-February, the Duchess of Sussex, previously a seemingly ubiquitous and unstoppable cultural phenomenon, has effectively withdrawn from public life. She’s made just one formal appearance – at an awards show, which

The Schofield saga has become an unedifying spectacle 

In the mid-90s when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate I did work experience at the now defunct The Face magazine. They put me in what they called the fashion cupboard. Looking back on it now, I recall I spent a hot fortnight in August either hoiking large volumes of clothing around London for various photoshoots

Nish Kumar’s podcast is actually not bad

Nish Kumar’s grandiosely titled podcast Pod Save the UK isn’t anything like as annoying as you’d expect. Yes, his speaking voice – a high-pitched nasal gurgle – can grate a little, especially when punctuated, as it is often and loudly, with a laugh that is very obviously insincere. But I listened to the full hour

Who could replace Gary Lineker on Match of the Day?

Just when you thought you couldn’t handle any more depressing news, Gary Lineker has started dropping hints that his days in the Match of the Day presenter’s chair may be drawing to an end. I know. It really puts things into perspective. ‘I’m ancient,’ Lineker said, Aslan-like, on the latest Match of the Day podcast,

The vindication of Michael Vaughan

It’s perhaps still too early to tell if the Jewish and Muslim communities, here in Britain and indeed throughout the world, were brought closer by the actions of the former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq.   How refreshing it is to see the quaint concept of proof being demanded before a man’s life is ruined Rafiq, you

We’re finding out who really runs the BBC 

The high-profile political activist Gary Lineker will not present Match of the Day tonight after he likened the rhetoric of the government to 1930s Germany. Several pundits and commentators are boycotting the show, while the BBC has also been forced to pull from air Football Focus, Final Score and Fighting Talk.  Many people are professing themselves baffled that this story about a football presenter

Is Facebook’s verification scheme a scam?

Is Facebook’s scheme, announced over the weekend, to encourage its three billion users to pay $12 (£10) a month to have their accounts verified really just a form of corporate extortion? I ask only because last year someone – I strongly suspect a deranged Novak Djokovic fan – took the time to create a fake

Why I couldn’t wait to buy a Twitter blue tick

I’ve just given Elon Musk $8 a month to get a blue tick by my name on Twitter. The fact I haven’t been able to secure one of these ticks on merit like so many other nonentities has been a source of near-constant irritation for the past half decade, particularly given how much time I

Kremlin crack-up: who’s out to get Putin?

39 min listen

This week: In his cover piece for the magazine Owen Matthews writes about the power struggle at the heart of Russia. He is joined by Jade McGlynn, specialist in Russian Studies at the Monterey Initiative, to discuss whether Putin might be running out of time (01:00). Also on the podcast:  Has America’s pot policy gone

Help, I’ve been seduced by Meghan Markle’s podcast

Meghan Markle, if she was minded to, could easily corner the erotic ASMR market – that weird bit of the internet in which women breathily relate fictitious experiences with their mouths too close to the microphone for the gratification of lonely nerds everywhere.It’s impossible to listen to her latest self-glorifying venture into podcasting, Archetypes (get

Are Brits ready for mansplaining Rishi?

After manspreading Boris, is the UK ready for mansplaining Rishi? At last night’s BBC leadership debate, during which the Chancellor appeared for large sections unable to stop himself leaping ungallantly down Liz Truss’ throat whenever she tried to speak, it seemed this is what we will get if the Tory membership decides he’s their man.

Ditching Boris was a terrible mistake

Watching the Channel 4 leadership debate last night was thoroughly depressing. If only Boris Johnson’s premiership hadn’t ended in the way it did – a surreal version of the famous butterfly effect where one man gropes another in the Carlton Club and the leader of a nuclear power gets the boot. Without Boris there seems

The only thing stopping Nick Kyrgios is himself

It’s hard to watch Nick Kyrgios for long without the sense he wants the world to know he considers everything beneath him. Clearly, journalists are beneath him and he treats them with open contempt at every opportunity, but so too are the officials he abuses, the opponents he mocks and even tennis itself. ‘I don’t