The ParaPod Movie

We caught up with Red Dwarf's warmup man, Ian Boldsworth, to discuss his feature directing debut.

24 September, 2021

These days, Ian Boldsworth is well known to Red Dwarf fans. Whether you know him as the warmup man from the Dave-era studio audience recordings, as Lister's rent-a-friend, Steve, in Series XII's M-Corp, or even from his appearance at this month's Dimension Jump XXI convention, you can be sure that wherever he is, you're going to have a good time.

What you may not know is that he's also the co-host of The ParaPod, the Chortle Award-nominated podcast that sees the sceptical Ian face off with comedian and believer Barry Dodds over the existence of the paranormal. With a reported two million downloads to date, it's billed as the first ever podcast to be adapted to a full-length feature film and it's being released on VOD this Monday.

The ParaPod Movie

Here's the trailer and synopsis:

A lifelong believer in the paranormal invites a hardwired sceptic on a road trip of the UK's most famous haunted locations, in an attempt to convince him of the existence of ghosts. A journey of true discovery, shocks, emotional turmoil, hilarious conflict, and a bewildering climax.

Written and directed by Ian, and receiving its world premiere on the 7th of January 2020 at the Prince Charles Cinema, it's been a long road getting The ParaPod Movie onto screens, but we can confirm that it's very much worth the wait. We were lucky enough to catch the film last week and were delighted to see that it has all the wit, charm, and frankly bizarre arguments that we've come to expect from the podcast, together with a few surprising twists along the way.

We caught up with Ian who told us all about it:

How was your experience at Dimension Jump XXI?

It's always just lovely, isn't it? Obviously, there was the stress of being in a large group, which I'm not sure many of us are adjusting at speed to, but it was at least a lovely group. I'm always royally amused by my inclusion there, as I'm a behind-the-scenes secret and only a fleeting onscreen chap, but everyone is delightful.

It's also always ace to meet folk who have been so instrumental in your comedy schooling, which this year was Lee Cornes. He was hugely kind and complimentary as well as indulging of my nerd conversation. I also very much enjoyed berating Bobby for not being present in the room.

What has the audience response at The ParaPod Movie screenings been like?

Well, you have to be careful because you don't want to sound like you're gloating or showing off, but the truth is the responses have been exceptional. I was relatively confident that audiences would enjoy it, but there's no way of knowing that till it's on the screen, and it's hitting the right targets.

I was actually talking to Barry about this the other night, that we are judging it by a stand-up comedy audience standard, but it's pretty unusual to hear gales of laughter in a cinema (no matter how funny the film is). The fact we are getting that is a huge boost. It's slightly overwhelming, but not as much as booing would be.

Were there any challenges in adapting the podcast format for the film?

The main challenge was just making a film full stop. It's my first directing gig (I've done bits of theatre stuff but it's incomparable), and I literally went in knowing nothing. I read books and asked people in the industry, and just took a breath. Everything was either self-taught or learnt on the hoof.

The most obvious adaptation from the original ParaPod podcast was to have Barry take me to the actual places he believes ghosts are in, rather than just tell me about them, but when the film gets turned on its head there was a period of the production becoming reactive rather than planned. It was exciting, exhausting, and terrifying in equal measure.

How much of the shape of the film did you know before the cameras rolled, and how much emerged as a consequence of following events?

I did have a vague outline for how I would like it to play out, and in that sense, it was originally a guided documentary. So, recording what was in front of the camera, but with occasional nudges from me to get it into the right place. I had allowed the element of chance anyway, by letting Barry dictate where we went to and when, but I also like a Plan B. So, there were lots of Plan B's planned ahead of time, that there are still some shades of.

I do always want to stress that it's not a mockumentary though, and it's not scripted. It says at the beginning that the following events are real (mind you, plenty of films say that and it's not true). The absolute biggest challenge was eking out the narrative from the mass of footage filmed. There's a reason that took me and the editor Simon Gibbs a few years to get it where I wanted it.

Will there be a physical release of the film?

Not any time quick. It's an enormously expensive undertaking, so we are currently in the process of attempting to recoup as much of the budget as possible before vanity projects. Which annoys me very much, as I am totally a physical release guy. You can only play the team in front of you though, so it has to go through regular distribution, and we will see how the land lies then.

There are tons of deleted scenes and narratives that got discarded as I found the story, many of which are on my Patreon, but it would be nice to get them all on a disc at some point.

Will there be any more series of the podcast?

Nah, it's certainly run its course in an audio medium. There are only three series, and that feels bang on to me. It's not the sort of project you can just do indefinitely I don't think, and I do think there were some excellent conclusions and philosophising on those original eps, that don't really need expanding on.

We've done loads of other podcasts on Patreon, that only the people on Patreon know about, I guess. During lockdown we did Dodds Incarcerated where there was a fictional alternate narrative that Barry was in jail and that's why we couldn't do the screenings, and then there was Ideas Man, where he pitches TV ideas to me every week. So, it's not a case of not working together, it's just the audio ParaPod stuff is a nice package already.

If you turned out to be wrong about everything, and came back as a ghost, who would you haunt?

I reckon I'd just keep my head down in a corner to be honest.

A big thank you to Ian for taking the time to talk to us.

The ParaPod Movie - A Very British Ghost Hunt is in UK cinemas now and coming to VOD from 27th September. Pre-order your copy here and find your closest screening at If you'd like to hear more from Ian (and Barry), then please consider joining his Patreon for articles, behind the scenes content, exclusive podcasts and more.

Follow @theparapod on Twitter for even more movie news and updates.

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