Panel Borders and other podcasts

Panel Borders and other podcasts

Podcasts, radio shows, writing and more by Alex Fitch

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1) So, hang on, what’s the difference between Strip! and Panel Borders? (or “what’s the name of your show on comics, Alex?”)

The zen answer is “Not all Strip! is Panel Borders but all Panel Borders is Strip!“, but that’s not entirely true…

Strip! is Resonance FM’s weekly radio show about the world of comics. It is a radio show, broadcast on 104.4 FM, which you can receive on real, bonafide, “what’s that thing next to my dashboard?” radios if you live within the M25 in Greater London (and less real internet radios too if you don’t; streamed at Strip! used to be an hour in length (Autumn 2007 – Summer 2008) and is now half an hour (Autumn 2008 – present). It gets up to 150,000 listeners split between FM and internet streaming and is broadcast at 5pm Thursdays GMT / BST…

Alex Fitch is one of the producers of, and the main contributor to, Strip! (19 shows out of 20) and his contributions are available to download / stream online as the podcast Panel Borders. Panel Borders is approx half an hour in length (sometimes a video) but, as it doesn’t have to be broadcast in a half slot we’re flexible on that point, so it varies between 15 mins (see below) and 45 mins in length. As it also doesn’t have to conform to Ofcom rules, it can include naughty words that the broadcast version doesn’t. However it might not include excerpts of copyrighted material that we can broadcast on the radio.

Before Strip! started broadcasting, Panel Borders was also a real radio show (an offshoot of the Resonance show I’m ready for my close-up, see below) of 15 mins length that lasted a heady 4 weeks in the summer of 2007 (only two of those in a regular slot) before Resonance FM changed studio locations and only broadcast repeats over the summer. During that period I podcast a dozen new episodes of Panel Borders at and so had a bit of a ‘brand’ by the time Resonance started broadcasting new shows that autumn. However, at that point, my boss decided he wanted the comics show to be an hour long and called Strip!… As I prefer “Panel Borders” as a title, the podcast is still called that.
I don’t do every episode of Strip! – it includes interviews recorded at the ICA as part of their Comica festivals which we can’t podcast and interviews broadcast live by James DeCarteret which you can find elsewhere on – I’m happy to distinguish my work on the show from other people’s. Also Panel Borders increasingly includes uncut versions of interviews broadcast as part of Strip! and so contains exclusive material you won’t hear on air. Panel Borders includes episodes of Strip! that I commissioned, recorded and / or edited, which were conduced by the likes of Duncan Nott, Grant Rogers, Oli Smith and Dickon Harris. Electric Sheep Magazine editor Virginie Selavy occasionally donates comics related interviews to Strip! for broadcast, but these are podcast as episodes of the Electirc Sheep Magazine podcast instead (er… which I produce and is podcast on this website anyway. Plus ca change). Strip! has also included (to date and I hope she does more) one episode of Stand up comics by Gemma Cantlow, which I could have rebranded as Panel Borders for the podcast, but I thought it might be nice to make it a separate thing that’s affiliated…

So basically, Strip! is the name of Resonance FM’s weekly radio show about comics and Panel Borders is the name of its podcast, and that’s close enough to the truth as needs be…!

2) What other shows do you do, Alex?

I’m glad you asked…

Way back in the early days of the year we like to call 2006 and following a trio of popular appearances as a film ‘expert’ on the Resonance FM show Midnight Sex Talk, I was asked to contribute to the nascent Resonance FM film / TV / media show I’m ready for my close-up. I presented the 23rd of February 2006 episode live (!) and then contributed a further four shows over the next four months. From July 2006 onwards I became the regular presenter and did 40 of the next 50 episodes, before (like Panel Borders) continuing it as (7) podcasts while Resonance moved studios the following summer. In the autumn of 2007, I did a further five episodes of IRFMCU (as it shall be called from here on) before quitting as the regular presenter for reasons that won’t be discussed here. I still do the occasional episode – I presented 6 episodes of IRFMCU in 2008 and wrote an additional episode that was performed by Jessica Fostekew and recorded by Robin Warren as a monologue on location in Fleet Street and Clerkenwell.

In the meantime, IRFMCU begat other shows…

In April 2007, Resonance FM briefly considered making shows for other people in return for money (it seemed a good idea at the time) and I was approached to front a film podcast for Curzon Cinemas. Three of these were recorded and two podcast at (don’t bother looking, they’re not there now). As the Curzon in their infinite wisdom decided they didn’t want more, I continued doing film podcasts anyway as I liked the more flexible format that a podcast only show allowed and the idea of including film reviews and exclusive interviews with the likes of Malcolm McDowell, Philip Glenister, Brent Spiner, Neil Gaiman, Park Chan-Wook, Peter Greenaway and Guy Maddin. Oh well, their loss.
So, the Curzon Cinema podcast became the Art-House Cinema podcast and then, following an encounter with the notorious cat-burglar and bon viveur Virginie Selavy, during a daring escape from Bermondsey debtors gaol (this is a lie), it became the Electric Sheep Magazine podcast and continues to this day, thank you very much…

In January, February and March 2007, Alex sneakily (well, actually he asked his boss and Richard liked the idea) turned much of the content of IRFMCU into a show about comics and with historian Duncan Nott, interviewed the likes of Matt Smith, Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Paul Gravett, Kev F. Sutherland and Charles Brownstein. However, following a successful trip to the Bristol comics convention, he realised that comics related interviews would form the entire contents of IRFMCU for the next few months unless he did an additional comics show as well (see answer 1, above) and so, with the blessings of Resonance FM, Panel Borders was born…

In December of 2007, after Alex quit his role as the regular presenter of IRFMCU, he still wanted to do shows about film, TV, books, exhibitions and conventions that (unbelievably) weren’t comic book related and so proposed a podcast to the redoubtable head of Sci-Fi London, Mr Louis Savy, esq. and so, Reality Check ( was also born, a twice monthly Science Fiction (in all its guises) related podcast, that also continues to this day.
Also, there are occasional shows Alex has presented about art and film that were either too short, too long or too time specific for other slots and so on these occasions, Resonance FM has empty 15min and hour long openings in the schedule called “Clear Spots” which AF has made as well…


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My head hurts at all that explanationin’ O_O


September 1, 2010

Sorry! The show’s now just called Panel Borders on air and online, so ignore the essay at the top except for historical purposes!


September 2, 2010

2 notes

  1. House of the Muses – The Latter Days of Sappho of Lesbos - Panel Borders: In the Company of Women… reblogged this and added:

    […] FAQs| […]

  2. Today’s show: eXpat Heroes by Chris Claremont « “Panel Borders” & “Reality Check” reblogged this and added:

    […] a new series of the UK’s only weekly radio show about comics, now under a new (old) name, Panel Borders has a month of shows looking at the ‘British Invasion’ of UK creators […]

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