Kent schoolgirl spreads cheer with lockdown podcast

The 11-year-old from Eynsford has helped to spread some lockdown cheer with a wide range of activities on her podcast which includes interviews with stars such as David Walliams and Lizzy Yarnold.

Lockdown has been a strange time for many, not least schoolchildren who lost their learning routine and the ability to connect with friends in person.

One girl from Eynsford, in Kent, decided to find the good in lockdown and create something positive from it.

With the help of her mum Vikki, and some of her school friends on zoom, Zoë Giles, 11, launched a podcast eight weeks ago from her bedroom.

Using a home made sound booth made from yoga mats, a nine-year-old MacBook and a yeti microphone, ‘The Lockdown Show’ became a reality.

Little did Zoë know when she started it, that she would get to speak to the nation’s favourite authors like Holly Smale and engage so many listeners who were bored at home during lockdown.

Zoë (pictured) wanted something exciting to focus on during lockdown and created an activity-filled podcast which has been listened to all over the world. (Vikki Rimmer)

Zoë‘s mum, Vikki Rimmer, 49, who helped kickstart the amazing podcast, said it had been “great seeing Zoë have the chance to speak to some brilliant authors” and to interact with those going through the same feeling of isolation that lockdown brought on.

“As a year six, Zoë, like her peers, has missed out on doing all the end of primary school activities and while this doesn’t make up for it, it has given her something exciting to focus on and to share with friends,” she said.

The podcast has been a great success with Zoë’s listeners coming from a wide range of countries such as Macedonia and India.

Her incredible guest lineups have included authors such as blockbuster YA novelist Holly Smale (author of the Geek Girl series), Robin Stevens, author of the Murder Most Unladylike series, Soman Chainani (School For Good & Evil) from New York, Ross Welford, author of Time Travelling with my Hamster, Tom Palmer, Emma Carroll, author of Letters to the Lighthouse, and SF Said, just to name a few.

But it is not just authors that Zoë has convinced to come on her podcast, with stars such as David Walliams, Olympic gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold and former BBC political commentator John Pienaar also joining the fun.

Zoë was particularly overwhelmed on her eighth and final episode when she got to interview actor, writer and comedian David Walliams, who spoke to her live via Zoom about his books, writing, plans after lockdown and swimming the channel.

“Some of [my] highlights have included former BBC political commentator John Pienaar reading my Smelly Trolls story, speaking to David Walliams and Emma Carroll – two of the nicest people in the world.

“It was so fun doing the podcast series. I had a brilliant time speaking to everyone from David to George (my cousin) in his greenhouse. I hope people will listen to the book reviews and have a go at the different activities,” Zoë said.

Each episode has a different theme at its heart and listeners have enjoyed taking part in all sorts of activities.

From creating time capsules, DIY escape rooms, miniature books for the British library, zoom sports parties, building family trees, and writing letters to your future self, Zoë has helped to spread some joy far and wide.

Artwork for the podcast which has had a wide range of guests, from authors to television personalities and musicians, appear on it. (Vikki Rimmer)

Other guests included musician Amber T, Taskmaster’s Alex Horne, Blue Peter gardener Lee Connelly and BBC Radio Kent’s Phil Harrison.

“By week five Zoë was editing it herself [and] scripted it all herself too. The authors who have given Zoë their time have been so generous and so kind,” Vikki added.

All eight episodes of the The Lockdown Show will be available to listen to throughout the summer.

If you would like to listen to the wonderful podcast you can find it here.

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