What’s it called?

The Orbiting Human Circus (Of The Air)

What’s it about?

At its simplest – though there’s nothing simple about this bizarre and free-wheeling podcast – TOHC (OTA) tells the story of Julian, the janitor in a radio studio at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris from where the world’s favourite radio show is broadcast. The show’s host is John Cameron, the stage manager is the uber-cool Leticia Saltier and the music is provided by The Orchestral, a rare bird from Africa which can imitate every instrument in the orchestra except the viola and which settles down wherever an orchestra is practicing. There’s also a Narrator who’s entirely in Julian’s head but who provides the listener with at least some idea about what’s going on.

Who’s in it?

It’s created by Julian Koster, who also voices Julian, and he’s joined by actor-director John Cameron Mitchell (author of off-Broadway smash musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch) as radio host John Cameron. Drew Callander (also a children’s author) is The Narrator, Susannah Flood is Leticia Saltier and among the guest actors lending their voices are Tim Robbins, Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia pair Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis.

What’s so good about it?

Its unapologetic weirdness and its ability to completely wrong-foot you just when you think you’ve worked out what’s happening.

Fun fact …

Fans of cult 1990s American indie band Neutral Milk Hotel may have already worked it out. If not, Koster is the group’s bassist.

For fans of ...

Belleville Rendezvous, Amelie, Ratatouille