Episodes
Why was the video sharing platform, Vine, closed down? Sean Farrington discovers what happened to the app which pioneered short, shareable videos on social media. Sean speaks to one of Vine's founders, Rus Yusupov, the Vine content creator, Eric Dunn, and the BBC's Technology Editor, Zoe Kleinman. Alongside them all analysing Vine's fortunes is the self-made millionaire and serial entrepreneur, Sam White. Produced by Viant Siddique. Toast is a BBC Audio North production for Radio 4 and BBC...
Published 04/11/24
Published 04/11/24
Why did the restaurant chain, Little Chef, disappear from our roadsides? Sean Farrington discovers what happened to the brand which brought us Jubilee Pancakes, Olympic Breakfasts and free lollies for the kids. At its peak, Little Chef had over 400 restaurants on most of our major highways and a turnover well in excess of £100m. So, how did such a successful business ultimately end up toast? Sean speaks to Fiona Alper who was married to the Little Chef co-founder, Sam Alper; the...
Published 04/04/24
This one's all about mushrooms - not so much your chestnut, button or portobellos from the supermarket, but more the likes of lion's mane, reishi and chaga. These much-feted fungi are claimed to offer all sorts of benefits, from relaxation to disease-fighting properties. We've had loads of questions about products containing them, particularly around mushroom coffee. Is there any evidence that it's better for you than your regular brew? Listener Leon is fond of it - and wants to know if...
Published 03/28/24
Is it better to wash your dishes by hand or use a dishwasher? This question from listener Eve has got to be among the most hotly contested debates out there. She wants to know which method uses more water and which is more energy efficient. To find out, we speak to a man who's spent decades studying the differences - Professor Rainer Stamminger from the University of Bonn in Germany. Eve also wants to know about the eco settings on dishwashers: how can they save money if they take so much...
Published 03/21/24
Greg's getting electric for this one, as he tries out a tens machine. Tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a type of pain relief which uses a mild electrical current. They're marketed at all types of pain - but do they work? The NHS isn't convinced yet. Listener Patrick is one of many who have asked about these devices, so we got in touch with a a professor who's studied them for 40 years. Also - another type of electrotherapy is a circulation booster. These circular devices...
Published 03/14/24
Which is the cream of the crop for your health and the planet? The supermarket shelves are fairly bulging with plant-based options for people who either prefer not to drink cow's milk or can't for health reasons like an allergy. Some have been around for a while - like soy, almond and the current best-seller in the UK, oat - but there are newer additions to consider like hazelnut, hemp and a drink made from dried peas. Listener Sian wants to know if these milk alternatives are better for her...
Published 03/07/24
Millions of us use fitness tracker watches to count how many steps we take each day - they also claim to tell us how we're sleeping and how stressed we are, as well as a host of other metrics. But how accurate are they - and are they the best thing since Sliced Bread? We've had loads of requests from you to look into fitness trackers. So with multiple watches on each arm, Greg's being put through his paces at Loughborough University under the watchful eye of Dr James Sanders, senior research...
Published 02/29/24
What cookware is best for your kitchen? There is a bewildering array of pots and pans on offer: stainless steel saucepans, cast iron skillets, even 10-in-1 cookware systems that use layers of various materials. But do they deliver on their promises to help you reach culinary bliss? Listener Emily wants to know if the ones she's seen live up to the hype or are just marketing BS. What do all the materials do? What about cleaning them? And just what is the much-vaunted 'hot spot' that lights up...
Published 02/22/24
Gum disease is extremely common in dogs - with some breeds particularly badly affected. So it's no surprise there are all sorts of products on the market offering to clean your pet's teeth - which might be particularly appealing if you don't fancy grabbing a toothbrush and doing the job yourself. As well as chews of many shapes and sizes, there are additives to water - and even seaweed extract to sprinkle on their food. It's a serious business. We've had loads of emails asking us to look into...
Published 02/15/24
Are more expensive face creams worth it? I'm back with a new series of Sliced Bread to investigate more of your suggested wonder products and I'm starting with one of the most-requested so far. Do more expensive moisturisers, serums and oils live up to the hype? Can they result in smoother, brighter, firmer, healthier skin or is it all just marketing BS? Listener Aristide wants to know whether one of the most expensive products on the market - 'Creme de la Mer' (£80 for 15ml) - has any more...
Published 02/08/24
Greg Foot returns to investigate a whole new batch of so-called wonder products suggested by you, the listeners. Sliced Bread is back for a new series from Thursday 8 February, 2023 on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, with new episodes available weekly on Thursdays on BBC Sounds and wherever you get your podcasts.
Published 02/05/24
What went wrong at Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant chain, Jamie's Italian? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this episode, Sean and the serial entrepreneur, Sam White, examine the fortunes of Jamie Oliver's Italian...
Published 01/11/24
Why did the best-selling computer manufacturer, Commodore, go bust? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this episode, Sean examines the remarkable story behind the man who founded one of the world's best-selling...
Published 01/11/24
Why did the package holiday brand, Club 18-30, disappear? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this episode, Sean learns why Club 18-30 fell out of favour. Its package holidays for young people were a hit for decades so...
Published 01/11/24
Why did sales of the best-selling soft drink, Sunny Delight, suddenly bomb in the 1990s? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this episode, Sean learns why sales of Sunny Delight faltered in the UK after an...
Published 01/11/24
Why did Toys R Us have to close all of its UK superstores in 2018? While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of brands which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did it fail? What can we learn from it today? In this Christmas special, Sean examines the charming story behind one of our best-known toy brands before...
Published 12/18/23
Sean Farrington returns with the Radio 4 series that examines the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much. Toast is back with a special Christmas episode looking at the rise and fall of toy superstore Toys R Us on 18 December, 2023, and then returns for a new series on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on 11 January, 2024.
Published 12/15/23
While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers. You can contact us at [email protected] In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea which ended up toast, examining the reasons behind the failure and discovering what can we learn from its story today. Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition, speaking to expert...
Published 12/15/23
While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers. You can contact us at [email protected] In each episode, the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea which ended up toast, examining the reasons behind the failure and discovering what can we learn from its story today. Sean unpicks all the early optimism, hype and ambition, speaking to expert...
Published 12/15/23
While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did people back it? Why did they get burnt? Some of the world’s most successful businesses have also brought us some of the world’s most remarkable failures. So, what led them to be toast? And what can we...
Published 12/15/23
While Sliced Bread takes a break we serve up… Toast. A study of the spectacular failures of wonder products and businesses which had promised so much to consumers. In each episode the presenter and BBC business journalist, Sean Farrington, examines one big idea. What did it promise? Why did people back it? Why did they get burnt? Some of the world’s most successful businesses have also brought us some of the world’s most remarkable failures. So, what led them to be toast? And what...
Published 12/15/23
Can changing your sheets be good for you - and the environment? We've had loads of requests to look at the best way to make your bed - specifically, how all the different options for sheets and pillowcases compare. Cotton seems to be king when it comes to popularity, but is it justified? Listener Rosemary is a linen fan, but wants to know whether eucalyptus bedding lives up to the hype. How do its eco credentials stack up - and what does it feel like? Speaking of feel - silk pillow cases have...
Published 12/07/23
Which Christmas tree is better for the environment - real or fake? Everyone loves the smell of a freshly cut pine or spruce but the vast majority of them go to landfill. So would a plastic tree be better? Listener Eleanor wants to have a more sustainable Christmas and has some great questions. Is there a better way to dispose of your real tree? How about a pot-grown tree you could use again the next year? And she's even heard about the possibility of renting a Christmas tree - the same one,...
Published 11/30/23
Are expensive sports bras worth the money? Buying a sports bra can be a baffling experience, not least because of the marketing terminology which is full of buzz-phrases like 'high intensity support', 'specialist materials' and 'racer backs'. Listener Teresa has seen sports bras ranging in price from just a few pounds to three figures and wants to know if paying more means you get greater support. Greg speaks to Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, 'The Bra Professor', to take a deep dive into...
Published 11/27/23