James and Oliver Phelps to Launch New Podcast “Normal Not Normal”

Get a great start to 2021 with Normal Not Normal, a brand-new podcast from James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). Starting January 1, join the twins and special guests as they discuss what normal means to them.

Ahead of the launch of Normal Not Normal, MuggleNet asked Oliver Phelps about the motivations behind the new podcast and why he feels discussions about mental health are long overdue.

 

An image of a young James and Oliver Phelps sits above an image of them of present day. The text reads "Normal Not Normal".

 

Of course, this isn’t James and Oliver’s first foray into the world of podcasting. 2020 saw the twins release the second season of Double Trouble, with guests that included their Potter castmates, stellar sportspeople, and more. Double Trouble gained dedicated fans across its two seasons who are sure to be excited about this new podcast venture.

‘Normal not Normal’ is going to be a much crisper podcast compared to ‘Double Trouble.’ We loved that it was so well received by people and it gave lots of listeners some sort of escapism from what a crazy year we have all been experiencing. With that in mind, we have been working hard on keeping elements of the original show that people loved while making it better sounding, cooler visually & something that will reassure people [who] may think ‘I’m not normal’ and even say their thinking that there isn’t actually any such thing.

Normal Not Normal combines lighthearted chat with in-depth discussions about the idea of normality, which is arguably something that looks different to different people.

A couple of years ago, I was struggling with what being normal actually meant when it was put to me that normality is just a view of your own reality. I think that is a very true reflection.

Discussions about mental health are central to the podcast and often go hand in hand with guests’ changing experiences of normality. Speaking about the importance of talking about mental health, Oliver touched on his struggles along with his belief that these conversations are long overdue.

This past year has been a crazy (maybe the wrong word given the topic) year for so many people. I’ll be honest; I’ve struggled myself both during the pandemic and several years before it. I understand how important talking about mental health is. You wouldn’t break your arm and just tell it to ‘get better”, so don’t do it with your mind. James and I love the comments coming from people saying that ‘Double Trouble’ really helped them during a hard time in their life. If we can make just one person feel empowered to help their mental state, then we have succeeded.

But it’s not only James and Oliver who will be diving into complex topics. The pair will be joined by a range of guests, including Evanna Lynch, Katie Leung (Cho Chang), and Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks). First to join the podcast will be actress Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire).

I’m not just saying it to keep people listening, but everybody we have interviewed has each bought something unique, and on many, many occasions, we have run over time-wise, because there are so many interesting stories and points of view, whether we’re catching up with old friends like Evanna Lynch and Tom Hopper or to [sic] talking to people we have only admired from afar like Mara Wilson & Mercedes Varnado (aka Sasha Banks). We do our best to keep conversation fun and easy-going [sic] while getting into some important topics and life experiences.

 
An image of a young Mara Wilson as Matilda sits above of an image of Wilson from the present day.

 

Like many of us, Oliver has spent even more time listening to podcasts this year. So what has he been listening to?

I’m a big fan of [t]he ‘Good, the Bad [&] the Rugby’ podcast. One of the presenters, James Haskell, is a guest on ‘Normal Not Normal’ this season, and it was great speaking to him about it. Others would be ‘Real Dictators’ and ‘Real Narcos’ (uplifting, right!). I binged on those two a couple of months ago when I was working on my house.

We will be adding Normal Not Normal to our list of favorite podcasts when it launches on January 1! Make sure to check out the first episode with Mara Wilson when it drops on Spotify, Apple, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Full Transcript with Oliver Phelps, Wednesday, December 23, 2020

We loved your previous podcast, Double Trouble. What can listeners expect from Normal Not Normal?
Normal not Normal is going to be a much crisper podcast compared to Double Trouble. We loved that it was so well received by people and it gave lots of listeners some sort of escapism from what a crazy year we have all been experiencing. With that in mind, we have been working hard on keeping elements of the original show that people loved while making it better sounding, cooler visually & something that will reassure people [who] may think “I’m not normal” and even say their thinking that there isn’t actually any such thing.

You’ve interviewed a lot of amazing people for this series. Do you have a favorite interview or episode that listeners should look forward to?
I’m not just saying it to keep people listening, but everybody we have interviewed has each bought something unique, and on many, many occasions, we have run over time-wise, because there are so many interesting stories and points of view, whether we're catching up with old friends like Evanna Lynch and Tom Hopper or to [sic] talking to people we have only admired from afar like Mara Wilson & Mercedes Varnado (aka Sasha Banks). We do our best to keep conversation fun and easy-going [sic] while getting into some important topics and life experiences.

Has working on the podcast changed the way you approach the idea of normality?
Maybe slightly, but if anything it has reaffirmed my view on it. A couple of years ago, I was struggling with what being normal actually meant when it was put to me that normality is just a view of your own reality. I think that is a very true reflection.

Normal Not Normal will cover several topics, including mental health. Why do you think it's important to be having these discussions now?
Because they should have been happening a lot sooner! This past year has been a crazy (maybe the wrong word given the topic) year for so many people. I’ll be honest; I’ve struggled myself both during the pandemic and several years before it. I understand how important talking about mental health is. You wouldn’t break your arm and just tell it to “get better”, so don’t do it with your mind. James and I love the comments coming from people saying that Double Trouble really helped them during a hard time in their life. If we can make just one person feel empowered to help their mental state, then we have succeeded.

If you could interview anyone in the world for your podcast, who would it be and why?
Dwayne Johnson, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. When he was wrestling, I was a huge fan, and his all-round positive output on his social media channels is really inspiring.

Is there one “normal” thing that you wish you could do but maybe can’t because of your fame?
On the whole, I don’t let it stop me [from] doing anything I want to; 9 times out of 10, people are really cool.

Finally, we know everyone should listen to Normal Not Normal when it launches in January, but what are some of your other favorite podcasts?
I’m a big fan of [t]he Good, the Bad [&] the Rugby podcast. One of the presenters, James Haskell, is a guest on Normal Not Normal this season, and it was great speaking to him about it. Others would be Real Dictators and Real Narcos (uplifting, right!) I binged on those two a couple of months ago when I was working on my house.

Press Release

Normal Not Normal
A PODCAST FROM JAMES AND OLIVER PHELPS

Can you believe it? In 2021, the Harry Potter film franchise turns twenty.

Now that two decades have passed since they first stepped onto the set, actors James and Oliver Phelps have been inspired by their characters Fred and George Weasley, who ran a radio show (if you’re a Potter fan, you’ll remember PotterWatch [sic]), and have taken to the airwaves to launch a new podcast called Normal Not Normal, out on the 1st of January 2021.

THE THEME

As identical twins who grew up on the Harry Potter film set, you could hardly call the Phelps’ start to life ‘normal’.

In Normal Not Normal, the identical twins interview other actors, sportspeople, musicians, activists and plenty of Harry Potter cast members whose first taste of fame turned their “normal” lives upside down.

Their mission? To find out what "normal" really means, and if it even exists. Perhaps we’re all a bit "not normal"... Prepare for frank mental health chat, Harry Potter revelations and the odd sibling squabble.

Many of their guests stepped into the limelight at a young age and had to deal with the consequences. Conversation veers from dangerous fans and appalling paparazzi into fun and games on set and what it’s like to take a bodyguard to school.

THE GUESTS

Guests include Evanna Lynch (aka Luna Lovegood), Katie Leung (who played Cho Chang), Harry Potter film producer Paula Dupre Pesmen, Mara Wilson (from Matilda and Mrs[.] Doubtfire), Nat Tena (Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Harry Potter), WWE superstar and [Mandalorian] actor Sasha Banks, Bake Off queen [Nadiya] Hussain, Umbrella Academy actor Tom Hopper, rugby and ‘I’m a Celebrity’ star James Haskell and more very special guests we're not allowed to mention yet!

Launching on Apple, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts on the 1st of January 2021.

 

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Lucy O'Shea

I was given a copy of Philosopher's Stone in 2001, and instantly, I was hooked. Since then, my passion for Potter has been equaled only by my passion for fair access to education (and watching motorsport). A spell I wish could exist in the Muggle world is the summoning charm because this Hufflepuff is not a "particularly good finder"!