Helen Zaltzman

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Zaltzman on stage at the Wikimania 2014 in London

Helen Zaltzman is an English podcaster, broadcaster, and writer. She is best known for her work with long time collaborator Olly Mann with whom she presents the comedy podcast Answer Me This!.


Answer Me This![edit]

Zaltzman began the weekly comedy podcast Answer Me This! with Mann in 2007, after they met in 2000 studying at St Catherine's College, Oxford. The podcast is recorded in Zaltzman's living room in Crystal Palace, [1] with the assistance of Helen's husband Martin Austwick[2] (a.k.a. "Martin the Sound Man"). Zaltzman has said she spends ten hours a week editing each episode.[3]

The podcast won a silver Sony Award in 2010[4] and gold in 2011,[5] and in 2012 a European Podcast Award. It has been voted one of the Top 10 Comedy Podcasts in the World by The Guardian.[6] It has received critical plaudits in numerous publications including Q (magazine), The Times, Time Out, and Radio Times.[7]

In 2009, the two made history by being the first podcasters to be given their own national show on BBC Radio 5 Live, Web 2009 with Helen and Olly.[8] They have gone on to present several other specials for BBC 5 Live.

Due to its success, Faber and Faber published the podcast's companion book in November 2010.[9] In 2012, Zaltzman and Mann released special Jubilee- and Olympics-themed spoken word albums, both of which were number 1 in the UK Comedy iTunes charts. They were followed in 2013 by Holiday and Christmas albums.[10]


Along with Mann, Zaltzman is the internet correspondent on BBC 5 Live's Saturday Edition[11] and on Steve Wright in the Afternoon. She was a panellist on the third series of Charlie Brooker's So Wrong It's Right[12] and won. She has appeared on Woman's Hour, The Richard Bacon Show, Transatlantic with Rory Bremner and Ian Collins (radio presenter)'s shows, and was a correspondent on the 2012 Olympics for BBC Radio Scotland. She has been a guest on numerous podcasts, including the The Guardian '​s Media Talk and Jesse Thorn's International Waters, and guest-presented a special edition of the Radio Academy's Radio Talk. In 2012, Zaltzman was a judge on the Sony Awards.[13]

As of May 2013, Zaltzman hosts a monthly podcast for Sound Women, an organisation which campaigns against gender discrimination in the radio industry.[14]


Zaltzman is a comedy writer, her radio credits including The Now Show, The Milk Run on Radio 1, and Newsjack, and TV credits including Celebrity Juice, Keith Lemon's Lemonaid, Britain Unzipped, and Animal Antics.

She writes book reviews for The Observer,[15] Classical Music Magazine, and The Big Issue, as well as various pieces for The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and the BBC.[16]


In 2010, Zaltzman and Mann wrote and starred in a series of videos around Britain, Great British Questions, in association Visit Britain.[17]

Zaltzman has acted in plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and will occasionally perform live comedy, most often with Josie Long and Robin Ince. In 2007, during a three-week run of Long's show Trying is Good at the Soho Theatre, she sat onstage embroidering a quilt depicting scenes from the show. Zaltzman is well known for her handicrafts, and has painted numerous posters for comedians' Edinburgh shows. Additionally, she has created props, including a giant inflatable Boggle set; dinosaur costumes; and dolls of Tony Benn, Robert Plant, and Donald Rumsfeld.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Zaltzman is the younger sister of comedian Andy Zaltzman and the daughter of South African sculptor Zack Zaltzman. She is of Jewish Lithuanian descent. She was raised in Tunbridge Wells and won a scholarship to Sevenoaks School, then went on to study Old and Medieval English at St Catherine's College, Oxford. In April 2011, she married musician and physicist Martin Austwick after a nine-year relationship.


  1. ^ "How to create a successful podcast: just say yes". The Guardian. 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Helen Zaltzman". Helen Zaltzman. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  4. ^ "Winners | 2010 - Programme Awards - Best Internet Programme". Radio Academy Awards. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Winners | 2011 - Programme Awards - Best Internet Programme". Radio Academy Awards. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  6. ^ Leo Benedictus. "Top 10 comedy podcasts | Leo Benedictus | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  7. ^ "ANSWER ME THIS! The Sony Award-winning podcast with Helen Zaltzman & Olly Mann". Answermethispodcast.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  8. ^ Shepherd, Robert (2009-11-27). "BBC Radio 5 live to Answer Me This! | News | Broadcast". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  9. ^ "Faber To Publish Answer Me This! Book From Celebrated Comedy Podcasters In November 2010." (Press release). Book2book. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "ANSWER ME THIS! The Sony Award-winning podcast with Helen Zaltzman & Olly Mann". Answermethispodcast.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  11. ^ "BBC Radio 5 live - Saturday Edition". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  12. ^ "So Wrong It's Right - Radio 4 Panel Show - British Comedy Guide". Comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  13. ^ "Radio Academy Awards". Radio Academy Awards. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  14. ^ "Sound Women's sets on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds". Soundcloud.com. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  15. ^ "Helen Zaltzman". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  16. ^ "Helen Zaltzman". Helen Zaltzman. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  17. ^ "ANSWER ME THIS! The Sony Award-winning podcast with Helen Zaltzman & Olly Mann". Answermethispodcast.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  18. ^ "Helen Zaltzman". Helen Zaltzman. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 

External links[edit]