Countercurrent Podcast

About the Podcast: Countercurrent with Professor Roger Kneebone

A podcast for people who like the unexpected. Join the surgeon and academic Professor Roger Kneebone in conversation with unorthodox people whose careers defy traditional boundaries and who swim against the tide.

With grateful thanks to Justin Margovan for technical support.

Many of the people in Countercurrent feature in my book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery (Penguin Viking, 2020).

Available to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn.


Andrew Grundon in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andrew Grundon is an artist who draws, paints and sculpts. He designs and paints traditional pub signs, makes marionettes and is writing and illustrating a novel. In this podcast we discuss the remarkable range of skills which he has gained over many decades and explore how he continues to defy conventional categories and push the boundaries of his work.

In November 2023 Andrew became Maker of the Year in the 2023 Heritage Crafts Awards.


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Acting & Theatre


Joz Norris in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Joz Norris is an award-winning writer, actor and comedian. We explore Joz’s approach to his work in the world of comedy, and discuss how his absurdist approach has opened new directions. We examine parallels between our professional lives and discuss the transitions we have both experienced in our careers.



Robert Kirby in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Kirby trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College. With support from The Prince’s Trust he established People People, a company which brings techniques from the theatre into other areas of professional practice. We discuss our experiences of changing career direction and discover unexpected parallels.



Sarah Whatley in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sarah Whatley trained as a dancer. She has a longstanding interest in how dance and choreography intersect with ways of thinking about movement in other professional areas. In this podcast we uncover unexpected similarities between our experiences in dance, medicine and education.



Geoffrey Durham in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Geoffrey Durham’s career as a stage magician has been through many stages, from his early days in variety and his persona as The Great Soprendo, his later years as a performer in his own name, and his current work mentoring and coaching other professional magicians. We discuss the techniques of stage magic and Geoffrey’s ability to transfix an audience of thousands with his personality and skill.



Logan Muray in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Logan Murray is well known in the world of stand up comedy. We explore how Logan helps people ‘bring their inner idiot out to play’, finding aspects of themselves they didn’t know were there. Alongside the obvious differences between medicine and comedy we discover unexpected parallels with aspects of clinical communication.



Lewis Macleod in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Lewis Macleod is one the UK’s leading voice actors. Well known for his wide-ranging roles, from Start Wars to Postman Pat, Lewis is a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, where his Donald Trump is a particular favourite. In this conversation we explore the range and diversity of Lewis’s interests and discuss how his use of voice and silence in satire and film resonates with the world of medicine.



Theresa Hickey in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Theresa Hickey is a leading theatrical agent with a large stable of actors. In this podcast we discuss the relationship of care between agent and actor, exploring similarities with the clinical context before turning to the stresses and pressures of working in a rapidly changing world.



Johan Esterhuizen in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Johan Esterhuizen studied drama in South Africa before spending time in the United Kingdom. After returning to Cape Town he was involved in experimental and political theatre at a time of huge upheaval and change. A longstanding commitment to applied theatre took him to the townships and schools of South Africa, working with a wide variety of communities. Later in his career he turned to lecturing at Stellenbosch University, while continuing to develop his career as an actor and director. In this conversation we discuss how our careers have changed directions and how early experiences have shaped our later professional direction.



Richard Jones in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Richard Jones is one of the UK’s most well-known directors of theatre and opera. His productions have been staged all over the world and he has a reputation for challenging expectations and disrupting traditional boundaries. In this conversation we compare the dramatic theatre and the operating theatre, discuss where theatre and opera intersect and explore our experiences of success and failure.



Will Houstoun in conversation with Roger Kneebone

One of the UK’s leading close-up magicians, with a international reputation as performer and teacher, Will Houstoun was Magic Circle Magician of the Year in 2015. Will is renowned for his extraordinary skill in manipulating coins and cards. Alongside his career in magic, Will studied mechanical engineering before completing a PhD in Victorian conjuring. In this podcast we discuss parallels and differences between our approaches to practical skill, scholarship and performance.



Caroline Kilpatrick in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Actor and voice coach Caroline Kilpatrick and I explore how good actors ‘don’t know what they are going to say’ until they say it, even though they have learned the words they will speak. In the conversation we exchange our perspectives on the voice in the consulting room and on the stage, discussing the roles of emotion and empathy in drama and clinical practice.



Alan Alda in conversation with Roger Kneebone

One of America’s most distinguished actors, Alan Alda is widely known for his roles as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the American TV series M*A*S*H, as Arnold Vinick in The West Wing and for many films throughout his career. He has a longstanding fascination with science and for 14 years hosted the television show Scientific American Frontiers. Alan brings these interests together to help scientists communicate about their work, drawing on techniques and insights from improvisational theatre. In this conversation, he and Roger discover unexpected parallels between their worlds and explore how communication underpins science, medicine and theatre. Recorded in New York before the publication of Alan’s latest book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?, the podcast explores the inseparable nature of art, science and communication.



Rachel Warr in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Rachel Warr is a dancer, dramaturg, theatre director, puppeteer and puppet maker who uses puppetry in innovative ways. In this podcast we discuss puppetry and surgery as instances of performance where participants have to read and respond to one another’s bodies as they perform.



Richard McDougall in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Richard McDougall is one of the UK’s leading close-up magicians and a Gold Star member of the Inner Magic Circle. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels between magic and medicine, framing the clinical consultation as a ‘close-up live performance with a very small audience’ and discussing the relationship between dexterity, body language and touch.

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