Press Comment

“Phillip Hodson is the doyen of radio counsellors”, The New Statesman, 1987.

“Hodson was driven to complain of a description of his programme in a recent Listener as ‘an hour’s emotional and sexual problem-solving by an agony uncle’. The implication is one of facile answers; but solving, he asserted, does not enter into it. I have never heard him so much as suggest that he could unravel a psychological tangle in a 10-minute chat. What actually happens is that men and women of all ages and with every type of hang-up, phone him in sufficient numbers to ensure that he is never without a call. Some are already tearful; others rapidly lose their carefully prepared composure. As they begin to ramble, he will identify their difficulty and they accept his diagnosis with recognition, not to say relief. Only rarely have I noticed him imposing one which didn’t fit. He gets his share of chronic cases and deals with them patiently. With others, he provides a way of looking at problems in a realistic light, while for many, there are specific suggestions – seek marriage guidance, or psychotherapy. I think this is a rather impressive counselling service. If I was stretched upon some emotional rack and were without recourse, Phillip Hodson is by no means the last man I should approach…. We do not witness cases of a bizarre form of exhibitionism, but seekers of a refuge in a storm. In any case, Hodson’s approach discourages the exhibitionists: he is kindly, but firm. The conversations are always real and although in theory they can be heard by a great part of the population of South-East England, in fact they generate a powerful sense of privacy…” David Wade, radio critic, The Times November 23rd, 1988.

“Phillip Hodson, a trained counsellor is a pioneer of broadcast therapy. His five days-a-week LBC radio phone-in programme has been running for 10 years. When he started, it attracted some 65,000 listeners but his unshockable ear and lecture-free advice boosted ratings. A decade later, the station claims 750,000 listeners over the week, despite the competition of Woman’s Hour on Radio 4… He draws a distinction between radio counsellors and the more down-market advice programmes of rivals. He rarely gives advice, preferring to let callers simply air their problems: ‘It’s phoney to offer advice after so little time in conversation. I’d rather they listened to themselves.’… Hodson Confidential has looked at infidelity, jealousy and sexual problems. TVS has commissioned a new series following high audience appreciation…” The Independent, February 22nd 1989.

“Channel 4’s new show SEX BOX is difficult to criticise; impossible to condemn. The main reason is the sheer quality of the panel” – The Times, October 5th 2013.

Time Out Magazine previews Channel 4 TV’s Sex Box Show awarding 4 stars saying: “A surprisingly earnest, likeable and good-hearted affair”.

“Phillip Hodson has contributed more to the British therapy boom than anyone. For 15 years, with clear, concise, psychotherapy broadcast live on LBC, he has destroyed the myths and stigma that often surround therapy. In the past two years, his listeners have doubled and now they will increase further. In response to his success, his airtime has doubled, from one hour to two, four times a week”. The Observer, January 21st, 1990.

“There is, as there doubtless has to be, quality material in the Going Live! mix. Perhaps the most important of the interactive elements is Growing Pains, the nine-minute slot when Agony Uncle Phillip Hodson answers letters from troubled youngsters. He deals with divorce, bereavement, anorexia, the betrayal of friends and unrequited love in the classroom in a straightforward, if necessarily sketchy way – always urging that the child confides in a trusted adult. But Hodson is a professional who knows exactly how to address his audience…” The Guardian, March 23rd, 1992.

Crowned ‘Britain’s answer to Frasier Crane’ by Men’s Health magazine, Phillip Hodson has written advice columns for the Daily Star, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, She, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Journal as well as hosting The Phillip Hodson Hour on LBC for 15 years. ‘It’s hard work and you open yourself up to a lot of people who are very needy and a lot of people who are actually quite mad,’ he says. His career has been dogged by ‘sexism in Fleet Street’ and ‘aggressive, egocentric male publishers’ who see men as news reporters and want a woman writing the agony pages. Hodson was sacked by Piers Morgan from the News of the World, where he was asked to write more about sex but wasn’t allowed to write about homosexuality, and was replaced by actress Diana Dors at the Star. He’s currently spokesperson for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and would return to writing if the price was right, as he thinks the field is still suffering from a lack of men. ‘I think I’ve been a pioneer.’ But, he says, ‘My bust just wasn’t big enough.’ The Independent – On Agony Columnists, December 5th 2005

No station is more identified with phone-ins than LBC. This is where Phillip Hodson pioneered sex therapy on air, Brian Hayes perfected the art of cutting off callers in their prime, and the late Peter Cook – for reasons we can only guess at – pretended to be Sven, a Norwegian fisherman living in Swiss Cottage, over a period of four years. Paul Donovan, Radio Critic, The Sunday Times, July 30th 2006

I used to love Phillip Hodson’s agony uncle phone-in on LBC; I learned everything I know about sex from people who were having terrible trouble with it. That’s made me a weird lover, but a very understanding one. Columnist and poker star Victoria Coren, The Independent, May 26th 2008

I consulted the respected counsellor Phillip Hodson, who says: “Statistically it is far more likely that an affair will end your relationship than save it.” Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the Evening Standard, June 12th 2008

“Within minutes of the programme starting it was clear that the Chawners were a dysfunctional family with severe emotional problems who need intensive psychological help rather than a TV crew in their front room. To be fair, Kelly does send them to see therapist Phillip Hodson, who does more in two minutes to help the Chawners than anyone else has done in years”. The Guardian 25th August 2010

“My (panel) favourite was Phillip Hodson, who was rocking a sort of ‘fruity professor’ vibe to the extent that he really ought to have had a monocle and pocket watch to go with his goatee. At one point, almost in passing, he mentioned that ‘there are only about 37 things you can do in bed, anyway’.  Are you still counting? I am.  I’m still 31 short”. Hugo Rifkind – The Times October 12th 2013.

“Shut up old man, you must be nearly 100” – Twitter feed, 2015