First Blood was a comedy podcast about periods and puberty, recorded between 2018 and 2020. The show featured guests including comedian Olga Koch, the LOL Word’s Chloe Green, Chloe Petts and Jodie Mitchell, Bloody Good Period’s Gabby Edlin, comedian and director Charlie Dinkin, author of ‘My Broken Vagina’ Fran Bushe, Radio 1’s Dr Radha, trans-male activist Kenny Jones, scientist extraordinaire Dr Bahijja Raimi-Abraham and illustrator Natalie Byrne.
Ella was interviewed for a special edition of BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks about periods, available on BBC Sounds.
You can listen to all the episodes below, and a selection on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Episode 1: Sarah Donald (2018)
What a way to kick off a series! This episode I’m joined by the brilliant Sarah Donald – film-maker, comedian, poet, and all around lovely gal. We talked about very early age periods, 70s puberty education videos, strong angry 12-year-old looks, and giving your brain a bit of a break.
Episode 2: Amanda Litherland and Madi Maxwell Libby (2018)
I’m joined by two brilliant comedy gals – the amazing Amanda Litherland (also host of Radio 4 Extra’s The Podcast Hour…no pressure), and incredible Madi Maxwell-Libby (also poet extraordinaire and winner of the Roundhouse Poetry Slam) for a pre-Christmas catch up about Mooncups, consent, toxic shock syndrome (we keep it light), and creativity. And weird things we heard at school. Of course. Lovely stuff.
Episode 3: Gabby Edlin, Bloody Good Period (2018)
Oh my word. It actually happened. This episode I’m joined by dream guest and all around mega babe Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period! We chatted (for longer than usual) about double whammy puberty, period provision in the aid sector, neither of us putting condoms on cucumbers, and discharge. A whole lot about discharge. Lovely stuff.
Episode 4: Sophie Moran, Podcast Goals (2018)
After a quick diversion talking all things periods with the lovely gang over at Radio 1’s Life Hacks, we’re back with episode 4! I’m joined by human ray of sunshine and podcaster extraordinaire Sophie Moran, one half of dream duo #PodcastGoals (as featured in The Guardian and Stylist, proper!). Expect a lot of pad chat, a trip down first bra memory (mammary?) lane, and a complicated analogy about Luther. Stick with me. I think it works.
Episode 5: World Cup aka International special with Frederica Lewis Richardson (2018)
What a time to be alive! It’s sunny! The World Cup is on! And it might, MIGHT be coming home! It’s all too much. To channel some of my football fever into something useful/stop me spending all my time searching ‘Jordan Pickford’, here’s a brand new INTERNATIONAL special episode, featuring my brilliant pal Frederica Lewis Richardson of Italia (no one mention they didn’t qualify…it’s fine?)! Fred is an award winning coffee expert and all around food queen, and also master of some pretty horrendous periods. We chat non-medical survival tips, Italian education, and her grandmother’s two fingers up to the tampon tax. Bueno.
Episode 6: Fran Bushe and Annie May Fletcher, Ad Libido & My Broken Vagina (2018)
Hoots mon! It’s the Edinburgh Fringe! I took the chance to catch up with the wonderful Fran Bushe and her excellent sound designer Annie May Fletcher about all things periods and puberty while we’re here performing our little hearts out – Fran and Annie with the incredible ‘Ad Libido’ (The Guardian: Best of Edinburgh Fringe 2018), and me with the little engine that could, ‘Ella Woods: Wing Defence’ (British Comedy Guide: Recommended Show 2018). We cover Revels, smear tests, covert shopping, and come up with at least one money making scheme. Let us know if you want in.
Episode 7: Natalie Byrne, Period (2018)
I’m joined for episode 7 by the bloody brilliant Natalie Byrne – Latina London based illustrator and author of brand new book ‘Period’! Surrounded by a first-day-of-period-shop of buttons, brownies and banana bread, we discussed accidentally sticking your head above the sand, Medieval menstrual facts, a frankly awful first period, and coronas. Not the beer. You’ll see.
Episode 8: Manjit K. Gill, CEO and Founder of Binti Period (2018)
A slightly more serious toned episode this time around, and I promise just as interesting. I’m joined for Episode 8 by the brilliant Manjit Gill, CEO and Founder of Binti Period – an organisation working to ensure that everyone has menstrual dignity. Period. I can get on board with that. We discuss how she started the organisation, the trickiest places she’s had to talk about periods, getting her mum on board, and why it’s worth fighting the good fight. Naturally. I got a bit overwhelmed and keep saying “wow”. Sorry about that. We do have a giggle too. Don’t you worry.
Episode 9: Christmas Special with Kenny Ethan Jones, model and activist (2018)
Ho ho ho! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not just because Christmas is around the corner, but because we’ve got another bloody brilliant episode for you! To see off 2018 with a bang I’m joined by the absolutely incredible Kenny Jones – trans male activist, model, and all around excellent human. Kenny’s been in Vogue, on Channel 4, starred in national modelling campaigns…and now, my office on a Friday night with a glass of orange squash. I know how to treat my guests well. We chat everything from first periods (obviously), menstruation now, what brands can do to be more inclusive, bubbly Santas, and Christmas presents. It’s a stocking full of fun. Enjoy!
Episode 10: Dr Radha, BBC Radio 1 and CBeebies (2019)
After spending the first two months of the year having wisdom teeth out (mmm) we’re returning with absolute dream guest Dr Radha! When she’s not dishing out expert advice on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks and CBeebies’ Feeling Better (to name just two of her many credits), she’s an actual working doctor. Incredible. We chatted about accidentally interrupting other people’s first periods, any unusual things to look out for, how much GPs talk about periods (spoiler alert – a LOT!), why cycle tracking is great but not always reliable for some things (wink wink), and how to think about your periods in a more positive way. What a babe.
My friend’s dog Louie also joined us. You will 100% be able to tell.
Episode 12: Nikki and Leah, Founders of OHNE (2019)
Happy Menstrual Health Day! What better way to celebrate than hearing from two pals who made their anger at the period industry into a bloody brilliant business?! This episode I’m joined by Nikki and Leah from OHNE, who create and deliver 100% organic, biodegradable tampons and more. Lovely stuff. We talk trolls (the toy not the internet kind), working with your best friend, why it’s okay to stick to your guns with what works best for you, and I eat a lot of jaffa cakes. Delicious.
Episode 13: Zachi Brewster, The Travelling Doula (2019)
I’m joined by doula, womb workshop runner and all around wonderful gal Zachi Brewster. We talk about wombs – obviously, have some big realisations about how long we’ve been bleeding for, the pros and cons of a cup you can have sex in, chat about period pants, big clots, and – and as a trigger warning – we talk quite graphically about miscarriages, a bit about abortion, pregnancy and a lot about blood, even for this podcast. It’s a brilliant listen, but might not be for everyone. Hopefully though, you’ll give it a go. I learned a lot, and had a wonderful time.
Episode 14: The LOL Word, Edinburgh Fringe special with Chloe Green, Chloe Petts and Jodie Mitchell (2019)
It’s August! It’s raining! And I’m back at the world’s biggest arts festival for another year – so it’s time for an Edinburgh Fringe special! This episode I’m joined by three founding members of comedy collective The LOL Word – a group of queer women and non-binary comedians who are absolutely dominating the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond. We talk getting your first period during a school prank, the waves of anxiety that can come with menstruation, and a lot about period sex. A LOT.
Episode 15: Olga Koch, QI and BBC Radio 4 (2019)
We are joined by star of Mock the Week, Radio 4 and Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominee Olga Koch! She’s a Russian comedian via the UK and USA, a writer, a computer expert and one of our absolute favourite people. We chat about PCOS and Henry VIII, the nuva ring aka the fairground ride of contraceptives, a rude mug, faking periods, and butter. Why not.
Episode 16: Dr Bahijja Raimi-Abraham, COVID-19 (ish) special (2020)
I’m joined by the brilliant, hilarious and ACTUAL AWARD WINNING SCIENTIST Dr Bahijja Raimi-Abraham. Bahijja is a pharmacist, Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at King’s College London, Founder and Academic Lead of King’s College London Fight the Fakes. She also hosts the Monday Science podcast, and is an expert in drug delivery and global health. Aka, the perfect person to talk to right now.
We discuss first periods (of course), how you even do a PHD, being creative with science, Tim Westwood, giving professional vagina advice and being in James Bond. Yep, Bahijja was in James Bond. We also talk about coronavirus and periods – how it’s affected some people’s cycles, and the research into COVID-19 and wider women’s health currently taking place.