Michael Portillo

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Former rising star of the UK Conservative Party in the mid-1990s who lost his seat in the 1997 General Election, spent some time as Shadow Chancellor, and then quit politics for a career in television travelling around Britain on trains. Portillo also became the theatre critic at the New Statesman at a time when Mark Kermode was that publication's film reviewer, and when they both appeared opposite each other in the magazine, it looked like the same person. Portillo then took this similarity to the next level when he did a one-off shift as a stand-in for Mark in the pre-podcast era. Sadly, no audio evidence of these golden minutes appears to remain; however, according to Simon Mayo's recollection, Portillo rather misunderstood the brief and so wrote his reviews down ahead of his appearance on the programme and then simply read them out on air.