On a gorgeous sunny afternoon in London, I walked up to the prestigious Langham Hotel for the launch of Henpire, a six-part comedy-drama podcast from Diva Box Office. Henpire was written and created by Samantha Grierson Schwarz, produced by Pippa Dale and directed by BAFTA winner Jacquie Lawrence. Two years ago, along with business partner Felicity Milton, Jacquie set up Diva Box Office to promote LGBTQ productions. They produced the very successful Different for Girls and several exciting new productions are in the pipeline.
Henpire is all about queer women helping each other, its laugh-out-loud moments frequently tempered with poignancy. It stars Alicya Eyo as Hen, the wonderful Heather Peace, as Drax and Patricia Potter as Ella.
These extremely different women work together to support a friend’s company in crisis. Whilst doing so, they discover their differences may be the key to something successful. Hen, a high flying TV exec with a ‘just do it’ attitude; Ella, seemingly calm liberal North London softy and Drax, an autistic writer and mother of two. They have nothing in common but their queerness. Will they be able to navigate their differences, to reach their common goal – to show the world they can build a successful media company which celebrates all things femme?
Schwartz was inspired by the way that a group of lesbian friends leapt into action to prevent Sh! Women’s Emporium from closure during the lockdown. Samantha decided to produce short stories to promote the owner, Ky Hoyle (interviewed earlier in lockdown by Rob Harkavy here), and her store. Pippa Dale, the series’ producer, commented, “There is so much talent in our community. It amazes me. You will love Henpire whether you’re LGBTQ, straight, pink or from Mars. It is funny.”
There was a wonderful turn out for the event. Actor and Loose Woman Denise Welch, who starred in DIVA Box Office’s acclaimed Different for Girls as a later life lesbian was in attendance as were music icon and model Sam Fox and her fiancée Linda Oslen, together with star of the show Heather Peace and pop sensation Sinitta.
Find Henpire at DIVA Box Office here.