Jason Isaacs

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Jason Isaacs is a British actor of some note, as well as being a classmate of Mark Kermode at Habs. Having once admitted to being an avid listener of the show, he was granted the honour of receiving a "Hello" from the presenters on an almost weekly basis.

The first ever Hello to Jason Isaacs was said on 3 November 2006, as Jason had been a guest on Simon's 5 Live show earlier in the week and had told him how he was a listener to the podcast. As Simon launched into the historic first ever "hello", Mark talked over the top of him. Jason wasn't then mentioned again until 9 March 2007, when Mark was talking about how he had been warmly greeted at his hotel in Chicago by someone who was a big fan of the podcast, and Simon replied saying "we should say 'hello' to Jason Isaacs at this point, because he says he downloads and listens wherever he is in the world... I think we should say 'hello' to him every week."

Since Jason always replies back when he hear the greetings in the podcasts, the good doctors often leave a gap of silence after their "hello". Jason has told stories of being in weird / awkward public places when replying and even being in a full Death Eater costume at the Harry Potter set. He also once sent an email while listening in a sewer, in which he both upbraided Simon for not liking subtitled movies and also asked if the Johnny-come-latelys like Fairport Convention had ever shown as much dedication.

Jason told Simon during an interview that he gets "depressed" when either Mark or Simon are away.

When the Best Speech Programme Gold Award went to Kermode and Mayo at the 2009 Sony Awards, Mark said "hello to Jason Isaacs" in his winner's speech. Jason appeared as a surprise guest in the studio to say congratulations the next day, during which he explained why he so admired the show:

"You're the on-off marriage of two opposites... I was thrilled for you, because you deserve it. You say "hello" to me every week, but the fact is, you say "hello" because you know that I listen, because the show's fantastic. Because you, Mark, are quite prepared to go against the grain and say that you like ridiculously crap films that, really, as a Guardian reader, you ought to be slating."

When Jason starred in the American TV series Awake, he snuck in a greeting for the listeners of Wittertainment in the form of the word "ukulele" picked by one of the listeners. The line was "he won't be playing the ukulele in heaven."

Saying hello to Jason has subsequently become a bit of a meme, spreading to fans greeting him with cries of "Hello to Jason Isaacs" on the street, and signs declaring the same appearing at sporting events, protests, etc.

- A listener named Martin Gentles saw Jason at the Apple Store in Westfield, Shephard's Bush in February 2009 and said to him, "it's Friday, 3 o'clock - hello to Jason Isaacs!" This may have been the first time that a Hello to Jason Isaacs was said to him in person, although many listeners who had seen a Harry Potter film shown that half term found themselves saying it out loud when he appeared.

- A Dr Sandy Nelson did "Hello to Jason Isaacs" over the tannoy at A&E at Derry hospital in 2010 while the Good Lady Professor Her Indoors was having her broken foot seen to.

- A Google engineer who listens to the show has made the UK desktop version of the search engine respond to the query "Jason Isaacs" with "Hello to Jason Isaacs".

- Avantgarde musician Scott Fields included the composition "Hello to Jason Isaacs" on his CD "Mostly Stick." The composition's opening melody is an instrumental rendering of the phrase "Hello to Jason Isaacs." Variations follow.

- A "Hello to Jason Isaacs" has been included in the credits for the Peter Mullan film Hector, even though Peter Mullan wasn't aware of who Jason was. The Director of the film had tried multiple times to sneak a Hello into film credits but had previously been foiled by eagle eyed Producers. In this case he was able to insert it into the final cut while the "spoil sport" was out of the room.

Picture courtesy of Benjamin Hope

- Even journeys on budget bus lines are now occasionally enlivened with the odd "Hello to..", plus appropriate Wittertainment related responses.

- It has been incorporated into art. A picture entitled Jack the Lid by artist, and Wittertainee, Benjamin Hope featured a Bladerunner-esque hidden "Hello to.."

- The next Canadian Medical College exam contains a patient known as “Mr Isaacs” whose only friends are Mark and Simon.

- The article 'Cinema audiences reproducibly vary the chemical composition of air during films, by broadcasting scene specific emissions on breath' published in Scientific Reports on 10 May 2016 contains an acknowledgement to the 'UK's flagship film podcast' followed by the text '(L-O-2-J-SON-I-Saacs)'.

- At the last Aston Villa Premiership home game of the 2015/16 season, when they were relegated from the league, an HTJI was read out over the public address system.

- At the summit of Toubkal, the highest mountain in the Atlas range.

- Pat Nevin said it on the 5 Live commentary during the Southampton v Man Utd game on 23 September 2017.

- Jason himself has been on the receiving end of many a HTJI, including in a plane toilet, warbled across a canyon and whispered quietly in the wind.

If you are lucky enough to actually be in the presence of Mr Isaacs the correct greeting is in fact "It's Jason Isaacs, hello."

During his appearances on the show, particularly at live shows, it has become apparent that Jason has a slightly "potty-mouth", in the nicest possible way. Simon has admonished him for this repeatedly, see Flora Shedden for an example of one of his exclamations. This seems to be an affliction that started early in life as Mark recalls that Jason used the word "bloody" in an English essay, which he read out in class and got away with, thereby achieving god-like status in Dr K's eyes.


In order to get Jason an lead role in a movie Mark and Simon are currently busy writing a screenplay for a remake of Jason and the Argonauts, in which Jason will star as the titular Jason (typecasting if you ask me) and the Argonauts will be played by the host of Wittertainees. A sequel to this is already at the planning stage, and will be Jason and the Astronauts, though who exactly will be cast as the Astronauts has yet to be decided.