Flats & Shanks making waves with ITV NatWest 6 Nations podcast

Firm friends since their playing days at Saracens, David Flatman and Tom Shanklin are still teammates now, though not for a rugby club, but a rugby podcast.

Firm friends since their playing days at Saracens, David Flatman and Tom Shanklin are still teammates now, though not for a rugby club, but a rugby podcast.

The Flats & Shanks podcast has been a form of easy listening for thousands of rugby fans and the duo teamed up with ITV Rugby for the NatWest 6 Nations for a light-hearted take on the Championship’s biggest talking points.

Each week, Flatman and Shanklin were joined by a special guest, the likes of Gareth Thomas, Jim Hamilton and Lawrence Dallaglio.

Amid the many different radio shows, television broadcasts and podcasts, Flats & Shanks is one of the most laidback and humorous ways to digest your rugby.

Flatman said: “There are plenty of people talking about things on the internet and we just thought, why don’t we add a weekly hour of gibberish to the massive crater full of podcasts floating around earth.

“Let’s just go on, be ourselves and muck about because that’s how we live our lives generally.

“And if people like it, great, if they don’t like it, no problem.”

The two men record weekly, sometimes meeting in a car park to do so, but clearly enjoy having a laugh together when they record the show.

Shanklin said: “David and I know each other from our playing days at Saracens where we lived together.

“We’ve had that friendship and bond from the Saracens days.

“We obviously have the same sense of humour and know each other very well.”

They can’t resist poking fun at each other when talking, and it is this light-hearted humour that forms the basis of the show, sometimes as much as the rugby.

Flatman said: “The only thing we have to do is include some of the results from the weekend. That’s the only blueprint for the podcast.

“But it’s mainly us messing around – we have no plan, no equipment, no studio, no set location – we do what we want.

“That makes it sustainable because we’re not acting at any point.

“As soon as you start trying to be funny or pretending to show an interest in something you’re not interested in then you get found out.

“That can be a bit disingenuous, so we don’t bother.”

Shanklin added: “It’s good that Flats covers rugby as a pundit because he gets to see a lot more of the rugby than I do.

“That is Flats’ job, whereas I’m just more of an online sensation like Bieber.”

Joking aside, the two friends are clearly happy to have the chance to represent ITV with their podcast, but admit that it is mainly all about a chance to have fun.

Shanklin said: “With the ITV podcast there is a little more pressure to get it right and we have to do a little bit more preparation than usual.

“There are a lot of other people doing podcasts, so it is really nice that they’ve asked us to do it.”

On top of that, Flatman was pleased that ITV have let them have free reign over what to talk about and how to do it.

He said: “If ITV ask you to do a podcast, you do it.

“If they are really square and boring about it, it’s such a great gig, you can’t say no to it, but we’re actually really chuffed that they’ve turned out to be such great fun.”

For now, the two of them are happy to be doing as they are doing, keeping it simple and enjoying themselves.

Flatman said: “The whole point of this pod is that it is relaxed and low maintenance and informal.”

You can download the Flats & Shanks ITV Six Nations podcast from the iTunes store.