The Guardian launches new podcast series, ‘Can I tell you a secret?’, a story about obsession, fear and the lives we lead online

The Guardian is today (Friday 23 September) launching ‘Can I tell you a secret?’ a new six-part podcast series exploring the case of Matthew Hardy, a man who for over a decade stalked women online, wreaking havoc in their lives, and the lives of their friends and families.

Hardy’s harassment would often start in the same way, a fake profile posing as a young woman with a simple message: “Hey hun, can I tell you a secret?”

The Guardian’s first ever standalone true-crime podcast series, hosted by Guardian journalist Sirin Kale, examines Hardy’s relentless campaign of fear, through exclusive and deeply personal interviews with his victims and people who know him.

Find out how the story ends - all six podcast episodes are available for listening from today (23 September) at, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Acast and all other podcast apps of choice. Have a listen to the podcast trailer for a preview.

Sirin Kale, Guardian journalist and podcast host, Can I tell you a secret? said:
“I’ve written about stalking throughout my career and thought, probably naively, that there was very little that could shock me. The case of Matthew Hardy is one I still struggle to wrap my head around, even now. How did Hardy manage to go on for so long and torment so many people? What motivated him to do it? And - most importantly for his victims - is he likely to stop? We explore all of these questions and many more, in Can I tell you a secret?”

Nicole Jackson, head of audio, Guardian News & Media, said:
“Podcasting is integral to the Guardian and how we tell our stories. We produce hit shows every day while always experimenting with new ideas and genres. Can I tell you a secret? is a great example of original Guardian journalism being shared in a new and impactful way. The podcast will tell listeners the story of what happened to some of the women cyberstalked by Mattthew Hardy, the impact it is still having on them as well as trying to understand why Hardy behaved the way he did and whether more could have been done to stop him.”

Can I tell you a secret? is based on original investigative journalism by Guardian journalist Sirin Kale.

The Guardian has been creating podcasts for over a decade. We’re currently one of the leading podcast producers in the UK, with a combined podcast network that enjoys millions of listens every month.

Global monthly listens to Guardian podcasts have increased by over 60% in the last two years (Feb 2020-March 2022). So far this year, we have launched brand new podcasts - Weekend and Women’s Football Weekly, a refresh of Politics Weekly UK and Politics Weekly US and a third series of hit show Comfort Eating with Grace Dent.

Can I tell you a secret? is reported by Sirin Kale. The series has been produced by Lucy Hough, and executive produced by Charlotte Pritchard and India Rakusen. Original music and sound design is by Axel Kacoutié, the Guardian’s creative director of sound. The commissioning editor is Nicole Jackson, the Guardian’s head of audio.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the issues raised in this podcast there are services available to offer advice and support including Paladin, Protection Against Stalking and the National Stalking Helpline.


For more information please contact

Notes to editors
In January 2022, Matthew Hardy pleaded guilty to stalking involving fear of violence and harassment after breaching a restraining order and was jailed for nine years. Cheshire police believe that it’s “the longest sentence ever awarded for a stalking offence.” Hardy has been granted leave to appeal the sentence.

Matthew Hardy is autistic and his defence argued that being autistic impacted his culpability. This is covered during the series and the Guardian has consulted with the National Autistic Society and Autism Rights Group Highland due to the sensitivities around portrayals of autistic people in the media. The Guardian is grateful for their input.

About Guardian News & Media
Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishes, one of the world’s leading English-language news websites. Traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience. In the UK, GNM publishes the Guardian newspaper six days a week, first published in 1821, and the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, The Observer.