Podcasts are taking over the world. In fact, it might have already happened. In the previous decade, The Ricky Gervais Show ruled the airwaves breaking records left, right and centre in what was considered the first commercially successful podcast. In 2016, Serial reigned supreme with millions of listeners hanging on host Sarah Koenig’s every word.
Not got involved yet? That’s okay, there’s still time to get into Serial and all the other amazing podcasts we’ve rounded up for you below. Film and pop culture? Got it. Songwriting? You betcha. Murder mysteries? Yep, plenty of podcasts for that. Feast your ears on the deluge of content below and spruce up your gloomy morning commute with these must-hear podcasts.
What is it? OK – so you’ve probably heard of this one but if not, it’s simply investigative journalism at its finest. Sarah Koenig and crew investigate shady going-ons, including a murder trial from 2000 in the first series and the fallout following an US soldier’s ‘desertion’ in Afghanistan in 2009. It’s had over 100 million downloads so far over less than 20 episodes, so feel free to hop on the bandwagon.
For fans of: Making A Murderer, Spotlight, gasping on the tube
Where to listen: www.serialpodcast.org
What is it? Acclaimed author and economist Malcolm Gladwell digs deep on a range of topics from the education system to religion, with a set of deeply interesting and personal case studies. A touch of chin-stroking and cutting analysis here and there, in typical Gladwellian fashion.
For fans of: Documentaries, sociology, Panorama
Where to listen: www.revisionisthistory.com
My Dad Wrote A Porno
What is it? Yes, it’s exactly like the title suggests. Jamie Morton’s father has self-published a dreadful erotic novel and put it on Amazon. The only way to get over the shame is to embrace it – and enlist his two pals Alice Levine and Jamie Cooper to read along, with hilarious and cringe-inducing results. Elijah Wood, Daisy Ridley and Michael Sheen are such big fans – they’ve all made guest appearances in various episodes.
For fans of: 50 Shades Of Grey, dodgy dialogue, cringe-a-long
Where to listen: www.mydadwroteaporno.com
Imagine if your Dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it and pretend it had never happened – but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he’s decided to read it to the world in this brand new comedy podcast.
Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
What is it? In 1987, Private Detective Daniel Morgan’s body was found murdered in London, with an axe through his head. His case, said to be the most notorious unsolved murder in British history, is picked apart in painstaking details on this inquisitive and addictive series.
For fans of: Midsomer Murders, The Kray Twins, Serial
Where to listen: www.untoldmurder.com
What is it? After moving from the now-defunct Grantland website (RIP), Andy Greenwald, Chris Ryan and Juliet Litman talk pop culture, and break down the finest television and films on show. In Game of Thrones season, Greenwald and Ryan host a fantastic recap of the dragon drama, too.
For fans of: Game Of Thrones, award shows, fan theories.
Where to listen: www.soundcloud.com/channel33
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You Must Remember This
What is it? Similar in format to Serial, but a little more niche, shall we say. You Must Remember This exclusively focuses on the ‘secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th century Hollywood’, detailing the rise of the film industry on the West Coast and the fascinating stars that helped build the institution. In particular, the series focused on musician-turned-cult-leader Charles Manson and the build up, execution and fall-out from his grisly crimes, will likely go down in podcast history.
For fans of: L.A. Confidential, Birdman, Hollywood
Where to listen: www.youmustrememberthispodcast.com
This American Life
What is it? This American Life is a weekly American radio show and podcast that focuses on non-fiction journalistic reports around a broad scope of topics. In fact, it’s this show that spawned the hugely successful Serial as a spin-off series. TAL is considerably wider in its scope, and in the past has featured first-hand stories of men with long-hair, plumbers and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A diverse bunch, then.
For Fans Of: Serial, documentaries, compilations
Where To Listen: www.thisamericanlife.org
Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty
What is it? Based on the life and times of Violator Records founder Chris Lighty, Mogul tells the inside story of his rise to the top, during which he helped manage and release record by 50 Cent, Q-Tip, Missy Elliot, Diddy and more – as well as his suicide in 2012. Told with cameos from rappers Warren G, Fat Joe and others. It’s a profound and often funny journey through hip-hop’s origins and explosion.
For fans of: Hip-Hop, Empire, The Get Down
Where to listen: www.gimletmedia.com/mogul/
The Cold War: Stories From The Big Freeze
What is it? One for the history buffs, this. The Cold War lasted over decades, but broken down into 15-minute segments, Bridget Kendall tells the story of the conflicts and incidents that formed the decades-long stand off with the people who are in the thick of it.
For fans of: Deutschland 83, US-Russia relations, The Americans
Adam Buxton Podcast
What is it? British funny man Adam Buxton found fame when broadcasting on 6 Music with co-presenter Joe Cornish. The latter has since moved into filmmaking and Buxton now hosts his own podcast, with guests like Scroobius Pip, Rob Delaney and Louis Theroux bringing anecdotes aplenty.
For fans of: Laughing, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Vic & Bob
Where to listen: www.adam-buxton.co.uk/ad/
What is it? From the makers of Serial and This American Life, this outstanding podcast entranced the world back in March when all seven episodes dropped online. Host Brian Reed follows up on a tip from the enigmatic John B McLemore about a murder in his home town, but the podcast soon unravels to be something far more shocking and sweeter than that. One of the year’s most stunning podcasts.
For fans of: Southern Gothic, whispering, Serial
Where to listen: www.stownpodcast.org
What is it? The podcast invites esteemed musicians to break down one of their most successful songs, beat-by-beat. Just this week, MGMT were on the show to detail the insightful and bizarre stories behind ‘Time To Pretend’.
For fans of: NME’s Soundtrack Of My Life, 6 Music
The Butterfly Effect
What is it? Author and broadcaster Jon Ronson investigates the effecnt of free porn in the modern world. From the people who made it happen to those who lose out because of piracy, it’s an eye-opening an often heartwarming exercise in breaking taboos.
For fans of: The Men Who Stare At Goats, My Scientology Movie, investigations
Where to listen: www.audible.co.uk