We’ve reached number 20 of Podcasts For The People, but unfortunately that’s the end of the road. Together, we’ve recommended 200 new podcasts over the course of the past year. Some educational, some funny, and some downright niche. They’ve all been worthy of a spotlight – from those made in big studios, to others created on a shoe-string in the spare bedroom.
To those who’ve got involved and shared your favourite shows, thank you – it wouldn’t have worked without you. Ever stuck for recommendations? The columns are archived here. And please keep an eye out because we’ll be back in a different form, recommending podcasts to get stuck into.
So, let’s go out on a high: five new recommendations from me, and five from you. I’m on Twitter if you want to keep talking podcasts, @GregCochrane.
What Greg’s been listening to
The low-down: London Borough of Culture is a programme devised to spotlight the culture of different parts of the capital. In 2020, it’s Brent. Vent Documentaries hands the platform to diverse young people to investigate the stories that matter to them. The results are gripping, empowering and resourceful. Like how Kamiah Chae Cowell can make an episode about something so simple as missing your mates during lockdown sound so vital. Amelia Mya Alleyne’s episode, Outnumbered by White People, an exploration into Black experience in the higher education system is must-listen; timely and informative. And, on a similar note, if you haven’t listened to About Race, from Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race author Reni Eddo-Lodge, which has recently returned to the top of the podcast charts, what are you waiting for?
Where to hear it: Spotify
Start with this: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2rOAIR4N4PKwph6rtrprxk
Things Worth Fighting For
Mystery Jets’ Blaine Harrison has long used his platform for important causes – from accessibility at live music venues to gender equality. He’s turned his passion for social justice into a podcast series themed around resilience, inspiration and the spirit of protest. Each of the 10 episodes – released every couple of weeks – looks at a different area. It begins with Josie Naughton in conversation with Blaine about The Refugee Crisis. Coming up, discussions that explore essential topics: from racial and class discrimination to toxic masculinity and mental health. Among others listeners will hear from IDLES’ Joe Talbot, author Nikesh Shukla and the aforementioned Eddo-Lodge.
Where to hear it: Acast
So Hot Right Now
The low-down: A podcast about nature and the climate crisis that launched with the biggest voice in that world: Sir David Attenborough. Hosts Lucy Siegle (an environmental journalist) and Tom Mustill (a filmmaker with the likes of Greta Thunberg) call up Sir David at home during lockdown to discuss his life’s work, the distraction of the COVID-19 pandemic and his hopes for long-term change – plus some chat about his lockdown birdwatching at home. More heavy-hitting conversations will drop in the coming weeks, including UN climate negotiator Christiana Figueres and Elie Goulding discussing green activism.
Where to hear it: Major podcast platforms
When Someone Great Is Gone
The low-down: There’s a reason why podcasts like Cariad Lloyd’s Griefcast have proved popular the past few years: death is universal and touches all of us, yet no-one really talks about it and podcasts uniquely have created a personal and safe space for those conversations to grow. On that tip, this show hosted by Izzy Lee-Poulton, investigates the fertile relationship between grief and creativity. Think of the many books, songs and TV shows that have explored that area. It begins with Nadiah Adu-Gyamfi, from NULA, who talks about how the passing of her father found its way into her music.
Where to hear it: Audioboom – and other podcast places
The Catch And Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow
A recent winner at the prestigious Webby Awards, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow uses the Harvey Weinstein case as a launchpad to look deeper into the systems which protect powerful men accused of terrible crimes. The reporting is brave – from those female whistleblowers speaking on record to Farrow himself, who during his period reporting on this, left his home and was advised by some to protect himself by getting a gun. It’s staggering investigative reporting that exposes the lengths some powerful men go to in order to suppress the truth.
Where to hear it: Most podcast apps
Start with this: https://open.spotify.com/show/7DTFS97SNLnOTQYZwznvde
What you’ve been listening to
All The Way Theroux
Recommended by: Alex Watson – @justthemedicine on Twitter
The low-down: Judging by the podcast charts, a lot of you have spent lockdown with Louis Theroux – well, his podcast Grounded at least. It’s been a huge hit. Hosts Alex and Matthew – Theroux aficionados – have spent this time picking through his vast archive of work – revisiting the journalist’s investigations into everything from UFOs to pornography.
Alex tweets: “Shameless self-promotion, but might appeal to big Louis Theroux fans.”
Where to hear it: Acast
Start with this: https://play.acast.com/s/all-the-way-theroux
The Film Reroll
Recommended by: @AristotleSR on Twitter
The low-down: A podcast putting an innovative spin on the film format. This show takes a well-known movie – in the past that’s been the likes of The Rock, The Princess Bride or Blade Runner – and rewrites the plot by adopting roles and throwing the dice. It invariably creates an hilarious, entertaining mess.
AristotleSR says: “They take great movies and fuck em up – it’s incredible.”
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts – and other podcast apps
Start with this: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-film-reroll/id1064775021
Triple Click Podcast
Recommended by: Matthew Wilson, @MattW182 on Twitter
The low-down: Video game culture isn’t served anywhere near as well by podcasts as, say, TV or music. But this one led by Kirk Hamilton, Maddy Myers and Jason Schreier, approaches all the essential gaming news, big releases and reviews with a huge pinch of humour.
Matthew writes: “Really interesting – a funny video game podcast. All the hosts are journalists, so you get some great discussion and a few peeks behind the curtain / hints to future news.”
Where to hear it: Spotify – and other podcast platforms
Start with this: https://open.spotify.com/show/54RpOtEt0xBo6K1FO0Vo7X
Recommended by: On Twitter, via @Noisier_podcasts
The low-down: A new podcast fronted by actor Paul McGann (Withnail and I, Luther, Dr Who) – looking into the lives of some of history’s most recognisable tyrants – new episodes every fortnight. They began with Kim Jong-il.
Noisier writes: “It features incredible interviews with escapees, eyewitnesses and authors, as well as audio drama bringing to life real events like you’ve never heard before.”
Where to hear it: Apple – and other major podcast apps
Trash In The Attic
Recommended by: Sophie Williams, @fluorescentsoph
The low-down: Like your favourite day-time TV conjured into podcast life… but with musicians, who each episode take a revealing journey through their life by rummaging through the junk/priceless objects scattered around their homes.
Sophie writes: “Really enjoyed the Baxter Dury interview.”
Where to hear it: Apple, Acast and other podcast places