What we’re listening to

Name of podcast series and particular episode

The Adam Buxton podcast; all of the Louis Theroux episodes are brilliant.

Brief summary in your own words

Adam Buxton has quirky, casual and occasionally sweary conversations (aided by bizarrely funny jingles) with comedians, filmmakers, actors and musicians.

Top episodes include:

1 / Richard Ayoade discussing the difficulty of separating what you know about an artist from what you love about their work.

2 / Paul Thomas Anderson on his experiences directing Daniel Day Lewis and working with composer/Radiohead bassist Jonny Greenwood.

3 / Louis Theroux getting hyped up on energy drinks and singing his karaoke song in falsetto.

Other people should give up their time to listen to it because…

The conversations are with fascinating creative individuals, who discuss their lives and their work in a way that feels original and insightful. The podcast is also a lovely balance of comedy and at times quite dark or challenging topics, which are discussed with measured curiosity.

 

Name of podcast series and particular episode

The Guilty Feminist

Brief summary in your own words

Deborah Frances White hosts thought leaders, comedians and advocates based around the topic of each episode to challenge thinking, broaden conversations and bring a light-hearted view to discussions. The podcast highlights and accepts the insecurities you face when your values don’t always align with your actions and shows you don’t need to be a bra-burning, make up-shunning woman to be a feminist.

Top episodes include:

Dive in and pick your own, they are incredibly varied. For a quick pick me up, listen to the first 10 minutes of an episode where they air ‘I’m a feminist but…’ and you can feel a little less guilty about not always being perfect!

Some recent favourites of mine:

1 / Episode 158: Safety at Night with special guests Amy Lamé (night Czar of London) and Alicia Wittmeyer (gender editor of the New York Times).

2 / Episode 159: Loneliness with Aisling Bea (comedian) and Danielle de Niese (opera singer).

Other people should give up their time to listen to it because…

This podcast covers serious topics with a comedic edge without devaluing them, and that is no mean feat.

 

Name of podcast series

Walking the Dog with Emily Dean

Brief summary in your own words

Emily Dean (and her shih tzu, Raymond) take some well-known friends for a walk to discuss their extraordinary lives, careers and four-legged friends.

Top episodes include:

1 / David Gandy (with his dog Dora) discusses his career in modelling, role as ambassador at Battersea Cats and Dogs home, and that iconic Dolce and Gabbana underpants campaign.

2 / Mark Kermode (with his Labrador Martha) heads into the New Forest to talk about his career as a film critic, his love of all Richard Curtis movies and how to correctly pronounce his surname.

3 / Ed Miliband (he doesn’t have a dog) talks about his meteoric rise to Leader of the Labour Party; what he learned about himself from the loss of the 2016 General Election; and being mistaken for Nick Clegg on the tube.

Other people should give up their time to listen to it because…

The conversations are a fascinating insight into the weird and wonderful lives of other people, touching on the achievements and the failures that have made them who they are. Emily is also one of the funniest people on radio, making it the perfect easy-to-listen-to podcast for those long commutes home.

 

Name of podcast series

Extremities

Brief summary in your own words

A fascinating insight into what daily life is like for people who live in the world’s most remote places. The first series focuses on Pitcairn Island in the middle of the South Pacific.

Top episodes include:

1 / Pitcairn’s Beginning, Boat, and Bureaucracy: An incredible table of how the island was settled in the late 18th century by the Bounty mutineers.

2 / How Pitcairn Works: How do they make money? Where do they get food? Do they have broadband? And more!

3 / Justice on Pitcairn: A shocking episode discussing how isolated communities can develop a skewed sense of right and wrong.

Other people should give up their time to listen to it because…

At only six 25-minute episodes, it’s a low commitment way to get a completely different perspective on how others live. Technically, Pitcairn is a British Overseas Territory but the way island life is described transports you to the polar opposite of everyday London life.

 

Name of podcast series

The Chernobyl Podcast – an accompaniment to HBO’s excellent recent miniseries. Like the show, there are only five episodes and they’re all worth listening to.

Brief summary in your own words

It’s a series of interviews with the show’s creator Craig Mazin covering how the show was made, the creative decisions taken, the creative licenses exercised, and a bit more about the history of the disaster.

Top episodes include:

One of the most interesting things for me was how different the thematic focus was in each episode. Although my favourite episode (of the TV show) was its climactic finale, episodes three (“Open Wide, O Earth”) and four (“The Happiness of All Mankind”) of the podcast probably do the best job of forcing you to consider the human cost that was incurred, the sacrifice that many people paid to shield others from harm, and the cultural and societal forces that compelled the story’s characters to act how they did.

Other people should give up their time to listen to it because…

I found the show deeply impactful not just because of how shocking the events were, but how recently they happened – just a year before I was born. Despite that, I realised I knew practically nothing about the disaster, and so didn’t know how much was reality and how much of it was dramatized. I wanted to listen to the podcast primarily as a fact checker, but got a lot more value out of it than that through discussion of events the creators decided not to show, and the stories they decided not to tell – many of which were even more shocking than those that made it to the screen. It’s worth a listen just to hear how they took subjects that should be complex and dull (such as how a nuclear plant works) and turned them into this year’s most gripping television.

 

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