Is there anything better than getting in your car and hitting the road? I’ve done a couple road trips – from a few days to a few weeks and all that driving means you spend plenty of time with no phone or radio signal. After a few hours of Richie’s ‘witty anecdotes‘ and all the car games we can think of – enter the humble podcast. This week for something different I’m giving you a breakdown of some of my top podcast recommendations. Best part is they’re all free and can be downloaded to be listened to offline!
I think of any genre it’s really tough to find podcasts that are genuinely and consistently funny. In saying that I have managed to find a couple:
What do you do when you find out that your dad has not only written an erotic adult novel but has self-published probably the best-worst erotic adult novel of all time? You get your two best mates over, drink, read it out loud and make one of the best podcasts of all time! If you haven’t listened to this then just stop reading. Stop right now and go and listen to My Dad Wrote a Porno. Each season Jamie reads aloud his dad’s books about the sexual escapades of Belinda Blumenthal, a sexy Pots and Pans Sales Executive in London. The show is now on its fourth book/ season and the ‘plot’ just keeps getting better. Each week for approx 13 weeks Jamie will read one chapter to friends Alice and James and each week we’re left wanting more. This show has a HUGE celebrity following with Elijah Wood, Emma Thompson and Daisy Ridley all guest starring. You will laugh out loud and get weird looks at work and on the train but it’s totally worth it. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
Any podcasts presented by the researchers of QI has to be good. No Such Thing as a Fish is a recent find for me (off the back of My Dad Wrote a Porno actually!) and it’s great. Each week hosts Dan Schreiber, James Harkin Andrew Hunter Murray and Anna Ptaszynski present their favorite fact from the week and discuss it. All the facts are real and completely ridiculous. You can expect random topics like why wombats have the best bums, to questions you never even considered before, like who was the first stripper to jump out of a cake – this is an easy 30 min show full of jokes and, if nothing else, you’ll come away with plenty of pointless facts to impress absolutely no one! Listen on Spotify or Acast.
This podcast can be a little bit hit or miss. Some episodes are comedy gold and others are only ok. Behind the Bastards delves into the lives of some of the most infamous people in history and treats you to some of the lesser known facts about them. You’ve all heard about Stalin and the atrocities he committed but did you know he was a drunk who threw raging parties and was frightened of being home alone? This podcast takes the worst people of all time and gives you a hilarious history lesson on their lives, the crimes they committed and their sordid secrets – quality concept! Listen on Spotify or Acast.
I love a good crime podcast. I think most of us have a weird fascination with crime, cults and killers right? No…Just me? Well anyway below are some of the best ones I’ve found:
Similar to Serial, Uncover takes one case or crime and over the course of a season completes an in depth analysis of it. Season one focus on one woman’s escape from self-help cult NXIVM which came to the spotlight in 2018 when Smallville actress Allison Mack was arrested for sex trafficking women, sex trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to commit forced labour. The podcast follows host Joshua Bloc, who reconnects with childhood friend Sarah Edmondson who was an executive for NXIVM and recently escaped the cult. She gives an insight into the organisation, the crimes committed and how an ordinary young woman becomes embroiled in such a group. Season 2 focuses on the bomb planted on Canadian Pacific Air Lines flight 21 on July 8th 1965 which killed all 52 people on board making it the largest unsolved mass murder in Canada. This season explores the long argued fact that it’s unlikely that the bomb on board could have caused the crash. Season three is coming in April and will investigate two spates of missing and murdered men in Toronto’s gay community. Highly underrated podcast! Listen on Spotify or Acast.
Casefile True Crime is a long running podcast with over a hundred episodes available. This show examines some of the darkest, most infamous and haunting murders, assaults and kidnappings of all time. Typically each episode gives listeners an intricate timeline of the crime and backgrounds on the victims and killers. It’s unbiased and simply gives the facts to the cases as they are in a clinical manner with no fluff. Episodes last from 40 mins to an hour and a half, with some cases spanning multiple episodes. Some famous cases covered include the Yorkshire Ripper, Jonestown cult and the Silk Road. There are many bonus and follow up episodes where the team will update you on any new developments on cases previously discussed. It’s an equally disturbing and fascinating insight into some of the worst crimes against people. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
The war on terror and ISIS is something that perpetuates our newspapers and televisions but i’m sure many of us aren’t entirely sure what the fight is about any longer. New York Times terrorism correspondent Rukmini Callimachi presents one of the most gritty and fascinating pieces of investigative journalism in this ten-part podcast. As part of Caliphate she sits down one-on-one with a young Canadian man who became an ISIS recruit and fought in Syria. Callimachi gives the listener an insight into how young men and women are being drawn into this war, how terrorists groups are financed and the lasting impacts on the locals in Syria whose lives and families are being destroyed by this war. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
Serial is the very first podcast I listened to and it grabbed global attention with season one being downloaded over 68 million times. In season one Sarah Koenig covers the 1999 murder of 18 year old Hae Min Lee and explores whether Adnan Masud Syed, her then ex-boyfriend, was wrongfully committed of her murder. It’s a fascinating exploration into the crime and how the case was treated in trial. This show also proves that podcasts can generate change – Adnan Masud Syed’s case has been appealed and a decision is expected by August 2019. There are 2 other seasons; season two focuses on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American Army soldier who was held Taliban for five years and charged with desertion. Season three just got released and has a different style than previous ones. Rather than focus on one case in detail season three takes place in a courthouse in Cleveland where listeners are exposed to multiple cases. Personally I think the first season is the best one by far and if you’re going to listen to any season make it that one. Listen on Acast.
Stown is from the creators of Serial and was downloaded a record breaking 10 million times in just four days. It’s a bizarre story which began when John B. McLemore emailed the show ‘This American Life’ and asked them to investigate a murder he alleged to have taken place in his hometown of Woodstock, Alabama. Host Brian Reed and his team head down to Woodstock and begin to investigate the crime, meet the locals and get to know more about the enigmatic John B. McLemore. Honestly this is a wild story and its worth listening for McLemore’s voice alone. Listen for free on the website.
Most crime podcasts will focus on the case, the victims and the killers but very few take a look at another group of people whose lives are destroyed by the crimes – the killers family. Keith Hunter Jesperson is a serial killer who strangled eight women in the USA during the early 1990s. He became known as the “Happy Face Killer” because he drew smiley faces on the letters he sent to the media. In the Happy Face podcast his daughter Melissa Moore recaps on her childhood to try and make sense of the horrific crimes her father committed. It’s a really unique insight into the everyday life, personality and childhood of an incredibly disturbed individual. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton (aka The Anna Edit) are already established bloggers, youtubers and authors, but now they’ve added a podcast notch on their belt. If you’ve ever watched the show Come Dine With Me then we all know the best part of the show was getting to have a nosy around someone else’s house. At Home With… is basically the podcast equivalent. Lily and Anna call around to guests homes to talk about everything from interiors, decorating, poetry, fashion, family and food. They have amazing guests who are all influential women in their own right including poet Charly Cox, midwife Clemmie Hooper and model Callie Thorpe. They manage to make the entire show feel like you’re sitting in the kitchen having a chat with your mates and the best part? Listen on acast for free and you’ll get to see pictures of the guests homes interspersed throughout the episode. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
This one will definitely seem like a random choice for someone with no kids and no interest in having kids for a significant amount of time but I really like this show! I’m each episode of Happy Mum Happy Baby author Giovanna Fletcher brings on guests to talk about the highs and lows of pregnancy, birth and parenting. She’s had some fantastic guests like Fleur De Force, Davina McCall and Emma Willis. Giovanna has one of those instantly likeable personalities and each episode feels like you’re sitting in the kitchen listening to your mates talk. What makes this really stand out is that it’s a no-holds barred approach to parenting. They never shy away from the hard topics such as difficult births, depression, body issues, loneliness and fear. I challenge anyone to listen to Amanda Holden’s episode where she discusses losing her son at 7 months and not be blown away by her raw honesty and strength. This is a great show for anyone with or without kids who wants a real insight into the world of parenting. Listen on Spotify or Acast.
Ok so i have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Guilty Feminist. The show is hosted by comedian Deborah Frances-White and guests, who, in front of a live studio audience, discuss 21st century feminist issues, their confessions, insecurities, hypocrisies and fears. Each week they begin with their “I’m a feminist but….” confessions, complete a challenge to push them out of their comfort zone and discuss topics that affect women everywhere on a daily basis. They have some great episodes covering topics such as emotional labour, image, motherhood, sexuality and crying. This can be funny, witty and above all, incredibly raw and relatable. However it can also feel a little tiring and preachy at times making you feel like everything you do is somehow insulting someone and making you anti-feminist. It’s worth a look and it is a good listen but it’s definitely a show that you can only listen to one or two episodes at a time.
Listen on Spotify or Acast.
There are definitely more that I’m missing from this list so if there are any podcasts you really recommend then let me know in the comments below!