It has been a big week for many households across the country, with millions of young people finding out either their GCSE or A Level results. If this is the case for you or someone you know, here’s some podcasts that might be of hand.

Radio 1 Life Hacks recently launched a great mini-series on what comes next, including guides on how to know if university is the right next step for you, to an episode on what other career options are out there to consider. There are also episodes on how to work out your dream job and how to deal with the mixed feelings that often comes with results day.

Meanwhile the podcast All About Apprenticeships featured an interview with Apprenticeships Minister Gillian Keegan about the benefits of taking one up: “The world of work moves so quickly,” she said. “One advantage to an apprenticeship is that the company helps you choose what is really valuable to study.”

If you’re thinking further ahead, The Guide to Life after University, presented by Jess Bacon, has practical guides on the realities of being a lawyer, how to get into journalism and other popular careers. Meanwhile Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete often features interviews with those who have made it their own path, with chats about lessons they have learnt along the way.

Hope you all have a great weekend and remember, these results are not an ending. It very much is just the start.


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  • A new series of Bestsellers, where Natalie Jamieson and Phil Williams interview acclaimed and up-and-coming authors, has just launched a new series. Recent episodes have included Steve Cavanagh on his book The Devil’s Advocate and its themes on the American legal system and the death penalty, as well as  Zakiya Dalila Harris on the success of her book The Other Black Girl. Upcoming episodes include interviews with Anthony Horowitz and Robinne Lee.
  • Khloe Kardashian is on Role Model with Leomie Anderson, talking about internet trolling and making a business from your family name.
  • The acclaimed actor Suranne Jones is on Happy Place.
  • Comedian Alexei Sayle was on Better Known, a podcast where guests talk about six things they wish were more widely celebrated.
  • On Spieling The Beans, an interview podcast where storytellers talk about their work and what inspires them, this week has 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Comedians’ Choice Award Winner Joz Norris as a guest. He talks about the unusual appeal and power of abstract comedy and why we should wean ourselves off short term instant gratification.

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Short History of… Paul McGann will forever be closely associated with Doctor Who, but in recent months he has also built a considerable fanbase for his narration in Real Dictators, a engrossing podcast that tells the story of the lives and tyrannical rule of some of the most known authoritarian leaders. The series won the coveted Best Arts and Culture Podcast at the British Podcast Awards last month, praised by judges for its “perfect balance of narration, facts and expert opinion.” Now there’s a new spin-off history podcast featuring McGann’s narration, this time delving into remarkable events in our history and the people who caused them.

Two episodes are available to listen to so far. One looks at the lives of gladiators (the real ones, not the TV show) and why the bloody combat was such a public spectacle. The other episode, the first of a two parter, looks at the Cuban Missile Crisis and what could have happened if the confrontation had escalated into all out war (spoiler alert: it wouldn’t have been good.) Both episodes are excellent.

Finding Q: My Journey into QAnon – The journalist Nicky Woolf has spent a lot of his career investigating the darker sides of the internet. For the past three years he has been looking into QAnon, a clearly false far right-wing conspiracy theory that alleges the world is run by a shadow government of Satanic believing paedophiles.

You might be wondering how people end up following such a twisted and warped worldview (“you don’t get to a place like this just like that,” Woolf says at the start of his new Audible podcast on the subject). Clicking on and then believing disinformation on social media is often the gateway for followers, which often results in them being served on social media more disinformation and wilder conspiracy theories, or as Woolf calls it “radicalisation by algorithm.” 

Despite being referred to as a cult, it doesn’t operate like a typical one. For one thing, it isn’t exactly clear who runs Q. So Woolf tries to work out its origins as well as speaks to people who have dealt with QAnon’s consequences. At the heart of the series is a simple question: can QAnon be stopped?

Like all other Audible Originals, this podcast is not free and you will need to be a subscriber to listen. However, listening to an episode does not use any of your ‘credits.’

Spotify Podcast of the Week – Masala PodcastIt’s another absolute treat of an episode of Masala Podcast this week as Sangeeta Pillai is joined by Anita Rani, one of the UK’s most loved TV and radio presenters. Anita’s new memoir is called The Right Sort of Girl and she talks about the pressure and pain of being the ‘right sort’ of South Asian woman. Masala Podcast is exclusively available on Spotify.

On The Outside – Another new podcast that is all about the joy of outside, this new entrant one comes with a unique remit: ‘sharing diverse views on outside news.’

At its heart is encouraging the message that the natural world is out there for absolutely everybody, at a time when the pandemic has caused an uptick in the number of people heading out into the country. The style is of a news panel, where guests talk about how a new trend or decision has affected them or the people they know. 

The first episode features Oge Ejizu from Black Girls Hike UK, an organisation providing a safe environment for Black women to discover the outdoors, as well as LGBTQIA swimming session leader Eden Elgeti and inclusion advocate and handcyclist Neil Russell. The first episode features topics on the impact of the Olympics and Paralympics on people taking up sports.

5 Minutes On …This podcast is an interesting way to get on top of current affairs. Each five minute episode consists of a BBC News reporter providing a handy explainer on a recent big story, along with some personal insights from them on what it has been like to report the story. Marianna Spring, their Specialist Disinformation and Social Media Reporter presented an episode on how online conspiracy theories have strained relationships within families, whilst their Olympic and Paralympic Sports reporter Nick Hope gave an interesting insight into what it was like to be at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics without any crowds (“without them, it doesn’t really feel like an Olympics,” he said.)

Missing the Lions series? Auddy’s latest podcast, “Inside The Tour”, might help. The British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa in 1997 went down in sporting folklore. Nobody gave the Lions a chance against the world champions, but that disparate group bonded into a band of brothers which shocked the rugby universe, inspired by a coaching team many regard as the greatest of all time. “Inside The Tour” relives that series, with the story told by those who were there. Across ten episodes we hear from Matt Dawson, Doddie Weir, Fran Cotton, and many more. Hosted by Alastair Eykyn for Auddy. (Sponsored Pick)

If you want to hear some great excerpts from some great British podcasts, I was back on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Podcast Radio Hour with Chris Pearson this week where we played some of our favourites. These podcasts included the entertaining She Said, They Said, the return of Have You Heard George’s Podcast?, the engrossing The Town That Didn’t Stare, the captivating health series A Thorough Examination with Drs Chris and Xand and the entertaining Audible series Very Modern Quests.

We also spoke to Pandora Sykes about what she has learnt about Britney Spears from presenting the BBC Radio 4 podcast series Pieces of Britney, as well as Martin Zaltz Austwick on the challenges of making the technical podcast marvel Neutrinowatch.

Categories: Weekly Picks