It’s the Bank Holiday Weekend (which is good timing as the adrenaline caused by watching the finale of Line of Duty tonight is likely to keep us awake until 1am anyway).
There’s a few history podcasts spin-offs that might be worth looking into this Bank Holiday weekend. From the makers of Dan Snow’s History Hit comes Not Just The Tudors, presented by celebrated historian Professor Suzannah Lipscomb. History Hit has always been admired for telling stories that you wouldn’t have heard in class, but with the same level of detail as you would get from a history documentary on television. An upcoming episode will look into why John Lyly, a dramatist who was more famous than Shakespeare in his day, has been largely forgotten about in modern times.
For WWII history fans, Real Dictators has launched a new series looking at the early years of Adolf Hitler and how it influenced his adulthood. Meanwhile We Have Ways of Making You Talk, the popular history podcast hosted by historian James Holland and the comedian Al Murray, has recently started a series where they read aloud unique, interesting or heartbreaking family war stories sent in from their listeners.
Finally You’re Dead To Me, the history podcast for those who don’t like history, have just finished a special five part mini-series looking at America, telling the truth of stories you might have a lot of assumptions about, from the failure of prohibition to the story of the Sacagawea. If there is a history podcast that you think we should feature, do let us know by filling in the usual Great British Podcasts form.
GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- June Sarpong OBE, Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC, is on Now, Then, Ten. She talks about the importance and impact of improving diversity on all aspects of television, from the commissioners, to actors, to the show’s storylines.
- Alex Gibney, the famous Oscar-winning director of films like Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, joins The New Conspiracist to talk about conspiracy theories that show no sign of letting up. In particular, the appeal of the story of whether Kubrick faked the Moon Landings.
- Parminder Nagra talks about making Bend It Like Beckham on Celebrity Catch Up: Life After That Thing I Did. She also frankly talks about the racial discrimination she has experienced as an actor, including being declined for a role for a US TV show as “they’ve already got an Indian person on the cast.”
- On Sounds Like A Plan, a podcast that looks at how the music world is taking on climate change Jamie Oborne, manager of The 1975, talks about how the band will try to ensure that their future performances are more environmentally sustainable, as well as the band’s recent collaboration with Greta Thunburg.
- Grace Beverley, CEO and author of the bestseller Working Hard, Hardly Working, is on the entrepreneurial podcast 40 Minute Mentor with her tips.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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British Scandal – Wondery, the American podcast network, is renowned for their immersive storytelling podcasts such as Dirty John and The Mysterious Mr Epstein. They’ve now launched their first British podcast, hosted by Alice Levine and Matt Forde, looking into notable and controversials scandals in British history.
Upcoming episodes explore the phone hacking scandal and the death of the weapons expert Doctor David Kelly. The first set of episodes looks into the life and death of Alexander Litvinenko, who died after being poisoned with Polonium-210 back in 2006.
The Salisbury Novichok poisonings in 2018 have sparked fresh interest in his death, as well as a renewed focus on our fractured relationship with Russia. You’ll soon learn that it is a thoroughly complicated story, but Matt and Alice helpfully break the story down into understandable chunks. Episodes are released one week early for subscribers on the Wondery app.
Are You Michelle From Skins? – An interesting interview concept, where April Pearson (aka. Michelle from the iconic noughties E4 drama Skins) interviews other people who will forever be associated with one certain famous thing from their past.
Whilst being grateful for the fame that it gave you at the time, a problem is that you are never able to move on from it. There’s also an anxiety that your most successful years are behind you, never able to replicate that same success ever again. Plus, of course, there’s the boredom of having every conversation starting with the words “are you…” for the rest of your life.
In the first episode Michelle speaks to Aston Merrygold from JLS, who talked frankly about being recognised in public had an adverse impact on your confidence and how mental health was never a consideration a decade ago. “In those early days I was terrified of people knowing who I was,” says April.
“This game is so weird,” responds Aston. “It’s amazing and at the same time it’s soul-destroying and it can damage people for life.”
Spotify Podcast of the Week – Where is My Mind? is a Spotify exclusive podcast about how we can navigate the manic, always-on and head melting world that we live in, presented by Niall Breslin.
This week’s episode sees arguably one of the most important episodes so far in the series, featuring an interview with Dr. Mike Ryan who has been leading the World Health Organisation’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They talk about how the global situation has exposed the inequality in our health systems around the world and how we should move forward.
If You Don’t Know – A promising new podcast by BBC Radio 1Xtra, providing a space for young Black adults to talk about the stories and issues that they are on their mind. Presented by De-Graft Mensah and Roshan Roberts, the first episode looks into the disappearance of 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye. In the past week the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IPOC) launched an investigation into the Met Police’s handling of the case, after allegations from his family that his ethnicity affected how his disappearance was investigated.
As well as speaking to a close friend of Richard to reflect what he was like as a person, the episode looks into the reasons why statistically in society Black people are more likely to go missing. “Between 2019 and 2020, Black people made up 14% of missing cases in England and Wales, despite being only 3% of the population,” explains Roshan. There are multiple reasons behind this, from institutional racism to poor mental health provisions.
What The Denmark – Ever wondered why couples in Denmark sleep under separate duvets, despite both being in the same bed? Whilst you might be thinking “no” right now, for me it is a big fat yes. This podcast, presented by Josefine Volqvartz (a Dane) and Sam Floy (a non-Dane), tries to explain the history of this unique Danish custom, along with other customs that make Denmark so unique and beloved. And (spoiler alert), there doesn’t seem to be a conclusive answer to the single duvet conundrum. There are multiple theories, and this podcast explains them all! There’s even a scientific theory behind this!
Last week we talked about how Apple is letting podcasters charge listeners for the very first time through their Podcast app, with Apple taking a 30% cut in all the money that they make. The idea is that by doing so podcasters can offer exclusive extras such as bonus or early episodes, and for listeners to support the podcasters they love. Well, this week Spotify also announced that they are letting podcasters charge too, but they won’t take a cut out of podcasters revenue (at least until 2023). It’ll be interesting to see whether podcasters will try out both schemes, or will opt for one over the other.