Let’s start this week’s newsletter with some good investigative and insightful podcasts to accompany you into the weekend.

In Fairy Meadow, BBC Breakfast presenter Jon Kay looks at the disappearance of Cheryl Grimmer, a three-year-old child who disappeared off a beach in Australia in 1970. Whilst following the developments of the ongoing police investigation, Kay also sensitively explores the trauma following the disappearance of a loved one and how that lack of closure can affect you in the days, months and years following.

Iain Dale’s The Presidents & Prime Ministers also kicked off a new series recently. A simple concept. The first series looked at a different British Prime Minister weighing up their successes and failures in office along with a historian or expert of that period. The series has now delved into Presidents of the United States. Presidents drop in any order, so you’ll hear one you may know a lot about (such as George H W Bush) next to episodes about one you may don’t (such as William Henry Harrison, who served as President for just one month back in March 1841).

Meanwhile Human Resources has dropped a new series. Presented by Moya Lothian-McLean, the Broccoli Productions podcast explores how Britain’s historic links with the transatlantic slave trade touched every part of the country. Their second series looks at how closely tied the British Monarchy was involved and benefited from slavery. For an Apple Podcast subscription, listeners are able to access episodes early.

Two more before we crack on with our main recommendations. Calling I Am Not A Monster fans. The series unexpectedly dropped another episode just before the weekend. And British Scandal has also recently delved into the mysterious disappearance of Lord Lucan. The Coughing Major is up next.

NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Feast is Feast with Big ZuuBig Zuu’s star is on the up. The rapper and self-taught chef has received critical acclaim and a BAFTA television nomination for his Dave series where he cooks for comedians around the country. He’s now got a new podcast tapping into our love of food and how it brings us all together. “Food is community and celebration,” Zuu says.

In his first episode, he chats with Craig David, who at one point recommended putting a Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream in the microwave for a full minute, turning it into a near milkshake, to then separate the cookie from the ice cream to enjoy as a separate treat. I don’t know about you but I find this highly controversial.

The rest of the episode is very good too. Zuu asks all the right questions, using food as a hook to then delve into subjects around upbringing, home life and the pressures of the work / life balance if you’re someone in the public eye. Food interview podcasts have been all the rage in the last year, from Table Manners to Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner, but if the podcast keeps this consistency it has all the potential to be among the best.

So How Do You… The Interiors Podcast – A very smart idea by interiors expert Laura Jackson. Each episode features solutions to problems we’ve all faced when it comes to changing our home interiors or planning a big renovation, from how to find and trust the right builder, to how to choose the right colour scheme to paint your walls. As the title of each episode written out in the style of So, how do you … light your home?’, you’re able to instantly find the topics you need a solution to and skip the episodes you don’t need. Jackson’s enthusiasm is engaging to listen to and the advice is thoughtful and is mindful for any budget.

I Witnessed History – A simple podcast idea, but an effective one. In each episode a journalist from The Daily Telegraph talks about how they witnessed a historical news event because they were happening to be reporting on it, or they happened to be at the right place at the right time. In episodes that only last ten minutes, you’ll hear their testimony weaved in with a mixture of news reporting and archive footage. Two episodes are out so far, with the latest featuring an account from a volunteer performer from the Industrial Revolution ‘Pandemonium’ section at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, nearly 10 years on from that electric night. That’s right. Ten!

On The ScentI love podcasts that delve into a topic that you don’t really know anything about, but is accessible enough that you don’t feel like you’re out of the depth. This podcast delves into the world of fragrances, emphasising that how you smell can change the way people perceive you, and how you think about yourself. Presented by fragrance journalist Suzy Nightingale and the beauty broadcaster Nicola Bonn, each episode is full of recommendations of new fragrances that are on their radar. There’s also special episodes on how best to choose fragrances for others, their picks for 2021 and an episode looking at patchouli, a fragrance considered ‘marmite’ in the industry because it is either a smell you love, or you absolutely loathe.

Before we go, I thought to mention a US podcast that has shot up the charts, but is made by someone that you don’t expect. Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy looks at the popularity of the German born illusionists who performed to millions worldwide, but caused controversy with the use of lions and tigers in their act. They are also remembered for when one of their acts went horribly wrong – a tiger attacking Roy during one of their shows, causing life changing injuries. 

The eight part series, which is presented by the journalist Steven Leckart, is backed by Apple. Until now, podcasts made by Apple have generally been tied to one of their titles on their own streaming platform Apple TV+. It’s a neat marketing strategy and a way for the creators behind a show to talk more about the topics or issues they care about, a recent example being The Problem with Jon Stewart. With ‘Siegfried & Roy’ there is no TV accompanying series. It makes you wonder. Is this a sign of things to come?

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Categories: Weekly Picks

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