It’s a special edition of this newsletter, as we are announcing all of the winners of the British Podcast Awards 2021! The awards, which are powered by Amazon Music, were given at a special ceremony in Brockwell Park in London yesterday afternoon. The winners, which are listed below, were chosen by an esteemed panel of independent experts from across the audio industry. The exception is the Listeners’ Choice, supported by BBC Sounds, which was chosen by the readers of this newsletter (as well as the podcasting listening public).
If you want to listen to any of these podcasts, all you need to do is click on the podcast name. Scroll to the bottom to see which podcast is awarded the coveted Podcast of the Year award. Previous winners have included Brown Girls Do It Too, Have You Heard George’s Podcast and Griefcast.
Let’s start with … The Listeners Choice, supported by BBC Sounds – RedHanded
The true crime podcast hosted by Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala came runners up in this category during the British Podcast Awards 2020. This year they came up top!
Silver: Sh**ged Married Annoyed
Bronze: Football Weekly
Moment of the Year (supported by Acast) – Where is George Gibney?
In this powerful and important podcast series, reporter Mark Hogan tracked down the disgraced former Irish Olympic coach George Gibney, who disappeared from public view after he was accused of child sexual abuse. The judges said that the series “highlights the power of podcasting beyond the medium” and that “it had an impact in educating a wider audience and seeking justice for survivors.”
Best Arts & Culture Podcast (supported by Create Podcast) – Real Dictators
Narrated by the actor Paul McGann, this documentary series explores the lives of authoritarian and despotic leaders throughout history, as well as today. “This podcast had us hooked,” said our judges. They praised the balance of facts and expert opinion and said that the podcast provides listeners with a front seat to history.
Silver: Shade Podcast
Bronze: The Secret Life of Songs
Best Branded Content (supported by Acast Creative) – Gardening with the RHS
This gardening podcast by the Royal Horticultural Society features advice and interviews with horticultural experts. The experts said that this podcast equally engages new and established gardeners and that it contained “an assortment of beautifully told, diverse, relatable and heartfelt stories. It is a deserving winner.”
Silver: Grilling with Simon Rimmer
Bronze: Table Manners with Jessie Ware
Best Business Podcast (supported by Wondery) – Doing It For The Kids
This podcast presented by Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland features advice and interviews for parents, who also happen to be freelancers. The judges said that it was “a funny, intelligent, interactive podcast series that totally understands its target audience.” They added that the podcast was particularly valuable during a lockdown year.
Best Comedy Podcast (supported by Stitcher) – Kurupt FM
This Audible series features the stars of the BBC show People Just Do Something attempting to make their own podcast, parodying the whole medium in the process. The judges said that it was “a show whose effortless humour in its characters provided serious laugh-out-loud comedy.”
Best Current Affairs Podcast – Your Broccoli Weekly
The weekly news review programme hosted by journalist Diyora Shadijanova and created by the small audio production company Broccoli was awarded the top prize, beating many current affair shows created by larger providers. The judges praised the stories covered and the perspectives given. “The fact that a small team has been able to pull something off to this standard is really impressive,” they said.
Silver: The Intelligence
Bronze: Interconnected Voices
Best Daily Podcast (supported by Spotify) – The Intelligence
The podcast by the weekly newspaper The Economist mixes captivating storytelling and immersive sound to cover an important issue in only twenty minutes. The judges said that this mixture “adds depth to the reporting heard.”
Silver: The Santa Daily
Best Documentary Podcast – VENT Documentaries
This partnership between VICE UK and the London Borough of Brent consists of young people being given microphones and asked to report on the stories that matter to them. The judges were impressed that it amplified voices and perspectives usually ignored by more mainstream outlets. “The host displays incisive journalistic skills which disarm the interviewees and enlighten the listeners,” they added.
Silver: My Mother’s Murder
Bronze: The Secrets In Us
Best Entertainment Podcast (supported by Amazon Music) – Stars In Your Ears
An interview podcast hosted by Spitting Image impressionist Jess Robinson, came out top in a fiercely competitive category. A lot was down to the host Robinson herself. “It’s clear that the host spends every second on this podcast having fun with a total commitment of creativity, energy and ambition to the podcast from all involved,” they said. “It was topped off with outstanding production values that exemplify what is possible in the very best entertainment podcasts.”
Silver: James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds
Bronze: A Gay and a NonGay
Best Family Podcast – Maddie’s Sound Explorers
This podcast features Maddie Moate exploring the sounds many of us hear every day (from the sound of rain to cats purring), followed by interviews with an expert who deals with that sound every day. And at the end of each episode Maddie creates a song featuring the sound. The judges were seriously impressed: “The show demonstrates incredible editing, fabulous soundscape, an artful touch that created a beautiful, crazy symphony for the ears.”
Silver: History Story Time
Bronze: World Wise Web
Best Fiction Podcast – This Thing of Darkness
This tense fictional BBC Radio 4 drama series explores a victim’s family coming to terms with a murder, as well as the perpetrators who committed the crime. Its emphasis is how the impact of a crime can be life changing and life lasting. “Although it’s a hard listen, it’s a powerful and disturbing podcast that speaks to the complexity and contradiction of human existence and relationships,” the judges said. “It is an illuminating and worthwhile listen.”
Silver: Cassie and Corey
Best International Podcast (supported by Podfront UK) – Revisionist History
This American podcast features the author and thinker Malcolm Gladwell revisiting a period of history that he thinks has been misunderstood. “Revisionist History is storytelling at its finest,” said our judges. “Every line earns its place and all the speakers remind us that we are all connected through our past, revealed through each unfolding narrative.”
Silver: Bunga Bunga
Bronze: How’s Work? with Esther Perel
Best Interview Podcast (supported by Podbible) – Dead Honest
This podcast by George Vestey features interviews with those who deal with the dead and dying, from chaplains who support train drivers on our railways, to police divers who recover bodies from seas. The judges said that in a fiercely competitive category, this series stood out because of its sensitivity and care given. “The interviews were so varied, so authentic, and tackled very dark subjects that most of us hope we will never have to face. The host was never afraid to ask difficult questions with genuine interest.”
Silver: Masala Podcast
Bronze: Today in Focus
Best Lockdown Podcast (supported by Amazon Music) – Stolen Goodbyes
Presented by journalist Karen Rice, this series documents the pain and loss of losing someone to covid, through conversations with a relative or friend of someone who has. The judges said that it was a touching and heartfelt production that gave a voice to the statistics of lives lost you often see listed in news headlines.
Silver: BBC Your Work, Your Money
Best New Podcast (supported by Audible) – Field Recordings
This podcast features uninterrupted nature recordings from all over the UK. The judges said that the podcast was highly unique and “arrived at exactly the right time, transporting listeners and immersing them in outdoor sounds just as they were confined to their homes.” They also praised the production and atmosphere.
Silver: Prison Bag
Bronze: Growing up with Gal-Dem
Best Radio Podcast (supported by DTS AutoStage) – The Skewer
This podcast cannot be described easily. In its most simplest form, it is a surreal take on the week’s news from a rich re-editing of the week’s news by the comedian Jon Holmes. The judges described it as “a breathtaking, stop-what-you’re-doing show that’s equal parts hilarious and nightmarish, contemporaneous and timeless.”
Silver: Homeschool History
Best Sex & Relationships Podcast – Tough Talks from Hits Radio Pride
This podcast by the commercial broadcaster Hits Radio Pride features members from the LGBTQ+ community talking about a tough conversation they have had with someone else in their past, touching on themes of gender, sexuality and identity. The judges praised its emotional and human connection. They also said that the series “exemplified creativity through a fresh format.”
Silver: Masala Podcast
Bronze: Brown Girls Do It Too
Smartest Podcast (supported by Podfollow) – VENT Documentaries
A second win for the podcast partnership between London Borough of Brent and VICE UK. “As well as being original, compelling and creatively produced, this podcast has empowered a group of young people with the skills and confidence needed to become the next generation of audio producers,” the judges said.
Silver: Peter 2.0
Bronze: Maddie’s Sound Explorers
Best Sport Podcast – GIANT – A Spotify Original
This Spotify Original football podcast hosted by Owen Blackhurst was described by the judges as being “head, shoulders and the hand of Maradona above the others.” In particular, they said that the show’s love of football and its culture shined through.
Silver: The High Performance Podcast
Bronze: F1: Beyond The Grid
Best True Crime Podcast – Who Killed CJ Davis?
This investigative series by The Times journalist John Simpson looked into the circumstances surrounding the killing of 14 year old CJ Davis, who lived in Newham, East London. The judges said that this was a genre that changed perceptions of what a true crime podcast series could be. They said that it was “a remarkably personal investigation into an all too familiar story – adding in the impact on the loved ones of the people involved, and highlighting the devastation of every event of this kind.”
Silver: Hometown: A Killing
Bronze: Hope High
Best Wellbeing Podcast – Discovering Dementia
After her mother’s diagnosis of dementia, the broadcaster Penny Bell created this podcast series for those who are also going through similar. It was praised by the judges for providing a vital resource and for shining a light on something that is often a lonely experience. “We haven’t heard this kind of show anywhere else,” they said.
Silver: How Did We Get Here?
Bronze: Cassie & Corey
Best Podcast Network – Economist Radio
This category does not only judge podcast content, but also looks at business models that these podcast companies operate within. Economist Radio, who make podcasts for The Economist weekly newspaper, were awarded the top prize. The judges praised how central their podcasting is to their editorial and business operation.
Silver: Fun Kids
Bronze: Plosive Productions
Best Welsh Podcast – Dewr
This mental health podcast came top overall. The judges said that “the presenter skilfully interviewed her guests about their personal, challenging and often difficult and personal stories. She allowed the conversations to flow naturally and organically – and knew when to intervene and share and when to keep quiet; a rare skill.”
Silver: Gwrachod Heddiw
Spotlight Award (supported by Global) – Grounded With Louis Theroux
This award celebrates podcasts doing excellent things with massive audiences. The award went to Louis Theroux, with his BBC Sounds interview series that first launched over lockdown. The judges said that the series “creates very impactful conversations on often crucial topics.”
Silver: The YUNGBLUD Podcast
Bronze: French & Saunders: Titting About
Bullseye Podcast (supported by Global) – SomeFamilies
This award celebrates smaller shows that are meeting and exceeding audience’s needs. The award was given to SomeFamilies, an LGBTQ+ parenting podcast. “What impresses most about the presenters is just how eloquent they are,” the judges said.
Silver: The YUNGBLUD Podcast
Bronze: French & Saunders: Titting About
Creativity Podcast (supported by Audible) – Interconnected Voices
This podcast amplifies political commentary and news analysis from underrepresented voices in British media. The judges said that the podcast was a “very worthy gold winner” for its depth in its political reporting and handling of important issues.
Bronze: The Power of Sound
And finally … Podcast of the Year (supported by Sony Music’s Fourth Floor Creative) – VENT DocumentariesThe winner of Best Documentary and Smartest Podcast were also awarded the British Podcast Awards most coveted prize, the Podcast of the Year award. This partnership between VICE UK and the London Borough of Brent features young people being asked to report on the stories they want, covering broad topics on identity, love and justice.