If you’re looking for some podcast distractions for the next week, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve counted them: there’s 20 podcasts mentioned in this newsletter alone.

The good news is that many popular British podcasts released new episodes this week, from Sue Perkins: An Hour or so with… to The Gaby Roslin Podcast and Reasons to be Cheerful.

Dan Snow’s History Hit has released two episodes in light of the insurrection at The Capitol. One of the episodes looks at the history of insurrections, as this hasn’t been the first. There’s also one with his dad Peter Snow, looking at the British looting and insurrection of the Capitol back in 1814.

Fortunately… with Fi and Jane is back with new episodes too, which are also going to be having an airing on BBC Radio 4 each week. In their latest episode they spoke to Fiona Bruce about how newsreaders have the mental stamina to report difficult stories. They also coined this mantra that anyone can follow if they are having to record anything at home at the moment: “If the room smells good, the podcast won’t stink.”

GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Into The Grey Zone – We constantly hear stories about disinformation and cyber attacks in the news, but who are behind them and what purpose do they serve? In this timely and informative new Sky News podcast, presented by Foreign Editor Deborah Haynes, you’ll learn how much of it is part of a new type of warfare, one where a country can undermine and attack another without laying boots on the ground. It’s not war, it’s not peace. It’s somewhere in the middle (hence the ‘grey zone’).

It can also mean more than one thing at once. The poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018 is one such example of the ‘the grey zone’, but it was also accompanied with a misinformation campaign by state TV and on social media, with the intention to deceive and convince people that the official account was false. Such ‘grey zone’ tactics can even be present in the world of business, from shutting down companies that countries rely heavily on, to controlling essential energy supply or sabotaging infrastructure and kit with spyware.

Haynes does a great job at explaining its causes, but also its possible consequences. “The risk of that activity being misunderstood or escalation occurring as a consequence of it, that ends up lighting a fuse, is the thing that is most worrying,” Army General Sir Nicholas Carter told Haynes. “If you look back over history, it is those moments of miscalculation that often precipitate what ends up being an uncontrollable state of war.” 

Power: The MaxwellsA podcast looking at the life of Ghislaine Maxwell presented by the investigative journalist John Sweeney shot up the podcast charts in the last few weeks (with a TV adaptation of the series on the way too). 

Now there’s another podcast on Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently awaiting trial in relation to charges of sex trafficking (charges that she denies). This one looks more at her father’s media empire, Robert Maxwell, who at one time included the Daily Mirror and Macmillan Publishers. It is put together by the same people behind the acclaimed podcasts Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq and The Sun King and it presented by investigative journalist Tara Palmeri. Whilst both podcasts focus on the same person, each of them focus on a different part of the Maxwell timeline, so you don’t feel like you are retreading your steps that much.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: If you’re looking for a new podcast to add to your rotation of shows and you haven’t yet discovered The Receipts Podcast, there’s absolutely no better time to get to start listening. Audrey, Tolly and Milena host a fun, honest podcast where absolutely nothing is off topic – from relationships to situationships to everyday life experiences, you can expect unadulterated girl talk with no filter. There are now 112 episodes, along with bonus Your Receipts episodes, to get through – the podcast is exclusively on Spotify and you can listen here.

Broccoli Book ClubThere’s no time like the present to get stuck into a new book. This new series, by the same people who brought you Money 101 and Your Broccoli Weekly, looks at books with challenging and unfamiliar topics, to encourage discussion and understanding. The first book looks at “What Have I Done?,” a candid memoir by Laura Dockrill that looks at her own account postpartum psychosis, which can include confusion, hallucinations and being out of character. Joining host Diyora Shadijanova is Freddy McConnell and Tony Phillips.

The Graham Norton Show The chat show host made the radio show switch from BBC Radio 2 to Virgin Radio UK earlier this month. With that comes the launch of a new weekly podcast which, as you might expect, it’s brim full of guests. There’s also ‘Graham’s Guide,’ a technically legally completely different yet eerily similar feature to ‘Grill Graham,’ even featuring Graham’s old Radio 2 side-kick, Maria McErlane. 

Finally, these are very anxiety inducing times (trust me, I know) so before we go here’s some quick podcasts that can help ease runaway minds. Get Sleepy does exactly what it says on the tin, with long winding and meandering stories to prep you for the world of sleep. Sleep Cove, is a bit more specific, using sleep meditations and hypnosis designed to help you reach any goal that you might have. 

If you want to stay awake, there’s The Richard Nicholls Podcast. He specialises in personal development, with tips on how to be grateful and support others experiencing depression in such uneasy times.

Remember, little changes make a big difference. Last Friday in London was the last morning where the sun rose after 8am. From this Friday, it’ll be sunset after 4.30pm each day too. Each day is getting just that little bit brighter.

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