The week’s news has been dominated by COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) taking place in Glasgow. And as you would expect, there has been a lot of podcasts examining whether any of the pledges and commitments made by various world leaders will actually make a difference to our changing climate (Greta Thunberg doesn’t seem to think so, tweeting that COP26 has been “a two week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.”) 

The Guardian’s Science Weekly is out daily during the conference, with recent episodes investigating whether we are really saying goodbye to coal, as well analysing new commitments to protect the world’s forests. Scottish audio network The Big Light are also reporting from inside the conference with their own podcast, COP 26 Daily, featuring interviews with Al Gore and Ed Miliband.

New Scientist Weekly has a special episode from what they call “the world’s most consequential climate meeting in a generation,” with their latest episode looking at plans to reduce harmful methane emissions. Local Zero: COP26 Diaries are providing an insider’s view to the conference, with reports and takeouts from Glasgow-based researchers Dr Matt Hannon and Dr Rebecca Ford.

Our Planet Now: COP26 features conference interviews from all across the BBC in one easy feed. So far there are episodes on why the leaders of China and Russia haven’t turned up and how much of a difference COP26 can make to the climate crisis. And the children’s radio station Fun Kids have launched Climate Heroes, full of facts about climate change and ways they can help. There’s also three audio series on climate to get stuck into: comedy drama King Frank and the Knights of the Eco Quest, oceanic adventure Marina Ventura and Chemistry and Climate Change.

NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Whistle Through The ShamrocksWhen Nicola Coughlan isn’t filming a new series of the costume drama Bridgerton or the much anticipated third series or hilarious comedy Derry Girls, or appearing as a guest judge on the third series of Drag Race UK, she has been writing and starring a new comedy podcast (and occasional musical) with playwright Camilla Whitehill. How does she find the time?! No idea, but this new weekly series doesn’t feel rushed. 

In fact this new six part series, which makes fun of the crude stereotypes and cliches that have been made about rural Ireland over the years, is so well observed and entertaining because you can tell that it has been the result of years in the making, with them both coming up with the concept 12 years ago . It also has a ridiculously notable cast, including Susan Wokoma, Stephanie Beatriz, Jonathan Van Ness and Ben Miller (oh and Andrew Scott, apparently … they keep promising him but he hasn’t turned up yet). 

Car CrashA weekly tradition for many of us is reading The Guardian’s Blind Date column and trying to work out what each person on the date really means behind their pleasant comments about each other.

Sometimes a date goes so historically good (or bad) that it ends up going viral on the internet. This is the premise of this well observed new sitcom on Audible, written by Eddie Robson and executive produced by Sara Pascoe. Grace (Aimee Lee Wood from Sex Education) and Elliot (Alfred Enoch from the Harry Potter films) go on a date so disastrous that it ends up trending on Twitter, and makes them minor celebrities. The heart of the piece is about two people who, no matter how hard they try, can’t seem to get away from each other. The sitcom also humorously taps into the curiosity gap many of us have – what do other people think of us?

Spotify Podcast of the Week: JoJo on The Way We Are with Munroe Bergdorf – Activist, writer and advocate for marginalised communities Munroe Bergdorf continues to explore real and raw conversations with her guests. In this week’s episode, noughties icon JoJo speaks to Munroe about her breakout success at 13, how she subsequently survived a very turbulent time and the most empowering decision she ever made.

The Way We Are with Munroe Bergdorf is a Spotify original podcast, produced by Mags Creative. Previous guests include Skin, Jameela Jamil, Lawrence Cheney and Hayley Kiyoko, and new episodes are out every Monday.

The Log Books – This week marked the return of the third (and final) series of the British Podcast Award-winning podcast The Log Books, which delves into LGBTQIA+ history using the handwritten archives at the charity phone advice line Switchboard. Their second series looked at the 1980s, which of course featured the devastating consequences of the AIDS epidemic and the stigma caused by the harmful education policy Section 28. 

This new series now moves into the 1990s, looking at how the community rallied round after the Admiral Duncan nail bombing, the changing improving representation of trans lives in this area and the groundbreaking same sex kisses in Brookside and Queer as Folk. The podcast is so rich not only because of the use of archive material and anecdotes, but also how it explores the differences from then to nope. The first episode looks at how the introduction of the internet connected many LGBTQIA+ people for the very first time.

Working ItI know that mentioning work on a Sunday is not always the best idea (I’ve just realised me talking about work is the written version of the Antiques Roadshow theme playing on the television) but this is an interesting new podcast about work from the Financial Times. It looks at how the last 18 months have not only changed where we work, but also our expectations on what the workplace should be as many of us start to return. It also looks at new trends companies are starting to throw at us, such as meditation and fitness apps, and whether they actually make a difference to our wellbeing and combating burnout.

Finally, there’s been a bit of discussion online lately about whether the British Podcast Awards 2022 should include a Climate and Environment category. Freelance audio journalist Kate Taylor is asking podcasters to share their views on the topic, to work out whether there is enough demand for a new category. All you need to do is fill in the form here with your thoughts.

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Categories: Weekly Picks

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