MISSING CRYPTOQUEEN ALERT! In last week’s newsletter we mentioned that a new episode of the smash hit investigations series The Missing Cryptoqueen was on the way. Now, after a ten month wait, the ninth episode of the series by Jamie Bartlett and Georgia Catt has just dropped.

The investigation follows the strange disappearance of Dr Ruja Ignatov in 2017, the founder of the cryptocurrency OneCoin. The company promised customers that investing their money into their company and her currency would make them richer than their wildest dreams. Yet, the product never launched, thousands were left out of pocket and Ignatov suddenly disappeared from view.

Part of the podcast’s appeal is not just the unexpected twist and the turns in the story, it is also how listeners tipped the presenters with what they knew, which in itself changed the podcast’s direction (a bit like how Serial did in season one). Whilst the ninth episode provides the latest twists and turns in the story, you need to listen back to the very start if you haven’t. A good summer binge.

Here are some of the guests in podcastland this week:

  • Layla Moran MP, one of the contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, is a guest on The Bunker.
  • Asma Khan, the genius behind the Indian restaurant Darjeeling Express (which was featured in an episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table) is a guest on Naked by The Future Farm.
  • Louis Theroux is the latest guest on The Joe Wicks Podcast.
  • Designing with Climate in Mind, a podcast about sustainable design, speaks to climate scientist Dr Ella Gilbert.
  • Krishna Guru-Murphy joins Fi and Jane on Fortunately.
  • The Robert Lane Creative Careers Podcast, a podcast about how people have managed to make a success in their creative careers, features BBC Radio 2 broadcaster OJ Borg. They talk about how to handle criticism and how to do the perfect radio interview, essential for those who want to get into broadcasting.

If you have heard a great guest on a podcast that you think we should mention, let us know by filling out this form.

British Podcast Awards corner (powered by Acast):

The Podcast of the Year and winner of the best Sex & Relationships podcast went to Brown Girls Do It Too. The BBC Asian Network podcast was praised by the judges for its “light, candid insights into personal experiences of sex and relationships” and how “each host is clearly thinking about how best to serve their communities.” Two of the presenters of the podcast, Rubina Pabani and Poppy Jay, recently did an interview with The Times

The winner of the best Branded Content award went to the The Penguin Podcast, which features interviews with authors about their creative process and the work that inspires them. The judges said that they were impressed by its depth and consistency: “It is such a good listen for anyone interested in books and ideas.”

Here are some other podcasts worth listening to in the next week.

Activity Quest– We’re in this surreal period, where we aren’t in lockdown but our lives cannot return to what they were. It’s also a time where ‘staycation’ means staying within the UK and not staying within our own homes, apparently. Trying to think of something to do can make your mind feel a bit foggy after so many months indoors, so this podcast by Fun Kids is worth a listen to help generate good outdoor family ideas. They give recommendations from across the UK, with recent suggestions including GoApe, the Eden Project and Edinburgh Zoo. Listen back to older episodes for good lockdown activities if you are indoors for long periods of time. That is what the podcast’s focus was during lockdown itself, but many of the tips and ideas are quite timeless.

Poppy Hillstead has Entered the Chat – “Chat rooms used to be these thriving communities on the internet and you could go on there and talk to people from all over the world. But now, I’m going to be honest, they are full of absolute weirdos.” 

This is the opening to a hilarious and at times, bafflingly surreal podcast by Poppy Hillstead, who you might recognise from Gossipmongers, the podcast where people share ‘true’ stories they’ve heard where they live. In this new series, she reads out conversations she has been having on obscure chat rooms over, with her friends reading out the other members in the conversation.

The appeal comes from the fact that Hillstead leans into the weird and surrealness, whilst seeming to never mock the very people she is talking to. At the start of the project she hoped that would contain moments that will make you think about the human experience. “Yet it’s been 100% filth. There’s no sweet moments in the slightest. It’s just, it’s grim.” Unlike Activity Quest, this podcast is absolutely not for children.

Rose & Rosie: Parental Guidance – Launching tomorrow (Monday August 10th), comedy duo, YouTubers and most importantly married couple Rose and Rosie’s most intimate adventure yet: starting a family (and a podcast!) By speaking to friends and peers who have conquered parenthood head-on, they hope to learn how to rear their roost righteously in an ever evolving social climate.

[chosen by Spotify]

Bad People – True crime is one of the most popular podcast genres, but revelling in all of the gruesome details of a real life case can often feel exploitative, so this new podcast tries to do something different.

Instead of just looking at well-known cases, it also tries to explain why people end up committing such awful acts in the first place and what it says about the human condition. In the first episode, comedian Sofie Hogan and criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw look at people who have fallen in love with serial killers currently serving time in prison. Contrary to what you think, in many cases these romances are not about the serial killer exerting control. Citing a study, Dr Shaw says that “we think of these women as being vulnerable, but perhaps and correctly, they are often the ones in control. It’s not the person who is in prison.”

“In prison you are a vulnerable population, by default. But someone on the outside, who has freedom of movement, who has the freedom to write to whoever they want, they are the ones in charge of the situation.”

Doing it Right with Pandora Sykes – I have been enjoying this podcast series by the journalist and broadcaster Pandora Sykes, one of the hosts of The High Low. There are a lot of interview series in podcasting land recently (trust me), but this one stands out to me as she specifically interviews experts in their fields and they both delve into the subject together. There’s Dotty Charles on broadcasting, Joe Lycett on consumerism, Sinéad Burke on activism. Her most recent episode features an interview with psychotherapist Julia Samuel, who spoke eloquently about comparison culture online: “What has happened with social media, particularly picture ones like Instagram, is that people put their most vulnerable, core selves out onto a platform where they are not being loved and valued for their core selves or what they are. They are being compared [with someone else], so the response back always makes you feel empty. That’s a horrible, negative cycle.”

As always, we are interested in what you have been listening to. Tell us your podcast recommendations simply by filling out this very short form.

Finally, a note of congratulations to Reasons to be Cheerful, the podcast hosted by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd. The podcast has just celebrated their 150th episode. In the special they talk about what they have learnt and play back some of their favourite moments. A good opportunity to start listening if you haven’t already.

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