And we are now in October! Like me, I hope you thought “oh my word it’s already by October?” followed by “why the hell hasn’t this year finished already?!

Earlier in the year in this newsletter we talked about LaunchPod. It was the UK’s first ever podcast talent competition, a collaboration between the production company Listen and the podcast company Acast. Thousands of podcast ideas were submitted, with the winners being offered their own professional podcast series.

Now, the winning podcast has now been released. It’s a moving, personal series called On Things We Left Behind, made by Surer and Saredo Mohamed. The podcast looks into what it is like to be a war refugee and leave your country because of conflict, and then return and rebuild your life there after conflict ends. It’s been praised not only for its original topic, but for providing a thoughtful space for those who have experienced this heartbreaking situation.

Their most recent episode, The Architect, focuses on their mother Shurki Aden Camey. She had to flee Mogadishu after civil war broke out and is now involved in rebuilding the city she once left. You can start with this episode, but it’s also worth going back to the very start of the series.

OTHER BIG GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK INCLUDE:

  • Denise Lewis is a recent guest on the excellent The Mid•Point with Gabby Logan.
  • Brexit Ready, a new podcast that looks at how Brexit will affect British business, has launched their first episode this week. They speak to Sir William Sargent from Framestore (they do the visual effects for Harry potter) about how best to secure talent post-Brexit.
  • The Game Changers, a British Podcast Awards Bronze winning podcast that celebrates trailblazing women in sport, has recently returned for a new series. Recent guests have included BBC sport broadcaster Eleanor OldroydDame Sarah Storeyand former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent.
  • If you miss Peston on ITV on Wednesdays, you can listen to it as a podcast. The latest episode featured First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss and the Labour MP Rupa Huq

If you have heard a good guest, or know of an interesting podcast initiative or event, let us know by filling in this form and it might get featured in an upcoming edition of this newsletter.

Our podcast picks for the week ahead:

The Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq– Last year David Dimbleby returned to audio with an Audible podcast series looking into the business practices of Rupert Murdoch, called The Sun King (£). Now he’s released a new series (available for free), in eight parts, looking into why the invasion of Iraq took place, a war which resulted in the deaths of up to 250,000 Iraqis as well as countless British and American soldiers. In particular, he examines the failures in the lead-up to war, such as the failure in intelligence that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

Just like The Sun King, he expertly links events from a couple of decades ago in trying to explain the situations that we find ourselves in today. “I’m recording this in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, with governments around the world under fire for ignoring the advice of scientists and medical experts” Dimbleby says near the start of the first episode. “But when, perhaps if it ends, we’ll hear the voices of those who believe they could have stopped it in its tracks if only they had been listened to at the time, if only they had been trusted. It’s the same with the Iraq War. There were people desperately trying to tell a different story, trying to change the course of history before it was too late.” It is an excellent series and well worth your time.

Who Am I This Time? With David Morrissey – This interview series, which specifically looks at the process of acting, has a really great interview with David Harewood MBE this week. The acclaimed actor told an unexpectedly moving story about how the unexpected death of a close friend knocked himself and his career for nearly a year: “It’s the first thing that’s ever broken me. I mean really, broken me. I couldn’t act,” he said. “We need an enormous bit of confidence to do what we do and I lost it. I walked out of auditions, I was nervous and suddenly I lost my confidence.

“I didn’t work for nine months, kind of by choice. Everything just went away from me. When I started to get back into it I … I went for an audition for Rev. I got halfway through the audition and I was pouring with sweat … and I walked out. I really thought my career was in the bin.” He then got a call from his agent, offering an interesting role, which he turned down: “I’m done. I think I’m done,” he told him.

His agent kept persisting, eventually convincing him to do an audition on his phone, which he reluctantly did. Several weeks later he got the role, in Homeland, now regarded as one of his most well-known and celebrated roles. It was a role that he was offered on the day of his late friend’s birthday. Proof, if anything, that you don’t know what brightness can come after a dark moment. 

The latest addition to Spotify’s slate of Originals and Exclusives is JaackMaate’s Happy Hour, which became a Spotify Exclusive last week. This week’s episode features comedian Jack Whitehall who joins Jaack and Stevie to chat about his career, how he got started in comedy, meal deals and Jack also answers listeners’ Twitter questions. Episodes drop every Thursday, exclusively on Spotify. 
[Chosen by Spotify]

Coming In From The Cold – This is a good documentary series by talkSPORT, narrated by Jessica Creighton, which tries here to provide the definitive history of Black footballers in the men’s football. “From the dark days of stadium wide monkey chanting and far-right death threats aimed at Black players, to players irrespective of race kneeling in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, yes the game has come a long way,” says Jessica, “but an epic journey still awaits.” There’s been a Black presence in professional football right from the sport’s earliest years, with the first episode looking at Arthur Wharton, a goalkeeper who was considered to be one of the country’s best, right back in the 1800s.

Talking Derry Girls – Finally, if you are a fan of Derry Girls, whilst you are waiting for the third series there’s this excellent fan podcast to listen to. It’s hosted by Marie-LouisePauline and Jeanine, who are all from the area the show is set. And as the sitcom is much loved for all of its nods and references to growing up Derry, in each episode they re-watch and pick it apart, whilst talking about how it relates to their own experiences. It’s warm and full of heart. Lisa McGee, the show’s writer said “it uses Derry Girls as a spine but it’s really just three close female friends talking about their experiences of the Troubles and it’s hilarious…” She’s right, you know.

We always like hearing about your suggestions. All you need to do is let us know your favourite by filling in this simple form.

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