What surprises me is that whenever a national lockdown is announced, podcasts that celebrate the great outdoors grow massively in popularity. It might seem contradictory, but actually it makes sense. We all want to hear something like nature to us feel grounded and normal, especially at a time when it can feel anything but.

A podcast that perfectly captures this is The Stubborn Light of Things, a podcast by Melissa Harrison. Launched last year, episodes mostly consist of Harrison walking in the countryside near her house in Suffolk, her microphone capturing the soundscape around her. It’s one of those podcasts that are essential to hear through headphones.

Another good listen is the BBC Countryfile Magazine podcast, which is soon returning for a new series. Upcoming episodes will celebrate the wonders of water, including a trip down the River Seven to chase its tidal wave, as well as a nature trip through the canals in Manchester. Weirdly, I find myself more immersed listening to podcast episodes exploring nature like this than if I was watching the same features on television.

Podcasts about the great outdoors are springing up in light of the lockdown too. Fantasy Holidays in a Time of COVID is exactly that, where contributors give a short monologue of an imaginary experience abroad or talk about a trip they want to take when this is all over. Each episode is only five minutes a piece too.

Remember, there’s also a great deal of podcasts that explore meditation and mindfulness, as well as ensuring a good night sleep. We’ll be mentioning a few of those podcasts in next week’s newsletter.


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Thank You NextInspired by the song by Ariana Grande, this podcast tries to find the positive in breakups. Particularly, acknowledging the good things that happened in relationships before the breakup happened, as well as the lessons we can take from the breakups that can help us move forward. If you’re not currently going through a breakup, there’s a lot of interesting chat and features too about friendships, families, work politics and frenemies, all presented with honesty and a fresh feel by the show’s hosts: Raj Pander and Hardeep Dhadda.

I’m Not A Monster – This podcast series has been in the making for four years, so thankfully all the work has paid off by how many people have been listening and recommending it in recent weeks. Hosted by Josh Baker, this collaboration between the BBC’s Panorama and PBS’ FRONTLINE investigates an American family who became wrapped up at the heart of the ISIS caliphate in Syria. Sam Sally and her son claim that she was tricked into heading into Syria by her husband, but others say that she actually went willingly. Accounts vary dramatically according to who you hear from and this podcast tries to work out the truth. Twenty minute episodes make it a completely bingeable series.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Taking a moment—or two—for yourself is especially important these days. With that in mind, Spotify put together Daily Wellness, a personalised mix of grounding motivational podcasts and feel-good music that can help you find positivity, mindfulness, or peace throughout your day. The playlist has been up and running since April 2020 and in the spirit of New Year, New You, we’ve just added daily content from Dr Rupy Aujla of Doctor’s Kitchen fame, as well as episodes from the running podcast Well Far. You can listen to the playlist from the personalised Made for You tab in Spotify – and whilst you’re there, why not give Your Daily Drive a go too?

Period Power – Even though the world of podcasting can feel increasingly samey due to the arrival of huge brands and celebrity interviews, there are still new podcasts that manage to provide something essential to audiences with tips and resources that you might not be able to easily find elsewhere. Maisie Hill, an author and women’s health expert, is behind this new podcast aimed at those who want to get a handle on their menstrual and sexual health issues. A highlight is its straightforward information and lack of jargon.

My Wardrobe Malfunction – Finally, even though lockdown has resulted in many of us  wearing not much more than a dressing gown and slippers whilst we work in front of our laptops, we all have an important and unique relationship with the clothes we wear. In this podcast series Susanna Constantine, known from the iconic nineties show Trinny & Susannah, interviews celebrities about their clothes and their fashion high and lows. The guests have been a really good mix too: Tan France, Nile Rodgers, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas and Skin. Ahead of a new series, there’s a best-of episode featuring the 39 guests chosen so far.

It’s always good to hear news of a podcast that has made a transition to television. A podcast that has been given a pilot by the BBC is The Science(ish) of … Stranger Things, based on the podcast Science(ish). Hosted by the comedian Sophie Ducker, quantum physicist Dr Michael Brooks and broadcaster Rick Edwards, the TV pilot explores how much of the science in Stranger Things could exist in real life.

Thanks so much for reading. See you next week.

Categories: Weekly Picks