The British Podcast Awards (powered by Amazon Music) took place last Saturday. In last week’s newsletter we unveiled all of the winners. Let’s take a closer look at some of the special awards handed out at the ceremony.
The Gold Award went to Olly Man and Helen Zaltzman in recognition for Answer Me This!, a podcast where they answer questions on interesting topics sent in by the general public. The podcast, coming to an end after fifteen years and 400 episodes, has helped pave the way for so many others, proving that you can make a living from podcasting from your living room. “We used to send each other CDs of our shows so we could edit them in the post,” said Olly whilst accepting the award. “That is how long we have been going.”
The Podcast of the Year (supported by Sony Music) went to VENT Documentaries, a partnership between VICE UK and the London Borough of Brent. The judges praised the podcast for giving opportunities to young people whilst giving us fresh insight into the issues they care about. Accepting the award audio storyteller Moeed Majeed said “As a guy from Brent it was my intention that we get as much inclusivity as possible, to give these young people a platform.”
True crime podcast RedHanded was the winner of the Listeners Award (supported by BBC Sounds), the award voted by Great British Podcast subscribers and members of the public. Hannah Maguire said: “I was so convinced we wouldn’t pull this off that I agreed to get a listener’s name tattooed on my body if we did, so now I have to get a tattoo tomorrow.”
And finally, Spotify Podcast Champion 2021 went to Fearne Cotton for her dedication in having heartfelt, open conversations about mental health for her Happy Place, as well demonstrating the potential of podcasting with expansions into festivals, books and more. “Making this podcast is not only the greatest joy, but it has helped me so much,” Cotton said. “It has been a deeply healing process and it has helped me be more honest and open about my own mental health and it still is.”
I’ve written more about some winners at the bottom of the newsletter, so just scroll down to see them. To see the full list of winners, head to the British Podcast Awards website.
GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- Ed Sheeran and his manager Stuart Camp are guests on the podcast Normal Not Normal, a podcast hosted by James and Oliver Phelps (aka. Fred and George Wesley from Harry Potter).
- Mae Martin is the latest guest on Comfort Eating with Grace Dent.
- A new series of The Kindness Economy, a podcast where Mary Portas speaks to business leaders hoping to not just make a profit but do some good to the community as well, speaks to Rosie Brown, the head of the frozen food company Cook. The company has donated two million meals to children, pays its staff the living wage and also employs ex-offenders.
- Forces of Nature, a WWF podcast where environmentalists talk about what they have learnt about the planet over their career, has Martin Palmer on this week talking about his work with HRH Prince Philip throughout his life.
- The Failing Writers Podcast this week speaks to author Caimh McDonnell chats about his work and the success of his book “The Stranger Times” and reveals details of a TV adaptation of one of his other books.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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A Thorough Examination – Dr Chris and Dr Xand Van Tullekin are two of the most recognisable doctors (and presenters) in the UK. For you see as well as being both trustworthy and entertaining presenters, they are both identical twins. In their new podcast, they talk frankly about one thing that makes them different.
“Xand and I have a bigger difference in terms of our weights than any other pair of identical twins studied in the UK,” says Dr Chris. This has been a concern as Xand has a COVID induced heart problem and in the last year alone, has had his heart shocked into a normal rhythm in hospital four times.
Why the weight difference? A lot of it is down to Ultra Processed Foods (or UPFs for short), ingredients you won’t find in a normal kitchen. They are commonly found in takeaway meals, but can also be found in healthy snacks and cereals. In fact, UPFs are technically not even food. Rather, it is a formulation of chemicals. “It’s telling your body a nutritional lie,” says Chris. “It’s saying ‘this is a rich, meaty food when actually it’s just powdered potato and vegetable oil.”
This series talks about the history of modern processed food and taste, as well as the complexity of weight loss and management. As you would expect from them, it’s good.
Building Queertopia – An interesting new way to explore LGBTQIA+ issues, where singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes and Shane Jenek (aka. drag star Courtney Act) ask queer guests for one idea that would improve their own life and the lives of others.
Several episodes are out so far. The broadcaster Riyadh Khalaf suggested a ban on restrictive gender norms (“it gets in the way of fun, freedom and authentic life”). Team GB rower Kyra Edwards suggested that same sex couples could have babies (“not that genetic babies are any better, but part of the stigma of same sex couples comes along with people saying that it isn’t natural, or ‘god didn’t make it this way’ … I feel that is a lot where the stigma comes from.”) Meanwhile, comedian Suzi Ruffell came up with an idea short but sweet: “don’t be a dick.”
Spotify Podcast of the Week – The Takedown is a 2-part story streaming on Spotify’s Crime Show that starts off like Rocky, and ends up like Scarface. It tells the tale of Lee Murray, a promising UFC fighter who masterminded one of the biggest and most audacious heists in history. The Takedown was reported by Gimlet Media’s Matthew Nelson (Mogul, We Came to Win) and mashes up the feel of a prestige audio documentary with the amphetamine-soaked energy of a Guy Ritchie movie. Crime Show is exclusively available to listen to on Spotify.
Imposters – This new Telegraph podcast talks about a subject many of us experience time and time again throughout our lives: imposter syndrome; the feeling that someone is going to expose us as frauds. Although this can be a crippling and unending experience for many, at least this podcast highlights that it affects way more people than you might expect, even those flying at the top of their careers. Claire Cohen speaks to those who feel like an imposter in their lives and what tips and tricks they would advise.
June Sarpong, the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity, was their latest guest: “Tell me if your imposter syndrome is the same. Mine is weird. It’s not that I don’t believe I can do whatever it is, I know I am capable. It is that I don’t believe I deserve it, or that I am truly worthy of it. I am so impressed by how, particularly men, they have such a sense of entitlement. I would love to have that.”
Instant Genius – Finally, I have always been a big fan of podcasts that try to make you smarter in a concise way. BBC Science Focus magazine has a podcast where they get some of the leading scientific and mathematical minds to explain their work and ideas in the simplest way they can and in only 30 minutes or less.
There’s an episode on how forensic investigations find the right culprit, an episode on what we don’t know about the Big Bang. An interesting new feature are additional episodes, available at a small cost through Apple Podcast subscriptions, for those who are engaged in the specialist interviews and want that little bit extra. A neat idea.
A couple more British Podcast Award highlights to mention before we go.
The Spotlight Award, supported by Global, went to Grounded with Louis Theroux. This award celebrates podcasts that have big audiences and consistently do good things. Louis Theroux said: “We decided to do a whole new concept in broadcasting called the interview, where one person talked to another person to elicit information and funny anecdotes and a shared sense of connection.”The Bullseye Award, also supported by Global, went to Some Families, an LGBTQ+ parenting and families podcast. The award celebrates smaller podcasts that are exceeding audience expectations. Lotte Jeffs said: “There are still 69 places in the world where it is illegal to be gay, let alone think about starting a family with the person you love. We still really have a long way to go.”