Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo talks London with celebrity guests, John O’Farrell and Angela Barnes discuss history, Tim Samuels looks at different wellness trends and tries to get to the truth and The Bunker gives us a podcast on politics.

I am so relieved to say this… welcome to February. 

Boy, that was a long month wasn’t it? Although having said that, my bank account still thinks it is January.

Anyway, some news. The British Podcast Awards are now accepting entries for their next ceremony this May. If you have a British podcast, now is the time to submit your clips!

Winning a British Podcast Award can really help a podcast reach new audiences and greater recognition. Previous BPA winners include now household names such as Have You Heard George’s Podcast? (by George the Poet, now with a second series on BBC Sounds), Brexitcast, Dear Joan and Jericha, Project Pleasureand This Paranormal Life. There are new categories too this year to reflect changing tastes, such as a Best Daily Podcast award.

If you have a podcast and you know somebody who might be interested to enter, get them to head to the British Podcast Awards website for more information.

This City with Clara Amfo – The Radio 1 DJ interviews well-known names such as Mo The Comedian and Ncuti Gatwa from Sex Education about their relationship with London and their favourite places to visit. 

This is a podcast about London, but don’t be put off if you are fed up at the amount of Londoncentric there currently is. What makes this podcast a particular joy is the number of times the podcast goes into a rabbit hole and ends up being about something completely unexpected and niche. I was able to listen to a preview of a forthcoming episode featuring Louis Theroux and the episode ended up becoming a highly enjoyable and surprisingly extensive quirky chat about Theroux’s cycling habits. All podcasts should come with a good premise, but maybe there is something other podcasts can learn about steering off from time to time.

We Are History – John O’Farrell and Angela Barnes present a podcast featuring geeky facts on topics you might or might not have geeked out on before. Topics such as the Profumo Scandal (airing not long after the finale of the Christine Keeler BBC drama), Vlad the Impaler (airing not long after that BBC drama about Dracula) and the 1975 Common Market Referendum (I don’t have to explain this one). And I love these geeky facts. In one episode they look at the Stasi secret police in East Germany during the Cold War and talked about how the secret police loved to infiltrate demonstrations for snooping. However, they enjoyed doing this so much that demonstrations would end up being far bigger as a result, as so the protestors were in fact of Stasi operators. This is a good listen for those between series of You’re Dead to Me, the history podcast presented by Greg Jenner.

All Hail Kale – So many different companies and products are jumping on the wellness trend at the moment that it risks making something that is was supposed to be good for us actually quite misleading. Journalist Tim Samuels looks at different wellness trends and tries to get to the truth, truths such as…. can you raise your child to be vegan? How much exercise does our bodies actually want? I particularly liked an episode that looked into how fit physically and mentally you have to be to be a footballer, going behind the scenes of Manchester City women’s team. After carb-loading the day before a match at breakfast, some team members are so full that they may go back to sleep for a bit. But before you get envious, then you learn that they have ice baths and freezing chamber therapy, usually daily. I’ll pass.

The Bunker – A trend of 2020 appears to be spin-off podcasts. I mean, only last week Reasons to be Cheerful by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd announced a spin-off podcast featuring interviews with non-fiction authors. Now the popular Remaniacs podcast has announced their own, looking at politics a bit more generally than their main one and trying not to mention Brexit, all in a breezy and irrelevant style. The names behind the mics? Ian DuntDorian LynskeyAlex Andreou and Naomi Smith. New episodes will be out by every Wednesday lunchtime.

If there is a podcast that you think this newsletter should be looking at, let us know and it might feature in a forthcoming newsletter.

And here are some big guests on podcasts this week…
On The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast, Armando Iannuci joins to talk about modern politics and satire (his David Copperfield film is out at the moment, along with Avenue 5).

George Ezra & Friends returned at the end of last month with a special interview with Shania Twain. Where Did It All Go Right, a podcast about their creative careers has returned with Flo & Joan, aka. sisters Nicola and Rosie Dempsey. And So Lucky with Dawn O’Porter’s latest episode is with David Haggard from Back to Life. If you have a podcast, tell us about your upcoming guests! Just fill in this form.

And in case you are in the mood for more podcasts, I was back on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Podcast Radio Hour this week with Amanda Litherland. As well as a round-up of podcasts coming out this month, we also talk to Steve Bland about The Rachael Bland New Podcast Award (which closes to entries on the 4th February).

Have a great week (remember…. it is February, be good to yourself)

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