Breaking down the myths and stigmas around LGBTQ+ parenting, one son’s fight for justice over his mother’s murder, a history podcast that brings together specialist experts and comedians and a podcast that delivers a unique angle on historical events…..

It’s been anxiety inducing in the news, so the podcasts I’ve chosen for this week are ones that will hopefully take your mind off it for a little bit.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing your bit to help lower the risk, mind. As an alternative to singing “Happy Birthday” whilst washing your hands, I recommend this Twitter thread of songs that also have 20 second choruses you can repeat in your head. There’s Raspberry Beret by Prince, Jolene by Dolly Parton. My personal favourite? Africa by Toto.


Here are some podcasts that I reckon are worth your time this week:

Some Families – LGBTQ+ parenting is still considered taboo by quite a  lot of people. A lot of that is down to the fact that a lot of it has been based on assumptions of what it must be like, rather than the reality. This new podcast series tries to break myths and stigma, featuring interviews and testimony from different members of the community, along with the insights from journalist Lotte Jeffs (a mum of one) and film publicist Stu Oakley (“I thought I was used to dealing with divas, until I had toddlers.”) With more than one way to become a parent, options from adoption to donor conception, each episode also provides that little bit of guidance to anyone who is interested in having a similar journey. It’s these sort of topics that podcasts manage to do so well at.

My Mother’s Murder (from Tortoise) – A four part looking at the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent investigative journalist in Malta who was murdered in 2017. She was killed by a car bomb whilst investigating corruption within the country. 

This podcast series, heartbreakingly, is presented and written by her youngest son Paul, who tells the story of his mother’s relentless and brave work, the people who may have ordered her assassination and how his mother’s death has resulted in a monumental political crisis within the country. You’ll be particularly shocked to hear about the levels of journalism suppression within Malta, suppression is at such odds to other countries in the European Union.

It must have been incredibly difficult for Paul to have told his story in this way. The result is something powerful and utterly personal. You end up hoping that, in time, justice will result in some form of peace for his family.

You’re Dead to Me – A public service announcement that the popular BBC Radio 4 history podcast has just returned for second series. Public historian Greg Jenner is joined by specialist experts and inquisitive comedians to delve right on into a historical topic usually ignored in schools, topics that you may not have given much thought until they talk about it in each episode. The real joy is when the trio gets distracted by a fact and will go down a rabbit hole on it for a considerable length of time. The first two episodes are already available to stream: one on the literary figure Mary Shelley (with literary expert Dr Colin Throsby) and Neanderthals (with archaeologist Dr Becky Wragg Sykes).

Date Fight! – At the start of this year we looked at podcasts that will be released every single day this year, not just by newspapers and radio stations, but by ordinary members of the public. I know! How exhausting! I hope they are all not regretting it.

Here’s another daily one, but it has a rather unique angle. Instead of riffing on the events of today, this podcast presented by Jake Yapp and Natt Tapley delves into the past to work out what historical event would win in a fight versus another historical event. An event that included on this date Lord Byron vs another historical anniversary featuring Leonard NimoyHarold Macmillan vs Warwick DavisGood King Wenceslas vs Lembit Opik. It’s all good fun nonsense, lasting only ten minutes an episode, which is probably ideal for them too as they’ll likely need a lie down soon.

If there is a podcast that you reckon this newsletter should be featuring each week, let us know through the form on our website.

Here’s some interesting guests appearing on recent podcasts:

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams has joined Gemma Cairney on the first of the new series of her podcast Sorry, Not Sorry.

Amanda Litherland, host of Podcast Radio Hour (which I co-host alongside her once a month) is a guest on Smashed Prawns in a Milky Basket, a podcast that looks into the genius of Julia Davis.

Marc Okrand, the inventor of the Klingon language, is a guest on The Fluent Show, a podcast about how we learn language.

And finally, many people are still talking about the moving Desert Island Discs episode with the broadcaster and former footballer Ian Wright.

If you have been thinking about making time to listen to it, make sure you do this weekend.

And if you have a podcast, tell us about your guest! It does not matter if the name is not a well-known name. Just fill in this form and we will take a look.

Have a great week (you do not need to stock up on loo roll).

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