It is always encouraging to hear positive news about the number of people coming to podcasting. Just take BBC Sounds, for instance. They announced this week that over the Christmas period, they reached record audiences, with 57.7 million plays during the festive fortnight (the most popular being Marple: Three New Stories and Newscast.) 

And it’s not just the platforms. Individual podcasts have been hitting significant milestones. How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, which has returned for a new series this week, has reached 35 million downloads. The podcast has had a string of great guests too, such as Rick Astley, Craig David and Caitlin Moran. Meanwhile, soundscape podcast Radio Lento hit two big goals, reaching 250,000 downloads and more than 100 hours of soundscapes to tune into, such as a fishing harbour on the East Coast of Scotland.

Meanwhile, Goalhanger Podcasts, who look after The Rest is Politics and The Rest Is History podcasts, has recently signed the political podcast The Trawl Podcast, presented by Jemma Forte and Marina Purkiss. The podcast has received acclaim for the way that it trawls through social media for different takes on the political stories of the week. Their latest episode looks back at Sunak’s government promises and that tweet by Greta Thunberg.


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Closet ConfessionsNew Year. New podcast. And what a great one too. This new series hosted by the actress Coco Sarel and the author Candice Braithwaite features frank and hilarious confessions from the hosts as well as submissions sent in from listeners, recorded in an actual closet (hence the name of the podcast.) 

And despite having only two episodes out so far, the first being a pilot, the series sounds far more well-established than many other podcasts were at that point. Their chemistry is fabulous and the jokes are consistent. One to look out for.

Ambridge on the CouchIf you listen regularly to The Archers you undoubtedly have many opinions on it (I know my Mum does.) This podcast reviews the highs and the lows of the plot each week in an entertaining format and gently mocks all of the aspects of the soap that equally make it so beloved by listeners. The commitment to the cause is so good that over the Christmas period, they put on a fully-fledged Archers panto.

Obsessed with Happy ValleyThe BBC has had an ‘obsessed with’ TV strand for a few years now, where two presenters discuss the themes and storylines of a popular BBC show. Their latest, recapping each episode of the acclaimed Sally Wainwright drama Happy Valley, is worth a listen because the drama has not been on the air for more than seven years, so if you haven’t had the time to rewatch all 12 hours of the drama, you’re able to quickly get up to speed again. Shrine Podcasts, who gained a loyal listening fanbase for reviewing each episode of Line of Duty aired, have also turned their attention to exploring the plots of Happy Valley for the next six weeks.

The Women Who… A great little series, presented by Clara Amfo, looking at stories of remarkable women. Each 15-minute episode tells the life story of a groundbreaking individual; from Shonda Rhimes who created global successfully TV shows such as Bridgerton and Grey’s Anatomy to Jill Nalder, who cared for and supported many gay men during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. 

Categories: Weekly Picks