We are (finally!) in 2021. 

Even though you might be tempted to forget about the past horrid year, there are still a couple of interesting 2020 in review podcasts worth listening to.

BBC News’ Newscast podcast has been a game changer this past year in helping to explain the complexities of the pandemic. In a special episode political editor Laura Kuenssberg gave a fascinating glimpse about what it was like to report on the leadup to the first lockdown: “I remember talking to a cabinet minister who had been at one of the meetings that had been convened as an emergency … and I said ‘how do you sum up  what you think will happen?’

“They said to me ‘The British state is about to expand and intervene in ways that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes, unless you were around in the Second World War.’ … [Those days] will stay with me forever.” 

The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex  also did their own 2020 recap in a special Spotify podcast launched last week. They invited people to share some thoughts on what they learnt from the last year, including Sir Elton John, Matt Haig and George the Poet. It’s surreal to hear them both introduce themselves like typical podcast presenters, but with deals with Netflix and Spotify with them both set, it gives you a glimpse into the sort of content we’re going to be expecting from them going forward.

Finally, if you are looking for some good films to indulge in over the next few weeks, Mark Kermode counted down his favourites of 2020 in the latest Kermode on Film.


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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RelativelyComing from quite a large family (I have three older sisters who all regularly beat me at arm wrestling), it has been a rather surreal experience for us not to share Christmas under the same roof this year. This new podcast, presented by Catherine Carr, is a great exploration into the unique and often complex relationships we have with our siblings, often the longest relationship we share with anyone in our lifetimes. In each episode a well-known guest and their sibling is invited to talk about their upbringing and how it compares to where they are today, looking at relatable themes such as jealousy, competition and how they supported and helped each other through thick and thin. The first episode features Jess Phillips MP and her brother Luke, the second features drag star Divina de Campo and her sister Carys.

Art and StuffFrom the same people who brought you the British Podcast Award winning podcast Meet Me at the Museum, this new podcast hosted by Ben Miller looks at the stories behind fascinating objects within museum collections from many different places. With a link to the website in each episode so you can see each artwork, you’ll hear about the story behind a huge collage of cats from a museum in Islington, a ‘lost’ portrait of Charles Dickens from the Dickens Museum and the importance of a miniature painting on display in a museum in Belfast. It’s brought to you by the Arts Fund, another way for us to get that bit closer to culture when it feels like we’re cut off from a lot of it.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Sorted with the Dyers is the exclusive Spotify Original series that sees father and daughter Danny and Dani Dyer unpack genuine dilemmas and issues posed by listeners, to combine their experience and wit for some frank, funny and straight-talking wisdom. This Christmas, the dynamic duo will discuss what makes a Dyer Christmas go off with a bang. Find out how the Dyers decorate their festive gaff, what they’ve both asked ‘Santa the geezer’ for this year, the traditions that make a Dyer Christmas unique and what they’ll be tucking into around the Christmas table. Wife and mum Jo even makes a special guest appearance as the show’s very first guest!

A History of the World in 100 ObjectsSticking with fascinating objects in museums, it has been ten years since the iconic BBC Radio 4 show and podcast series that told the history of the world through 100 items, hosted by the then Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor. To celebrate, the podcast has released a new episode, entitled ‘Object 101,’ which tries to work out what new item can sum up the last ten years. It has to be an object from the last ten years too. But where to start? A camera phone that has been used to capture images of injustice? Some Zoom conference software because of the ways in which we have communicated during the pandemic? A team of experts, including Dame Mary Beard and Sir David Attenborough joins him to discuss and decide.

Sew MindfulIn last week’s newsletter we mentioned a couple of podcasts that might help inspire a new skill or side-hustle in 2021. Here’s a third. If you have been inspired by the Sewing Bee or you have always been known for helping out with any rips or tears, this sewing podcast is an ideal accompaniment to your hobby. Episodes go into where to buy the best fabrics, how to develop your skills and how to get some income. Do let us know if you subscribe to great podcasts like these by filling in the form at the top of this section.

I’ve been trying to work out my resolutions for 2021. The only one that I’ve been able to come up with so far is not to listen to a podcast where a celebrity guest enthusiastically tells another celebrity that they have had a ‘great lockdown.’ 

Let me know your New Year podcasting resolutions by responding to this email and we might feature it in a future edition.

Happy New Year!

Categories: Weekly Picks