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The terrible news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has dominated the news this week. There are a number of podcasts that are explaining the situation as well as providing the latest analysis and on the ground reporting.

Channel 4 News’ The Fourcast is bringing the latest reporting from their team on the ground. The Rachman Review by The Financial Times’ Chief Foreign Affairs columnist Gideon Rachman features analysis and insight from Polina Ivanova, a correspondent based in Kyiv. Meanwhile the makers of the BBC’s Newscast have now released a spin-off series called Ukrainecast, presented by Victoria Derbyshire and Newsnight’s International Editor Gabriel Gatehouse. 

Doomsday Watch with Arthur Snell has released a special episode looking at what could and should happen next, featuring a panel of policy experts. The Economists Asks podcast is looking at whether Western sanctions will actually make a difference to how the invasion will play out. The Rest is History has released a special episode explaining the history between Russia and Ukraine, and comprehensively explains why Putin’s claims over Ukraine are inaccurate. And Oh God, What Now? delves into the history of the most recent crisis and asks: what can you do to help?

We’ll keep an eye on new podcasts that are explaining and reporting on the Russian invasion. If you’ve seen any that you think we should be talking about, please do let us know by filling in this form and we will take a look. Also (whilst not a podcast), just sharing this resource by Newsround on the background of Russia and Ukraine, in case it is helpful.


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Death by Conspiracy?This new podcast by Marianna Spring, the BBC’s own specialist disinformation and social media reporter, looks at the life of Gary Matthews, a popular and well-known artist from the town of Shrewsbury. At the start of the pandemic, Gary was drawn into the world of conspiracy theories. He shared false stories online, such as those claiming that the pandemic was not real and he later refused to come forward for the vaccine. At the start of 2021, Gary tested positive for the coronavirus. He subsequently died because of the virus at the age of 46.

This sensitive and thought provoking series looks at what happened to Gary, from those who knew him, and looks at how and why people are lured into conspiracy theories. It challenges your view on what a typical conspiracy theorist is (many of us assume that it is someone who never leaves the attic and has relatively low intelligence). It looks at how, despite Gary’s death, conspiracy theorists did not change their mind about the pandemic. And at a time when any challenge to a conspiracy theorist adds you to the conspiracy, it looks at some ways you can help a theorist into, hopefully, believing facts again.

The Process by Somerset House This new series by the creative hub Somerset House explores the creative process, the agonising process many of us share whilst trying to create something that we are proud of, with procrastination and self-criticism right at its heart.

In this well produced and slick six part series, you’ll hear from artists about the inspiration behind their work as well as the growing pains they experienced trying to get the end product to a similar standard to what they had thought up in their head. It is also a great way to find out about new works at Somerset House without having to visit.

Push Your PeakIf you have been wondering what Louise Minchin has been up to ever since she left her role as news anchor on BBC Breakfast, here’s your answer. 

She is now the host of a new podcast looking at how athletes who have achieved something that is mind-bogglingly impressive, starting with the ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont who cycled around the world in only 80 days. The emphasis of the series is to work out what mental and physical challenges they faced and were able to overcome, to see whether there is anything we could also apply to our own lives to help us achieve our own goals. 

Expect a lot of inspiration and casual motivation. “I live in Edinburgh and I always say that I am not the best bike rider in Edinburgh, let alone the world,” says Beaumont. “The reason why I have broken the circumnavigation world record twice, and lots of other world records, is because of my approach and because of the teams I work with.”

AfterThoughtsThis podcast also doubles up as a great resource to help people with a shared lived experience. With more than 30 young people diagnosed as having cancer every single day, this series by Beyond Arts (and supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust) looks at the issues and challenges that they may be experiencing. Everything from dealing with a friend who is distant because they don’t know how to react, to approaching dating cancer treatment has ended and are working out how to broach the topic with a new potential partner.

Instead of relying on interviewees in a typical Q&A format, each young contributor is given the space to share their own story and talk about whatever they want to individually. Each story is then weaved together, so if you’re not relating to one experience you might relate to another. A fantastic idea.

Your favourite podcasts are about to get very busy as the British Podcast Awards will open up for entries this Tuesday, March 1st. Shows will be able to enter a range of categories, judged by their peers, and the big Listeners’ Choice poll will return too. There’s more information on the British Podcast Awards website.

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Categories: Weekly Picks