Lots of shows covering different topic, including health, loss, travel, and, er, East Grinstead.

Let’s start this week’s newsletter by highlighting two more recent winners from the British Podcast Awards (supported by Acast). 

The first is Today in Focus. The Guardian’s daily news podcast was the winner of the Current Affairs category, silver in the best interview award and silver in the best daily podcast. It was praised by our judges for having “authoritative, intelligent and incisive analysis combined with warm, accessible presentation.”  The news agenda may seem slower compared to the last few months, but there are some big stories coming through. Recent episodes have looked at the upcoming Ghislaine Maxwell trial and the recent election in Poland.

Where is My Mind? created by Niall Breslin, won the Creativity Award. The podcast looks at how the outside world can create huge pressure on ourselves (very true in recent months) and the importance of remaining present in the moment, even featuring meditations at the end of episodes. The judges said that “it demonstrated how you can take a well-trodden subject but ensure every item surprises and enlightens the listener.”


Emma Ratyal-Brooks, one of the organisers of the British Podcast Awards, has been in touch with an important message:

“The British Podcast Awards have had a busy year working on our branch giving grant schemes. We have been running The Pulse Award in partnership with Wellcome where we have been able to fund 11 podcasters with £50,000 in grant money to create podcast content that engaged with science and health research. 

“Alongside this we have been working in partnership with The Social Mobility Commission offering an opportunity for previous nominees and winners of the awards to pitch briefs that engage with social mobility topics, so far we have been able to award £10,000 as part of this project.  

“If you work with an organisation that would get value partnering with UK podcasters for public good, please do get in contact with us.”

Here are some worthwhile guests on podcasts this week:

  • Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s podcast Off Menu, which has just celebrated 30 million downloads for its third series, had Louis Theroux as their most recent guest.
  • Stories of 29, a podcast where guests talk about important ages in different people’s lives, features photographer, publisher and film director Rankin (who, in case you were wondering, chose 43).
  • Spinning Plates, a new podcast about how mothers manage to balance looking after their family and their professional career, has writer and blogger Candice Braithwaite in her most recent episode. Caitlin Moran was a guest last week.
  • Growing Up with Gal-dem, a podcast where interviewees look over old diary entries and texts, features singer Kelsey Lu.

If you’ve heard a good guest on a show, or there’s one coming up on a podcast you’re involved with, let us know by filling out this form.

Here are four podcasts worth listening to in the next week.

The Joe Wicks Podcast – Do I even need to tell you who Joe Wicks is? Having wrapped up more than 100 online (and exhausting) workouts during the pandemic, Wicks somehow still has some energy left to launch a new podcast interview series with BBC Sounds. The emphasis is the balance on looking after our mental health as much as our physical health, the vibe containing the positivity that has made Wicks so popular.

The first episode featured an interview with Gordon Ramsay. At the start of the first episode there was a lot of chat between Wicks and Ramsay about cycling in the hills of Los Angeles (which, if I’m being honest it isn’t the most relatable conversation after a lockdown), but then they both open up about their motivation, creating an unexpectedly moving conversation. Ramsay talks about how his drive comes from having nothing when he was younger and losing his dad to a heart attack when he was 32, whilst Wicks talks about growing up and facing his father’s heroin addiction. “How much of that has shaped me and has made me ambitious?,” asks Wicks. “Why did I end up the way I am and not end up going down that route?”

When Someone Great Is Gone – Losing someone close to us is one of the hardest things we will encounter in our lives. In this well-edited and sensitive podcast series, presenter Izzy Lee-Poulton looks at the relationship between grief and creativity and how creative pursuits can help us cope through difficult moments. What makes this podcast so well worth your time is her honesty and openness: “The thing about creativity, much like grief, is that it is not prescriptive. You don’t have to be a painter, musician or otherwise to creatively express your grief.”

The Travel Diaries – Holly Rubenstein has been presenting an excellent podcast about travelling for a while now. And who better to reminisce about trips and the joys travel brings, than Sir Michael Palin? Palin has presented travel documentaries on the BBC and Channel 5 for over three decades now, and what makes his travel broadcasting so memorable is his openness, his charm and how curious he is about how places and other cultures work. In the episode they talk about some of his most memorable trips, from North Korea to Venice in Italy. His favourite destination of all? The West Coast of Scotland, such as Glencoe.

The Town That Didn’t Stare – What is it about East Grinstead? The Sussex town might look traditional when you drive through it, but within the town there are links to a surprising array of alternative religions: Opus Dei, the Church of Scientology, Paganism, Rosicrucians, Mormons and more. Nick Hilton, who was raised in the local area, presents this six part podcast looking at the town’s history and why it may have ended up this way. He told me: “The whole show was produced in lockdown because I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to prove to myself (and the world) that it’s possible to create a rich, detailed documentary under these conditions.” We’ll, good news. He’s done it.

That’s all from the newsletter this week. If there is a podcast that you think we should feature, all you need to do is fill in this form.

See you next week.

Scotty / @scottygb

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