It’s A Sin, the new Russell T Davies drama looking at the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, is unmissable. It’s a heartbreaking watch, but you’ll also leave with such admiration for the people who campaigned and supported those through this crisis. It also teaches you an important part of LGBTQ+ history, something the school curriculum continues to ignore.

On Ways to Change the World, Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murphy interviewed Russell T Davies about the heart of the series: “My friends, specifically a friend of mine called Jill, were literally there leading the campaigns, fighting the fight, doing what they could, raising money and more important than that, holding hands on the wards, being the ones sitting there, being friends whilst people died … Here I am, paying tribute to them.”

Callum Scott Howells (who played everyone’s favourite Colin in the show) also dropped by The QuaranTea Break podcast to talk about what it was like to film. “Russell has written a magnificent ensemble. I’m not just talking about the five central characters, I’m talking about the cameos. Russell never wastes a moment.”

For further listening on the AIDS Crisis, I would highly recommend listening to the British Podcast Award winning series The Log Books. The second series explores the AIDS crisis through the call records that volunteers recorded at the LGBTQ+ charity throughout the decade. It’s a tender, heartfelt, brilliantly researched podcast.

GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:

If you have heard a great guesty on a podcast lately, let us know by filling in this form and it might get featured in an upcoming newsletter.

  • Sir Michael Palin was the latest guest on The Gaby Roslin Podcast. He talked about the experience of performing on Saturday Night Live with … his mother and the enduring appeal of the fish slapping dance: “I remember us in Python wondering why fish were so funny. They just were, but not all fish were funny. Halibut was funnier than the haddock for some reason.”
  • Say It Loud, a new podcast presented by Jackie Adedeji, celebrates the best of  Black talent in front and behind the camera on British TV. In the first episode, she talks to the staff behind the online platform Wall of Comedy.
  • Sharmadean Reid, founder of the digital wellness platform Beautystack, is the latest guest on Life…On Our Terms, a podcast by the Open University.
  • Lee Mack returns to Walking the Dog with Emily Dean podcast, introducing his silver labrador puppy, Ludo.
  • Andrew Strauss, the celebrated cricket captain, is one of the latest guests on Life, Interrupted with Simon Thomas, a podcast about handling a crisis. 

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

If you want your podcast featured, or you have a great recommendation, all you need to do is fill in this simple form.

Jacob Hawley: On LoveThe inquisitive broadcaster Jacob Hawley is back with a new BBC Sounds series looking at modern love, following his previous series on drug culture. Why love? Because it and intimacy comes in many different forms, according to Hawley. It’s commodified, exploited. It also means different things to different people.

The first episode (which, as you will soon hear is not suitable for children) looks at pornography. You might think that pornography is the polar opposite of love, but actually you would be wrong. “What it does is undermine the capacity for love and intimacy,” says Prof Clarissa Smith, Professor of Media at Northumbria University. 

What makes the podcast so engaging is Hawley’s open minded approach to the people who he interviews, never jumping to conclusions or moralising over controversial issues. It’s particularly surprising since this podcast comes from the BBC, where you would expect an overly cautious tone on such topics.

Life on a Plate – I didn’t expect a podcast launched by a supermarket to be such an engaging listen, but that’s what Waitrose does here. It’s less about what is happening within the supermarket, more about celebrating our love of food through discussions with people whose life work revolves around it.  Their latest episode featured an interview with the foodie campaigner and broadcaster Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. There are also interviews with Tom Kerridge, Sarah Millican and Nadiya Hussain.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Sorted with the DyersIt’s been a huge week for the Dyers – Dani gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Saturday and she announces his name exclusively on this week’s podcast, along with giving listeners an update on how they’re doing. As well as this lovely news, we also hear from Grandad Danny who gives advice to a listener who feels excluded by lad culture in his workplace. You can listen to the podcast exclusively on Spotify and get involved by submitting your own dilemmas for the Dyers to solve to sorted@dyerspodcast.com.

Unfinished BusinessThis podcast looks at feminism within the fight for women’s rights, how far we’ve come but more importantly how far we are yet to go. It’s based on an exhibition that was on show at the British Library but, like most things, has been closed due to the current lockdown. There’s been a few interesting episodes so far. There was an episode just before Christmas looking at women in comedy, the sexism comedians have experienced from comedians themselves. Their latest episode looks at intersectionality, what it means and why it continues to be a hotly debated topic. 

Adventures in Coffee – Anyone else drinking an awful lot of coffee just to get them through the day at the moment? You’re not the only one. In this new series editor of Caffeine Magazine, Scott (great name) Bentley, and author Jools Walker discuss a different coffee topic each week, attempting to demystify the world of coffee. The first episode looks at whether an expensive cup of coffee is actually worth the cost. How expensive? £75 for 100 grams. Is it simply all just a massive marketing scam?

An announcement before we go. The British Podcast Awards 2021 are on their way! Last year more than 230,000 of you put forward your nomination for the coveted Listeners’ Choice award alongside 1,000 podcasts also battling it out in a number of categories. If you have a podcast you want to put forward, entries will be open from Monday February 22nd 2021. Expect updates and further details in future editions of this newsletter, with the awards themselves taking place in July.

The ceremony will coincide with a new 24 hour podcast conference from the people behind the BPAs. called Podcast Days 24. The online conference will feature speakers from podcasts and platforms from all over the world anchored from London, Sydney and North America. Tickets usually cost £99+VAT, but for a special time are only £75+VAT. For more information (and tickets) head to podcastday24.com

That’s all for now. And if you need a bit of motivation to get you through the next week, remember that next Sunday will be the first day where *every* sunset until Summer will be after 5pm. We are coming out of the depths of winter, every single day.

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