Actor Daniel Radcliffe kicks us off with spell binding Harry Potter tales, TV presenter Scarlett Moffatt takes us into the world of conspiracy theories and Konnie Huq and Liz Owens ask all the right questions….

Next week is a BIG week in the podcasting world – we will be announcing the nominations for the British Podcast Awards 2020. The awards, powered by Acast, celebrate the very best in British podcasting, from true crime to wellbeing, from current affairs to comedy. 

The nominees, carefully chosen by an expert panel of independent judges, will be unveiled first on a livestream on the @britpodawards Twitter page on Tuesday 19th May at 1pm. But if you happen to miss the announcement, there will then be a special edition of this very newsletter on Tuesday too! It will be featuring all of the nominations and links to their shows. The awards are due to take place in July, making it a perfect opportunity to start bingeing and back your favourite.

In the meantime, here are the podcasts that we are recommending this week, split according to whether they feature the coronavirus or not.

Coronavirus Podcasts

Jacob Hawley’s Job Centre – The coronavirus has changed the way all work, and that’s not just the fact that many of us are now working from home. Entire industries have been brought to a standstill, whilst key workers and certain industries have never been under more pressure. Fresh from the critically acclaimed series on drugs, Jacob Hawley presents a new series finding out how different people’s jobs and careers have been affected in the past three months, and asks whether it will ever return to what it was before.

Phone A Friend with George Ezra & Ollie MN – I have always been a fan of this podcast, which literally consists of a phone conversation between George Ezra and his friend Ollie talking about what has been on their mind. Yet in the pandemic it has become even more essential, as they both open up about their mental health and how we can all collectively cope. Timely, as it is Mental Health Awareness Week next week too.

No Really, I’m Fine. Mental Health Against Coronavirus – The mental health podcast has been doing some interesting mental health perspectives on lockdown that I haven’t given much thought about until now, from how body positivity has been affected by the lockdown to how nurses have been trying to stay positive during difficult shifts. 

The Motherkind Podcast – The coronavirus has also been particularly challenging for families, with many of us trying to balance looking after children whilst also making it seem that we are dedicating all of your working day to our employers. This podcast, hosted by Zoe Blaskey, looks at this incredibly challenging situation.

Coronavirus Newscast – Finally, I found the BBC’s daily coronavirus podcast very useful in explaining the changes that came into force in regards to meeting others, working and exercising this week. They also point out the many strange loopholes in the rules (one of my favourites I’ve learnt this week is that you can’t see your parents in your own house at the moment, but if you decide to sell your house they can come round and view it without you being there.)

If you’ve got a podcast suggestion for us (it can be your podcast, or one you like), you can fill in the form here. Also, if you’ve seen a good guest on a show, or you know there’s someone good coming up, you can fill in our guest form.

Non-Coronavirus Podcasts

Harry Potter At Home – A big week for fans of Potter, as stars associated with the wizarding world are reading out chapters from the book. Why? To help banish boredom. The series starts with Daniel Radcliffe reading “The Boy Who Lived” from The Philosopher’s Stone, with Eddie RedmayneNoma Dumezweni and Stephen Fry set to read future chapters. The podcast is biweekly and exclusively available on Spotify, but it doesn’t matter whether you are a free or a premium subscriber. You can also watch the chapters if you fancy, on their website.

Swipe Left, Swipe Left – None of us can date at the moment (unless socially distancing in a park is really your thing) but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about an embarrassing dating story, or unusual anecdote about how we fell in love with someone. This excellent storytelling dating podcast, presented by Gavin Wong and Claire Crofton, has returned for a second series with a simple premise: an embarrassment shared is an embarrassment halved.

Scarlett Moffatt Wants to Believe – A bit of nonsense. Scarlett Moffatt and her boyfriend Scott have launched a new podcast looking at the world conspiracy theories, working out whether any of them have any basis in reality. The joy from listening is not necessarily the topic of the podcast. It is Scarlett’s enthusiasm, Scott’s cynicism and the fact that they constantly try to undermine each other’s argument. 

Thinking Out Loud with Konnie and Liz – Ever met someone who works in a really interesting and cool career, but are then too afraid to ask them any questions about their job in case you sound stupid? You’re not the only one. In this new series Konnie Huq and Liz Owens ask all the questions for you, with the logic that any no question is a stupid question. Recent episodes have included 101’s on the world of politics with The Economist’sAnne McElvoy and the dark web and bitcoins with the Missing Cryptoqueen’Jamie Bartlett.

And here’s some interesting guests on podcasts this week include…

  • Changes with Annie Mac has Robyn, actual ROBYN, as a guest this week.
  • Helena Bonham Carter is the guest on the latest Grounded with Louis Theroux.
  • Nothing Concrete, a podcast by the Barbican Centre, has Stephen Fry as a guest. They talk about how Beethoven’s music has helped Fry with his mental health.
  • The songwriter, music producer and musician Guy Chambers (behind every Robbie Williams song you have ever loved) is the guest on Where Did It All Go Right?
  • Smashed Prawns in a Milky Basket, a podcast celebrating the work of Julia Davis, has Stuart Murphy as a guest. He was the ex-controller of BBC Three, who commissioned the classic Davis series Nighty Nighty.
  • Finally, recent guests on The Penguin Podcast, hosted by Nihal Arthanayake and Katy Brand, have been Mark GatissDavid Harewood and Anne Enright.

That’s all for this week. Look out for our British Podcast Awards nomination email next week.

And remember, we’re all in this together.

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