In this week’s podcast picks, GABA helps you reconnect with yourself, Dementia & Me drives national conversations around dementia, Stephen Fry takes a modern spin on the Seven Deadly Sins and Ed Milliband and Geoff Lloyd talk books.

Starting with some news: BBC Radio 5 Live have announced that the Rachael Bland New Podcast Award is back for a second year, awarding a pilot series for the most distinctive and purposeful podcast idea. The award celebrates the life of one of their presenters Rachael Bland, who helped create the podcast You Me and the Big C, known for it’s frank and honest discussions on people’s experiences with cancer.

The winner of the award will go to an idea that feels personal and will bring people together. Last year’s winner was Hooked: The Unexpected Addicts, a compelling podcast series about what addiction and recovery is really like. 

To enter your idea, just head to the website. You have until the 4th February to apply.
Here are some podcasts worth listening to this week…

GABA – What makes podcasting such a special medium is how personal it feels. A lot of the time you’re listening to a show directly through your headphones, so if a lot of attention is given to each moment and the particular way it sounds, you’ll quickly notice. This podcast by Adam Martin is a perfect example of this, each episode weaving in soundscapes, music and film clips and thought provoking spoken word. The ambition? To make you tune out of the ever maddening and increasing velocity of modern life. A new series is out next month, but there’s a series worth of episodes so far. This podcast is certainly one to watch.

Dementia and Me – By 2025, more than one million people are expected to be living with dementia. This podcast, by BBC Radio Sheffield, speaks to people who are living with dementia, or people who are close to someone who has it. The aim is to help drive a national conversation about dementia, especially with younger people, and to help remove some of the stigmas and assumptions associated with it. In the second episode, hosts Grace and Peggy speaks to Vicky McClure from Line of Duty, who recently hosted a documentary about how music can help people with dementia: “You’ve got to meet these people,” says McClure. “You’ve got to be in the room with them. You can’t just assume you will understand what it is like.” 

Stephen Fry’s 7 Deadly Sins – I’m not going to lie, a draw to this podcast is just the chance to hear Stephen Fry talking to you for half an hour. In this new series, Fry looks at one of the Seven Deadly Sins in turn, and tries to make sense of it in a modern context. Pride, for example, is judged to be one of the worst sins historically, yet pride and being proud of oneself is mostly considered to be a good thing in 2020. Being proud of your country, for example. Or visiting a gay pride march. Do we need a new word to describe it as a sin? Or is there more than meets the eye?

Cheerful Book Club – Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd are well known for their podcast about modern ideas. And now after a successful pilot, they have launched their own spin-off book club series. Starting this week, authors such as the journalist Michael Lewis, the economist Mariana Mazzucato and tech analyst Rana Foroohar will join them to discuss the themes and ideas stemming from their work. The reason for the original podcast’s success? Not just the intelligent conversation, but the breezy and authentic feel to it all. Ed comes across so well so naturally, you wonder why it wasn’t the same way when he was Labour leader.

Here’s some podcasts with big guests over the last week…

Give Me Strength a podcast about mental and physical strength, this week interviews Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams

Show Me The Way  a podcast about successful women sharing stories about how they got to where they are, this week features Lucy Kerbel. She’s the founder of Tonic, which tries to bring equality to the arts: “I wanted to disrupt expectations at the get-go that drama is automatically about men’s stories and men’s voices,” she says.

And Tom Watson is the first guest in the new series of Full Disclosure with James O’Brien, which feels timely given the Labour leadership contest is on.

If you’ve got a big guest on your podcast that you think we should know, let us know and it might appear in a future newsletter.

Other stuff…..

Thought you should know too: Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is launching their own original podcasts tied to shows you can find their service AppleTV+, the same week Netflix launched their own British podcast series featuring interviews with cast from their own shows.

Whilst such TV podcasts are not new (the BBC have had their own called Obsessed With… strand for nearly a year), the challenge is to bring in listeners who want to find out more about their favourite shows, without it all sounding corporate and dry.

And finally, now is the last chance to enter our survey about your podcast listening habits, to help other podcasters work out what audiences are wanting. One Great British Podcast Newsletter reader will win £200 worth of Amazon vouchers. To enter, just head to the website and follow the instructions.

That’s all for this week. Have a great one.

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