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At such a difficult time, let’s celebrate people that are going out of their way to make our lives easier. Our Voices – in the NHS has been doing just that. This new podcast asks NHS doctors and nurses about their experiences, including why they decided to get into healthcare. What stands out is not just how many of them have travelled over the world to treat us, but many of them simply have no idea what happens to the patients they treat the moment after they leave their care. They just get on with what’s next. This podcast really makes you think.

Next there’s My Best Teacher, a podcast that celebrates the teachers who inspired and continue to work over the odds during this lockdown. Each episode features a different celebrity being asked about their favourite teacher and how shaped who they are today. The first guest is the comedian Tim Vine, who talked about his favourite teacher Mr Moss and how he encouraged his sketch work when he was younger: “When you’re a child and you have got your dreams and silly ideas and it is validated by an adult, it is a great moment isn’t it?”

Speaking of remarkable people, the great people at Anthems are on the lookout for contributors for their upcoming podcast series, which ties storytelling and speeches on a particular theme. This time it’s women. “We’re looking for women who are making sense, cutting through the noise and representing their communities.” For more details about applying, simply head to this tweet.


Remember… if you have heard a great guest and you think we should know about it, all you need to do is fill in this form and it might get featured.

  • Russell T Davies, the writer of the Channel 4 series “It’s A Sin” is the guest host on the latest episode of the Pilot TV Podcast.
  • Elvis Costello and Nubya Garcia are recent guests on The Hang with Gregory Porter, where the musician talks with guests about music and wherever the conversation takes them.
  • Judy Murray is the latest guest on How To Wow, the Chris Evans podcast that features advice on how to excel in your creative pursuit (a lot of it is simply down to showing up each time and putting the hours in).
  • Unspeakable Scotland, a storytelling Scottish true crime podcast hosted by broadcaster Janice Forsyth, features Scottish playwright and Dr Willy Maley as a guest. They discuss the Crosshill Railway Murder of 1840.
  • Things That Made Me Queer, a podcast that explores the things that helped an individual explore their own LGBTQIA+ identity, launched with Drag Race star Detox joining for the first episode.
  • The Juggling Act, a podcast that looks at what it is like to return to work after having a baby, has Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith in their most recent ep.

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.

Life…On Our Terms When an educational and informative TV show is made in partnership with The Open University, you know that it is worth your time. They’ve now launched a new podcast, looking at how the traditional career paths are changing and with that, what we define as success.

In each episode, presenter Gemma Cairney speaks to someone who has achieved success in their own way, starting with George the Poet. In 2019 he swept the British Podcast Awards and later won a Peabody, ten years after walking away from a record deal. “I sensed that I was going to get paid more and more to churn out work that didn’t stretch me intellectually,” he says on the podcast. “If I kept getting paid for that it would have incentivised me from the growth that I was so hungry for, so I decided to leave my record deal for that reason. I wanted to tie my entertainment with my creative output to my growth as a student.”

The biggest takeaway I got from listening is the importance in listening to your gut. Other episodes include an interview with Rasmus Ankersen, who uses data driven decisions in his football career and Lavinya Stennett, the CEO of the Black Curriculum, who are working for black history to be included more in the school curriculum. 

Brown Baby: The Podcast  Accompanying the book, this great parenting podcast by Nikesh Shukla explores how we can raise children with wonder and hope at a time when the world is increasingly bleak: due to racism, sexism, climate change, divisive politics, economic poverty and more. 

Shukla is a great interviewer and presenter. A particular strength of this podcast is how the conversation tangents from the usual structure if the interviewee has something particularly illuminating to say, which is especially true with an upcoming episode featuring Meera Syal (that I got a preview for). The first episode starring pop star Jay Sean is a great listen too. He talks about the ethics of seeing bad parenting from others and how having a family can give you a purpose. As a nice touch, one of Shukla’s young children does the podcast intro on an electronic keyboard at the very start of each episode.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Spotify’s award-winning series of documentaries about football, GIANT, features a very Scottish episode this week. Gimlet’s Matt Nelson treats us to a High Fidelity-esque run down of all of the ways the Scottish national team have disappointed him during their wilderness years – all 22 of them – in which they haven’t played in a single international tournament. Come for the pain, stay for the ecstasy – and for former Scotland manager Craig Brown singing Baccara’s classic ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie.’ Available exclusively on Spotify – along with all other episodes of GIANT

The Power of Sound This new podcast strand by Monocle Radio, that’s the radio station brought to you by the magazine, looks at people whose careers deal with audio. Not just musicians, but wildlife sound recordists, TV commercial sound designers, audio technicians and more. It’s more varied than you first suspect.

In each episode a contributor talks about how they fell into their passion. In the sound designer episode, Johnnie Burns (whose credits include films like The Lobster and every computer sound you hear on Skype) talks about how his interest in sound came from when he temporarily lost it after an incident in his teens. “I went up to my bedroom, I put the sound system on and felt the speakers and I could feel the vibrations … but I couldn’t hear not a sausage.”

As you can imagine, the sound quality of each episode is exceptional (well worth listening through your headphones). You end up with an appreciation too for how much attention to detail people who work within this industry have. “I go on holiday with my microphone, much to my wife and family’s amusement,” Burns says.

The Nature of LossWe’ve featured a lot of podcasts recently that celebrate the healing power of nature. This podcast, presented by Mollie Taylor, looks at how nature can be a great help to someone who is currently experiencing grief and loss. Mark, one of their most recent guests, said these wise words: “Nature reminded me that I was part of something much greater than my life.”

If you want some more recommendations, I was back on BBC Radio 4’s Podcast Radio Hour with Amanda Litherland with a selection of picks to help through these uneasy times. Podcasts included hilarious comedy The Brian Butterfield Pod-Pod-Podcast, the engrossing investigation I’m Not A Monster, intelligent analysis from Sky News in Into the Grey Zone and hilarious chat by Alison Hammond in My Life in TV. We not only talk about podcasts, we play choice excerpts from them too.

Categories: Weekly Picks