It is also always lovely when two worlds collide. Sandi Toksvig, the host of QI, was a guest this week on No Such Thing As A Fish, the show where the writers of QI share favourite facts that they have stumbled across in the last week.

So what fact did Toksvig bring along with her? I’ve saved you thirty seconds: “Sloane Square Underground Station in London has a river running through it.” No, the trains don’t drive through the rivers. In fact, better still, the trains run underneath them.

“It is extraordinary when you think about all the stuff that is going on underground that you just don’t know about,” adds Toksvig. “I’m reading a book at the moment called The Mole People and it’s about the number of people who live underground in New York City. They estimate there’s about 2000 people who live full time in the old tunnels that are now abandoned.”

To hear more of these enlightening facts, make sure you listen to the latest episode

Also, do you know that the Great British Podcast Newsletter has got its own Instagram page? It’s a handy follow as you get to see all of our recommended podcasts all in one place. 

GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:

  • Writer and presenter Yasmeen Khan is the first guest on Creatives of Colour, a podcast that tries to change the lack of diversity in front and behind the camera.
  • George Takei is the latest guest on David Tennant Does a Podcast With…
  • Dis Is Your Life… a podcast where guests are asked about howThe MuppetsStar Wars and other Disney films have impacted their life, has Magic FM’s Harriet Scott talking about her life affirming experience from meeting Kermit the Frog.
  • Talk Media, a weekly podcast where broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove and Professor Eamonn O’Neill talk about how the media industry works and operates, this week features an interview with NPR White House Correspondent, and host of the NPR Politics Tamara Keith. They will be discussing reporting on the upcoming US Election.

If you have heard an interesting guest on a podcast recently we want to know about it (it doesn’t matter whether they are an A list celebrity or just an interesting expert). 

All you need to do is fill in this form.

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

1Xtra Talks: The Black Experience – A couple of months ago we told you about a powerful episode of the 1Xtra Talks podcast on the killing of George Floyd, hosted by Maurice and DJ Ace, featuring discussions on microaggressions, white privilege, police brutality and more.

Now the podcast has launched an equally engaging six part series, presented by Richie Brave, exploring what it means to be Black and British in the UK today. It’s a compelling listen, simply because it feels as if you are eavesdropping on an honest conversation, rather than an overly structured radio discussion. There has also been a considerable effort in ensuring that everyone from professors to social commentators, activists to photographers are asked to share their view. Episodes include a discussion on fixing the System and what it currently means to be between the ages of 16 and 20.

History Extra Podcast – A lot of magazines have accompanying podcasts these days, but History Extra is one of the most consistent and comprehensive. Each episode delves into a different subject you probably haven’t read or heard about since school, from Edward the Confessor to the Falklands War, featuring interviews with historians and experts who obsess about that period. It also manages to cut a fine balance between reintroducing the subject to those who were never taught it, whilst providing something extra for those who were. I particularly like the specials: such as “Everything you ever wanted to know about the Spanish Civil War, but were afraid to ask.”

Who We Be TALKS is the official podcast partner to the UK’s biggest Hip-Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall and RnB playlist, hosted by Harry Pinero and Henrie and celebrating black music and culture. This week’s episode is a Notting Hill Carnival special, as Henrie and Harry welcome the executive director of the Carnival, Matthew Philip, to the podcast.  [Chosen by Spotify]

The Socially Distant Sports Bar – Apart from a bit of snooker and highlights of the fencing finals from Beijing 2008 on BBC Two (yes, they did actually show this and I watched it and I enjoyed it), this hasn’t been the Summer of Sport we were initially expecting. So to fill the gap, Mike Bubbins, Steff Garrero and Elis James have made a podcast, which simply consists of them watching old clips of sporting action from their “virtual pub.” Having launched at the very start of lockdown, the series has blossomed into a nice reassuring friend when everything in the real world feels uneasy and surreal. By the way, it might at first feel a bit clique due to the in-jokes and references, but stick around. There are real rewards.

The Two Shot Podcast – And finally, a public service announcement that this great interview podcast hosted by Craig Parkinson (who you will recognise from Line of Duty) has come back with more episodes, starting with the great Lennie James (behind Save Me and also… the first series Line of Duty, which was repeated recently on BBC One). The podcast began as a place where actors would discuss their trade and how they got their foot in the door – with good advice to help others wanting to do the same. It’s now grown to be a place where all manner of creatives, be that radio presenters or artists or otherwise, talk about their passion. 

Parkinson is the reason why this podcast works so well. He cares about the lives of each interviewee. He’s also great at making the conversations go down unpredictable rabbit holes of discussion, yet remain interesting at the same time. Usually I’m against podcasts being over an hour, simply because we all don’t have the time, but with conversations reaching two hours in length, I’m willing to make an exception here. Other guests have included Samantha Morton and James Harkness.

This newsletter would be nothing without your recommendations. So please do tell us about the podcasts you love! Just fill out this short form and we’ll take a listen.

That’s all for this week. Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend.

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