Hope you are having a lovely and peaceful Christmas break.
And welcome to the first of two special editions of this newsletter where we give the picks over to you, as you tell us the British podcasts that you loved in 2022!
We received so many fantastic suggestions. It was nearly impossible to whittle them down, but we have done so to a final list of twenty. There’s ten picks in this week’s newsletter and another ten in a newsletter next Sunday. Happy Listening.
The Prince – Hosted by The Economist’s Sue-Lin Wong, The Economist’s series The Prince delves into the life story of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping. Arguably one of the most powerful people in the world, what becomes apparent from listening is how little is known about his life story, including why he disappeared for a short time in 2012. In each episode Wong tries to separate fact from possible fiction. “The Prince was a thoroughly well researched and finely paced narrative about the Chinese leader that revealed so much about Chinese history and China today,” said Tony, one of our readers.
Crushed by Margaret Cabourn-Smith – We have all had doomed love crushes over the years (heck, I know I have.) This podcast features the actor and podcaster Margaret Cabourn-Smith asking a well known guest to talk about their doomed crushes, resulting in not only some interesting and hilarious anecdotes but also an insight into what these people are like. Frances told us that the series is “really funny and has great guests.”
Hoaxed – The podcast by Tortoise Media investigated the origins and implications of a damaging conspiracy theory, which ripped through the heart of a London community. Weaved together with impressive sound production and storytelling, the series is hosted by Alexi Mostrous, who also did the hugely successful series Sweet Bobby.
Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV – Sirin Kale and Pandora Sykes are behind this excellent series looking at the rise and fall of different reality show formats over the past 25 years, through an intellectual, relatively highbrow Radio 4 approach. A strength of the series is how it looks at what reality show television, and its pitfalls, says about us as a society. Plus who is responsible for reality show stars after they become successful? Is it the show’s producers, is it the stars themselves or is it us, the viewer?
The Trawl – There are many podcasts that review and discuss the big political stories of the week, but this one presented by Jemma Forte and Marina Purkiss has received plaudits for the way that it manages to embrace the best of social media too. Steve said: “The presenters are great, generating a lot of funny comments.”
Media Storm – Created by the same team as the Guilty Feminist, this series hosted by Mathilda Mallinson and Helena Wadia amplifies voices and perspectives that tend to be ignored or poorly portrayed in mainstream media coverage. Episodes have included discussions on sex work, homelessness and transgender healthcare waiting lists. “This podcast puts empathy back in the news, starting with people from lived experience,” says Amy.
Walk Tall – There are many work and careers podcasts out there, but this one brought to you by the website Carolina Herrera has received much praise for its practical tips and grounded approach. Presented by broadcaster Toni Tone, each episode looks at how you can find success on your own terms, in everything from confidence to the benefit of playing the long game.
The Tower – A well constructed fictional audio drama created by an audio collective in Glasgow. The premise is relatively simple: with the main character called Kiri trying to climb up an impossibly tall tower in the sky. The storytelling is weaved together with impressive and immersive sound production. Episodes are only a few minutes each.
Black British Lives Matter – Presented by Sir Lenny Henry and Marcus Ryder, each episode features insightful and important discussions on the Black British experience today. Recent episodes look at whether African cooking is rarely mentioned in cuisine and in cooking and the fight for disability rights for Black Britons.
Dish with Waitrose – Broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and celebrated chef Angela Harnett invite a famous name for a meal. A delightful part of the show is not just the conversation, but also that you get to follow along with all of the meal prep before they arrive. It is a good source of food inspiration.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and for all of your recommendations throughout the year. We’ll be back next week and again in 2023.