The British Podcast Awards, powered by Audible, are just around the corner (with a weekend of activities from Friday 22nd July to Sunday 23rd July no less). And tomorrow (Monday) is a very special day for nervous podcasters across the country, as the coveted nominations are announced!

For the very first time, there are going to be ten nominations per category at the British Podcast Awards. As all of the nominations are chosen by a team of independent audio experts and critics from across the country, this means that each category celebrates the Top 10 podcasts across British podcasting: from news, to comedy and entertainment, family to wellness. 

The British Podcast Awards nominations are a great way to catch up with the best audio of the year, especially if you have been out of the loop and haven’t caught up yet. The nominations will be announced on the British Podcast Awards website on Monday 20th June (that’s tomorrow!). There will also be two special editions of this newsletter over the next two Sundays announcing all of the nominees and featuring links so you can listen to your new fave.

Plus, the newsletter will also feature details about how you can vote for your favourite podcast in the all important Listeners’ Choice Award (supported by Acast+), the only category chosen by you, the great listening public!


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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All About Sound A new podcast by the British Library that delves into the power and history of sound. I know what you’re thinking. It is an idea that feels certainly like a right fit for podcasting.

The series looks at how sounds have shaped our own identities and culture. And thanks to the library’s archive of more than 6.5 million sounds, some recordings dating back to the very earliest sounds ever recorded, in each episode the author and poet Lemn Sissay plays them again and brings them back to life. It’s a joy. He then interviews people who know about the sounds that have been played, or replays notable interviews with experts from the archive too.

There are several episodes out at the moment: from performance, to the home to the joys of nature. All in all, series is perhaps a reminder to listen more actively to the things we hear around us.

DishPodcasts that feature food alongside great guests have been a rather popular format. There’s Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware, Jay Rayner’s Out to Lunch and Comfort Eating with Grace Dent. Now broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and Michelin-star chef Angela Harnett have joined together to launch their own food based series (with Waitrose & Partners)

Each episode starts with Angela guiding you through the steps of a simple recipe (which is easy enough to follow even though you can’t see her actually cooking it). What makes the podcast pop is that the chemistry between Angela and Nick is an utter delight. I would recommend listening to the first episode where they share a dinner with each other, before the episodes where they introduce a guest.

The People vs J Edgar HooverEarlier this year Emily Maitlis left BBC Newsnight (and the hugely successful Americast podcast) to launch an upcoming daily news podcast with the media company Global. It doesn’t mean that she has left the BBC entirely however, as she has just launched a new BBC Radio 4 podcast series delving into the life and legacy of J Edgar Hoover.

Hoover created and was in charge of the FBI for more than fifty years, turning it from a bureaucratic department into a sophisticated, secretive and powerful counterintelligence agency. The purpose of the FBI was to enforce the law, but it was the law that Hoover often broke himself. With close links to eight US Presidents over his tenure and a lack of accountability for his own actions, the series explores who over their respective careers had more power: The President or Hoover himself?

Visible Women with Caroline Criado PerezA new series by Tortoise and by the author and campaigner Caroline Criado Perez, which looks at the gender data gap. 

What is the gender data gap? “It is a term that describes the fact that the vast majority of data we have collected historically and continue to collect, everything from medical data to economic data to urban planning data, has been collected mainly in men.” As a result, Perez argues that the world has been designed for men, everything from the phones that we use, to personal protective equipment (PPE). 

It is the latter which Perez investigates in the opening episode, exploring how the way that masks are manufactured during the pandemic resulted in female frontline workers not being adequately protected. Expect deep analysis, data and insightful perspectives.

I was back on Podcast Radio Hour on BBC Radio 4 Extra this week with a special episode on great TV podcasts. As I review television (as well as podcasts) host Chris Pearson and I highlighted some great podcasts that either review great television or talk about storylines and themes in a helpful way.

Many of the podcasts featured in the episode have been featured in this newsletter, including The Radio Times Podcast, Kermode and Mayo’s Take, Hypothetical the Podcast, Inside Inside Number 9 and +44 Presents: The Noughties.
We also spoke to Sirin Kale about her and Pandora Sykes new engrossing TV podcast Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV.

Categories: Weekly Picks