Some big news in British podcasting: The High Low, a popular British podcast presented by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, announced they are wrapping it up this week.

“This isn’t an abrupt decision,” said Pandora during week’s episode. “We decided this 18 months ago. We just had in our heads that four years feels like the perfect time to end.” The show has received much praise for Dolly and Pandora’s weekly recommendations, as well for their interviews with new or under-read authors (essentially becoming a big book club). Their podcasting departure will certainly leave a bit of a hole in the podcasting world, that’s for sure.

By the way speaking of book clubs, if you know of a little one who is interested in getting into writing, there’s a new podcast out recently called Song Explorers (from the radio station Fun Kids) where an author talks about their books and gives advice on how to create good stories.

Also, as this newsletter is brought to you by the team behind the British Podcast Awards, we thought to let you know that earlier this week the winners from The Australian Podcast Awards were announced from our friends down under. Celebrating the country’s thriving podcast scene, the prestigious Podcast of the Year award went to Birds Eye View, which looked at what it is like to be a woman in prison. 

The judges said it was “raw, insightful, heartbreaking and empathetic.” Head to the Australian Podcast Awards website to listen and for the full list of winners.

INTERESTING GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:

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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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The Orgasm Cult This informative and shocking new BBC Sounds investigative podcast series, hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, looks at the company OneTaste. The company taught a practice called orgasmic meditation, which they claimed that would one day be as mainstream as yoga. Yet the company soon was under investigated by the FBI, following claims of sexual trafficking and prositution.

Whilst this series looks at the practices of the company, it also asks important questions about the current state of the wellness industry. “The problem is that so many practices and products and companies are untested and unregulated,” says Tavakoli-Far. “You just don’t know what you’re getting. You don’t know if it is going to work, but more importantly, you don’t know if it is even safe. The wellness industry can attract really vulnerable people and it can put them in potentially dangerous situations.” Four episodes are available to listen to now.

Caught Off GuardNormally when I read that a podcast touts that ‘no topic off limits,’ I worry that the podcast is going to have no interesting topic of conversation at all; that it will end up having a lack of focus or consistency that makes it a worthwhile listen.

So this podcast, that promises that very thing, was a pleasant surprise, simply because it doesn’t fall into that trip. This podcast presented by YouTube content creator and entrepreneur Patricia Bright, features interviews with those who are excelling in their own career: from finance, to fashion, to fitness and social media. The conversations swing from being very specific, to more general topics on how to carry on through such unsettling times. Bright’s questions are smart and her enthusiasm is infectious.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: Following the sad news about Diego Maradona passing away, we’ve chosen a recent episode of our Spotify Original football documentary series GIANT for this week’s podcast pick. The episode tells the story of a magical night when a 26-year-old Maradona turned out for Spurs in London for Ossie Ardiles’ testimonial match – just under 2 months before he scored 2 infamous goals against England during the 1986 World Cup. 

What the Midwife SaidThe months and weeks before having your first child can be full of anxiety, especially at the moment when other expecting mums are harder than usual. So this new podcast, where midwife and author Leah Hazard interviews others about their experiences, might come in use. The series covers numerous topics around fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, with no judgement and no question too silly or ridiculous.

I enjoyed the episode with the Rev Kate Bottley, who talked openly about the stigma surrounding caesarean sections, difficult birth experiences and the value in being kind to ourselves: “There’s a patriarchal narrative that encourages women to think less of themselves and that we’re never quite good enough.”

There’s also an interesting discussion on having faith. “I’m flailing like anybody else,” says Bottley. “Often faith throws up more questions than it answers and I don’t know why terrible things happen. I’ve not got a clue. And I’m just as cross and just as upset and lonely and isolated and all those feelings, just the same.”

Upcoming interviews include Emma Barnett, Lorraine Kelly and activist Tinuke Awe.

DEM TIMESFinally, there’s been a string of great audio dramas of late. Here’s another. This comedy drama follows a teenager called Samuel, who is sent from Croydon to a Ghanian boarding school by his parents in a desperate attempt to improve his grades. There he has to deal with a ridiculously long school day (lessons start before 9am and go right into the evening), strict standards as well as, of course, drastic culture shock. It’s well crafted, well acted and well written. You learn about Ghana as well. Episodes are also only 20 minutes a pop too, making it an easy binge.

One more podcast to let you know before we go. Calling gardeners (and those who want to be), Gardeners’ World Magazine has announced the launch of their new podcast, featuring tips on how to improve your plants indoors. I’ll be tuning in, mostly because everything plant based I own is just about dead.

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