This week the organisers of the British Podcast Awards (the same people who run this very newsletter) announced the inaugural The Irish Podcast Awards. The awards, which will celebrate all forms of podcasts from the ones made in kitchens to the ones broadcast on national radio, will be open for entries in March 2022. And just like the BPAs, there will also be a Listeners Choice Award, which is a podcast that has been chosen by the public.

To find out more details you can signup to the newsletter on the website, but I thought of starting this week’s newsletter by mentioning some great Irish podcasts you can listen to right now. The Witness: In His Own Words is a compelling investigative series, based on the book by Nicola Tallant, looking at one of the youngest ever individuals to enter Witness Protection in Ireland. Tallant is also behind the successful series Crime World, exploring the lives of people behind the headlines you often read about in the news. 

Irish History Podcast, presented by Fin Dwyer, is full of rich details looking back at historical events you might know nothing about. Three Castles Burning, by Donal Fallon, tells ‘forgotten’ stories about the Irish capital. The Blindboy Podcast always tops the charts thanks to its array of interesting comedy skits and interviews. An Irishman Abroad, presented by Jarlath Ragan, features in-depth interviews out three times weekly. 

NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK

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  • To coincide with World AIDS Day (which fell on the 1st December), David Furnish, the chairman of The Elton John AIDS Foundation is on The Gaby Roslin Podcast this week to talk about HIV treatment and prevention: “It’s certainly lessened in parts of the world where access to education and treatment has been much more robust. We’ve learned so much over the past years, there’s greater awareness of what living your life positively means, and it is an amazing thing now, if the life that people can live with HIV on something as simple as one pill a day, which is really easy.”
  • Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and artist and writer Stanley Donwood were on a recent episode of Talk Art, where they talked about a recent artistic collaboration called KID A MNESIA EXHIBITION.
  • Stars including Sindhu Vee, Will Mellor and Jordan Stephens are on Life Sentence this week, a podcast that looks at the responsibility we have in shaping the future of the climate. The podcast, best heard through your headphones, looks at the future of the oceans. The episode is 26 minutes long to highlight how we have 26 years to save the world’s oceans fish.
  • At Your Leisure with Sue Perkins, a new podcast by LEGO that is all about finding fun in the focus, speaks to Jessica Hawkins, who went from a child star Karting champion to doing stunts in James Bond films.
  • On Ry-Union, a new podcast where Rylan talks with a well-known name known for a notable incident from the past, starts with an episode with Cher Lloyd, talking about her experience in X Factor and what she is up to now.

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam RiveraDo you remember There’s Something About Miriam, a reality show that aired on Sky One in the early noughties? Airing at the height of Big Brother’s popularity, it featured six straight men competing to be close to a young model called Miriam, only for the men to be told in the final episode that she was a transgender woman.

In this compelling new podcast series from Wondery, host Trace Lysette provides a necessary re-examination of the series, which she describes as being “one of the most controversial reality TV disasters of all time.” The six part investigative series features interviews from the contestants who took part and members of the production team who thought up the exploitative twist. 

Miriam is also at the heart of this story. She died in 2019, and Lysette knew her through the ballroom scene in New York back in the 90s. “She was always kind to me and I feel honored to help bring this podcast about her life to the listeners,” Lysette says. “I hope she can finally be celebrated and appreciated for the pioneer that she was.” Make sure you listen.

Weird Walk with Charlie Cooper – Podcasts that consist of a well-known name walking in the outdoors has been a popular format for years, from Adam Buxton, to Clare Balding to Matthew Bannister’s Folk on Foot. This Country’s Charlie Cooper is now the host of a new podcast that explores obscure and unique sights, traditions and folklore throughout the British Isles. It’s a delight.

The first episode features Cooper walking down the South Downs Way (a national trail from Hampshire down to East Sussex) in pursuit of The Green Man. It is, as Cooper describes, a “physical representation of Spring, a Pagan symbol of rebirth and renewal.” He visits The Long Man of Wilmington, a large human figure that you can see on a steep slope of a nearby hill, and meets a nearby Morris Dance troupe who dance at dawn every year on the 1st May near the hill in the hope of a fortuitous summer. If you want someone to blame for the poor Summer we just had, COVID restrictions meant that they weren’t able to do it properly this year.

Spotify Podcast of the Week: The Fellas YouTubers Calfreezy and Chip are the guys behind the Fellas, which has just become Spotify’s second video exclusive podcast in the UK & Ireland. They recently returned with their second season, which is promising to be even more revealing and outrageous than the first. Each week, you can enjoy listening (and watching!) Cal and Chip chat to some of the biggest creators in the world, covering everything from the latest YouTube beef, honest conversations about sex & relationships, and even the odd deep chat here and there. New episodes are released every Tuesday on Spotify.

Unexpected Beginnings – Recent episodes of this newsletter have featured podcasts guiding you through each step of pregnancy, such as Is It Normal? With Jessie Ware. This new series is a necessary resource for anyone whose baby is premature, needing surgery or is currently staying in a neonatal ward.

Presented by Kerry Bickerdike and Caroline Verdon, parents of babies who have stayed within neonatal wards, each episode explores a different topic relating to the wards featuring interviews with experts, doctors and consultants. These episodes are designed to help support parents through an often isolating and unfamiliar experience, with episodes explaining how the wards work and how to deal with the emotions that come with it. It is a thoughtful, comprehensive and well-considered podcast to help parents during a stressful time.

Like Minded Friends with Tom Allen and Suzi RuffellFinally, a firm favourite for many podcast listeners has *finally* returned for a new series. Presented by comedians Suzi Ruffell and Tom Allen, you can’t necessarily blame either of them for taking a break prior to this podcast, with Ruffell also presenting another successful podcast featuring interviews with LGBTQ+ trailblazers and Allen presenting pretty much every single primetime Channel 4 programme.

Their chemistry is natural and infectious and they manage to do a podcast that frequently steers off topic without it becoming only for the enjoyment of its hosts.

Just so you know this is your final opportunity to let us know about the podcasts that are having Christmas specials this year. Please let us know by filling in this form and it might be one of two special Christmas newsletters coming out over the festive season.

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Categories: Weekly Picks

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