Let’s start with a look at a podcast that has been at the top of the podcast charts in the last few weeks. We’re allowing it to be mentioned in the Great British Podcast newsletter, because even though it has been made by The New York Times and Serial Productions, the new eight-part series is a story from Birmingham.

The Trojan Horse Affair by Hamza Syed and part created by S-Town’s Brian Reed, looks at a supposed plot by Islamic extremists to infiltrate Birmingham schools, based from a letter circulated around the city in the mid 2010s. As the series explores, the letter was a hoax. The eight part podcast not only explores the devastating consequences that hoax had caused, it also tries to uncover who wrote the letter and why. And it also asks why the origin of the letter had never been investigated.

If you have been as obsessed with the British Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler as much as I have been (all about a man who conned the women he dated out of tens of thousands of pounds) there’s also a new podcast by the team who put it together. It is called You Can’t Make It Up and presented by the true-crime author Rebecca Lavoie.

Meanwhile, ITV News and their Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo launched Shamima Begum: The Blame Game this week. This series looks at how Begum and two of her school friends went to Syria to join the ISIS Caliphate and the consequences it caused in depth. “Her journey made her and them notorious. They became public figures, pitied by some, vilified by many others,” says Kachroo. “We won’t just tell you what happened but ask, why?”


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Rabbiting On One of the best things about podcasting is hearing perspectives from people you wouldn’t usually hear from in other forms of media. This chatty and engaging new podcast is hosted by three female Rabbis who talk about what their day-to-day work consists of and the joys, the frustrations and unexpectedly weird things that come up day-to-day. It is by Debbie Young-Somers, Miriam Berger and Robyn Ashworth-Steen, the series is put together by The Movement for Reform Judaism.

Their latest episode looks into how they all became rabbis and the value they get from their work. Their drive tends to be working for the community, or wanting to be there for other people. For Berger, it was work experience with a paediatrician. “That sense of working with people on that journey, but I realised that I wasn’t interested in the medicine or the science side of it, just the people and the stories,” she said. “I sort of always knew that this was what I was going to do.”

Texting Keith Olbermann – You’ll recognise the BBC’s Ros Atkins for his detailed and impartial recaps of important news events on television and all over social media. He’s also the host of this delightful podcast series, which first came out a couple of years ago but is having another surge of interest right now. It looks at the unlikely friendship between himself and Keith Olbermann, a US political commentator and anchor known for his grand polemics and public feuds. 

The series is essentially a long conversation between the two of them split into different chapters. It explores the clash between British and US forms of news presentation and how public discourse varies here and there. It also looks at something that we can all identify with; those friendships that seem to be entirely by text or WhatsApp, rather than ever in person. How do they come to be? Why do we prefer those conversations than in person? And why do we seem to contact some people by text more than our loved ones?

The ADHD Women’s Wellbeing PodcastA recent report in The Times highlighted that women are far more likely to be diagnosed at a later age as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than men. If you haven’t got the right treatment or you haven’t been diagnosed as having ADHD, you may encounter a whole host of issues – from an inability to concentrate, to not being able to deal well with stress, to not taking risks without regard to personal safety. 

The presenter of this podcast, Kate Moryoussef, was diagnosed as having ADHD at the age of 40. In this new series, she explores ways that people who have ADHD can look after their better mental and emotional wellbeing better, and shares key learnings that having ADHD can have, especially with women. 

“I had an amazing conversation with someone, an ADHD expert, who said that we have been conditioned to think that ADHD is highly limiting, but she thinks that ADHD is limitless,” Kate says. “I see that in my life.  have a growth mindset, it is not a limited mindset. And I am so grateful for my ADHD for giving me that curiosity, giving me that drive to start something new.”

WeekendOur final podcast we’re recommending this week is by The Guardian and continues a trend that newspapers and magazines have done with podcasting in recent months. Tied to their own supplement in Saturday’s paper, Weekend features interviews and narrations of pieces that you can also read elsewhere. It is a clever marketing tool, but it is also a great way to engage in features that you may have missed in print. Each episode is split into chapters with timings written in the notes, so you can fastforward and rewind to the bits you want to listen to the most.

Thanks for reading the Great British Podcast Newsletter. We’ll be back next week.Plus, if you did not know already, I do a TV newsletter full of news and recommendations. It is free in your inbox every month, with a paid version available every week. To sign up, just head to this Substack. Have a great Sunday.

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Categories: Weekly Picks