I am always a fan of starting these newsletters with an emoji. With the Winter Olympics kicking off this weekend, there’s an abundance to choose from🧤❄️☃️ 🥶🏂🏔️🎿
The Winter Olympic Mile will be giving daily updates of the latest sporting action from Beijing, as a lot of the sporting action will be taking place in the overnight hours. There are in depth interviews with British hopefuls and celebrated Olympians too, including bobsledder Greg Cackett, speed skaters Kathryn Thomson and Niall Treacy and celebrated gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold. For more insight into the other contenders from around the world to look out for, there’s the Olympic Channel Podcast too.
There will also be a lot of discussion in the next two weeks about these Games in light of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and restrictions of freedoms in Hong Kong. ThinkIn with James Harding, by the publisher Tortoise, has recently released an interesting six part series exploring these issues and more. The Economist Podcast has a recent episode looking at the tight security surrounding these Games, and how it ensures that China is seen in the way the country wants to be seen.
Before we crack on with this week’s recommendations… A few weeks ago in this Great British Podcast newsletter we mentioned that the team behind Dan Snow’s History Hit are going on an expedition to Antarctica to track down the lost ship Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance. Just to let you know that Expedition22 has officially kicked off this week with a special episode of what to look out for. Make sure you pack your thermals.
NOTABLE NAMES ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK
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- A whole set of special guests joined Folk on Foot this week, to celebrate the English Folk Expo. Matthew Bannister and Kitty Macfarlane counted down the top forty albums of 2021, with performances from Katherine Priddy, Spiers and Boden, Spell Songs, The Longest Johns and many more.
- Broadcaster Elizabeth Day was on Changes with Anne Mcmanus
- Comedian Nish Kumar joined Suchandrika Chakrabarti, Jamal Khadar and Brian Logan in the But Is It Funny? podcast, where guests talk about their work and how comedy connects us all.
- Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster returned for its seventh series this week, with comedian Tim Key and singer Charlotte Church joining them for their first couple of episodes.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
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Glasgow Crime Stories – The Glasgow Times are behind this well-researched and intriguing crime podcast, which tells you notorious crime stories from Glasgow’s past in twenty minute chunks. There’s a lot of interesting stories here, starting here with a look at the life of the well known crime ‘godfather’ Arthur Thomson.
Until his death in 1993, Thomson was feared by many in the city. His gangs were heavily involved heavily in violence, extortion and illegal casinos. He also laundered money from his criminal enterprises in legitimate businesses, from garages and carpet showrooms. As you’ll hear in this story, he was also an ally to the Kray Twins.
In a genius bit of casting, Taggart star Alex Norton is providing the narration for the series. You might not have ever visited the great city of Glasgow, but don’t let that stop you from dipping into the story.
The Doctor Next Door – After becoming friends with leading cardiologist Dr Neil Srinivasan, the broadcaster Dave Berry has become fascinated with the healthcare industry. In this podcast Berry asks questions he has always wanted to know about the medical world, along with contributions sent in from listeners. There’s a lot of talk about explanations about how different parts of the body work, a lot of health myths debunked and some advice on general healthcare and wellbeing.
It has a relaxed and informative style, opening the world of healthcare a bit but not too much. This is perhaps a good audio series to get stuck into before watching the television adaptation of the celebrated Adam Kay book This Is Going To Hurt next week.
Melanin & Me – This podcast, presented by Rae and Ash, covers topics around the Black British experience and its connection to health, career progression and mental health. They have a great selection of guests too. A recent episode included a conversation with Dr. Gbemisola-David West, who talked about structural inequalities within healthcare.
Their most recent episode explores the reasons why Black and Asian women are four times more likely to die in childbirth or pregnancy. “It is really complex and we still don’t know why it is that Black and Asian women are dying at higher rates compared to their white counterparts,” Gbemisola-David West says. “We know that there is probably an element of racism in there, if not on a personal level but maybe an institutional level. Can every Black or Asian woman accessing that care, do we access it in the same way? Is there trust between patients and their doctors if they don’t look like them, or is there a lack of understanding of the different cultures?”
On Jimmy’s Farm – Our final podcast this week comes from the ecologist and farmer Jimmy Doherty, who has got a new podcast that delves into sustainable living, as well as businesses that are trying to make a difference. A decent and interesting selection of guests too, from Sir Tim Smit on how the Eden Project has changed and evolved over the past twenty years, to ‘Ecoprener’ Eshita Kabra-Davies on the new trend of renting, rather than buying, your clothes. The emphasis in the podcast is that small differences in our habits can collectively make a big difference.
If you want to hear some great podcasts (instead of just reading about them) I was back on BBC Radio 4’s Podcast Radio Hour this week with some choices for February.
Podcasts include Feast is Feast with Big Zuu, Go Love Yourself with Laura Adlington and Lauren Smith, Panic Room with John Robins and Jess Robinson’s Stars in Your Ears. We also spoke to Moya Lothian-Mclean about Human Resources, Scott Mills about his new podcast Pop 101 and Helena Merriman about Room 5.
I was also on The Media Podcast with Matt Deegan this week, a podcast which is now coming out weekly, along with ITV News’ Washington Correspondent Robert Moore.
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