BBC Radio Five Live announced this week that they are releasing a special episode of You, Me and the Big C, to celebrate the lives of two of the show’s presenters.

BBC Radio 5 Live announced this week that they are releasing a special episode of You, Me and the Big C, to celebrate the lives of two of the show’s presenters.

The podcast, hosted by Dame Deborah James, Lauren Mahon, Rachael Bland and Steve Bland, built up a loyal following for its frank and casual conversation about life with cancer and beyond cancer, and the many challenges and changes it can result in for yourself and loved ones. It not only celebrates the lives of Rachael Bland and Dame Deborah James, who both passed away in 2018 and 2022 respectively, the podcast is returning with a special live episode in front of an audience, featuring stories from listeners, family members and medical experts. The episode will be available to listen on Monday 30th January (that’s the day after this newsletter arrives in your inbox) on the BBC Sounds website.

The British Podcast Awards honoured Dame Deborah with a special award last July, with Mahon telling audiences: “I don’t think there are many podcasts that you could say would be standing up here whose co-hosts are not with them because they have died of the subject matter, but that is why we do what we do.

Speaking of the British Podcast Awards … entries have opened for their 2023 ceremony, which this year are in partnership with PodPod. If you have your own podcast and are thinking about entering or you want to find out more, just head to the British Podcast Awards website.


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Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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The Sound: Mystery of Havana SyndromeLast year the journalist Nicky Woolf fronted a fascinating Audible podcast looking into QAnon, and why people end up supporting this anti-semitic far-right conspiracy theory. He’s now returned with a baffling and insightful new documentary series (available on all podcast platforms) looking into a mysterious illness known as Havana Syndrome. It’s an illness that causes headaches, memory issues and hearing loss, but was brought on by hearing a piercing, high pitch, buzzing grinding sound, that only they could hear. What caused it? And why were authorities releasing contradictory and confusing information about what it actually was?

“I’ve spent my career covering stories at the murky intersection between technology and politics and I’ve seen some really, really weird stuff,” says Woolf. “But I’ve never seen a story like what has happened in Havana.” 

Perfect 10 with Carol VordermanA new daily quiz format presented by mathematical genius and former Countdown host Carol Vorderman. The concept is relatively simple. In each episode she asks ten questions and to win, you have to get all ten right. And it’s not just normal general knowledge either. There’s questions that push your lateral thinking and your memory. There’s also riddles, letter games and the odd maths question too.

You’re encouraged to pause the audio to jot down your answers if you need a bit of time to figure it all out. All of the answers are revealed at the end of every episode.

There Are No Greater HeroesA great little six part music documentary, created by the music promoter Sam Tyler, about the story of Tony, Caro & John, a hippy musical trio who released a song together back in the 1970s. 

Despite only making ninety nine copies of the record (tax rules would have kicked in if they had published over 100) two surviving members of the band recently performed a new gig together, four decades later. This documentary tells you what happened in the intervening years. It’s a story of connection, friendship and never being able to predict what something will end up being when you start out.

Fierce Minds Kind Hearts with Ashley CainThere are a lot of self improvement podcasts, but this one stands out because the advice is motivational, yet also grounded and realistic too. Hosted by former footballer Ashley Cain, the podcast came about following the passing of his daughter, Azaylia Diamond Cain, to cancer two years ago.

In each episode he speaks to others who have experienced serious difficulty and setbacks, to emphasise that throughout our lives we all experience serious difficulties and we can all get through them. Interviews include BMX World Champion Shanaze Reade, broadcaster Fearne Cotton and former SAS soldier Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham.

And the name of this podcast? “No matter what you’re going through in this world, you’re able to overcome it with a fierce mind and a kind heart,” says Cain.

Thanks so much for reading (and listening). 

We’ll be back next Sunday with another podcast newsletter.

Categories: Weekly Picks