Each and every week this newsletter picks out the best of British podcasts, with many of the suggestions put forward by you, but we know from reading all of your emails and messages that many of you love listening to podcasts from all over the world.
So the British Podcast Awards have asked us this year to help choose the shortlist for the Best International Podcast. Your suggestion can be any podcast you like: news, entertainment, comedy, fiction, storytelling. All you have to do is head to here and tell us your favourite (the only rule they have set is that the podcast must have released an episode between the 1st February 2020 and the 31st January 2021).
If you have got your own British podcast and want it to be submitted for the awards this year, all you need to do is head to the British Podcast Awards website for the rules and info. The public vote – the Listeners’ Choice, supported by BBC Sounds, will also return in May. Look out for a special edition of the newsletter with all the nominees (including your international picks) later in the year!
GUESTS ON PODCASTS THIS WEEK:
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- Jed Mecurio, behind the hugely successful Line of Duty and Bodyguard, and an executive producer of the new BBC One series Bloodlands, is the latest guest on Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner.
- Rufus Wainwright is the latest guest on Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach, where guests discuss their favourite places around the world.
- To celebrate LGBT+ History month, Brown Don’t Frown Podcast is joined by author Adiba Jaigirdar, to talk about her books and her work.
- Duchess, which looks at historic homes across Britain and the women who run them, features Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill at Blenheim Palace.
- Travis Alabanza, a renowned performer and theatre maker, is the latest guest on Changes with Annie Macmanus.
- Helen O’Hara, from the Empire Podcast, joins 90 Minutes Or Less Film Fest to discuss Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty (which is 75 minutes) and discuss her new book Women Vs Hollywood.
Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead
If you want your podcast featured, or you have a great recommendation, all you need to do is fill in this simple form and might get featured in a future newsletter.
Life Hacks – Lockdown Wellbeing – Even though we now know the route out of lockdown and when that might be (praying for all the McDonald’s the morning after nightclubs are due to reopen), a lot of the time it feels as if we are all on an emotional rollercoaster, feeling productive and optimistic one moment, then anxious and self-critical the next. So Radio 1 Life Hacks (which used to be the Radio 1 Sunday Surgery) have released a new podcast providing solutions to a number of problems many of us are facing in the pandemic, from experiencing a lack of motivation, to having trouble with our sleep, to experiencing loneliness.
The advice is provided by trained experts, so there’s no room for generic tips that might not work. For me, the episode looking at dealing with anxiety was a help, where I related to many of the anecdotes shared by presenters Katie Thistleton and Vick Hope.
“It is really important to talk about what you are in control of and what you are not in control of, because anxiety comes from a place of not really feeling in control,” advises Dr Radha, the expert that episode. “Write a list of those things down, recognise when those thoughts come into your head about things you can’t control. Think to yourself ‘I’m thinking this, I can’t control that, but what I can do that makes me feel better?’”
Get Birding – Over the past year many people have told me how beneficial they have found nature podcasts. It’s not just because it gives them a bit more of the outside world when they’re staying in. It’s also because many of these podcasts tell you about all the nature you can appreciate not far from your own front door.
Get Birding, presented by 18-year-old Mya-Rose Craig (known as Birdgirl), is one of those podcasts. It celebrates all the ways that birds can bring joy in your life. “They’re not really like mammals or plants or insects in that they are pretty much everywhere,” she says in a recent episode. “There are always going to be a bird or two in every park, in every corner. I think that’s brilliant, and I think that’s a fantastic way to get people interested. It’s not that difficult to start looking.”
In each episode, you accompany her for one of her walks. There’s also a great series of guests, most recently with the comedian Susan Calman, their first guest being the nature presenter Chris Packham. “People found that when they turned off their social media, when they turned off their televisions and they went out into their gardens … or if they went out on those walks, they were encountering things that they had seen before but never had looked at before,” he tells her. “They were encountering things that they had heard but never had listened to before, and there is a distinct difference between those things.” This is a great podcast, with new episodes out every two weeks.
Spotify Podcast of the Week: GIANT
Season two of Spotify’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed Original audio documentary series, GIANT, draws to close this week with an episode about Ronaldinho. In the summer of 2003, FC Barcelona were a mess – years without a trophy, and slipping further from the top. This episode tells the story of how Ronaldinho signed for the club and his legacy there now, almost 20 years on. This is the last in the current run of GIANT but there are another 25 episodes from this season available to listen to exclusively on Spotify, including guest episodes from the teams behind the Socially Distant Sports Bar and The Athletic.
Justin Fashanu: The Untold Story of Britain’s First Gay Footballer – “Everyone knows a few things about Justin Fashnau,” says James McNicholas from The Athletic at the start of this new series, marking what would have been the year he turned 60. “They know that he was Britain’s first Black one million pound footballer. They know that he was the first male British professional footballer to come out as gay. And they know that in 1998 he took his own life.”
This one-off podcast, based on a profile written earlier this year, goes beyond what you already know about the footballer and tries to provide a full portrait, by speaking to those who knew him. It also provides an interesting perspective on his complex legacy and how much football has changed in the past three decades.
Daisy is Insatiable – Daisy Buchanan is back with a new podcast looking at modern love and relationships at a time when everything about it feels very different. Tied to the release of her book with the same name, she interviews other authors about the romantic themes in their work, covering topics such as romance, vulnerability, friendships and those weird surreal feelings when you first start dating someone.
Finally, a cute little podcast before we go. The Room in the Room is presented by 7 year old Dillon with his mum, in a tiny studio that has been specifically constructed on the top floor of their South London home (it has such great soundproofing).
Many of the episodes simply consist of their chatter and observations on home schooling and the latest lockdown, and it’s simply delightful to hear Dillon’s enthusiasm for audio and podcasting shine through. If there’s a great little podcast made by a kid who wants to make it big in the future, we want to hear about them! Let us know about their podcast and it might get featured in a future newsletter.