[caveat - this post has nothing to do with the above picture!]
I know I am late to podcast-table but since the dawn of Circuit Breaker, I have become quite addicted as I listen whilst sewing. In a short space of time, I have become loyal to a generous handful and discerning to whom I will listen. Poor sound quality is a big no-no; some American podcasts are strewn with adverts which is very off-putting but the biggest turn off, is a host who knows nothing of their guests.
As most release a weekly episode, analogue TV frustrations flood back as we have to WAIT for a new release (quel horreur). Deep down I know is a good thing as the Netflix-serial-binge-greed-culture we have accustomed to is undoubtedly a human trait we should do our best to expunge.
My favourite podcasts somewhat reflect the style of the old Michael Parkinson interviews - a deep-dive into one person or topic where insight and meaning is uncovered rather than the press-junket snippets & tittle-tattle you might glean from a TV talk-show and then again on a radio interview the next day. I find myself looking up my favourite commentators or comedians to see if they are 'doing a podcast'. Most of them are! I will hold my hands up and admit to greatly enjoying the rambles with faces that are familiar to me from TV or screen but equally have been fascinated to hear more from authors, activists, politicians or musicians I might not have previously known much about.
It is not all fluff that I've been listening to and would highlight a couple of notable episodes from NY Times podcasts that I have found incredibly powerful, educational and eye opening, especially against today's BLM backdrop and conversations. The New York Times series Nice White Parents looks at the racial integration problems within the New York public school system. Even as a non-American listener, I agreed with The Guardian's review that summed it up as 'gripping, relevant, uncomfortable'. I would urge everyone to listen to the compelling 'Getting Out' The Sunday Read from The Daily's June 14th podcast about a child who goes to prison in the US and then his struggle to become an Attorney on his release. In all honesty, I don't think I ever really knew the meaning of injustice or realised my own privilege before listening to this.
There have been some surprises too - talk show hosts or pop stars who I adore but have found their podcasts dreary and dull. I am not into shaming so will not reveal who! Instead, with community spirit in mind, I am sharing my favourites below - a top eleven (couldn't whittle down to 10) podcasts in some kind of vague order. Comment below if you have other suggestions, I am all ears...
1. How to Fail With Elizabeth Day - have long been a fan of what Elizabeth Day has to say since watching her on the press preview on Sky News. Her in-depth conversation series with reams of guests is addictive. She asks guests about their top 5 or so 'failures' and how these have actually helped them to better themselves or move forward. Favourite episodes include George Alagiah, Matthew Syed and Henry Holland. New episodes every Wednesday.
2. David Tennant Does a Podcast - a new find and he has just started a new season. Opener for Season 1 was with Olivia Colman (I went to school with her so always a thrill to hear her speak which is also quite rare) was fantastic - I loved the James Corden episode so much I have listened to it twice. From latest season, Judi Dench and George Takei are stand out convos. New episodes every Monday.
3. The Adam Buxton Podcast - slightly obsessed with comedian AB's dulcet tones, his opening line "Heeeeeey Pocats" and can imagine him bounding through the Norfolk countryside (where I spent much of my childhood) with his dog Rosie. Brilliant 'ramble chats' with likes of Louis Theroux, Billy Connolly and Zadie Smith. Going since 2015 so many, many to listen to...(currently on a break! Hurry back Adam!)
4. Literally with Rob Lowe - hands-up, RL was a major teen heart-throb for me. His face cut-out and stuck to the front of my diary (along with Tony Slattery, Hugh Laurie and Robert Redford!!! No judgements please). Stand-out episodes include Gwyneth Paltow, Alec Baldwin and Caitlin Jenner. Much profanity in all episodes for potty-mouth-policers.
5. An Hour or So with Sue Perkins - another favourite comedian, Sue Perkins (you must know her Mel & Sue days or more recently as a Bake Off host) goes long with the chat with the likes of Bake Off Goddess Mary Berry, ex-doctor/author Adam Kay and actress Florence Pugh. Eagerly awaiting the next season.
6.'Grounded' with Louis Theroux - a podcast that the documentary maker made in Lockdown with all of Theroux's quirk and charm. Favourite episodes Helena Bonham-Carter, Boy George and Jon Ronson.
7. The Business of Fashion - the BoF updates regularly with interviews and conversations with some of fashion's most interesting. Loved the Giles Deacon, June Sarpong and Anna Sui episodes.
8. The Daily - from the New York Times. The Daily brings you topical news commentary, documentary style podcasts on US and worldly issues. Must-listen episodes: The Killing of Breonna Taylor two-parter.
9. Love Stories with Dolly Alderton - this series ended in 2019 and DA has another podcast, the High-Low with her bestie Pandora Sykes but I LOVE this series and hope she does another season. Favourite episode with negroni loving Stanley Tucci and author Adam Kay.
10. Table Manners with Jessie Ware - and the singer's mother. They usually cook something delicious for their guests and ask them about food-related memories and stories. Favourite episode was where they gave David Schwimmer (aka Ross Geller from Friends) some dry banana bread to eat which he critiqued quite heavily and then proceeded to blame Jessie's brother who had made the cake. There is lots of chat about Jessie's Mum matzo ball soup which I have never tried and now want to.
10. Giles Coren Has No Idea - I was delighted to see that Giles Coren has a podcast as he always makes me hoot with laughter. This podcast sees him and his wife Esther chatting, arguing and discussing the latest news be that serious or other.
11. Deliciously Ella - a focus on health and wellness with Ella Mills (founder of Deliciously Ella food brand) and her husband. Most interesting episodes 'Diet Myths' with scientist Tim Spector and interview with The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker.
Share your suggestions below! ↓↓↓