Our podcast recommendations

Whilst we’ve been wanting to escape the news recently, we still want to learn and these gloriously mind-expanding podcasts are just the ticket.

Become a Pub Quiz Champ
If you ever find yourself wondering why people are ticklish, how perfume works and what exactly the Freemasons are, Stuff You Should Know is for you. It explains all the things we assume we know but actually don’t. It might also help you win the pub quiz. Hosted by jovial Americans Charles (Chuck) Bryant and Josh Clark, this is food for the brain – you’ll want to chomp through the episodes.

Porn From A Different Angle
We didn’t expect to be recommending a podcast about how free porn has changed the world but then we didn’t reckon on the journalist Jon Ronson making The Butterfly Effect. He brings his trademark unquenchable curiosity to the subject, managing to investigate it seemingly without lechery or judgement. This is NSFW certainly but it’s far from salacious and overall, it’s an oddly moving experience – trust us on this one.

As Time Goes By
These troubled times have us feeling nostalgic and what better way to indulge ourselves than drowning in the glamour and scandal of Old Hollywood? You Must Remember This explores the forgotten, or sometimes secret, history of Hollywood in the twentieth century. It’s a reminder of how intoxicating celebrities of the era were. Start with the trio of episodes about Marilyn Monroe, examining how she became such a huge icon.

Huddle in
The big stories in the news can be hard to stomach but The Untold offers intimate, surprising perspectives on larger issues. Originally a Radio 4 series presented by Grace Dent, the episodes are now in podcast form. Our favourite is Down’s Syndrome: It’s Just Two Words, about parents whose children have Down’s Syndrome but start anywhere, and get intrigued by these compelling real life dramas.

Drama Kings and Queens
If you’ve ever wondered what makes dramatists tick, you’ll want to download Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast. These are chatty, full length interviews (ideal for long commutes) with contemporary playwrights, all conducted by Simon Stephens – himself a playwright. We’ve sometimes struggled with arts podcasts which fail to convey the excitement of live performance but this series, produced by the Royal Court Theatre, manages to be both compelling and candid.

— Alex Peake-Tomkinson
20th September 2017