Although some shows have halted, many have found new value and relevance during the pandemic. From comedic escapism, to political analysis and historical fact, the variety of podcasts available offers listeners the opportunity of audio exploration from the comfort of their home or anywhere else one happens to be.
Here are some of my favourite podcasts of late, that will hopefully provide you with some enjoyment in these still unpredictable times.
The Off Menu Podcast:
In this show from comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble, celebrity guests are invited to describe their dream three-course meal, equipped with free range on drinks and side dishes. I have enjoyed the random ramblings on this show for a while now, but in lockdown have gained a newfound appreciation for the descriptions of unusual drinks and dishes, providing food for thought in every hour-long episode. The unpredictability of Acaster’s often bizarre commentary keeps the show fresh, as each weekly episode provides more laughter for listeners to feast upon.
The Adam Buxton Podcast:
Is another interview-based podcast, by comedian and actor Adam Buxton. The variety of guests Buxton welcomes, from journalists (his old friend Louis Theroux is a regular) to scientists, and fellow comedians, gives the show a unique variety. Buxton’s podcast offers poignant exploration of often complex ideas, within the hilarious framework of the host’s homemade jingles and updates on his dog Rosie. I have found the comic honesty of the show reassuring, and often listen to it before I sleep or as a morning uplift to start the new day.
The Jules and Sarah Podcast:
As wholesome as it is hysterical, this podcast from the Isle of Paradise founder Jules Von Hep, and celebrant Sarah Powell is filled with tales from two Northerners living in London, preaching body positivity and promoting independence. As well as long chats about food and fashion, Von Hep and Powell share admissions of their recent struggles, often returning to topics of anxiety and depression. A steady flow of hilarity and honesty gives this podcast a great authenticity, and comes as a welcome break from the often artificial glamour of social media. The pair have another podcast, ‘Wobble’, that provides a more focused chat around mental health. Typical episodes include guests from fields such as mindfulness, beauty, and health.
Hosted by broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, each episode of In our Time goes into academic depth on any topic from Lawrence of Arabia, to prime numbers. The focused discussion of each episode, where Bragg is joined by academics and experts on the chosen topic, ensures each show is as stimulating as it is accessible. With hundreds of episodes available to listen to, In our Time offers audiences intellectual escapism through fascinating conversation. This show may be especially useful for students looking for further information on their topics of study.
Key Battles of The American Civil War:
Whilst this may seem like a very niche topic, in many ways The American Civil War, has as much relevance now than ever. As America continues to reshape its image on the world stage, I’ve found returning to its history a fascinating means of trying to understand the chaos of the current nation. In a similar way to ‘In our Time’, the insight and depth of each episode allows listeners to step away from the present and immerse themselves into the past, looking back to events just over 150 years ago.
Politics and Current Affairs
The Coronavirus Newscast:
A development from ‘Brexitcast’, this podcast from BBC reporters Laura Kuenssberg, Adam Fleming, and others, provides the most up-to-date information on Covid-19. In each daily update, misinformation is dispelled, and key analysis on the major facts and figures is given. Whilst updates on the coronavirus can be grim, the reassurance and understanding provided by the hosts offers comfort as well as clarity.
The Global News Podcast:
This podcast from the BBC World Service explores news events from around the world. Lately, as well as updates on the varying responses to Covid-19, the podcast continues to examine current affairs. A recent episode on the Syrian civil war provided context and reflection on the many and varied issues across the globe.
The Washington Post‘s political podcast, explores the powers of the US Presidency, often assessing constitutional crises. Each episode investigates the legality of Trump‘s most recent endeavours through a sharp political lens.