The phenomenal success of the award-winning Serial made podcasts cool again, not to mention kickstarting a new generation of true crime documentaries.
S-Town – for true crime aficionados
Without giving away any spoilers, this gripping investigation by US radio journalist Brian Reed takes him to a small town in rural Alabama following an email from a disgruntled resident who despises the place where he lives. A rumoured murder, family feuds and the hunt for hidden treasure make this Southern Gothic documentary an absolute must-listen.
Inside Psycho – for film buffs
This brand new six-part documentary examines the compelling origins, production and aftermath of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 thriller Psycho. The first episode talks about how Norman Bates was based on notorious Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, while later chapters will discuss the dark mind of the director himself. Perfect for anyone who enjoys the Hollywood histories of the You Must Remember This podcast.
Guardian Football Weekly – for footie fans
The Guardian’s football-based podcasts is one of the most popular sports podcasts around and features presenter and journalist James Richardson along with a revolving cast of contributors. Richardson and the ‘pod squad’ mull over the biggest stories of the week, with an amusing discussion of the beautiful game and its biggest characters.
My Dad Wrote A Porno – for comedy lovers
The premise is just as horrific as the title makes it sound, albeit a hell of a lot funnier. Jamie Morton’s father has indeed knocked out his very own pornographic novel and self-published it. Each episode of the podcast sees Morton and best mates James Cooper and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine reading the unintentionally hilarious tome aloud and completely pulling apart, punctuated by fits of giggles.
Dan Snow’s History Hit – for history buffs
There’s plenty of podcast fodder around for history fans and this one from TV presenter Dan Snow is one of the best. Historical events are broken down into captivating bite-size episodes, giving listeners an excellent overview of modern history as well as delving back into centuries gone by.
The West Wing Weekly – for couch potatoes
US political drama The West Wing may have finished back in 2006, but this epic podcast is helping to keep its memory alive. Launched last year by former cast member Joshua Malina, the podcast recaps every single episode of the award-winning drama and with 155 to get through, there’s still plenty to go.
Sony Exploder – for musical types
This podcast sees musicians invited to take apart their own songs and, piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. So far guests have included Iggy Pop, Björk and U2 among many others and the podcast has already hit the 100-episode mark. The detail the musicians go into about each track means that this is one for real music nerds, rather than casual listeners.
The Hilarious World of Depression – for a comic approach to a taboo subject
Making a comedy podcast about clinical depression was a bold move, but radio host John Moe’s gamble has paid off. Each episode sees Moe having simultaneously moving and hilarious conversations with a range of comedians who have dealt with the disease. What’s more, it’s supported by charities that aim to reduce the stigma of mental health.
No Such Thing As A Fish – for lovers of weird trivia
This must-listen show sees the writers behind the BBC’s hit programme QI gather together to share their most interesting discoveries. In keeping with the eccentric humour of the show, the researchers discuss the most interesting and unbelievable things they’ve found out over the past week, with previous episode including No Such Thing As A Helium Filled Puffer Fish, No Such Thing As High-Fiving The Beatles and No Such As Churchill’s Secret Parrot.
Missing Richard Simmons – for those who like mystery
This surprise hit tells the mysterious tale of American fitness guru known for his exercise videos and flamboyant personality who hasn’t been seen in public since 2014. This led to wild speculation that he was being held against his will. Following the launch of the podcast in February 2017, police reportedly carried out a check on the 68-year-old former star and confirmed that he’s fine, but the story of his life and how he became a celebrity is still fascinating.