Our 50 favourite podcasts for your 2022 summer holiday listening, from art to sport and everything in between


Arts and Culture

Talk Art

Russell Tovey and Robert Diament, hosts of Talk Art (pr handout)
Russell Tovey and Robert Diament, hosts of Talk Art (pr handout)

Created by the actor (and art obsessive) Russell Tovey and the musician-turned-art dealer Robert Diament, this chatty, interview-focused podcast aims to demystify contemporary art. Tovey’s layman’s enthusiasm is infectious and he’s not afraid to ask reasonable, basic questions. Interviewees have ranged from Alan Cumming to Caroline Walker, Tracey Emin to Hew Locke. ND


Presented by John Mitchinson, of publishing group Unbound, and Andy Miller, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously, this is a podcast that wants to “give life to old books”. Listeners may not have read many of the titles chosen by the guests or even, in some cases, heard of the authors, but after an hour-long discussion most will be heading straight to the nearest independent bookstore. NC

The Week in Art

Definitely one for those interested in the art world as much as they are in art, this informative podcast from the Art Newspaper (presented by the Standard’s critic Ben Luke) sheds light on the latest news on museums, market developments like the growth - and decline - of NFTs, and big exhibitions the world over, all in a way that makes you feel like you actually know something. ND

Kermode & Mayo’s Take

The godfathers of film podcasting left the BBC this year, after dominating the cultural airwaves with their unique brand of bickering interspersed with the occasional movie review. They can now be found dispensing their wisdom on the latest releases on Kermode & Mayo’s Take, with added TV reviews too. Longstanding fans will be delighted that the trademark bickering also remains undimmed. NC

The Art Angle

Virgil Abloh (AFP via Getty Images)
Virgil Abloh (AFP via Getty Images)

Coming from the industry website Artnet News, this accessible but in-depth podcast explores current affairs in the art business. Recent episodes have covered how the designer Virgil Abloh changed the contemporary art world; what the Metaverse is and why the art world should care; and the fascinating story of recently jailed dealer Inigo Philbrick, alongside profiles of interesting contemporary artists. ND


Delightfully nerdy and hugely knowledgeable, this lively podcast from the New York Times, led by its charismatic critic John Caramanica, seeks to discuss all things pop music, from Lizzo to Maneskin. Featuring input from other NYT writers, all of whom have very decided, and often quite contrary opinions, it’s a joy and an education, especially if your pop knowledge is stuck somewhere around 2010 (hi). ND

Bow Down

Writer and broadcaster Jennifer Higgie’s longstanding Instagram project highlighting female artists has since yielded a book and this inspiring series, in which Higgie discusses a woman artist with another female cultural figure. There are two seasons to enjoy at the moment, with the likes of Sonia Boyce on Adrian Piper and Alison Goldfrapp on Leonora Carrington. ND


A wonderful look at the golden age of detective fiction from the work of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers to Ngaio Marsh and Josephine Tey, and so many more besides. Caroline Crampton’s well-researched, informative episodes will be fascinating to lovers of detective fiction and true crime, as episodes also extend to the real-life cases that inspired the writers. NC

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Romesh Ranganathan (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures)
Romesh Ranganathan (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures)

Yes it’s about music, but this warm and knowledgeable - and occasionally aimless - podcast couldn’t be more accessible. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan and his co-host Ru-Maj are joined by guests from Riz Ahmed to Katherine Ryan to discuss everything from lyricism in hip hop to the music of the Liverpool dressing room. Hilarious, warm, inclusive, and you’ll come away with new track recs every week. ND

How Did This Get Made?

As long as bad movies are churned out, HDTGM hosts and comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael will be there to dissect them. Thank goodness. Their musings have proved so popular that, rather than a small studio, the podcasts tend to be recorded in front of big live audiences around the US. They are currently posting a lot of past episodes to enjoy, as well as new takes on the dross that never stops emerging. Recent corkers include a wonderful take-down of Diana: The Musical. NC

Three Black Halflings

Think Dungeons and Dragons but served with a side of (alternately hilarious and in-depth) conversation. Here, hosts Jeremy Cobb and Brits Olivia Kennedy and Jasper William Cartwright play D&D, but also discuss diversity and representation in the tabletop role-playing game industry with a host of excellent guests. It’s fun, witty and also thought-provoking; what’s not to like? VJ

Who Am I This Time?

Who better to interview the best actors in the UK than an actor himself? Veteran David Morrissey sits down with some of his good friends to chat about the ins and outs of the industry. Expect fascinating insights and light-hearted conversation with everybody from Derek Jacobi to Adrian Lester; Morrissey is a host with a light touch who manages to make his interviews feel more like private catch-ups.  VJ


Motherfunk with Shirley and Shirley

Shirley & Shirley (Mark Petersen)
Shirley & Shirley (Mark Petersen)

Shirley and Shirley - aka Joanna Carolan and Pascale Wilson - thought that life on the comedy circuit was tough… then they had kids. In Motherfunk, they explore the unvarnished reality of motherhood for a comedian with their trademark dark humour and eye-popping honesty. They compare notes on the pitfalls of parenting, and the differences in bringing up a baby with a woman versus a man (full disclosure: that man is me). NC

The Always Sunny Podcast

Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton – aka Charlie, Mac and Dennis – are the stars of hit sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, now in its extraordinary 15th season, about a group of idiotic bunglers who will never go too low in search of a quick buck. The podcast is a glorious extension of a show that has now hit 15 seasons, with the cast going over old episodes and chatting and joking in a way that only decades of friendship can bring. NC


Richard Herring (Getty Images)
Richard Herring (Getty Images)

Get ready to have your funny bone tickled by Richard Herring. Originally launched as Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, this award-winning show sees comedian Herring interview a revolving door of some of the UK’s biggest names in comedy. Tune in for interviews with Stephen Fry, David Mitchell and Russell Brand and plenty of off-the-wall jokes and conversation. VJ

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Ever wondered what happened to the reporter who had his head spectacularly annihilated in that scene of Hot Fuzz? Well, it turns out he went and started a podcast. Complete with thoughtful conversation, amusing musical interludes (composed by Buxton himself) and cameo appearances from his dog Rosie (a lot of the intros are recorded while Buxton is walking through the countryside), it’s a light-hearted gem that’s not to be missed. Especially not if you’re a Hot Fuzz fan. VJ

My Therapist Ghosted Me

What do you do when you’re having one of those days? You plug in MTGM and get ready to have your worries swept away by a gale of hilarity. Hosted by Vogue Williams (wife of Made in Chelsea’s Spencer) and comedian Joanne McNally (whose personal experiences inspired the name of the podcast), the vibe on this pod is warm and the gossip hot - with conversations ranging from the pair’s sex life to the Kardashians. What’s not to like? VJ


Desert Island Dishes

Nadiya Hussain (PA)
Nadiya Hussain (PA)

Who could resist a pun this fitting? Bravo, then, to chef Margie Nomura for claiming it first back towards the tail end of 2017. Following the formula of the hit Radio 4 show, Nomura asks her guests to name the seven dishes that have shaped their lives; usually, the life story trumps the dishes themselves. Guests include just about everyone from across food, from Michel Roux Jr to Nadiya Hussain to Ainsley Harriet and Stanley Tucci. DE

Off Menu

An obvious choice, given Off Menu has managed to sail past the 150 episode mark with its ’last meal’ formula intact, but it remains one of the best. Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster ask their guests, usually a mix of comics, chefs and generic food bods, to name their dream starter, main, pudding and drink. Gamble and Acaster make this one and while rarely is there much to be learned about food, Off Menu does offer plenty of tip-offs for top restaurants around town. DE

A Taste of the Past

This long-running podcast (there are 381 episodes to date) is a trove of extraordinary finds. Host Linda Pelaccio adores not just food but history too, and her podcast explores the stories behind dishes, people and food cultures, covering everything from the roots of barbecue to the life of Churchill’s cook. Often it is an astonishing education. DE

Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware

Jessie Ware (Getty Images)
Jessie Ware (Getty Images)

Singer Jessie and her biting mum Lennie sit down for a meal with a guest to talk food. Simple in theory but rather manic in practice: listen for a chaotic mix of overlapping chatter, frequent bouts of explosive laughter and plenty of gossip. While this does mean threads of conversations can quickly unravel, the guests are first rate: Self Esteem, Joanna Lumley, Nigel Ng are among the many big names to sit down for a natter. DE

River Cafe Table 4

Most people have to think up a podcast idea; the River Cafe’s Ruth Rogers found one ready and waiting in her restaurant. Given her place has long attracted the great and the good – or at least, the rich and famous – Rogers has her pick of guests for a chat. Rather than focus on food-lovers, Table 4 simply speaks to big names to have them explain what food means to them. Guests have included Nancy Pelosi, David Beckham, Jeff Goldblum and (inevitably) Stanley Tucci. DE


Have You Heard George’s Podcast?

George the Poet (PA)
George the Poet (PA)

Quite unlike almost any other podcast, as you’d expect of a project from the unique talent that is George the Poet. The personal, the political and, yes, the poetic intertwine seamlessly in a structurally experimental but always arresting way - he might be imagining a taxi drive to Grenfell on the night of the fire, or discussing how music can be used to lift black people out of poverty. It elevates podcasting to an art form. ND

Dope Black Dads

Growing out of a WhatsApp group set up by Marvyn Harrison on Father’s Day in 2018, the Dope Black community now numbers more than 250,000 worldwide. The podcast, an engaging and supportive mix of candid conversations and general bantz, explores the universal and the unique in black parenting, from dealing with the cost of living crisis to navigating the elite school system. They also have a sister podcast, Dope Black Women. ND

Banged Up

What is it like to go to prison? In the brilliant Banged Up, Rob and Mike talk with prison lawyer Claire talk about the realities of life inside. It tackles the questions that everyone alway asks, and many more besides. All three are engaging, funny and fascinating - while it’s currently on hiatus, there are 25 episodes to dig into and hopefully more to follow. NC

Out, with Suzi Ruffell

Suzi Ruffell (Getty Images)
Suzi Ruffell (Getty Images)

Stand-up comedian Suzi Ruffell turns her considerable talents to podcasting in this series that sees her interview some of the most inspiring people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Alongside the interviews, which are fascinating and heartfelt, a particular highlight is listening to Ruffell reading out her readers’ stories and emails and offering a supportive word or advice in response. Good vibes all round. VJ

This is Dating

Shows about relationships and dating are fairly commonplace, but this one gives the format a fairly fresh twist. Listen in as four pseudonymous singletons are sent on blind dates, with all the getting-to-know-you cringe that involves laid bare for the audience’s pleasure. A dating coach offers counselling and advice, and lessons for those listening, and it’s fun to guess whether the next date might be a success. NC



Podcast presenter Jimmy Anderson doing his day job (James Marsh/Shutterstock)
Podcast presenter Jimmy Anderson doing his day job (James Marsh/Shutterstock)

“A loosely cricket-based podcast” is how the Tailenders crew describe their show – and it is hard to argue. This is an eclectic group: England’s greatest fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, Radio 1 DJ Greg James and the former Maccabees guitarist Felix White (plus Matt “Mattchin Tendulkar” Horan, a West Country shoe salesman with a love of quizzes) combine to celebrate the game in weird, wonderful and whimsical fashion. WM

Football Cliches

In a crowded field of sports podcasts, particularly big football ones such as The Totally Football Show with James Richardson – what a presenter he is, by the way – Adam Hurrey’s Football Cliches stands out as an absolute joy. This show goes in two-footed on the weird and wonderful semantics of football-speak in hilarious fashion, often with celebrity guests. We’re huge fans, for our sins… NC


Systematic Russian doping changed the face of world sport and corrupted the Olympics in London in 2012 on an unprecedented tale. BBC podcast Bloodsport tells the story how the lid was lifted on the biggest doping operation of all time that went all the way to the Kremlin, and told by the Russian whistleblowers still in hiding today. MM

Beyond the Grid

Tom Clarkson is the voice you hear in the various press conferences at a Formula 1 weekend. His podcast goes beyond the race-by-race nature of F1’s packed schedule and the successful Netflix series Drive to Survive to turn the spotlight on a key figure from the sport whether in the past or present, from ex-world champion Nigel Mansell to current Mercedes driver George Russell. MM

BBC Rugby Union Weekly

Ugo Monye at the TRIC awards (David Fisher/Shutterstock)
Ugo Monye at the TRIC awards (David Fisher/Shutterstock)

A rugby podcast from the frontline. The BBC’s Chris Jones and Ugo Monye, the former England wing, collaborate with current players Danny Care and Chris Ashton to talk through the biggest issues. The focus is England, but there’s a lot of attention for all the other home nations, as well as the Southern Hemisphere. WM

The Cycling Podcast

A long established feature in the podcast world started back in 2013, it was rocked by the sad and sudden passing of one of its founders, Richard Moore. But his co-founders Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe have carried on in his absence covering everything imaginable in the world of professional cycling. MM

Middle Please Umpire

Comedian and actor Miles Jupp joins forces with England fast bowler Mark Wood for irreverent chat about cricket. Each episode flicks from readers’ letters – topics including cricketers met at petrol stations – to a guest each week. They involve players past and present as well as cricket lovers, all put on the spot with a one-minute quiz, Wood’s super over. MM

Science and tech

13 Minutes to the Moon

 (BBC/Toby Macdonald)
(BBC/Toby Macdonald)

First released in 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and pals landing on the moon, 13 Minutes to the Moon, presented by the brilliantly engaging Kevin Fong, is a joy. The story of the Apollo 11 mission and how the first lunar landing was saved is a thrilling ride and podcast docudrama at its best. It followed with the extraordinary story of the doomed mission of Apollo 13. While we wait for – hopefully – more series, go back and catch up on the first two series of an interstellar podcast. NC


The ultimate in fascinating nuggets to trot out in the pub, this long-running, science and culture-adjacent podcast is still the gold standard. There are countless excellent episodes, but high points are the series by Latif Nasser on his namesake, detainee 244 at Guantanamo Bay; a wonder of an episode on colour from 2012; and a cultural, behavioural analysis of a 60-word sentence that was written shortly after September 11, 2001 and became the legal foundation for the “war on terror”. ND

Evening Standard Tech and Science Daily

The Standard’s five minute bulletins are perfect for  those who want a speedy round-up of that day’s tech and science news with no gloss. If this isn’t usually your cup of tea, you might be surprised too - there’s always a wide selection of stories. Recent entries include TikTok, SpaceX, Google’s Cookie, the Loch Ness Monster and Jupiter’s rings. EG

Tomorrow’s World Audit Time

Tomorrow’s World’s first presenter Raymond Baxter with Concorde (BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)
Tomorrow’s World’s first presenter Raymond Baxter with Concorde (BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)

The way people imagined the future is fascinating, not least because we’re now living in the world they dreamed of. Which shiny new inventions made it, and where did the tech that we now can’t live without come from? From their vantage point in 2022, hosts Russ and Mark chortle their way through the 1,400-episode back catalogue of Tomorrow’s World, the hit BBC science programme watched by millions from 1965 to 2003. Each 90min episode feels like spending an afternoon in a pub with your brainy mates. AS

The Infinite Monkey Cage

If you liked science at school but found the teachers too boring to get properly into it, then come visit the Infinite Monkey Cage. In it, Professor Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince (usually with a guest or two) unpack baffling scientific concepts to inform and entertain. From hearing about the Apollo-16 moon mission from Charlie Duke, who was one of the astronauts, to exploring why we laugh, it’s got it all. VJ


British Scandal

 (The Oxford Union/REX)
(The Oxford Union/REX)

What do you get when a political comedian and a Radio 1 DJ host a history show together? The answer is a surprisingly immersive deep dive into UK history. Hosted by Wondery, the podcast unpacks some of the biggest British scandals in recent memory, including Alexander Litvinenko, the royal abdication and Jeffrey Archer’s fall from grace. Come for the history, stay for the banter between the two presenters. VJ

You’re Dead to Me

One for the history buffs. Historian and comedian Greg Jenner (best known for his work on Horrible Histories) sits down with one comedian and one historian to alternately entertain and inform the audience. There are plenty of laughs, there are obscure subjects – think everything from Genghis Khan to pirate queen Zheng Yi Sao – and listeners will leave feeling smarter, just about. VJ

I Spy

Spies, famously, are not particularly open about their jobs, and their secrets tend to stay between them and the governments they work for, which makes I Spy all the more fascinating as a look into the world of espionage. From Soviet sleeper agents planted in the US to undercover CIA agents in Cuba; operatives searching for dangerous militants in Iraq, NSA whistle-blowers to a DEA agent after Pablo Escobar and an MI5 recruit who infiltrated the IRA… these stories, all told by the operatives themselves, could not be more compelling. NC

True Crime

Crime Junkie

As far as true crime podcasts go, few are more thoroughly researched than Crime Junkie. While telling the stories that have become legends in the true crime community, host Ashley Flowers also delves into the lesser known and yet-to-be-solved cases. She focuses on the stories of the missing and murdered who don’t get media attention, or are in marginalised communities, with a view to giving them a platform and helping get the cases solved. ED

My Favourite Murder

My Favourite Murder is a comedy podcast. This is something that hosts Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff stress from the outset. As a way for the duo to process the horrible parts of true crime, they bring a lighthearted approach that has served them well over the more than 300 episodes. The podcast is as much about the legendary stories as it is about laughing with your best friends (which they will become) as well as hearing about their TV recommendations, what they learnt recently in therapy, and all about their pets. ED


In Criminal, host Phoebe Judge takes a different approach to the true crime genre. Instead of focusing on the most gruesome of crimes, she spotlights the more unusual that will have you second guessing whether it should be prosecuted or not - and more often than not with personal accounts. Highlights include the episode Off Leash, about a dog trainer who fell in love with a prisoner and helped him escape and The Finger, about whether the US’s laws governing freedom of speech applies to the use of the middle finger. ED

Unravel: Snowball

An average family in New Zealand were left picking up the pieces after a run-in with a charming con artist from California. One member of the family, journalist Ollie Wards, decided to piece together the story of his runaway sister-in-law, dig into her backstory and see if he could catch up with her. A fascinating story that takes him across continents, told with a wry Antipodean tone that makes for an excellent antidote to some of the more po-faced American true crime pods. NC

Politics/current affairs

The Rest is Politics


Fighting about politics is so last year - in this podcast, the biggest issues of the day get a civilised discussion instead. Hosted by former rising star in the Conservative party Rory Stewart and Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, the show regularly tops the podcast charts, and for good reason. The pair’s in-depth (and at times, rather lively) political debates cover everything from personal stories of working with Boris Johnson to why the upcoming political elections in Ghana are so important; leave feeling about a 100% more clued up on world affairs than when you started. VJ

Doomsday Watch

There’s two ways of approaching today’s apocalyptic newscycle: hunker down in your house and never pick up a paper, or go the other way, and dig in deep with Arthur Snell. Each week the ex-diplomat explores the world’s geopolitical threats – from Putin’s Energy War, to The Fall of the Neoliberal Order to Turkey as NATO’s disruptive ally. The half an hour episodes may well terrify you – so this is for those who want to be enlightened as the world burns. EG

Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd

Feel like the world is getting you down? What you need is a dose of positivity - and that’s what this podcast aims to provide. Labour politician Ed Miliband sits down with radio host Geoff Lloyd to discuss some of the biggest issues facing society today, and what big ideas are needed to fix them. Featuring interviews with some of the UK’s most interesting changemakers (including George Monbiot and Brian Cox) it’s a feelgood podcast with a serious political message behind it. Westminster afficionados beware, though: it’s sadly rather short on political anecdotes. VJ

The Leader

The Leader covers the main issues of the day (Freemantle)
The Leader covers the main issues of the day (Freemantle)

Released daily at 4pm, the Evening Standard’s The Leader brings on the newspaper’s journalists, editors and columnists to discuss the biggest stories of the day. Covering everything from Sunak versus Truss to heatwaves to Kylie and Jason on the final episode of Neighbours, the clips last around 10minutes – just the right length to get a comprehensive update when you’re on the move. EG