Best podcasts of the week: Jessica Barden is cryogenically frozen in a BBC thriller

There’s a beautiful performance from the End of the F***ing World star in a drama that sees her waking up in a new and scary world. Plus: John Bercow collaborates with The Guilty Feminist team in his new podcast series.


Picks of the week

SteelHeads
The End of the F***ing World’s Jessica Barden lights up this brilliant new thriller podcast as terminally ill tennis pro Joleen Kenzie, whose only hope of survival is to be cryogenically frozen. Her fear as she’s about to go under for the procedure is beautifully played, with whispered messages to her family. But as she wakes up in a Seattle lab in the near future she feels the terror of a body – and a world – that’s changed. Hannah Verdier

America’s Girls
The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders revolutionised the craft in 1972 with their hotpants and go-go boots, becoming more popular than the American football team they were supporting. Sarah Hepola’s podcast gives the cheerleaders a voice as they’re interviewed about their battle for fair pay, creepy fans and the debate over their status as “sexy sideline dancers”. HV

The Footballer’s Football Podcast
Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson and West Ham’s Michail Antonio team up for this new podcast about what it’s like to be a Premier League player. When they’re not rehashing their performances at the weekend, it’s a fun listen, covering VAR leaving them “feeling like an idiot” and Virgil van Dijk being a “good-looking guy”. Alexi Duggins

French & Saunders: Titting About
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are back talking nonsense in a festive episode of their waffling but very welcome podcast. The pals riff on everything from the disappointment of receiving a Mindy doll instead of a Sindy as a kid to peeling away for a secret bath on Christmas Day, with an analysis of cracker jokes and seasonal traditions in between. Jolly good fun. Hollie Richardson

John Bercow’s Absolute Power
Deborah Frances-White teams up with the former Speaker of the House of Commons for this new podcast. It’s essentially an extended interview, with an enjoyable chemistry between the pair as Bercow fields questions on his old job. It remains to be seen how many episodes this will manage before getting old, though. AD

Producer pick: The in-betweenish pod

Chosen by Axel Kacoutie

I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who dreads being asked, “who are you?”. I think it’s because I’m forced to rely on a flimsy answer or I have to fish within the gaps of what I’m told to be – versus who I think I am today. Identity and belonging have always been fluid rather than fixed and in this new podcast, host Beatriz Nour courageously carves out a space for the listener where it’s ok to be confused and not have the answers. Through the experience and memory of her guests we are subtly given permission to reflect on our own life choices and relationship to country, culture and language. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more conversations from this series as tackling these existential topics becomes less scary with each listen.

Talking points

  • The latest entry to the world of podcasting? Possibly Quentin Tarantino, who is rumoured to be producing a show where he discusses his CD and DVD collection. Presumably it will be more captivating than it sounds on paper.

  • Why not try: Life Sentence | Light Culture | Country Heat Weekly

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