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Picks of the week
“Are you Team Believer or Team Sceptic?” asks Danny Robins of The Battersea Poltergeist fame, as he launches his 15-part podcast about supernatural encounters. After appealing to listeners for stories, a team of experts examine their freaky tales. Whichever side you’re on, listening to a levelheaded non-believer who’s still haunted by an evil apparition from 40 years ago certainly gives you something to think about. Hannah Verdier
Radiolab’s new five-part series on the history of the cassette is a treat for fans of smart music-documentary making. Host Simon Adler looks at how tapes changed the world, from black market recordings sold in 1980s and 1990s China, to the rise of self-help recordings. Hannah J Davies
Jamali Maddix Spooky Sh*t
Released just in time for Halloween, this apt series sees Jamali Maddix probe fellow comics on their paranormal encounters. “I wanna believe in spooky stuff ,” says Maddix. “I wanna believe in Bigfoot.” Will the likes of Rick Edwards, Alison Spittle and Dane Baptiste convince him? HJD
Daisy Ridley shines in Chris Brandon’s fast-moving podcast about a woman who moves to Singapore after a bad break up. Settling into a new building isn’t easy for Tamsin (Ridley), especially when her boss is lying dead on the floor and a rogue Alexa-type voice appears out of nowhere. With episodes coming in at around 15 minutes each, it’s a nicely snackable listen. HV
Broccoli Productions bats out another razor-sharp examination of the zeitgeist with a series on a topic so hot it causes palpable fear: cancel culture. Rather than calling it “being cancelled”, host Cameron Bernard Jones proffers that it’s a result of the consequences of actions. In zippy 20-minute episodes, he chronologically details everything in the cases of Jameela Jamil, Armie Hammer and Ellen DeGeneres.
Producer pick: Home/Front: Marla’s War
Chosen by Jacqui Timberlake
A warzone is a scary and dangerous place that most of us are grateful we’ll never have to experience. However, these places are often home to soldiers, diplomats, seasoned journalists and the humanitarian aid corps who land in their thousands when war kicks off. To put it lightly, it can be a bit of a circus.
Home/Front: Marla’s War is a two-part series about an American anti-war activist, Marla Ruzicka, who had no real place on the frontline, and yet – unfunded and unsupported – showed up in both Afghanistan and Iraq at the start of both of those wars. Her mission was to speak for the civilian victims of war – those accidentally harmed or killed. You might think she was a bit late to the anti-war party, but stay with this pod because Marla did something incredible, and something that had never been done before: she brought attention to those civilians, got their injuries and deaths noted, counted, and – most importantly – compensated.
A show to make you suspend your cynicism, as you open your heart to Marla.
For fans of cultural mysteries and intriguing action, new podcast Hemingway’s Picasso might just hit the spot. It tells the story of Stephen Keogh, an NFL player, model and drug smuggler in 80s Miami, who gifted a Picasso ceramic to Ernest Hemingway – and later claimed it back. But was it even real? And was Keogh the criminal mastermind he claimed to be?
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