Best podcasts of the week: the wild story of Siegfried and Roy’s near-death tiger attack

<span>Photograph: Lennox Mclendon/AP</span>
Photograph: Lennox Mclendon/AP

Picks of the week

Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy
In 2003, the stage career of flamboyant German illusionists Siegfried and Roy was halted when one of their tigers nearly killed Roy in front of a 1,500-person audience. This excellent eight-part series goes into depth on the details of that night, as well as profiling its subjects’ outrageous career in compelling detail. Think cheetah smuggling, tigers in swimming pools and the most bizarre police investigation you’ve ever heard of. Alexi Duggins

This hugely insightful, engaging podcast about the Middle East returns after a two-year hiatus to reopen its discussion on Afghanistan. With one of the hosts being an al-Qaida jihadist turned MI6 double agent, it’s packed with incredible, eye-opening detail. Just don’t expect it to flatter the US and UK. AD

The Roxane Gay Agenda
Fans of Hear to Slay will be glad that cut-to-the-chase cultural commentator Roxane Gay is back with a solo offering. She bills it as “the bad feminist podcast of your dreams”, and with frank, much-needed conversations on race, pop culture and politics with passionate guests, she’s going to deliver. Hannah Verdier

Stephen Fry’s Inside Your Mind
“Off-white, rubbery, wrinkled like a walnut and about the size of a small melon” is Stephen Fry’s first impression of the brain in his 12-part series devoted to the mysterious organ. As he explores further, he has many questions to answer on evolution, gender and consciousness, but he does know the brain weighs the same as a MacBook Pro. HV

Fairy Meadow
Journalist Jon Kay first heard about the Cheryl Grimmer disappearance case while covering the story of Madeleine McCann. “In some ways the cases are hauntingly similar,” he says. This eight-part series sees him travel to Australia, where three-year-old Cheryl vanished on a beach while out with her family in 1970. It is a deeply sad but fascinating listen. Hollie Richardson

Producer pick: Lacey & Flynn have Sex

Chosen by Elena Morresi

In the pilot of their podcast, Lacey and Flynn talk about creating something new, not porn or sex education. ‘Porncation’ is the neologism they land on while they record themselves having sex in their living room.

At the start of episode 17, Lacey gives a trigger warning, and after listening and skimming through all 38 episodes of the podcast so far, I wish it had come earlier.

Lacey and Flynn Have Sex is about heteronormative sex. They speak of feminine and masculine energy, caveating that this is not gender based. In this relationship, though, it does appears to be.

Lacey, the cis-female in the marriage, shames herself for not matching her husband’s libido; “poor you” she says at one point, when discussing turning her husband’s advances down, and cis-male Flynn accepts his heroism in standing by her while missing out on orgasms across their 10 year relationship. This red flag has dragged the podcast to the bottom of my listening list.

But here are some other observations: the podcast can be cringey with new-age rhetoric and challenges to modern medicine, it is peppered with adverts promoting their pay-to-attend courses, the audio quality is perfect, and let’s face it, sex sells.

Normalising sex is healthy, and Lacey and Flynn’s teachings definitely entice many listeners and probably de-stigmatise talking about sex. But before you delve in, approach with caution, fact check, and heed my trigger warning.

Talking points

  • Who says that being a librarian isn’t a cutting-edge, tech-focused job of the future? Certainly not the occupants of what might be one of the coolest-sounding jobs we’ve ever heard of: podcast librarians. It’s a role involving organising, categorising and helping users discover podcasts – like a normal librarian, but with audio. And in the last couple of weeks, podcast discovery service Podchaser, appointed one of their very own. The occupant is seemingly the second ever holder of the job title, following on from Ma’ayan Plaut, who had the same job at podcast promotion company RadioPublic from 2016-2019.

  • Why not try: Evil Genius With Russell Kane | Our Voices

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