Best podcasts of the week: a Falklands ‘cover-up’, a rap about Jesus and Johnny Knoxville

<span>Johnny Knoxville shot at The Corinthia in London, February 2022.</span><span>Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Guardian</span>
Johnny Knoxville shot at The Corinthia in London, February 2022.Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Guardian

Picks of the week

How Was It for You?

Widely available, episodes weekly

Married standup comedy couple Rachel Parris and Marcus Brigstocke have a lot of funny thoughts on taking long train journeys in a group – and they’re here to discuss (bicker about) their latest rail trip from London to Leeds in the first episode of their new podcast. Each week they’ll find another life dilemma to “review”, including … tinned fish! Hollie Richardson

Lucy and Sam’s Perfect Brains

Widely available, episodes weekly

A rap about Jesus, a debate about whether ears are part of your face and a warning about the dangers of eating hair are all in store in this quirky new podcast. Your very silly hosts are Taskmaster’s effortlessly charming pair Lucy Beaumont and Sam Campbell, who provide gentle laughs and rambling chats on tap. Hannah Verdier

The Belgrano Diary

Widely available, episodes weekly

More than 300 people died in the sinking of the General Belgrano, one of the most controversial moves of the Falklands war. Margaret Thatcher belligerently claimed the ship was “a danger to our boys”, but a young officer’s diary suggests a cover-up. This London Review of Books podcast provides a solid history of the war and this incident’s impact on it. HV

Split Screen: Kid Nation

Widely available, episodes weekly

Dropping a group of kids aged between eight and 15 into a desolate New Mexico town and getting them to form a society was clearly on the braver side of reality TV commissioning. Now Josh Gwynn’s brilliant podcast tells the story of 2007’s Kid Nation, with all its chicken killing and parental complaints. HV

Pretty Sure I Can Fly

Widely available, episodes weekly

Jackass legend Johnny Knoxville and This American Life’s Elna Baker are spotlighting people who “grab life by the bunglesteen” in this gloriously enthusiastic podcast about daredevils. A man who wrestles alligators, the first woman to walk to the north and south pole and a motorcyclist who has broken his penis three times are all on the menu. HV

There’s a podcast for that

This week, Rachel Aroesti chooses five of the best podcasts on motherhood, from Katherine Ryan’s acerbic take to Giovanna Fletcher’s runaway hit.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby
New motherhood can be a strange, lonely and scary place, so thank goodness for Giovanna Fletcher’s warm, informal interview podcast, which has doubled as a valuable virtual friend to many in the six years since its inception. Each episode sees Fletcher – herself a novelist, TV presenter, wife of McFly’s Tom and mother of three – sit down with a celebrity guest to discuss their parenting journey. Her companions are eye-wateringly starry (the Princess of Wales, Coleen Rooney, Malorie Blackman) but the content of their conversations isn’t always as rosy as the show’s title might suggest. These are frank and revealing discussions about the universal, uniting trauma, stress and endless graft that is part and parcel of having children.

Under the Influence
For all feminism’s triumphs, the litany of pressures and social expectations placed upon mothers has not abated at all over the decades – but its delivery system has changed. This podcast from author and journalist Jo Piazza is a fascinating glimpse into the mind-boggling world of parenting on social media. It takes a deep dive into the momfluencers who subtly and aspirationally repackage narrow ideals and the scandals behind the apparent Instaperfection, as well as offering some welcome advice for parents on how to navigate the choppy and often toxic waters of life online. Get the inside scoop on the insidious tradwife trend, “sharenting” (did you know it’s banned in France?) and the lunchbox stylists with a hidden agenda.

The Scummy Mummies
When fledgling standups Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson began their hilariously honest chats about parenting young children in 2013, podcasting was still in its infancy. More than a decade on – and now with two sets of teens on their hands – their early adoption of the form has made them pioneers of the cathartic mum-based confessional; a success they’ve parlayed into a smash-hit live show (performed, invariably, in their trademark shiny catsuits). The pair’s droll celebration of imperfection – although not necessarily literal scumminess – Gibson eventually “came out” as a secretly organised mum – combined with their comedian-grade banter means the show is high on belly laughs, but it’s also full of real-life strife, from Gibson’s experience of having a premature baby to the breakdown of Thorn’s marriage.

Motherhood in Black & White
From the fact that black women are more than four times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts to the steps black mothers are forced to take to prepare their children for an unequal world, it’s fair to say that both race and racism are vastly magnified by motherhood. This podcast, hosted by friends Kaanji Irby, who is black, and Tara Campbell, who is white, takes a thoughtful, empathic and lively look at the differences in their experiences of parenting boys in the US. Sensitive subjects include children’s use of the N-word, how to explain unfairness to kids and what antiracism might look like in a parenting context.

Telling Everybody Everything
Katherine Ryan is one of our most open and outspoken comedians (the fact she isn’t British probably helps) and she certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to the subject of motherhood. On her one-woman podcast, the standup details her experiences of life with a 14-year-old, a two-year-old and a one-year-old – a setup that means her parenting problems run the gamut from teenage anxieties to newborn nightmares. Whether she’s up in arms about her elder daughter being harassed by creeps on the tube, sharing her belief that it’s beneficial to potty train an eight-month-old or revealing the hellish strain of touring with a baby in tow, Ryan’s motherhood monologues can be divisive but they are never dull.

Why not try …

  • As hundreds of thousands of people prepared to arrive for South by Southwest festival in 2018, the host city of Austin, Texas, was being terrorised by package bombs being mailed to and left at locations around the city. Witnessed: 19 Days relives the three-week hunt for the perpetrator.

  • Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time has returned for a new series, the first guest joining her for a chat and a tipple is noughties singing star Anastacia.

  • Self professed ‘middle-aged influencer’ Lu Featherstone brings her brand of positivity to podcasting with the Self Love Revoution – where she’ll be talking to guests including Davina McCall.

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