Best podcasts of the week: the full story of Boris Johnson’s rise and fall

<span>Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Picks of the week

High Low With EmRata
Widely available, three episodes weekly
Emily Ratajkowski (above) has come a long way since exhibiting her impressiveshoulder shimmy in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video. “You probably have some ideas about me,” she says while introducing a podcast that flips from pop to philosophy, covering TikTok, politics, sex and more. If it’s happening in the world, EmRata has a lot to say about it, but she knows her market and is careful to keep things fun, too.
Hannah Verdier

Case 63
Spotify, all episodes available

The instant hook of a man claiming he time-travelled from the year 2062 makes a cracking start to this podcast starring Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac. The duo are convincing as psychologist and patient, with the plot thickening as Case 63 (Isaac) reveals he hasn’t been born yet – and knows how the world ends. HV

Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach
Widely available, episodes weekly

The always lovable Carr has a strong lineup of guests for the new season of his travel and giggles podcast. Daisy May Cooper is the ideal starter as she and Carr talk like nobody’s listening, snorting with laughter as they go. On the agenda is the horror of hen dos, glorious loose-moral holidays and Gemma Collins. HV

Emily Ratajkowski attends the Revolve Gallery at Hudson Yards on September 09, 2021 in New York City.
Emily Ratajkowski attends the Revolve Gallery at Hudson Yards on 9 September 2021 in New York City. Photograph: Gotham/WireImage

Bedtime Stories With Adam McKay
Widely available, episodes weekly

Every sleepless night needs a visit from Don’t Look Up film-maker Adam McKay and this podcast delivers it. McKay’s producer gives him one random thought, but that’s all he needs to spin a yarn that takes “the feeling of frenzy” or “a stick of butter” to an enchanting place. Guests including Sarah Silverman also take the mic. HV

British Scandal: Boris Johnson
Widely available, episodes weekly
Did Boris Johnson have the most tumultuous prime ministership in history, asks the latest series of this hit podcast (we can only assume this was made pre-Liz Truss)? After all, even before Partygate he was dripping in scandals in his personal and professional life. Matt Forde – who voiced the PM on Spitting Image – tells the story of his life, along with co-host Alice Levine. Hollie Richardson

There’s a podcast for that

This week we pick five spooky shows perfect for Halloween season.
This week we pick five spooky shows perfect for Halloween season. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

This week, Hannah Verdier chooses five of the best podcasts to listen to this Halloween, from a demon-themed chiller to online dating horror

“Sometimes eerie, sometimes strange, sometimes terrifying” is the tagline for Richard MacLean Smith’s esoteric podcast, which blurs reality and the unexplained. With narration that is both unsettling and soothing, MacLean Smith is a man who sounds unmoved even as he describes a church burning down with the congregation inside. The podcast reaches its peak with the story of self-styled “wickedest man in the world” Aleister Crowley and his six-month ritual of summoning demons, which he neglected to banish afterwards. And, as any horror fan knows, that’s just asking for trouble.

Danny Robins is one scary man. And what makes his podcasts even more terrifying is that they’re all real-life stories, backed up by interviews with the people who were freaked out by seemingly paranormal goings-on. Both believers and sceptics get a chance to speak, but when Ken, now in his 60s, tells Robins about the time he spoke to the malicious force that messed with the folders in his student digs, it’s clear that some cases are hard to brush off. “Bloody hell, Ken!” T-shirts and tote bags are available, spawned by Robins’s reaction to the story. See also: The Battersea Poltergeist.

Something Scary
What started out as a YouTube animation is now a horror podcast with mysterious-voiced hosts Blair Bathory and Steffany Strange recounting stories submitted by their audience. They deliver urban legends and ghost tales with a twist, from a nurse troubled by “screaming, ripping, tearing and banging” in the small hours of her hospital shift, to possessed pets and a portal straight to hell. With more than 200 episodes to disturb you, this podcast offers proof that having a phone signal can’t always save you when the spooky dudes strike.

The Devil Within: The Demons of Yorkshire
While season one of this podcast focuses on the grisly murder and suicide of a mother and son in New Jersey, the second turns its attention to 1970s Yorkshire. When a mum of five is murdered in her own home and her husband is found naked and covered in blood in the town square, it looks as though the police have their suspect. If the thought of exorcism keeps you awake at night, this podcast will guarantee insomnia.

Dirty John
The podcast that left Tinder users trembling remains one of the finest examples of frightening true crime. Debra Newell’s story starts out as a happily-ever-after tale of finding the perfect man online before a festival of red flags leads to an uncomfortable, slow-burning unravelling. Events that could at first be easily dismissed as “all in the mind” spiral into a catalogue of disturbing doings, strangers in the house, and the kind of behaviour that makes Newell’s children highly suspicious. A showdown in a car park cements the terrifying tale.

Why not try …

  • Contemporary artists reflect on the concept of healing, with sound from the Guardian’s Axel Kacoutié, in Shade podcast’s Interludes.

  • Was Elizabeth Taylor the original influencer? Katy Perry finds out in Elizabeth The First.

  • The gripping tale of a master scammer unfolds in Con Juan.

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