Best podcasts of the week: Joe Lycett finally explains his poo podcast prank

<span>Joe Lycett, host of the Turdcast.</span><span>Photograph: James_Stack/Channel 4 / James Stack</span>
Joe Lycett, host of the Turdcast.Photograph: James_Stack/Channel 4 / James Stack

Picks of the week

Electoral Dysfunction
Widely available, episodes weekly
Sky News politician-poker Beth Rigby is sandwiched between Tory peer Ruth Davidson and Labour MP Jess Phillips in this promising new podcast that leads into “a bonanza year for elections”. What voters want, leadership and the sorry state of things are all on the table. The trio offer a refreshing change from the usual dadcasts, favouring heart and insight over political point-scoring. There’s even a story about Priti Patel’s kindness … Hannah Verdier

Widely available, out now
“A lot of people actually wanted to hear the podcast … lord knows why.” Joe Lycett announced this poo pod as a prank for his campaign against sewage leakage – but it’s now really here thanks to the demand for details of Gary Lineker’s World Cup pitch poo. It is tummy-achingly hilarious, with added shocking revelations: “Gazza used to let one go off in the big communal bath.” Hollie Richardson

The Tiger Tamer Who Went to Sea
Widely available, episodes weekly
Victorian superstar Bob Carlisle got sacked from the circus for drunkenly walking a tiger through the streets on a lead, but at least he had endurance wheelbarrow-walking to fall back on. This isn’t your usual history podcast, with Dr Dave Musgrove documenting Carlisle’s highly entertaining life. HV

Significant Others
Widely available, episodes weekly
A new series of the podcast about history’s lesser-known characters opens with the story of Peggy Shippen. History books remember Benedict Arnold, the American revolutionary war general who switched allegiances, but it was actually his wife who motivated the treason. Host Liza Powel O’Brien looks at how “the handsomest woman in America” influenced events. HV

The Spy Who …
Widely available, episodes weekly from Tuesday
Indira Varma (pictured above) is your host for this dive into the “dank, murky world full of dark corners, sinister motives and corroded morals” occupied by spies. First up is the story of Dusko Popov, the spy who inspired Ian Fleming’s James Bond with his playboy ways. It’s irresistibly film-like, with dramatic recreations of scenes from the time. HV

There’s a podcast for that

From escaping grizzly bear attacks to the story of the 2018 Thai cave rescue, Ella Braidwood picks out five podcasts on survival stories

Against the Odds
Since 2021, Against the Odds has been exploring some of the most famous survival stories from past to present. Adventurers Mike Corey and Cassie De Pecol take it in turns to host, and each tale is told in-depth across several episodes. While the podcast is based on historical research, dramatisation is used to bring these headline-making tales to life. For example, there is a five-part series on the Thai cave rescue in 2018, and a four-part edition on the famed Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 plane crash in 1972, when 16 people survived for 72 days in the Andes after being forced to turn to cannibalism.

Real Survival Stories
Narrated by actor John Hopkins, this weekly podcast launched this year and explores the stories of “ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations”. Hopkins is a smooth storyteller, his musings slickly interspersed with audio excerpts from the survivors themselves. Among those featured are a paraglider who gets caught in a storm; a prospector who gets trapped 100ft underground in a goldmine; and a couple who get caught up in a wildfire while on holiday. Background music adds suspense and stories are taken from across the globe, including in the Rockies, Hawaii and New Zealand.

Extraordinary Lives
Although not solely about survival stories, this podcast homes in on the remarkable stories of people who’ve made it through extraordinary circumstances. Each episode sees LADbible’s former creative director Ben Powell-Jones sitting down with an interviewee to unpick what happened to them. Powell-Jones has a calming demeanor, allowing interviewees to really open up about their experiences, and video footage of each episode is available on YouTube. Highlights include interviews with journalist Sean Langan, who was held hostage by the Taliban; Jihyun Park, who escaped from North Korea and now lives in the UK; and Nick Yarris, who spent 22 years on death row after being wrongfully convicted of murder.

Out Alive
This bi-weekly podcast from Backpacker magazine intersperses inspiring stories of survival with shorter episodes where experts offer their tips for the outdoors. Episodes are hosted by editor Louisa Albanese, featuring interviews with people who’ve survived remarkable events, from a man who fell 50ft into a hidden ice cave, to a runner who ends up stranded after falling on his trekking pole. Among the bite-size episodes is one on debunking the most common survival questions and another on the rise in bear attacks. Transcripts are also available to read online.

Not Today
Since launching it in 2020, couple Steph Fitt and Alex Hunt have built up this podcast’s following – it was featured in the top 1% of Spotify’s most-followed podcasts last year. With Fitt and Hunt as hosts, the podcast covers recent and more historical survival stories. In one episode, Fitt tells listeners about Lydia Tillman, whose brave escape led to the conviction of Travis Forbes in 2011, for his crimes against her and also for the murder of Kenia Monge. The more historical episodes include one on the Titanic and another on entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, the latter once attacked by a tiger on stage.

Why not try …

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