Best podcasts of the week: Marina Hyde and Richard Osman take on pop culture

<span>Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian

Picks of the week

The Rest Is Entertainment
Widely available, episodes weekly

Richard Osman and the Guardian’s Marina Hyde team up for a chemistry-fuelled take on the week’s pop culture – and it is absolutely priceless. Laugh-out-loud moments come from takes on Nigel Farage’s tedious I’m a Celebrity appearances and disastrous predictions for Boris Johnson’s upcoming GB News show. The highlight is the riotously funny takedown of the Vogue interview with Jeff Bezos and his fiancee Lauren Sánchez. Alexi Duggins

The Second Victim
Audible, all episodes out now
As a Black baby adopted in the 1970s, Daisy has fond childhood memories of life in a “white, middle-class haven”, mixed with a feeling that she didn’t belong. She later learned that her birth mother, Grace, conceived through child rape. Now 48, Daisy pieces together Grace’s story in a brave and beautiful series. Hannah Verdier

Smoke Screen: My Fugitive Dad
Widely available, all episodes out now
What do you do when your beloved dad tells you he’s not quite the small-town family man you think he is – but has been on the run from the police for 50 years after pulling off a $215,000 bank robbery? That’s the dilemma facing Ashley Conrad, who tells all in the latest slickly produced, gripping series of this hit investigative podcast. AD

Build a Prince: A Royal Christmas Love Story
Widely available, episodes weekly
This romcom, about the princess of a generic “European” winter destination needing to find a husband by Christmas Eve, is podcasting’s attempt to hop on to the movie industry’s bandwagon of ropey festive fluff. It’s a naff, two-dimensional attempt to be a bit cheeky with some of the tropes of fairytale romances – but is fun in a brainless sort of way. AD

Walter’s War
Acast, episodes weekly
In Tortoise’s latest investigation series, what starts as a dating horror story quickly evolves into one man’s tissue of lies – a person whose CV boasts a Harrow education, a career in national security and setting up a billion-dollar company. Reported by Basia Cummings (pictured above), it is an addictive listen as she peels back the layers. Hollie Richardson

There’s a podcast for that

Bruce Springsteen, left, and Barack Obama during a podcast recording.
Bruce Springsteen, left, and Barack Obama during a podcast recording. Photograph: Rob DeMartin/AP

This week, Hannah Verdier chooses five of the best podcasts with unlikely host pairings, from a superstar and former president to a matchup of “posh v not posh”

Dish – Nick Grimshaw and Angela Hartnett
Cheese and pineapple on a pizza. Ice-cream and soy sauce. Some things aren’t meant to go together, but they’re great when you try them. You can add Michelin-starred culinary goddess Angela Hartnett and ex-Radio 1 charmbucket Nick Grimshaw to that list. Although Dish is sponsored by Waitrose, it’s not a trip to the corporate canteen but a funny and fiery chat with guests such as chips-and-gravy ambassador Sara Cox, singer Charlotte Church and actor Stanley Tucci, who can’t come round for dinner without invoking the powers of a negroni.

Help I Sexted My Boss – Jordan North and William Hanson
The successful contrast comes from the rub of posh v not posh in this long-running podcast, fuelled by the genuine friendship between Radio 1’s down-to-earth breakfast DJ Jordan North and William Hanson, who knows the ins and outs of etiquette. Prolific, funny and laced with all manner of innuendo, this podcast offers the kind of natural chemistry many other hosts have to strive for. If you’ve never listened, start with the scone debate, in which Hanson’s non-committal stance on the jam and cream hierarchy leads to a proper roasting from North.

Renegades: Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama
“How did we get here?” asks Barack Obama at the beginning of Renegades. He’s talking about a divided America, not the fact that he once gave security the slip to go on a joyride with Bruce Springsteen. With their combined level of fame, Springsteen and Obama could witter on about anything and people would still be intrigued – and soothed by their voices and thoughts. OK, so they’re not exactly renegades, but they do give good chat about being outsiders, growing up with (mentally or physically) absent fathers and their quest to be better men.

Ear HustleNigel Poor and Earlonne Woods
Groundbreaking podcast Ear Hustle started in 2017 when the audio landscape was awash with true crime hits, so the stories from inside California’s tough San Quentin State Prison were a welcome addition. And the chalk-and-cheese double act of Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods certainly adds a new perspective. Poor, with her gentle voice and ability to coax stories out of lifers, started out doing photography classes at the prison and ended up supporting prisoners including Woods to get through the long days behind bars.

Eureka! – Rick Edwards and Dr Michael Brooks
What’s the most intelligent animal? Can you change your personality? Rick Edwards and Dr Michael Brooks are determined to answer the most puzzling and pressing questions science offers up in this highly educational podcast. While Edwards is obviously super smart, he’s happy to play up his non-scientific background, meanwhile Brooks refuses to play the part of boring scientist and he’s happy to bring in experts in different fields. The hosts riff off each other and it’s not all talking animals as they also ask why science is so white, what AI can do for humanity and what would replace people if they become extinct.

Why not try …

  • In the final episode of this season’s Comfort Eating jazz singer Gregory Porter reveals how his mum skilfully fed eight children plus ran a cafe for the homeless.

  • Damon Lawner went from being a broke family man to a sex club kingpin when he founded SNCTM: the most elite sex club in the world. Listen to his story in Sanctum Unmasked.

  • The award-winning fifth season of Truth Be Told explores the latest psychedelic renaissance and its impact on the Black diaspora.

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