Triumphing over trauma with Munroe Bergdorf – podcasts of the week

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Picks of the week

The Way We Are with Munroe Bergdorf
Writer and LGBTQ activist Bergdorf celebrates famous faces – among them Olly Alexander and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall – who have turned “trauma into triumph” in this new series. If it sounds saccharine, the end result is refreshingly unsentimental, instead offering guests the opportunity to reflect on the ways they’ve grown, and continue to grow. First up is singer Mabel, on fighting anxiety and stage fright, embracing her mixed heritage while growing up in Spain, and processing heartbreak. Hannah J Davies

Suspect
The new podcast from Wondery (home of scrubs-wearing crimecast Dr Death) finds mystery at a Halloween party, with Matthew Shaer and Eric Benson investigating a cold case from 13 years ago. Residents of Washington’s Valley View Apartments had a fancy-dress party that got out of hand, and the next day Arpana Jinaga was found dead. The pod has all the ingredients of a good true crime yarn (suspects dressed as Jesus and the devil), but also asks important questions about how Jinaga’s murder remained unsolved for so long. Hannah Verdier

Producer pick: Pieces of Britney

Supporters gather outside court during a hearing in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case in June 2021.
Supporters gather outside court during a hearing in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case in June 2021. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Chosen by Hattie Moir

I recently binged the podcast Pieces of Britney from the BBC. An eight-part series presented by Pandora Sykes, it aims to portray the singer’s life and career through a sympathetic lens, at a time when we now look book at body shaming glossy magazines and gossip columns and cringe.

The show is part-documentary, part-reconstruction. This format, if done well, is really engaging; occasionally the reconstructions fall a bit flat, but when you get used to them they add a lot to the wider context of Spears’s story. Another BBC offering, Fake Heiress, did this really well when telling the story of Anna Delvey, who conned the New York elite into thinking she was a multi-millionaire heiress.

In Pieces of Britney we switch between Sykes’s scripted segments, reimagined scenes, clips from other podcasts, and a really great offering of archive. The latter is something this podcast has done particularly well, especially when we hear Oprah questioning a young Britney on her virginity. Whatever your opinion on the #freebritney movement, it proves captivating throughout.

Talking points

  • Calling all foodies: Lecker, a documentary podcast from producer Lucy Dearlove, has steadily risen in the pod charts with its new series on kitchens, from the rise of flat-pack furniture to how they intersect with our personal and familial traditions.

  • Why not try: Bad Bad Thing | Women Vs Hollywood | 70 Over 70

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