Music

The Best Podcasts of 2019 (So Far)

New series, one-offs and standout episodes from long-running favorites.
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The podcasting ecosystem is rich, varied and complex, and that’s obviously a brilliant thing in itself—especially if you’re in the market for a new mattress or need an all-in-one solution for creating a beautiful website—but it can also be a bit overwhelming. There are only so many hours in the day. Pick the wrong podcast and you could ruin your whole commute.

You need a David Attenborough to point the way through the undergrowth and stop you wasting time wandering down dead ends. So to that end, here’s our running list of the best new ones that come out this year, as well as pointing up new highlights from long-running favorites.


July

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The Adam Buxton Podcast

Filed Under: Deceptively deep waffle

Yes, it's one of the biggest podcasts around, but as Dr. Buckles' pod celebrates its 100th episode now's as good a time as any to celebrate it. The mixture of daft whimsy, very good jingles, regular digressions about David Bowie and updates from Buxton's dog Rosie, The Hairy Bullet, makes for an amiable listen, but Buxton's an underrated interviewer who gets a genuinely enlightening and unusual chat out of his guests. The centenary episode features Buxton's Louis Theroux and former comedy partner Joe Cornish, who've all known each other since school immediately revert to extremely entertaining mid-teen silliness, but after that dig back into the archives for more—Kathy Burke, Bob Mortimer, Greta Gerwig, Sir Michael Palin and Steve Coogan are among many highlights.

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Slow Radio

Filed Under: Field recordings, in the most literal sense

Life moves pretty fast, as Illinois' most famous malingerer once said, but unless you're one of those psychopaths who listens to them one-and-a-half-times speed, podcasts are a way of slowing down. Radio 3's Slow Radio really leans into that: its patiently paced 15-minute segments are varied—sometimes it'll be an interview surrounded by a lush natural soundscape, as in this recent exploration of the eeriness of the English countryside, and sometimes orchestral works are woven around the sound of the dawn chorus in the Ein Bokek canyon in Israel—but it's all tied together with an unhurried sense of calm.

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The Bradley Wiggins Show

Filed Under: Unguarded insight and score-settling

This pod from the Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic gold medallist gives insider tips on the latest news from the cycling world, how elite cyclists think, how the sport and its business works, and, most deliciously, where the enmity lies between the top riders. A case in point is this week's episode, in which former Team Sky director Sean Yates digs out four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome for the time when he says he "went back on his word" to attack Wiggins himself—his team leader—during the 2012 Tour de France. Even more incredibly, Wiggins admits he was ready to back his bags and go home if Froome kept it up.

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Replay

Filed Under: Experiencing classic sports moments as they happened

The BBC's vast archive of everything that's happened in the last 80 years or so is rife for rummaging through—see also Greg James' Rewinder podcast, which knits together tidbits from the past which have unexpected resonance again today—but so far its coverage of sporting moments from the past has been relatively under-excavated. Replay is exactly that: just the BBC's coverage of sporting events of the past, with no talking heads or over-explanation from the present. The stories we tell about sport tend to flatten out all the strange little moments and slow-building tension that makes sport so engrossing and rich, but hearing the stories as they were told when they happened puts all of that back in. Try the second half of England v Holland at Euro '96, then hit the interview with Sir Stanley Matthews, and go from there.

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The Kurupt FM PodKast

Filed Under: The side-project you didn't realize you needed

A podcast from the crew of Brentford's premier garage and drum and bass pirate station makes absolute sense. MC Grindah, DJ Beats, DJ Steves and Chabuddy G from People Just Do Nothing chat to each other about relationships, fashion, technology and the supernatural while handing out life advice, and there are phone-ins and drop-ins from some of the other characters orbiting the station.

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Photo by BBC/LUKE VARLEY.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge on How To Fail

Filed Under: Unexpected insights

One of the tranche of quasi-show-and-tell podcasts which use a conversational gimmick to get a slightly more unusual chat with guests (see also: Table Manners, Power of Three, Off Menu, These Three), Elizabeth Day's British Podcast Award-nominated How To Fail focuses on one time a guest fell on their arse, and what it taught them about their work and their life. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the first guest on the pod back in July last year, returns in the latest episode to chat about how everything's gone mad for her lately, and feeling that she's failed in keeping up with her family, speaking up for herself and sorting out her bathroom. In the process, she spills some fascinating tidbits about how Fleabag came together and ideas that never made it to the screen.

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June

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Wimbledon - Join The Story

Filed Under: Social history told through sport

Officially sanctioned podcasts don't tend to be enormously fun, and pump the brand so hard they end up being glossy and overblown. That's not the case here, though. Five stories from Wimbledon are retold with access and insight from those who witnessed them and players affected by them today, from the famous to the forgotten. Andy Murray's 2016 men's singles win is retold in the context of the Brexit vote and his own route to the top from childhood, but most episodes reach further back into history. There's the synchronicity of Germans Boris Becker and Stefi Graf's 1989 wins coming as the Berlin Wall began to crumble, and a tribute to the triumph of Althea Gibson, the first black woman to win the title in 1957, who's remembered by her doubles partner Angela Buxton and five-time women's singles winner Venus Williams.

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The Thread: Let Us Play

Filed Under: Storytelling with unexpected diversions

The Thread connects dots around, through and between major and minor events in American history, starting with the murder of John Lennon in 1980 and then exploring the roots of the #MeToo movement, the idea of non-violent resistance and the insanity plea in legal cases. The fifth series starts with an iconic moment in women's football—Brandi Chastain whirling her shirt over her head after scoring the penalty that won the USA the 1999 World Cup—and uses it to explore the deeper story of how the team got there from taking on Italy wearing hand-me-down strips in 1985.

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By Design

Filed Under: Accessible chin-stroking

Last year, six luminaries from different design disciplines talked about their craft and careers at Sir John Soane's Museum in Holborn and now they've been packaged up as pods. The caliber of guests is extremely high. They include internationally renowned stage designer Es Devlin—who's put together live shows for Beyoncé, Kanye, Adele, U2 and more and is a firm believer in the power of deliberately misreading emails—as well as art director and graphic designer Peter Saville, responsible for Factory Records' artwork and one of the most criminally underrated England shirts of recent times; and Sir David Adjaye OBE, architect and lead designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, who gets into how the design of a building defines how you interact with it.

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Storycast

Filed Under: Forgotten stories expertly retold

The first episode of Sky News' new deep-reporting pod hasn't dropped yet, but it's one you want to subscribe to ahead of time. 'The Hunt for the Brink's-Mat Gold' will tell the story of the 1983 heist in which a gang stole £26 million-worth of gold from a depot near Heathrow airport, how it reshaped the criminal underworld in Britain and what happened to Scotland Yard detective Ian Brown when he was tasked with getting that gold back. 

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The Shrink Next Door

Filed Under: Your classic 'attack of the suburban oddball' story

This new one from Bloomberg and Wondery, the makers of Dirty John and Dr. Death, is a return to the same well as those hits, and focuses on a therapist called Ike. Ike counted celebrities and the great and good of Manhattan's social scene among his clients and hosted lavish parties at his mad holiday home in the Hamptons. But when Ike's neighbor, the veteran journalist Joe Nocera, started to pick away at his story, it started to unravel to reveal a story about trust, power, and control.

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It Burns

Filed Under: If Pumping Iron had been about scoffing scotch bonnets

Eating extremely hot things has an enduring appeal for a certain type of man. It's a challenge which has taken the place of your old world tests of masculinity—things which use the ability to endure pain as an arbiter of manhood—and repositioned them as something you can do in the pub with some mates over some wasabi peanuts. It Burns explores the scandal-hit world of competitive chili-eating and the race to breed the world's hottest chili, taking in accusations of doping and theft, and asks what drives so many people to warp nature in this way and to hurt themselves in the pursuit of glory.

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The Offside Rule

Filed Under: Expert analysis on the summer's biggest footballing event

The Women's World Cup is well underway, and if you feel a mixture of anxiety and shame every time it comes up in conversation because you're so woefully underprepared for the ensuing chat about it, this is the place to educate yourself. Hayley McQueen, Kait Borsay and Lynsey Hooper will be doing daily editions of their pod throughout the tournament until 7 July, and their back catalog of long-form interviews with the likes of England boss Phil Neville, Manchester United manager Casey Stoney and commentator Martin Tyler is well worth digging through.

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The Intelligence

Filed Under: Bite-sized current affairs

This one's been running since the start of the year, but with the Tory leadership contest threatening to hit room temperature now these 20-minute hits of political exposition and explanation will come in very handy. It's not all about Britain either: lately, there have been deeper dives into stories like the re-election of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, why so many people are dying on Everest, and Italy's battles with the EU over balancing its budgets.

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May

13 Minutes to the Moon

Filed Under: Apollo 11, AKA The Greatest Story Ever Podcasted

It's the 50th anniversary of the moon landings this July, and to celebrate the BBC has put together a mammoth retelling of the most profound and moving thing that humanity's ever achieved. It'd be pretty easy to knock together a passable cut-and-shut talking-heads-and-archive show about the Apollo program, but this one goes way beyond. Ex-NASA man Kevin Fong presents new interviews with key players including Michael Collins, who piloted the command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went down to the lunar surface (and he was actually second in command, by the way, outranking Aldrin), Charlie Duke, who communicated with Armstrong and Aldrin from Mission Control, and other NASA staff like pioneering programmer Margaret Hamilton and engineer Poppy Northcutt, whose stories deserve to be heard. Plus! The theme music's an original piece from Hans Zimmer. Top-end stuff. A bit like First Man, 13 Minutes to the Moon makes an incredible but familiar story feel fresh, and full of jeopardy and the unknown.

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The Wayne Rooney Podcast

Filed Under: English football's exiled king-across-the water lets loose

This podcast sadly isn't a true-crime series in which Wazza launches a one-man crusade to re-examine a cold case in rural Arkansas and find out what really happened that night. Rooney's late-career rumspringa over in Washington has brought out a different side of him: he's happy, he's the main man for DC United, and he's finally relaxed enough in interviews to hand out some spicy, spicy takes on the state of football at large. In the first of his interviews with Roger Bennett from American soccer podcast Men In Blazers, he laid into Manchester United's players for downing tools at the end of the season and "finding someone to hide behind" on social media. He might yet turn into a swashbuckling pundit.

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The Chernobyl Podcast

Filed Under: A TV companion that's actually worth listening to

If you've not been watching HBO and Sky's miniseries about the cataclysmic 1986 nuclear reactor explosion, you're a fool to yourself. The slow-creeping horror, the overwhelming bleakness, the desperate fight to stop humanity destroying itself: it's incredibly good. It's also as true as possible to the reality of what happened at Chernobyl both during and after the disaster, and drew on first-hand accounts of survivors and witnesses. What's interesting about this podcast is that it feels less like a tossed-off tie-in and more like an act of transparency: series creator and writer Craig Mazin flags where the truth's been bent or elided for dramatic convenience, as well as talking through all the incredible true stuff about Chernobyl and life in the Soviet Union that didn't make it into the show. Given Chernobyl is about what happens when comfortable lies block the difficult truth, it makes a lot of sense.

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Eli Roth's History of Horror

Filed Under: Masters of terror vivisect their craft

That's a slightly misleading title—this isn't a chronological run through the history of horror cinema from the earliest days of moving pictures to now. Instead, the director of Hostel chats to big, big names in film—the first three episodes are front-loaded with Stephen King, Edgar Wright, and Quentin Tarantino—about their memories of and relationship with horror cinema over rambling, broadly unedited conversations. Wright's great on how horror and comedy co-mingle and amplify each other, Tarantino gets in-depth about his self-taught style and Stephen King dissects exactly what it is that makes audiences freak out and why.

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Tailenders

Filed Under: Knockabout chat straight from the pavilion bar

Radio 1's Greg James, cricket journalist and former Maccabees guitarist Felix White and England cricketing legend Jimmy Anderson sound like the original odd throuple, but it works. Greg's notionally in charge, Jimmy's a bit mardy and has a lot of insight into the highest levels of the game, and wide-eyed Felix brings his guitar along for a strum in the background. As the name suggests (a tailender is a player who's rubbish at batting and so goes last), it's not a for-the-heads hour of cricket nerdishness—it's always accessible and funny even if you've only a passing knowledge of the game, and while it's been running for long enough to have a litany of recurring jokes, now's the time to get caught up before the Cricket World Cup.

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April

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The Beautiful Brain

Filed Under: Deep-dives into life after sport

Jeff Astle was—and remains—The King, an FA Cup winner and West Brom's legendary 137-goal striker known for his aerial ability. When he died in January 2002 at the age of 59, though, he'd spent his last years living with dementia-like symptoms. A coroner found that minor traumas to his brain had caused the degenerative brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and recorded a verdict of death by industrial injury—the first time blame for the condition had been placed squarely on heading heavy leather footballs day after day. This four-parter follows Astle's story via raw, intensely moving interviews with his wife Laraine and daughter Dawn, before reporter, producer and host Hana Walker-Brown explores how CTE affects survivors of domestic violence and asks: what does the science tell us to do, and who's responsible for making it happen? It's gripping and essential—if often overwhelmingly poignant and righteously enraging—listen, as much a call-to-arms as a piece of investigative journalism.

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Charlie Brooker on Rule of Three

Filed Under: Funny people talk funny stuff they find funny

The set-up of Rule of Three couldn't be much simpler: it's your classic show-and-tell, except its comedians and writers enthusing over one touchstone of their craft with writers Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris. Charlie Brooker's pick is the gag-packed disaster spoof Airplane! ("Surely you can't be serious?"; "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley", etc) and its influence on everything he's done since is, suddenly, really obvious. Getting its mechanics up on the jacks and having a good root around is fascinating—Airplane!'s adherence to its own reality and self-seriousness while also mercilessly lampooning the form is often overlooked—but there's a lot of enlightening bits and pieces to prep you for the next series of Black Mirror. Basically, if you find Robocop as funny as Brooker reckons it is, you'll get Black Mirror on the level he meant you to.

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The Evolution of Teeth on In Our Time

Filed Under: Three experts chivvied along by no-messing northern veteran

Impressively still-quiffed broadcasting stalwart Melvyn Bragg has been presenting In Our Time since it started in 1998, and while the series' strength has always been its esoteric magpie eye for a topic, there haven't been many more unexpected than this month's on how teeth came to exist. But, as ever, it's intensely fascinating. If you're unfamiliar, In Our Time sees Bragg throw questions to three academic experts in a given field, whittling away at any jargon or waffle to get to the fundamentals of what happened and why it matters. With its commuter-friendly 45-minute run time and back catalog of more than 800 shows on every subject across history, literature, music, science, and technology from computing pioneer Ada Lovelace to the religion of Zoroastrianism, it's found renewed purpose in the podcast age.

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Against The Rules with Michael Lewis

This new series from the author of The Big Short, Moneyball and loads of other great re-examinations of broadly misunderstood or overlooked events is all about fairness, and the general lack of it in everyday life. It's about referees in all walks of life, the people to whom the responsibility of making sure things aren't simply just, but fair: basketball referees, the actual grammar police, judges in Uzbekistan, Wall Street watchdogs, emotion researchers and more. It's also about how the decline of the human, empathetic referee in American life is warping what fairness looks and feels like. Look past the aggressively horrible Comic Sans logo and you'll find a diamond.

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March

This American Life

Filed Under: Jon Ronson returns to Infowars

You'll know about raving, scenery-chewing conspiracy theorist and Infowars leader Alex Jones. In the second half of the recent 'Beware the Jabberwock' installment of this venerable podcasting institution, entitled 'Alex in Wonderland', Ronson reconnected with Jones years after first meeting him for his conspiracy theorist investigation Them! to examine one of the most overlooked but important stories Jones tells. It's not about Sandy Hook being a 'false flag', or Hillary Clinton being the devil, or any of his other demonstrably untrue and destructive falsehoods. It's a simpler story about the time he says he fought off an ambush attack while he was a kid at school—only, that's not how anyone else remembers it. Ronson pieces together what actually happened, and what this origin myth says about how Jones made himself into what he is today.

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Beyond Today

Filed Under: Bite-sized current affairs

Radio 4's Today program started its slightly younger 'n' funkier podcast in October, but after an uninspiring start, it's found its stride in the last month or so. Two stand out: 'Has Brexit already changed me?', in which two young campaigners talk through the referendum, its fall-out and what it's likely to mean for young people and 'Did one Russian mastermind this political chaos?', which gives a swift précis of the career and personality of Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov, the man credited with a form of political manipulation based on confusion, contradiction and even the manipulation of reality itself—you might recognize him from Adam Curtis' HyperNormalisation.

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The Late Night Alternative

Filed Under: A snapshot of a uniquely inventive and strange mind

If you're unfamiliar, it's quite hard to explain the full weirdness of Frank Sidebottom. He was the creation of Chris Sievey, a restlessly creative Manchester musician who invented a goggle-eyed, papier maché-headed superfan to open gigs for his band the Freshies. Frank quickly eclipsed the band, and turned into a kind of surreal performance art/stand up comedy/deliberately rubbish northern cabaret fixture of tiny venues all over the country. Sievey died in 2010 at 54, but Frank was so beloved that a statue was erected in his hometown of Timperley.

In The Late Night Alternative Iain Lee, a friend of Sievey's, goes on a fascinating walk-round of Manchester Central Library's exhibition of the treasure trove he left in his cellar after his death, which goes some way to lifting Frank's head to show the man underneath. Lee's joined by Steve Sullivan, who directed the doc Being Frank which came out last Friday, and Frank's road manager Dave Arnold.

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Wisden Cricket Weekly

Filed Under: The expert guide to a summer extravaganza

Look, cricket is great. It is. It's brilliant. If you've been on the boundary fence about the whole idea of cricket up to now, this summer is exactly the time to get into it: the World Cup comes to England at the end of May, there's a home Ashes series squeezed into August and September, and Ireland play their first-ever Test match—against England at Lord's, no less—at the end of July. Wisden is the cricketing Bible, and the latest installment of its podcast is an indispensable primer for the domestic and international seasons to come, and picks out some narrative threads to follow over the coming months.

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Full Disclosure with James O'Brien

Filed Under: A good interviewer interviewing people well

While his day job remains to be LBC's resident server of sobering reality and circumspection, O'Brien has launched a second podcast series. It follows roughly the same pattern as the fairly standard one-to-one chat of his first, Unfiltered, but this one tries to dig out subjects who don't give in-depth interviews particularly often. While that conceit is slightly dubious given that guest number two, Ricky Gervais, has been profiled pretty much endlessly of late (it turns out he's an atheist who thinks people are too quick to take offense to comedy—you'd have thought he'd have mentioned that before) and that nobody's ever really asked for a deep-dive on Deborah Meaden, it's always an engaging listen. The guests get significantly less heavyweight after Tony Blair in the opening episode, but Simon Amstell is reliably great and O'Brien has a knack for asking the right question at the right time.

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Jokes with Mark Simmons

Filed Under: Comedy under the microscope

That Mark Twain quote about jokes and dissecting frogs is funny, but it's a lot of old bobbins. Getting funny people to talk about how jokes work and the subtle carpentry of whittling a sentence into its funniest, most apparently effortless form is endlessly fascinating. Comedians including Seann Walsh and Mock the Week's Angela Barnes run through the jokes they decided to cut from their sets and talk about why—too long, too slow, too obtuse, not obtuse enough. It's still early days, but there's a lot of promise to the form.

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February

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Fatwa

Filed Under: Lit crit history hit

Thirty years ago, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses was at the center of a firestorm. On one side: particularly pious Muslims who didn't like how it characterized Prophet Muhammad and his followers. On the other: Western free speech defenders who said Rushdie had the right to say whatever he liked. Then, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa which called for Rushdie and his publishers to be killed and offered a $6 million bounty. This 10-part series tells the story behind the story, explaining all of the background as well as the blow-up and, crucially, without ignoring the Middle Eastern perspective and pretending it was a simple free-speech-is-good-the-end kind of tale.

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Who The Hell Is Hamish?

Filed Under: Surfing scammers

It seems like scam artists are the new serial killers, insofar as there's a voracious appetite for them in the podcast world. Hamish Watson was an absolutely classic surfer dude from Sydney, but he managed to swindle his way to a $7 million fortune and is awaiting sentencing. That's not the half of it though: he stole a lot more after duping people in Australia, America, Britain, Canada and Hong Kong, evading the authorities for decades. How did he do it? And what happened to all the money he managed to steal?

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Bob Mortimer on Desert Island Discs

Filed Under: Sweet, heartwarming daftness, plus Joni Mitchell

Bob's bounced back mightily since his heart troubles a few years ago, with his own successful podcast, show-stealing appearances on Would I Lie To You and last year's gently existential Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. However, the endearing daftness of his comedy has tended to keep interviewers at arm's length since he and Vic Reeves first arrived in the early 90s. However, Lauren Laverne gets Bob to open up about the overwhelming shyness which has affected him since childhood, the death of his dad when Bob was a young boy, and the increasing amount of time Bob's been spending just staring into space. While you're there, have a rummage through the Desert Island Disc archives, which go all the way back to 1951 and feature pretty much everyone who's been anyone since.

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Evil Has A Name

Filed Under: High-quality true crime

Aficionados of true crime, and certainly anyone who listens to My Favourite Murder, the behemoth of the genre, will know about forensic criminologist and all-round hero Paul Holes' efforts to crack the case of the Golden State Killer over two decades. If you don't, know that he's basically every tenacious and nuggety lawman you've ever heard of rolled into one. You'd need to be if you wanted to track down a killer and rapist who went by many aliases while active between 1975 and 1986, but who evaded capture for 40 years. This is the inside story of how the authorities caught up with the man who terrorized neighborhoods in California and got away with it for so long, with first-hand accounts by those on the frontline of the hunt.

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The Ron Burgundy Podcast

Filed Under: A beloved 70s dinosaur joins the 21st century

The anchor of San Diego's KWVN news team has turned his hand to podcasting, and in an attempt to show that he's not just a master of broadcasting but the definitive master of all broadcasting ever, he's taking on as many different genres of the podcasting world as he can. The first few see Will Ferrell in character doing true crime, meditation with Deepak Chopra and chatting to RuPaul about which 10 women would make a best-ever list. The rambling form lets Ferrell get right into Burgundy mode and flesh out the character a bit more, so if the slightly lumpen Anchorman 2 felt like an unsatisfying place to leave him, this represents a welcome return.

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Over My Dead Body

Filed Under: Stranger-than-fiction

This doc from the creators of the grifting anesthetist-based creepathon Dirty John and it covers a lot of the same themed: justice, revenge, love, and the extreme lengths people will go to in order to get what they want. The first season, 'Tally', follows Dan and Wendi, who appear to have it all: a loving marriage, top jobs as attorneys, and enough social heft that their wedding got a shout-out in the New York Times. It seemed too good to be true, and that's how it turned out. Things spiraled out of control. There was a divorce, a murder case, conspiracies and counter-conspiracies—and the ever-present sense that you can't trust anyone.

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January

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The Hurricane Tapes

Filed Under: True crime deep-dive

In the mid-1960s Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter was a middleweight boxer who'd grown up in the Great Depression, living in fear of the KKK and eating the raccoons his dad poached. He had an aggressive style, fists like breezeblocks and an outside chance at the world title. Then, in June 1966, two men shot up a diner in Paterson, New Jersey, leaving three people dead—and Carter was found guilty of the crime the following year.

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But that isn't the half of it: this four-parter series uses a cache of archive interviews with Carter himself, plus new testimony by contemporaries, to pull apart the shaky evidence, unreliable witnesses, unfair trial and institutional racism which saw Carter in jail, as well as Bob Dylan taking up his case and writing an absolute banger on the back of it.

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The Last Days Of August

Filed Under: Jon Ronson returns to the porn world

Ronson's The Butterfly Effect, about the ripples which spread across the porn industry after Pornhub got in on the act and forced producers to find more inventive ways of making money, was one of the best podcasts of 2017, so another delve into that world is welcome.

This is a more somber affair than the quirky, soulful Butterfly Effect, though: the August of the title is August Ames, a porn performer who killed herself in 2017 aged just 23. Her husband blamed a Twitter pile-on, but that's far from the whole story. The Last Days Of August explores the darker side of the porn industry with Ronson's usual tact and knack for a narrative left-turn.

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Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend

Filed Under: Funny chat with funny people

Despite changing the face of late-night TV in America and running The Simpsons in its pomp, Conan's always been a bit of a niche figure in the UK. But he found a new lease of life via YouTube (for a primer, see him become a Civil War re-enactor), and now he's taking his chat to podcasting. Some giants of the last 20 years of American comedy are here, among them Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, Parks and Rec's Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, and the freewheeling format gives Conan a more space to get thoughtful as well as typically manic.

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How To Burn A Million Quid

Filed Under: Comedy-drama about arguably the greatest band who ever lived

The story of Illuminati-obsessed Scottish-Scouse rave anarchists the KLF is legendary. They had a deliberately horrible number one hit, then wrote a book showing anyone could do it. At the 1992 Brit awards, they fired a machine gun (filled with blanks) at the audience, then dumped a dead sheep at the afterparty. They split up and deleted their entire back catalog.

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And, most controversially of all, they took £1m in cash to a remote Scottish island and burned it. This lightweight but fun drama imagines how the whole thing looked from the inside to KLF members Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, and to its credit is much, much more interested in the myth than the reality.

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David Tennant Does A Podcast With...

Filed Under: Actor mates shooting the breeze

Yes, there are absolutely loads of general chit-chat podcasts about, but this one benefits from the fact that actors talking to other actors about acting—and, more often, just offhandedly gossiping—is much, much more interesting than the usual bumph actors slip into for wary media interviews.

It helps that Tennant's extremely affable, and it helps even more that his Broadchurch pal and newly minted national treasure Olivia Colman is on the first episode. Coming up: Michael Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, and fellow Doctor Who alumnus Jodie Whittaker.

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10 Things That Scare Me

Filed Under: Short, sharp psychology

The short, sharp five-minute episodes of this podcast have a simple set-up: people name 10 of their deepest unspoken fears. That's it. Some—like Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, ex-Trump White House fixer Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello—are famous; others aren't. But all of them feature something jarring (Morello's family had nooses in their garage when he was a kid), something that makes you laugh then nod in a that-makes-complete-sense sort of way (The Mooch is best mates with his divorce lawyer), or something obviously horrifying which you'd never considered before and will now carry with you everywhere (falling and hitting your teeth). Urgh.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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