Ellie Hibberd recommends her top 4 podcasts to brighten up your morning commute.
In the age of Netflix and Spotify, it’s easy for the humble podcast to slip under the radar. I naively believed my entertainment needs were satisfied until I found myself, in true millennial style, bored of the many 1000s of songs on my iTunes and in need of something new for my commute into UCL. On a whim I clicked on the dust-gathering Podcast section of my iTunes library and discovered the gold-mine of totally free entertainment of every genre imaginable that had eluded me for too many years. After sampling a little of everything, I’ve narrowed down my search to the 4 best series to get any podcast novice totally hooked.
One to make you laugh: My Dad Wrote a Porno
If you’re not one of the 8 million who tune into this weekly instalment of smutty hilarity, you need to jump on the bandwagon immediately. In what must be the most embarrassing dad story to ever be told, Jamie Morton reads his father’s self-published adult novel Belinda Blinked which follows businesswoman Belinda Blumenthal as she navigates her way through the bizarre pots and pans industry (yes, you heard right) with sex thrown in at every possible opportunity. It sounds ridiculous, and it absolutely is. Half of the hilarity in this podcast comes not only from the totally unsexy, dubious and catastrophically bad descriptions of Belinda’s sexual activities, but from the inimitable chemistry between Jamie and his two friends, Alice Levine and James Cooper, who listen in what can only be described as constant horror and chime in with perfect one-liners and spot-on observations.
One you can’t stop listening to: Serial
If you enjoyed Netflix’s Making a Murderer, its audio predecessor Serial is a must-listen. As journalist Sarah Koenig leads you meticulously through the evidence (or lack thereof) around the murder of Hae Min Lee back in 1999, she attempts to delve deeper into the conviction of Hae’s golden boy ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who claims innocence to this day. There are so many angles to this case, you will never know what to think, and 11 episodes in I still don’t know who I’m rooting for. Just when you feel certain that Adnan is innocent, Koenig flips the case on its head and you’re left as nonplussed as you were at the start. Forget Netflix – you won’t be able to resist hitting play on the next episode.
One to keep you informed: The Guardian UK: Politics Weekly
Simply put, this is a great podcast that distills the week’s main political issues into an easily consumable 30 minutes of explanations, interviews and discussions among journalists and politicians. This is a great one for students who want to stay in the know on UK politics but feel they don’t have time to read a newspaper everyday on top of all that compulsory reading.
One to help you wind down: Singing Bones
Claire Testoni’s soothing Australian tones are exactly what’s needed at the end of a long day in this podcast of alternative bedtime stories. She will take you right back to the origins of your favourite fairy tales with fascinating stories of events that may have inspired the Brothers Grimm’s beloved tales, and explores how these mysterious legends have become twisted and adapted by different cultures to become the innocent, happily-ever-after tales as we know them today. But beware – you may never be able to watch your favourite Disney films in the same light again.