A mixed bag, below. I’m gleaning a few recommendations from The Guardian, although (frustratingly), the Graun is too-often recommending podcasts on Audible or Spotify, neither of which I want to bother with. I believe in independent media, and I don’t want to encourage (pay)walled gardens. So the one thing I can say for certain is that all of the podcasts below are available on the free and open internet, so you can grab them in the standard Podcasts app, or Overcast.
Football is Life! – Watching “Ted Lasso” (Incomparable Network). There are probably a million Ted Lasso podcasts, but this one is from a rotating crew of your podcast friends on the Incomparable. If you like Ted Lasso, you will probably enjoy listening to this, and hearing from people who might notice things you didn’t, like the Odyssey references in the Coach Beard episode.
The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra (Wondery). This one’s okay, and quite interesting, although they made 10 episodes out of something that might have been three. It’s all about the true-life kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Junior by a schizophrenic man who thought angels told him to do it. The episodes are short, professionally edited, dramatically constructed, but there’s an awful lot of recap and reminding, which is the kind of thing that drives me mad. You can of course set your player to skip the first however-many minutes, or hit the skip button. It’s all first-hand testimony from the perpetrator, which makes a change.
Murder in House Two (Crowd Network). This is a professionally produced documentary (with extraordinary access) about the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq, and its aftermath. It’s a fairly grim subject, so not for everyone. Again, the episodes aren’t particularly long, more your standard radio 30 minutes, but it’s well produced, although with some hard-to-hear audio tapes.
The Radio Times Podcast (Immediate). Excellent straight out of the gate, and long overdue, this is a TV preview podcast presented by the ever-reliable Jane Garvey and TV critic Rhianna Dhillon. It’s very well done, and although there is very little yet that I’m making an appointment to watch (e.g. I’m boycotting the whaling thing because it has no women), it’s still worthwhile. The vibe is very much like the good old days of Simon Mayo on Five Live in the afternoon.
The Rest is History (Goalhanger Films). This is one I dipped into because of the Beatles, but I’ll keep it in the feed and see what pops up. One of the presenters is definitely one of the more right wing historians, but they have a good relationship. And for some reason I enjoy history podcasts almost as much as I enjoy Beatles podcasts.
Short History Of… (Noiser) Another History podcast, verging on being trashy, but saved by a very professional production and a great presenter in the form of Paul McGann. It’s no Hardcore History, but it is a lot shorter.
The Silt Verses (Eskew). This was a surprisingly good indie radio drama set in a reality where there are lots of local gods, some of which are banned by the authorities. Given the subject of my PhD, this is right up my street. Great quality, and good acting from its small cast. It manages its otherworldly weirdness confidently, so if you liked the BBC’s Lovecraft Investigations, you’ll enjoy this.
Suspect (Wondery). I’ll confess to paying scant attention to this, but it’s one of those true crimers about a murdered woman. This might put you off, and I wouldn’t blame you if it did. There’s a halloween party and one of the hosts end up dead. Many of the partygoers come under suspicion and the police go after one in particular.
The Town that Knew Too Much (Podot). This is a hit-or-miss series about Cheltenham, of all places. It’s all right, but it doesn’t really go anywhere – perhaps too in love with its title. There are some interesting bits though, like the episode about that golden hare that was buried in Bedfordshire. Mostly Cheltenham is an excuse to hang some stories on, some of them better than others.