Are you even a self-respecting millennial if you’re not hooked on at least one podcast? Whether it’s learning something new on the commute or needing something to make you laugh while you’re making dinner, podcasts are the easiest and best form of entertainment – and, luckily, in no short supply. For your listening pleasure, we’ve collated some of our favourites.
Comedians Jodie Mitchell and Sofie Hagen (this year’s TEDxLondonWomen host!) chat about everything from body positivity to coming out in this hilarious, patriarchy-defying podcast.
Can you really call yourself a podcast fan if you haven’t tried to hold in a snigger on the tube while listening to the erotic stylings of ‘Rocky Flintstone’? In each episode, Jamie Morton reads a chapter of his dad’s amateur erotic novel series, ‘Belinda Blinked’ to his friends Alice Levine and James Cooper. Ridiculous, hilarious and a global phenomenon for a reason.
Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine play Joan and Jericha, two judgmental and cringe-inducing agony aunts who dish out “wisdom” on everything from sports to sexual health. An utterly quotable, satirical delight.
If you’re looking for some unadulterated girl talk, this is the listen for you. Fronted by Milena, Tolly T and Audrey – three girls “who are willing to talk about anything and everything” – no topic is off the table, from their hatred of Game of Thrones to colourism in the workplace. The Receipts provided an important space for women of colour, as well as a hell of a lot of laughs.
A spin-off of the original advice column on The Rumpus, ‘Dear Sugar’, this podcast is hosted by the original ‘Sugars’: Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. Together, the pair answer listeners’ questions with radical empathy, taking in love, grief, careers and so much more. Sadly the podcast is no longer recording new episodes but there’s a huge back catalogue to discover.
Hosted by the legendary psychotherapist and TED speaker Esther Perel, Where Should We Begin provides a window onto other people’s relationships. Taken from recordings of genuine therapy sessions with Perel, it’s a fascinating look at how to navigate the complexities of modern relationships.
Tara Brach is an internationally-renowned meditation teacher and author. On her podcast, she shares a weekly guided meditation and talk, addressing the value of mindfulness and self-compassion. In the words of one of the TEDxLondon team, “she’s the reason I”m not completely insane!”.
TRUE CRIME & INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
This series brings together true crime and comedy in an unlikely combination which shouldn’t work as well as it does! Hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, in each episode they choose a particular murder or true crime story to analyse, before inevitably getting side-tracked into speaking about various experiences and obsessions from their own lives.
The Clearing is a true crime podcast with a twist – you know who did it from the beginning. The series follows 40-year-old American April Balascio as she discovers that truth lies behind her lifelong fear: that her father, Edward Wayne Edwards, was a serial killer. An emotional listen, this podcast explores whether it’s possible to come to terms with our dark pasts in order to create a brighter future.
He was born Hamish Watson, a surfer dude from Sydney – but he could morph into whoever you wanted him to be. This podcast, hosted by journalist Greg Bearup, delves into the fascinating yet devastating world of a serial conman and the people he encountered. A gripping listen.
Produced at San Quentin prison in the US, Ear Hustle examines the reality of prison life through the eyes of former inmate Earlonne Woods and current inmate Antwan Williams, as well as Nigel Poor, an artist who volunteers at the prison. Equal parts moving and fascinating, it’s well worth your time.
SOCIETY & CULTURE
We couldn’t not mention the mothership! Head of TED, Chris Anderson, speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people in this interview series, which is like a dose of inspiration injected straight into your ears.
If you’re after a quick but informative listen, this is the place to start. Hosts Tina Daheley and Matthew Price tackle one big question per twenty-minute episode, from ‘why is pick-up culture still a thing?’ to ‘why did bombs go off in Sweden?’. Consistently engaging and to the point.
This award-winning podcast examines the human experience of grief and death – but with comedians. Hosted by Cariad Lloyd and featuring the who’s who of the comedy world, it tackles the myriad ways loss can affect us, from the practical through to the deeply emotional. Moving and life-affirming.
Food lovers unite! Singer Jessie Ware has paired up with her mum Lennie for this uplifting podcast series, recorded in one of their kitchens. In each episode, Jessie and Lennie host a guest for a home-cooked meal and grill them on everything from their professional milestones to their last supper. So far they’ve hosted everyone from Antoni from Queer Eye to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
SCIENCE & EDUCATION
A history podcast for people who don’t like history (as well as those who do), in this podcast host Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and academia to examine key moments and figures from the past. Described as ‘Horrible Histories meets In Our Time’, it’ll easily be the best history lesson you’ve ever had.
Fascinated by medical history? Looking to learn more about illnesses and infections? This is the podcast for you! Every episode, Disease Ecologists and Epidemiologists, Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke, delve into a different disease, usually hearing from someone who has experienced it firsthand. They also mix up a Quarantini – a drink inspired by the disease. Bonkers and brilliant.
From former UN Chief Christiana Figueres and the team who brought you the Paris agreement, this podcast is a deep dive into the climate crisis – realistic about the challenges we face but also optimistic about human beings’ power to solve them.
POLITICS & WORLD NEWS
This NPR show takes a look at the most significant events of our time through a historical lens – going back to the past to explain the present. This intelligently-researched and presented podcast provides some much needed context to modern chaos.
What did Ed Milliband do after that fateful bacon sandwich? Started a podcast, naturally. Co-hosted with radio host Geoff Lloyd, in Reasons To Be Cheerful the two men speak to some of the world’s greatest minds and her their thoughts on some of our biggest problems.
Created by The New York Times, The Daily is the quickest and best way to digest the biggest stories of the day. With episodes of twenty minutes each posted five days a week, this podcast is the key to staying informed without feeling overwhelmed.
BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Evan Davis hosts this BBC podcast which features business leaders giving valuable insight into key professional challenges and global trends, including insolvency, cryptocurrency and personalisation. Davis has a talent for breaking down complex topics in clear, easy-to-understand ways, so what could be confusing becomes illuminating.
A weekly conversation with leaders who are pushing for innovative change in their industry, this delves into everything from the laws needed to make fashion sustainable to the technology behind Amazon Alexa. With some names you’ll recognise and others you’ll want to remember, it’s a refreshing and useful listen.
A must-listen for aspiring entrepreneurs, How I Built This brings you the minds behind some of the world’s greatest and most successful companies and movements. Host Guy Raz is adept at drawing out the oft-neglected human side of building a business, giving this podcast an emotional and moving edge.
For anyone struggling with a career dilemma or wanting some professional guidance, look no further than Amazing If! Helen and Sarah are experienced personal development coaches and are channeling all of that wisdom into this podcast, bursting with useful tips and advice that you can put into practice straight away.
Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas has a brand new mission: to place kindness at the heart of business. In her podcast, Mary and her guests (including the likes of journalist Bryony Gordon and activist Caroline Criado Perez) examine how we can all be a bit kinder in the way we work.