A podcast can bring positivity and a brief distraction from the incessant news headlines. It’s a pep talk in your ear to remind you of the good in the world. Whether you’re looking to learn something new, have a laugh or take time to reflect, this list has got you covered during lockdown.
On How to Fail, journalist and author Elizabeth Day confronts the things that have gone wrong in her interviewees’ lives and what we can learn from them. Day’s interview style is open and frank as her guests reveal their personal challenges and reflect on how to overcome them. A special episode has just been released on how to cope with anxiety in a time of Coronavirus. It’s an interesting listen, with practical ideas on adjusting to self-isolation and dealing with negative thought patterns.
Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place is a warm, uplifting podcast that delves into our journey to happier, more fulfilled lives. Interviews with Stephen Fry, Dame Kelly Holmes and Reggie Yates are particularly worth a listen for their humour and honesty.
Learning something new can provide a useful distraction during this period of uncertainty. Writers from the hit BBC show QI list their favourite facts each week in No Such Thing as a Fish. The podcast will leave your brain fizzing with facts to spruce up your small talk game (over the phone of course!). Although don’t make my mistake of attempting to impress my flatmate with expansive knowledge of the Orient Express before realising that they too listen to the show. You have been warned.
Although currently on a break, I have been re-listening to episodes of my favourite podcast, The High Low. Presented by journalists and authors Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, the podcast provides a delicious weekly dose of pop culture and current affairs. Sykes and Alderton share their favourite ‘highbrow’ literature and film recommendations and indulge in the ‘lowbrow’ of celebrity gossip and news polls. The author special episodes are a particular highlight, as the hosts interview guests such as award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan on the nuances of Isis radicalism and YA fiction author Juno Dawson on transgender activism.
For the activists and game changers among you, Ways to Change the World offers an insightful guide to making a difference. Channel 4 broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy examines pertinent societal issues such as climate change and the refugee crisis through his in-depth interviews with those seeking to shake up the world. From transgressive spoken word artist George the Poet to Conservative MP James Brokenshire, the podcast challenges listeners to confront a wide spectrum of political beliefs.
Now for the podcasts you don’t want your fellow quarantined housemates to catch you listening to. Unless you are Jamie Morton perhaps. My Dad Wrote a Porno is centred on Morton’s father’s ridiculous amateur erotic novel Belinda Blinked. Expect to laugh out loud as Morton dives into his father’s fantasies alongside presenters James Cooper and Alice Levine.
Actresses Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine pose as fictitious agony aunts in the popular podcast Dear Joan and Jericha. Yet, Joan and Jericha’s guidance is unashamedly filthy. With wickedly unhelpful advice that always blames women for everyone’s problems, the duo present a subversive take on the traditional agony aunt radio show. Listen with your headphones in.