If you’re tired of your current playlist, try a podcast on for size
If you’re back at the office, that likely means you’re back at the commute. Whether that involves hopping in the car, on your bike, or on a bus – having something good to listen to can turn a boring journey into an epic one. These podcasts are juicy, interesting, and will have you hooked in no time. But be warned: you might miss your stop!
From the production company that brought us the renowned S-Town comes The Trojan Horse Affair. This one is a doozy – it’s an exploration of the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham in 2014. When an anonymous letter was sent to Birmingham City Council, it upended local education and ended careers. The letter outlined an alleged conspiracy by Islamic extremists to infiltrate schools. Despite the serious claims made and its consequences, no one ever found out how the letter came to be, or if any of it was true. In The Trojan Horse Affair, Birmingham local Hamza Syed and S-Town veteran Brian Reed set out to answer the many questions the letter dredged up. It’s a fascinating listen and well-produced. Brian and Hamza make an excellent team, and carry the shocking story well. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
If there’s one way to feel better about life, it’s through listening to the failures of very successful people- because it shows us just how human we all are. How to Fail is author and journalist Elizabeth Day’s way of celebrating the things that haven’t gone right. After all, we’re nothing without our flaws and failures, and the same goes for celebrities and public figures. In the podcast, she asks well-known guests to discuss three perceived failures. These could be a failed school exam or a marriage that ended or a job that didn’t go as planned. In opening up darker moments in life, there’s a wealth of joy and hope to be found. It’s a moving but ultimately heart-warming listen, and there are guests to suit all interests. During lockdown, Elizabeth produced several episodes with everyday people, and they make for a particularly inspired series.
True crime fanatics will love this terrifying instalment from the makers of the infamous Dirty John. Dr Death is the nickname given to Dr Duntsch, who maimed and paralyzed many a patient, and even killed two. While he looked incredibly qualified on paper, and had years of alleged experience, not all that he claimed was true. The podcast is eerie but fascinating, documenting the over-zealous surgeon, his background, and the trail of destruction he left behind him. It makes for a shocking listen, and if you’re squeamish about surgeries might be a no-go, but it’s an arresting story told in punchy episodes. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. If you can’t get enough of the scary story, a TV miniseries of the same name was released in 2021.
Aisling Keenan’s Private Education is a sex and relationships podcast for adults either having sex, in a relationship, or both! With a range of experts and guests, Aisling looks into many cornerstones of modern dating and intimate relationships. It’s got all of the tough stuff, taboo topics, and secret desires usually shared over a bottle of wine with some friends. As Aisling and Co. explore the fun and not-so-fun aspects of love and libido, there’s plenty of laughs and nuggets of advice to keep you hooked. You can listen, you guessed it, wherever you get your podcasts. While the show’s most recent episodes are from the summer of 2020, Aisling announced the podcast is coming back soon – woo!
Another one for the true crime listeners, The Missing by journalist Pandora Sykes is an Amazon music exclusive that explores cases of missing people and asks you, the listener, to help. Pandora is far from a podcast newcomer, too, having previously presented The High Low with Dolly Alderton. In The Missing, friends and family of missing people are interviewed, as they try to piece together what happened. It’s a fascinating series that strikes the right balance between intrigue about the case and empathy for the very real lives affected. The third series of the podcast was released in early 2022 with a new episode each week.
Main image by Melanie Pongratz via Unsplash