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Lockdown listening - Top podcasts to listen to: After Work Drinks, Radio Rental and more

by Isi Cairns. Published Fri 26 Feb 2021 17:48, last updated: 26/02/21

With over 7 million people in the UK listening to a podcast each week, there is no doubt that this on-demand service is becoming one of the most popular ways for us to spend our free time.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last march, Spotify has revealed that their podcast listening figures have doubled, meaning that with more spare time on our hands than ever, listening could be the new watching.

The first ever podcast is considered to be The Backstage Pass, a weekly radio chat show launched in 2003 by Matt Schichter featuring an array of celebrity guests, which was recorded and then uploaded online for dial-up streaming.

At this time, there was no widely accepted name for this type of on-demand audio service, and it wasn’t until around a year later where a Guardian journalist, Ben Hammersley, coined the term “podcasting” in an article – a combination of iPod and broadcast.

“But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?” – Ben Hammersley, 2004.

The name stuck, and the podcast trend has exploded over the last decade. It is now reported that as of January 2021, there are currently over 43 million episodes held on the Apple Podcasts app alone.

If you don’t fancy searching through all those episodes yourself, here’s a selection of recommendations for podcasts to help make the lockdown days move a little faster.

All Killa No Filla – Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean (spotify, apple podcasts)

This podcast is perfect for true crime junkies who love a laugh too and, with over 70 episodes focussing on a different serial killer, there’s plenty to get your teeth in to.

The podcast is hosted by comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, who approach the individual stories with sensitivity and are always keeping the victims at the forefront of the cases. The dark content is balanced with light-hearted chatter and hilarious anecdotes about the duo’s daily life experiences and escapades. 5 stars.

The Walkers Switch – Lauren Peters and Augustine Cerf (Spotify, Apple Podcasts)

Do you remember the Walkers crisps switch? 2 in 3 people remember Walkers switching their packaging colours of salt and vinegar and cheese and onion – except Walkers claim it never happened.

This piece of understated investigative journalism looks in depth at the “switch” and tries to crunch down to what changed; or maybe didn’t change. Highlights include one of the presenters drunkenly apprehending Gary Lineker, and what the Tory party has to do with it all. 4 stars.

No Such Thing as a Fish – The QI Elves. (Apple Podcasts, Spotify)

If you want to broaden your horizons over lockdown and learn something new too, No Such Thing as a Fish is packed full of fun facts and information to wow your mates with at the next zoom pub quiz.

The writers of the hit BBC show, QI, discuss the best things they’ve found out this week with some banter and the odd special celebrity guest thrown in for good measure. With almost 400 episodes you’ll be entertained for hours, and probably never have to google anything again! 4 stars.

The Missing Cryptoqueen – Jamie Bartlett (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, BBC Sounds app)

With the rising value and popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, its easy to get sucked into the madness.

This podcast explores what happens when things go wrong, following the case of OneCoin and the mysterious disappearance of its creator, Dr Ruja Ignatova, after persuading millions to join her “financial revolution”.

Presenter Jamie Bartlett chases clues around Europe and the world to find out more about the evasive inventor. The podcast is shrouded in mystery and leaves the listener on tenterhooks – will Dr. Ruja ever be found and held accountable? 5 Stars.

M’s the Word – Stef and Hanna Michalaks (Spotify, Apple Podcasts)

Need a bit of escapism from lockdown? M’s the Word is the world according to married couple Stef and Hannah, who create cinematic content across their YouTube and Instagram pages of their hometown of Bath.

Get lost and feel involved in the friendly chit chat between the couple, often over a few drinks, with content to make you laugh and think. 4 stars.

The Slow Newscast – Basia Cummings (Spotify)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the news at the moment, The Slow Newscast reports on the biggest news stories from the week and slows it all down to an easily digestible pace.

Keep up to date but without the intensity, listen to thoughtful interviews and research that looks deeper into the stories we see every day. 4 stars

After Work Drinks – Isabelle Truman & Grace O’Neill (Spotify)

Get in your favourite bottle of wine, some tasty snacks, and tune in to some good old girls’ talk. Magazine editors and best friends Isabelle and Grace chat about the topics that are important to them, always with feminism in mind, and with plenty of laughs thrown in.

Although on the surface this podcast may seem like its one for the girls, it makes for important listening for all to understand the hot topics in society today from a feminist perspective. 5 stars.

Radio Rental – Tenderfoot & Cadence13 (Spotify, Apple Podcasts)

Prepare to be scared by a collection of true stories – explained by the people who experienced them. From encounters with the paranormal, to coming face to face with real life killers, let your imagination run wild as the stories are described with the help of eerie music in the background to add to the intensity.

Hosted by the bizarrely fictional Terry Carnation, there’s no doubt this podcast will leave you sleeping with one eye open. 4 stars.


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