My Favourite Podcasts

I love podcasts. I take myself out for a walk, open up a podcast, and I try to walk for as long as the episode lasts. Sometimes this is easy; a thirty minute podcast is an easy lap around my village, but anything longer and I start having to go back on myself. I don’t get as much exercise as I would like, and while I don’t kid myself that a half an hour walk is sufficient, it’s definitely a start, and I don’t really think of it as exercise.

I therefore thought I’d share some of my favourite podcasts. It will become a series as and when I find new things to listen to, but for now, I’ll just share what I’ve been listening to over the last few months.

Wittertainment

Of no surprise to anyone who has ever met me, followed me on Twitter, or read this blog: Wittertainment is my favourite podcast of all time. I discovered it as a podcast first, and then I started watching the live stream on a Friday afternoon, and now, as I’m working more or less full time again, I’m back to being a podcaster. For anyone who doesn’t know, Wittertainment is the BBC’s flagship film show; a two hour radio show presented by Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, where they discuss the week’s film releases. That probably sounds about as average as possible, but it’s so much more. Kermode and Mayo have a unique partnership, made up primarily of a special kind of bickering, but ultimately one of love (we know how much they love each other really). There are plenty of in jokes, the likes of which you might think you’re never going to understand, but listen to a few episodes and  you’ll soon get them, and hear as new ones are established. There’s an archive of over 230 episodes on the BBC website, going back to 2010, and if you know where to look, you can go back even further. I’m lucky enough to have had emails and the like read out ten times on the show, which is pretty awesome considering I’ve only been listening for a year. I wonder if I can call myself a contributor now?

Adventures with Words

Shamefully, despite being Twitter friends with Kate for quite a while, it’s taken me ages to get around to listening to her and Rob’s podcast, Adventures with Words. Their tagline is ‘Exploring storytelling in all its forms’, and they really do; although they focus primarily on books, there’s films and museums and conventions and plays, and much more. It’s great to listen to, because it does feel as though you are just sitting down with your friends and talking about all the books you love, and it is also adding to my to-read list quite considerably!

The Empire Podcast

I actually started listening to the Empire Podcast before Wittertainment (before I even knew it existed!), and it was the first podcast that I used to accompany me on my walks. It is very entertaining, because it’s a group of people that work together and bounce off each other very well, and they clearly know their stuff when it comes to films. I haven’t listened to as many of these as I should have; I started with some current episodes when I first started listening, but now I’m taking advantage of the archive, and I’ve started from the beginning. They have great guests, and lots of movie talk, and they really make me laugh too.

Serial

OK, I know Serial is so 2014. But there are still people (most of the people I know, in fact), who haven’t listened to it, and so I’m taking this opportunity to tell you that YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO SERIAL. I’m pretty sure that there has never been a more compelling podcast series. It comes from the creators of This American Life, an NPR podcast, and is hosted by a journalist called Sarah Koenig. She decided to start looking into the 1999 murder of a teenager called Hae Min Lee, of which her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed was convicted. Adnan is serving a life sentence, but has maintained his innocence ever since he was first accused, and Serial takes a look at the evidence, and tries to decide one way or another if he did murder Hae. The chances are, you’ve already heard of this podcast, if you haven’t already listened. All twelve episodes are available, so you can binge-listen if you so wish (and I think once you start, you’ll be glad you don’t have to wait a week between episodes, like the rest of us did). At times it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that this is real-life, and a real girl lost her life, but at no point is it anything other than utterly gripping. It’s definitely worth a listen. Serial will be back later in the year, during which Koenig will concentrate on a new case, and I can’t wait.

My plan was to write about five podcasts, but on looking through my phone, I just don’t listen to anything else enough to give a good enough account of it. The odd episode here and there, but nothing I’ve found myself downloading episode after episode, as I do with this little lot.

If you have any recommendations for things I simply have to listen to, please do let me know. I’ll be searching for more myself, and I’ll be back at some point with another round up to let you know about them.