The Ultimate Podcast Starter Pack



Online Living Editor, Lucy Thompson provides you with her list of podcast essentials

There are podcasts about anything and everything, and they’re wonderful. They are perfect if you are on the walk to uni , occupied with a mundane task like cleaning your room, or travelling across the world. There are infinitely many to choose from and these are some of my favourites - perfect if you are new to the world of podcasts!

Criminal Criminal is a story-driven podcast, exploring a unique crime every episode and the people that are caught up in nefarious activity. From the first episode, ‘Animal Instincts’, which questioned whether a woman had been killed by her husband or a bird of prey, I was hooked. Phoebe Judge vividly discusses a plethora of crimes , historical and modern, ranging from blackmarket whisky to stolen books to a prisoner who corrects mistakes in dictionaries. The episodes are short and sweet, and delve not just into the nature of the crimes, but the human beings involved. It's true crime without the ethical dubiousness.

My Dad Wrote a Porno
This is pure comedy gold. Jamie Norton reads and comments on an erotic novel written by his father or ‘Rocky Flintstone’, with his two friends, James and Alice . Throughout the podcast the hosts laugh through chapters of the terribly written ‘Belinda Blinks’ - which follows Belinda , an executive at a pots and pans distribution company. The hosts revel in the sheer cringeyness and un-eroticism of the novel - vocalising exactly what you think about the alluring description of Belinda’s breasts hanging ‘like pomegranates’. Warning: if you are listening to this in public, your involuntary fits of laughter will garner some stares.

Missing Richard Simmons

This is a newer podcast on the scene. It follows the mysterious disappearance of celebrity fitness guru, Richard Simmons. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about Richard Simmons (before listening I had never heard of him). The host, Dan Taberski, catches listeners up with personal stories and soundbites from his closest friends, providing us with a detailed sense of who he is/was. The podcast attempts to answer the questions his friends have been asking for years - did Richard decide to vanish? Why has he left his devoted supporters? Is his mysterious housekeeper Teresa Reveles keeping him hostage? It's a fascinating study into a complex and compelling human being that does not fail to entertain.

 Guys we f*cked

This is undoubtedly the guilty pleasure of the list. It’s an anti- slutshaming, sex-positive podcast, presented by comedians Corinne and Krystyna, who interview men they have fucked every episode. It’s funny, crude and so not politically correct, and you feel like you’re involved in a candid conversation with friends. The chemistry between the two hosts is great, the tone is light and the guests enjoy the show. This podcast could have easily been vacuous and cringey, but it discusses the double-standards of sex, with revealing insights from the men they interview. If you want to laugh and don’t mind graphic description - this is the podcast for you.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo are the dynamic duo of film criticism. If you love films, a bit of banter and bickering and compelling interviews with directors/actors - this is right up your street. Although Kermode’s tastes for films can be a little particular, and Simon has to reign him in from becoming too pretentious, it works. Kermode has huge expanse of knowledge when it comes to film (particularly horror) and his scathing film rants are hilarious, particularly his dressing-down of Sex in the City 2, Entourage and The Da Vinci Code.

And finally, it’s an obvious choice, but it wouldn’t be a podcast list without it. Serial is the titan of the podcast world and it began my love affair with the medium. It has been discussed to death , so I will be brief in its description. It’s 12 episodes which conduct an in depth investigation into the murder of Hae Mi Lee and Adnan Syed who was convicted of her killing. It’s as brilliant as everyone says and even surpasses Netflix’s Making a Murderer.

Special Mentions: S-Town, This American Life , The Good Life Project, Un told-The Daniel Morgan Murder and TED Radio Hour.

Featured Image: Flickr/ Casey Fiesler

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Lucy Thompson

Current Deputy Online Editor and previously the Online Living Editor.