The ultimate guide to podcasts
23rd August 2023
Podcasts are a fantastic medium, providing endless entertainment in an incredibly convenient package. With so many different podcasts available across all genres, there is truly something for everyone. If you are looking for a new podcast, want to listen to something in a particular area, or are perhaps taking your first steps into the world of podcasts, this guide is for you. After comparing various online 'best of' lists, we have collected some of the best podcasts around, providing you with recommendations on everything from sports podcasts to true crime podcasts. Of course, podcasts are subjective, and everyone will have their own favourites. So, read on and discover something great to listen to in the car, at home, on a walk, or wherever you like to listen.
- Comedy podcasts
- Sports podcasts
- Philosophy podcasts
- History podcasts
- Self-improvement podcasts
- Science podcasts
- True crime podcasts
- Entertainment podcasts
- Women’s podcasts
- Food podcasts
The best comedy podcasts
Hosted by popular comedians Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe, the Parenting Hell podcast shares tales of very real parenting problems in a humorous way. They not only share stories about themselves, but they chat with other celebrity parents about how they are coping or not coping. This is a great podcast to listen to if you want a real laugh, and new episodes are available every week.
The Therapy Crouch
Former footballer Peter Crouch and his wife Abbey Clancy have created a smash hit podcast called The Therapy Crouch that explores the trials and tribulations experienced by the couple, and the listeners, as they navigate their way through complex relationships. From the weekly podcasts, you can expect plenty of laughs and maybe some tears as you listen.
Where There's A Will, There's A Wake
If you could plan your perfect death, what would you do? This hilarious, dark, and sometimes moving podcast is hosted by comedian Kathy Burke who chats to guests and plans their final day from dawn to dusk and into the afterlife. In previous episodes of Where There’s A Will There’s A Wake, she has spoken to Dawn French, James Acaster, and more recently, Danny Dyer.
The best sports podcasts
That Peter Crouch Podcast
That Peter Crouch Podcast gives listeners an insight into the life of a professional footballer, with each weekly episode focusing on a new topic. From dressing rooms, transfers, and keeping on the good side of the manager to where to sit on the team bus and team nights out, expect lots of laughter and insight from Peter Crouch, Steve Sidwell and Chris Stark.
The Rugby Pod
The Rugby Pod is hosted by Andy Rowe along with former players Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton. It is now the most listened-to Rugby podcast in the world, and it covers all the latest news, rumours, insight and stories, but with plenty of humour, opinions and the best guests from the game.
Up Front with Simon Jordan
The Up Front with Simon Jordan is fairly new in the podcasting world, but it has already become a hugely popular listen for sports fans across the UK. The podcast explores the impact of sports on athletes’ lives while including Jordan’s unfiltered viewpoints, so expect to hear robust debates and candid discussions with high-profile sports personalities as they examine their careers and beliefs.
The best philosophy podcasts
Hosted by Stephen West, Philosophize This! is a podcast that explores different philosophical topics in a clear and engaging way. West is able to make complex ideas accessible and often uses humour and storytelling to illustrate his points. This interesting podcast is a great way to learn about the history of philosophy, as well as current philosophical issues.
The Partially Examined Life
The Partially Examined Life is a podcast hosted by a group of friends who discuss philosophical texts and ideas. The hosts are all philosophy students, and they bring a deep understanding of the material to the show. Each episode focuses on a particular text or philosopher and even examines the philosophy present in books such as Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
Hi-Phi Nation is a podcast that tells stories about philosophy. With each episode, the podcast delves into a distinct philosophical concept, employing storytelling as a vehicle to exemplify the idea. Hosted by the renowned philosopher and author Michael Sandel, the podcast incorporates enlightening interviews with a diverse range of philosophers, writers, and thinkers.
The best history podcasts
Tides of History
Hosted by Patrick Wyman, Tides of History is one of the best history podcasts out there, covering an enormous array of topics. Patrick has a wonderful talent for painting a picture of moments in time. Bringing events like the birth of Rome and the War of the Roses to life with top-level sound design and fascinating characters, Tides of History is not only incredibly informative but very entertaining too.
When it comes to in-depth and immersive history, Dan Carlin and his podcast Hardcore History is regarded as one of the best. The episodes might be sporadic in their release schedule, but whenever Dan drops a new episode, it’s incredibly in-depth, taking listeners on a journey through history, through fascinating time periods and a range of civilisations. History lovers can’t stay away from this one.
The History of Rome
If you are interested in Ancient Rome or ever wanted to learn more about this crucial period in human history, Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome is a must-listen. This podcast charts the progress of Rome from the beginning all the way through to its downfall. A truly gargantuan undertaking, The History of Rome is a comprehensive narrative that history buffs will devour.
The best podcasts for self-improvement
The Happiness Lab
The Happiness Lab is hosted by Dr Laurie Santos, a Professor of Psychology at Yale, and although many of her episodes focus on improving the mental health of college students, her discussions are applicable to people of all ages. So, if you are looking for a show to make you feel a bit better about life and have hard data to back it up, this is the podcast for you.
NPR’s Life Kit is essential self-help listening, and what makes it one of the most listened to self-improvement podcasts are its diverse topics, ranging from how to talk to kids about our turbulent news cycle to how to become a strong swimmer in later life.
How to fail with Elizabeth Day
There are lots of podcasts that focus on success and how to achieve it, but there isn’t a lot mentioned about what happens when things don’t go as planned. This is why journalist Elizabeth Day created this fascinating podcast that teaches listeners how to fail and that it’s more about how to continue after a failure than about what you’re doing to succeed. The podcast invites interviewees onto each episode to discuss three of their life’s failures.
The best science podcasts
The Science Vs podcast finds out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. Science Journalist Wendy Zukerman and the team do the hard work of sifting through all the science so you don't have to and cover everything from affordable housing to fasting diets.
BBC Earth Podcast
The BBC Earth Podcast is a weekly podcast that shares fascinating and funny stories from around the natural world, told by global speakers, experts and campaigners. The podcast is on BBC Sounds, but you can listen to some fascinating older episodes on Spotify.
The Life Scientific
On his podcast, The Life Scientific, Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future. Previous episodes look at how soil can help save the world and what makes a good scientist.
The best true crime podcasts
True crime is one of the most popular podcast genres, giving listeners a chance to follow the case of an actual crime. Serial is a true crime podcast that explores compelling, real-life criminal cases. Each season focuses on a different case, with in-depth investigative journalism and interviews with key individuals. The ground-breaking first season followed the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is a fantastic podcast in the true crime genre, combining humour, personal anecdotes, and a genuine fascination for the subject matter. Hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the podcast features the hosts’ favourite murder cases, ranging from notorious to obscure. Listeners will enjoy their conversational style and relatable humour, both of which make the podcast an engaging listen. There are even listener-submitted stories to enjoy.
Crime Junkie is a podcast for those who can never get enough of true crime. If this sounds like you, you should certainly give this weekly show a try. Hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, the lesser-known cases presented in the podcast are meticulously researched and shared in a storytelling format that keeps listeners hooked. The podcast aims to raise awareness and potentially contribute to the resolution of unsolved crimes.
The best entertainment podcasts
Desert Island Discs
One of the best podcasts for music lovers, and anyone who enjoys getting to know some of the world’s most famous celebrities will love Desert Island Discs. This classic format of a celebrity revealing what songs, books, and luxury items they would want on a desert island is a favourite of Alison from the blog, Midlife and Beyond, who enjoys listening to podcasts on her daily walks:
“I seem to have been listening to these interviews forever. I’m so pleased they have kept going using the original format. I love hearing about the path-altering memories of others, especially people I have followed in my life. I’m interested in their life journeys and musical tastes, which certainly invoke memories for me. Their stories make me laugh, cry, and think about my own life experiences.”
The Empire Film Podcast
With new episodes every week, movie fans will love the Empire Film Podcast from the world’s leading movie magazine. The podcast discusses all the latest movie news and features reviews for the week’s new releases. Featuring guests from among Hollywood’s most famous names, such as James Cameron and Russell Crowe, this podcast is a must for anyone who wants to stay plugged into the world of movies.
The Joe Rogan Experience
Fans of long-form interviews will want to check out The Joe Rogan Experience. Hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, this incredibly popular podcast sees Joe engage in wide-ranging conversations with a diverse range of guests, from fellow comedians like Louis CK and sports stars like Mike Tyson to movie directors, scientists, sports stars, actors, and politicians. There is no subject off the table for Joe, but you can browse the episodes to see if any names jump out.
The best podcasts on women’s topics
That’s Not My Age
Featuring in-depth interviews with impressive women on various topics, from getting older to finding success, That’s Not My Age is hosted by Alyson Walsh. Alison from Midlife and Beyond is a big fan of That’s Not My Age, sharing:
“Alyson is a journalist who writes for the Guardian as well as her blog, ‘That’s Not My Age’, which I love to read. Her podcast always has interesting guests, such as Sandy Powell, the costume designer who has worked on films such as ‘Gangs of New York’, and ‘The Irishman’. I find her interviews warm, thoughtful, uplifting and, often, funny! And I always feel as if I’ve learnt something new afterwards – give this one a listen; you will be impressed.”
The High Low
The High Low podcast hosted by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes wound up in 2020, but it is still worth a listen as it tackled the biggest issues facing women in the UK and abroad. It was a regular fixture at the top of the iTunes podcast charts.
The Womannica podcast is perfect if you’re after a daily hit of female inspiration. In as little as 5 minutes a day, learn about different incredible women from throughout history. This award-winning podcast tells the stories of women you may or may not know — but definitely should.
The best food podcasts
The Food Chain
If you are interested in the food industry, BBC’s The Food Chain is for you. Blogger Rachel Bustin loves listening to food podcasts and recommended The Food Chain as a personal favourite: “I love The Food Chain podcast, produced by BBC World Service, which is an excellent podcast for anyone interested in food, its cultural significance, and the science behind it.
“Each episode is well-researched and informative, covering a wide range of topics related to food, from the business of food production to the cultural significance of certain dishes. The podcast also features interviews with experts in the field, including chefs, food writers, and scientists, who offer valuable insights into the world of food. Whether you're a foodie or simply curious about the food industry, The Food Chain is a must-listen podcast that keeps you informed and entertained!”
Hosted by comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble, Off Menu is a podcast that the British public can’t get enough of. The podcast is based on a simple premise; the podcast guests are in a dream restaurant where they can choose their dream menu, including a starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. The conversation starts with food and then evolves from there, providing an entertaining listen, especially if you are a fan of the current guest.
BBC Good Food Podcast
If you are looking for new recipe inspiration and a few cooking tips, the BBC Good Food Podcast is the perfect choice. Featuring chats with cooks and chefs about their favourite dishes as well as cook-along bonus episodes, there’s some great content here for foodies or anyone who wants something to enjoy while making dinner in their own kitchen.
A wide world of podcasts to enjoy
As you can see, there are many wonderful podcasts to enjoy, covering all genres and topics. So, no matter what you are interested in, there will be something for you.
This article was brought to you by Handicare, working with Age Co, who provide a range of home mobility products such as stairlifts, homelifts and bathing solutions. For more information about how they can help make your home more accessible please get in touch.
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