11 Podcasts To Listen To This Month

Whether it’s a particularly good episode from a long-running favourite, or a new name causing ripples on the airwaves, here’s a roundup of some of our favourite podcasts to listen to in June…

We Can Do Hard Things

Motivational and self-help writer Glennon Doyle released ‘Untamed’ at the start of the pandemic. She watched in awe from her home as a simple phrase – ‘We can do hard things’ – became a worldwide rallying cry. Inspired to start her own podcast with her sister Amanda, the two set out to talk honestly about the hard stuff we all go through. Each week they aim to help listeners – and themselves – share the load, so we can all learn to live a little bit lighter and braver, and certainly feel less alone.

Episode Highlight: Anxiety: Is It Just Love Holding Its Breath?

In the inaugural episode of this brand-new podcast, the sisters tackle a subject which has become all too common. Glennon starts by offering her description of an anxiety attack, before revealing the three strategies that help her find calm.

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British Scandal

In a country obsessed with gossip, British people fear one thing more than any other: scandals. They bring down governments, overthrow the rich and cause the mighty to fall. Some are about sex, others about money, but in the end they’re all about power. Often at the heart of a scandal, however, are ordinary human stories and questions including: who was really to blame for what happened? Why did they do it? And when all is said and done, did anything really change? In the first series of British Scandal, hosts Alice and Matt narrow in on the Litvinenko affair, analysing the twists and turns – from the Russian dissident’s escape from Moscow to his sorry end in London.

Episode Highlight: Londongrad Today

In the fifth episode of the series, the hosts talk to Guardian journalist and author Luke Harding about what the Litvinenko affair means today. Between 2007 and 2011, Luke was the Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief and the Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the Cold War, giving him a unique and deeply personal perspective on the events discussed here.

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Spectacle: An Unscripted History Of Reality TV

Reality TV is often dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably do know who Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump and Kim Kardashian are. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time – be it racial tensions or gender dynamics. Join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the history of the genre one show at a time, revealing how it’s shaped our culture and how our culture shaped it.

Episode Highlight: Keeping Up With The Kardashian Empire

From Kim’s sex tape scandal to Kourtney pulling her baby out during labour, to the scary Paris robbery – the Kardashian sisters have shared it all over the past 20 seasons. And that’s what this sixth episode in this series is all about – specifically, how Keeping Up with the Kardashians created TMI television. Listen in as Mariah talks to New York Times writer-at-large Amy Chozick and KUWTK expert Professor Laurie Ouellette to understand more about how this zeitgeisty show has stood the test of time.

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Human Resources

This new series from Broccoli Productions explores the true story of British involvement in the transatlantic slave trade and how it touches every part of the nation. Hosted by Moya Lothian-McLean, a journalist and descendent of both Black African slaves and white slave owners or overseers, expect raw, informative and honest conversations which shine a different light on the past.

Episode Highlight: Where There's A Will, There's A Way

This show is best started at the beginning. Host Moya kicks off the journey in Herefordshire – or Kington, specifically, to discover the story behind Lady Hawkins’ School and its links to Sir John Hawkins, Britain’s first slave trader.

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Life Jolt

Life Jolt – prison slang for a life sentence – examines the lives of women navigating Canada’s correctional system. With unprecedented access to the Grand Valley Institution prison (the federal pen for women in Ontario) for a full year, the team followed women going into prison for the first time, spoke with lifers who have been there for years, and interviewed parolees as they left. Hosted by Rosemary Green, a former inmate herself, the show focuses on individual women’s stories and the realities of prison life, exploring a wide range of issues including parenting behind bars, segregation, the over-representation of Indigenous women, addiction, trauma and the many obstacles of reintegration.

Episode Highlight: Parenting From The Pen

Prison can be especially difficult for mothers. They often struggle with separation and guilt as their children are raised by grandparents, partners, exes or strangers. Melissa was staring down a three-year sentence with a baby only weeks away. She thought the child welfare system was her only option until she learned about a programme that allows mothers to raise their children in prison. Emotional listening.

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Sounds Like A Plan 

The climate crisis is the most urgent issue facing the planet right now. But can music help save the world? Sounds Like A Plan wants to find out. Hosted by journalist Greg Cochrane and musician and activist Fay Milton (from the band Savages and co-founder of Music Declares Emergency), the two spend each episode chatting to a name in the music world currently taking action – and not just those in front of the mic. Festival bosses to artists, record labels to data analysts, they’re all here. 

Episode Highlight: Determination

The 1975 have been one of the biggest and most influential voices in music and climate action over the past couple of years – from organising reforestation campaigns to collaborating with Greta Thunberg. Their record label, Dirty Hit, has also taken industry-leading steps to become more sustainable. In this episode, the band’s manager Jamie Oborne talks about how their 2019 collaboration with Greta came about, the story of meeting the “punk” climate activist for the recording session in Sweden and some of the subsequent criticism the group received from certain areas of the media. He also discusses The 1975’s current plans to develop a new lightweight, less carbon-heavy live show, the influence of his children on his climate passion, and his thoughts on this year’s UN COP26 summit in Glasgow in November. Fay and Greg also look back on Earth Day 2021.

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Changes 

We’ve loved making our way back through the archive of this heartfelt podcast in which Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac chats to artists, writers, musicians and a host of fascinating people about the topic of change. Each guest talks through the biggest changes they have overcome in childhood and adulthood, and how they effect change in their lives going forward. The podcast explores how change punctuates our lives, how it can totally derail us and define who we are, how we confront it, react to it and how we try to activate change.

Episode Highlight: Billie Piper

For fans of Billie Piper’s recent appearance on Desert Island Discs, make this episode your next listen. Describing her transition from teen pop star to award-winning actress, it’s safe to say Billie hasn’t shied away from the complications of being a woman today. Married and divorced twice, including to DJ Chris Evans, Billie talks to Annie about how she has navigated the many changes in her life both professionally and personally, from career moves to relationships, motherhood and therapy.

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Not Just The Tudors

Fans of Dan Snow’s History Hit will love this new show hosted by Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, which looks at everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors – but most definitely also the Tudors. In each episode, Suzannah is joined by historians and experts to reveal incredible stories about one of the most fascinating periods in history.

Episode Highlight: Anne Boleyn Special: Life and Afterlives

To mark the 485th anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s death – and certainly in light of the upcoming TV series starring Jodie Turner-Smith – Suzannah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the enduring fascination with Anne’s life and demise. Exploring the different perceptions of the Tudor queen and her recreation through many afterlives, authors Claire Ridgway, Natalie Grueninger, historian Dr Stephanie Russo and art historian Roland Hui all offer their perspectives. Fascinating stuff.

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Power Hour

We’ve loved tuning into the latest series of this established podcast. Host Adrienne Herbert sets out to ask the question: what could you do, if you dedicated just one hour each day to improving yourself and your life? Designed to motivate you to pursue your passion and to achieve success, Adrienne speaks to today’s leading coaches, creatives, change makers and innovators to find out more about their morning routines, daily habits and rules to live by. Whether you want to build a business, write a book or run a marathon, these people believe a power hour is going to help you get there faster.

Episode Highlight: Candice Braithwaite

An author, journalist, TV presenter, and founder of Make Motherhood Diverse – an online initiative that aims to ensure many more people see themselves reflected online – Candice Braithwaite regularly appears on national radio and television news channels to talk about maternal mortality rates for Black women in Britain. Her debut book I Am Not Your Baby Mother – about being a Black British mum – made the Sunday Times Bestseller list. Here she discusses how she makes the most of her day, both as a mother and a professional.

 

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Baby On The Brain

Deciding to start a family is an exciting time for many, but the reality of seeing a positive pregnancy test can send many women into a spiral of sleepless nights way before a baby arrives. Don’t be confused – this podcast isn’t about the practicalities of sleep or feeding, it’s not about birth or your changing body. It’s about the conundrums that worry many mums-to-be when they find out their life is about to change. In this thought-provoking but light-hearted new podcast, host Fliss Thistlethwaite – a mum-to-be grappling with her own questions – meets other women to chat about their concerns, then finds experts and mothers who have answers to their middle-of-the-night worries.

Episode Highlight: Identity

It’s the first episode in the series, and one of the most resonant. Fliss is joined by co-host Lisa Harvey and guest Adanna Steinacker to discuss pregnancy and motherhood identity. They tackle what to do if your career is your life right now, how to take on the new identity that comes with having kids, and how to process these changes without losing part of yourself in the process.

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Simplify

Simplify is a podcast for anyone who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships or their health and thought, there’s got to be a better way to do this… Hosted by Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler, and with episodes spanning four minutes to nearly an hour, Simplify sets about giving airtime to the ideas that will help you reach ‘better’. The seventh season is due to drop any day after a long pandemic-induced hiatus. In the meantime, take a wander through the archive to see what you can learn.

Episode Highlight: Susan Cain: It's Okay To Be Quiet

One of our favourite self-help authors Susan Cain joins the podcast this week to share how introverts can shine and thrive in a noisy world. Think you’re an extrovert? Depending how your energy works – whether you find other people draining or energising – might just flip your preconceptions on their head. If you haven’t read Susan’s book Quiet yet, make it your next read.

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