The SL Team’s Favourite Podcasts & Episodes Of The Year

The SL Team’s Favourite Podcasts & Episodes Of The Year

Usually, we bring you a selection of our favourite podcasts for you to add to your playlist each month. As the year draws to a close, we thought we’d ask the SL team to share their favourite shows of 2020, as well as a standout episode and why they think it’s a must-listen. Here are the shows and best episodes to keep you occupied over the festive break.

My Life In Seven Charms

Jeweller and friend of SL, Annoushka Ducas MBE, has been collecting charms for as long as she can remember. Now, in this new podcast, she explores their unique ability to evoke memory and meaning with seven inspiring women, as they reveal their Life In Seven Charms. Featuring some of the biggest names in fashion (think ex-Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and designer/editor Caroline Issa), tune in to hear never-before-heard stories and behind-the-scenes gossip from one of the world’s most fascinating industries. 

Episode Highlight: Lady Anne Glenconner

Born into the rigid social hierarchy of the English aristocracy in the 1930’s, Lady Anne Glenconner’s life was stitched for many decades into the tapestry of the royal household, most notably as the late Princess Margaret’s lady In waiting. An author at 85, with her bestselling autobiography Lady In Waiting, My Extraordinary Life In The Shadow Of The Crown and on the cusp of launching her debut fiction book Murder On Mustique, this is a candid and witty account of her truly remarkable life.

SL Founder & Editor Georgie Coleridge Cole says: "I love the format of this podcast, which is structured around guests choosing seven charms to go on a bespoke charm bracelet. My favourite episode was the one with Lady Anne Glenconner – my god, has there ever been a woman as entertaining? I don't think so."

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Dolly Parton’s America

In this intensely divided moment in the US, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is the universal appeal of Dolly Parton – but why? It’s that simple question which prompted podcaster Jad Abumrad to embark on a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. From the singer’s deeply complicated relationship with the politics of her main base, to deep-dives on some of her greatest hits, join Jad for a nine-episode journey into the Dollyverse.

Episode Highlight: The Only One For Me, Jolene

One of Dolly’s most iconic and successful songs is ‘Jolene’, a song about a romantic rival trying to steal another woman’s man – or is it? Some see it as flipping a popular country music trope on its head. In this episode, Nadine Hubbs, a professor at the University of Michigan, writes a fourth verse to the hit song to force listeners to reimagine Dolly's songs in an entirely new way.

SL Features Editor & Sub-Editor Harriet Russell says: “I’m a self-confessed Dolly Parton mega-fan, but even those who claim to hate country music can’t deny Dolly’s icon status. Even so, this show made me think about this country legend in a completely new and fascinating way.”

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Breaking Beauty 

Long-time beauty editors Jill Dunn and Carlene Higgins showcase some of the best people, products and moments in beauty every week via their hit show. Tune in to hear inspiring stories behind the most iconic, bestselling beauty products and how they came to be, straight from the founders themselves – think Glossier’s Emily Weiss and Tata Harper. Plus, get insights and tips from the brilliant minds shaping today’s trends and ideas, from Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist Makeup By Mario, to skincare guru Dr Pimple Popper and hair pro Jen Atkin. 

Episode Highlight: Kilian Hennessy, Founder of By Kilian Fragrances

In this episode, Kilian Hennessy joins the girls in the studio to chat all about his eponymous brand and how it came to be. He also goes deep on what it takes to found a business that counts superstars like Rihanna among some of its most loyal customers. For anyone interested in fragrance, beauty and entrepreneurship, it’s a must-listen.

SL Beauty Editor Rebecca Hull says: “This episode was such an eye-opener. Hailing from France, and part of one of the biggest fashion families on the planet (think the LVMH dynasty), Killian knows a thing or two about what it takes to create a luxury beauty brand.”

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The Immaculate Deception

Exploring the scandal of the Dutch fertility doctor who secretly fathered at least 60 children by using his own sperm to inseminate unsuspecting women seeking a donor, each episode delves deeper into the investigation. Throughout her interviews with donors, donor-conceived individuals, recipients and others involved in cases of fertility fraud, journalist Jenny Kleeman leaves no stone unturned. 

Episode Highlight: The Last Interview 

The third episode in the series, this is the first and only time you hear from Dr Jan Karbaat himself. Journalist Kamil Baluk finally made it through the gates of Karbaat’s fertility clinic and managed to interview the doctor – one of the last-known interviews he gave. A deep dive into his chilling personality, this episode makes for fascinating listening.

SL Wellness Editor Tor Cardona says: “I’m not usually one for a documentary-style podcast, but this had me hooked. Well-researched and easy to digest, this is a must-listen, whether you're interested in fertility or not.”

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HOSTEing Laura Jackson

In her debut podcast series, broadcaster, interiors fanatic, food lover and founder of Hoste, Laura Jackson, chats food, travel and interiors with guests that do the hosting for a change. If you want to know all about their hosting secrets, inside their black book for restaurants, in-the-know holiday destinations or even where they shop for vintage crockery – this is the podcast for you. 

Episode Highlight: “What Are You Doing Here?” Leandra Medine

Those mourning the closure of fashion blog ManRepeller should tune into this episode of Laura Jackson’s podcast for further insight into its founder’s psyche. Jackson takes a trip to downtown New York where she is hosted by author, journalist, mother, wife and native New Yorker Leandra Medine to discuss travel destinations, Irish goodbyes and French exits, the ever-evolving New York restaurant scene, Leandra's firm and favourable fashion taste and how that has influenced her interiors. 

SL Lifestyle Editor Heather Steele says: “In this episode, the worlds of food and fashion collide. But I also found Medine’s discussion of her journey into motherhood equally intriguing – it’s a comforting and informative listen, as well as being humorous along the way.”

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You’re Wrong About

Hosts Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider a person or event that's been miscast in the public imagination – from the Exxon Valdez oil spill to Princess Diana. With equal doses of astonishment and humour, the format sees one host lead the other through events, before the two share their opinion on the subject at hand.

Episode Highlight: Princess Diana: Part 4 – The Divorce

The Diana mini-series actually stretches to five parts, but it’s the fourth instalment which is the standout. In this episode, Diana leaves the royal family with her reputation intact and her title slightly edited. Digressions include Love Actually, Pride & Prejudice and Marie Antoinette. Fun and highly informative. 

SL Junior Writer Sherri Andrew says: “I listened to this whole series in a day because I was so gripped by the nitty-gritty details. The American hosts, Mike and Sarah, offer a hilarious perspective on British culture, too.”

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How Did We Get Here?

Claudia Winkleman and Professor Tanya Byron identify struggles faced by real-life parents and family members by inviting them in and hearing their story, in a one-time unscripted session with a real person. As Claudia listens, Tanya begins to unlock underlying issues before offering up possible solutions. With topics ranging from parental estrangement and gender identity to domestic violence and raising disabled children, the show is both deeply compassionate and highly insightful.

Episode Highlight: Danielle 

Danielle’s husband passed away from cancer four years ago. She is increasingly anxious about parenting her teenage children on her own while suffering with grief. Listen in as the hosts tackle what grief really is, how we cope with bereavement and run through a host of helpful resources for anyone who might be struggling.

SL Social Media Executive Daisy Reed says: “Giving you an insight into what takes place in a therapy room, using deeply personal stories, this is an excellent podcast: interesting, human and revealing.”

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6 Degrees From Jamie & Spencer

In this hit show, Jamie Laing and Spencer Matthews attempt to track down A-list celebs using just six degrees of separation – i.e. in six phone calls or less. Dreamt up by the production team at Radio 1, tune in to hear the Made In Chelsea alums try and prove that, whoever you are, you’re only ever six calls away from stardom. 

Episode Highlight: Searching For Louis Theroux: We Found Louis!

In this episode, the duo’s target is TV legend Louis Theroux. Expect plenty of laughter, Jamie’s impression of Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born, and Spencer’s impression of Michael Caine in a restaurant. Eventually, when they do track him down, the boys are suddenly a bit star struck…

SL Editorial Assistant Poppy Nash says: “This hilarious podcast has been my go-to this year when I’ve felt I’ve needed a laugh.”

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The Tim Ferriss Show

Best known for his book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss has been dubbed “the world's best human guinea pig”. In this show, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (think investing, chess and pro sports), digging deep to find the tools, tactics and tricks that listeners can apply to their own lives. 

Episode Highlight: #455: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on Powerful Books, Mystics, Richard Dawkins, and the Dangers of Safe Spaces

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was an international religious leader, philosopher and respected moral voice, who died at the end of 2020. He was the chief rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013 and the recipient of the 2016 Templeton Prize, in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”. Described by The Prince of Wales as “a light unto this nation” and by former British prime minister Tony Blair as “an intellectual giant”, here he sits down with Tim to share his invaluable insights. 

SL Fashion Editor Charlotte Collins says: “Rabbi Lord Sacks was one of the greats, who sadly lost his life to cancer just last month, making this fascinating exploration into life, mysticism and – of course, the pandemic – all the more poignant.”

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Off Menu

On this hit show, comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite special guests into their virtual restaurant to each choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. Ever wondered what your favourite celebrities would eat for their dream meal? This is where you’ll find out.

Episode Highlight: Claudia Winkleman

Rated a ten by die-hard Strictly Come Dancing fans, this week it’s co-host Claudia Winkleman’s turn to book a table at Ed and James’ restaurant. Brace yourself – she really knows her order. Fans of the BBC dance competition and mega-foodies alike will love this episode. 

SL Managing Editor Laura Black says: “I'm one of Claudia's biggest fans and I thoroughly enjoyed a solo car journey laughing out loud to this episode. She is brilliantly bonkers. If you want a light-hearted giggle, then I highly recommend...”

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Painkiller: America's Fentanyl Crisis

If you've paid any attention to the news in the last couple of years, you'll be aware of the opioid crisis which currently threatens to engulf America's youth. But did you know that in 2019, fentanyl killed more people in a single year than any other drug in modern history? Join Vice News reporter Keegan Hamilton each week as he tracks the third wave of this unique drug crisis. 

Episode Highlight: The Gringos Like It Strong

In this pivotal episode, Sinaloa cartel members show the inner workings of their fentanyl trafficking network, which involves smuggling illicit precursor chemicals into Mexico by boat, then mixing fentanyl with heroin at a clandestine drug lab. A shrewd insight into the challenge governments face to quell this kind of activity. 

SL Videographer & Editor Marija Konstantinovaite says: “The whole podcast is a fascinating insight into the opioid crisis, but episode four left quite an impression on me – it’s the one where Sinaloa Cartel (described as one of the largest drug-trafficking organisations in the world) members reveal their inner-workings.”

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