best culture podcasts

11 pitches for the podcast you’ll never make

They used to say everyone had a book inside them. Then they said that everyone had a restaurant inside them. But now it’s become clear, in fact, that everyone just had a podcast inside them all along (which is much easier than the other two, isn’t it — some of these microphones are remarkably streamlined nowadays). Only problem is, all the good ideas are already taken — and most of the bad ones, too.

So, to help you out, we’ve ingested the zeitgeist, crunched the numbers, talked to a friend who works in male mental health — and come up with 12 compelling, scalable, off-the-shelf concepts that you can pitch around, write down in an otherwise empty Moleskine, or say ‘we should actually do that mate I’m buying a USB mic tomorrow’ about on a balcony this summer at 3AM. Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Jeremy Paxman’s Cross-Party Seance

The arch inquisitor deploys a ouija board to contact dead members of the political establishment and ask them, for example, why they buggered up the Peasants Revolt, what their views are on ‘the Prussia situation’, and whether ‘the Whig party is no longer fit for purpose’.

Desert Island Desert Islands

‘Desert Island Discs’ rip-off in which we ask a billionaire plutocrat to talk us through the five private islands or off-shore tax havens that mean the most to them. (Sponsored by our friends at Mossack Fonseca.)

Downe House girls 4U

Agony Aunt format where two former public school girls answer listener questions while name-checking Pandora Sykes’ new book and being really nice to each other. Advice usually involves coffee enemas and moving to L.A for a bit. 

My Mum Was A Bit of a Go-er

Zany, family-focused podcast in which you and your mother call up all her old boyfriends from the seventies and eighties, while your father reacts in real-time with increasingly forced laughter.

How to Breathe, with Anne Widdicmobe

90-minutes of wheezy breathwork and diaphragm exercises, interspersed with Anne’s signature tough love wisdom.

best sports podcasts

English Comedians Being Friends

English panel show comedians who you sort of recognise show that they’re really good friends with each other for 45 minutes each week, largely by reminiscing about the Edinburgh Festival in 2009. (Also, each of them says they want to do more writing this year and that the current government is rubbish.)

Why is James Corden so Successful?

Like Room 101, only slightly more targeted. Public figures (Monty Don, Scarlett Moffatt, Prince Edward) each spend an hour questioning just how it is that James Corden has got to where he is today. Final round involves them fantasising out loud about a leaked trove of racy emails that torpedoes his career overnight.

Hot Topics and Hot Chocolate with Tony Blair

Cosy but revealing interview series where the ex-Prime Minister discusses the big issues of the day (vaccine passports, microchipping toddlers, acceptable haircuts for the older war criminal) over hot chocolate and focus-grouped jokes. 

James O’Brien Was Right!

Fun magazine-style show in which the LBC frontman recalls all the times he has been right on various issues over the years, and then just lists the most impressive adjectives he can think of for a while. 

What Dave did Next

Exploratory, docu-style podcast in which essay-crisis former PM David Cameron tries his hand at a different career each week, with hilarious and often moving results. (Example jobs: Poet Laureate; battlefield surgeon; X-Factor judge, Director General of the BBC; George Osborne’s hedge fund intern; air traffic controller; deposed monarch, etc etc.)

Gogglebox: The Bullingdon Edition

Audio special of the hit television show. Twelve current and former members of the Bullingdon Club get together in a private room to watch the Riot Club while giving each other PPE contracts.

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Further Reading