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The 30 best podcasts for your ears

The 30 best podcasts for your ears

From captivating true crime docs to light-hearted sporting bants, there are plenty of podcasts to wrap your ears around this month

By Virgin TV Edit

It’s a pleasing word, “podcast”. Pod is always fun to say, and cast just feels nice. Bung ’em together and you have a doozie of a word, as well as cracking content ranging from the side-splittingly funny to the eyebrow-raisingly interesting (and everything in between).

 

And, in the current climate, there’s no better time to get dipping into the whirlwind of podcasts at your fingertips. So whether it’s a calm-inducing mindfulness you seek or some grisly (yet captivating) true crime docs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this month…

 

For kids…

1. Homeschool History

Greg Jenner host of Homeschool History


Horrible Histories’
Greg Jenner presents these light-hearted, oh-so-hilarious history lessons for kids and parents alike on BBC Sounds (more on that here, if you’re interested). From the Space Race to Mary Queen Of Scots’ sudden ascension to the throne, no fact goes unturned with Greg’s witty, “unconventional” teaching techniques.

 

Available to download on BBC Sounds

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

 

2. Puffin Podcast

No, you’re not wrong – the legendary, Puffin-centric publisher (which, alas, isn’t run by a bunch of literature loving puffins, as we once believed) has their own podcast packed with mad facts, stunning stories, hilarious jokes and so much more. Sure to keep any little ones entertained!

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

3. Everything Under The Sun

Let’s be honest, inquisitive kids are great, but boy can they think up the most irritatingly brain-tickling questions at the most inopportune of times… So if you’ve ever joined a virtual meeting distractedly wondering “why do we dream?”, fear not, for this cracking podcast answering all manner of fascinating questions is on hand.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

 

4. Chompers

Who enjoys cleaning their teeth? Exactly – no one (sorry dentists, but even you know it to be true…) Kids hate it, we hate it, everyone hates it… but then along comes Chompers to turn tooth cleaning time into a fun-filled two-minutes packed with giggle-inducing gags, songs, fun facts and so much more.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

For inquisitive adults…

 

5. The Why Factor

Effectively Everything Under The Sun but for adults, this ridiculously entertaining podcast explores and explains the hidden histories behind everyday objects and observations. Give it a listen – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

6. Cautionary Tales

Tim Harford host of Cautionary Tales


Author Tim Harford journeys through a myriad strange, at times sinister, but always fascinating true stories in this stunning podcast, in which he and his guests shed new light on some seriously strange goings-on, and the lessons we can learn from them.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

7. Duolingo Spanish Podcast

Ever found yourself cruising round Andalusia wondering where the library is but feeling too scared to ask? Well, with this handy podcast, those days of tongue-tied translation-less tourism are gone. “¿Donde está la biblioteca?”

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

For sports fans…

 

8. Quickly Kevin; Will He Score?

Josh Widdicombe co-host of Quickly Kevin Will He Score?


From brutal (but hilarious) analyses of Steve Bruce’s trilogy of detective novels (yes, that really is a thing) to general 90s football bants, this is a must-listen for any footy fan born when kits were baggy and players still had names like David Batty. Co-hosts Josh Widdicombe and Chris Scull brilliantly roll back the years and bring some serious laughs.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

9. 30 For 30

The makers of ESPN’s acclaimed 30 For 30 films turn their talents to creating a series of scintillating audio docs for sports fans, with this utterly fascinating podcast covering all manner of sports. Even if you don’t know most of the names being mentioned, the stories surrounding them are hard to turn down.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

10. Gas It Out

While the season may be on a seemingly indefinite hiatus for the time being, that hasn’t stopped former World Superbike champ Neil Hodgson and broadcaster Gavin Emmett from turning their dry wit and passion for all things two-wheeled to the sport’s current climate and fast-paced past.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

For some mindfulness-based bliss…

 

11. Happy Place

Fearne Cotton host of Happy Place


Popular TV host Fearne Cotton gets to the bottom of what happiness means to a succession of famous faces, inspiring peeps and more, in this stunning series of hers that is well, well worth a listen, and is sure to get you thinking happy thoughts.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

12. GABA

Host Adam Martin brings you dream-like, “next-gen meditation” techniques and so much more in this calm-inducing mindfulness podcast that, we think, might have the coolest “album cover” design of any in this list.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

13. The Minimalists Podcast

Cluttered bookshelves and general mess getting you down while you’re stuck inside? Then allow amazingly named co-hosts Joshua Fields-Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus to cut through your clutter and preach the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle in this oddly soothing podcast.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

For those who love a True Crime doc…

 

14. The Walkers Switch

Gary Lineker Walkers Crisps


In a classic case of “so bizarre it’s absolutely fascinating”, this podcast explores one of life’s strangest, unexplained mysteries – the infamous switch of Walkers’ packaging colours which, despite 2 in 3 people remembering it, supposedly never happened. Bizarre and brilliant.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

15. Real Narcos

This captivating new doc interviews some of the DEA agents tasked with hunting down history’s most infamous drug traffickers, exploring their investigations and shedding new light on the manhunts that took the world by storm.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

16. Serial

Individual crimes are examined in detail throughout an entire season in this acclaimed docuseries, back with a brand new third season. If you like your podcasts utterly fascinating with a side order of strange, slightly unsettling details, then this is one for you.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

 

For those looking for some fitness…

 

17. Give Me Strength With Alice Liveing

Alice Liveing host of Give Me Strenth


Author, personal trainer and all-round legend of the game Alice Liveing interviews famous faces and extraordinary people on the virtues of having a healthier, more empowering lifestyle in this inspiring series.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

18. 20 Min Yoga Sessions From YogaDownload.com

Spice up (or, well, slow down) your lunch breaks with these handy twenty-minute routines that are sure to get your body nice and balanced before you launch yourself back into a busy day of home-based work. Just try not to get too relaxed, if you know what we mean. In… and out… In… and… zzzzzzzzzz.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

19. Fitness Unfiltered

Keen to get your fitness game back on track without any of the added extras? Then join fitness guru Joslyn Thompson Rule as she cuts through the rubbish, to bring you all the need-to-know deets about upping your fitness game, without any of the faff.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

 

For those looking for laughs…

 

20. The Birthday Game

Richard Osman host of The Birthday Game


With this side-splitting series, Richard Osman proves that not only is he the tallest men in entertainment, and one of the funniest, but is also the king of formats. Osman and three celeb guests attempt to guess the ages of celebs whose birthdays are in the week of recording. Simple? Yes. Hilarious? Absolutely.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

21. Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything

The acclaimed comedian takes to the airwaves to, well, tell everybody everything, really. This brilliant new offering covers a multitude of topics that range from hilarious to touching, tear-inducing and more. Be it the trials of motherhood or relationship issues, no stone goes unturned.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

22. Grounded With Louis Theroux

What better time to track down some of the folk you’ve always longed to interview than when everyone is stuck inside? At least, that’s the logic Louis Theroux used in creating this brilliant new series from the comfort of his own home. Expect weirdness, his trademark charm, and no shortage of laughs.

 

Available to download on BBC Sounds

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

23. The QuaranTea Break Podcast

Writing advice, laughs and no shortage of swearing abound in this cracking new podcast that sees host Simon Ward interview the likes of Sarah Phelps, Robert Webb and more… and, crucially, find out how they like to take their tea.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

24. The Adam Buxton Podcast

Unsurprisingly, a podcast by one of the brains who helped bring Taffin tennis to the airwaves is absolutely hilarious. With original jingles, countless side-splitting interviews with famous faces and some serious (but still funny) bits thrown in, Buxton’s podcast is an absolute treat for anyone looking for laughs.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

For music lovers…

 

25. Dissect

Just as the aforementioned Serial focuses on one case per season, Dissect strips down and examines some of music’s most acclaimed records over the course of one long, incredibly detailed series of episodes. No song, sample or mind-bending beat goes unexplored in this amazing series – it’s a must-listen for any music lover.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

26. Dolly Parton’s America

Whether you’re a fan of “Jolene” or not, this series exploring the singer’s enduring appeal over decades is an absolute treat. From her humble beginnings to her rise to superstardom, this series examines her music, career and the contexts in which both have thrived, shining new light on the longstanding music legend.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

27. Song Exploder

Who better to explore and explain the stories behind some of today’s biggest songs than the artists themselves? Song Exploder is a belter of a series, breaking down some of the music scene’s biggest bangers and shedding a new light on the legends that make them.

 

Available to download on Apple Store

Available to download on Spotify

 

For those looking for some gaming gems…

 

28. GameBurst

Fancy some short, sharp and witty summaries of the week’s latest gaming news? Look no further, with GameBurst’s weekly deliveries of news, reviews and debates bringing any gamers out of the loop firmly back in the fold.

 

Available to download on Apple Store

Available to download on Spotify

 

29. Retro Asylum

If you’re a fan of retro games where even characters standing still are accompanied by a fast-paced, stuttering soundtrack like this, then you’ll love Retro Asylum, as they look back at some of gaming’s most legendary games in all their pixelated, 8-bit glory.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

 

30. Idle Thumbs

Expect plenty of laughs as this bonkers podcast dissects games, gaming culture and all the absurdity that both can (sometimes) create. It’s a strange listen, but one that is sure to get you laughing and itching to get back to your console, in equal measure.

 

Available to download on Apple Podcasts

Available to download on Spotify

Image credits: Greg Jenner photography by Fran Monks