Podcasts have exploded as a form of entertainment. There are so many to choose from it can be hard to know where to start, or know which ones are worth your time. With everything from reviews and discussions to stories and comedy, there really is a podcast out there for everybody, and best of all, most are free.
If you’re looking for a brilliant podcast to kill half an hour or so on your daily commute, why not try one of these?
Also, check out our look at the best apps for listening for listening to podcasts.
For many, the Peabody Award-winning Serial was the “gateway podcast” - the one that showed just how addictive and compelling the format can be. And this unmissable follow-up from the same producers continues that tradition, beginning with a mysterious phone call from a reclusive clockmaker about shady goings-on in his Alabama hometown.
It’s hard to say more without giving anything away, but suffice to say the initial investigation into an apparent murder and cover-up quickly takes a left turn into a far stranger, more complex and touching story than journalist Brian Reed bargained for. While this could easily have been another quality addition to the true crime podcast genre, certain events during the recording of the show turn it into something very different - and all the better for it.
If you liked this, try: Serial, Unsolved, Someone Knows Something
WIRED UK Podcast
If you’re a tech-head, the WIRED UK podcast is one of the best ways to get your weekly fix of all the latest developments in smartphones, laptops, PCs and future tech. The fast-paced show covers everything from what the biggest technology firms are doing next, to amazing advances in bionic limbs, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and commercial space travel.
If you like to stay ahead of the curve and be the first to hear about all the new features coming to your favourite gadgets, this award-winning podcast is definitely for you. An informative mix of news, opinion and investigation, it’s in-depth but still very accessible for the casual tech fan.
If you liked this, try: Tomorrow’s World, The Vergecast, TEDTalks Technology
The Infinite Monkey Cage
A downloadable podcast from BBC Radio 4, The Infinite Monkey Cage is perfect for anyone who loves their physics with a side of witty banter. Hosted by astrophysicist Brian Cox alongside comedian Robin Ince, each episode tackles a particular topic with an equal mixture of science and comedy.
A rotating weekly panel of guests - usually two scientists and one comedian - offer extra input and insights, and keep the discussions moving. Intentionally accessible even for the non-nerdy, this podcast combines chuckles with a genuine workout for the old grey matter.
If you liked this, try: Star Talk Radio, Houston We Have A Podcast, 60 Second Science
A tech podcast with a difference, Reply All takes an irreverent look at internet culture and investigates its impact on our lives. Hosts Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt trawl through the vast expanses of the web and report on the funny, baffling and often downright weird world of apps, scammers, Twitter beefs, memes and online marketplaces. You don’t have to be a techie to enjoy - this show’s all about the human stories lurking just beneath the surface of the internet.
Find out whether Facebook’s listening in on your conversations, why an online thief is stealing clown costumes, and who invented the pop-up ad in this wide-ranging series. It also includes a regular segment where the hosts explain the story behind the week’s most perplexing tweets.
If you liked this, try: Radiolab, Embedded, Note to Self
Very Good TV Podcast
The perfect companion if you’re a “peak TV” addict who can’t stop talking about the latest seasons of Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders and Stranger Things, this Indiewire-produced show ensures you’re never out of the loop. Hosted by Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers, the show covers all the latest from Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO and more. As well as covering storylines and shocking moments, the show discusses trends in television and the actors and writers who make your favourite shows.
If you’re really into one particular TV show, remember that many popular series have their own podcasts dedicated to them (for example, The Talking Dead) so it’s well worth searching around if you want to get all the post-episode gossip as it happens.
If you liked this, try: Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan, Rotten Tomatoes Podcast, The Vulturecast
Hailing from the website of the same name, Giant Bombcast has all your gaming news covered - the big releases, the hidden gems and frequent digressions into wider gaming culture. Despite the firmly tongue-in-cheek tone, host Brad Shoemaker and regular guests Jeff Gerstmann, Ben Pack and Jason Oestreicher are dyed-in-the-wool gamers with an incredible knowledge and passion for their subject.
With many episodes coming live from major industry events like E3 and PAX, Giant Bombcast also features regular interviews with game developers and console makers, offering insights into what gamers can look forward to next. If you can’t get enough games news, tune into its sister podcast, Giant Beastcast, which follows a similar format with different presenters.
If you liked this, try: What’s Good Games, Daft Souls, Idle Thumbs
Sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up with a good spooky story - and Aaron Mahnke’s painstakingly-researched tales of vampires, hauntings, witches and bizarre creatures is sure to hit the spot. Every episode is based on a real-life local legend or historical account, and while some of the stories may be familiar, there are many more tales of paranormal activity that you won’t have heard before.
The stories are short and sweet, each lasting about 20 minutes, and mixed with beautifully haunting music made for the show. If you prefer your scares in TV form, six of Lore’s most famous episodes were recently turned into a TV series by Amazon Video.
If you liked this, try: Alice Isn’t Dead, The Black Tapes, Welcome to Night Vale
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