82 Podcasts You Will Love (And They’re Not Just About Murder…)

I was so late to the podcast bandwagon but now I am firmly on board and probably spend upwards of 35 hours a week listening to them. I work from home and find it very comforting to have voices chirping away in the background. I am always asked what my favourite podcasts are and find it hard to pick a small selection, so here is the ultimate list of all the podcasts in rotation on my phone. Obviously I don’t listen to every single episode of every podcast below, but tend to just check my app every morning to see what catches my eye.

Don’t forget to let me know your favourite podcasts in the comments below so I can check them out!

82 of the best podcasts I listen to. If you're looking for podcast recommendations here is my ultimate list. Crime, comedy, culture, chatty... no matter your interest, there's a podcast for you. #talontedlex #podcastrecommendation #whatpodcast

If you are completely new to the world of podcasts, WELCOME! Your ears will never be the same again. Think of podcasts like a radio show that you choose and curate. There are podcasts for every possible niche, so it’s worth having a nosey and finding something that appeals to you. Most modern smartphones will have a podcast app already installed, so just do some googling to find out which one you have. Alternatively you can now listen to podcasts on Spotify which is very handy.

COMEDY

From interviews with comedians, to improvised sketches, and toe-curlingly close-to-the-bone satire, here are my favourite funny podcasts.

  • How Did This Get Made? Every episode covers a different film that is so bad it’s good. The hosts are all wonderful but Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael are pure joy.
    • START HERE: Sharknado; Geostorm; All of the Fast & Furious episodes)
  • The Adam Buxton Podcast – I’ve been a fan of Adam Buxton for so long and this podcast is hilariously funny with some great guests.
    • START HERE: Any of the ones with Louis Theroux, Joe Cornish, Garth Jennings… but have a flick through the list of guests and you will be overwhelmed with choice!)
  • Comedy Bang! Bang! – The lovely Mikhila introduced me to this podcast and it’s great if you’re a fan of more surreal, chaotic, improvised comedy.
    • START HERE: 578: Right Off The Batman.
  • Conversations Against Living Miserably – Full disclosure: my husband is one of the hosts of this podcast, but as you can see from this enormous list, I am a podcast fiend and I wouldn’t include this if it didn’t genuinely make the cut. Aaron and Lauren interview a different comedian each week to discuss mental health, life, and how they navigate them. Plus all ad revenue goes to CALM (a mental health charity) so you are doing a good deed just by listening!
    • START HERE: Jess Robinson; Ahir Shah.
  • Dear Joan & Jericha – Tragically only 8 episodes long, this faux-agony aunt podcast had me crying with laughter.
    • START HERE: Ep1 is a baptism of fire – if you don’t like that you should unsubscribe immediately!

CHATTY

Because I work from home, I love having people nattering away in the flat. These are the best chatty podcasts that I subscribe to – storytelling, embarrassing admissions, inspiring talks, and a lot of lovely waffle.

  • Heavyweight – I love the concept of this podcast so much. Jonathan Goldstein interviews people who have been carrying a ‘heavy weight’ – a misunderstanding from years ago, a mystery never solved, a missed opportunity, a question unanswered… it’s funny, heart-breaking, baffling, infuriating, and warm. I love it.
    • START HERE: Jesse; Buzz; Rob.
  • Griefcast – Cariad Lloyd somehow manages to make a podcast about death funny and kind. She talks to comedians about their losses which sounds like it could be incredibly depressing but is actually really interesting. She covers many different relationships and reactions, covering the often-complicated experience of death and dying.
    • START HERE: Robert Popper; Jayde Adams; Nikesh Shukla.
  • How To Fail – Elizabeth Day interviews a wide range of people (politicians, reality TV stars, Olympians, a super-monk…!) about their failures. It is absolutely fascinating and so human.
    • START HERE: The first ever episode is Phoebe Waller-Bridge being bloody brilliant. Start there.
  • Happy Place – Although this podcast with Fearne Cotton is sometimes a little too woo-woo for me, the conversations are positive, uplifting, and interesting.
    • START HERE: Poorna Bell; Paloma Faith; Davina McCall.
  • This Is Love – Amazing love stories, beautifully told.
    • START HERE: Message In A Bottle.
  • The Moth – Live recordings of people standing up and telling true stories (without notes) to a room of strangers.
    • START HERE: Bathtub Sailor, Seamstress, Spy; Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me; Where There’s Smoke.
  • Invisibilia – Empathy, psychology, human behaviour – all the good stuff I love in podcasts.
    • START HERE: Flip The Script; How To Become Batman.
  • Mortified – Childhood diaries, teenage novel drafts, song lyrics, letters… grown ups reading their early writing is as cringy and hilarious as you would expect!
    • START HERE: 50 Shades Of Awkward
  • I’m Absolutely Fine – Interviews with strong, funny, interesting women.
    • START HERE: Katherine Ormerod; Style Me Sunday.
  • Jules And Sarah The Podcast – Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell chat away about everything under the sun. They are funny, silly, and I adore listening to them (#portsalutcrew)
    • START HERE: Pining For The North.
  • Wobble – If you love Jules and Sarah, you’ll love Wobble, their offshoot podcast that covers confidence, body positivity, and self love.
    • START HERE: Megan Jayne Crabb; Gina Martin; Lucy Sheridan.
  • Modern Love – Famous actors reading wonderful and true stories.
    • START HERE: Just One More Swirl Around The Bowl; Not So Simple Math.
  • Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People – The clue is in the title! The host doesn’t know the topic before the anonymous guest opens their mouth so the episodes vary wildly but are always interesting.
    • START HERE: Love Is Everywhere; Married To A Monster; I Survived A Mass Shooting.
  • Terrible Thanks For Asking – I’m reading Nora’s book at the moment and both the book and the podcast are wonderful. Honest, emotional, funny, inspiring stories about grief, loss, love, and living beyond that.
    • START HERE: If/Then; Witness; Two Letters.
  • The Distraction Pieces Podcast – Hosted by Scroobius Pip, this is a wonderfully diverse podcast. Musicians, actors, comedians, journalists… There’s no set structure, just interesting chat.
    • START HERE: Killer Mike; Alan Moore; Danny Wallace; Carl Barat; Will Ospreay (I have no interest in or knowledge about wrestling but this episode is fantastic!)
  • Dear Sugar – I’ve always loved agony-aunt-type content and this podcast, hosted by Cheryl Strayed (the writer of ‘Wild’) and Steve Almond, is a particular favourite.
    • START HERE: Friendship Part 1; Love In Doubt; The Invisible Work (Most) Women Do.
  • Strangers – Beautiful storytelling, from the creators of The Moth.
    • START HERE: Two Men And A Baby; The Truth.
  • Family Ghosts – Not about actual ghosts, but family stories that haunt us: tales that are handed down, altered, twisted, and half forgotten.
    • START HERE: I’d recommend just starting from the beginning
  • Death Sex & Money – More interviews with ‘regular’ people (can you tell that this is my thing with podcasts?!), their stories are eye-opening, sad, funny, and shocking.
    • START HERE: Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons in Survival; Autism Isn’t What I Signed Up For; Why I Steal.
  • Lore – Spooky true tales (and now a TV series).
    • START HERE: The Castle; Echoes; Broken Fingernails.
  • Unobscured – From the creator of Lore, the first season is all about the Salem witch trials.
    • START HERE: Start from the beginning!

CULTURE

I think my most commonly used phrase is ‘I was listening to a podcast the other day and…’ I have replaced colleagues and workplace chatter with a daily dose of podcast information. Science, TV, film, books, tech, people, and everything inbetween.

  • Films To Be Buried With – I only discovered this podcast a few weeks ago and I’ve binged it obsessively ever since. Brett Goldstein is a wonderful, warm interviewer and his guests are really well chosen. I’m not a film buff, but listening to people’s life stories through the films that shaped them is fascinating.
    • START HERE: All of them are great but ones that stand out are Mark Kermode; and Camille Ucan.
  • Every Little Thing – Got a question that you need answering? ELT are on hand.
    • START HERE: Your Bedtime Is Killing You; Don’t Underestimate The Flamingo.
  • Reply All – A podcast about the internet, and everything that entails.
    • START HERE: Long Distance (Part 1 and 2); Autumn; The Takeover; The Russian Passenger.
  • Unspooled – The two hosts are watching every one of AFI’s top 100 films of all time and discussing them in depth. The blend of one film critic host and one ‘regular’ person film fan makes it fun and easy to listen to.
    • START HERE: The Silence Of The Lambs; Pulp Fiction.
  • This Podcast Will Kill You – Two graduate students studying disease ecology, they take us through a different disease in each episode and break things down. It gets a little dense in some places, but overall it’s very accessible. Just don’t listen while you’re eating…
    • START HERE: Vaccines (part 1&2); The Plague (part 1 & 2); HIV/AIDS: Apathy Will Kill You.
  • You’re Booked – I could listen to Daisy Buchanan talk all day. About anything. But to hear her rummage through people’s bookshelves and delve into their lives is a dream come true.
    • START HERE: Juno Dawson; Julie Cohen.
  • Desert Island Discs – A classic that had to be included. The podcast versions of the original broadcasts have to have the music removed for rights reasons but the stories are still just as wonderful.
    • START HERE: Far too many to even begin – just scroll through and start anywhere!
  • Buffering – A podcast all about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It is truly incredible. They go into so much detail in each episode and it made me want to watch the entire show from the beginning.
    • START HERE: It follows the TV show so episode 1!
  • Getting Curious – JVN’s relentless curiousity is so infectious and the topics he covers on this podcast are vast and varied.
    • START HERE: What Is The Tea With Vaccines, Hunty?; How Are You Fighting For Gender Equality?; Would You Make Over The US Constitution?
  • Note To Self – Described as ‘your guide to an accelerating world’, this podcast covers every modern concern you might have. And more. Online privacy, social media, bots, trolls, CCTV…
    • START HERE: Ghosting, Simmering, and Icing; We’ve Gained So Much With The iPhone, What Have We Lost?
  • You Must Remember This – If you are fascinated by old school Hollywood then this podcast is for you: in-depth stories about the glamorous stars of the day
    • START HERE: The whole ‘Dead Blondes’ series (Barbara Payton in particular); Judy Garland; Charles Manson’s Hollywood series.
  • Myths And Legends – Fairy tales, folklore, famous stories you’ve heard… but not like this. The way he tells stories is brilliantly accessible and funny, I love every episode.
    • START HERE: The Little Mermaid; Japanese Fairy Tales: Wisdom.
  • 99% Invisible – They describe their podcast as discussing ‘the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world’.
    • START HERE: Interrobang; O-U-I-J-A.
  • Appearance Matters – Body positivity, skin positivity, body image, self-confidence… all of the topics that fascinate me are included in this podcast from The Centre for Appearance Research.
    • START HERE: Social Media and Body Image; Acne & Body Image.
  • Ologies with Alie Ward – The perfect blend of humour and science. Interviews with experts in different fields, this podcast will have you starting every conversation with ‘did you know…?!’
    • START HERE: Graphology (handwriting/forgery); Kalology (beauty standards); Phonology (linguistics).
  • Curiosity Daily – Experts talking about their passions in 10 minute episodes.
    • START HERE: Too hard to pick, and they’re so short you can just pick and choose a few to test out.
  • Cults – I am obsessed with cults, I just find them infinitely fascinating. So this podcast is right up my street.
    • START HERE: The Branch Davidians; The Source Family.
  • We Barely Know Each Other – If you’ve ever felt lost when people talking about current trends, events, memes, topics, fads, or general topics, this is your new best friend.
    • START HERE: Surviving The End Of The World; Cleaning.
  • How I Built This – A great podcast to start your week with, as it tells the stories of successful people and how they got to where they are. Setbacks, failures, what they’ve learned, and advice for everyone.
    • START HERE: Marcia Kilgore.
  • Surprisingly Awesome – Topics that sound like they’d be incredibly boring, but turn out to be …surprisingly awesome.
    • START HERE: Crying; Postal Addresses.
  • Harry Potter And The Sacred Text – One for true Potter fans only, this is real deep dive into the HP books treated as though they are sacred texts. There’s a lot of discussion about themes in a very analytical and scholarly way so it’s the dream for proper HP geeks.
    • START HERE: This is serialised so start from the beginning or prepare to be utterly confused!
  • What Page Are You On? – I always come away from episodes with a huge wishlist of books so this podcast recommendation should also come with a wallet-preparation warning. If you love books and book chat then you’ll love this podcast.
    • START HERE: I’d recommend starting at the beginning, as they reference previous reviews as they go.
  • The Digital Human – A wonderful BBC Sounds podcast that explores the digital world in all its forms.
    • START HERE: Snake Oil; Flawless.
  • Still Processing – A NY Times podcast about the culture that moves us – in a good or bad way.
    • START HERE – Ep 26 with Jordan Peele; We Watch Whiteness.
  • The Slow Down – 10 minute episodes featuring a short introduction from US Poet Laureate Tracy Smith (which feels like poetry in itself) and then a poem.
    • START HERE: Heirloom.

BEAUTY

Obviously I couldn’t go without recommending some beauty podcasts. Surprisingly there aren’t that many out there which is strange considering it’s such a huge industry (Also, did you know I used to have a beauty podcast many moons ago? Before I even really started listening to them myself…!)

  • Beauty Full Lives – The perfect blend of life stories and beauty, Madeleine interviews some really interesting people about their love of beauty and what it means to them.
    • START HERE: Sinéad Burke; Daniel Sandler.
  • Outspoken Beauty – This is a great beauty podcast to dip in and out of depending on the topic. Interviews, recommendations, and what’s new in beauty.
    • START HERE: Perfume with Sali Hughes; Puberty with Emma Guns.
  • The Emma Guns Show – Speaking of Emma… her podcast is great and covers so many topics.
    • START HERE: Jules Von Hep, Caroline Barnes.
  • The Beauty Brains – Every beauty question you can possibly think of answered and common myths debunked by cosmetic scientists.
    • START HERE: Just scroll through and pick a topic that appeals!
  • Full Coverage – Conversations between two beauty obsessives, covering new launches, tips, old favourites, and more.
    • START HERE: The first episode perfectly encapsulates the vibe.
  • The Beauty Podcast with Sali Hughes – This a new podcast so there isn’t a huge back catalogue to base this opinion on but Sali Hughes is one of my favourite voices in the beauty world so I have high hopes.
    • START HERE: The beginning – it’s literally only just started so you can be an early adopter!
  • Beauty From The Heart – Another new podcast, this has a focus on beauty that does good (charity support, ethical practices etc). A really interesting spin on the topic!
    • START HERE: The beginning.

CRIME

I’ve put this section at the bottom because it feels like recommending crime podcasts is the podcast equivalent of ‘Florals for spring? Groundbreaking’. I don’t think any of the below will be news to anyone who is into True Crime, but if you’re new to the genre there might be some you haven’t got to yet.

  • Real Crime Profile – What do you get if you mix a former FBI profiler, a criminal behavioural analyst, and a casting director for Criminal Minds… a bloody good podcast. This is a bit different as it goes in depth on one topic at a time. Truly fascinating.
    • START HERE: Making A Murderer series; Meredith Kercher.
  • Criminal – This podcast is pretty much perfect. I could listen to Phoebe Judge’s voice all flipping day, the research is wonderful, and the stories are varied and fascinating.
    • START HERE: Money Tree; A Bump In The Night; Vanish.
  • My Favourite Murder – This needs no introduction if you are a True Crime fan. Described as a comedy-murder podcast, this is not for everyone but I find their waffling and tangents oddly comforting.
    • START HERE: A Small Foreign Faction; What About Mimi (then listen to Gesus for a follow up to that episode); Making A Twenty-Thirder.
  • Generation Why – Great for those who just want the story with no banter or sidenotes or waffle.
    • START HERE: Scott Peterson; Zach Witman.
  • Crime Junkie – In the past week this podcast has been accused of plagiarism and not disclosing sources. They’ve since removed the offending episodes and have apologised, but I wanted to address it. It’s a scripted show that covers one case per episode.
    • START HERE: Robert Wone; The Watts Family.
  • Last Podcast On The Left – Another comedy-murder podcast. It’s very well researched and written, but I have to be in the right mood to listen to this because a lot of it is three exceptionally loud men trying to outfunny each other, which can get grating.
    • START HERE: Their ‘heavy hitters’ series are excellent – Richard Ramirez, Bundy, Dahmer, BTK, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Kemper…
  • They Walk Among Us – A British True Crime podcast. I would recommend listening on 1.5 speed as he…speaks…quite…slowly.
    • START HERE: S2:E4 (Ian Stewart)
  • Casefile – An Australian podcast. When it first started I think it just focused on local crimes, but they’ve (understandably) opened it up to worldwide stories.
    • START HERE: Jonestown.
  • Martinis And Murder – A well researched and carefully sourced podcast, from Oxygen Media (the ‘multiplatform crime destination brand for women’, apparently). I skip the entire intro section due to waffle and slurping *shudder*.
    • START HERE: The Strange Disappearance of Elisa Lam.
  • Uncover: Escaping NXIVM – The first season of Uncover focused on the bonkers story of NXIVM, the sex cult made famous by the involvement of Allison Mack (of Smallville fame). I’m not a serialised podcast fan but this one had me hooked.
    • START HERE: This is serialised so start from the beginning or prepare to be utterly confused!
  • Thinking Sideways – Not really crime as much as unsolved mysteries. I like that they put forward their theories of what could have happened, it feels like you’re included in the conversation!
    • START HERE: The Dog Suicide Bridge.
  • The Shrink Next Door – I avoided this for ages due to my aversion to serialised podcasts but I am glad I stuck with it. It’s an unbelievable story that is still unfolding.
    • START HERE: This is serialised so start from the beginning.
  • The Teacher’s Pet – Another serialised podcast that I’m glad I persevered with. I was just coming to the end of the story when there was a crazy break in the case which felt really serendipitous. An infuriating story for many reasons, and one that keeps spiralling.
    • START HERE: This is serialised so start from the beginning.
  • Podcasts I have on my roster for when I’ve listened to everything else (e.g. not my favourites but serve a purpose!)Sword & Scale; The First Degree; Moms & Murder, Criminology; Obscura; Crimelines; Murderish; Once Upon a Crime; Cold Case Files; Hollywood & Crime; Redhanded; The Sinisterhood.

What are you favourite podcasts? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!

Lex

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82 of the best podcasts I listen to. If you're looking for podcast recommendations here is my ultimate list. Crime, comedy, culture, chatty... no matter your interest, there's a podcast for you. #talontedlex #podcastrecommendation #whatpodcast
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