Hey all you podCATS and kittens, I’d like to take the time today to suggest some podcasts you can really get your teeth into. Now I know that putting on a podcast for your commute from your bedroom to your kitchen / front room / back room / newly appointed office might actually take longer than the duration of said commute but we still have our daily exercise allowance – a time I like to go on a walk, plug in my earphones and shut off from all the news. Below are my favourite storytelling podcasts that will make you walk that little bit further just so you can hear what happens next. All are based on true stories which makes them all the more astounding. In no particular order…
1. Tunnel 29 – 10 episodes, 15 mins each
Admittedly I listened to all of this in one sitting – it is that good. Based on interviews with courageous men and women who escaped through a tunnel underneath the Berlin Wall from East Germany you are left in utter admiration for the people that endured such living conditions. The piecing together of evidence from Stasi archives and the escapees themselves sets for a thoroughly gripping listen.
2. The Missing Cryptoqueen – 10 episodes, 40 mins each
No need to have any prior knowledge of cryptocurrencies to get hooked by this one. Journalist Jamie Bartlett digs into the rise of Dr Ruja Ignatova who was set to make millions of people rich – and then she disappeared. At the time of release in October 2019 new information was being unearthed. Here’s hoping for a second season!
3. Heaven’s Gate – 10 episodes, 40 mins each
Have you watched every cult documentary on Netflix, iPlayer and 4oD – well here’s a cult podcast. I had never heard of the 39 people in Heaven’s Gate who took their lives in 1997 in an apparent mass suicide. The host interviews a variety of people touched by the cult and helps you understand just how easy it could have been to join such a group.
4. Fake Heiress – 7 episodes, 35 mins each
If you can stomach the voice of the actress playing Anna Delvey then you are in for a ride. A fascinating tale, expertly acted, of the ins and outs of high society New York and the art of manipulation. You simultaneously admire and detest this woman’s knack for getting exactly what she wants.
5. The Teacher’s Pet – 18 episodes, 40 mins – 2 hours each
This is another podcast that was released in real-time in which an ongoing investigation found new evidence on an unsolved 36 year old cold case. Hedley Thomas, a journalist from The Australian makes it his mission to bring justice to a woman that went missing without a trace – or so it seems.
6. Caliphate – 10 episodes, 20 – 30 mins each
I learnt a lot from this podcast by The New York Times journalist, Rukmini Callimachi. Her amazingly skilled storytelling attempts to do something that many of us couldn’t even fathom: understand ISIS. I suggest listening to this in tandem with someone else as it brings with it so many thoughts, feelings and opinions that you’ll just need to share them.
7. The Drop Out – 6 episodes, 40 mins each
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos was the youngest self-made female billionaire – pretty inspirational right? Perhaps not… her promise to transform the face of healthcare wasn’t without its repercussions. Interviews with those who were closest to her reveal a very dark story indeed.
By Philippa Strahan