Music podcasts: Five of the best for your commute from Soul Music to Hip Hop Saved My Life

Soul Music

This BBC Radio 4 series examines “famous pieces of music and their emotional appeal” and it makes for a compelling listen. Highlights include the healing power of the late Amy Winehouse’s music and memories of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”. bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008mj7p/episodes/player

Celebration Rock

Critic Steven Hyden delves into the world of rock – bagging big-name interviews with the likes of Robert Plant and Courtney Barnett, taking deep dives into albums, and chatting with writers. Storytelling shines on the multi-part series dedicated to Bruce Springsteen. 93x.com/celebration-rock

Album of the year nominee, Slowthai (top) and producer Kwes Darko attend the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize Launch in July (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Album of the year nominee, Slowthai (top) and producer Kwes Darko attend the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize Launch in July (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty)

Song Exploder

In this popular US podcast, musicians deconstruct their songs and grant audiences a peek inside their creative process. Interviews are edited into first-person testimonies, creating a warm and inviting experience. Artists detail the inspiration behind lyrics and reasons why certain techniques were used. songexploder.net

Read More:

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NPR Tiny Desk

Adele, The xx and Sting are some of the British acts who have played acoustic gigs at the US radio station’s Washington DC office. Musicians typically play three-song sets and very often reinterpret and extend songs, including in a glorious episode featuring Roy Ayers. npr.org/podcasts/510306/tiny-desk-concerts-audio

Hip Hop Saved My Life With Romesh Ranganathan

Billed as a “comedy podcast about hip-hop”, the stand-up and presenter invites guests to indulge their passion for the culture, share gig memories and play their favourite tracks. Guests have included Mark Ronson and Mo Gilligan. romeshranganathan.co.uk/podcast

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When is John Humphrys leaving Today on BBC Radio 4? The host’s retirement date – and what happens after he leaves

John Humphrys is set to depart Radio 4‘s Today programme this week after 32 years at its helm.

The veteran broadcaster announced his departure earlier this year, but didn’t reveal a firm date for a final broadcast.

According to reports from Buzzfeed, however, the 76-year-old presenter is set to leave the Today programme next week.

When is Humphrys leaving the Today Programme ?

Buzzfeed claim that Humphry’s will bow out next week on Thursday, September 19.

As ever the Today Programme will run from 6am to 9am for Humphrys’ final weekday slots.

Who is he set to interview?

According to a source at publisher Harper Collins, Humphrys’ final interviewee could be former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Read more: Who will replace John Humphrys on Today? Emma Barnett, Emily Maitlis and James O’Brien in running for BBC Radio 4 gig

The grilling will come ahead of the hotly anticipated BBC Four documentary The Cameron Years which will focus on the rise and fall of the PM, with an emphasis on the origins of Brexit.

Ahead of the release of his personal memoir For The Record, Cameron is also set for interviews with ITV’s This Morning and Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans.

Who will replace the presenter?

Speculation over Humphrys’ successor was rife when the host revealed that he would be stepping away from the Today hot seat.

But, just days after his announcement, The Times revealed that there would not be a direct replacement for Humphrys, with co-presenters Justin Webb, Mishal Husain, Nick Robinson and Martha Kearney all allegedly set to split the departing host’s shifts.

Recent criticism

David Cameron
David Cameron will reportedly be John Humphrys’ final big interviewee (BBC)

During his final months on the airwaves John Humphrys has been subject to criticism from anti-Brexit campaigners, with some suggesting the presenter was too cosy with pro-Brexit guests.

Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney also accused the host of failing to remain impartial.

Speaking on the show in October 2018, Coveney suggested that Humphrys was “speaking for” Boris Johnson during a heated exchange.

Others have leapt to his defence, with co-presenter Justin Webb accusing critics of ageism.

Writing in the Radio Times, Webb stated: “There are plenty who don’t like him, who think he’s gone on too long, who want him ‘pensioned off’ or ‘put out of his misery’ or whatever the phrase is they use to suggest that being a man in his 70s on air is somehow an affront.”

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Language podcasts: Five of the best for your next holiday from Duolingo to Coffee Break Languages

Duolingo Podcast

This podcast comes in both French and Spanish versions. It features stories told in both languages which aim to help learners. The real life stories use simple words and are told by native speakers. They’re billed not as language lessons, but as life lessons told through language. podcast.duolingo.com

Coffee Break Languages

Not sure whether you’ve got time to learn a new language? This podcast says you can do it in your coffee break, while walking the dog, or during your visit to the gym. It currently offers podcasts in five languages – French, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese – and each language has four settings: beginner, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced. radiolingua.com

The Fluent Show

Hosts and linguists Kerstin and Lindsay have studied 15 different languages between them, including Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, Mandarin, Russian, Welsh and Korean. The podcast is less about specific languages and more about learning as a whole, plus tips and ideas that will help language learners become fluent. fluent.show

Multilinguish

This podcast from the people behind language-learning app Babbel explores how language connects the world. It doesn’t focus on a specific language, instead covering a variety, but it looks at everything from whether language affects our world view to which accents are sexiest. podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/multilinguish/id1451340179

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The Actual Fluency Podcast With Kris Broholm

Host Kris Broholm is fascinated by language and wants to share his passion. Again, this podcast doesn’t focus on a specific lingo; instead students and experts in the field join Broholm to share their tips on what it actually takes to learn a language. actualfluency.com

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Career podcasts: The five best for your commute from Safe For Work to The Broad Experience

Safe For Work

This podcast is all about finding work/life balance. Career experts Liz Dolan and Rico Gagliano offer advice on topics from avoiding burnout to how to fake illness when calling in sick, as well as helpful tips on how to progress in your career healthily and happily. wondery.com

How to Be Awesome at Your Job

Having worked with organisations from Google to Goldman Sachs, the United Nations to Amazon, American “trainer-in-chief” Pete Mockaitis here interviews life coaches, such as Pamela McLean of the Hudson Institute, about subjects including how to improve your leadership, and productivity experts such as Erik Fisher on how to avoid distractions in the workplace. awesomeatyourjob.com

Host Morra Aarons-Mele talks to women from the worlds of politics, business and psychology
Host Morra Aarons-Mele talks to women from the worlds of politics, business and psychology (Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty)

Hiding in the Bathroom

Host Morra Aarons-Mele talks to women from the worlds of politics, business and psychology, and asks them how they created the careers they wanted. Guests have included Lisa Sugar, who turned her personal blog into global lifestyle media company PopSugar, and Fertility IQ founder Deborah Anderson-Bialis. forbes.com

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5 self-help podcasts you should listen to in 2019: from Oprah to The Minimalists

How Did You Get Into That?

Grant Baldwin – who quit his job as a youth pastor when his wife was five months pregnant with the first of their three children, with little idea of what to do next – asks people from all walks of life about how they got into their careers, from small business owners and musicians to photographers and teachers. stitcher.com

The Broad Experience

Tackles some of the biggest problems facing women in the workplace, from race and class to the menopause and ageism, incompetent bosses and sexual harassment to the hell of networking and the power of negotiation. Enlightening – not just for women. thebroadexperience.com

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Celebrity Masterchef winner Emma Kennedy says ‘For all the people thinking, ‘I wish I was famous,’ you bloody don’t’

TV’s Swiss army knife Emma Kennedy – actress, screenwriter, author, Twitter star, Celebrity Masterchef winner – is talking to me about her old beauty therapist. “I rang her three times, tried to make an appointment, didn’t hear anything. I got a call from her a year later. ‘Where you been, Adele?’ She’d been in prison. She’d been running a brothel and I didn’t have any idea. The beauty was a front.”

This story was too good not to put into Kennedy’s latest book, The Things We Left Unsaid, her second novel after a series of best-selling memoirs about her 70s upbringing. It appears at a funeral – Eleanor’s, a celebrated painter whose sudden death reveals secrets and confusion for her estranged daughter Rachel, who in turn is still raw from being left at the altar by her fiancé, and from the death of her father, Charlie.

“My own mother died five years ago and I was shocked at what a profound effect it had on me,” says Kennedy, 52, whose starting point for this book was wondering who her mother, Brenda Williams, had been before she was “Mum”. Brenda died of breast cancer, but was immortalised in her daughter’s sitcom The Kennedys, based on their adventures. Kennedy lives in Surrey with her wife Georgie Gibbon, and is conscious of the divide between families.

“Think about the conversations people have with their parents,” she says. “It’s ‘how are you?’ ‘What’s happening in the garden?’ What about, ‘what makes you happy?’ ‘Who were you before I came along?’ ‘What are your regrets?’ Their history is our history, and people don’t know what it is.” Rachel’s story runs alongside a parallel storyline set in the 60s that follows Eleanor’s move from the country to study art at Chelsea, where she is swept up into the London art scene by fellow student Jake.

The Things We Left Unsaid Emma Kennedy

Both the setting – Kennedy particularly adores the glamorous history of 60s Soho – and the women are drawn with an expert eye. In a story about a country mouse moving to the town, it’s a nice surprise that there are no “makeovers”.

“Women don’t require being made over in order to find happiness,” she says. “I think it’s quite important to have characters remain themselves. You can take a character on an emotional journey without having to fundamentally change who they are.”

Read More:

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It’s what you carry with you that really matters here, and legacies weigh large. Kennedy drew from real life again when describing Rachel putting her own artistic dreams aside because how do you impress a parent you can never match up to?

“I know some very exceptional people with children in their late teens and twenties and you can actually see it in them. They look at their parents who are artists, pop stars, writer or actors, and think, ‘What do I do?’”

Fame on the scale Eleanor has achieved in the book is anathema to Kennedy. “I think it’s a dark and dangerous place. Your life is not your own until you’re inside your own house and you’ve shut the door. For all the people thinking, ‘I wish I was famous,’ you bloody don’t.”

What she wishes that her readers take from her funny, moving novel is more gentle. “I’d like people to look at their parents and think, ‘I’m going to get to know you’. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

The Things We Left Unsaid’ is published by Century, £12.99

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Food podcasts: The five best for cookery fans from Out To Lunch with Jay Rayner to Off Menu

Out To Lunch with Jay Rayner

The food critic Jay Rayner discovers brilliant anecdotes with celebrities in this podcast
The food critic Jay Rayner discovers brilliant anecdotes with celebrities in this podcast (Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty)

The food critic and writer takes a celebrity to lunch. Sounds simple, right? But what follows is riveting conversation about food and feelings – and there are brilliant anecdotes, too. Series one has concluded but you can indulge in hours of chat with the likes of Tracey Ullman and Jamie Dornan. audioboom.com/channels/4983509.

Table Manners with Jessie Ware

Singer Jessie Ware and her mother Lennie grill some of Britain’s biggest names around their dinner table in their gossipy and entertaining podcast.

The seventh series is under way and the all-conquering Ed Sheeran and “Domestic Goddess” Nigella Lawson are among the guests who’ve discussed food, family and more while tucking into a feast prepared by the hosts. play.acast.com/s/tablemanners.

Desert Island Dishes

Taking inspiration from Desert Island Discs, chef and food writer Margie Nomura invites her castaways to select seven dishes that have shaped their lives.

This emotive series will no doubt evoke memories of childhood meals. desertislanddishes.co.

Off Menu

Whip smart and funny, this podcast, featuring Ed Gamble, has all the ingredients for a sonic treat
Whip smart and funny, this podcast, featuring Ed Gamble, has all the ingredients for a sonic treat

Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite guests to order their dream meal – consisting of four courses and a drink – before quizzing them on their choices.

Whip smart and funny, this podcast has all the ingredients for a sonic treat – and reveals a lot about relationships and attitudes to food. offmenupodcast.co.uk.

The Food Programme

Presenter Sheila Dillon looks at topical issues and features relating to food – from examining the future of chocolate, to the dearth of women chefs in South Asian restaurants.

The recent Jamie Oliver two-parter marks 20 years since he rose to fame as the “Naked Chef” and examines his recent business woes. bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnx3.

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Crime podcasts: The five best for your commute from My Favourite Murder to Dr Death

My Favourite Murder

My Favourite Murder podcast

The ultimate crime comedy podcast that often resembles a pub discussion.

Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark combine comic commentary about well-known cases with frank discussions on their own dealings with mental health issues and substance abuse. In May, the pair released their dual memoir, named for their signature sign-off, Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered.

backlisted.fm

Storycast: The Hunt for the Brink’s-Mat gold

Sky News Storycast: The hunt for Brink's-Mat gold

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Travel podcasts: five of the best for your commute

A real-life Guy Ritchie movie in a podcast! The Storycast series opener focuses on Britain’s largest ever armed robbery – the £26m-worth of gold stolen by chance from Heathrow Airport.

Retired detective Ian Brown talks you through the 1983 case with flare and blunt observations, chronicling his days in the famous Flying Squad.

spreaker.com/show/storycast

Casefile

Casefile podcast

An in-depth weekly look at crimes, presented by an anonymous Australian man with a steady and at times creepy voice, revealing evidence as the police would have discovered it at the time.

It also provides new insight into infamous cases such as the Moors Murders and the Yorkshire Ripper.

casefilepodcast.com

Dr Death

Dr Death podcast

Read more:

5 best history podcasts for the weekend

What if your doctor or surgeon wasn’t who they said they were? This chilling tale is one that many of us would never even think to worry about.

Based in Texas, it follows the patients-turned-victims of neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch.

wondery.com/shows/dr-death

They Walk Among Us

They Walk Among Us podcast

The ideal podcast for UK crime obsessives who want something closer to home in a genre flooded by American podcasts.

Set up by husband and wife team, Benjamin and Rosanna Fitton, the details of each case will keep you up at night – and then make you return for more.

theywalkamonguspodcast.com

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Why Zoe Ball isn’t on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show today – and how long Amol Rajan is standing in

It’s the month of August, which means schools are out, and most people get a couple of weeks off work for a holiday. And Zoe Ball is no exception to that, as she takes some time out from her BBC Radio 2 breakfast show.

The Beeb has lined up another presenter to step into Ball’s disco shoes, so here’s your need to know about the programming for the rest of the month:

Where is Zoe Ball?

Zoe Ball is currently on planned summer from her breakfast show and she will return on Monday 26 August.

Who is taking over?

Amol Rajan in his documentary, ‘How to Break into the Elite'(Photo: BBC/Gus Palmer)

Amol Rajan has stepped up to the microphone, and is expected to carry on in the breakfast seat until Ball is back.

Read more:

Zoe Ball loses 780,000 listeners on her breakfast show

Amol is the BBC’s Media Editor, and has been in this role since December 2016. He was formerly editor of The Independent newspaper from June 2013 and has now moved into presenting, and his first ever documentary was aired on the BBC in July called How To Break Into The Elite.

He announced his stint covering for Zoe on Twitter on Monday 5 August: “OK gang, coming up from 6.30 on BBC Radio 2 is yours truly with some BIG tunes to get you on your way. I have actually slept so this will be lively. Please join us!”

What do listeners think?

As ever, some listeners are thrilled there’s a new host, others are complaining that they’re missing Zoe.

One fan said:  “Ugh, Radio 2 right now is just two blokes discussing football. I hope Zoe is back next week.” Will you tell him, or shall I?

However other listeners were more enthused by the new stand-in host: “Am loving the bromance between Richie Anderson and Amol Rajan on Radio 2” one said, while another commented: “The lovely Amol Rajan rocking his best 90s dance mix on BBC Radio 2 this morning and getting me moving!

Ball loses 780,000 listeners

There was bad news for Zoe last week, when it was revealed that she has lost 780,000 listeners since taking over the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2.

However, it remains the most popular breakfast programme in the country, according to the latest figures released by audience research body Rajar.

Ball made history when she became the first female breakfast show host at BBC Radio 2 in January, replacing Chris Evans as he moved to Virgin Radio UK.

The Breakfast Show’s listening figures initially remained steady at just over nine million after Ball took over, but started to drop in April.

Zoe Ball makes her Radio 2 Breakfast Show debut (Photographer: Sarah Jeynes/BBC)
Zoe Ball makes her Radio 2 Breakfast Show debut (Photo: Sarah Jeynes/BBC)

Evans is performing well at his new breakfast gig on Virgin, with his weekly figures up slightly from 1.05 million to 1.11 million in the last three months.

He said he “couldn’t be happier” with the news. “Amazing guests, the best bands and certifiably the greatest listeners around,” he added.

Radio 1’s breakfast programme, hosted by Greg James, has grown by nearly 150,000 listeners per week to 5.19 million in comparison to the first quarter of 2019.

Scala Radio, the new classical station which signed Simon Mayo from the BBC, had an average weekly audience of 258,000 for its first full quarter on air.

Rival station Classic FM has a weekly audience of 5.6 million, while BBC Radio 3 has a weekly audience of 2.03 million, according to the latest figures.

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Why Amanda Holden isn’t on Heart Radio today – and when she’ll return to the breakfast show

Amanda Holden, co-host of the Heart radio breakfast show, is now on annual leave until the beginning of September.

Listeners who tuned in expecting to hear Holden alongside her co-presenter Jamie Theakston on Heart Breakfast on Monday morning got a bit of a shock when they realised the Britain’s Got Talent judge is on holiday for the next few weeks.

It looks like the TV personality is having a staycation, as she posted a picture of herself in Cornwall on Instagram and captioned it: “Home”.

View this post on Instagram

#Home #Cornwall ♥

A post shared by Amanda Holden (@noholdenback) on

A spokesperson for the show told i: “Amanda Holden is on her summer break and will return to Heart Breakfast at the beginning of September.

Her co-host, Theakston, has just returned from his summer holiday in the Maldives, and his new co-presenter for the next few weeks is the comedian Ellie Taylor.

Who is Ellie Taylor?

Ellie Taylor
Ellie Taylor (Photo: PR)

Ellie Taylor is an English comedian, television presenter, and media personality. She has presented Live at the Apollo and Snog Marry Avoid?, and has appeared on QIMock the Week, and Would I Lie To You?

When did Holden join Heart?

Holden joined the Heart breakfast show alongside Theakston in June of this year, replacing the previous star, Emma Bunton.

At the time, she said: “I’ve spent years in the car listening to Heart while travelling to work or doing the school run with my daughters. So it feels incredibly surreal to be announced as the new national Breakfast co-presenter alongside the fab Jamie Theakston.

“Jamie and I go back more years than I can remember so I have no doubt that working with him will be hilarious for everyone. I’m not sure my face is ready for the early starts mind you, but I hope we can make the listeners laugh along with us each morning!”

Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden on Heart FM
Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden on Heart FM (Photo: Heart)

When is the Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions on TV?

The broadcast date for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions hasn’t been confirmed yet, but filming is underway – another reason why Holden may be on an extended break – and it’s expected to air in the autumn on ITV.

Read more:

Why is Zoe Ball not on her radio show and when is she back?

It will essentially be a British version of America’s Got Talent: The Champions, which aired in January 2019 in the US.

The show will bring together winners, finalists and other successful contestants from previous Britain’s Got Talent and other international franchises of the series. They will compete against each other for spots in a championship final.

The judges are still to be confirmed, but it’s likely to be the current four people on the judging panel in the last series of the ITV show.

This would mean the panel would be Alesha Dixon (who actually confirmed she would be filming for the show earlier in the summer), David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.

It’s expected that Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will host the show.

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Why Amanda Holden isn’t on Heart Radio today – and when she’ll be back on the breakfast show

Amanda Holden, co-host of the Heart radio breakfast show, is now on annual leave until the beginning of September.

Listeners who tuned in expecting to hear Holden alongside her co-presenter Jamie Theakston on Heart Breakfast on Monday morning got a bit of a shock when they realised the Britain’s Got Talent judge is on holiday for the next few weeks.

It looks like the TV personality is having a staycation, as she posted a picture of herself in Cornwall on Instagram and captioned it: “Home”.

View this post on Instagram

#Home #Cornwall ♥

A post shared by Amanda Holden (@noholdenback) on

A spokesperson for the show told i: “Amanda Holden is on her summer break and will return to Heart Breakfast at the beginning of September.

Her co-host, Theakston, has just returned from his summer holiday in the Maldives, and his new co-presenter for the next few weeks is the comedian Ellie Taylor.

Who is Ellie Taylor?

Ellie Taylor
Ellie Taylor (Photo: PR)

Ellie Taylor is an English comedian, television presenter, and media personality. She has presented Live at the Apollo and Snog Marry Avoid?, and has appeared on QIMock the Week, and Would I Lie To You?

When did Holden join Heart?

Holden joined the Heart breakfast show alongside Theakston in June of this year, replacing the previous star, Emma Bunton.

At the time, she said: “I’ve spent years in the car listening to Heart while travelling to work or doing the school run with my daughters. So it feels incredibly surreal to be announced as the new national Breakfast co-presenter alongside the fab Jamie Theakston.

“Jamie and I go back more years than I can remember so I have no doubt that working with him will be hilarious for everyone. I’m not sure my face is ready for the early starts mind you, but I hope we can make the listeners laugh along with us each morning!”

Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden on Heart FM
Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden on Heart FM (Photo: Heart)

When is the Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions on TV?

The broadcast date for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions hasn’t been confirmed yet, but filming is underway – another reason why Holden may be on an extended break – and it’s expected to air in the autumn on ITV.

Read more:

Why is Zoe Ball not on her radio show and when is she back?

It will essentially be a British version of America’s Got Talent: The Champions, which aired in January 2019 in the US.

The show will bring together winners, finalists and other successful contestants from previous Britain’s Got Talent and other international franchises of the series. They will compete against each other for spots in a championship final.

The judges are still to be confirmed, but it’s likely to be the current four people on the judging panel in the last series of the ITV show.

This would mean the panel would be Alesha Dixon (who actually confirmed she would be filming for the show earlier in the summer), David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.

It’s expected that Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will host the show.

More Radio

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