I listen to podcasts every day - on my dog walks, in the shower, while I'm ironing or at 3am in the morning when I wake up and my mind starts whirring (I keep my headphones under my pillow for such emergencies).
So, I am always on the look out for new ones to add to my library. Seeking out the good ones can be a bit of a minefield and I'm never sure where to start so it's for exactly this reason that I prefer word of mouth recommendations and with this in mind, I thought I'd share some of my current favourites.
I'll just preface this with an admission that I am a card-holding 'true crime' fan so my list is definitely going to reflect that! But don't despair, if murder and abductions aren't your thing, there are a lot of podcasts with a more light hearted feel and I hope that everyone will find one they love.
I'd love to know what you're listening to right now. Leave a comment below.
1. My Favorite Murder
Two Californian ladies, Karen and Georgia, tell their favourite murders through the medium of comedy and if that doesn't sound right to you, just give it a listen - they manage to get the tone exactly right. I was lucky enough to see their live show in London last year and although what they do is pretty formulaic, it was such a good night with the audience gasping in horror one minute and then roaring with laughter the next. It's the best true crime podcast out there (in my opinion).
2. How to Fail
Writer and journalist, Elizabeth Day has the most wonderful interviewing style, drawing people out and then sitting back and listening. Her insight into the power of failure in people's lives is a brilliant building block for some fascinating chats with celebrities from all walks of life. Check out the Camilla Thurlow episode for some raw and honest self-reflection and insight.
3. Hollywood Crime Scene
I can't remember how I stumbled upon this podcast but I'm so glad I did. Desi and Rachel are raucous and earthy and tell the best showbiz stories, nothing (and I mean nothing) is off limits. Episodes get down and dirty exploring how the (Hollywood) mighty have fallen and some of the life stories told are definitely stranger than fiction. Have a listen to the Tallulah Bankhead and Nancy Reagan episode.
4. Family Secrets
I have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to this as many of the stories told are earth shattering and so moving. Dani Shapiro interviews the people whose lives have been ripped apart by the darkest family secrets. Episode 10 (Flying and Crashing) touched me so much that I've listened to it twice. Kiese's story tells of the complicated abuse that he suffered at his mother's hand and it is searingly raw and honest but so full of hope.
5. Counter Clock
Another good true crime podcast, looking into the unsolved 1997 murder of North Carolina woman Denise Johnson. Police records, interviews with Denise's friends and new evidence keep the intrigue levels high.
6. Fake Heiress
This BBC podcast tells the story of Anna Delvey, a magazine intern who tricked New York's elite into believing she was a billionaire heiress. In the end, her exposure was as spectacular as the life she faked. In Fake Heiress Chloe Moss and Vicky Baker take a closer look at the scandal that rocked the Big Apple.
7. The Adam Buxton Podcast
A classic for sure, but too good not to mention here. Adam Buxton interviews a whole range of guests, from academics to actors to activists and one thing he manages throughout is to engage with his interviewees and immerse himself in the conversation. The episodes are interjected with his quirky jingles and ads and I love the way he sums up the interview at the end of each episode while he's walking his dog, Rosie. The conversation with Shoshana Zuboff about the powerful grip big tech companies have over us is particularly good (and terrifying!).
8. Happy Place
Fearne Cotton goes in-depth with her guests to find out what it is that makes them happy and how they have overcome obstacles in their lives in a positive way. A lot of the interviews provide proper food for thought and it makes you realise that whatever image celebrities project, we are all faced with the same insecurities and mental health issues. I particularly enjoyed the Nadiya Hussain episode where she opens up about the racism and sexism she has faced throughout her childhood and adult life.
9. The Guardian's Audio Long Reads
I probably shouldn't admit this but I do struggle these days to find the time (and inclination) to read long magazine or newspaper articles - I blame the iPhone, to be fair I blame it for most things. Anyway, I was really happy to recently discover that there is a Guardian podcast where their Long Reads are read out. It's the perfect way to absorb some quality journalism while you're doing something else. I was particularly fascinated by the episode looking into Jo Cox's killer - Making of a Bedsit Nazi.
A lot of you will have watched the Netflix series The Mind of Aaron Hernandez by now - the true story of the very public downfall of a professional sportsman. Gladiator is the Wondery podcast which preceded it and it takes a deep look into Hernandez's childhood and career, and highlights a life blighted by toxic masculinity, child abuse and brain injury. It is so well done and gives the listener a better understanding of this tragic tale of a young man who could never escape the damage done to him by those closest to him.