S-Town and the 8 other podcasts you need in your life right now

A new series from the team behind Serial has reignited our love for the humble podcast - here's our pick of the ones you *need* to hear

S-Town – The new Serial

Everyone’s talking about S-Town right now. If you haven’t listened to this yet –  grab your headphones and get plugged in. Created by the makers of This American Life and the highly addictive podcast Serial, S-Town (which stands for Shit-Town, a nickname which will become clearer as you listen) tells a story of murder, mysteries, mental illness and antique clocks within a small Alabama town. We don’t want to provide any spoilers, but there’s a big twist early on and you may find yourself devouring all seven episodes in one sitting (they’re all available to download now). Described by The Guardian as ‘touching, devastating and life-affirming’, you may find yourself extending your commute for this one.

Desert Island DiscsThe educational one

Who doesn’t have a soft spot for this national treasure? The programme has played host to a number of renowned ‘castaways’ (including David Beckham, Caitlin Moran, and Tom Hanks) as they choose the eight songs they would take with them to a desert island, in between the stories that are triggered by each track. No one nails an interview like Kirsty Young, who manages to create the ambience of a desert island without being afraid to show her feisty side for the hard personal questions. There’s so many good ones, it’s hard to know where to start – have a read of our round up of the best Desert Island Discs podcasts if you’re struggling.

WTF with Marc Maron – The laugh-out-loud one

S-Town

The former comedian interviews celebrities, (including Barack Obama), from his LA garage, nicknamed ‘The Cat Ranch’, or hotel room. Funny and candid, Maron’s set-up makes for some hilarious and revealing interviews. Former President Obama’s is a must listen, discussing childhood, politics and race. Equally, Robin Williams’ poignant interview from 2010 on his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts was reposted after Williams’ death in 2014 and was accompanied by Maron’s reflections on his time with Williams. His two-part interview with former friend Louis C.K on the breakdown of their friendship is also captivating in its candid nature.

Guys we F*cked – The sex one

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two sassy comedians from New York sit down once a week to talk about a variety of sex related subjects such as sexual taboo’s, domestic violence and (of course) ‘Guys We Fucked’. Podcast highlights include a frank conversation with writer and producer Jon Ronson on porn, the girls’ opinion of a Tinder date who lied about being a paraplegic, and a porn star on why she sleeps in a different room from her husband. Brash, funny and unapologetically female, this anti-slut shaming podcast is a go-to for female empowerment.

Death, Sex and Money – The everything one

S-Town

Radio reporter Anna Sale covers the big issues ‘often left out of polite conversation’ that affect us all . Episodes have covered infidelity, cancer, prostitution, and questioning faith. Sale’s skill at storytelling and her ability to get people to open up makes for compelling listening. Episodes to look out for include a conversation with singer Bill Withers about how to be a man, the realities of cheating, Rashema Melson’s story of going from homelessness to Georgetown University, and Jeff Daniels’ deeply moving account of relapsing after 14 years of sobriety.

Ted Talks – The motivational one

A go-to for a quick pick-me-up, it’s impossible to not feel inspired after listening to one of Ted Talks’ guest speakers. Look out for Monica Lewinsky’s talk on overcoming public humiliation, astronaut Chris Hadfield on what he learnt from going blind in space, and Sheryl Sandberg on the importance of female leadership.

The Inquiry – The news one

S-Town

Created by the BBC World Service and focused on a different topic each week, this podcast brings various experts and witnesses together to delve into the pressing issues in the news, starting with the basics and expanding from there. Check out What’s the Story of Aleppo?, Why Do US Cops Keep Killing Unarmed Black Men? and Is Donald Trump Good for Journalism? for some compelling and thought-provoking discussions.

Women of the hour – The feminist one

This chat show style podcast is hosted by Lena Dunham and features Emma Stone as an agony aunt. Need we say more? Her first episode on friendship is humorous, honest and heart-warming and sets a great tone for the rest of the series.

And a final shout out to… My Dad Wrote a Porno

S-Town

We can’t resist giving a shout out to Jamie Morton’s seriously funny and critically acclaimed My Dad Wrote a Porno. The hilarious podcast series follows Morton as he reads one chapter per week from ‘Belinda Blinked’ the erotic book series his dad has been writing in his garden shed. Accompanied by friends James Cooper and Marie Claire columnist Alice Levine. You’ll be struggling to hide the tears (of laughter) from fellow commuters.

Words – Kay Field

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