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23 of the BEST podcasts for beginners

23 good podcasts for new listeners


23 of the BEST podcasts for beginners

More than 70% of people are now familiar with podcasts, so it certainly seems there are less people asking “what’s a podcast?” these days. But that also means there are plenty of people who are new to podcasts, and no doubt wondering where to start. With millions of shows available (and more appearing all the time) it’s easy to be overwhelmed by how many podcasts there are.

But don’t worry – Pod Bible is here to help you narrow it down, starting with our introduction to some of the best podcasts for beginners. Pulled from our magazine archive, we’ve laid out who the hosts are, how many episodes there are and why we think you might like these shows. Plus, the hosts share their own elevator pitch.

We think all these podcasts are well worth subscribing to straight away. But if you’re still dipping your toe in, why not bookmark this page as a cheat-sheet? It could help you sound like the biggest podcast fan in the UK!

1. The Adam Buxton Podcast (Issue #001)

Host: Adam Buxton
Category: General Interviews
Number of episodes: Nearly 200
Listen if you like: Adam Buxton! and other celebrities

The host says: “Three of my favourites, which I’ve listened back to and felt really happy with were Romesh Ranganathan (EP.61) Tash Demetriou (EP. 32 & EP.82) and Tim Key (EP.77). Yes, I know that’s four.”

We say: Where better to start than with the Pod Bible-award-winning, listener favourite, Adam Buxton. His show is a simple format well-executed. His chats with comedians, writers and musicians often only briefly touch on their work, but The Adam Buxton Podcast has been the gold standard of interview podcasts for a little while now. Although technically our first cover-star, Adam only actually made it onto the cover last year. Listen here >>

2. Off Menu (Issue #015)

Host: James Acast and Ed Gamble
Category: Comedy, Arts
Number of episodes: More than 150
Listen if you: enjoy eating food, and watching comedy panel shows

The host says: “Ed Gamble and I invite a guest into the dream restaurant and ask them their favourite ever starter, main course, side dish, drink and dessert. Also, I am a genie.”

We say: Off Menu once nearly crashed our website because the article was so popular. But when Ed Gamble and James Acaster started the show in 2018, they expected to make no more than 10 episodes. Three years and nearly 200 episodes later they’ve heard about some truly delicious menus and some wonderfully bizarre requests. A highlight was the 100th episode, where we finally got to hear the hosts’ own dream menus. Listen here >> 

3. The Guilty Feminist (Issue #013)

Host: Deborah Francis-White
Category: Society & Culture, Comedy
Number of episodes: Over 300
Listen if you: have ever felt like you should be better at feminism…

The host says: “The Guilty Feminist is a podcast about our noble goals as 21st century feminists and our hypocrisies and insecurities, which undermine those goals.”

We say: The Guilty Feminist has grown into a podcasting juggernaut, producing engaging episodes week in, week out while building a loyal live audience. Whilst some podcasts have made the jump to the stage from recording in bedrooms, TGF was always a stage-show, giving it a different energy (and sound) to some shows. Episodes start with a reassuring “I’m a feminist but…” segment that always gets the crowd cheering. Listen here >> 

4. Films To Be Buried With (Issue #023)

Host: Brett Goldstein
Category: Film
Number of episodes: More than 200
Listen if you like: Ted Lasso, the guy who plays Hercules in Marvel…

The host says: “A guest comes on, I tell them they’ve died, then we discuss their life through the films that meant the most to them. What film scared them the most, made them cry the most etc. At the end they pick the film to go in their coffin and take to heaven. Life, death, movies.”

We say: Brett Goldstein is having one hell of a year. He might be an Emmy-winning actor, writer and comedian. And sure, he is now literally a demi-god in the Marvel franchise. But he will always be a podcaster to us. Considering how busy he is, we’ve been worried he would put his passion project on hold. But not Brett – he hardly takes a week off of this show! Listen here >>

5. The Receipts (Issue #010)

Host: Audrey, Tolly T and Milena Sanchez
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: More than 150
Listen if you: want to hear real conversations

The hosts say: “The Receipts is a podcast hosted by three women from London made up of Nigerian, Ghanaian and Colombian descent, the show is made up of our lived experiences and no topic is off limits.”

We say: A bit like jumping into a group chat, The Receipts have grown a cult following due to their open and unfiltered approach, where no subject is off limits. This is the type of show that is all about the hosts, but their relationship with listeners is a massive part of the show too – the ‘Your Receipts’ feature gives their community a part to play. The Receipts is exclusive to Spotify, where you can watch the show as well as listen.

6. Kermode & Mayo’s Take (Issue #022)

Hosts: Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo
Category: Film and TV
Number of episodes: < 50
Listen if you: read Rolling Stone or Empire magazines

The hosts say: “…we are still just chatting about films, life, getting distracted by avocados and elementary physics etc. But delivering a number of pods a week has obviously modernised what we do, breaking it down into more digestible chunks. So hopefully the heritage listeners feel well served, and the new listeners feel fabulously welcome.”

We say: Kermode & Mayo’s Take is technically a new show, but it is also an evolution from the pairs’ Film Review that ran on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode gets excited about films, Mayo drily undercuts him and there’s a lot of chatter about stuff that has nothing to do with anything. Listen here >>

7. Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed (Issue #004)

Hosts: Chris and Rosie Ramsey
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: More than 150
Listen if you: like to eavesdrop on couple’s private lives

The hosts say: “[we get] to be funny together as a couple, on our own terms. We can literally say anything we want, and if we are happy to put it out, then out it goes! We record it in our kitchen in our own time and often have to stop recording because someone in the street is mowing their lawn or the fridge is humming. It’s so low rent, but it’s getting a lot of love, so we’re doing something right.”

We say: Chris and Rosie were fun separately, but getting them together on microphone is a real treat for fans. Since we spoke to the couple in August 2019, they’ve gone on to do a live tour and write a book based on this podcast, so we certainly agree that they are doing something right! Listen here >> 

8. No Such Thing As A Fish (Issue #018)

Hosts: James Harkin, Anna Ptaszynski, Andrew Murray and Dan Schreiber
Category: Comedy, History, Science
Number of episodes: More than 450
Listen if you: want to be the type of person who knows the answers on QI

The hosts say: “The first elevator shaft was built four years before the elevator was invented. If that intrigues you, then you’ll like our show. (You’ll like it even more if the mere mention of the word ‘shaft’ made you giggle).”

We say: This award-winning podcast from the QI offices is quite interesting in and of itself. It’s an example of how podcasts can cross genres, giving us some facts and figures, as well as some silliness too. Listen here >>

9. Soundtracking (Issue #003)

Host: Edith Bowman
Category: Music, Film
Number of episodes: More than 300
Listen if you: think the soundtracks are the best part of the film

The host says: “The episode we recorded with Jon Favreau was our first ever and I am forever in his debt for being so enthusiastic and willing to jump on board with us. And then our very first episode with Ben Wheatley, he’s such a great supporter of the podcast, we appreciate his love so much. He’s been on three times now!”

We say: With an outstanding broadcasting career behind her, Edith Bowman knows a thing or two about creating engaging audio. In Soundtracking, she has conversations with film directors, actors, producers and composers to shine a spotlight on how music is used in film. We’re surprised there aren’t more radio shows dedicated to movie soundtracks, because the stories that come from the creators on this show are fascinating. Listen here >>

10. Stephen Fry’s 7 Deadly Sins (Issue #009)

Host: Stephen Fry
Category: Society & Culture
Number of episodes: 9
Listen if you: want an in-depth exploration of the human heart

The host says: “I think it offers a different way of looking at the problems of the world without recourse to the usual blandishments of echo chamber politics and culture on the one hand or endless reiterations of neoBuddhist mindfulness on the other. With all due respect to both brands of podcast.”

We say: Best known for his acting and presenting (as well as being a bonafide National Treasure) Stephen Fry released his first ‘Podgram’ way back in 2008! 7 Deadly Sins was only a short-run series, but the combination of music, Stephen’s wonderful narration and the deep research on each of the sins make this a great starting point for new podcast listeners. Listen here >>

11. The Kurupt FM Podkast (Issue #012)

Kurupt FM

Host: Beats, Chabuddy G, Grindah, Steves
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: 13
Listen if you like: Mockumentaries, strong language and dangerously high level lyrical content.

The hosts say: “First of all I would never pitch anything in an elevator. We’re way above that now. I’d probably get the Best Podcast award that we won out of my bag and just hold it out in front of me and then when the other people in the lift ask “why have you got that award?” I’d explain; We do an award winning podcast called The Kurupt FM Podkast where we talk about different topics and help you to understand them. The best way to describe it is probably it’s like injecting pure knowledge directly into your brain using headphones.”

We say: Audible may be best known for audio books, but it was natural for them to step into podcasts with Audible Originals. This mocumentary follows on from the BBC TV show People Just Do Nothing. After the world’s biggest pirate radio station, Kurupt FM, shut down, the team rose from the ashes as a podcast – this podcast. Only available on Audible >>

12. Table Manners (Issue #011)

Host: Jessie and Lennie Ware
Category: Comedy, Arts (food)
Number of episodes: Over 200
Listen if you: want to hear the real version of ‘the dream dinner party’

The hosts say: “Our podcast elevator pitch is a mother and daughter duo invite a guest round to their house for a ‘friday night dinner’. Friday night dinner was always a big thing in our house. I’d have friends over for dinner and mum would cook, but she couldn’t resist joining in the conversations we’d have and the podcast basically became a continuation of that. We’ve been lucky to have some really amazing and fascinating guests round to mums for dinner – it’s great fun – a great meal and a chat!”

We say: Jessie Ware is perhaps still most famous as a singer, but Lennie Ware is certainly most famous for this podcast. A great example of authentic conversations caught on microphone. Get the table ready, pick your favourite guest and join in. Listen here >> 

13. Hip Hop Saved My Life (Issue #006)

Host: Romesh Ranganathan and RuMaj
Category: Music
Number of episodes: 135
Listen if you like: Hip hop or Romesh Ranganathan or RuMaj.

The hosts say: “we had Afrika Baby Bam from the Jungle Brothers on the podcast [that] was when I first realised that this thing that started off as a hobby had somehow enabled me to be in the same room as legends who had shaped my life, and people who I admire so much.”

We say: Romesh Ranganathan may be one of the busiest men in show business, but that didn’t stop him from starting a podcast about one of his biggest passions in life – hip hop. Romesh of course brings his comedy credentials into this show, but the music and artists are the focus here. Listen here >> 

14. Drunk Women Solving Crime (Issue #008)

Host: Hannah George, Catie Wilkins and Taylor Glenn
Category: True Crime, Comedy
Number of episodes: More than 200
Listen if you: fancy yourself as a Sherlock Holmes – booze and all

The hosts say: “Drunk Women is the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Only a podcast could allow for this kind of format, and we are in charge of our content completely. That’s what’s exhilarating about podcasts vs other mediums.”

We say: Our favourite slightly-sozzled super-sleuths, each episode of Drunk Women Solving Crime tackles true crime in a slightly different way. Rather than gruesome, the crimes chosen are personal, petty and – sometimes – pointless. It makes for a far more relaxed atmosphere, and the drunkenness fits perfectly. Listen here >> 

15. Say Your Mind (Issue #017)

Host: Kelechi Okafour
Category: Society & Culture, Current Affairs
Number of episodes: More than 250
Listen if you: Want a rallying call from Kelechi Okafour

The host says: “Say Your Mind is the current affairs podcast that you might not want to listen to on loudspeaker at work, but you definitely want to listen to regardless. The podcast expertly combines tarot, current affairs and pop culture into one expletive filled fun time and is delivered to you from the perspective of a Nigerian-British Baby Girl. I am the Baby Girl FYI.”

We say: As the media is starting to realise, actress, director and public speaker Kelechi Okafor is one of the most powerful and important voices around at the moment. Kelechi Okafor wears many hats and as her podcast has grown she has built herself the perfect platform to show each one off in all its glory. Listen here >>

16. Happy Place (Issue #007)

Host: Fearne Cotton
Category: Society & Culture
Number of episodes: Nearly 200
Listen if you like: Insights to celebrities’ lives

The host says: “Often we think of people in the public eye, revered characters or academics as above us but when they let loose and allow us to delve beneath the surface we can all experience a deeper level of connection.”

We say: Broadcaster and positivity pioneer Fearne Cotton transitioned brilliantly from the regimented format of TV and radio to the flexibility of podcasting. These aren’t interviews, but rather a conversation that’s relaxed and really gives us a sense of the real people behind some of the most famous names in showbiz. Listen here >>

17. My Dad Wrote A Porno (Issue #014)

Hosts: Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: 168
Listen if you: Like rude, crude and incredibly lewd shows!

The hosts say: “Do you like porn? Do you like laughing? Then you’ll love My Dad Wrote A Porno.”

We say: One of the most recommended podcasts, My Dad Wrote a Porno have been downloaded more than 430m downloads globally since its launch in 2015, as well as selling out two world tours of the live show. Celebrity guests have included Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda and Dame Emma Thompson. MDWAP has just announced that it is ending next month, so if you’re overwhelmed with the weekly aspect of some podcasts, this will give you a chance to catch-up. Listen here >>

18. Wrighty’s House (Issue #019)

Hosts: Ian Wright
Category: Sport
Number of episodes: 100 +
Listen if you like: Football punditry with the social commentary

The host says: “Wrighty’s House is a safe place where a group of friends come together and talk about football in a very inclusive and positive way. It’s my yard! It’s the place where the WhatsApp group comes to life.”

We say: This podcast allows listeners access to a national legend without the filter of traditional broadcasting. It’s no exaggeration to say that having Wrighty as a Pod Bile coverstar was a highlight. His infectious enthusiasm and unapologetic honesty make this a must listen, but the way he elevates and learns from each of his co-hosts is also a joy to behold. A Pod Bible favourite. Listen here >>

19. The Blindboy Podcast (Issue #017)

Host: Blindboy
Category: Comedy, Solo
Number of episodes: More than 260
Listen if you: want to hear a real-life Krapp’s Last Tape every single week

The host says: “My podcasts are monologue essays on whatever topic I’m genuinely passionate about at that moment. I’d consider them to be pieces of writing, because I approach a podcast like I would a piece of writing. I try to bring the structure, prose and storytelling of fiction, to subject matter that is factual.”

We say: Who is Blindboy? A storyteller? A poet? A journalist? A historian? A musician? If you listen to the Blindboy podcast, you’ll find out that he’s all of the above and more… Listen here >> 

20. RedHanded (Issue #021)

Hosts: Hannah Maguire & Suruthi Bala
Category: True crime
Number of episodes: Nearly 350
Listen if you: want a good example of a True Crime podcast

The hosts say: “RedHanded is the ultimate true crime podcast for people who want more than crime. We aim to cover all sorts of cases, the obvious ones like Chris Watts and Casey Anthony to ones that other true crime podcasts don’t – like the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khasgohhi and the evolution of the satanic panic into modern day QAnon. RedHanded is for people who want all the facts, along with thoughtful analysis, but delivered like they are just down the pub with their mates.”

We say: What started as a passion project between friends quickly became one of the most successful true crime podcasts around. The show hits differently than popular US-counterparts – Hannah and Suruthi cover crimes from both sides of the Atalantic, and they can give UK-listeners context that American shows might assume people know. Listen here >>

21. Football Ramble (Issue #005)

Hosts: Marcus Speller, Jules Breach, Luke Aaron Moore, Andy Brassell, Pete Donaldson, Vithushan Ehantharajah, Jim Campbell, Kate Mason, Dotun Adebayo
Category: Sport
Number of episodes: 1729 and counting!
Listen if you: Love football (or know someone who does and want to impress them)

The hosts say: “Taking a show that a number of years ago only used to release one knockabout podcast a fortnight and getting it to a stage where it puts out six vastly different types of show every week was and is a huge undertaking. It’s been a real team effort and we’re very proud of it.”

We say: Football Ramble has changed quite a bit since it started in 2007, but one thing that’s been a mainstay is the level of entertainment. The Ramble gang consistently tackle each aspect of the game with a nuanced and thoughtful approach, whilst not losing the best level of silliness. It’s also worth checking out the offshoot podcast, Upfront. Listen here >> 

22. RHLSTP with Richard Herring (Issue #002)

Hosts: Richard Herring
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: If including bonuses and re-runs, over 550
Listen if you: Like stand-up comedy, and especially if you miss live shows

The host says: “[listen to] the episode of Collings and Herrin where I called Andrew’s mum “a fucking idiot” as it was a real moment of surprise and risk, which opened up a whole new door as to what was possible in this medium. Could have ended it all there and then, but luckily we held on for a few more years!”

We say: The Guardian calls him “The Podfather” and Richard has a huge amount of podcast credits, but the RHLSTP is the one to start with. We remember when this was called ‘Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast’ but at some point in the last 400 episodes the venue changed and the name was shortened. Check out the back-catalogue for episodes with Stephen Fry, Eddie Izzard, Dawn French, David Mitchell, Katherine Ryan and Brian Blessed and many more. Listen here >> 

23. Wolf & Owl (Issue #020)

Hosts: Tom Davis (The Wolf) and Romesh Ranganathan (The Owl)
Category: Comedy
Number of episodes: Over 100
Listen if you: want an entertaining waste of time

The hosts say: “Two buddies chatting nonsense for an hour each week, join us, you might just learn something about the World and maybe, about yourself.”

We say: Romesh is the only podcaster who’s made it onto our cover more than once! Two men having a chat is hardly a new trend in the world of podcasting, but when the men involved share humour, vulnerability and an undying love for each other then you’re probably on to a winner. Listen here >> 

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