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8 Great investigative podcasts to listen to after The Trojan Horse Affair

investigative podcasts to listen to after Trojan Horse Affair


8 Great investigative podcasts to listen to after The Trojan Horse Affair

The New York Times’ The Trojan Horse Affair podcast, about the anonymous, deeply suspect letter which alleged – baselessly, as it turned out – that a cabal of Muslim school leaders in Birmingham were trying to infiltrate city schools and subvert them to run along strict Islamist principles, has become the first massive podcast of 2022.

It’s taken criticism from some quarters over a few editorial choices, but The Trojan Horse Affair restates again how podcasts as a medium can take complex, morally grey stories and tease them out into a story rich with characters and twists which are all the more fascinating for being real.

If it’s got you hankering after more deeply reported investigation podcasts, you’re in luck. Here are some of the best of the last few years.

Death by Conspiracy?

When 46-year-old Gary Matthews died of Covid in January 2021, his family’s grief was made all the more disorientating by conspiracy groups claiming that Gary’s death had, in fact, been part of a cover-up. Marianna Spring, the BBC’s specialist disinformation and social media reporter, goes to Shrewsbury to find out who Gary was from his family and friends, how he drawn into the conspiratorial thinking of the Shropshire Corona Resilience Network, and how much responsibility they feel they bear for Gary’s passing. You’ll likely inhale all 10 episodes in one sitting. LISTEN NOW >> 


The breakout hit that set the investigative podcast mode for the next decade, S-Town is a gripping, twisty, intensely characterful listen. The red herrings, the local eccentrics, the tiptoeing pace and sudden revelations are all part of the furniture now. The bigger question is whether you think it’s an exploitative piece of yokel-baiting or a thoughtful meditation on life itself. When horologist John B McLemore got in touch with This American Life asking them to investigate an alleged murder in his hometown of Woodstock, Alabama, it quickly turned out to be nothing. But a much bigger, more moving, and more profound story was there already – McLemore’s own life. LISTEN NOW >>


A lot of podcasts do punditry and analysis. There aren’t that many doing proper investigative journalism. There are even fewer doing the kind of laborious, fiddly work that goes into disentangling the confusion which piles up around international incidents from original, open source material. Bellingcat has been doing that for some time now, and the two series of its podcast showcase how it does things. The first tried to get to the bottom of how flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, and the second a video apparently showing militiamen killing women and children in an unknown country. It’s extraordinary stuff. LISTEN NOW >> 

The Tip-Off

The big stories which break in the national press are frequently shocking, engrossing and revealing in themselves, but the stories of how they came together are often equally as fascinating. That’s what The Tip-Off focuses on. Maeve McClenaghan speaks to the journalists behind some of the most complex and important stories of recent years – including Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones, who broke the story of Jimmy Savile’s crimes – about the complex business of getting to the truth. LISTEN NOW >>

How It Happened

Axios’ behind-the-scenes strand has included a couple of Trump stories: first, reporter Jonathan Swan traces how the Capitol riot came to happen, going all the way back to Trump’s recovery from Covid and attempts to jump-start his re-election campaign; and second, the attempts to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians which first failed, and then were rescued. They’ve also started a new Putin themed season this month. LISTEN NOW >> 

Where is George Gibney?

Reporter Mark Horgan sets off on the tail of George Gibney, a former Irish Olympic swimming coach who was charged with 27 counts of sexual assault and rape against young people under his charge, and who fled to America via Scotland in 1994 before he could stand trial. This pod isn’t about having a triumphal moment of catharsis, though; rather, it’s the culmination of dogged detective work and a particularly empathetic understanding of what Gibney’s accusers went through. LISTEN NOW >>

A Very Fatal Murder

Just went it felt like investigative podcasts might be disappearing up their own Dictaphones, satirical newspaper The Onion’s show A Very Fatal Murder arrived to spoof them all beautifully. David Pascall is a journalist on the lookout for the perfect death to make his Great American Podcast about, with help from ETHL, an MIT-engineered robot constantly sweeping news reports for “the most interesting, violent, culturally relevant murder cases in America”. It’s pitch perfect, and extremely funny. LISTEN NOW >>

The Walkers Switch

The closest British equivalent is about an appropriately British outrage: the fact that at some point in the nineties, Walkers switched the colours of its salt and vinegar and cheese and onion crisp packets – a fact that the company denies ever happened. Overnight, it seemed, the world of deep fried potato was turned upside down. Or… was it? What starts out as a deadpan gag turns into an oddly absorbing examination of the Mandela effect, the Illuminati, and Gary Lineker. LISTEN NOW >> 

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