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9 of the best fiction podcasts from the UK and Ireland

the best fiction podcasts from the UK and ireland


9 of the best fiction podcasts from the UK and Ireland

Philip Catherwood from The Dial-Up podcast gives us his recommendations for fiction shows to check out…

Fiction podcasts are having a bit of a golden age! From independent podcasters creating their own stories, to the behemoths of television stepping into the game, there’s a wealth of scripted shows right now. At first look, the most popular fiction podcast lists can seem dominated by U.S. companies like QCODE and Wondery, who bring A-List celebrity names and big budgets to their Blockbuster-style show. But we also have some fantastic fiction podcasts produced in the UK and Republic of Ireland that are making waves worldwide, and setting trends that other shows are closely following.

So here are nine of the best UK and ROI fiction podcasts, that I think are definitely worth your listening time:

The Magnus Archives

Probably the biggest fiction podcast to come out of the UK, The Magnus Archives is a horror/paranormal extravaganza, centring on the mysterious Magnus Institute and the eerie, inexplicable investigations they’ve uncovered. The central character, The Archivist, takes us through these cases with his audio statements, but as the seasons progress, the story develops into a much wider narrative tale. The main show ended in 2021 after five seasons, but there’s plenty to sink your teeth into – and now is the best time to listen as audio drama stalwarts, Rusty Quill, have raised a whopping £700,000 on Kickstarter for their follow up show, The Magnus Protocol. Listen now on your podcast app >>

Holy Sh!t

In a sea of horror/sci-fi/fantasy fiction podcasts, Holy Sh!t is a breath of fresh air. A young adult, comedy-drama from Hat Trick Productions (the producers of Derry Girls) about two friends, Meg and Lydia, navigating life at separate Uni’s, where one of the freshers may, or may not, be the second coming of Christ. The story is told in an unique way through WhatsApp voice notes and is a light-hearted take on religion, but at its core deals with female friendship and, most aptly, forgiveness. Fans of TV shows like Sex Education and Euphoria will definitely enjoy this one! Listen now on your podcast app >>

The Chronicles of Wild Hollow

Here’s one if you have younger listeners in your family looking to get into fiction podcasts! Wild Hollow is a high-concept, fantasy series featuring a colourful cast of anthropomorphic animal characters ranging from outlaws to pirates and bourgeois city magnates. If you’re used to fantasy books, you’ll enjoy the fact that you can explore the interactive map of Wild Hollow on the company’s website, which features the locations from episodes. Plus there’s lots of further artwork, and info, of the cute and cuddly characters. Created by a group of Drama School graduates, and with plenty more episodes from this imaginative world to come, this is a franchise worth keeping an eye on! Listen now on your podcast app >>

Wooden Overcoats

Ask a fiction podcast fan to name a British audio drama, and they’ll without doubt mention Wooden Overcoats. It centres on a family-run funeral parlour in the tiny, fictional village of Piffling Vale, and the lengths the family will go to sabotage a rival undertaker who sets up a competing, well-resourced, business across the street. This beloved sitcom is much in the vein of TV shows like Fawlty Towers or The Vicar of Dibley. Filled with the dry humour and eccentric characters you’d expect from a traditional British sitcom, it should be on every fiction podcast fan’s download list. Listen now on your podcast app >>

Forest 404

We couldn’t complete this list without mentioning the BBC. They have been champions of audio dramas for decades, first with Radio 4 and now also with the fiction podcasts created by BBC Sounds. One of their best offerings is Forest 404, a futuristic, dystopian thriller starring Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) playing a 24th Century sound archivist, whose job is to sift through ‘ancient’ 21st Century soundscapes. Most of the sounds she’s archiving are foreign to her – especially those depicting natural and organic life. This is a clever use of sound design to tell a unique story, something many fiction podcasts have been experimenting with ever since! Listen now on your podcast app >>

The Dial-Up

With only four episodes of ten minutes, anyone looking for a quick fiction-podcast-fix should check-out this time-travel tale. The Dial-Up tells the story of two lonely men, both from Glasgow, who encounter each other randomly on an internet voice call. But they soon realise that one of them is speaking from modern day and the other is talking from late 1999… This bitesize podcast was featured on a Buzzfeed ‘best of’ list in 2022, and was also written and produced by me! Our second season is set to be released August 2023. Listen now on your podcast app >>

Whistle Through The Shamrocks

From the creative mind of Irish starlet Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton, Derry Girls) this is a tongue-in-cheek, scripted retrospective of Irish history covering everything from the Potato Famine to The Easter Rising. Told through the voices of the O’Flanerhyn family, listen as they struggle to deal with their unscrupulous British landlord, who comes over to lay claim to ‘his’ land! The highlight of this show is the repeated meta interruptions from Nicola and her co-writer, Camilla Whitehill. It’s great to hear them ‘argue’ with the actors about the cliché-ridden and borderline offensive Irish stereotypes in the script. Listen now on your podcast app >>

HAUNTED: The Audio Drama

Since launching their first season in 2022, this is one of the fastest growing indie horror podcasts to come out of the UK and has topped Spotify charts worldwide. A satisfying mix of X-Files and Doctor Who, HAUNTED tells the story of a retired paranormal investigator, and the enthusiastic podcast host who propels him out of retirement into a series of adventures, battling monsters of mythical origin. Now on their second season, and just off the back of recording their first ever live episode in their home county of Essex, HAUNTED is only going to keep getting bigger and better! Listen now on your podcast app >>

Eliza: A Robot Story

For those of you hooked on stories dealing with AI or ChatGPT, Eliza is the fiction podcast for you. Its central character is a robot played by Tanya Reynolds (Sex Education) who starts experiencing emotions and feelings. She falls in love with a human, and works together with him to make her even more sentient, but very soon her new relationship turns abusive and controlling. More than just a sci-fi, robot tale, Eliza was made in partnership with The Pankhurst Trust/Manchester Women’s Aid, and deals with a number of topics including domestic abuse, and women’s rights. Listen now on your podcast app >>

Philip is a Northern Irish writer, living in London, who writes for screen, theatre and audio. He is the creator of the fiction podcast, The Dial-Up, and is currently a personal assistant to a BAFTA Award winning film producer. Follow him @pip_writes and @DialUpPod.

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