The best podcasts of 2022: the ESSENTIAL guide!
Did you ever notice the Pod Bible tagline on our magazines: “The Essential Guide to Podcasts”? Our aim has always been to be a hub for podcast fans to enjoy engaging content – and that’s because from our Founders, to our Freelancers, we are podcast fans through and through.
So when we started thinking about the obligatory End of Year list, we decided to do things a little bit differently. Rather than limiting our enthusiasm to the new podcasts in 2022, we want to shout out a variety of our favourite shows.
We’ve asked some of our team and contributors to give us three recommendations – one new show, one indy and the podcast that is always on their app. This is the Pod Bible ESSENTIAL guide to the best podcasts we’ve listened to in 2022…
Suchandrika Chakrabarti – Journalist, Podcaster and Comedian
NEW – FOC IT UP! Comedy Club – What a great idea from comedian Kemah Bob: an unapologetic celebration of comedians of colour who aren’t cis men. Recorded at 21 Soho in central London, each episode sees three comedians each deliver a 10-minute set, then they all sit down together with Kemah onstage for a chat, aiming to give the audience a sense of what the conversation is like behind the scenes. Guests include Sophie Duker, Desiree Burch, Yuriko Kotani and, ahem, I have been on it too! Performing on that stage was electric. The podcast is a great way to discover new voices, and, because of the ever-changing combination of comedians and the live audience reaction, each episode feels thrillingly unpredictable. Listen now >>
INDY – The Way They Were – Comedians Gráinne Maguire and Chantal Feduchin-Pate could not have known just how zeitgeisty their podcast about former celebrity couples would become, launching as it has in the year that Bennifer reunited and finally – 19 years after their original engagement – got married. The pod is inspired by the cult Tumblr, Old Loves, and it’s amazing how quickly we forget odd, or even iconic, celebrity pairings of the past – yet, discussing them takes us back to that moment in time so, so fast. The format is a nice jumping-off point for discussions about subjects that affect us all; a reminder that mulling over celebrities’ lives can help shine a torch on our own problems. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – Subterraneans Podcast – James Thompson launched this in 2019, but I only discovered it this year. I am so obsessed with this podcast and I want everyone to know about it! Made and presented by James Thompson (or is that a pseudonym?), his compelling, eerie monologues about London, its history, and what lies beneath its streets, dance along the tightrope between fact and fiction. It’s giving comedy, horror plus a ton of suspense along the way – and Thompson composes all of the music too, an impressive achievement. I love listening to this pod as I clomp about London – it’s almost like an audio Instagram filter, making the well-trodden streets more interesting to me as I listen along. Listen now >>
Adam Richardson – Editor and Co-Founder, Pod Bible Magazine
NEW – Unreal – As someone who started out as a massive fan of reality TV before growing increasingly disillusioned at many show’s attempts to manufacture drama, I found Radio 4’s Unreal to be a truly fascinating listen. Ably hosted by Pandora Sykes and Sirin Kale, the 10 part series revisits the iconic shows and their breakout stars whilst assessing the multitude of ethical questions raised along the way. Listen now >>
INDY – On The Outside – I became interested in this one after speaking to Fran on the Pod Bible Podcast last year. After spending so much time walking in the local countryside during the 2020/21 lockdowns, I found myself taking a deeper interest in outdoor activities and conservation. On The Outside features a rotating panel of guests who discuss the latest news and developments relating to all things ‘outside’ – such as the Kinder Trespass or water companies dumping sewage. It’s made me passionate about a lot of things I previously knew nothing about and is really well put together. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – The Trojan Horse Affair – I adored S-Town so was excited and intrigued when I heard that Brian Reed’s next podcast was based in Britain and was delving into the Trojan horse scandal that surrounded schools in Birmingham in 2014. I’d read a bit about it at the time but had no idea how deep the story went and found myself flying through the episodes as they became available. The show is brilliantly produced as you’d expect it from the team behind Serial and Brian’s co-host Hamza Syed, making his podcast debut, adds a passionate and sometimes volatile presence that kept me riveted throughout. Listen now >>
Tom Nicholson – Freelance Journalist
NEW – Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV – With so many pedestrian nostalgia pods out there now (hello, Keith Lemon’s 90s podcast) the clear-eyed journalism at work in Pandora Sykes and Sirin Kale’s excellent survey of the 21st century’s definitive art form is a timely reminder that quality factual pods will find their audience. Alternately funny, painful, thoughtful and righteously angry, it both made the case for reality TV and itemised its failings both in front of and behind the cameras. Listen now >>
Honourable mention to Marianna Spring’s Death by Conspiracy?, a perfectly paced investigation into the sad death of one man taken in by anti-vaxx propaganda in Shrewsbury.
INDY – Nothing is Real – The podcasting ecosystem around the Beatles is one of the nicer bits of podcast-dom, with the likes of Another Kind of Mind, Your Own Personal Beatles and One Sweet Dream among those finding new perspectives on a band that feels as vital as it’s ever been in the 60th anniversary year of its first single. But my favourite is the myth-busting, record-correcting deep dives put together by Beatles Brains of Ireland champs Jason Carty and Steven Cockroft. Chatty and enthusiastic but without boring on and on and on, their seventh season this year was another treat. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – Dead Honest – It took me a shamefully long time to get on Georgie Vestey’s interview series with professionals whose work brings them into regular close contact with our mortality and the complicated business of picking, humanely, through the wreckage. But this year it clicked, and I devoured both seasons in one go. A railway chaplain who counsels traumatised driver who have seen people take their own lives, a tow truck driver who sorts out fatal crash sites, a death doula who helps people choose how to die well: all are extraordinarily tender, and Vestey’s gently incisive questioning is a perfect fit. A third season is, I’m assured, in the works. Listen now >>
On a completely different note, Rylan’s mum calling him while he was on Off Menu because she was worried he’d died was snorting-on-the-train funny.
Francesca Turauskis – Digital Editor, Pod Bible
NEW – Blossom Trees and Burnt Out Cars – Without a doubt I want everyone to know about this podcast! Writer and Performer Talia Randall explores who does and doesn’t have access to nature (and on a more philosophical level, what ‘nature’ even is). I found out about this one when it was in the early stages of production, and was so excited by the idea that I actually ended up doing half a day of work on it. Nature and the outdoors is such a big aspect of my own work, and Talia has addressed topics that do not get talked about enough in these spaces. It’s one of the BBC Sounds Audio Lab shows, and a great testament to the types of voices we could be hearing more. Listen now >>
I want to give an honourable mention to Missing Pages as the ‘best new podcast I have absolutely no connection to’. I keep refreshing my app waiting for new episodes of this one! Listen now >>
INDY – Beneath The Skin – This is a history podcast with a twist, as it uses the history of tattooing as a starting point to look at different cultural histories. It’s a new show for 2022 and a unique concept that I haven’t seen any rival to. I also think it exemplifies how ‘independent’ can still mean expert, and respect culturally sensitive topics. In truth, I don’t listen to Beneath The Skin as often as I should because the episodes are longer than I prefer (an hour is often my limit – my podcast app info below might explain why). But if you’re looking for some unique history chat, this is worth the time. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – Twenty Thousand Hertz – I have to say “bravo” to Dallas Taylor for making a show that is my undoubted Podcast of the Year. My podcast app told me I’ve listened to 170 different podcasts this year (and I listen on several different apps so this hasn’t counted about half… ) but this show stands out. 2022 is the first year I have worked in podcasting full time, and Twenty Thousand Hertz has taught me so much about sound in the most literal sense – from deep fake audio to how the Netflix ident came to be. Despite being very related to my work, I will also listen in my downtime, which is a testament to the storytelling. Listen now >>
Meera Kumar – Freelance Producer, Presenter and Columnist
INDY – Wild For Scotland – I recently discovered this podcast and it is everything I need in the busy build up to Christmas. The latest episode ‘Creature of the Sea – Argyll Hope Spot‘ is immersive, relaxing and a very easy listen. It strikes the perfect balance of wonder, excitement and serenity. In addition to being an enjoyable listen, it’s lovely to hear a show focused on Scottish stories and locations. The country is incredibly beautiful but there are so many places that I hadn’t visited yet or even heard of until I listened to this show. Wild for Scotland has inspired me to travel up there more often in search of adventure! Listen now >>
NEW and PODCAST OF 2022 – This Is Dating – This show lets you eavesdrop on four dating couples, and I have loved it. It’s been featured on a few different lists this year and all I have to say is – Listen NOW >>
Samantha Downes – Pod Bible Social Media Admin
NEW – Unlicensed – I’m a big Welcome to Night Vale fan so when I heard that the writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor were launching a new podcast I knew I had to listen. An Audible Original podcast, Unlicensed is the story of a private investigator in Los Angeles and her new assistant, who get involved in a series of seemingly unconnected cases which lead them into a much bigger mystery. Featuring a great cast of voice actors, the story skips between viewpoints allowing the audience to get an omniscient view of the story. Listen now >>
INDY – Best Friend Therapy – Elizabeth Day is such a huge name in podcasting that it almost feels like she shouldn’t be an indie podcast, but it’s not on a network so I think it still fits! She brought us a new podcast this year with her best friend Emma Reed Turrell, a psychotherapist. Each week the best friends discuss subjects such as making and enforcing boundaries, people-pleasing and dealing with difficult emotions like anger, jealousy and anxiety. As a recovering people-pleaser, this podcast covers a lot of topics that resonate with me and it’s a handy little dose of free therapy. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – Off Menu – My podcast of the year is Off Menu. This show is so popular that I doubt I need to explain the premise but just in case anyone has missed it – Off Menu is a food podcast hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster where guests are invited into the dream restaurant to pick their favourite starter, main course, side dish, drink & dessert. Even non-foodies will find enjoyment in Off Menu as the guests always have hilarious anecdotes to go along with their menu choices. Some of my favourite guests in 2022 were Rob Brydon, Jamali Maddix, Richard E. Grant and Claudia Jessie. Listen now >>
Diana Safieh – Freelance Writer, Host of We Knew The Moon Podcast
NEW – HeidiWorld – Part true crime, part guilty pleasure, this podcast on 90s ‘Hollywood Madam’ Heidi Fleiss. This podcast is full of celebrity scandal and sexual hypocrisy which will leave you wishing to smash the patriarchy. Listen now >>
INDY- Palestine Deep Dive – Giving a platform to oft-ignored Palestinian perspectives and voices. For your initial foray, check out the recent episode with former director of UNRWA Andrew Whitley on the historic responsibility that Britain has in Israel/Palestine. Listen now >>
PODCAST OF 2022 – Women Who Rebrand – Championing female empowerment, and covering topics such as divorce, microdosing, adult diagnosis of neurodiversity and internet romance scammers, this podcast is always hilarious and informative. Host Sareta might just be the most fabulous person on the planet. Listen now >>
What were your favourite podcasts in 2022? Let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favourites!