The 39 best podcasts you need to listen to right now

The RadioTimes.com team recommends their favourite podcasts - from politics to comedy to real life stories

What are the best chat & interview podcasts?

Homo Sapiens

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Homo Sapiens - photo by Laura Lewis

Now back for a second series, this hilarious podcast is a sort of LGBTQ version of Woman’s Hour. Our hosts are Pop Idol star Will Young and filmmaker Chris Sweeney, who tackle topics like inclusivity in schools – and just generally have a great chat and a laugh. They also have a great way of drawing out their interviewees, from Jeremy Corbyn to Russell T Davies.

Women of the Hour

With the exception of Woman’s Hour, there’s not all that much on the radio for young women. Enter: Lena Dunham. The creator of Girls takes topics – faith, friendship, appearance – and examines them through the prism of female experience. Dunham herself may have a marmite style but the discussions she curates are engaging and thought provoking. 

Adrift with Geoff Lloyd and Annabel Port 

Mainstays of Absolute Radio until they quit last year, genial Geoff and eccentric Annabel’s long-running radio rapport transferred seamlessly into a wryly funny weekly podcast on tales of social awkwardness. The hosts’ genuine chemistry and loose, whimsical quality make it feel like hanging out with the witty friends that always make you laugh the most – despite their vaguely dysfunctional qualities.

Desert Island Discs

Kirsty Young, presenter of Desert Island Discs

If we went on Desert Island Discs, our luxury item would be the archive of Desert Island Discs. For 76 years now, the great and the good have taken to the Radio 4 flagship to confess and reflect, to share intimate moments of their lives through the eight records that have shaped them. Each new episode – there have been over 3,000 – offers a different perspective on the world, and a new wealth of experience. Decades of material is available to download as a podcast, and it’s joyful, moving, heartbreaking, therapeutic, hilarious, and enlightening. All human knowledge is there – and some wonderful music.

Woman’s Hour 

Whether you’re going for a long run, enduring a packed commute or sitting in bed on Sunday morning with a cup of tea, Woman’s Hour is the perfect companion. A nuanced mix of current affairs, themed discussions and celebrity interviews guided by presenters Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey, it promises intelligent, insightful conversation.

Ed Miliband’s Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful

A failed Prime Ministerial candidate and an ex Absolute radio presenter may not sound like a match made in podcast heaven, but Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd’s Reasons to be Cheerful really is good. As Miliband showed when he stood in for Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, he has a flair for presenting – bright, relaxed, genial, surprisingly self-aware and (sometimes) game for a giggle. And Lloyd is the perfect foil. It’s billed as “a podcast about ideas”, so there ‘s quite a lot of serious stuff (you’ll learn a lot about left wing policy making) but it’s accessible and funny; a nice antidote to a sometimes scary world.

Walking the Dog

Emily Dean, co-host of Frank Skinner’s laconically enjoyable Saturday morning Absolute Radio show, joins celebrities and their pooches for a stroll in the park. The simple premise and Dean’s personable technique disarm the subjects into amusing and surprisingly frank admissions that make this more akin to therapy than pet exercise. Alan Carr, Jonathan Ross and Dynamo are among the fascinating subjects so far.

Collated by Eleanor Bley-Griffiths

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Contributors: Ben Allen, David Brown, Sarah Carson, Sarah Doran, Ben Dowell, James Gill, Ellie Harrison, Johnathan Hughes, Shem Law, Susanna Lazarus, Thomas Ling