Death is cheerier than it sounds, says the comedian, actress and writer Cariad Lloyd, whose podcast about bereavement - Griefcast - was the big winner at the British Podcast Awards on Saturday night.
Griefcast, which launched in 2016 and is now up to 37 episodes, is a series of conversations Lloyd has - so far mostly with fellow comedians - about dealing with the loss of a loved one. It won two category awards - for Best Entertainment podcast and Best Interview podcast - and then walked off with the biggest award of the night - Podcast of the Year.
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A panel of more than 50 judges decided all the awards except one - the Listeners Award, which for the second year running went to Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review, the podcast version of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Radio 5 Live show.
Also retaining its crown was Beef and Dairy Network, which won for Best Comedy. Smartest Podcast went to language-based The Allusionist, whose creator, Helen Zaltzman, was named Podcast Champion for her contribution to the podcast community.
The Best True Crime winner was The Assassination, the story of the murder of the former Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto, recently heard on Radio 4.
Griefcast stole the show, though. Cariad Lloyd’s father died when she was 15, and, she told Radio Times, “I’ve been talking about death ever since”. Now 35, she is a regular on Radio 4, and Griefcast started off as a side project. But with success it has become central to her career.
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“With grief comes isolation,” she said, “and I guess I decided to make a podcast that I wish had been around when I lost my father. People don’t like to talk about death. We don’t know what to say to someone who has been bereaved for fear of upsetting them but the truth is they are already upset.
“Death is a reality and as with all reality it’s not just one thing. There can be humour in death as well as sadness.” With that in mind, Lloyd decided that comedians would make the best interviewees and among those who have appeared on Griefcast are Adam Buxton, Sara Pascoe, Robert Webb and David Baddiel.
The hundreds of emails she received after the first episode - with Adam Buxton - went out told Lloyd she was on to something, and she said she planned to continue with the podcast as long as she can, extending it to include people from other walks of life.
Who’s top of her wish list? “I would love to have Prince William come on. He’s the same age as me and lost his mother the same age I was when I lost my father. I would love to talk to him about that.”
Fearne Cotton, Fi Glover and Josh Widdicombe were among the big names at the awards, which took place at Kings Place in north London and were hosted by Radio 4 and Magic FM broadcaster Olly Mann.
The winners were...
Best family podcast - Once upon a time in zombieville
Represent award - Carousel Radio
Best fiction - Imaginary Advice
Entertainment - Griefcast
Best new podcast - The Tip-Off
Smartest podcast - The Allusionist
Acast innovation - Podcast Pingback
Best comedy podcast - Beef and Dairy Network
Best current affairs - The Foreign Desk
Most original - The Discovery Adventures
Listeners' Choice - Kermode and Mayo Film Review
Best Culture - The Two Shot Podcast
Best sport podcast - Fight Disciples
Best branded - The Discovery Adventures
Best Interview - Griefcast
Best radio podcast - Short Cuts
International Award - Where Should We Begin
Best True Crime - The Assassination
Podcast Champion - Helen Zaltzman
Podcast of the Year - Griefcast