Once the week’s editions of Serial, Adam Buxton and This American Life are ticked off, it’s all-too-easy to end up in a podcast drought, fruitlessly scrolling through the charts for the next hit that’ll see you through your hour-long commute home. But it doesn’t have to be like that. From politics to design to mental health, there’s a podcast out there for every mood and interest. Here’s the best under-the-radar shows that should be queued in your podcast app right now.
When The Jackal’s very own style columnist, Aleks Cvetkovic, launched his podcast earlier this year we knew from the start it’d be a must-listen. With HandCut Radio he explores and debates the world of men’s style with insiders, experts and personalities, all of whom bring a different perspective on the menswear industry.
Why you should listen: With the likes of David Gandy and Scott Fraser Simpson joining him on the mic, it’s a satisfyingly deep dive into the world of men’s style.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, handcutradio.com
The Political Party
An energetic mix of interviews, stand-up and impressions, The Political Party is comedian Matt Forde’s contribution to the somewhat saturated political podcast genre. Forde’s offering stands out thanks to his easy humour, balanced interview style and unprecedented access to big names from across the political spectrum – everyone from Tony Blair to Nigel Farage have appeared so far.
Why you should listen: Forde’s nuanced take on politics is a refreshing antidote to the current political landscape of entrenched views and unyielding opinions. And he does great impressions.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud, mattforde.com
In January 2017 six volunteers were shut away for a year on a fake planet Mars on a Hawaiian volcano, restricted to a small white dome the size of two tennis courts. Part of a NASA research project, the aim was to simulate the claustrophobia, cramped living quarters and day-to-day difficulties of living on Mars, to prepare for the day humans will eventually land there. The Habitat follows the crew over the year that followed, via their audio diaries that range from discussing the team’s developing rifts, tensions and romances, to their struggles to unblock a composting toilet.
Why you should listen: Its emotionally intelligent cast of volunteers keeps The Habitat from straying into Big Brother territory, while presenter Lynn Levy sheds light on the very real challenges of space travel, and fascinating stories of missions gone by.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, gimletmedia.com
Conversations of Inspiration
As founder of Not On The High Street, Holly Tucker knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship and building small businesses. She brings this well-honed expertise to her podcast series, in which she interviews fellow business leaders about how they’ve made it to the top, and made a success of their companies. From how to build an iconic brand with Jo Malone, to leadership without ego with William Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bikes, it’s a fascinating insight into what it takes to build a successful business.
Why you should listen: If you’re an entrepreneur, for invaluable advice and inspiration. For everyone else, it’s a glimpse behind the scenes at the workings of some of Britain’s best-loved businesses.
Available on Apple Podcasts, holly.co
Origins with James Andrew Miller
Author and historian James Andrew Miller started Origins with the aim of exploring the beginnings of pop culture hard hitters. Now encompassing five series, each dedicated to an individual cultural phenomenon, the podcast has dived deep into the stories of everything from Curb Your Enthusiasm to Saturday Night Live, offering interviews and analysis with the key players behind each.
Why you should listen: It’s the podcast to download if you need to quench your thirst for behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes from the forefront of pop culture.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, originsthepodcast.com
The Naked Professors
Men’s mental health may be a growing subject of conversation, but more still needs to be done with normalising it. The Naked Professors, hosted by TV presenter and mental health ambassador Matt Johnson and life coach Ben Bidwell goes some way to achieving that. In each episode the duo chat with guests about how mental health has affected their lives, as well as laying bare their own challenges and how they’ve faced them head on.
Why you should listen: It’s not often that men are allowed to be vulnerable. Listen to Johnson and Bidwell get down to the nitty gritty with compelling honesty and insight.
Available on Apple Music, linktr.ee/thenakedprofessor
Hosted by journalist Caroline Crampton, Shedunnit is a celebration of the golden age of crime writing. Each episode of Shedunnit uncovers the social and historical contexts that fuelled the explosion of the genre in the early 20th century, as well as taking an in-depth look at tropes of crime writing, including the ‘surplus women’ of post-WWI Britain and the key role that food (and poisoning) play in the works of Agatha Christie et al.
Why you should listen: Part university lecture, part crime writing fan club, Shedunnit has all the juicy background details true literature fans will love.
Available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, shedunnitshow.com
Distraction Pieces by Scroobius Pip
Spoken word artist Scroobius Pip expanded onto the podcasting scene with his weekly offering Distraction Pieces. A weekly podcast featuring unedited, in-depth conversations, Pip has hosted everyone from John Cooper Clarke and Richard E Grant, to artificial intelligence expert Dr Kate Devlin and mortician Carla Valentine.
Why you should listen: Pip’s down-to-earth presenting and intelligent interviewing style allows his guests to bring their own stories to the table with fascinating amounts of detail.
Available on Apple Podcasts, scroobiuspip.co.uk
Two Shot Podcast
Winner of the Best Culture Podcast award at the British Podcast Awards 2018, Two Shot Podcast is hosted by actor Craig Parkinson (Black Mirror and Line of Duty), who sits down to chat with of-the-moment names like Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and comedian and fellow podcaster Cariad Lloyd.
Why you should listen: More a casual cup of tea with a friend than an in depth grilling, it makes for heartening listening on your daily commute.
Available on Apple Podcasts, twoshotpod.podbean.com