We often turn to podcasts to help us get through our daily commute, turning an otherwise boring journey, into educational and often hilarious time well spent. But right now, while many of us are still working from home, they can provide a handy distraction to current events and a soothing way to pass the time.
There are thousands of podcasts out there meaning you can choose a series that suits your current mood; maybe you're feeling investigative and would love nothing more than to solve an unsolvable murder, or perhaps you're feeling a bit blue and in dire need of a comedy pick-me-up.
We've curated a selection of the best current podcasts from a wide variety of genres, that we're certain will make spending time at home just that little bit more endurable:
While the rest of us were practising yoga and baking banana bread last year, documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux was trying his hand at a new venture: making a podcast. He's now back with a second season, talking to the likes of Michaela Coel, Sia and Frankie Boyle.
In each hour-long episode, we'll hear Theroux in conversation with various celebrities he admires, having 'in-depth conversations with them, about their lives, their careers, and their most intimate feelings.'
Usually seen in front of the camera rather than hidden behind a microphone, Theroux admitted last year that 'making a podcast and radio series is very different to [his] usual way of working,' but adapted to different ways of working from home, just like the rest of us.
Each new episode will be available on BBC Sounds every Monday before broadcasting on Radio 4 the following week.
Happy Mum, Happy Baby
The sixth season of Giovanna Fletcher (aka Queen of the Jungle)'s hugely popular podcast - based on her bestselling book of the same name - was recorded in the midst of the pandemic; swapping coffee chats with Zoom interviews and features everyone from P.E. king Joe Wicks, to Paloma Faith and Emma Bunton.
Mum-of-three Fletcher continues the conversation on motherhood and shines a spotlight on the highs, lows and unhelpful comparison culture that surrounds parenting; encouraging everyone to simply do their best. Undoubtedly a great listen for anyone navigating homeschooling during lockdown 3.0.
Though not technically a podcast, the iconic radio show that's been showcasing important women's issues since the 40s - and was recently taken over by Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett - is well worth a listen.
Barnett's first show kicked off with a special message from The Queen, as well as chatting with The Crown's Imelda Staunton and Sonia Khan - the political adviser Dominic Cummings had marched out of Downing Street after firing her.
Comedians James Acaster and Ed Gamble are here to cheer up your days by inviting special guests (usually their fellow comedians) into their magical restaurant to each choose their dream meal, by picking their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink.
A surprisingly simple concept with hilarious and entertaining results.
My Love Is...
Ever wondered what your partner’s really thinking? Or how to maximise pleasure with someone new? Feeling pressured by #couplegoals, family or lacking a bit of self-love this year?
My Love Is... is a series with a uniquely Black British take on dating, featuring Ovie Soko, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and others. They're to change how we talk about Black love in the UK with new episodes every Thursday, hosted by Irene TTYA and brought to you by the women-first dating and social app Bumble.
Philippa Perry's Families In Crisis
What happens to the rest of the family when someone has an addiction or mental health crisis?
Families who support and care for someone they love during a challenging time are at the heart of this Audible original podcast series. These people’s stories often go unheard. People who look after a close relative who is an addict or experiences long-term mental illness tell us their stories.
The emotional fallout for these families can be devastating, time-consuming, financially-draining and long-term. For some, it’s also a taboo subject within their community and carries with it a terrible social stigma.
Here, Perry shines a spotlight on the very real struggles people caring for loved ones go through. Sign up to Audible to hear all 8 episodes of the podcast now.
Changes with Annie Macmanus
After the roaring success of her first, critically acclaimed series, internationally renowned DJ and broadcaster Annie Macmanus (or Annie Mac as you may know her) is back with a second series of her podcast Change. In this series, Mac quizzes guests about how they navigate change and how it's affected their lives, as well as speaking to those who want to make the world work in a different way.
With a glittering roster of celebrity guests such as Bernadine Evaristo, Beth Ditto, Michael Sheen and Romesh Ranganathan featured, and the first episode featuring bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, who chatted to Mac about lockdown life in New York, compared to London, segregation, George Floyd and Trump.
Dirty Diana with Demi Moore
Erotic audio is having a real moment, but erotic audio read by an A-list celebrity? Now that's something new.
Starring and executive produced by Demi Moore, Dirty Diana only launched in early July but has already racked up a slew of five-star reviews on the podcast app.
The narrative follows Diana, a woman keen to escape her carefully curated life and dying marriage, who runs a secret erotic website where women reveal their intimate sexual fantasies.
Not only is this podcast sure to get you a little hot under the collar, it's also refreshing to hear sexuality and sensuality from a female-centric standpoint. Prepare to be hooked.
Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
The podcast that helps us navigate all those tricky emotions we've been having during lockdown, including anxiety, fear, frustration and anger.
If you're not familiar with Brene Brown, she's an American social work research professor who has spent the last 10 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She's also written five incredible books that explore leadership and courage along with our emotions and how we respond to them.
Unlocking Us is her latest podcast. Recorded from her home during the first lockdown last March, she explores everything that makes us human and helps us make sense of how we're feeling right now.
As someone with high-functioning anxiety, her episode 'Brene on Anxiety, Calm and Over/Under Functioning' helped me figure out exactly why I was feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
Turns out anxiety is contagious and there's two ways people respond to anxious times. Either by over-functioning (like I have been by throwing myself into work and trying to take control of the situation as much as I can) and under-functioning where we take a step-back and rely on others to make decisions for us.
Brene offers methods that can help calm anxiety, whichever camp you're in.
The High Low
Hosted by our favourite love expert, journalist and author of Everything I Know About Love: Dolly Alderton and her BFF, fashion editor Pandora Sykes. This sharply observed, witty yet silly weekly podcast finally came to a close after four years, 150 episodes, and 27 million downloads.
Known for carefully toeing the line between high-brow and low-brow, Dolly and Pandora have used their hour-long episodes to explore current affairs, whilst providing a welcome relief from the stressful times we currently find ourselves living in.
If you've never listened before and want to catch up on all the episodes (or reminisce now it's all over) - expect hilarious observations, insightful debates and lots of laughter - like listening to your two best friends gossiping over coffee and putting the world to rights.
Sounds Of The 90s with Fearne Cotton
Fearne Cotton's 2020 podcast is the ultimate in escapism, a nostalgia packed trip back to the 90s to rediscover the celebs, music and moments that made one of our favourite decades.
Whether that's the Rachel cut, Britpop bands behaving badly at the Brits or a healthy dose of girl power courtesy of the Spice Girls, what could be better escapism right now?
Cosmopolitan UK's All The Way With...
Last year, our sister site Cosmopolitan UK delved into the sexual and romantic experiences of their remarkable guests in this no-holds-barred podcast. Whether chatting to a male escort about getting paid to have sex with rich women, getting all the details from a woman who pays a stranger to massage her to orgasm, or discussing dealing with divorce in your twenties, Cosmo are here to prove that when it comes to love and sex, there is no ‘normal’.
All The Way With... is hosted by Cosmopolitan's Sex & Relationships Editor Paisley Gilmour, and self-identified "sex novice"/Deputy Beauty Editor Laura Capon. They discuss what’s going on right now in love and sex news - and their own sorry love lives. And, each week, they'll be answering one of the most Googled questions about sex and relationships.
Love Stories is another brilliant podcast starring Dolly Alderton. Each soothing episode features a different celebrity being interviewed by Dolly, as they discuss their most defining relationships: the passion, heartbreak, longing, familiarity and fondness that have formed who they are.
With an impressive guest list so far including Lily Allen, Sharon Horgan, Jessie Cave and Stanley Tucci, Love Stories is the perfect podcast to entertain the romantic soul within you; detailing motherly love, parental love, teenage lust and romantic love without alienating those currently not in love. We defy you not to become instantly hooked.
Hosted by former Red columnist Fearne Cotton, Happy Place is exactly what it says on the tin; a happy, safe space where Fearne interviews someone notable about their mental health, tactics for happiness and generally unpicks society, all while having a good natter. From guests such as Bryony Gordon, Davina McCall, Mel C, Russell Brand, Matt Haig and Alexandra Shulman; the diverse list of guests proves the wide range of topics discussed on the show, how mental health affects all of us, and how all of us are constantly searching for our own happy place.
Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you just had one more hour in the day? Well Adidas ambassador and global speaker Adrienne Herbert is finding out just that. Since becoming a morning person-convert (5.15am to be exact), Adrienne has discovered the joys of getting a head start on the day, taking back that magical hour for yourself before the rest of the world wakes up, and in this podcast, finds out how her high-achieving guests maximise their potential with their own power hours. Inspirational, fascinating and encouraging - Adrienne has hit the nail of the head of the nation's mentality. We'll see you at 6am tomorrow morning then, yeah?
My Dad Wrote a Porno
The comedy British podcast, which is hosted by Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine, follows Morton reading a chapter of his fathers erotic novel Belinda Blinked, whilst the other two react to the material.
Short Cuts is a series of short documentaries on BBC Radio 4, hosted by Josie Long and covers true stories across a range of interesting themes. The podcasts were nominated for Best Speech Programme at the Radio Academy Awards in 2014.
Dear Joan and Jericha
Brought to you by actresses Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine, this podcast mimics the agony aunts of eras gone by, and it is absolutely hilarious. I laughed thinking about it even hours later - and still even now, even though I've finished the series. Everywomen Joan Damry and Jericha Domain have between them worked in the fields of life coaching, female sexual health, psycho-genital counselling and sports journalism for the past 32 years, together they try to help solve their listeners' problems.
Call Your Girlfriend
The podcasts are hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. The audience gets a chance to listen to a phone call conversation, where the long-distance best pals discuss political issues, feminism and pop culture. Each episode receives hundreds of thousands of listeners making it the most listened to phone call in popular media.
Jessie Ware hosts a range of guests from the worlds of music, culture and politics at her dinner table - previous guests include Ed Sheeran and Sadiq Khan - where they discuss everything from food to family life. The singer and podcast host may be giving Graham Norton a run for his money.
Between us Girls
If you enjoy podcasts where it feels you are a fly on the wall in an intimate conversation between friends then this one is for you. Three friends discuss a variety of topics discussed over glasses of wine. Every week they critique a bottle of wine and try despairingly to navigate life’s ups and downs. Prepare for a lot of laughter.
It's Sex and the City for radio! The scripted comedy follows three friends meeting to gossip over coffee. Their slogan is, "When the rumours are this juicy, does it even matter if they're true?", it's reassuring that their outrageous and highly entertaining stories are fictional, so we can rest easy as moral human beings.
The Guilty Feminist
Comedian Deborah Frances-White and guests discuss topics for feminists of the 21st century. Topics include insecurities, periods and hypocrisies, so it's the podcast every women on their commute can relate to and is definitely worth a play.
Serial is an award-winning investigative journalism podcast, from the makers of This American Life, which follows one investigation over the course of a season. For example, season two focuses on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was held by the Taliban for five years, but was charged with desertion. The first two seasons have been downloaded over 340 million times. If you were hooked to Making a Murderer this is the podcast series for you.
All Killa No Filla
If you've ever found yourself Wikipedia-ing the lives of notorious serial killers at 3 am, this podcast was produced for you. Comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard Mc-Lean unravel their shared interest of horrifying stories and the minds of serial killers such as Ted Bundy. The podcast theme is probably a first of its kind.
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