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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: A Halloween Hit

A spooky story has all the critics talking

10:00 AM GMT on November 1, 2023

    Welcome to this week’s Recommendation Engine from Podcast Rex, rounding up the week in podcast reviews. Get this in an email each week by signing up to be a supporter of Podcast Rex from £3.99.

    Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy:

    Spotify New & 🔥

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • Ghost Story - “The series is a ghost story wrapped in a murder mystery and bound by a series of remarkable coincidences. It’s testament to Redman’s skill as a storyteller that he’s able to nail down these many narrative strands without losing the listener.”

    James Marriott in the Times

    • The Conflict: Israel-Gaza - “Lyse Doucet’s on-the-ground knowledge distinguishes the show… It adds to a compelling feeling of being in touch with the intangible sense of the situation, which can’t be achieved from inside a studio. When Doucet recalls how she and Jo Floto instantly agreed that ‘this feels different’, it’s not a platitude but a gripping summary of the atmosphere on the ground.”

    Vicki Notaro in the Times

    • Sentimental Garbage - “Nora Ephron! Mamma Mia! Marian Keyes! All of my favourite things! Which made me ever so slightly reluctant to dive in, in case something irritated or irked me or misinformation was spouted. I needn’t have worried. O’Donoghue and her guests are incredibly informed and almost reverential about the source material.”

    Miranda Sawyer in the Observer

    • Ghost Story - “It’s the family aspect that elevates this story from a gripping who- or whatdunnit into something more interesting. It’s rare to hear from the people affected by a journalist poking around in their past.”
    • Class of ‘88 - “This is a decent attempt by Will Smith to remind us of where he came from and what he’s achieved. More importantly, it’s actually a tremendous documentary series.”
    • Shaun Keaveny’s Daily Grind - “This is a very Shaun show: a seemingly casual and slightly slow hour of chat that’s actually a well thought-out celebration of the mundane joy of the everyday. 

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • Underwater - “It’s glossy, sexy and Jason Derulo has the right level of swagger for the role. He also debuts new music – yes, there is a trademark ‘Jason Deruuuuulo’ or two.”
    • Dr Anti-vax - “The story of Dr Andrew Wakefield, the “firestarter” of a worldwide vaccine panic 25 years ago.”
    • Missing Pages - “Bethanne Patrick’s podcast about the intricacies of the literary world is back for season two, with banned books, ghostwriters and feuds.”
    • Bloodlines - “BBC Asian Network’s Poonam Taneja shows immense bravery and skill in this gripping podcast.”

    Also mentioned: Ride, Violation, Always in Season.

    And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    • The Kids of Rutherford County - “Serial was the podcast that got everyone into podcasts, so it’s fair to say that anything released under the brand’s banner is going to be top quality.”

    Radio Times reviews

    Heat’s Top of the Pods

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • When It Hits the Fan - “Recent episode explores the furore aimed at GB News and that car crash interview with the family of Captain Tom.”
    • After Dark - “Some of the spookiest stories in the UK, from a Cornish haunted jail to the story of the last person to be executed for witchcraft in the north of Scotland.”
    • Making Money - “A recommended listen for those who want to make better sense of the money and the options that they have.”
    • What I Wish I’d Known - “A key difference here is that they particularly focus on interviewees who may have had a difficult start in life.”

    In PodPod’s Earworms column:

    • Chris Lander, Global: Acid Dreams - “The sound design was incredible.”
    • James Bishop, OneFinePlay: The Colin & Samir Show - “Timely insights about what’s going on in the creator economy.”
    • Marion Atieno Osieyo, Black Earth Podcast: The Climate Conscious Podcast - “They inspire me to think creatively.”
    • Jon Hill, Tortoise: RDInsights - “A gentle listen and all the better for it.”
    • James Chandler, IAB: Leading - “You really got to understand Theresa May.”

    In “Freshly Dropped” they mention The Kids of Rutherford County, Ghost Story, Secretly Society, Where It’s At, Class of ‘88.

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