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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: Buried

Plus more scams and scandals

10:00 AM GMT+1 on July 3, 2024

    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 

    • The Six Billion Dollar Gold Scam - “The Six Billion Dollar Gold Scam suffers not so much from of a stretching of material as a desire to include every detail and test every piece of evidence; I can’t be the only listener to have fitfully lost track of the protracted negotiations and summits and the ever-expanding cast of men in suits.”

    Miranda Sawyer in the Observer 

    • Sonic Fields - “It’s all beautifully done: Tyler gets something special out of his interviewees, simply because he’s gentle as well as curious. He’s expanded his use of sound in this series, layering bird song and atmosphere to gorgeous effect. And I like his idea of using the seasons to anchor the episodes.”
    • Buried: The Last Witness - “There is so much that is terrifying about this series, but it’s when Ashby and Taylor get proper scientists involved that you really start to feel sick. The scientists test the soil at various places for banned chemicals and take a reading that is the highest they’ve ever found in the world. That’s how much of a scandal this is.”
    • Backfired: The Vaping Wars - “This is an extremely interesting series, scrupulously investigated and presented by Leon Neyfakh and Arielle Pardes. It’s hard to find a single likable person in it.”

    James Marriott in the Times

    • Demoracy’s Year of Peril - “I am a sucker for a podcast with a gloomy, portentous title. Give me an eight-part series on ‘the global crisis of capitalism’ or ‘a reckoning for the liberal world order’ and I’m in heaven. Nothing like doom on a grand canvas.”

    Patricia Nicol & Clair Woodward in the Sunday Times

    • Buried: The Last Witness - “Journalistically theirs is a challenging beat. Tell someone at a drinks party that you are researching polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and whether they have leached into the food chain and they might nod encouragingly while scanning nervously for an exit. Saying you have teamed up with Michael Sheen is undeniably more enticing.”
    • Coatbridge: The Disappearance of Moira Anderson - “Sandra Brown was a neighbour of the Anderson family, and alongside the journalist Rachael Revesz she tells the full story from her perspective for the first time.”
    • Glamorous Trash - “The writer and comedian Chelsea Devantez and her guests discuss female celebrity memoirs.”

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • Famously… On Trial - “TV favourite Stacey Dooley teams up with comedian Larry Dean to revisit celebrity court cases and put them on retrial.”
    • The Youth Development Center - “Jason Moon investigates one of the biggest youth detention scandals in US history, where more than 1,000 people came forward to expose misconduct in New Hampshire’s YDC.”
    • Life in Seven Songs - “The San Francisco Standard’s Sophie Bearman challenges guests to sum up their lives in seven songs, starting with the city’s first Black female mayor, London Breed.’”
    • Was Justice Served? - “Jen Baldwin and David Wilson boast that they’ll be looking at gory, heartbreaking and sensational cases in this new podcast, which is true-crime catnip.”
    • Origin Stories - “Dotty, Matt Wilkinson and Rebecca Judd encourage a range of music-makers to open up about their early days in this Apple Music podcast.”

    In the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    • Was Justice Served? - “A collaboration with the genealogy website Find My Past, this series sees hosts Jen Baldwin and David Wilson investigate a different historical murder each week, using the evidence of the time to try to determine whether the authorities got the right culprit.”

    Highlights from the Radio Times

    • The Confessions of Anthony Raimondi - “This expensive-sounding production, which has the texture of a grappa-fuelled fever dream, is, quite rightly, unsure whether to trust Raimondi’s account or not.”
    • There’s Only One Michael Mosley - “Every word, every nuance in his conversation with psychologist Paul Bloom on the topic of ‘What Makes a Good Life’ comes loaded with the awful knowledge that this was to be his final interview for the BBC.”
    • Pylos: A Year On - “More than 600 died in one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks to date.”

    Heat’s Top of the Pods

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • The Six Billion Dollar Gold Scam - “Why did a prized geologist responsible for one of the biggest gold discoveries in the world fall out of a helicopter, to his death, in a Borneo rainforest?”
    • Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach - “If you haven’t heard the interview series where Alan Carr asks celebrity guests about their favourite trip experiences, make sure you do. It’s a hoot.”
    • Pop Culture with Chanté Joseph - “The Guardian’s pop culture podcast has returned for a new series, which always has a thoughtful eye on a trending news story.”
    • And Away We Go! With Georgia King - “The production also weaves in sights and sounds of the locations that they are describing, which makes you feel connected to the places they are talking about.”
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