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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: The Best of the Best Ofs

We round up the yearly round ups. Plus: pirates!

10:00 AM GMT on December 13, 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 & 🔥

    Everyone’s talking about: The Pirate of Prague, History for You

    More best of 2023 lists are out, most significantly - ours! You can find that here. If you’re after even more, see the FT, the Week, Time, Vogue et al. 

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • The Second Victim - “It is rare to find a podcast so visceral, intimate and full of emotional complexity as it puts an unimaginable situation into words. It also provides a steep learning curve as we are tutored in the iniquities of the care and justice systems.”

    James Marriott in the Times

    • The Pirate of Prague - “Nobody is more jaded by tales of outlandish scams than I am but The Pirate of Prague revived my failing stamina.”
    • History for You - “There are flashes of something funny here. Unfortunately, a podcast parodying two people waffling for half an hour is perilously close to a podcast that just consists of … two people waffling for half an hour.”

    Miranda Sawyer in the Observer

    • Help I Sexted My Boss - “It’s a warm, relaxed listen. North’s dippiness hides a highly experienced broadcaster with the chops to work around anything that’s thrown at him, as listeners to Radio 1 know. Plus, his laugh is madly infectious. Hanson, too, is funny, playing up to his upper-class role and acting as a steady anchor to North’s butterfly mind.”

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • Gooned - “Horrendous revelations from a manipulative industry.”
    • Lights Out - “A home for one-off projects led by luxurious sound.”
    • How to Keep Time - “Thought-provoking discussions on existential dread, the cult of being busy and the ‘social clock.’”
    • Radical - “In this thoughtful series, Mosi Secret looks at the life of the civil rights activist formerly known as H Rap Brown and the many complex strands that cross it."
    • British Scandal: The Aitken Affair - “The latest scandal in this hit series.”

    And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    • History for You - “If a podcast entitled History for You with Douglas and Hugh sounds like something you’d pay not to listen to, then you are probably the right audience for this spoof.

    Highlights from the Radio Times

    • Fairy Meadow: A New Lead - “This 2022 podcast has just been reactivated because a potential witness has come forward for the first time.”
    • The Pirate of Prague - “The tale of a grifter’s quest for unimaginable wealth.”
    • Why? - “The trouble is that every episode leaves you wanting more.”
    • Seven: Rob Burrow - “Pushes the boundaries to great effect.”
    • Script Apart - “The first-draft secrets behind beloved films.”

    Heat’s Top of the Pods

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • Death of a Codebreaker - “Was his death the result of his own complicated private life, or was a ‘third party,’ such as agents linked to the Russian state, responsible?”
    • Sam Mendes Presents David Copperfield - “Ncuti Gatwa! Helena Bonham Carter! Richard Armitage! Jessie Buckley! Theo James! And executive produced by... Sam Mendes! And the soundtrack put together by Dan James from The Feeling. Bloody hell."
    • Sky News Daily - “Episodes are only 15 minutes each, which makes the analysis sharp and snappy.”
    • if we don’t laugh we’ll cry - “A lovely little self-produced podcast for anyone experiencing grief at the moment.”

    In PodPod’s Earworms column:

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