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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: The Week in Podcast Reviews

Featuring Kylie Minogue, Alan Partridge and "the Greek Robin Hood".

9:00 AM GMT+1 on August 30, 2023

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

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • Outlaws: The Good Thief - “In a medium that endlessly spotlights the grisly stories of abusers and killers, it is refreshing to find a true-crime podcast about a criminal who goes out of his way to avoid causing distress (he once returned a stolen getaway car to its owner freshly washed and with cash under the carpet).”

    Fiona McCann in the Irish Times

    • Stretch Marks - “O’Moore is holding her own, proving a compassionate and curious interviewer with plenty to say for herself.”

    Miranda Sawyer in the Observer

    • Under Cover of Knight - “Over and over, questions are answered in the most mundane manner.”
    • The Trial of Lucy Letby - “The show’s promotion borders on the offensive but the podcast itself is interesting and well done, if you wonder how such complicated crimes are investigated and tried.”

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • Eras: Kylie Minogue - “Basically, everybody just loves an excuse to listen to old-school Kylie.”
    • Fearless with Trinny Woodall - “The eccentric straight-talking stylist has come a long way since her What Not to Wear days.”
    • Swipe Your Sign - “Those of us who grew up tracking our Love Days at the back of gossip magazines have got serious catching up to do.”
    • From the Oasthouse - “Alan Partridge navigates the birth of a new grandchild, his own relationship and, of course, the culture wars.”
    • Trials to Triumphs - “A soul-bearing podcast in which Ashley Blaine Featherson-Jenkins interviews inspiring women about the challenging moments in their lives, and what good came from them”

    Also in Hear Here, Priya Bharadia picks five podcasts that cross generational divides:

    • Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus - “The wisdom and honest advice from the interviewees makes for a heartwarming listen.”
    • Like Mother, Like Daughter Or Not - “Together they tackle major taboos and unspoken tensions within their community.”
    • Still Buffering - “Bridging the gap between the teenagers of yesterday and today, this podcast often focuses on characters or artists who span several decades.”
    • Dad and Daughter Do Death - “Rather like sitting in on a pleasant (if gruesome) dinner conversation between your two nerdy relatives.”
    • WhatIF? - “The panellists always bring grace and nuance to their exchange of perspectives.”

    Also mentioned: Technically Confident, A Life More Wild and Don’t Panic.

    And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    • Do We Get To Win This Time? - “a subject that feels familiar but is told freshly: how American cinema has depicted and in turn shaped wider cultural perceptions around the Vietnam war”

    Radio Times recommends

    • The Explorers Podcast - "Unsullied by surplus sound effects and uncluttered by the usual cooked-up cliffhangers."
    • Rugby Union Daily - "With the quadrennial event of a World Cup, 5 Live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast is stepping up to treat all cases of tournament fever."
    • Secrets We Keep - "A sad tale of shamed young women, alcoholism and forced adoption."
    • In the Cards - "The actor playing Gil is reminiscent of Jim Carrey with his energetic performance, and this is a surprisingly good romcom with a supernatural touch."
    • Big Picture Science - "Burning issues take centre stage in an illuminating science and tech pod."

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • American History Hit - “Each episode is informative, educational and well produced.”
    • The Missing Madonna - “The intriguing story of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most notable paintings and how it being swiped from a Scottish castle in 2003 resulted in it becoming Scotland’s biggest ever art heist.”
    • Sara and Cariad’s Weirdo’s Book Club - “A book club for people who simply hate book clubs.”
    • Waterlands - “Just like other great podcasts that explore the great outdoors, you’ll hear a rich array of sounds from nature weaved in with the narration.”

    In PodPod’s Earworms column:

    • Carl Javier, PumaPodcast: The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks - “It really dives into how we became abusive to other people on the internet and how these trends began.”
    • Anthony Frasier, ABF Creative: Founders - “The world's best memoirs, essays, biographies, and autobiographies broken down into digestible chunks.”
    • Rowan Collinson, Spotify: The Town - “I'm transported to Beverly Hills on a virtual lunch date with Hollywood insiders.”

    In “Freshly Dropped” they mention Blowback, Handsome, How to Think About A.I., Two Good Sports and If This Food Could Talk.

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