Skip to Content
Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: What’s up with WhatsApp?

Helen Lewis looks at instant messaging

10:00 AM GMT+1 on April 24, 2024

    Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy:

    Spotify New & 🔥

    Tristram Fane Saunders in the Telegraph

    • Helen Lewis Has Left the Chat - “An aimless, gossipy pilot that couldn’t settle on a tone, but it found its feet in its gripping second episode, a critique of ‘the WhatsAppification of politics.’”

    James Marriott in the Times

    • Helen Lewis Has Left the Chat - “Lewis’s thesis is that the speed, impersonality and blurred private/professional dynamic of WhatsApp groups is what makes them so reliably awful. Is a parents’ WhatsApp group the equivalent of a chat by the school gates or is it a more formal space? Is Slack (the office instant messaging service that was supposed to replace email) a gossip by the water cooler or is it an all-hands employee grievance meeting?.”

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • Split Screen: Kid Nation - “Josh Gwynn paints a grimly unsettling picture of naive parents, terrified children and ratings-hungry TV execs who are still trying to justify their decisions 17 years later.”
    • The Bachelor of Buckingham Palace - “TV journalist Scott Bryan is our host who has a good laugh at I Wanna Marry Harry’s myriad WTF moments — we listen in on him and his producer as they watch the series, which sounds tedious but is a hoot — while taking the deception at the heart of the show entirely seriously.”

    Miranda Sawyer in the Observer

    • Fragments: The London Nail Bombings - “All the subjects’ descriptions of what happened are so clear, so matter-of-fact, that at first I thought they hadn’t been badly affected. But later in the programme, both Cash and Taylor said that they’d suffered from PTSD.”
    • Amazing Sport Stories: Chasing Mountains - “During the 00s, various elite female climbers separately decided to try to complete climbing’s hardest feat: to conquer all 14 of the world’s tallest mountains. And our host is… some American woman, and then, suddenly, a well-spoken female English voice pops up.”
    • How Was it for You? - “Parris and Brigstocke are lovely people to spend time with."

    Patricia Nicol & Clair Woodward in the Sunday Times

    • Miss Me? - “I felt vexed that these nepo-babies had been given a licence-fee-funded platform for their catch-up. Five weeks and ten episodes in, I have mellowed considerably to Allen and Oliver. That initial spikiness now seems defensive; with an established audience and questions to riff off, the show has become warm and self-deprecatingly funny.”
    • The Price of Paradise - “Alice Levine tells the jaw-dropping true story of a deadly land battle in Nicaragua with two women at its centre.”
    • Cold Tapes - “An audio murder mystery in which there’s a £10,000 prize for the person who solves the case.”
    • The Apple & The Tree - “Just when you thought there were too many parenting podcasts comes this twist on the genre.”
    • Soul Boom - “Exploring creativity and spirituality, aiming to ‘tickle your heart, mind and soul.’”

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • The Price of Paradise - “A tale of a family who left their comfortable English life behind, but soon became embroiled in controversy, corruption and kidnap.”
    • Deep Cover: The Nameless Man - “Jake Halpern’s painstakingly researched fourth season follows two federal agents who investigate a rumour that a teenager bragged about killing a Black man to get into a white supremacy group.”
    • Lessons in Dyslexic Thinking - “Grit, determination, heightened spatial awareness: all qualities that Muhammad Ali possessed, and which host Kate Griggs identifies as forms of dyslexic thinking.”
    • The Apple & the Tree - “Narrator Vogue Williams brings parents and children together for heart-to-hearts in this warm and intimate podcast.”
    • Cold Tapes - “A cold case about the murder of a behavioural scientist on a remote base in the Antarctic midwinter is the setting for this innovative murder mystery game.”

    And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    • Split Screen: Kid Nation - “This new series recalls Kid Nation, the Lord of the Flies-inspired reality show that dumped 40 children into a US desert town and asked them to create their own society.”

    Highlights from the Radio Times

    • Queen of the Con - “American TV producer Jonathan Walton describes how he was scammed out of a small fortune by a former friend who had claimed to be a member of the Irish royal family.”
    • Michael Spicer: No Room - “Expect angry observations on modern life.”
    • One Life for Another - “True crime doesn’t get more bizarre than this tale from Mexico.”
    • Without - “Omar El Akkad delivers potent food for thought as he contemplates not only the things we could probably do without, but also those we can ill-afford to lose.”

    Heat’s Top of the Pods

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • The Curious History of Your Home - “If you think that a podcast looking at the history of wallpaper, the household fridge and dishwashers wouldn’t be a totally engrossing listen, you would be wrong.”
    • The Apple & The Tree - “Hones in on the conversations that we don’t have with our closed loved ones.”
    • The Butterfly King - “A series exploring the strange death of King Boris III of Bulgaria.”
    • How Was it for You? - “The chemistry between them is great.”
    Already a user?Log in

    Thanks for reading our articles on Podcast Rex

    To continue reading articles here for free we need you to register. You can also choose to get our free podcast recommendation newsletter - Great British Podcasts. Already get it? Log in with that email address below to get access to more stories here on

    Fancy supporting the work we do? Subscribe here for extra benefits.

    Stay in touch

    Sign up for our free newsletter

    More from Podcast Rex

    New Discovery: FC Bullard

    A football podcast with a difference

    May 24, 2024

    Election Daily: Rain Starts Play

    We kick off our daily email election newsletter - here's what the podcasts have revealed in the last 24 hours.

    May 24, 2024

    Recommendation Engine: A Yorkshire Mystery

    Plus a healthy dose of history and culture

    May 22, 2024