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Recommendation Engine

The Week in Reviews: The Rest is Football and more

What are podcast critics saying in the Guardian, the Times and the FT this week?

9:00 AM GMT+1 on August 16, 2023

    Welcome to this week’s Recommendation Engine from Podcast Rex, rounding up the week in podcast reviews.

    The big podcast launch of the month is The Rest is Football with Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, received with mixed reviews:

    • Hollie Richardson in The Guardian - “A football pundit podcast might not be groundbreaking, but this one has some of the best voices going.”
    • James Marriott in The Times - “Even to my ignorant ears some of the observations sounded a bit obvious.”
    • Russ Williams in Podcast Rex - "The audio quality is absolutely dreadful… When you’re launching a high-profile podcast, that’s simply not good enough.”
    • Jude Rogers in the Observer - “Was this recorded in the post-match bath?”
    • Fiona Sturges in the FT - “If they can stop talking over each other and fix the sound issues, it will no doubt be huge.”

    The Guardian’s Hear Hear column recommends

    • Dear Alana, - “A harrowing tale of how a woman Simon Kent Fung never met would turn his life upside down”
    • Tiny Huge Decisions - “Will Dalia carry Mohsin and his partner Matthew’s baby so that they can have a child of their own?”
    • Speidi’s 16th Minute - “From bragging about free “influencer” trips to trending in China, they deliver a masterclass in the type of fame they know”
    • Over My Dead Body: Gone Hunting - “This podcast has true-crime classic written all over it”

    Also in Hear Hear, Rachel Aroesti selects five of the best podcasts for the summer (if it ever arrives)

    • Life’s A Beach - “Alan Carr’s boisterously camp presence brings out the best in every guest.”
    • The Line-Up - “Operating within the Off Menu template of fantasy pods, Shaun Keaveny probes guests on their ideal fest, from the location to the food to the five acts who will take to the stage.”
    • Finding Fire Island - “This lively, fascinating and impeccably researched documentary series dives into the area’s cultural history with help from a slew of high-profile fans.”
    • Grilling - “The whole thing is just an excuse for a clearly delighted Simon Rimmer to quiz his peers and elders from the cheffing world about their careers, their cookery and their summertime culinary go-tos.”
    • Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange - “If you’re eyeing up everyone else’s glorious blooms and deciding to finally enter your green-fingered era, this podcast is a great place to start.”

    Also mentioned: Do We Get To Win This Time?, History’s Secret Heroes, and Being Black: the 80s

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • Big Kick Energy - “Released to provide analysis on the Women’s World Cup, it is smart, informed, inclusive (ie you don’t need to be a football expert to find it interesting) and, as befitting a pod hosted by a pair of comics, frequently funny.”

    Jude Rogers in the Observer

    • Terribly Famous - “Anna Leong Brophy and Emily Lloyd-Saini (perky comedians and best friends) delve into the lives and careers of ‘our most iconic stars’.”

    Daisy Dunn in The Sunday Times

    • All Consuming - “They have a good rapport, but it’s more inquisitive and respectful than chummy, so we’re saved the tedious chitchat that dominates so many other factual podcasts.”

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    • History Happened Everywhere - “This delightful and entertaining podcast randomly generates a place, a time and a topic and then does a deep dive, to prove that interesting history has happened everywhere and not just the places that get covered by other mainstream outlets.”
    • The Crossbow Killer - “It’s a harrowing and strange case with questions that continue to reverberate around the local community.”
    • The Price of Conviction - “An informative and enlightening podcast that amplifies the lives of political prisoners who are serving time for standing up against authoritarian regimes.”
    • Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith - “The summer series talks about the generally unexplored topic of ‘matrescence’, which is the emotional, mental and physical changes that take place following the birth of a child.”

    In PodPod’s Earworms column:

    • Barometer’s Tamara Zubatiy: Sounds Like a Cult - “It allows me to look at seemingly mundane aspects of modern living through a new lens.”
    • Global Player’s Charles Ubaghs: Search Engine - “It’s like long form magazine journalism but using tools and narrative elements that are unique to podcasts.”
    • Nana Duncan from Two Twos Podcast: “I tend to listen to podcasts that my friends make and a lot of them are just queer, Black podcasts. So, The Classic Manny Show and the T Time Podcast by Trans men.”
    • Show On The Road’s Alex Legouix: Diary of a CEO - He has amazing guests on and I really like how he interviews them.”
    • Richard Innes from BrewDog: The Rest is Politics - “I think it is so clever, so well pitched, and so counter to the general political discourse.”

    In “Freshly Dropped” they mention Iron Cast, The Red Carpet Treatment, and Wanted.

    And in Pod Bible, Tom Nicholson curated his favourite sleep podcasts:

    • Get Sleepy - “Thomas Jones reads specially written sleep stories in an even, soothing tone.”
    • Phoebe Reads a Mystery - “You’d never think that Dracula could make for a good bedtime story.”
    • Nothing Much Happens - “Little tales of perfectly formed mundanity.”
    • Sleep Cove - “Somewhere between mindfulness and general wellness.”
    • Send Me To Sleep - “Stories ranging from Ancient Greek fables and Shakespearean adaptations to The Phantom of the Opera and The Time Machine”
    • Boring Books for Bedtime - “Just interesting enough to hold your brain’s attention, but not so interesting you want to hear any more than you absolutely have to.”
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