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Our Favourite Podcasts of 2023

The Podcast Rex team on an amazing year for listeners

2023 is drawing to a close and that means it's time to take a look at an incredible year of podcasting. Listeners have been spoilt this year with some incredible storytelling, analysis and entertainment so we've gathered the Podcast Rex team together to give some much deserved love to the best of the bunch.

Anya G Spence, contributor, Podcast Rex

The Girlfriends: In 1995, Carole Fisher became entangled with Bob Bierenbaum - a plastic surgeon whose ex-wife mysteriously went missing. This captivating and thought-provoking 9-part series follows the story of how Carole and a group of Bob's ex-girlfriends became obsessed with finding out the truth. Expect a true crime story that will make you stop and think about every other true crime narrative (and don't forget to prepare tissues for the last episode).

In today’s media landscape, it is so easy to get overwhelmed by the news. There are things you need to know as well as the things you need to know are just categorically not true — and Media Storm is just the antidote to all of your current affairs contradictions. Mathilda Mallinson and Helena Wadia hand the mic to people with experience of stories in the headlines and meticulously fact check all of their investigations to provide you with voices that are usually silenced in current affairs coverage. Besides their undeniable chemistry, the hosts report on their topics with great authority so prepare to fangirl over them just like I have been doing.

Patrick Carter, contributor, Recommendation Engine newsletter

Remember when everyone was asking how often you thought about the Roman Empire? Tides of History is a podcast for people who aren’t thinking about the Roman Empire at all because they’re too busy thinking about the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

Tides stands out from other history podcasts through its exploration of underappreciated topics and host Patrick Wyman’s determination to see the past through the eyes of ordinary people rather than great emperors or generals. It’s had an excellent year, long may it continue.

Matt Deegan, co-founder, Podcast Rex

I have a huge affection for radio, and love hearing stories about people who were at the top of their game in the late 90s/early 00s whilst I was toiling to try and get into the industry. Crunch and Roll does this in a lovely and warm way.

They Like To Watch is a podcast that's evolved from a great Succession-focused show to a broader one about TV. It combines insight, sometimes cutting, with good interviews and an impressively no holds barred insight into the husband and wife's home lives.

As the host of The Media Podcast I love media gossip and discussion. Tuning into Beeb Watch with ex-Feedback presenter Roger Bolton is likely listening to a much better, grown up version of what I try and do each week.

Catherine Carr, contributor, Podcast Rex

My absolute favourite podcast of all time is We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle and Abbie Wambach . It got me through two lock downs and their conversations are so thoughtful and helpful.

Normal Gossip is a masterclass in storytelling. It’s hilarious and silly but also very revealing about different micro communities and how people relate to each other. I adore it.

From BBC Sounds Intrigue: Million Dollar Lover is just a thing of sheer beauty. Sue Mitchell is a peerless reporter and producer and in this series she presents too. Because the story happens on her doorstep. Written by radio maven Winifred Robinson the series leaves you conflicted and thinking for days about the rights and wrongs of a love affair between an elderly wealthy widow and her younger ex-con boyfriend.

Lauren Layfield, host, Your Next Podcast

Based on a true story, Hooked on Freddie is a truly original podcast that will leave you genuinely agog!

Closet Confessions: This podcast has been everywhere this year. I love Candice and Coco so much, the type of women you could listen to chatting all day long.

Telling the Story of HIV from Terry Higgins, one of the first people to die of an AIDS related illness in the UK, to today, A Positive Life picked up Podcast of the Year at the British Podcast Awards. For good reason; this is a smart and sensitive podcast.

Why The Hell Are We Friends?: Have you ever wondered why you’re mates… with your mates? Muj and Ellis are the same and guide you through their friendship-similarities and differences.

Josh Divney, Content Lead, Podcast Rex

It may be one of the oldest living podcasts, having launched in 2007, but I only took the time to listen to the Football Ramble for the first time this year. I was instantly hooked. It’s the perfect formula for a football podcast; smart but not serious with likeable hosts you can enjoy spending time with. Very much a “chat down the pub with your mates” podcast, except my mates aren’t this funny.

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