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12 best podcasts for your lockdown walks

The Tier System means that December 2020 might be the most anti-social on record. Never mind. Make friends with your podcast app instead.

When I lived on my own in London, Radio 4 was on constantly. Yes, I liked to know what was going on in the world but mostly, I liked having someone talk to me; it was incredibly soothing. Precisely why nowadays my solo walks and (less frequent!) runs are accompanied by a podcast. If it’s true crime or just good comedy, it gives my mind the break it’s craving. So pull on your warmest coat and your woolliest socks, download one of the below and hit the footpaths with all the company you need.

Grounded with Louis Theroux

Grounded with Louis Theroux

During lockdown, while the rest of us were walking around in our pants while simultaneously hosting a zoom meeting, Louis Theroux was tracking down all the people he wished he’d interviewed. Season 1 of Grounded came out in early summer (guests included Rose McGowan and Helena Bonham Carter) and Season 2 has just begun with Sia and Michaela Cole already in the bag.

Michelle Obama Podcast

The Michelle Obama Podcast

Produced by Michelle’s very own production company Higher Ground, this Spotify original sees the former FLOTUS talk with her family and friends (yes, Barack is the first guest) about marriage, friendships, working women, raising children and all the other big topics that affect many of us throughout our lives. Thought-provoking and inspiring.

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

This long-running series shows no signs of slowing down. Journalist Elizabeth Day speaks to a huge spectrum of well-known names (Jamie Dornan to Nadiya Hussein) to ask them about their successes and failures in their journey to the big time.

The Rewatchables

The Rewatchables

If you’re the sort of person who likes your favourite shows with a good helping of spin-off (Extra Slice to Bake OffIt Takes Two to Strictly), well now is the time to listen to podcasts examining every scene of your favourite films. The Rewatchables does just that in minute detail, with longish episodes dissecting films as diverse as While You Were Sleeping to Gone Girl.

You’re Wrong About

We’ve all been guilty of judging people and situations from the periphery and this podcast aims to fix that by using the hosts Mike Hobbes and Sarah Marshall’s journalistic skills to get to the actual truth. From Princess Diana to O.J. Simpson, their research is painstaking and detailed and almost guaranteed to turn what you thought you knew on its head.

Feel better live more

Feel Better, Live More

You may know Dr Rangan Chatterjee for his ‘four pillar plan’ to health and happiness, focusing on food, movement, sleep and relaxation. His No.1 podcast talks to like-minded experts – and occasionally celebrities – about how to assuage modern-day assaults on our health and the hacks they use to live better lives.

Redhanded photo by Steve Ullathorne
Credit: Steve Ullathorne 

Redhanded

If you’re a sucker for anything creepy, be it serial killers to hauntings, this is the podcast for you. The award-winning Redhanded, hosted by Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala, dissects crimes and weird happenings through a societal prism that takes into account such factors as misogyny and mental illness. Fascinating and three years of episodes to get stuck into.

Phoebe Reads a Mystery

Phoebe Reads A Mystery

This is simple but very effective, especially if you have a set walk you like to do daily. American journalist Phoebe Judge reads a chapter a day of a mystery novel, be it Dracula or Hound of the Baskervilles. There’s plenty to binge on but once you’re up to speed, you’ll have to wait a day for the next installment.

Something rhymes with purple

Something Rhymes With Purple

If you’re a Countdown fan – or even if you’re not – it’s hard not to get sucked into this podcast hosted by broadcaster and wordsmith Charles Brandeth and Countdown’s own entomologist Suzie Dent as they discuss the origins, meanings and social context of the words we use. Language fact fans will have a field day here.

Katherine Ryan

Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything

If you’re a fan of Katherine Ryan (and you should be), her podcast is more of the same – acerbic, funny, whip smart and with an opinion on just about everything. Plus, she gives her point of view on letters listeners send in. If you like your women clever and socially astute, this is your girl.

How I built this

How I Built This With Guy Raz

Entrepreneurs Assemble! This long-running podcast sees American journalist Guy Raz take a deep dive into the story behind some of the world’s biggest companies and how they came to be. Mixing journalistic research with fantastic storytelling, current business owners (or wannabes) will find loads of inspiration here.

The Calmer You

The Calmer You Podcast

Anxiety and stress getting the better of you? Well you could do worse than download some episodes of this podcast by hypnotherapist and coach Chloe Brotheridge. Chloe covers subjects such as sleep, winter moods and perfectionism with the help of experts and celebrities. 

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