10 Essential Podcasts for New Listeners

Podcasts are big, and have been for some time, with thousands of comedians, broadcasters, celebrities and even ordinary joe's taking to the airwaves to comment and talk about life, love, death, taxes, and almost everything in between. But there are still many people out there who have not discovered the joy of having a couple of people chatting in their ears about something they love. If that applies to you, now is the perfect time to find yourself a podcast to subscribe to. Here are 10 of our current favourites, in no particular order.

You will likely have some sort of podcast software on your phone already, but if you haven’t, there are several great ones available for free for both iOS and Android. Our picks are PodBean or Stitcher, which are both available from Google Play and the App Store now.

No Such Thing As A Fish

A long-time topper of the iTunes podcast chart, No Such Thing As A Fish has a huge following of people who can’t get enough of the weird and wonderful facts shared and discussed. Created by, and usually presented by, several of the “Elves” behind the BBC panel show QI, including James Harkin, Dan Schreiber and Anna Ptaszynski, this podcasts is perfect for learning weird things to share with friends on social media.

You’re Dead To Me

Often described as the history podcast for people who don’t like history, Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and history to learn and laugh about the past. Episodes include the culinary and cultural history of chocolate, the surprising history of the Victorian Christmas, and the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge. There are plenty of episodes available, although this podcast has not been around for as long as many of the others on this list.


Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the “if it bleeds, it leads” kind of crime, but something a little more complex. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. The Podcast is America, so the crimes and misadventures discussed are usually American too, but don’t let that stop you if you are a true-crime fan from elsewhere in the world.

The Adam Buxton Podcast

As the name suggests, a podcast by comedian Adam Buxton, usually talking to a guest about all manner of things, both sensible and highly silly. Past guests have included Jeff Goldblum, Billy Connolly, Derren Brown, Joe Cornish and Louis Theroux. The podcast has been going since 2015, so there are hundreds of episodes to catch up on if you find this brilliant mix of chat, philosophical musings and comedy appealing.

Making Sense with Sam Harris

If you are looking for something a little more brain-taxing to listen to, Making Sense is a great choice. Join neuroscientist, philosopher and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind society and current events. Recent episodes include a look at social cohesion, the future of work, responding to Coronavirus and wealth & happiness.

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better. It is often sad enough to bring a tear to your eye, but always brings something positive to take away. Great for when you are feeling life is treating you badly.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Science/comedy chat with Brian Cox, Robin Ince and guests. Witty, irreverent look at the world according to science with physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince. At times bafflingly scientific, at others incredibly silly and fun, this is one we never miss an episode of!

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Imagine if your Dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it and pretend it had never happened – but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he’s decided to read it to the world in this award-winning comedy podcast. Often a bit weird, but equally often laugh-out-loud funny, don’t let the title put you off.


David Earl, Joe Wilkinson and Poppy Hillstead read out unsubstantiated rumours sent in by listeners. At the end of each episode they choose their favourite piece of gossip and help spread it further by getting Poppy to shout it out the window. It sounds mental, and it often is, but if you are a fan of David Earl or Joe Wilkinson (which we definitely are!), this is great stuff.

Distraction Pieces

The Distraction Pieces Podcast is a weekly conversation between Scroobius Pip and a wide range of guests, from Simon Pegg to Amanda Palmer, Russell Brand to Gail Porter, James McAvoy to Lauren Laverne, Stewart Lee to Kathy Burke… and even the occasional person you may not have heard of, but has an amazing story to tell. Being huge fans of Scroobius Pip led us to this podcast, but there is lots here even for those who have never heard his name or music.

Find more guides like this in…

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

Related Articles

Back to top button