Six new podcasts to listen to this week

These are our top podcast picks.

Mummy Mayhem is a new podcast powered by Madeaux Africa Network, hosted by two millennial mums Nicole Chikwe and Feyi Bello.
Mummy Mayhem is a new podcast powered by Madeaux Africa Network, hosted by two millennial mums Nicole Chikwe and Feyi Bello.

Who doesn’t love a good story that captivates you right from the start? Or have you ever thought about putting some of our favourite telly characters on the couch?

1. Everything I Know About Me

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Personal stories

A household name since she burst onto our screens in TOWIE in 2011, Essex queen Gemma Collins, aka ‘The GC’ is back for a second series of her popular podcast, Everything I Know About Me, where she talks fame, her well-publicised battle about her weight and the pressure of living in the spotlight.

She may be living the dream, enjoying the ultimate celeb lifestyle, but it was a rocky road before fame came calling.

Here, Collins talks candidly about her past, from the torment of her teenage years, coping with bullying at her all-girls school, and the pressure of trying to fit in – resulting in her taking slimming pills at 13.

‘You were thrown into a cattle market every day and you had to survive.’ Desperately unhappy, she even started self-harming. ‘I hid it from everyone. I still have the scars now – but I’m over it now. I just wish I wasn’t in that environment.’

Thankfully, after being off school for a long period after contracting glandular fever, her mum sent her to a private school, where she thrived as she felt she was treated as an individual. Collins also opens up about her ambitious mum (the aptly named Joan Collins), who was behind her every step of the way and played a pivotal role in helping her achieve her dream of stardom.

Pre-TOWIE, there’s also a cheating boyfriend, the heartbreaking decision to terminate a pregnancy and how she felt having to go through that experience alone. Approaching 30, and feeling that nothing was working out in her life while working in a BMW car showroom, then came the phone call from TOWIE that changed the trajectory of her life. ‘We’ve been told about you, we hear you’re a bit of a character in Essex.’ And the rest is history.

Honest and heartfelt, this podcast reveals the real Gemma Collins behind the showbiz mask and her fans will love it.

(By Caroline Duggan)

2. Shrink The Box

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: TV

There’s a lot of focus on personal growth and self-awareness these days, but let’s be honest – TV would be very boring without a good dose of human messiness in the mix.

In Shrink The Box, actor and comedian Ben Bailey Smith and psychotherapist Nemone Metaxas put some of our favourite telly characters on the couch, unpicking the dynamics and driving forces behind the drama and chaos that makes them so entertaining on screen, and riffing on themes that might crop up in an imaginary therapy session.

Season two kicks off with pedantic radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane from the long-running US sitcom Frasier getting the shrink treatment. And as fans of the series will know, there’s plenty there to explore, from the ever-simmering sibling rivalry with his brother Niles (they’re both psychotherapists/analysts – Frasier Freudian and Niles Jungian) and his tricky chalk-and-cheese relationship with his father, to his topsy-turvy romantic life.

It’s funny stuff, and pop psychology fans might learn a thing or two.

(By Abi Jackson)

3. Black People Love Paramore

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Culture

Black People Love Paramore is the recent Webby-award-winning podcast where host Sequoia Holmes explores the common and uncommon interests of black people to help them feel seen.

When Holmes uploaded the first episode on March 31, 2021, her intention was never to make a Paramore podcast, but a space for marginalised people who love everything from anime, Ariana Grande, Ginger Ale and Uno, to feel safe, seen and represented.

In the latest episode, Holmes is joined by Danielle B Jackson, female friendship coach and author of the new book Fighting for Our Friendships: The Science and Art of Conflict and Connection in Women’s Relationships, which is out May 16.

They had a thought-provoking chat about bridal parties, neutral prioritisation, why we need to get our friendships together, rethinking the nature of some friendships, how they evolve as we grow in age and the subtle influences of pop culture.

Black people aren’t a monolith, so it’s great a podcast exists to prove this every week by taking a humorous look into the seemingly random things black people love.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)

4. World of Secrets

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Religion

What is a behind-the-scenes story? Sometimes when powerful stories are told, we don’t always get to hear about the incredibly hard and brave work that was done in the background.

Hosted by Love, Janessa presenter, journalist and founder of We Are Black Journos Hannah Àjàlá-Rahman, the hit BBC podcast series, World of Secrets returns for a bonus episode exploring the journalism behind the second season, The Disciples.

In front of a live audience of about 100 in London, it was exciting to hear the journalists Charlie Northcott and Yemisi Adegoke, producer Rob Byrne, and whistleblowers Rae and Ajoke, talk about the investigation into TB Joshua, Megachurch leader, who according to the BBC, raped and tortured worshippers.

It was particularly interesting hearing Adegoke speak about the level of intimidation journalists face in Nigeria and hearing more about why we need to value and protect the people who choose to speak out.

But it’s important to note that this episode contains references to sexual, physical and psychological abuse.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)

Spotlight on…

5. Chasing Boaz Manor

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Documentary

Chasing Boaz Manor is a podcast told on two timelines, with one uniting thread: a scam artist who reinvents himself to fleece even more people.

In one story, we have Boaz Manor – a young finance hotshot in Canada who’s changing the game with a new hedge fund. But all isn’t quite as it seems, as the company really is too good to be true – and investors will soon pay the price.

Years later, we have Shaun MacDonald, who seems to be a crypto whizz and is running an exciting new blockchain company. His hair is darker, his name is different – but he’s the same person, who’s just moved to America to bamboozle more people out of their money.

It’s a captivating story, and while some elements of the hedge fund and crypto businesses can get quite technical, it’s well explained by engaging host, Reacher actor Serinda Swan.

Scam artists are a dime a dozen nowadays, so you could be forgiven for never having heard of either Boaz Manor or Shaun MacDonald, but all of his scams are almost unbelievably audacious, making for a great story. All that, and he’s still out there – and who knows what he’s getting up to.

(By Prudence Wade)

6. Mummy Mayhem Podcast

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Parenting

Mummy Mayhem is a new podcast powered by Madeaux Africa Network, hosted by two millennial mums Nicole Chikwe, a social media personality, and Feyi Bello, the editor-in-chief of Perfete, who wanted to bring listeners into the beautiful chaos of their motherhood experience.

It’s fun, vibrant and full of introspection, I love the random moments where they break out into song and shower each other with love and affirmations. The podcast is truly a gift to other millennial mums still trying to find their feet.

In this episode, Chikwe and Bello talk about the joys and challenges of juggling their working lives and family, and what it’s like dealing with societal pressures. In particular, why they will continue to actively pursue their dreams outside of motherhood – they usually record episodes during the school runs.

At the heart of Mummy Mayhem are personal stories that unveil the nooks and crannies of being a mother and the power of a story, a real-life story, can never be denied.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)