6 podcasts to listen to this week

These are our top podcast picks.

The latest episode of Your Aunties Could Never podcast is important and necessary
Your Auntie's Could Never The latest episode of Your Aunties Could Never podcast is important and necessary

Heartfelt solidarity with Diane Abbott? Amber Heard lost and Johnny Depp was vindicated, but what if Amber was actually the victim of an organised trolling campaign? The UK’s reputation as a global investment destination hit rock bottom last April – will there be any more shocks for the UK economy this year?

Best podcasts of the week

1. Who Trolled Amber?

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Society

Cast your mind back to 2022 and the Depp v. Heard court case, when Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation.

Even if you had no interest in the case, the individuals involved, or celebrity culture as a whole, you will have heard about it – likely through the nasty posts viciously criticising Heard and staunchly supporting Depp that flooded social media that year.

That’s exactly what investigative journalist Alexi Mostrous – responsible for the excellent 2021 podcast, Sweet Bobby – looks at in his latest series, Who Trolled Amber?

He dives into the deluge of anti-Amber Heard social media posts, discovering that vast swathes of them could be the work of bots, while examining who would wage this kind of online war and why.

The story isn’t always linear – there are fascinating side quests which inform the main narrative, like the case study of a teenage murderer, which shows on a smaller scale how bot campaigns work. It’s a well-explained and fascinating story about how online campaigns can change how people think – without them even realising what’s happened.

(By Prudence Wade)

2. Your Aunties Could Never

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Society

Auntie AK, Auntie Farrah, Auntie Nana and Auntie Sade are four friends who have all come from different walks of life.

But in the latest episode of Your Aunties Could Never, guest host Marianne Sunshine (covering for Auntie AK) and Nicky – also the co-host of The Laid Bare Podcast and The Borough Section Podcast – join them to talk honestly about what is happening in the UK and around the world, pop culture, and towards the end, solve some very interesting dilemmas.

The conversation begins with the ladies discussing the current situation concerning the US House passing a bill that could ban TikTok nationwide. They then speak about how Anthony Joshua knocked out Francis Ngannou in just two rounds.

But the most important part of this episode was their heartfelt solidarity with Diane Abbott, who has been subject to racist remarks from Tory donor Frank Hester. He’s reported to have said the MP made him want “to hate all black women” and that she “should be shot”.

They talk about how these remarks have genuinely left them disheartened and furious – rightly so. But it’s not that they are surprised, just truly exhausted, pleading for people to acknowledge their humanity.

At a time when black women’s’ trauma is publicly used as a pawn inside and outside of politics, the unfiltered, witty and hilarious voices on Your Aunties Could Never podcast are important and necessary.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)

 3. Baby, This is Keke Palmer

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Entertainment

How do we find our purpose? Do we need purpose in work if we already find purpose in life? That’s the question all-round entertainer Keke Palmer asked her mum Sharon in the latest episode of her Wondery podcast, Baby, This is Keke Palmer.

She is later joined by Academy Award nominee actress Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, who has recently starred in Origin, a new biographical drama film written and directed by Ava DuVernay, based on the life of author and New York Times journalist, Isabel Wilkerson.

“Someone saw something in me before I could see it in myself,” said Ellis-Taylor, while explaining why her pursuit for acting – despite being booked for roles – was a little stagnant and unfulfilling to start with.

But when roles started to allow her to really start communicating how she felt – in particular The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel – she began to see her impact and purpose in acting.

My favourite part of this episode was when Ellis-Taylor spoke about being in the darkness, feeling unseen and the recent viral moment she had online – giving out flyers for her new movie Origin outside of a cinema.

“I did it because it needed to be done,” said Ellis-Taylor.

And I think that’s a beautiful lesson on why it’s important to pursue purposeful work.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)

4. Bloomberg UK Politics

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Politics

Last April, the UK’s reputation as a global investment destination was tarnished, when Microsoft president Brad Smith said the European Union was a more attractive place to start a business.

According to Bloomberg Radio anchor Caroline Hepker, who has spent the past two months talking to a number of CEOs and chairs in UK business, from insurance to asset management, advertising to property and retail, confidence is recovering.

Official figures also indicate that the UK still remains the top investment destination following the US, trumping even China. But is there a more bullish case to be made for Britain?

In an election year, it’s important to have clear and unbiased coverage that shares the facts about the current state of the UK economy – outside of household bills and expenses – alongside analysis that actually breaks things down. And that’s what Bloomberg Daybreak: Europe does with such ease.

It’s not one to listen to while doing the dishes, because there are so many important tidbits I think can go over your head as a listener – especially one who doesn’t come from an economic background.

Hopefully there are no more shocks in store for the UK economy this year.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)

Spotlight on…

5. Deadly Silent podcast

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Health

Nearly eight in 10 men stay silent about prostate cancer symptoms, says host Nick Owen, long-time presenter of BBC Midlands Today, who was diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of the disease in April 2023. Now, he’s on a mission to break any taboo that men feel talking about symptoms, with the private care company GenesisCare, which is behind the podcast.

In the first in the series, 76-year-old Owen is joined by Dr Kanti Patel who has also fought prostate cancer. It’s an important matter, dealt gently and with honestly by Owen, who is urging other men to get tested, whether they have symptoms (like difficulty starting to urinate, or needing to go more often) or not.

In an attempt to work out ways men are more comfortable opening up, Owen and Patel meet on a golf course, and it’s strangely comforting to listen to, with the sound of clubs swinging and balls hitting in the background while the men share a game, while at the same time being upfront and informative – ending with another expert Q&A.

A must-listen for any man over 50, who are more likely to be diagnosed than their younger peers. Black men and anyone with the disease in the family are at a higher risk too, according to Prostate Cancer UK.

(By Lauren Taylor)

6. Educating Daisy

Streaming platform: All streaming platforms

Genre: Arts

Audible’s Original Educating Daisy is basically where actress and writer Daisy May Cooper is introduced to new literature that she probably won’t read.

Cooper would love to read more if she had the time, but often doesn’t know where to start.

Back with a second season launching on March 14, the host is joined by comedian and actor Greg Davies, who isn’t really a big reader either. “[But] life is just a bit better when you read,” he admits to May. And I couldn’t agree more.

He goes on to talk – quite passionately – about the four books he whizzed through on a recent holiday, which makes for a great laugh between the pair.

Cooper has five more celebrity friends, including Tom Davis, Sindhu Vee, Rylan Clark, Danny Robins and Kerry Godliman, who try to convert her to their books of choice by telling her all about their favourite classics. She promises she’ll definitely read one of them by the end of the series. But, from the sound of the first episode, I’m not sure if listeners would believe her.

(By Yolanthé Fawehinmi)