Stuck for listening inspo? Here are seven must-listen, mind-expanding new podcasts.

Lockdown was an odd time for podcasters. They couldn’t record their episodes exactly as they had planned to and had, like everyone, to come up with new ways of working. (Fearne Cotton took to recording her podcast, Happy Place, under her duvet.) At the same time, with the extinction of the regular commute, listeners’ habits changed. But producers and listeners have triumphed over adversity and there are plenty of new podcasts to get your teeth into this month. Listen up: here are seven of the best.

The Michelle Obama Podcast

In this much-hyped new podcast, Michelle Obama speaks to friends, family members (Barack is her first guest) and former colleagues about the relationships that shape us.
The FT says: ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast is entirely worth your time, not least because its host’s worldview remains largely one of optimism even while acknowledging the challenges the world is facing right now.’ (Warning: you will need a Spotify account to listen to this – but, frankly, it’s a wonder you got through lockdown without one and you owe it to yourself to sign up today.)

Spinning Plates With Sophie Ellis Bextor

Remember Sophie Ellis Bextor from the Noughties? Of course you do, particularly after her brilliant lockdown disco sessions. She is still a singer-songwriter but she is now also the mother of five sons. In this brilliant new podcast, the star speaks to busy, inspirational, working women – who are mothers, too – about how they make it all work. Her guests include Janet Ellis (her mum), Fearne Cotton and Myleene Klass. The Caitlin Moran one, which was filmed in Caitlin’s garden pod, is a particular highlight. She is brilliant on things like the importance of gardening for the soul, how everybody needs a room of their own and how hangovers in your forties are intolerable.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby

This brand new weekly rugby show, hosted by Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne and former professional rugby players James Haskell and Mike Tindall, is just so hot right now. Each week a different guest – ranging from fellow rugby legends to TV stars from around the world – joins the brilliant panel for a chat that promises to be lively, insightful and extremely entertaining. Early reviews are sensational.

Grounded With Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux used lockdown to approach some of the celebrities he’s always longed to talk to, from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic. The result is 10 brilliant episodes, with a range of gripping guests. He says: ‘Doing the podcast kept me sane during lockdown. Being able to have long-form chats with people I admired or was interested in turned out to be the perfect tonic at a time when, quite honestly, with everything going on in the world, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Partly it was an excuse to have some time out from the family (don’t tell my wife). But it was also a chance to feel a little bit useful at a difficult time for everyone.’ We say: don’t miss the Helena Bonham Carter one.

Elevenses With Danielle Perry

In this fresh format, the British broadcaster, writer and musician Danielle Perry sits down for a mid-morning break of tea and biscuits with an array of interesting guests, who all answer the same 11 questions as each other. Some of the podcast was recorded during lockdown and it is designed to ‘highlight the importance of conversation’. Danielle picks incredible guests including Steve Coogan, Jeff Goldblum and Sophie Dahl, whose varied answers to questions like ‘What is your earliest memory?’ and ‘Are you scared of anything?’ make for compelling listening. It is no wonder that this podcast is quickly amassing fans.

A Cuppa Happy

Singer Joss Stone wonders, as we all do, what it is to be happy and how we get there. During this weekly show, she speaks to guests in the hope of finding answers to those big questions. Her guests include a doctor of happiness, an illusionist and a mind-over-matter master. Their perspectives can be challenging, and their views are often surprising, but you will learn a lot – and have a laugh – along the way. Look out for the thought-provoking episode in which Joss talks to Meik Wiking, founder and CEO of The Happiness Research Institute and author of the brilliant book, The Little Book of Hygge.

Fortnum’s Hungry Minds

If you love food and devote as much time as we do to thinking about it, preparing it, eating it and discussing it, this one is for you. In this brand new series, which is the heritage department store’s first ever podcast, food writer and restaurant critic Tom Parker-Bowles (who has written two books for Fortnum’s and is working on a third) talks to leading chefs, farmers, writers and food campaigners about the latest ideas and trends in the world of food.

By Becky Ladenburg
September 2020


Digital Guide To Wild Swimming
How To Master The Art of Tablescaping
How To Forage

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.