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Stay at home, be happy: The best podcasts to brighten up your lockdown

No Such Thing As A Fish

Conceived by the researchers on hit TV show QI, this is a big beast, with tours and TV shows. It’s about the joy of discovering fun facts and quirky trivia. Each week, Dan, James, Andrew and Anna (pictured) consider each other’s new nuggets of knowledge and wander off in unimaginable tangents.

Adam Buxton

Adam Buxton (above), of Channel 4’s Adam And Joe Show fame, is a prolific, seasoned podcaster, and his thoughtful and funny interview style is easy on the ear and puts his guests at ease. It results in engaging, illuminating long-form interviews with luminaries such as writer Zadie Smith, director and satirist Chris Morris, actress Kathy Burke, comedian Billy Connolly, and illusionist Derren Brown.

Happy Place

Fearne Cotton’s podcast builds on the TV and radio personality’s pivot into wellbeing. She talks to guests about overcoming challenges, discussing life, love and loss, with tips for finding happiness and maintaining wellbeing. Happy Place is into series three. Guests include Rio and Kate Ferdinand, Nadiya Hussain and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

London, Actually

No, this isn’t a navel-gazing podcast about the self-absorbed capital city, it’s the podcast of award-winning comedian London Hughes (above). Her break out, stand-up show To Catch A D**k wowed Edinburgh in 2019, and her search for love after ‘completing Tinder’ came with the help of special guests — well, mainly comedians — such as Phil Wang, Desiree Burch, Shappi Khorsandi and Dane Baptiste.

The Scummy Mummies

No one will be able to say of motherhood, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell us about us this?’ thanks to Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn (above) trading the warts-and-all realities with their guests of being responsible for babies, toddlers, tweens and teens. Whether it’s pelvic-floor exercises, traumatic births, being a gay parent or struggling to conceive, their humour and empathy are in plentiful supply.

The Receipts

The award-winning podcast sees Tolly, Milena and Audrey (above) frankly discussing relationships and life. The trio, in effect, are agony aunts with listeners sending in problems and asking for advice. For example: ‘I’m jealous of my boyfriend’s work wife’ (this exploded on Insta and Twitter) and: ‘How do I tell my boyfriend to clean his toilet?’ There are guests too, with Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32 and Yewande (Love Island), featuring in recent months. Check out the Instagram page.,

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Before he was a comedian making TV shows with his mum, Romesh Ranganathan (above) was a teacher and wannabe rapper. His podcast allows MC ‘Ranga’ to indulge his passion for hip hop here, and he discusses great questions, such as: ‘What’s your greatest hip hop album of all time?’ Guests include actor Riz Ahmed, MC Little Simz, footballer Patrice Evra, and, er, Louis Theroux.

Reasons To Be Cheerful

We all need reasons to be cheerful right now, and Ed Miliband’s hugely successful podcast, with Sony award-winning radio host Geoff Lloyd, invites interesting people with bright ideas onto the show for a chinwag. RTBC mainly works because of the chemistry between Ed (above), the genial, centrist dad, and Geoff who’s an expert in amiably teasing out Ed’s geekiness. Optimism and hope is very much the vibe.

The Guilty Feminist

The podcast fronted by comedian Deborah Frances-White has become a phenomenon, spawning a live tour (UK and international) and merch. It gives a platform to women and minority genders to speak unapologetically about their lives, hopes, aspirations and flaws. Each podcast opens with the line, “I’m a feminist, but…” and is followed by a confession. At 75million downloads and counting, it’s safe to say TGF is connecting.

My Dad Wrote A Porno

Who would have thought that someone discovering their dad’s attempt at erotic fiction and reading it out aloud with the help of their best mates, would become a cultural phenomenon resulting in 200million downloads, a live show and an HBO show? Join Jamie, James and Alice, for the latest adventures of Belinda Blinked. It’s a cultural phenomenon, in case you didn’t know