My Top 7 Podcasts

Last summer, in an attempt to resolve my friend’s constant boredom during our many long train journeys travelling across Europe , I suggested that she should download some podcasts to keep her entertained. To my surprise, she had never even wondered what the strange purple app was on her phone, let alone used it. After speaking to her recently I was pleased to hear that she had been fully converted and now listens to them multiple times a week. Personally, I listen to them almost every day whether it be whilst I am walking to lectures, at the gym or going to sleep. In the hope that I can spread the joy of podcasts to more people, here are my top seven recommendations:

No Such Thing As A Fish

Every Friday four of the QI Elves present a completely random, absurd and utterly pointless collection of facts. This is forty-five minutes worth of guaranteed easy listening and entertainment at the end of the working week. If you’re new to the realm of podcasts, this is a good place to start as it is easy to dip in and out of.

Woman’s Hour

Radio 4 broadcasts Woman’s Hour every day of the week and it is turned into a podcast which can be listened to at any time. Here, you can hear guests of all ages, classes, genders, races and sexualities discussing the issues that affect women in today’s society. The topics that are covered range from issues such as women in sport to ‘period poverty’ and even if some of the topics don’t directly affect me, I always find them interesting.

Books and Authors

This podcast is also made from a Radio 4 programme and it provides an informative and engaging run down of everything going on in the book world. I particularly enjoy the ‘A Good Read’ episodes in which two guests are brought on to talk about their favourite book and review each other’s choices. This podcast is almost solely to blame (or thank?) for my ever expanding ‘to be read’ list.

Desert Island Discs

Again, sorry for the lack of variety, another radio-4-show-podcast. Desert Island Discs is a simple concept in which celebrities are interviewed about their top eight records that they would take with them to a desert island, along with a book and a luxury item. Perhaps as a reflection of the importance of music in everyday life, the interviews are often extremely revealing and quite touching. Since this segment has been running for over 70 years there is a huge archive of podcasts to listen to so you’re sure to never run out.

Dan Snow’s History Hit

As a History student I couldn’t resist including something history-related. I have to admit that many of the history podcasts I have dabbled in are, I hate to say it, boring. However, Dan Snow manages to make it feel like you aren’t actually sitting in a lecture. Each podcast is around an hour in length which, if you have the time, is definitely worth it as afterwards it feels like you’ve really learnt something.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

The Infinite Monkey Cage is a panel based podcast that discusses scientific theories and questions with a comedic spin. As someone who isn’t really ‘sciencey’ this podcast strikes the appropriate balance between facts and entertainment so it remains accessible for all. My favourite episode, and perhaps a good one to start with, was entitled ‘Battle of the Sexes’ and it discussed the biological differences (and similarities!) between men and women.


TEDTalks are recordings of speeches from TED conventions that are held around the world. The content of these podcasts varies hugely from ‘my son was a columbine shooter’ to ‘do kids think of sperm donors as family?’. If this choice is too overwhelming, TED produces other spin off podcasts that cover certain topics exclusively, such as Health or Science. These podcasts vary in length but are all under eighteen minutes so they're really easy to fit into your day. They will open up your eyes (and ears) to concepts or issues that you have never given thought to before.