Picks of the week
When Diana Met …
“Yes, this is a show about Diana Spencer … but it really is about us – what our perceptions of her say about us.” Host Aminatou Sow is a self-confessed Princess Di obsessive – something she inherited from her mum, along with so many other thirtysomethings – who unpicks Diana’s most notable meetings in each episode. First up: author Candice Carty-Williams and biographer Andrew Morton revisit the dinner
with Camilla. Hollie Richardson
Chicago Fire’s Monica Raymund and Corey Stoll (House of Cards) lead the cast for this thriller of a podcast from the creators of Law & Order. On the brink of divorce, the pair investigate the death of a young volunteer in a California forest, setting up a classic tangle of personal and professional lives, with added intrigue and pesticides.
These days, lawyer Annie Champion’s work includes defending Mary Trump. However, closer to home, the question of whether her friend Laura Van Wyhe’s death in Iowa in 1996 was a hit-and-run or a murder still looms large in her life. Jason Stavers’s unsensational and engrossing podcast investigates. Hannah J Davies
Murder, Mystery and Makeup
True crime reaches an innovative new niche with makeup artist and YouTuber Bailey Sarian’s podcast in which she pops on a full face while she chats about cases. Charles
Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer are among the criminals on her list and, although their stories are well-trodden, Sarian has a great way to spin a yarn with gossipy asides.
A third series for the show shining a spotlight on a variety of Asian American experiences, from the distressing rise in pandemic-era racism to heartening pop culture representation and queer self-discovery. First up, powerful reporting on activists tackling white supremacy in an unexpected setting in Indiana. HJD
Chosen by Madeleine Finlay
Jon Ronson is back with a new eight part series, digging into the origin stories of topics which have become the focus of fraught arguments or ‘culture wars’.
Even the concept of a culture war has become ground for controversy, divisiveness, and bad takes. But Ronson is safe pair of hands – he’s written with empathy and nuance on public shaming, fighting on social media, and internet pornography. His podcast on the latter – the Butterfly Effect – was genuinely brilliant.
Much like the Butterfly Effect, Things Fell Apart shows how small events can ripple outwards; in episode two, a Christian mother who opposes her children’s school curriculum ends up instigating a state-wide fight over textbooks. Ronson masterfully tiptoes his way through each story – there’s little judgment, endorsement, or forgiveness – just a sense of intellectual curiosity. Things Fell Apart is the antidote to an argument over Twitter: a deep, calm and fascinating look at issues that would usually get your hackles up.
Podcasts hosted by famous faces are all around … but some are more niche than others. Freddie Prinze Jr joins the culty side of celeb audio this week with Wrestling with Freddie, a show in which he reminisces about his days writing storylines for WWE.
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