Strictly sparkle delivered direct to your ears – podcasts of the week

Picks of the week

How Did We Get Here?
Claudia Winkleman and psychologist Dr Tanya Byron recently concluded the second series of their podcast, with another on the way. Focusing on aspects of parent-child relationships, Byron provides expert advice while Winkleman ties it all together with a light touch. With recent topics including a lifelong eating disorder and a man who believed he may be autistic, this is not casual doing-the-dishes listening. Rather, it’s an empathetic look at the complexities of life that is sure to appeal to fans of Esther Perel. Hannah J Davies

This City with Clara Amfo
Clara Amfo’s warmth and friendliness radiate through her podcast as she chats with guests about their experiences of London. Whether it’s MNEK talking about being raised in Catford and absorbing his mum’s sense of glamour or Mark Ronson reminiscing about the not-very-mean streets of his manor, it’s always worth a listen. Nick Grimshaw is a particular delight as the two DJs giggle about his teenage years when he owned a silver knee-length puffer jacket and had big dreams of one day moving to London and working at Radio 1. Hannah Verdier

Clara Amfo, TV and radio presenter and the host of the podcast This City.
Clara Amfo, TV and radio presenter and the host of the podcast This City. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Chosen by Max Sanderson

When the New York Times released Caliphate in 2018, it caused quite a stir. Here was a shining example of how to enhance impactful journalism with the powerful narrative potential of audio storytelling. Which is what makes the most recent episode – two years later – all the more disappointing.

The original series focused on reporter Rukmini Callimachi’s journey into the heart of the Islamic State via a self-proclaimed former Isis fighter. And while the series managed to win many hearts – my own included – with compelling storytelling and immersive sound design, the NYT were recently forced to admit to serious editorial failings over the series’ main source, the supposed ex-Jihadi.

These failings are addressed in the most recent episode as we hear Michael Barbaro (host of the NYT’s The Daily) chat with colleagues, including executive editor Dean Baquet, to go over some of the findings of an internal review that found the 2018 series failed to “meet the standards for Times journalism”. I urge anybody who listened to the original series to listen.

While much ground is covered in the episode, many questions still remain; is an extra episode and an editor’s note enough, or should the whole series be removed? And, as highlighted by NPR, was Michael Barbaro the right choice to host the mea culpa when he is engaged to Caliphate’s executive producer, Lisa Tobin?

Talking points

  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released the first instalment of their Spotify podcast, and it’s a festive special featuring Elton John, tennis star Naomi Osaka, Tyler Perry, wellness icon Deepak Chopra and teenage activist Christina Adane. The pair kicked off the show with reference to the hardships of 2020 and a tribute to those who’ve helped us all get through it. “We also want to thank healthcare workers, frontline service workers, and so many others for their sacrifices,” said Harry. And a bit of positivity to the end the year was brought by Meghan, as she promised us that, ultimately, “love wins”.

  • Why not try: Fiasco | Holy Sh!t | Death of a Startlet


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