Fashion and fun for the over-50s.

Podcast Recommendations

 

On the last Friday of every month I suggest new podcasts to try, and this is a summary of my suggestions here on Is This Mutton?  I've tried many, many more, but have only included the ones I really enjoyed.  Let me know if you have any recommendations:  Twitter @gail_h, email isthismutton96@gmail.com

The Is This Mutton Podcast Hall of Fame

Most months I choose one or two 2 podcasts to go into the Hall of Fame:

May 2022

Impact Winter (Audible)

As you would expect from Audible this is a superb binaural experience.  It's the future, and small clusters of survivors try to outwit the vampires who now roam the land. These are not your average Dracula type vampires. The story is centred on two sisters, one who is fearless and a ruthless slayer of vampires, the other feels she lives in her shadow. An excellent drama. 

March 2022

Biohacked: Family Secrets(Biohackedpodcast.com)

Imagine doing a DNA test via one of the ancestry websites, and finding out that the man you've always called Dad isn't related to you, and you have several half siblings you knew nothing about.  That's the story in episode one of this fascinating podcast. Men who acted as sperm donors while at college in the 70s and 80s fathered literally dozens of children, and were well protected from detection by their offspring. Each episode has a fascinating twist. 

February 2022

Wild Things (Apple TV / At Will Media)

The story of German entertainers Siegfried and Roy, and the truth behind the accident involving a tiger that ended their Las Vegas career.  The two entertainers were hugely successful illusionists who performed with wild cats. They didn't have safety railings, and claimed they had never had any problems with their animals. This podcast delves into the background to try to find the truth. 

January 2022

Last Known Position (QCode)

A mystery thriller starring Gina Rodriguez and James Purefoy. A team of experts is sent to recover a plane that suddenly vanished over the Pacific Ocean. On the flight was the wife and daughter of the airline's owner, the billionaire William Cavanaugh (Purefoy).  He has spent a fortune on designing a super yacht and submersible to comb the ocean for wreckage, even though nothing was found in the international search operation. 

It becomes clear that something sinister is behind the plane crash - and it throws us back to biblical references (as did The Harrowing, another podcast drama I loved) - see my next recommendation!  

November 2021

The Harrowing (Story Glass)

This drama in 8 parts is everything a podcast drama should be. A superb aural experience in terms of sound and effects, and superbly acted by a cast led by Joanne Froggatt  (Downton Abbey) and Rege Jean-Page (Bridgerton). 

A once-in-a-century storm hits the remote Scottish island of Toll Mór. A barbaric ritualised crime sets off a chain of events which heralds the rise of an ancient evil and threatens to change the course of history. Froggatt is the lone police sergeant who travels from the mainland into the maelstrom.  I loved it! 

October 2021

British Scandal (Wondery)

Presented by the wonderfully droll duo Alice Levine and Matt Forde, this podcast is an extremely well put together expose of some of the recent scandals in British life. The series has covered "The Coughing Major" and the history of the Sex Pistols. 

I found the Profumo Affair fascinating because it exposed how, in half a century, we have changed our perceptions of the young woman at the centre of the scandal, Christine Keeler.  Then, she was vilified as a "slut." Now, we see her as a victim of powerful men - politicians and professionals -  who should have known better. 

August 2021

This Thing of Darkness (BBC)

Told mostly from the perspective of a forensic psychiatrist, this gripping drama aims to find out who killed Jamie. His father is on remand accused of his murder. Our perceptions change as the story shifts and unfolds.  I couldn't wait for each episode, although there was some careless and cliched writing at times, and the murdered man seemed to scarcely figure at all.  

July 2021

Killer Psyche (Wondery)

Former FBI agent Candace DeLong shares her decades of experience to explain why murderers and criminals committed their crimes. It's a fascinating glimpse into the minds of criminals such as "Dr Death," a hospital doctor;  "The Unabomber," and "the Lipstick Killer."

April 2021

The Battersea Poltergeist (BBC Radio 4)

In the late 1950s,  the UK was gripped by the real-life horror of "The Battersea Poltergeist."  Strange things were happening in an ordinary house in Battersea, London, and they seemed to centre around a 15 year old girl, Shirley.  In this meticulously researched series, a combination of documentary and drama, we hear from experts both pro and against the idea of paranormal events, and we hear from Shirley herself, now aged 80. The conclusion of the experts is unexpected.  Utterly compelling.

March 2021

Against the Odds (Wondery)

A new series which examines thrilling stories of survival.  The first story covered, in four episodes, is the Thai Cave rescue of 2018.  The world was agog when 12 boys aged between 11 and 15, and their young football coach, were trapped in more than six miles of caves when the rains came early. 

The podcast tells the story of the rescue. International experts and specialist cave divers from the UK came to help, and a Thai Navy Seal sadly lost his life. It's fascinating to hear how they finally rescued the boys, one at a time, each child sedated and referred to as a package so that the divers didn't make an emotional connection to them.  The chances of rescuing the boys successfully had been put at just 20%.

February 2021

Catching Melanie's Killer, ITV News

An exceptionally good true crime podcast on the solving of a cold case murder, 32 years after a 17 year old Bath school girl was killed. 

Where is George Gibney? BBC News

The victims of Irish Olympic swimming coach George (now known as John) Gibney are still seeking justice after he walked free from a trial on ludicrous legal grounds. Gibney, accused of sexually abusing his young swimmers, has been on the run ever since and is now living in the US.  Very well reported podcast including footage from  his victims. 

FIND A PODCAST NOW  

REAL LIFE and TRUE CRIME

Canadian True Crime: Kristi Lee releases a new crime fortnightly and presents it straight, without a stooge and without speculation, which is how I like my true crime. 

Casefile True Crime: An anonymous Australian narrator gives us the story straight with no attempts at humour or pleas to subscribe.  Solid research and a commanding voice makes this one of the best. Fortnightly.

Catching Melanie's Killer: see Podcast Hall of Fame 

Chameleon, Hollywood Con Queen, Campside Media: for several years an elaborate scam has been targeting the "gig economy" of film-making: the personal trainers, security guards and make-up artists, who were lured to Indonesia for interviews to work on films which appeared to exist on IMDB.  The names of high-ranking producers and studio execs were used to lure them, and in turn, their reputations were tarnished. 

Confronting Columbine, Glass:  A survivor of the Columbine high school massacre in America in April 1999 confronts many of the realities, questions and myths that surround the tragedy to this day. 

Criminal, PRX Radiotopia: the seductive tones of Phoebe presents a different take on crime once a fortnight:  stories of people who have been wronged or done wrong. Eye opening tales.

Dr Death, Wondery: the crimes of doctors who abused their patients' trust are exposed over three series. 

Do No Harm, Wondery:  explores how the Texas legal system was so focused on protecting children from abuse it targeted innocent parents. 

Hunting Ghislaine, LBC:  the precursor to the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell who was charged with  helping the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.  British journalist John Sweeney examines her upbringing and the role of her overbearing father, disgraced billionaire Robert Maxwell. 

Killer Psyche (Wondery) - see Podcast Hall of Fame 

Medical Murders, Parcast: a different story each week on a medical practitioner who used their skills not to heal, but to hurt. Those featured have included Harold Shipman, the UK's most prolific serial killer. 

Men's Rea:  Irish podcaster Sinead explores notorious crimes from Ireland and the UK and the court cases that followed. Released fortnightly.

Queen of the Con: The Irish Heiress, AYR Media and iHeart: Reality TV producer Johnathon Walton discovers that a woman who came into his life promising salvation and friendship was not all she seemed. Mair Smyth is an international con artist who has scammed him, and a number of other victims, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Serial Killers, Parcast:  Every Monday and Thursday this series takes a factual and psychological approach into the mind, methods and madness of the most notorious serial killers. 

The Dating Game Killer, Wondery: In 1978, Rodney Alcala won a date on the popular TV show, The Dating Game. What no one knew was that he was a prolific serial killer in the middle of a cross-country murder spree. 

The Dropout, ABC News: examines the story of brilliant young entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes who founded a medical comopany, Theranos, became a self made millionaire, and then lost everything almost instantly. 

The Man in the Window, LA Times/Wondery:  A fascinating series about the serial killer known as the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo. He committed at least 13 murders, 50 rapes, and 120 burglaries in a spree that was eventually detected thanks to painstaking research on a family tree DNA website. 

The Missing Cryptoqueen, BBC Radio 4:  Dr Raja Ignatova, said to style herself on Steve Jobs,  persuaded millions to buy into her holistic bitcoin operation. Then she mysteriously disappeared.

The Real Killer, AYR Media and iHeart Podcasts: a man is wrongly imprisoned for over 30 years for the murder of JoAnn Tate in 1982. Her two young daughters were left badly injured and traumatised. After two trials has justice been served? Are police any nearer to knowing who killed JoAnn? 

Fascinating Facts, Quirky True Life, Outdoor Pursuits, Motivational

About a Girl, Double Elvis Productions and iHeart Radio: hosted by Eleanor Wells, and with a deft, well written script, this podcast explores the lives of women who shaped and influenced music’s most iconic male artists.  The very first episode was devoted to Angie Bowie, first wife of David Bowie. Other women have included Linda McCartney, Rita Marley, Marianne Faithfull. 

Against the Odds, Wondery:  See Podcast Hall of Fame 

Autopsy: The Last Hours Of, PodcastOne:  A pathologist examines the medical evidence behind the deaths of celebrities including David Bowie, John Denver, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, Mama Cass Elliott, Roy Orbison, Farrah Fawcett.

Badass Women At Any Age, Bonnie Marcus Leadership: Bonnie Marcus interviews some of the most ground breaking badass women and shares their stories of changing perceptions and challenging the status quo. 

British Scandal, Wondery:  See Hall of Fame. Now in its seventh series, this documentary series has just explored the Sex Pistols.  An amusing double act present the podcast and it's very well researched and entertaining. 

Dying for Sex, Wondery: Diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, Molly decided to leave her unhappy marriage and embark on a series of sexual adventures to make her feel alive. Moving, uplifting, shattering, laugh inducing in equal measures. 

Her Spirit Podcast, Her Spirit:  BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin and BBC Triathlon presenter Annie Emmerson are on a mission to inspire women everywhere to lead a healthier, happier life.  For women of all ages. 

Jackie Weaver has the Authority, Audioboom: The Jackie Weaver phenomenon could only happen in the UK.  She shot to stardom when video of her trying to restore order at a local council meeting over Zoom went viral.  J In this podcast she meets a guest each week and they discuss random topics in an amusing way, ultimately deciding if Jackie has the authority to disagree or veto.

Life Changing with Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4:  Jane Garvey talks to people who have lived through extraordinary events and discovers how these moments have reshaped their lives. 

Making the Cut, Entale: Not to be confused with the TV series about fashion, this is a digest of reviews, books, products and things to do in wet holidays presented by Davina McCall and her friend, hairdresser Michael Douglas. 

The Missing, Podimo: Pandora Sykes presents this well researched podcast on missing people. Forty people go missing every hour in the UK alone.  

My Year in Mensa, iHeart Radio & Jamie Loftus: Jamie Loftus takes the Mensa IQ test and passes, which gives her access to a whole new strange world. She takes us to the Mensa convention where she's threatened and humiliated by angry Mensans, most of whom seem to be slightly unhinged. 

Now You're Asking, BBC Radio 4: Honest, humorous and unflinching agony aunts Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn dispense advice to people who have emailed questions on both amusing and devastating topics.

Seriously, BBC Radio 4:  documentaries look at offbeat and sometimes quirky topics for the relentlessly curious. 

Ted Talks:  latest thinking on the latest topics in 24 minutes or much less. 

Thanks a Million, Angela Scanlon:  broadcaster Angela Scanlon interviews someone each week and finds out, at the end, what they're thankful for. It sounds schmaltzy but the interviews are interesting and Scanlon draws the best out of people.

The Battersea Poltergeist (BBC Radio 4) - see Hall of Fame 

The Outdoors Fix, Liv Bolton: a fortnightly dose of outdoor adventures.Two examples: Laura Doling, who moved from Essex to be a postwoman in the Lake District, and Oge Ejizu, adventuring in London with Black Girls Hike.

The Vaping Fix, Wondery:  This documentary series recounts how a San Francisco start-up intended to rid the world of smoking with an incredible new product called Juul. But it all went very wrong when young people began to get addicted to vaping, scarcely realising that their addiction was fuelled by nicotine.

This is Dating, Magnificent Noise: Follow four modern daters as they trade the swiping, the small talk and the fumbled first kiss with a team of "advisors" behind the scenes. 

Welcome to Your Fantasy, Gimlet:  explores what went wrong with the Chippendales, an 80s sensation. The documentary unearths a dark story of greed, corruption and murder.

Where is George Gibney? See Podcast Hall of Fame 

Wild Things, Apple TV+/Atwill Media: uncovers the mystery behind the tragic last show in Las Vegas performed by German illusionists Siegfried and Roy.

DRAMA

Bridgewater (iHeartRadio): folklore professor Jeremy Bradshaw is pulled into the mysterious 1980 disappearance of his police officer father, Thomas, when new evidence comes to light. Together with his father’s former partner, retired Detective Anne Becker, Jeremy must chase the clues that will tell him whether or not his father really did fall victim to a Satanic cult in the Bridgewater Triangle—or something much more dark and unexplainable.

Dirty Diana: Diana, played by Demi Moore, escapes from her work life and dying marriage by secretly running an erotic website where women reveal their intimate sexual fantasies. An all-women production with some star names including Lena Durham and Gwendoline Christie.

Drama of the Week (BBC Radio 4):  can be a bit hit and miss but occasionally a real gem is broadcast.

Drama On One:  The Irish broadcaster RTE's selection of dramas, very varied both in style and length. You're bound to find something you'll like.

Last Known Position (QCode) - see Podcast Hall of Fame 

The Harrowing (Spyglass) - see Podcast Hall of Fame 

This Thing of Darkness (BBC): see Podcast Hall of Fame 

Tracks  (BBC Radio 4):  An ambitious drama by Matthew Broughton which started in 2016 and follows the story of GP Dr Helen Ash who discovers that her late father, killed in a mysterious plane crash, was involved in cutting edge, and secret,  research into human life.  The final episode aired in December 2020. Find it on the BBC Sounds app and the usual podcast providers. 

FASHION 

My Wardrobe Malfunction  Susannah Constantine discusses clothes and hears anecdotes from celebrities who have included Elizabeth Hurley, Skin, Jane Seymour, Christopher Biggins and Dame Zandra Rhodes. There are six series's so very bingeworthy. 

GARDENING

Gardeners' World podcast: the team from BBC Gardeners' World discuss all things gardening. 

Gardeners' Question Time: sometimes hilarious panel discussion where well known gardeners answer listeners' questions.

Fresh from the Pod: presented by gardener and horticultural journalist Tamsin Westhorpe, who  published a book called Diary of a Modern Country Gardener.  Each week she interviews a doyenne of gardening. 

HUMOUR

Dear Joan and Jericha, Hush Ho and Pepperdine Productions:  two doughty and direct middle-aged women give their very unusual and unexpected advice to listeners who write in with sexual problems and dilemmas. Lately marred by too much advertising, with the podcast becoming ever shorter. 

Fortunately with Fi and Jane, BBC Radio 4: UK broadcasters Fi Glover and Jane Garvey share stories of midlife angst. Laugh out loud funny.  Includes a guest each week - these have included Dawn French, author Robert Harris, Tim Minchin (VERY funny)  and Monty Don. 

FOR MID LIFE WOMEN

Growing Bolder, Zestylife: Actor Linda Robson celebrates the ways people are living their lives after 50. 

Liz Earle Wellbeing Show, Liz Earle: Robust and on-trend health discussions with evidence-based medical advice. Very good for latest thinking on menopause. 

Magnificent Midlife: Rachel Lankester: Rachel talks all things midlife, sharing stories of women doing cool stuff, challenging stereotypes, dealing with adversity.

Postcards from Midlife, Acast:  former magazine editors, Lorraine Candy and Trish Halpern address the challenges of living with hormonal teenagers while battling with perimenopause. 

The Louise Newson Podcast:  Renowned menopause specialist Dr Newson hosts a menopause and perimenopause informationb podcast, helping women receive unbiased, evidence-based advice and recommendations. 

The Shift, Sam Baker (Acast): Former magazine editor Sam Baker aims to tell the truth about life for women post 40, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Unlock Your Hidden Confidence, Lara Lauder: Inspiring you to connect with your true passion and purpose, and help you adopt a "Believe to Achievce" mindset.  Guests have included Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon (!) 

Women Living Well After 50:  Australian Sue Loncaric presents topics and weekly guests to help us live well and embrace life. Topics have included gut health, writing your story, becoming bold and adventurous and becoming an author. 

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