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11 Best Binge-Worthy Podcasts to Get You Through 2021

We love binge-watching the latest TV series, however, it comes to the point where sitting on the couch for hours on end gets a little boring. That’s where the humble podcast comes in.

The beauty of podcasts is that they can be listened to anywhere - while commuting to and from work, cooking, working, exercising and even showering. In addition to providing you with non-stop entertainment, most actually end up teaching you a thing or two about relationships, current affairs, true crimes, literature, travel and more.

But with an overwhelming amount of podcasts now available, the difficult question is: which one do you invest your time binge-listening to? Here, we’ve rounded up the best podcasts we’re currently obsessed with - and can guarantee you’ll be hooked, too.

1. Pieces of Britney

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the ordeal of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, let us introduce you to investigative podcast Pieces of Britney. Beautifully narrated by one of the best voices in podcasting Pandora Sykes, it tells the story of the celebrity's rise from redneck Louisiana to fame to dubious conservatorship. The eight-part Radio 4 series is different from the other Britney Spears podcasts circulating in that it presents a sympathetic portrait and places the star within a broader cultural context, questioning what it tells us about sex, entertainment and how women are treated in the public eye.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

2. Unravel True Crime: Juanita

This seven-episode series follows an investigation by family members of journalist and activist Juanita Nielsen 46 years after her sudden death. Sydney’s King Cross during the early ‘70s was known as the heart of Australia’s criminal underground and was the hotspot of controversy around corruption and high-rise development. Nielsen relocated to Kings Cross where she published a local newspaper and became a vocal activist in an effort to preserve the heritage buildings. But in 1975, Nielsen disappeared. The people responsible for her disappearance have never been identified and her remains are still a mystery.

Did her activism lead to her death? Who wanted her gone? And why does her family still not have answers? It’s one of the most chilling unsolved true crime podcasts you’ll listen to.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts and ABC Radio

3. The Witness: In His Own Words

This best-selling book-turned-podcast is narrated by Joseph O’Callaghan himself - Ireland’s youngest person ever to enter the country’s Witness Protection Programme. In 2005, O’Callaghan gave a testimony, which helped convict two drug-dealing gangsters for murder. Now, in this courageous and grappling documentary podcast series, he tells his extraordinary life story in his own words for the very first time.

There’s little interjection from his interviewer Ian Malaney, which allows you to focus on every fact he reveals as if it’s another clue to what’s coming next. This is a true-crime podcast like no other that will leave you with goosebumps.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

4. Principle of Charity

During a time where relationships are under greater strain due to pandemic-related stressors, Principle of Charity might just be the piece of audio to tune into for guidance. More often than not, individuals enter arguments with the intent to win, rather than presenting their views and allowing their “opponent” to express theirs, and from there, collaborating on compromise.

In this podcast - which has a fan base of high-profile fans - Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman and his cousin Dr Lloyd Vogelman (a self-declared “recovering extremist”) lead a team of experts with opposing views to discuss various controversial topics where each expert has to present the most generous version of their opponent’s viewpoint. It might sound a little confusing to wrap your head around, but one episode in and you’ll be hooked.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

5. The Missing

Did you know in the UK alone, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds and one per cent of people are reported still missing after a year. This isn’t just another ordinary true-crime podcast - instead, missing person organisation Locate International and charity Missing People wanted to create a sincere platform to push listeners to become part of the search for missing persons.

Each episode explores a different case, hears original interviews with family and friends, and asks the important questions - Where did they go? What happened to them? And does anyone listening have any information?

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

6. Get Sleepy

You know we love sharing our best sleeping tips with you, so we had to share our latest obsession with you. This meditative and deeply tranquilising podcast will soothe your mind, no matter how stressed you are. Through a genius combination of sleep mediation, mindfulness techniques and calming stories, you’ll gently be drawn into a state of drowsiness.

Rated as the number one story-telling podcast on Audible, we can guarantee this one is a keeper - especially for those who struggle with insomnia.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

7. West Cork

Based in West Cork, Ireland, the true-crime podcast investigates the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose broken body was discovered at the edge of her property just days before Christmas in 1996. Nothing else is known and the rest remains a mystery. It's through this podcast in which investigative journalist Sam Bungey, and documentarian Jennifer Forde, go on a real-life hunt for answers to this unsolved murder and unravel the tangled web behind the murder's questionable investigation.

Initially released as an Audible exclusive in 2018, the series has been re-released by Acast for distribution on almost any podcast platform. Netflix has recently turned the podcast into a three-part docuseries, which is equally as hooking.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

8. The Adventure Podcast

Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic, we’ve had to lower any hopes of ticking off our international travel plans. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel across the world from the comfort of your own home. The Adventure Podcast is perfect for anyone itching to hop on a plane and release their adventurous spirit. Filmmaker Matt Pycroft speaks to the most knowledgeable, accomplished and respected individuals at the forefront of exploration via long-form conversations. From mountain climber Nick Bullock on climbing Mount Gongga in China to journalist George Monbiot’s terrifying career covering land seizures in Manaus, be intrigued by the stories from those who live some of the most extraordinary lives.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

9. Books & Rhymes

What started out as an Instagram book review page is now a hit podcast that’s now deep into its second season. Host Sarah Ozo-Irabor interviews guests from across African literature - authors, editors and publishers all included - about their journeys through reading. What has earned this podcast its five-star rating is the fact that each character, story and theme is thoughtfully paired with songs or albums that spark the same emotional connection. You can expect to hear the likes of Destiny’s Child, Nina Simone and Nas, which all make this podcast both vibrant and educative.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

10. Home Cooking

If in lockdown, you’ve managed to whip out your home cooking skills, this podcast will be right up your alley. Samin Nosrat from Netflix’s hit cooking show Salt Fat Acid Heat joins forces with Hrishikesh Hirway, creator and host of podcast Song Exploder, to bring you a miniseries of what to cook while housebound. It’s presented in a light-hearted manner that will actually get you excited about spending time at home.

Where to listen: Apple Podcasts

11. The Sun King

This concise six-part Audible podcast is hosted by British journalist and former presenter of current affairs and political programs, David Dimbleby, delves into the full story Rupert Murdoch. How did he manage to build an empire and change the way millions of people access news? What motivates him? How much influence does he possess? Who actually is he? Dimbleby interviews people Murdoch has worked with to get all the juicy deets.

Where to listen: Audible

Want more like this? Here are 15 other addictive podcasts you need to listen to now.

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