Best podcasts of the week: At last, a new politics show that promises to be more than a ‘dadcast’ | Podcasts

Picks of the week

Your Mama’s Kitchen
Audible, new episodes weekly from Wed
How does the kitchen you grew up in shape the person you are today, host Michele Norris asks guests in this warm, nostalgic celebrity interview series. The first in a new drop of episodes hears Matthew McConaughey and wife Camila Alves-McConaughey reminisce about learning how to tell anecdotes, grandpa-built wood-burning stoves and the realisation that ice-cream can help calm down arguments. It’s a charming listen. Alexi Duggins

Law and Disorder
Widely available, episodes weekly
Retired high court judge Nicholas Mostyn, human rights campaigner Helena Kennedy and former justice secretary Charlie Falconer promise their podcast “will not be one of those achingly serious respectful shows where everybody politely disagrees with each other”. And they deliver, ruminating on Trump and the growing chasm between their profession and politicians. Hannah Verdier

Climate scientist Chris Turney, host of Unf*cking the Future. Photograph: REUTERS

Unf*cking the Future
Widely available, episodes weekly
Wise and sweary climate scientist Chris Turney presents the cure for your planet-induced existential dread, speaking to people who are doing more than doomscrolling to change things. Maggie “Billie Eilish’s mum” Baird is the first guest, who points out the huge difference one meat and dairy-free day a week could make. HV

Patient 11
Widely available, episodes weekly
This staggering, bold four-part series tells the tale of former GB youth swimmer Alexis Quinn, who escaped psychiatric care to blow the whistle on widespread sexual assault. It’s a troubling look at both her tale and the year-and-a-half investigation into sexual abuse on English mental health wards it prompted. AD

Gun and Wand: The Official Companion Podcast
Widely available, episodes weekly
Alfie Packham and Caroline McEvoy are your hosts for this companion podcast to Games of Thrones-meets-Peaky Blinders drama Gun and Wand. Except, of course, the show doesn’t actually exist. That doesn’t stop discussions about naked wizards and a lesson in creating a mystical new language from linguist Dr Brian Spleen. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Katie Piper, one guest on Elis James and John Robins’s How Do You Cope? Photograph: S Meddle/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

This week, Hannah Verdier chooses five of the best podcasts on health and wellness, from soothing sounds to calm frazzled minds to the debunking of myths surrounding health and wellness fads.

Slow Radio
If you ever find yourself at that frazzled stage where you haven’t been outside all day, put down your phone and let Slow Radio soothe you. There’s something strangely hypnotic about hearing three dawn choruses in a row, even if they do involve the frantic tweeting of what sound like angry birds. If you’re not a fan of nature, other meditative sounds are available in the half-hour episodes, so you could go for a deep dive into a chiming clock or discover what a transmitter hears at night. It’s the wellness podcast you didn’t know you needed, but once you’ve heard one you’ll look forward to a daily pause.

Scottee: Self Help
Being bombarded with positive mantras can get a bit much if you’re really struggling with your mental health, so cabaret artist, activist and all-round good egg Scottee (above) has the antidote you need. In his “amateur’s guide to staying alive” he won’t tell you to meditate, just move more or bullet journal, but he will tell you about all the things he’s tried to stay sane over the years. The podcast is warm and intimate and Scottee comes across as the friend you need when you’re walking in the rain, as he does throughout, sometimes wondering why the hell he’s doing it.

Zoe Science & Nutrition
The Zoe study is leading a revolution around health and nutrition, powered by its ongoing research and this podcast is great to dip into for the latest news. Dairy, snacking, protein, nuts: there are episodes devoted to many of the big food questions that make the headlines. There is the latest research on gut health, artificial sweeteners and ultra-processed foods, all with an evidence-based slant from scientists. When you’re surrounded by diet advice that swings from low carb to Keto to fasting, it’s good to hear a fresh and balanced approach.

Maintenance Phase
In a world full of Instagram influencers, almond moms and leg days, Michael Hobbes and Aubrey Gordon are a breath of fresh air, debunking the ‘science’ behind health and wellness fads. Many questions are debated. Why do you have to walk 10,000 steps a day? How to navigate the doctor’s weigh-in when you don’t want to step on the scales? And do French women really never get fat? Laugh-out-loud humour and common sense run through every episode as these two have no truck with myths, out-of-date statistics and “everything I eat in a day” videos.

How Do You Cope? with Elis and John
Hosts Elis James and John Robins are so open about their day-to-day mental health that their guests can’t help but join them. This series has seen James Cracknell, Katie Piper and Jordan Gray talk about what they’ve had to overcome in life. Each episode starts with the hosts checking in with each other (“How’s your shame?”), with plenty of warmth and time to talk. Particularly poignant is when Robins opens up about his struggles with alcohol and admits “there was nowhere I could go because I got myself in such a state” – and talks about how he began his recovery.

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Why not try …

  • An IV-drip for your ears, apparently! Brain Leak brings Jacksepticeye (Seán McLoughlin) and Ethan Nestor together for a funny and off-kilter deep-dive into their brains – even the slimy bits.

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