It has been a remarkable rise for Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine’s podcast, My Dad Wrote a Porno. Since its launch in 2015, the series has been downloaded more than 150m times, has regularly topped the podcast charts and is now about to launch a live TV special on HBO. You can watch the trailer below. The special will air on 11 May in the US, with a UK transmission date still to be confirmed.
Former EastEnders star Tracy Ann Oberman has launched a new podcast about Twitter bullying. Trolled will see Oberman, who has experienced antisemitic abuse on the platform, speak to other victims of online attacks, beginning with the former Labour MP Luciana Berger and Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker. You can read Oberman’s Comment is Free piece about why she launched the podcast here.
Also worth your time is this article by the Guardian’s Mark Sweney on the battle to be podcasting’s answer to Netflix. It has some eye-catching facts and figures about the medium’s rise, including the projection that 1.8 billion people will be listening to at least one podcast a month by 2023.
Picks of the week
Public Enemy’s Chuck D is the perfect choice to narrate this joint Spotify and BBC podcast about another politically engaged (indeed, enraged) outfit. Beginning with the 1976 Notting Hill clashes, which frontman Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon were caught up in and which later inspired them to pen a short, snotty track entitled White Riot, it follows the band’s rise up through the punk scene, their battles with National Front morons and later experiments in funk, jazz, reggae and dub. Gwilym Mumford
Doctor Who’s Pearl Mackie leads the cast for this BBC Radio 4 thriller set a couple of centuries in the future, a time when there are no forests left on Earth and any memory of them has been wiped out, too. When she finds a recording of the sound of a rainforest, she wants to know more. It’s an all-female environmental sci-fi podcast that does more than tick boxes, with Ted talk-style footnotes that explore themes such as whether humans could live without sunlight and how being surrounded by nature affects mental health. Hannah Verdier
Against the backdrop of Brexit, our Today in Focus team changed the focus somewhat this week with a deeply moving and inspirational episode about one man’s journey to overcome a life-threatening heroin addiction.
Sitting down with Anushka Asthana was the Guardian’s very own parliamentary sketch writer, John Crace, who spoke candidly about how, despite losing much of his 20s to a crippling addiction, he was able to overcome it. And how, after 32 years clean, he has managed to win fans across the political spectrum with his incisive and often hilarious commentary on the daily chaos that is Westminster. Max Sanderson
Chosen by Charlie Phillips (head of documentaries)
Who wouldn’t want to listen to an hour of scurrilous conversation about Britain’s most-loved football club, Leeds United?
Team-specific fan podcasts aren’t usually as professionally made or able to move beyond a niche as The Square Ball. But after nine years, they’ve got into a groove. It’s worth digging into the older episodes for an insight into the soap-opera recent history of a fanbase that’s been through the mill.
This season, however, has been different. Improving fortunes on the pitch (Leeds are challenging for promotion to the Premier League) mean the presenters Moscow/Daniel, Dan and Michael have been unusually happy. They’ve also been unusually regular in releasing the podcast weekly.
That said, even in these better days, there’s enough bitterness on show to satisfy a general listener looking for some passionate opposition to modern football. Regular petty grievances, running jokes that last for years and a weekly nominee for a villain of the fortnight (named after former owner Ken Bates) are delivered with a pleasing amount of Yorkshire dissatisfaction.
If Leeds do go up, fans of other teams should make The Square Ball a must-listen for an insight into the psychology of a joyously old school – but always very nice – fanbase returning from the brink.