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For many of us growing up in the UK, Radio 4 was the nearest we’d get to a podcast. But that all changed in 2004.

Originally called an ‘audio blog post’, the word ‘podcast’ was coined by Ben Hammersley, a journalist working for The Guardian. It’s a simple smash-up of ‘iPod’ (remember them?!) and ‘broadcast’ perfectly reflecting the DIY attitude of what was, arguably, social media’s heyday.

Twenty years later, it can sometimes feel that the podcast market is somewhat over-saturated. As of 2024, there are a staggering 5 million podcasts with over 70 million episodes of, well, stuff. 

This means that ‘best of’ lists such as this are inclined to be quite random; let’s face it, it’s impossible to listen to every single one. So, we’ve based our list on podcasts that aren’t trying to be funny, political or topical, simply a considered handful of some of the best podcasts available in 2024.

Red Handed 

Join Hannah and Suruthi as they check out the world of the bizarre, spanning a range of stores that deal with the macabre and the downright strange. Unlike Serial (more on that later) Red Handed comes with a large pinch of wit. And you, the listener, are invited to get involved in getting to the bottom of the story in the episode in question. 

It’s not perfect, some of the stories deal with ‘the supernatural’ which is always a difficult topic to nail down in a satisfactory format. But there are some great little stories along the way and the hosts do a great job of taking you on an entertaining journey to, maybe, the truth. 

Giant Bomb

Created by former GameSpot editors Jeff Gerstmann and Ryan Davis in 2011, Giant Bomb is still one of the best places to sate your gaming needs. From shoot ‘em ups to slingo slots, the Giant Bomb covers all the latest video games and new releases.

Jan Ochoa, Jeff Grubb, and Jeff Bakalar do a great job of getting stuck into off-topic banter, while not forgetting the needs of the listener. A podcast that’s entertaining, and informative with just the right amount of geekiness to make you feel warm and cosy. 

High Performance

Jack Humphries and Professor Damian Hughes delve into the world of elite performers -in their many forms- to discover what constitutes their success. Join them as they pick apart mindfulness, routines and challenges to attain a level of achievement that always feels reassuringly within reach. 

Because every show is different while existing with the same theme, the range of experts that come under scrutiny in each episode is a great touch. But what really sets this one apart is its sheer force of positivity that’ll put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. 

Song Explorer

If you’ve ever wondered what has inspired a song, you’ll dig this podcast. The reason it’s so compelling is of course the subject matter -some of these stories are genuinely fascinating- and its creator, Hrishikesh Hirway. 

Hirway was the brains behind The West Wing Weekly and Home Cooking, two podcasts that probably deserve their own sections. We get to hear from the artists behind the songs, which makes for a strangely profound experience and a perfect subject matter for audio. 

Yes, there is a Netflix show based on this podcast, but stick to the original. This one is for fans of music who will be richly rewarded for switching on, closing their eyes and opening their minds…


One for the kids, this. And by ‘kids’, we don’t mean kids as in cool, high-school kids, we mean kids as in children. 

Having said that, MooKarta is brought to you by the creators of Motherland and Toast of London, so parents are probably going to love this too. It's inventive, funny and surreal (in a good way) as we follow the exploits of Splott and a bunch of memorably goofy characters. 


We’ll end with what may be the best podcast of all time, ‘serial’. Yes, it’s already a decade old but it’s still being discovered by thousands of listeners every week.

Series one began by taking a deep dive into a murder case that garnered some frankly unbelievable real-life results. We’re not going to spoil it for you, though even searching for ‘serial’ may unexpectedly give away the end.

Two more spectacular seasons followed (a fourth is in the pipeline) with each examining the components of a real-life crime in forensic detail to reveal some staggering truths. For fans of detective stories and both real-life and fictional crime, this is audio gold.

We’ll end by saying that ‘Serial’ has drawn a proverbial line in the sand of podcasting. Some might even call it the best podcast show ever, but that wouldn’t be for us to say.