In Review

Podcasts of the week: actors, famous siblings and conmen 

Featuring Relatively, Bunk Bed, and The Shrink Next Door

Actors talking about acting can be dull, but The Two Shot Podcast, presented by Craig Parkinson, proves that it really doesn’t have to be, said Hannah Verdier in The Guardian. Warm and down-to-earth, Parkinson (best known for his brilliant performance as Dot Cottan in Line of Duty) has a subtle gift for “getting people to open up”, which he has honed talking not just to actors, but to a huge range of creative types. His guests range from well-known screen stars (e.g. Nicole Kidman), to chefs, DJs, musicians and more. 

Bunk Bed, in which playwright Patrick Marber and producer Peter Curran lie in the dark and talk, is another show that will take your mind off things, and help you feel slightly better about the world, said Miranda Sawyer in The Observer. It’s a bit like an audio version of Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse’s TV show about fishing: “two middle-aged men chuntering on, teasing and reminiscing, belying the idea that blokes can’t talk to each other”.

I am also thoroughly enjoying Relatively, a “sweet” new interview series about siblings, said Sawyer. The episodes so far have featured MP Jess Phillips and her brother Luke Trainor; drag artist Divina de Campo and her sister Carys Cliffe; and the actor-musician Johnny Flynn and his sister Lillie. “I can’t get enough of hearing how families work”, and host Catherine Carr “coaxes everyone to talk as honestly as they can”. For all the guests’ admirable emotional openness, this is not like one of those anonymised psychotherapy podcasts that dig deep into the darker chapters of life, said James Marriott in The Times. But as an “evocation of the forgotten textures of ordinary life in childhood”, and a way of “peering into the childhoods and family lives of the famous”, Relatively is “most enjoyable”. 

The best true-crime podcasts are so compelling that it’s “easy to burn through a whole series” in one sitting, said Time Out. Here are three instant classics that fit that description. West Cork examines the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier outside her holiday home in southwest Ireland. Documentary-maker Jennifer Ford and journalist Sam Bungey take a “humane look at the impact this crime had on a community”, how it changed the area, and “how an incredible narrative developed around it”. Who the Hell is Hamish? is the “juicy” tale of Australian “surfer dude, serial conman, catfisher and high-class low-life” Hamish McLaren, and the women who eventually took him down. It’s got complex scams, cold hard cash and “hot-blooded revenge”. Last, The Shrink Next Door – about a New York psychiatrist and his abusive relationship with a client – is one of the most shocking stories of manipulation you’ll ever hear.

The Week Unwrapped podcast 

Are British companies doing enough about modern slavery? How can we regulate digital repossessions? And why are we still opening new coal mines? Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. 

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