In Review

Podcasts of the week: jailed fishermen, and royal sagas

Featuring Freshwater, Radio Garden, and Pod Save the Queen

The friend who introduced me to the Radio Garden app explained that it could recreate the experience of “sitting in traffic in an Uzbek taxi”, said James Marriott in The Times. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was something I might be missing out on, “but having downloaded the app, I get what she means”. Radio Garden’s interface is a picture of a satellite globe, covered in green dots, each of which represents a local radio station. Put your finger on one of these dots, and – depending on where in the world it is – you’ll be tuned straight into east African pop; classical music from Germany; or pro-Donald Trump talk radio from middle America. Radio Garden is easy to use, and “perfectly supplies some of the foreign holiday strangeness that has been missing from our lives for the past year”. 

“I always feel odd saying that I enjoyed a true-crime show”, as if I have relished “a short holiday in other people’s misery”, said Miranda Sawyer in The Observer. But I did really enjoy Freshwater – a five-part miniseries about the Freshwater Five, a group of lobster fishermen from the Isle of Wight who were convicted in 2011 of smuggling cocaine. Although almost all the evidence against the five was circumstantial, they were all convicted and sentenced to 104 years in jail between them. They have always insisted they were innocent, and now, ten years on, a verdict is pending in their appeal. Hosted by the “excellent” reporter Anushka Asthana, this engrossing series, made by The Guardian’s Today in Focus strand, doesn’t try to persuade you they are innocent; it just “examines whether they might be”. It’s a “fascinating and – for the men’s families – devastating story”. 

From the sleek drama of The Crown to the latest twists in the Harry and Meghan saga, you might think “we’ve all become royally obsessed”, said Jake Helm in the London Evening Standard. Fans of the awarding-winning Netflix show can luxuriate in The Crown: The Official Podcast, in which Edith Bowman digs deeper into each episode, and interviews the creators and stars. Harry and Meghan sympathisers can listen to them promote “compassion and kindness” on their Archewell Audio pod. And there are any number of listenable podcasts offering updates on the latest royal stories and gossip. Take your pick from The Royal Rota (with ITV’s royal correspondent Chris Ship); Pod Save the Queen (from the Daily Mirror’s equivalent); Palace Intrigue (a daily, five-minute pod); and finally, HeirHeads, from self-described “royal sceptics” Meadhbh McGrath and Tom Godfrey, which explores “the significance of the royals without taking them all that seriously”.

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