In Review

July podcast picks: the Olympics, camping and children’s shows

Featuring Blind Landing, Fogo: Fear of Going Outside, Fun Kids, Wild Crimes and more

In the summer of the strangest Olympics in history, said Emma Dibdin in The New York Times, here are three podcasts that provide interesting perspectives on the games. 

Blind Landing is a “compelling new investigative” series about the scandal that plagued women’s gymnastics at Sydney 2000. “One by one, with the whole world watching, elite gymnasts kept falling off the vault, in ways that were embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst.” The series tells the “bizarre” true story (“no spoilers”) of what was going on. 

Pursuit of Gold With Laura Wilkinson (a US gold-medallist diver) is about the training techniques and psychological tools that equip winners for success. “Even if you’re just starting a running routine or trying to get yourself back to the gym, there are plenty of insights from the mindset of Olympic athletes.” 

Anything but Footy is a “relaxed, affable” Olympics-themed podcast covering just about every Olympic sport (except football, obviously).

Going camping this summer? Or can’t think of anything worse? My new favourite podcast, Fogo: Fear of Going Outside, is an “immensely entertaining” look at what makes people want to go and sleep in tents, said Miranda Sawyer in The Observer. It’s a US podcast, presented by an “indoorsy Vietnamese-American” comedian called Ivy Le. And while the premise is simple, Le is so “charismatic, funny and clever” – and her script and asides so “hilarious” – that Fogo surpasses all expectations.

Whatever your holiday plans, chances are you’ll need distractions during traffic jams or airport queues, said Patricia Nicol in The Sunday Times. If you’re travelling with children, check out Fun Kids, one of the UK’s only children’s radio stations – and a “rich, easily navigable resource for informative podcasts, shorts and tunes”.

For young children, try The Old Man in the Boat, their “beachside story-telling series” narrated by Harry Enfield and Clarke Peters. And for children aged eight-plus, they produce The Week Junior Show podcast.

Another podcast that older children (and adults) should find gripping is Wild Crimes said Patricia Nicol. This new ten-part series from the Natural History Museum explores the illegal $23bn global trade in wild animals and protected plants (from pangolins and chameleons to elephant tusks and black-market orchids). It’s not specifically aimed at children, but is excellent for “family listening”.

The presenters are Dr Tori Herridge, an evolutionary biologist at the museum, and Dr Khalil Thirlaway, a science communicator – and their passion for the at-risk wildlife “rings out”, said Gege Li in New Scientist. Listening to this pair “coo” over footage of a baby pangolin is a heart-warming reminder of “the simple joy and beauty of nature – and why it is so important to protect it”.

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