In Review

Podcasts of the week: divorce, femmes fatales and 007’s lost car

Featuring Forever is a Long Time, The Breakup Monologues and Love is a Crime

There’s no way of describing Forever is a Long Time without “making it sound bleak”, said Fiona Sturges in the FT. In this “deeply personal” podcast, Ian Coss talks to members of his extended family about their failed marriages. But somehow, far from being depressing, it is “insightful, open-hearted and occasionally funny”. We hear from Coss’s parents, who divorced when he was eight, plus his aunt (who has no regrets) and uncle (who is still saddened).

But most fascinating is his “charismatic” grandmother, Marianne, who emigrated from postwar Germany to the US and got married, then left her husband and children when it became clear the marriage wasn’t working. There is no “bitterness or cruelty here”; just honest reflection on “the ripple effects of broken relationships and how people get through difficult times”. Also recommended: The Breakup Monologues, in which comedian Rosie Wilby and guests share their breakup stories. It is also a “lot more cheerful and entertaining than it sounds”.

Karina Longworth created the “game-changing” film podcast You Must Remember This, said Jude Rogers in The Observer. Now she has teamed up with Vanity Fair and film-maker Vanessa Hope for the magazine’s first-ever narrative podcast.

As befits Vanity Fair’s “old-school glitz”, Love is a Crime is “flashy, starry stuff”. The crime in question took place in 1951, and involved Hope’s grandmother, the actress Joan Bennett. A star since the silent era, she was known for her femme fatale roles in several of Fritz Lang’s films, but her career was derailed when her husband Walter Wanger shot her agent/lover in the groin in a parking lot in Beverly Hills.

Episode one is a “gripping combination” of personal insight, meticulous research and theatrical reconstruction: the cast includes Zooey Deschanel and Jon Hamm. “I’m in for the next nine episodes, no question.”

Another celebrity crime story, with “Swinging Sixties glamour”, is told in The Great James Bond Car Robbery, said Patricia Nicol in The Sunday Times. Film fans will remember the Aston Martin DB5 first driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger. In 1997, the vehicle – “arguably the most famous car in the world” – was stolen from an airport hangar in Florida, and has not been seen since.

This “sprightly” series tells the tale of the hunt for it. It is “deliciously” narrated by “Bond Girl manqué” Elizabeth Hurley. And there are some engaging interviewees, including an American art recovery expert who compares the DB5 to a Titian. I’m three episodes in (of eight), and finding it a “confidently driven vehicle” that provides an “undemanding but undeniably fun ride”.

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