71 Best Podcasts Of 2021 You Need To Listen To Immediately

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Podcasts have transformed the daily grind into an altogether more bearable experience. Providing some much needed escapism from lockdown and bringing moments of joy to otherwise mundane household chores, podcasts have steadily become a necessity of everyday life, ever since Serial first hit the scene.

Whether you’re looking to delve into the gritty details of a true crime podcast, learn something new or simply laugh out loud, we’ve got you covered. These are the best podcasts that you need to make time to listen to, featuring old favourites as well as some new kids on the block. Browse, download and thank us later.


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best podcasts

Incredible Women

The brief: Pioneering women on how they enact change
Frequency: 12 episodes
Average run time: 30 minutes

The second series of Net-a-Porter’s Incredible Women podcast sees pioneering female figures talking through their successes and struggles. With a particular focus on how such individuals can use their influence to spark a shift towards a more inclusive society, this six-part podcast series sees the likes of model Ashley Graham and singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama detail their work to facilitate positive change.

Changemakers and leaders in their own spheres, each episode of Incredible Women sheds a light on the work of these powerful women in effecting historical change. Whether it’s humanitarian Elizabeth Nyamayar‪o’s efforts to rally traction with her movement HeForShe or Rina Sawayama convincing the BPI to amend their outdated rules which made her ineligible for the BRIT Awards, prepare to be inspired by these women. Yielding their power responsibly and gracefully, this podcast series highlights women who are using their platform for good.

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best podcasts   bill gates and rashida jones ask big questions podcast

Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions

The brief: What it says on the tin
Frequency: Every Monday
Average run time: 45 minutes

In this unlikely pairing, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and actor Rashida Jones come together to address the big questions in life like: Is there an absolute truth? Is inequality inescapable? Is it too late to stop climate change?

Listen in as the pair talk through these existential questions with one another and their expert guests. While it might sound like a heavy listen, Gates and Jones break down topics to make them informative and optimistic without being alarmist.

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best podcasts   cheer up luv podcast

The Cheer Up Luv Podcast

The brief: Kicking cat calling to the curb
Frequency: Most Thursdays
Average run time: 40 minutes

If you’re a female living in the UK with a resting face that isn’t actively overjoyed, chances are you’ve been told to ‘cheer up luv’. An extension of a campaign launched on Instagram, in this podcast host Eliza talks with artists, activists and creatives about stories from listeners of their own experiences with sexual harassment.

Challenging stigmas and myths that have been in place for years, this podcast is a must listen for anyone who’s over the normalisation of cat calling or those simply looking for an insight into the daily struggles women face. With guests including the likes of Jamie Windust and Amika George, The Cheer Up Luv Podcast makes for a comforting and engaging listen even when discussing heavier topics.

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best podcasts   what would the aunties say podcast

What Would The Aunties Say?

The brief: How to navigate your gossiping ‘aunties’
Frequency: Seven episodes
Average run time: 50 minutes

In this podcast, host Anchal speaks to guests about the common struggles faced by members of the Asian community that are often swept under the rug for fear of what ‘the aunties’ might say. A broad term for elder family members who tend to hold very traditional and old fashioned beliefs, ‘aunties’ often hold their relatives to these very rigid cultural expectations.

Discussing personal experiences as well as those of her guests, Anchal breaks down these common issues to reveal how prevalent harmful beauty standards and toxic reputation pressures are. Offering a fresh take on how to navigate expectations thrusted upon generations from their elders, no topic is off-limits in this podcast. From interracial relationships to skin lightening, What Would The Aunties Say? is a relatable and valuable look into the struggles faced by the Asian community, broken down into engaging and reflective conversations.

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best podcasts   the guilty feminist

The Guilty Feminist

The brief: Validation you’re not a ‘bad’ feminist
Frequency: Twice a week, often Mondays and Wednesdays
Average time: 50 to 70 minutes
Helping to make feminism more accessible for the masses, The Guilty Feminist is the perfect non-preachy format to better understand what being a feminist in the 21st century means. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling like a ‘bad’ feminist, this podcast will help you put that to rest. Tackling issues that can at times be difficult to talk about, host Deborah Frances-White perfectly balances discussion around important contemporary problems with comedy and lightness. Examining topics that range from sex workers’ rights to women in music, no topics is off limits in The Guilty Feminist. Prepare to join a tribe of inspiring, motivating and moving women.

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best podcasts   code switch podcast

Code Switch

The brief: Challenging, vital and important conversations about race
Frequency: Every Wednesday
Average run time: 25 minutes

Code Switch is a podcast bringing upfront and open conversations about race to the front of the agenda. Through consistently informative and engaging episodes, Code Switch unearths the intricacies of experiences within marginalised communities, examining a host of different issues ranging from Islamophobia to anti-immigration movements like ending DACA.

While Code Switch undoubtedly covers weighty topics, they break down overarching issues to make them accessible while still doing justice to the complex topics they cover. Exploring the ways in which race affects society from politics and history to media and sports, this insightful podcast invites listeners to educate themselves and join the conversation.

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michelle obama podcast

The Michelle Obama Podcast

The brief: Human conversations with Michelle Obama
Frequency: TBC
Average run time: TBC

Michelle Obama fans will be pleased to learn that the former first lady is launching her own podcast, available on Spotify and free to download from July 29. The Michelle Obama Podcast is set to feature frank conversations between Obama and guests that range from Conan O’Brien to her mother, kicking off with her husband former president Barack Obama.

In a statement on the new series, Obama said ‘My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives’. Delving into everything from the coronavirus pandemic to racism, the podcast series is intended to ‘help listeners open up new conversations—and hard conversations—with the people who matter most to them’, allowing us to expand our own empathy and understanding.

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best podcasts   have you heard george's podcast

Have You Heard George’s Podcast?

The brief: Audio becomes art on this word journey
Frequency: 18 episodes to date
Average run time: 25 minutes

George the Poet’s podcast is unlike any other you will have listened to before. Integrating music, storytelling, commentary, poetry and interviews fluidly with one another, Have You Heard George’s Podcast? feels like listening in on theatre. Expertly synthesising each of these mediums, George the Poet carefully weaves words together to produce narratives that are topical, enlightening and thoroughly moving.

Whether it’s a political or social commentary or a more personal look into George the Poet’s life, you’re sure to come away from each episode having learnt something new. A true creative feat, this podcast is a pleasure to listen to.

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best podcasts   mixed up podcast

Mixed Up

The brief: Warm, insightful and relatable conversations around being mixed race
Frequency: Weekly, four episodes to date
Average run time: 50 minutes

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