John Phipps

Much smarter than your average podcast: Passenger List reviewed

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Passenger List opens with a carefully structured ripple of breaking news bulletins: a mysterious catastrophe, an unconvincing official explanation, the…

The worst idea ever for a podcast – and it's great: Our Struggle reviewed

26 June 2021 9:00 am

Our hosts are Lauren and Drew and they want to talk about Karl Ove Knausgaard. Or rather, they want to…

Insane and fascinating: BBC World Service's Lazarus Heist reviewed

22 May 2021 9:00 am

The narrative podcast remains a form in search of a genre. The template set by the hit show Serial —…

It's almost touching that the NFT world see itself as radical

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Some things are explained so many times that they become unexplainable: we can only relate to them as something complicated…

Why In Our Time remains the best thing on radio

20 March 2021 9:00 am

In Our Time is the best thing on Radio 4, possibly the best thing on the radio full stop. It…

The funniest current affairs show since Brass Eye: Into the Grey Zone reviewed

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It was something a friend said to me about The Revenant, Leonardo diCaprio’s bloody-minded and brutal Oscar vehicle: ‘The problem…

Pleasant, cheerful and a little exhausting: Graham Norton on Virgin Radio reviewed

23 January 2021 9:00 am

In my parents’ house, the radio is always tuned to one of two stations: Magic FM and LBC. When Magic…

A round-up of horror podcasts

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Good evening! Come shivering on in through the garden side door, my friends, and distance yourselves in a semi-legal fashion…

The world’s greatest podcast: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History reviewed

12 December 2020 9:00 am

It’s well known that you should never meet your heroes because they will only disappoint you. Less commonly said, but…

Boldly going where hundreds have gone before: Brave New Planet podcast reviewed

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Since technology is developing at such light-speed pace, why does it feel so strangely slow? There is a sense that…

A beautiful radio adaptation: Radio 4’s The Housing Lark reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Nineteen fifty-six: the Suez crisis, the first Tesco, Jim Laker takes 19 wickets in a match. But also: Trinidadian pianist…

Tacky and incomprehensible: The Sandman audiobook reviewed

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Listening to the tacky and incomprehensible audio-adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel seriesSandman, I couldn’t stop thinking about the 19th-century…

A podcast about the literary canon that actually deepens your knowledge (sort of)

29 August 2020 9:00 am

While most of life’s pleasures can be shared, reading is lonely. It’s more than possible for six friends to enjoy…

Louis Theroux’s podcast reveals a master at work

25 July 2020 9:00 am

I always want to know more about Louis Theroux, which is odd, since I’ve seen so much of him already.…

Why is Robert Burton’s masterpiece Anatomy of Melancholy being sold as self-help?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

The BBC has been having a good pandemic. Stuck at home, a generation raised on podcasts and YouTube has discovered…

The Literary Disco podcast made me want to throw my laptop at the wall

30 May 2020 9:00 am

One of the stranger things that happened in the period just before lockdown was the sudden disappearance of audiences from…

The importance of sadism in writing a great screenplay

2 May 2020 9:00 am

How do you tell a great story? According to Craig Mazin, you have to be a sadist. ‘As a writer,…

You’ll keep saying ‘I’m sorry, did I hear that correctly?’: Fiasco reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Kevin Katke was quite a man. He had no military training, no political background and no espionage experience. Nonetheless, his…

An Al-Qaeda double agent explains what’s really going on in Middle East

29 February 2020 9:00 am

When will the definitive history of the modern Middle East be written? For 20 years and more, a continent has…