If you’d asked me ten years ago a boom that I did not understand, it would have been the still quite fledgling podcast world. Now I can’t imagine not having something to listen to. When the world was ‘normal’, I relied on them to keep me company on my commute to work. When I started working night shifts, they were the one thing that kept me sane.
Now the world seems to have flipped upside down, they are more vital than ever. In the light of the COVID-19 crisis, they are now keeping me entertained through social distancing and beyond. So I thought I would put together a list of recommendations (of both Doctor Who and non-Doctor Who-related podcasts for you to check out. All of these shows have been going on for several years now, so have extensive back catalogues to dip in and out of as you so wish. So, in no particular order, here we go!
1 – Radio Free Skaro
Radio Free Skaro was my first delve into the world of Doctor Who podcasts many years ago. Hosted by three Canadian fans, Steven, Warren and Chris, they probably have forgotten more about Doctor Who than I will ever know. Listening to this podcast has taught me a lot about the show including the most valuable lesson – Doctor Who has no real canon. They are also quite interested in the behind the camera side of things on the show – best reflected by the type of guests that they get on their Gallifrey One Live Shows.
They feature some interesting content on here – alongside the usual reviews, they do commentaries on the episodes usually with guests, interviews with Doctor Who cast and crew and Fluid Links, a section where they try to answer listener’s questions.
2 – Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review
Whilst Radio Free Skaro was my first delve into Doctor Who podcasts, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review was the first podcast I ever subscribed to. In pre-coronavirus times, the show revolves around reviewing the latest releases that week and an interview with actors or directors about upcoming releases. In these times, the focus has changed to films available on demand and streaming.
Hosted by radio veteran Simon Mayo and ably contributed to by arguably Britain’s leading film critic, Mark Kermode, the show dubbed ‘Wittertainment’ is full of in-jokes and amusing bickering between the two men. I went to see a live recording of their show several years ago and they were absolutely great.
Hello to Jason Isaacs!
3 – Verity!
Named after the show’s first producer, Verity Lambert, Verity! is hosted by six very witty and clever women and their podcasts feature varying line ups of Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, Lizbeth Myles, Lynne Thomas and Tansy Roberts. Again, they review episodes of the show and have a theme that runs through the rest of the year. I particularly enjoyed last year’s “Seven” theme. They also have bonus episodes that feature games that are released around the holidays, which are great fun.
Verity! has certainly made me think about certain episodes and eras of Doctor Who more critically than I would have done previously. In addition, I really like their ‘Happy Things’ section at the beginning of most of their weekly podcasts, which recommend checking out new things related to Doctor Who and its extended universe.
4 – No Such Thing As A Fish
No Such Thing As A Fish is a podcast made by elves. By which of course, I mean the researchers for the BBC panel show, QI. The four hosts are Dan Schreiber, Andrew Hunter Murray, James Harkin and Anna Ptaszynsky and the podcast consists of them presenting weird and wonderful facts that they have discovered during the week. These can lead down some quite weird and wonderful tangents and all four hosts are very engaging. Dan’s facts are generally quite out there and not always fully researched, but that just makes them all the better.
Again, I have seen these guys live on their book launch for The Book of the Year 2019 and met them afterwards. If you get a chance to see them, I’d fully recommend it!
As a side note, this starts a mini-sublist of podcasts with the following two of having theme music that you will get stuck in your head.
5 – Who Back When
This is my most recently discovered Doctor Who themed podcast (or Doc-Past!), and I absolutely love it. Unlike the previous two on the list, the hosts of the show seem much more like casual fans who have some recollection of past episodes and events, and this means that they aren’t quite as afraid to tear down some perceived ‘great’ episodes down a peg or two.
There are rotating hosts here again, and currently shows are presented by any combination of Leon (or Ponken, not entirely sure why), Drew (Drew Back When, excellent branding), Marie and Jim, and they are going through Doctor Who episode by episode, alternating between Classic, New and The Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller Big Finish adventures and providing reviews. I seriously cannot recommend this podcast enough, it is great fun!
6 – You’re Dead To Me
As a lover of history from a young age and someone who holds a History degree, You’re Dead to Me might not usually appeal as it is targeted towards those who “don’t like history, or at least forgot to learn any at school”. However, as it focuses on subjects that aren’t commonly taught in schools it really interests me. It is hosted by Greg Jenner, who is a consultant historian on the Horrible Histories books and incredibly successful TV show, and he is joined by an academic and a comedian to discuss history.
Interestingly for Doctor Who fans, there are podcasts focussed on Lord Byron, the Aztecs and more recently Mary Shelley, which have been enlightening. Sadly production has been delayed on the second series of podcasts, but the first series and a bit are more than enough to sink your teeth into.
7 – The Big Finish Podcast
Nick Briggs and Benji Clifford host a podcast about the latest releases from Big Finish! What more is there to say? They feature interviews with the stars of their dramas, as well as trailers and recommendations of past stories.
8 – The Football Ramble
Yes, sorry folks, I quite enjoy football. Where are you going? No, wait, come back!
The Football Ramble is a rather irrelevant podcast which is very entertaining, even if it has an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Keegan. The hosts are Marcus Speller, Jim Campbell, Luke Moore and Pete Donaldson, and the show is anarchically entertaining even with the suspension of the football season. This is great for people who love the ‘beautiful game’ but don’t take it too seriously.
9 – David Tennant Does A Podcast With…
The title really says it all. Doctor Who, Good Omens and Harry Potter star David Tennant interviews fellow actors and celebrities, including but not limited to Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and other Doctor Who alumni such as Olivia Coleman and Michael Sheen.
This is probably the podcast with the fewest episodes on this list, but the interviews are all well worth a listen. Jodie Whittaker’s is interesting because she does talk a little bit about the backlash to her casting as the Doctor.
10 – Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald
The newest addition to my list of podcasts, Fake Doctors, Real Friends is a rewatch podcasts for the US sitcom Scrubs, hosted by stars Zach Braff (J.D) and Donald Faison (Turk). They started this quite early in the whole lockdown period and have started dropping two episodes per week as they go through the show from the beginning, reminscing and exchanging stories about their time on and off set.
They do have guests on, and so far they have had creator Bill Lawrence, John C McGinley (Dr. Cox), Judy Reyes (Carla) and Sarah Chalke (Elliott) on to talk about various episodes. It is really entertaining and is another show which has a fantastic theme tune.