Home Tech Guantánamo gets the Serial treatment

Guantánamo gets the Serial treatment

by Elijah
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Guantánamo gets the Serial treatment

DDoes the future of the BBC look less certain than that of Doctor Who? Are Premier League footballers really campaigning for headphones to be allowed so they can listen to the new show from two ex-Taskmaster contestants while playing? And who would have thought that the most iconic podcast ever would return with a look at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp – with ex-employees claiming it was so non-stop fun that ‘I partied my ass off’?

These are just some of the questions surrounding this week’s podcast news. From Russell T Davies’ appearance on TV podcast They Like to Watch, in which he claims the end of the Beeb is “undoubtedly coming”, to Lucy Beaumont and Sam Campbell making some false football related claims in support of the Friday launch of their new Perfect Brains podcast – via Serial come back with a surprising explanation As far as the infamous prison is concerned, it was a big week.

We also dive into the best hip-hop podcasts around, the dark story of an ex-Russian sex spy (or was that her?) and the joy of Helena Bonham Carter talking about history’s unsung heroes. A queer, transgender, female-centric take on sports and the righteous story of a group of women bringing a Hollywood predator to justice are also on the menu. Like I said: big week.

Alexi Duggins
Deputy TV editor

Choices of the week

Helena Bonham Carter. Photo: Theo Wargo/FilmMagic

Widely available, weekly episodes
The OG of podcasting returns for an excellent fourth season, featuring the history of Guantánamo from Sarah Koenig and Dana Chivvis. It’s a story they’ve wanted to tell for years, but haven’t strayed far beyond the official line until now. Today, staff and inmates are willing to talk: While the former report plays out, the latter – each of which has cost $13 million a year to accommodate – discuss their fears. Hanna Verdier

To die for
Available everywhere, all episodes available now
Mentioning seduction and ‘sexpionage’ sounds like something out of the male fantasy, but Neil Strauss gives a Russian woman the chance to tell her story of surveillance and love traps. First he has to find out if she is real, as she claims she was “a victim, brainwashed because I was a hero.” HV

The secret heroes of history
Widely available, weekly episodes
It doesn’t get much better than listening to Helena Bonham Carter (pictured above) tell the story of Ida and Louise Cook. In an archive interview with Sue MacGregor, Mills & Boon novelist Ida talks romance, before Bonham Carter explores the lives of the two sisters who specialized in dealing with opera stars and helping Jewish people escape Nazi Germany. HV

Widely available, weekly episodes
Listening to Katie Kershaw, Tien Tran and ER Fightmaster talk about “all things queer, trans and woman-forward in the sports world” is a workout for your gossip muscles. The trio of friends are funny and outrageous as they talk about bad coaches, being called dykes by a rival team and the sports moments that turned them gay. HV

Murder in the Hollywood Hills
Widely available, weekly episodes
Kristi Johnson was 21 years old when a man gave her an irresistible pick-up line in an LA mall: He said he was a movie producer looking for the next Bond girl. He drove her in his sports car to a supposed photo shoot, and she was never seen alive again. Hosted by NBC’s Keith Morrison, the series tells the story of the women who worked together to find and trap the smooth predator. Hollie Richardson

There’s a podcast for that

Quest love. Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust

This week, Ammar Kalia picks five of the best podcasts on hip hopfrom a Roots founder’s interview with rap stars to Romesh Ranganathan’s ode to the genre

Questlove Supreme
Founder of hip-hop group The Roots and Oscar-winning director Questlove has become something of an authority on rap. While his Instagram profile contains a wealth of tributes to lesser-known and often recently deceased artists, his podcast series interviews living greats about their career highs and lows. Questlove Supreme ditches the aimless chatter of other celebrity hip-hop podcasts and gets academic without losing an enthusiastic flair that always coaxes choice anecdotes out of its guests. Highlights include a deep dive into the superstardom of LL Cool J, writer Dan Charnas on the genius of producer J Dilla and DJ Marley Marl on ’80s hip-hop.

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Harder then a riot
Beyond its reputation for excess and controversy, hip-hop has also existed for the past fifty years as an essential means of social and political expression. Louder Than a Riot explores in detail how this energetic artistry from some of America’s most neglected communities under surveillance coincided with the rise of mass incarceration and even expressed prejudice within its own ranks. Hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden mix compelling reporting with interviews to explore how rappers often run afoul of the criminal justice system, before analyzing the misogyny and homophobia within hip-hop.

The blogging era
Brothers Jeff and Eric Rosenthal present this fascinating series that analyzes a niche but several years of crucial importance in hip-hop history. After the birth of the Internet and before the streaming era took off, blogs could make or break rap artists, and some argue that their feverish writing even began to influence the kind of music itself being made. On The Blog Era, the Rosenthal brothers unpick music created between 2007 and 2012 (after which SoundCloud became the dominant force), with the rise of everyone from J Cole to Kid Cudi, and profile the fortunes of the editors who run the sites cattle. .

This long-running series from host Cole Cuchna moves away from the genre’s grand history and delves into hip-hop album by album. As each series unravels the lyrical, musical and contextual information of a different record, Cuchna uses his compositional training to explore the specifics of how artists like Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West flow over their beats, and to explain their lyrical intentions. Having covered everything from Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly to West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Tyler the Creator’s Igor, Dissect is an exhaustive but essential listen for existing fans, as well as an ideal starting point for casual listeners.

Hip hop saved my life
Hip-hop may have started out as a quintessentially American genre, but fifty years after its inception, it has a legacy that spans the globe. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan’s series takes a jokey yet equally encyclopedic approach to hip-hop fandom, exploring his love for the genre while interviewing other British celebrities and artists. Episodes to kick things off include grime star Kano talking about his distinctly British spin on the genre, Mercury award winner Little Simz on her rise as a woman in hip-hop, and the late Jamal Edwards on his founding of the groundbreaking grime platform SBTV.

Why not try…

  • Chameleon: Gallery of Lies is a six-episode romp in a world of deceit, fraud and the potential for redemption.

  • Inbetweeners actor James Buckley and wife Clair discuss the smallest details of marriage and relationship that are non-negotiable In sickness and in health.

  • Professional wrestler Ashley Massaro died by suicide in 2019. Ashley vs. WWE, follows the events leading up to her death and investigates allegations of abuse while she was at the company.

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