Picks of the week

Stirring It Up With Andi and Miquita Oliver
Widely available, episodes weekly
It’s no surprise that mother-and-daughter duo Andi and Miquita Oliver have cooked up the feelgood podcast of the summer. The immersive episodes see them dish up food and drinks to a celebrity and a plus-one: first up is Kathy Burke and her friend Pippa Brown. Although the chat flows lightly, the anecdotes run deep, with Burke talking about childhood hunger and the Olivers giving an insight into their relationship. Hannah Verdier

The Retrievals
Widely available, episodes weekly

A new podcast from the makers of Serial is guaranteed to be good, but this – about how women’s pain is dismissed – is a particularly powerful one. This American Life’s Susan Burton investigates what happened at the Yale Fertility Center, where patients should have received fentanyl during an egg-retrieval procedure. HV

Andi and Miquita Oliver, hosts of Stirring It Up.

Supreme: The Battle for Roe
Widely available, episodes weekly

William H Macy, Felicity Huffman and Maya Hawke lead the cast of this scripted pod about Roe v Wade. Hawke is Sarah Weddington, the youngest woman ever to argue a case in the supreme court, and she brings her fastidious character to life in a story that resonates one year after the ruling was overurned. HV

Joking Not Joking
Widely available, episodes weekly

Standups and friends Mo Amer and Azhar Usman ask some pretty big questions, discussing fame, death and money. First up: Are Aliens Real?, a conversation that takes in Elon Musk, the rise of AI and the fact Donald Trump might be the man who knows the answer. Sometimes they’re joking, sometimes they’re not. HV

Walt Disney: A Life in Films
Widely available, all episodes out now

Hosted by Mel Giedroyc and written by journalist Al Horner, this pod does what it says on the tin. With subject matter this fabled (Snow White, Pinocchio, Mary Poppins) it could easily descend into hagiography. Gladly it’s not afraid to look at the wider context around Disney – and his more controversial works. Hannah J Davies

There’s a podcast for that

For a podcast that replicates the vibe of the ultimate female safe space, try The Girls Bathroom.

This week, Nyima Jobe chooses five of the best podcasts on human connection, from a show that seeks to unite Black Britons to the audio version of the safe space that is the girls’ loo

Crappy Friends
Best friends Kristan Higgins and Joss Dey discuss the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with friendships in this US pod. Clingy friends, jealous friends, amazing friends who have helped their pals through difficult experiences with grief and sexual assault – they discuss them all. Nothing is off limits, and with over 161 episodes delving into the complexities of human relationships there is something for everyone to relate to. So whether you’re dealing with an obsessive work colleague or you need expert advice on how to find some buddies for a lonely parent, Crappy Friends has all theadvice you need.

The Girls Bathroom
On a night out it’s almost inevitable that women will end up making a friend in the loo, and maybe getting their new pal’s take on their latest life dilemmas. Life-long best buddies Sophia Tuxford and Cinzia Baylis-Zullo have created the audio equivalent with this engaging pod, which sees their electric chemistry shine through. Each week listeners’ dilemmas are dissected, from “do I need a life outside my boyfriend’s?” to “I don’t want to go to my bestie’s wedding” … and even “do I need my boyfriend’s permission to try for a baby?”.

Level: Asian
This Australian series sees hosts Kan Huang, Noel Myaing, Vivian Wei and Davie Mach share their personal and professional wisdom with their peers who are “breaking the bamboo ceiling”, many of whom are entrepreneurs or work in the creative industries. Topics include navigating complex relationships with Asian parents and how to manage not matching up to family and societal expectations when it comes to personal relationships. Creating meaningful connections with people from similar backgrounds is the beating heart of the podcast, and it is clear how integral community is to the hosts’ growth (“this is a podcast I needed 15 years ago”, says Mach).

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Modern Love
For almost two decades, the fantasies and realities of love have been shared in the New York Times column Modern Love, which is available as a podcast as well as in print these days. Journalist Anna Martin shares the rollercoaster that love takes everyday people on, with themes ranging from parental abandonment to communicating with a loved one following a diagnosis of autism. Why not dip into the tale of a woman realising her mother communicated her love to her by doing her hair – or dive into a more NSFW story about a musician introducing BDSM to her relationships.

90s Baby Show
This chilled out, often lighthearted UK podcast sees hosts Fred Santana, Temi Alchémy and VP aim to “bridge the gap between younger and older generations”, and improve transparency on issues that face the Black community, discussing everything from the trials and tribulations of relationships to navigating life as Black men in 2023. Together they also tackle listener woes – including “she left me for a footballer in a Range Rover” – and more hopeful topics related to romance, such as whether there is any truth in the adage “happy wife equals happy life”.

Why not try …

  • The latest series of Slate’s hit podcast Slow Burn looks at the life of scandal-hit US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas.

  • Formula One fans assemble: get up to speed with the latest goings-on in the sport in P1 with Matt and Tommy.

  • You Feeling This?, a charming, naturalistic anthology series about love … which also happens to be totally fictional.

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