Get Smarter, Sleep Better And Laugh More With The 98 Best Podcasts You Can Listen To In 2020

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By Esquire
There has never been a better time for podcasts. Although the format has been around for a few decades, it has only really progressed in recent years. You could say we are going through a golden age of podcasts if you are the kind of person who has to divide all of their culture into neat epochs.
But podcasts themselves seem to live in the wild. You need a David Attenborough to lead the way through the undergrowth and prevent you from wasting time wandering dead ends. For this purpose, this is our selection of the best new podcasts that arrived in 2020, as well as our highlight among long-time favorites. We even divided them into nice little categories for you. Do you need something else? Would you like us to use your Airpods for you too? Oh, go ahead. We are all friends here.
Black Lives Matter / Coronavirus / History / Current Affairs / Comedy / Drama / Sport
True crime / quality chat / health / culture / economy
All time classics
Black lives count
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1Extra calls
This two-hour special edition of the BBC 1Extra show on current affairs and culture, moderated by Maurice (Shauny B) and Ashley (DJ Ace), is about the events of the past week and the considerations of the two presenters, a black man in Britain his education of black sons as well as representation of the thoughts of the listeners.
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Explained today
Vox's excellent Explained Digested News strand was a hit on YouTube and Netflix, and new 20-minute podcast episodes are released every day. Lately, it has focused on George Floyd, police brutality and civil rights, and his episodes about police unions, the reality of the black American nightmare, and why Trump's attempts to attribute the unrest to Antifa are simply wrong are essential.
LISTEN
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About the race with the Renni Eddo Lodge
The author of Why I Stop Talking About Races to Whites started where her book ended in this 2018 podcast that has followed the past 25 years of the struggle for BAME rights from the false hope of New Labor to the present day . Simon Woolley, founder of Operation Black Vote, Sisters Uncut and Riz Ahmed are among the key figures interviewed.
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George Floyd's Death: Will Something Change?
The Guardian's Today in Focus is another podcast that is guided by the daily news agenda and focuses on a single topic. This current issue includes an interview with former federal attorney and author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men Paul Butler about the injustice of the current system and how it needs to be reformed.
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Coronavirus podcasts
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How to cure viral misinformation
If you've been swamped in incredibly dubious WhatsApp chain letters and shared Facebook posts - usually by superstitious older relatives - you know that there is a lot of bad science, sheer rumors, and wild conspiracy theories. The BBC's "Seriously ..." podcast strand investigated where a particular post came from, how and why people choose to share information that is not true, and how we can all help prevent it.
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Corona Virus Global Update
This one from the BBC World Service is ideal if you want to stay up to date on the most important developments, but cannot bear to be drawn into the rabbit hole and scroll through Twitter for hours. Every day there is a four minute episode about the global situation with reports from affected areas and the latest medical news.
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The Coronavirus podcast
Another BBC - to be honest, this is exactly the time to hang out with the BBC as much as possible - this time in more depth, focusing on expert interviews, explanations of technical matters such as the idea of ​​herd immunity and your questions answered. Minister of Health Matt Hancock and government scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance have already spoken about it.
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In focus today
When you consider how fast everything is moving at the moment, anything that takes longer than 20 minutes can feel out of date almost immediately. The Guardian's daily podcast is a key guide to the broader impact of this crisis. The recent episode on how Covid-19 gained a foothold in Italy is thorough and avoids alarmism.
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History podcasts
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Slow burning: David Duke
The story of KKK member and politician David Duke is never relevant to America's race discussion, but since the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the protests against Black Lives Matter, the subject of Slow Burn's fourth series has been almost forward-looking. The idea is to relate historical episodes - Watergate, the Lewinsky affair, the deaths of Biggy and Tupac - without straining the narrative afterwards. You will be guided through the reaction to events that occurred at that time by uncovering forgotten pivot points and, in the case of Duke, making it clear that his position as an advocate of annoying "forgotten" whites anticipated the current political vortex.
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History becomes her
Host Rachel Thompson always talks to a guest who is making changes to the women who came before them and still serve as inspiration. Activists such as LGBTQ lawyer Ruth Hunt, journalist Zing Tsjeng and author of Three Women, Lisa Taddeo, are among those who make their choice, from pioneering scientists to pirate queens.
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Speaking politics: history of ideas
Self improvement is a noble goal. "Weekend plans?" you think on a Friday night with you "Probably do 10 km quickly, feed my sourdough starter and then rummage through some derrida before lunch. Nice." But that never really happens, does it? Of course, reading is brilliant and everything, but this podcast is a much faster way to broaden your mental horizons. David Runciman, head of politics and international studies at Cambridge, describes the emergence of the ideas and movements that determine our way of life today, including Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Thomas Hobbes' conception of the modern state and Ghandi's approval of non-violent resistance and Anti-colonialism.
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The Walker switch
Do you remember when Walker changed the colors of their packets with salt, vinegar, cheese and onions? Blue for salt and vinegar and green for cheese and onions are good enough for Golden Wonder, McCoys, Kettle Chips and the rest of the crispy industry, but not for Walkers, oh no. Why did that happen? And why do Walkers deny that it ever happened? This dead investigation goes all the way through the rabbit hole and finds that it leads to a forgotten and possibly completely fictional advertisement, Nelson Mandela, the Illuminati and - of course - Gary Lineker.
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13 minutes to the moon season 2
The in-depth retelling of the Apollo 11 mission last year - Armstrong, Aldrin, a giant step, etc. - was gripping and inspiring, and while it would be difficult for you to create a podcast that didn't pack or inspire the moon landings, it was beautifully done. Season two continues on to the Apollo 13 mission, which began less than a year later, telling its story with the same mix of original interviews and archives of key characters, including mission commander Jim Lovell. The drama of an exploding oxygen tank and the desperate race to bring all three astronauts back to Earth alive from 200,000 miles away is obvious. The real intrigue, however, lies in exploring all the other forgotten obstacles and disasters to be overcome along the way.
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We have to talk about the British Empire
We're not particularly good at remembering the less gilded parts of our recent national history, and although you may have learned a few lessons about slavery in high school, we as a nation are quite blasé at Britain's tendency to be the rudder there to be stuck where it's not wanted. However, his legacy is still with us: Take a look, for example, at the windrush deportation scandal that is still unfolding. Think of this podcast as a sharpener. In six episodes, journalist and author Afua Hirsch examines the legacy of the empire by speaking to British cultural professionals whose complex relationship to colonialism and empire is expressed in their art, from the poet Benjamin Zephaniah to Dame Diana Rigg and from Hong Kong to the West African Delta.
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The escape artist
Arthur Cravan doesn't appeal to the great British artists, but this podcast tells his life story over ten 15-minute episodes, making him a man who worked more than a century before his time. His surreal, Dada-influenced stunts and pranks anticipated the situationists of the late 1950s and his experiments speak for our problems with false news and trolls. His whole life has been a kind of living work of art and you can see his influence on Gilbert, George and Andy Warhol among others. However, he was not just an artist: he avoided military service during World War I and became the amateur heavyweight boxing champion of France.
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Beatles City
It's the 50th anniversary of the band's toxic breakup, but this Liverpool Echo project dates back to the Beatles' early years. Everyone in Liverpool has a Beatles story in their family, whether it's Nana seeing them in the cave during their lunch break, or your father's uncle's buddy who blindly swears he sold George Harrison a Ford Cortina in 1963. This Liverpool Echo project tries it Take them all before they go out of your mind - take, for example, Helen Anderson, a contemporary of John Lennon at the Liverpool College of Art. She made clothes for Lennon from sketches he gave her gave, and attended his early college rehearsals with Paul and George.
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Warning messages
Why do we make bad decisions? Is it just a lack of good judgment? Or is our brain hard-wired to let us down? Tim Harford's retelling of disasters caused by a catastrophically poor choice suggests that it is the latter, but there are lessons to be learned about how we live our lives day by day. For example, the really, really bad idea of ​​directing a super tanker towards a dangerous reef becomes a parable about not being blinded by the pursuit of a target, and a story about the time a group of soldiers took over was made to raid as we instinctively trust authority figures. Alan Cumming and Russell Tovey are among the performers for reconstructions.
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Podcasts on current affairs

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The anthill
This is The Conversation's podcast, where academics, if you are not familiar, bring in expertise, new research, and a deep understanding of topics that appear in the news and could be tolerated with a little prudent analysis of people outside the news cycle. The latest series focuses on the future of healthcare in the UK and how much more personalized things could become - you may be prescribed drugs based on your DNA, or your diet may be carefully adjusted to serve your personal microbiome. It's all cutting-edge stuff.
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Crossfire
However you feel about cheerleading the telegraph for Boris Johnson last year or so, it is still full of real journalists who know what they are doing and they have this explosive report on the saga about Russia's participation Donald Trump's 2016 election. Britain was at the center of some key moments - even the name of the FBI investigation had a British connection: "Crossfire Hurricane" from the Rolling Stones song "Jumpin 'Jack Flash" - and this six-part series she examines with testimony first-hand.
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Americast
We have had some political clashes here in the past 18 months, but in America things are just getting ready for the November elections. Don't worry if you're not sure how the primary system works or what a caucus is: BBC heavyweights Emily Maitlis and John Sopel are here to make everything clear. It may take a long time for election day to begin, but before we start to question whether Trump will win a second term or who will stand up to him for the Democrats, the palaver over the Iowa caucus needs to be resolved. And it's strangely exciting when Maitli says "Shitshow".
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The Bugle Presents: The last post
Andy Zaltzman's long-standing satirical podcast on current affairs has a new 10-minute spin-off that joins the growing number of daily short-form podcasts that emerged in the second half of 2019. This is moderated by Alice Fraser, but Zaltzman shows up in the first episode to see a preview of all the political gimmicks that are appearing in America this year, and the second to let Nish Kumar know what's on our shores goes.
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Comedy podcasts
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The receipts
For Tolly, Milena and Audrey, no topic is forbidden, from relationships to breakups and situations to the ups and downs of everyday life. They are brutal, unshakably honest and the episodes alternate between the chats of the three hosts, the featured guests and the requests of the listeners for advice.
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Dane Baptiste questions everything
How should we estimate the underestimated? How do I start a happy break? Should I go vegetarian? Tupac or DMX for the president? The stand-up Dane Baptiste deals with other comedians and personalities like Emile Heskey, the writer Dean Atta and Guz Khan from Man Like Mobeen with the really big questions.
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Connected
Audible's new series eavesdrops on comedy double acts and writing partners to learn how they deal with being separated during the lockdown. That means updates from famous friends like Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead and Spaced friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney from the disaster, Tez Ilyas and Sindhu Vee, Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield, Jimmy Carr and Katherine Ryan and the Kurupt FM guys. It's free too - all you need is an Amazon or Audible account.
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Reply All
This is a podcast on the Internet in the broadest sense. When you talk about the Internet, you are pretty much talking about the totality of existence, and this is a podcast about the totality of existence as it is experienced over the Internet. In the latest and perhaps biggest episode, the moderators PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman help a listener identify a song that he remembers from his youth, but which he cannot name. What is it? Why can he remember it so well? Why is there absolutely no evidence that it ever existed? Is it, as everyone asks, from barenaked ladies? Reply All's efforts to solve the puzzle are frankly ridiculous, but absolutely worth it.
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Gossip dealer series 3
A podcast that explores ridiculous rumors of small towns and urban legends seems such an obvious idea, and yet we're here. Joe Wilkinson, David Earl and Poppy Hillstead read the reader's contributions and decide which one they like best. Some are obviously nonsense, as the story of the baby born into a welly grew into the shape of a welly and died sadly when it was believed to be an actual welly and killed by a priest who stuck his foot in the throat. Others are somehow credible, like the man who started getting baptized in as many different churches as possible as a hobby, and ended up collecting more than 50 dunkings without actually being a Christian. The third series has just landed.
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Drunken women who solve crimes
A fairly simple setup for this: Comedians and authors Hannah George, Catie Wilkins, and Taylor Glenn try to solve true crime cases, personal crime stories, and unsolved listeners' puzzles as they are slowly being destroyed. Guests also come to include their own cases in the mix, including Joe Lycett, Rachel Parris, Katie Mulgrew, and Katherine Ryan, who were fished by an "inflatophile" while working at Hooters.
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Drama podcasts
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Phoebe reads a secret
You have probably set yourself some pretty optimistic goals for your reading as you can't really go outside, but don't worry if the general mood of the impending doom affects your motivation. Audiobooks and podcasts also count. Phoebe Judge has an exceptionally soothing voice and every day she drops a chapter of a mystery thriller in this podcast. She has just finished Agatha Christie's first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in which Hercule Poirot was featured, and the Hound of the Baskervilles is next.
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Get tired
Can't you dismount? This meditative, deeply soothing podcast will calm you down even when you're in a deep rut of excited nightly fears. Think of these half-hour stories as fairy tales for adults, with new-age soundscapes and mindfulness techniques that gently put you to sleep. It's like going to a spa, but it's free.
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mumble
If you've never really been into radio plays, this may be the radio play for you. The things that you could normally wrap up - constant grunting and sighing, characters walking into rooms describing where they are and why they are there - are strikingly absent. On the other hand, there are also many other standards of the radio play. It has been described as a kind of audio black mirror, but the first episode, in which a soldier is scattered across time and space and begins to change events, is much more fluid and cosmic than Charlie Brooker's action-oriented futureshock series. So not exactly the archers.
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Sports podcasts
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Stadio
The Berlin duo Musa Okwonga and Ryan Hunn talk about football, especially the Bundesliga, and pretty much everything else. As with the best sports podcasts, it's not just about sports. Memory, storytelling and the details of the game are as important as identifying the alien Erling Haaland species.
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Euro 96 Relived
As you may know, ITV fills the new, cavernous and now growing gaps in the game plans by rerunning all games starting at $ 96. (We picked the best ones by the way. You're welcome.) As you may not know, there is an accompanying podcast. It's also a superior example: respondents include Tony Adams, who is considering what it meant to him to be Terry Venables' captain after his alcohol addiction became very public, and a variety of key players from across the continent will come .
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Forgotten stories of football
If you're interested in football, you're probably already hearing the Guardian's all-pervasive Football Weekly podcast, but its new companion pod is in a completely different mood. Forgotten Stories is not a current affair, but a successful reading of long-form pieces about strange, surprising and underestimated moments in the past of football. The first is about the soccer tournament at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, in which the specter of fascism was great, but the farce was not far away. For example, the British team's draft letters before the games said: "Since there is still one month until we leave for Berlin, you should make a difference."
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Game of the day: Top 10
In the absence of actual football, the timing of a new podcast dropping from the pillar of television on Saturday night couldn't be much more random. Instead of doing the same VAR by numbers that they have to roll out every week, Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright argue about their selection for the top 10 Premier League players in different categories - so far we had the top 10 Captains and 10 top scorers, although the top scorer at all times at the table seems to be a little conflict of interest - eating pasta in Lineker's kitchen. It's oddly soothing right now.
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Ornstein & Chapman
Depending on how much Mark Chapman you can record in a week and what he's omnipresent on BBC radio and television when discussing football - be it an association or an American - this could go a step too far. But you'd miss glimpses of The Athletic's well-connected David Ornstein and exclusive interviews with players and insiders. Watch her latest episode with former Liverpool and Spurs football director Damien Comolli and his retelling of the sad racism debacle by Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra and the day Liverpool sold Fernando Torres and bought both Suarez and Andy Carroll.
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The biggest game
Quite easy, this time: Jamie Carragher sits down to chat about the best football game that every guest has seen or played live. Except for a fairly normal part in which he selects a five-on-five team from ex-players, teammates or favorite players. What is interesting is the admirably crazy seesawing in the quality of the guests. On the one hand: Thierry Henry, Steph Houghton, Jordan Henderson, Craig Bellamy. On the other hand: Niall Horan, Martin Compston from Line of Duty, Paddy McGuinness. However, the last guest is stuck in the first camp. Steven Gerrard tells his good friend Carra about his own favorite game - and it's not Istanbul 2005.
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Expressway
The Speedway motorcycle race was big in the 1970s and 80s. In Britain, it was an integral part of television on Saturday afternoon when live football was far less common and live races filled Wembley Stadium. There used to be 11 clubs in London alone, now they're all gone. So what happened? And could Speedway ever recapture the place it once had in the nation's sporting heart?
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The official Manchester United podcast
Urgh. United. Unbearable if they were successful, unbearable when the building collapsed and their fans groaned for fifth place, and somehow still terrible, now they're a midfield irrelevance with more official pasta partners than functional central midfielders. However, we will say this for you: decent podcast. As this is the official podcast, they can attract absolutely outstanding guests, from Paul Scholes and King Eric Cantona to Dimitar Berbatov, whose story of being kidnapped during the game for CSKA Sofia must be heard to be believed.
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The football book club
This home-brewed podcast by comedy writers James Bugg, Jack Bernhardt, Amy Lawson, and James Boughen examines the bathos and the weirdness of life stories of people who were allowed to live the dream, and has turned it into half a dozen fairly common anecdotes. The first episode deals with journeyman striker Darren Huckerby's Hucks: Through Adversity to Great Heights, a volume that contains memories of the convicted excavations by the young Hucks in Lincoln that almost killed his teammate Matt Carbon - they thought he liked a kip from the heater, but it turned out to be repeatedly poisoned with carbon monoxide - and the strange world of his friend Lee Croft, who was convinced that monkeys could be seen in the tree tops of Wigan "if you looked hard enough" and that he was once attacked by a wasp the size of a man's fist. If you miss The Reducer, this is one for you.
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True crime podcasts
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Nut jobs
This is a piece with another Audible Original, Marc Fenells It Burns, that followed chili-eating ultras who prove their masculinity by eating well-ulcerating hot chilies. Nut Jobs, however, is about the disappearance of $ 10 million in nuts - almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, pecans - in a raid that got 20 trucks with nuts going for six months. Where did you go? And why would anyone want to steal nuts? The answer concerns the great agriculture, the wellness movement, health, prosperity and immigration in America.
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El Impenetrable: Death in the forest
This thriller is particularly cloudy, strange, and hallucinatory. It is located in the deepest thicket of the Argentine forests, where the country's largest landowner was tortured to death with his sister-in-law. Authorities believe the killer tried to drive him out of his country, but what's the real story behind the killer that the police called the man with a thousand faces?
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My pen pal from death row
Rebekah Berry, 29, is from Manchester and writes letters to a prisoner waiting to die. This three-part series follows Rebekah's pen friendship with convicted murderer Charles Thompson, who has been on death row for 22 years, 4,000 miles from Manchester. The main issue is the morality of making friends with a man who has been convicted of murdering another person: is Rebekka naive? Can a murderer be saved? And will they ever meet face to face?
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The dating game killer
That may sound like an incredibly glaring title, but it's just the facts. Rodney Alcala won a date on the American dating show The Dating Game in 1978 when he was in the middle of a murder attack that stretched from New York to Los Angeles. He managed to avoid psychiatrists and police officers and confuse them when he kept killing. It is from the makers of Dr. Death and Dirty John, so it has a good pedigree, but be warned: this is a really dark one.
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What happened to annie
You may have seen Sky News' award-winning strand of podcast storycast first, with its excellent retelling of a raid from 1983, The Hunt for the Brink's-Mat Gold, but its latest podcast on true crime is darker. What happened to annie tries to investigate the death of 30-year-old Annie Börjesson, who was found dead on Prestwick Beach in Ayrshire, Scotland in 2005. Was it suicide? Or did that have anything to do with the CIA? Annie's family searches for the truth.
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Fake heiress
You've probably heard the story of Anna Delvey, the wealthy German heiress who owed tens of thousands of dollars in New York hotels and flown in a private jet, but was actually Russian-born Anna Sorokin, most recently an intern with a fashion magazine. You may even have read the Vanity Fair play about it, which was recorded by one of Sorokin's charades. This BBC drama doc takes a slightly different path, blending straightforward reporting with fictionalized scenes. The drama segments occasionally tip into the drama of the radio play, but evoke the surreality of Sorokin's invented life story, and the fact segments skilfully pull together parts of the huge amount of reportages that have drawn history around the world. It is almost too perfect to learn that Sorokin means "magpie" in Russian.
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High quality chat podcasts
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Pride & joy
Parent podcasts can lead to a long complaint about fatigue, but it's a little different.















































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