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17 podcasts to fill The High Low shaped hole in your life

From the new audio double-act to the series that still bring the LOL factor, here’s where to get your weekly pop-culture fix 

<p>The High Low podcast.jpg</p>

The High Low podcast.jpg

/ The High Low Podcast
By
Katie StrickFeature writer
@katie_strick
16 December 2020
W

e all have our favourite episode from The High Low’s four years on air: the one where Pandora introduces the top-line segment, the one where we meet producer CJ for the first time, the one where Dolly first introduces us to Francesco (if you know, you know). 

But we’ve had our mourning period for the show now. The most important task going forward? Finding a podcast worthy of replacing Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes’ pop-culture fix in our weekly repertoire. 

From the new audio double-act to the series that still bring the LOL factor, here are 10 new podcasts to fill that High Low-shaped hole in your life (and Spotify library). 

Brown Girls Do It Too

BBC Asian Network

OK, so you won’t get author specials or high-brow news discussions. But you’ll more of the low - and even more laugh-out-loud moments that’ll leave you spluttering on your weekly Wednesday 5k. 

BBC Asian Network’s podcast-of-the-year-winning sex series is back for season two just when we needed it. Sadly, it’s down to two hosts, Poppy and Rubina (their co-presenter has since left the show), but what they lack in numbers they make up for in star guests: professional dirty talker Alicia Sweets and journalist Ash Sarkar are among this series’ line-up so far.  

People. Fashion. Power. Delivered weekly.

Expect episodes on dirty talk, sex faces and plenty of sexploit revelations. Just be careful you don’t accidentally play it aloud if you’re in the car with your mum.

10/10 Would Recommend

Netflix

Substitute Dolly and Pandora’s culture hit-list for Tolly and Gena’s - this pair’s podcast is all about TV recommendations,  so you can spend less time choosing your next Netflix fix, and more time watching (and dissecting the episodes with your friends). 

Like the hosts of The High Low, they’re real-life friends and each week they’re accompanied by a guest from the world of Netflix, from The Crown’s Erin Doherty to Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan. 

Millennial Love

The Independent

The Independent’s hit dating series might focus on millennial love but it’s comfortingly relatable whether you’re single or in a relationship. Guests include former MIC star Caggie Dunlop and author Florence Given and recent topics range form body dysmorphia to arranged marriages. 

You can listen to 91 episodes all the way back to 2018 if you’ve only just discovered the podcast - spring’s episodes on quarantine dating and socially-distant love stories are still mostly as relevant today as they were back then. Watch out for host Olivia Petter’s book coming in July 2021. 

Fortunately… With Fi and Jane

BBC

You’ll have heard The High Low mention this one - it’s essentially the closest you’ll get to Alderton and Skyes if they were in their fifties. The Radio Four series is hosted by BBC journalists Jane Garvey and Fi Glover and is released every Friday, taking a light-hearted and thought-provoking look behind the scenes with guests from podcasting, radio and TV. 

Recent guests include Nadiya Hussain, Ruth Jones and Will Young. 

The Receipts

The Receipts

Unfiltered girl talk from three friends Milena, Audrey and Tolly (of 10/10 Would Recommend fame, above). Discussions range from ‘my girlfriend is jealous of my best friend’ to ‘my family are racists’ and the trio shine an important light on issues facing women of colour. 

Episodes drop weekly and range from 30 minutes to two hours. 

Desert Island Discs

BBC

Obviously this one had to be included. The Desert Island Discs archive is probably The High Low’s (Alderton’s) most referenced podcast and for good reason. 

Among the library you’ll find old episodes with Keith Richards, Matt Smith and Stephen Hawking , as well as more recent sit-downs with Keir Starmer, Bernadine Evaristo and Sharon Horgan, if you missed them live.

The Breakup Monologues

Rosie Wilby

Award-winning comedian, author and accidental relationship guru Rosie Wilby meets a rotating cast of performer pals to look at their best and worst romantic breakup stories. 

Dolly Alderton is among her star guests and Wilby herself appeared on The High Low in 2017 to discuss her first book, Is Monogamy Dead? 

Season 4 launches on February 12. 

Grounded With Louis Theroux

BBC

You’ll remember the extraordinary soundbites The High Low played from Theroux’s audio sit-down with I May Destroy star Michaela Coel. The interview is even more extraordinary when you listen to the whole hour-long episode - download it for your next evening walk if you haven’t already. 

Other hero guests on the documentarian’s new podcast series include Helena Bonham Carter, Sia and Rylan. 

Obsessed With…

BBC Sounds

The High Low was obsessed with being obsessed, so here’s your latest obsession: a whole podcast about it. 

Download Obsessed With… if you miss those water-cooler moments about the latest hit TV show, whether it’s Connell’s chain in Normal People or Killing Eve’s outrageous fashion.  

Who You Don’t See

Megan Lawton

A new podcast from BBC journalist Megan Lawton. Each episode looks at someone working behind the stars, from tour managers and choreographers to fashion stylists and makeup artists. Each guest gives an insight to their world, revealing what it's like to work with some of the biggest names in pop culture as well as explaining how they got into the industry.

Episodes drop each week and so far Lawton has spoken to Little Mix’s photographer, Mabel’s make up artist and Sean Paul’s music video director.

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

How To Fail

If you’ve listened to The High Low for years you’re almost certainly a veteran of How To Fail, too. Host Elizabeth Day is a friend of Alderton and Skyes’ and has appeared in author specials, as have many of her guests. 

She’s now onto her ninth series, with latest interviewees including Adam Buxton, Ruby Wax and Gloria Steinhem. Recent highlights include an episode with Fifty Shades actor Jamie Dornan (he and Day went to the same school in Northern Ireland) in which he talks candidly about believing he was born to be the father of daughters. 

You’re Wrong About

You’re Wrong About

Meet your next podcast double-act: Mike Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, a pair of American journalists who are obsessed with the past, just like Alderton. 

This one’s for the culture nerds - each week, the hosts dive deep into a historical person or event who they believe has been miscast in the public imagination. Fans of The Crown will love their recent five-part series on Princess Diana, with digressions including shoulder pads, Madonna and the idiosyncrasies of British place names. 

Daisy is Insatiable

Daisy Buchanan

Alderton may no longer have her own podcast but she still makes a popular interviewee - she’s the first guest on new series Daisy Is Insatiable, a hot new sex podcast from journalist and author Daisy Buchanan, whose new book Insatiable has had rave reviews for its stories of threesomes, middle class sex parties and a great deal of cunnilingus.

Episode one hears the pair, who’ve been friends for over a decade, discuss writing sex scenes, what they’ve learnt about sex and relationships and the best and worst sex advice they’ve received.

Life and Soul

Emma Forbes

Radio presenter Emma Forbes’ new podcast Life & Soul has been getting a lot of love since it launched and charted at number 30 in the UK health and fitness charts within its first week.

Conversations range from lockdown anxiety to feelgood habits and guests include Julie Walters, David Furnish, Ruby Wax. Fearne Cotton, Alice Temperley, Dr Alex George and Anya Hindmarsh are all coming up.

The Panic Years

Nell Frizzell

For anyone in that period of growing up where they just feel a little lost or out of synch. Astrology fans like Caggie Dunlop call it your Saturn Return; author Nell Frizzell calls it ‘the panic years’ - she’s written a whole book about it, out earlier this month, and now has a podcast to match, with episodes on fellow podcaster Daisy Buchanan’s decision not to have children, to comedian Sara Pascoe on why she got married without a wedding.

According to Frizzell, it’s all about “that period between carelessness and matching crockery, between your friends passing out on the dancefloor and those same people becoming parents; the time when we all start wondering when did everything got so serious? It talks about the big stuff, in a way that will make you feel better.”

Saturn Returns with Caggie

Caggie Dunlop

Speaking of Caggie Dunlop, her podcast is back too! Season three of the former MIC star’s astrology series Saturn Returns lands next month, with more honest conversations and expert guidance on to manage your own wake-up call from the Universe.

Guests have included High Low favourite Elizabeth Day, psychotherapist Julia Samuels and Dunlop’s old MIC pal Jamie Laing, with topics ranging from sex to sober-curiosity. Cat Meffan, Camille Charriere and Jordan Stephens are among those lined up for season three.

Squiggly Careers

Squiggly Careers

That practical advice you always used to get from The High Low, for those who might not be following a ‘traditional’ career ladder. Hosts Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis are experts on designing your perfect career - they wrote a Sunday Times Business Bestseller, The Squiggly Career, about it last year and their helpful podcast is the perfect weekly companion.

Topics range from developing your transferable skills to managing distraction downfalls and the most recent episode, on coping with overwhelm at work, is particularly insightful for anyone feeling swamped in lockdown.