Best podcasts of the week: Professor Green and guests pick through their poo

·5 min read
<span>Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images

Picks of the week

Take a Stool
Widely available, episodes weekly
Stephen Manderson, AKA Professor Green – who once nearly died because of gut problems, asks his celebrity friends to send their poo in the post. Based on the sample, they delve deep into the bowels of the guest’s life – unpicking the factors that have shaped their gut health. This week, SAS: Who Dares Wins star Jason Fox dismantles the taboos by getting real about “shitting through the eye of a needle” on a shared toilet in the special forces. Hollie Richardson

Where You From?
Global Player, episodes weekly

LBC’s Lillie Almond asks guests including Nadiya Hussain and Nish Kumar the all-too-frequent question and gets fascinating answers. MP David Lammy is first up, reflecting on his experience of leaving Tottenham for a scholarship at an all-white school and giving a thoughtful summary on where the UK is on race today.
Hannah Verdier

Slow Burn
Widely available, episodes weekly from Monday 30 May

“What will the future of abortion look like in America?” asks Slow Burn’s host Susan Matthews. “It might look a lot like the past.” The history podcast’s seventh season turns a timely lens on Roe v Wade, with horrific stories about the time before legalised abortion which illustrate how vital the endangered ruling is. HV

Legit Classics
Widely available, episodes weekly

“You don’t need a cravat, a rare wine collection and villa in Tuscany to sample the delights of the Greco-Roman world.” So runs the intro of this series from down-to-earth classicist Jasmine Elmer. It’s an enjoyably plain-speaking look at ancient history, with guests such as breakout University Challenger Bobby Seagull, chatting about mathematicians such as “our main man Pythagoras”. Alexi Duggins

The Spying Game
Widely available, episodes weekly

How close to real life are spy movies? Rory Bremner finds out as he introduces former agents to the stars who portray them on-screen. The Night Manager star Alistair Petrie meets the CIA’s brilliantly titled chief of disguise, while author Ben Macintyre meets an ex-British intelligence officer in highly informative chats. AD

There’s a podcast for that

In 2018, Reply All memorably investigated how a listener became a victim of blackmail over social media app Snapchat
In 2018, Reply All memorably investigated how a listener became a victim of blackmail over social media app Snapchat. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

This week Hannah J Davies highlights five of the best episodes of Reply All, from a tech support saga to an oddly specific case of social media blackmailing

Long Distance
In the age of increasingly sophisticated online swindles, telephone scams might feel oddly quaint. However, as this 2017 episode showed, there’s still a dark rabbit hole to go down when it comes to tech support fraud, with a supposed iCloud hack leading Alex Goldman into the strange world of the aptly named Delhi-based firm Accostings. The Long Distance, Part II, sees him go even further, travelling to India, while a 2020 follow-up sheds yet more light on the scammers’ motivations. Fusing tech weirdness with stranger than fiction human stories, it’s a true highlight of the series.

The Snapchat Thief
In 2018, Reply All listener Lizzie had her Snapchat account hacked, and her username stolen. So far, so common or garden internet thievery. What wasn’t so standard about Lizzie’s predicament was that she had been targeted specifically for her rare handle, and the person who had stolen it began sending her threatening messages, threatening to leak nude pictures and telling her they knew where she lived. As the team try to figure out who is behind the con, they’re increasingly pulled into shady corners of the internet, populated by the kinds of stranger-than-fiction characters that Reply All dissects so well.

Adam Pisces and The $2 Coke
Just who is Adam Pisces? This 2019 instalment saw producer Damiano Marchetti delve into a bizarre problem plaguing Domino’s Pizza employees in North Carolina, who received multiple orders for a single 20 oz (one pint) Coke from the same customer - all of which were never collected. Was it a test from head office, meddling franchise owners, a software glitch, or something more nefarious? As with all the best Super Tech Support episodes, multiple threads are slowly teased out and false theories debunked, with no suspicion or rumour proving too small to explore.

The Case of The Missing Hit
With Google at our disposal, it often feels like no long-forgotten titbit of information is more than a quick search away. This was not the case for Tyler Gillet, an artist from Los Angeles with a snippet of a song stuck in his head – so stuck, in fact that he remembered whole lines of it – but zero internet leads on what it might be. Enter the Reply All team, who, back in 2020, helped him search for the “Barenaked Ladies-y”, U2-esque missing hit, and – in the process embarked on an emotional journey centred on memory, nostalgia and 90s pop.

America’s Hottest Talkline
Serial alum Emmanuel Dzotsi had a short stint as a Reply All host, joining the series alongside original presenters Alex and PJ Vogt in 2020 (Vogt later departed in 2021 amid controversy around the show’s Test Kitchen miniseries). Much of the latter part of Reply All’s history has been clouded by the debacle, but Dzotsi’s contribution to the show shouldn’t be overlooked. His first episode, America’s Hottest Talkline, is a compelling look at how and why a range of government help lines – including one for Covid support – were hijacked by a phone sex operator (yes, really).

Why not try …

  • Spooky podcast-within-a-podcast action in drama series Radioman, co-created by and starring Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

  • A rummage through foodie history and science with chef and broadcaser Andi Oliver in One Dish.

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