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Best podcasts of the week: Have Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo recaptured their movie magic?

By Alexi Duggins, Laura Snapes, Hannah Verdier and Lucy Sherriff
Simon Mayo (left) and Mark Kermode return after leaving their long-running BBC 5 live show
Simon Mayo (left) and Mark Kermode return after leaving their long-running BBC 5 live show Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

Picks of the week

Naked Lunch
Widely available, episodes weekly
You can probably guess how much food-based joy is packed into this show, given that it’s the first podcast from Phil Rosenthal of Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil. He and Rolling Stone journalist David Wild sit down each week to lunch with a celebrity – often a figure from the US food world. Cheeky quips, musings on international cuisine and dad jokes are the order of the day, with it feeling like a more rambling version of the Netflix show. Alexi Duggins

Kermode & Mayo’s Take
Widely available, episodes weekly

Having escaped the BBC yoke, the UK’s premier film grumps return with a sparkling new podcast. While it retains lots of the previous show’s charm, they’re still finding their feet: the old features are here with new titles, but they’re not sure about them. And they have to read ads, which they obviously hate. Still, freedom, eh?
Laura Snapes

Snooze
Widely available, episodes weekly

What if you had someone to stop you procrastinating? Megan Tan leads the Snooze Squad (which includes Rosario Dawson and Outkast’s Big Boi) who help people conquer their fears and get things done. As Jessica, who’s never learned to drive, proves: hitting snooze is not about laziness, but emotional blockages that run deep. Hannah Verdier

Unreal
BBC Sounds, all episodes out on Wednesday

Pandora Sykes and Sirin Kale host this informed, chatty look at reality TV – and its ethics. They meet the likes of Love Island, Big Brother and Towie contestants and delve into deeply troubling shows such as The Swan – whose contestants were given plastic surgery makeovers. Luckily, the wry, engaging hosts’ love of the genre doesn’t stop them asking tough questions. AD

BEING: Trans
Widely available, episodes weekly

This new audio treat follows the lives of four trans stars-in-waiting in Los Angeles. Many different dynamics are shown, from nonbinary legal assistant Sy – who transitioned after marrying their husband – to Chloe, a trans woman negotiating dates. The characters are warm, open and proof that any hate directed at their community is utterly pointless. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Ashley Ahearn’s podcast focuses on the now under-threat species, as well as wider environmental issues.
Ashley Ahearn’s podcast focuses on the now under-threat species, as well as wider environmental issues. Photograph: AP

This week, Lucy Sherriff chooses five of the best podcasts about the environment, from a fun guy nerding out about fungi to what sage grouse can tell us about the world

Grouse
When Ashley Ahearn ditched city life for a farmhouse and an unruly horse in the countryside of Washington state, little did she know she would end up hosting a podcast about the greater sage-grouse. On first listen, this might seem as niche as they come, but in fact it’s a wider look at the eternal conflict between humans and wildlife. We follow Ahearn as she strikes up delightful and unlikely friendships with conservative cattle ranchers, and interviews Native American elders, while acquiring an unexpected appreciation for the under-threat species.

Hot Take
Relaunched on Earth Day 2022 by Crooked Media, Hot Take is a holistic, irreverent look at the climate crisis and all the ways in which the world is talking – and in some cases not talking – about it. The podcast is co-hosted by climate justice essayist Mary Annaïse Heglar and investigative journalist Amy Westervelt. The duo study how climate discussions show up across the spectrum, from Netflix to newsletters, often looking at issues through the lenses of gender and race. Steering clear of dry academia, they ensure listeners are kept engaged.

Unearthed: Mysteries from an Unseen World
Kew Gardens’ series is a thrilling journey that looks at the plant world through a very different lens. Hosted by botanist and plant geek James Wong, this podcast teaches listeners about multimillion-pound smuggling operations, mysterious medicines and fantastic fungi, encouraging us to ponder whether ecocide is a crime. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the UK’s favourite garden, and Wong’s enthusiasm and easy rapport with scientists make it an engaging listen.

Blood River
The killers of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous environmental activist from Honduras, thought they were getting away with murder. More than 100 climate activists in the country had been killed in just five years, and few perpetrators had ever been brought to justice. Cáceres was shot dead in her home by armed intruders, after she had set out to stop the world’s largest dam builder from erecting a dam in the Gualcarque River, the lifeblood of the indigenous Lenca people. This true crime podcast is a gripping tale of the four-year quest to put her killers behind bars.

The Shark Farmer
Rob Sharkey is not your average grain farmer from Illinois. He is passionate about revealing what farming really looks like – the good, the bad and the ugly – against the backdrop of a rapidly and unpredictably changing climate. Pursuing stories that will resonate around the world, Sharkey is not afraid to court controversy, and keeps his topics firmly rooted in the current news cycle. A recent episode saw him interview a Ukrainian farmer about surviving in the midst of war; another featured farmers in South Africa whose neighbours were being murdered.

Why not try …

  • Hear the caped crusader turn pathologist in Batman Unburied, a new audio adventure which even knocked Joe Rogan off the top of Spotify’s podcast charts this week.

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Dive Deeper:
Ear to the ground: the five best podcasts about the environment
From a fun guy nerding out about fungi to what sage grouse can tell us about the wider state of…
Chris and Rosie Ramsey's BBC show gets start date as trailer delights viewers
The start date for The Chris and Rosie Ramsey show has now been revealed as a trailer excites BBC viewers
Television presenter Andi Oliver to host new BBC Radio 4 food podcast
Great British Menu presenter Andi Oliver will explore the stories and science behind food favourites in her new podcast on…
Deborah James hoped to be 'lucky one' before being told how long she has left
You, Me & The Big C's Deborah James says she would often hope she could be the 'lucky one' amid…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Deborah James’s BowelBabe fund raises nearly £2m as tributes pour in
BBC podcast host Deborah James has raised more than £2 million after she revealed she is now receiving palliative care…
Alito, Abortion, and Autonomy
Plus: ruminations on public health, misinformation, and media literacy
Get all your news in one place