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Cults, reality TV, and tigers: Nine of the best podcasts to listen to this summer

Here are seven of the best podcasts to check out this summer
Here are seven of the best podcasts to check out this summer   -   Copyright  urbazon / canva
By Charlotte Elton

With the mercury rising all over Europe, summer is in full swing.

For some people, that signals beach-side holidays, long evenings, and time off. For others, it means nearly getting heat stroke on a sweltering morning commute.

But whether you’re sunbathing on vacation or trapped in the office, there’s a podcast to soundtrack your summer. Here are the nine of the best, compiled by the Euronews Culture team.

Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV

Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV / BBC sounds
Unreal: A critical history of reality TV charts the progression of TV's most popular genreUnreal: A Critical History of Reality TV / BBC sounds

Whether you're a reality TV obsessive or a Love Island addict, this 10 part series is the podcast for you.

Journalists Pandora Sykes and Sirin Kale meticulously track the wild history of the genre, from smash hits like Big Brother and Keeping up with Kardashians to the ethically questionable “There’s something about Miriam.”

The pair speak with more than 60 experts, producers and contestants to explore the genre’s past - and where it's likely to go in the future.

Wild Things: Siegfried and Roy

AP Photo
Las Vegas magicians Roy Horn, left, and Siegfried Fischbacher pose in New York, with their rare white tigers, Neva and Vegas. 1987AP Photo

In 2003, a tiger mauled German illusionist Roy Horn during a magic show, nearly killing him in front of a live audience.

That near-death experience is the starting point for this eight-part exploration into the 30 year career of Roy and magic partner, Siegfried. Go ‘behind the velvet curtain’ and delve into the lives of these beloved - and reviled - eccentrics, who performed 30,000 shows for 50 million people.

Expect wild parties, animal-theft, and an attempted shooting.

The Antidote

“The world is a dumpster fire,” declare Amy Aniobi and Grace Edwards, best friends and scriptwriters for the “Insecure” HBO series.

Their answer? A joyous celebration of culture and activities that make them happy. In each weekly episode, they recap some “bummer news,” and then explore antidotes - anything to keep you from doomscolling.

Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe's 'Parenting Hell'

For some people, summer means long evenings and picnics in the park. For parents, it means a lot of time spent with kids.

Stay sane by listening to ‘Parenting Hell,’ a podcast exploring the trials and tribulations of modern parenthood.

Originally a form of ‘therapy’ for comedians Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe, the podcast promises “parenting....just not as you know it...”. Crammed with funny anecdotes and ‘been-there’ moments, it has become one of the most popular podcasts on the web.

Dead Eyes

What’s the worst reason you’ve ever been sacked?

In 2003, actor and comedian Connor Ratliff lost a role in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Band of Brothers because Tom Hanks thought he had “dead eyes.”

Two decades on, Ratliff searches for an explanation - and ends up interviewing Hanks himself.

Sounds Like a Cult

What do multilevel marketers, theatre kids, and Elon Musk fans have in common?

All of them, according to the podcast Sounds Like a Cult, are a bit, well, cultish.

In each episode, Amanda Montell & Isabela Medina-Maté analyse a different group to try and answer the big question: “This group sounds like a cult, but is it really? And if so, how bad is it?”

In Our Time

On this long-running podcast, broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy, science, history, religion, and culture. Fascinating discussions range from the birth of stars, to Nietzsche, and the Amazons. 

Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Dr Ranjan Chatterjee
Dr Ranjan Chatterjee, who hosts the Feel Better, Live More podcastDr Ranjan Chatterjee

“Health has become overcomplicated. I aim to simplify it,” declares Dr Rangan Chatterjee, host of this popular health podcast.

From gut health to mindfulness, each episode offers expert advice and easy life-hacks to help you feel better. It promises to revolutionise how you ‘eat, sleep, and move’ 

Gastropod

This podcast delivers "food with a side of science and history." In fortnightly episodes, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley explore the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food-related topic, from microbes to ancient feasts. 

Ever wondered how coffee became the world's drug of choice, or who invented chewing gum? Then this is the podcast for you.