Clara Amfo's hidden London – podcasts of the week

The Radio 1 DJ uses the UK capital as a way in to varied stories and secret gems. Plus: would you face your troll offline?

Picks of the week

This City
Considering just how London-centric the media can be, the English capital perhaps doesn’t seem like the most obvious subject for a new pod. But in the hands of Clara Amfo – a brilliantly professional presenter who conveys friendly vibes across the airwaves on Radio 1 – it seems like a stroke of genius. In it, she delves into varied histories and secret spots, starting with comedian Mo Gilligan, whose London life has ranged from school in Pimlico to hanging out with Drake at Wireless in Finsbury Park – and much else in between. Hannah J Davies

Conversations With People Who Hate Me

‘Can his guests find common ground?’ ... Conversations With People Who Hate Me host Dylan Marron.
‘Can his guests find common ground?’ ... Conversations With People Who Hate Me host Dylan Marron. Photograph: Night Vale Presents

Dylan Marron brings together people who have fought online to face up to each other. First up is Katie Herzog, who wrote about detransitioning and came up against Robyn, a former trans activist who dismissed her as “trash”. Marron wraps their differences in his trademark positivity, and Herzog – who says she is used to getting hate mail from conservatives – admits she’s hurt when it comes from her “ideological allies”. So can they find common ground? Hannah Verdier

Producer pick: S-Town

Chosen by David Waters (audio producer)

‘Three years on, there still isn’t anything like it’ ...John B .McLemore of the podcast S-Town.
‘Three years on, there still isn’t anything like it’ ... John B McLemore of the podcast S-Town. Photograph: McLemore of podcast S-Town fame

I’ve recently started going back through some podcast ‘classics’ and S-Town seemed a good place to start. With 40 million downloads in the first few months after release in 2017, it’s still the most successful podcast out there and, in my opinion, one of the best.

It’s a shame it can’t also be called one of the most influential, because when you listen back now it’s strikingly clear that, nearly three years on, there still isn’t anything like it. This despite it taking over from sister podcast Serial as the audio commissioner’s go-to reference for an ambitious statement of intent (“right guys, we’re going to make the next S-Town, just with, you know, much less budget … and staff … and time”).

Listening again, it has been fascinating to hear just how much more script there is, with host Brian Reed indulging in numerous metaphorical rabbit holes as he investigates what initially seems to be a murder case. It’s also much more noticeable how its storytelling influence comes directly from slow-burning literature not the cliffhangers relied on by so many narrative podcasts. And like the best books, it remains a unique piece of work, sat collecting dust in our podcast feeds and waiting for the medium to catch up.

Talking points

Contributors

Hannah J Davies, Hannah Verdier and David Waters

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