If you’re looking for free audio entertainment, podcasts are an excellent option. Whether it’s tech, sport, comedy, politics, entertainment, science, true crime, health or any number of other subjects there’s a show out there for you. Here’s our selection of the finest offerings from the past decade.
If you've yet to take the plunge, then we suggest also reading our guide to the Best podcast apps so you'll be able to listen to all of the shows listed below.
This ground-breaking show was something of a sensation when first released back in 2014. Serial tells true-crime stories, one per season, which are still ongoing investigations. The team, headed by show-host and journalist Sarah Koenig, follow leads and relay their progress in weekly episodes (which of course can now all be downloaded in one go).
The most thrilling part is that the team don’t know how the story will end, so you’re essentially going on a ride-along with them as they hunt for clues and perhaps a solution.
This satirical look at world news and politics is a welcome break from the heavy and depressing headlines that dominate our attention at the moment. First started back in 2007 when current host Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver took to the mics. Their mixture of silliness, mockery, and Andy’s unrelenting pun runs soon garnered it a worldwide audience.
Oliver left the show in 2014 when he began hosting Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for on the American HBO network. This has since gone onto win multiple awards and drawn the ire of Donald Trump himself.
Zaltzman rejigged the podcast, bringing in a range of comedians such as Nish Kumar and Alice Fraser as recurring co-hosts, and it remains a hilarious escape from the realities of our current political climate.
Hosted by Greg Jenner, the self professed 'head nerd' at BBC's Horrible History show, this is a history podcast for people that don't like history, or at least the dry and boring way it's often taught.
Jenner is joined each week by a historian and a comedian to explore specific events, places or people from yesteryear. It's fun, lighthearted and you actually learn some interesting stuff along the way.
Veteran tech-journalist Leo Laporte hosts this long-running show where he's joined by various tech writers, developers and commentators to discuss what's going on in the world of technology.
There's plenty of laughs, some heated discussion, and no end of interesting opinions from all quarters. As well as audio there are also video versions available, so you can see who is doing the talking. Now well into the 700s in terms of episodes, it's a classic podcast whose popularity shows no signs of diminishing.
If you want to go deeper into current events then this a great choice. Each week there's a look at a specific topic or news story that warrants further investigation by BBC journalists and experts in the relevant field. In recent episodes this has included 'How scary are algorithms really?', 'Why are people 'cured' by fact science?', 'Who does the Amazon belong to?' and other fascinating ideas.
Shows about video games can be a bit hit and miss, but this stalwart has endured for many years now, due to its laid-back atmosphere and the feeling that the various hosts are all friends.
Many of those involved were once games journalists, but the show isn't about the latest industry news and controversies. Instead they discuss the games they've been playing (across a number of platforms with occasional board games included), and each week there's a topic about the nature of gaming and the experiences or responses it invokes.
Funny, thoughtful, and with plenty of charm, Gamers with Jobs is a video-game podcast for the rest of us.
A pioneering podcast that tells the stories of strange occurrences, tragic events, and just plain odd things people do in the USA. Told through narration by host Ira Glass and a mixture of gentle music and recorded interviews, it's a landmark show that has kept up its intelligent and quirky themes for many years, picking up a wealth of awards along the way.
You don't have to be American to enjoy it, just interested in people and the stories they have to tell.
If you've ever wanted to know more about science and how the universe works, The Infinite Monkey Cage should be your next port of call. Hosted by comedian Robert Ince and Professor Brian Cox, the two explore a variety of topics while explaining the science behind them.
Over the past twenty seasons of the show they've covered 'How we measure the universe', 'Science of dreaming', 'Climate change' and a plethora of other mysteries. As the great professor himself would say, it's ammaaaaaaaaaazing.
The principle behind Ted Talks is simple. Give your best possible speech about a subject or new idea and keep it to less the fifteen minutes.
For years now, some of the best and brightest have graced stages all over the world, sharing their thoughts on innovation and some of humanity's most pressing issues. This daily edition lets you be inspired or challenged for a quarter of an hour each morning or evening, but the ideas will percolate for much longer than that.
I Saw That Years Ago
Ok, so this is a bit of a cheeky one, as the long-running show is actually the pet project of a regular contributor to Tech Advisor. But, if you enjoy silly humour, old movies and few slightly odd stories then it's one you should check out.
Each week the hosts Martyn Darkly and Gentleman Joe try to remember an old movie they haven't seen in a while. Then they pause the recording, go and watch the film, then return with their thoughts.
Full of irreverent comedy, rambling anecdotes, and even the occasional intelligent remark about movies, it's one that can have you giggling away on the bus.