From true crime to fine wine and dine, heated debates and proper belly laughs
Whether you’re a listening veteran or totally new to the concept of a podcast, there is such a wide range of programmes that there's undoubtably one for everybody. It could be comedy, nostalgia, politics, celebrity, women's issues, food and drink or current affairs, you just have to find what floats your boat. We’ve gathered together a few of our favourite Manchester-based podcasts: these bite sized listening episodes are all connected to the city in some way and are perfect for listening along to on a walk, whilst pottering in the garden or sitting at home keeping yourself busy.
Here are a few of our current favourites. (If you are giving podcasts a go for the first time, they're really easy to access. Just find the podcast icon on your iPhone or Android and put the title into the search box.) Let us know yours if we’ve missed it out.
Humans of XS Manchester
Over the years, Manchester has been influenced by a plethora of brilliant minds from all sorts of people such as politicians, musicians, footballers and scientists. Humans of XS Manchester is a podcast that celebrates these in a collection of interviews with some of the most standout Mancunians. The first season includes chats with Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs discussing the early days of Oasis, and Simon Wood (pictured above) revealing how his Masterchef win took him from a career in data-processing to owning one of Manchester’s finest dining establishments - Wood MCR.
Whether you grew up in Greater Manchester or just fancy a bit of reminiscing, these interviews can transport you back to what made our city great through the years. Each guest discusses how their music tastes, careers and lives have been shaped by the Manchester community and they share their opinions on the ever-changing Manchester skyline. It’s just the dose of community spirit we’ve needed to keep sane during isolation.
Open Up & Pour
Oh, how we miss splitting a bottle of wine with friends and pretending we know what we’re talking about when we throw around phrases like ‘grape variety,’ ‘tanins’ and ‘the taste lingers on the palate.’ Well, now there’s a podcast to make us feel like we can.
Open Up & Pour launched in January of 2020 and is recorded in Manchester’s Comedy Store. Hosted by Janet Harrison (founder of the People’s Choice Wine Awards), Janet invites one or two guests per episode to split a bottle of wine, get to know each other – and, get to know wine.
With only three episodes so far, it’s already made us laugh, gasp, and learn something – the trifecta of a good podcast. It’s easy listening and the conversations that unfold are exactly what you’d expect from three acquaintances making their way through a bottle of wine. Expect talk of how each guests’ life-long love affair with wine started, their favourite varieties, and tips on the best places in Manchester to enjoy a tipple.
Produced by CityCo, presenter Vaughan Allen conducts interviews that get into the bones of what’s going on in Manchester. The very first episode, an optimistic discussion of the introduction of Mobikes to the streets of Manchester, brought a wave of shame as we remembered how quickly we lost that privilege (who could’ve predicted they’d end up in the canal? Hindsight really is 2020…)
The discussion topics of later episodes have stood the test of time much better. In 30-50 minute instalments, Vaughan sits down with experts in their field to discuss just how these iconic Manchester developments have helped shape the city.
You can look forward to in-depth looks at some of Manchester’s long-standing institutions including museums, nightlife and Affleck’s Palace. Guests have even include some of Confidentials’ own editorial team members; Jonathan Schofield and Ruth Allan.
Having this on in the background over the last few days has been a comforting reminder of what Manchester life was like before the lockdown turned our daily routines on their heads. More importantly, it’s a reminder of what we’ll return to once it’s all over.
The Mancunian Candidate
Two award-winning Manchester-based radio broadcasters, Paul Ripley and Mike Royce, talk world politics and pop culture. The show, which began in 2016, revolves around the politics of the USA viewed through a British perspective, whilst bringing the lowdown on all things art and culture in Manchester. Those who like a bit of hot UK debate and controversy will be in their element.
Paradise – from BBC Radio 5 Live
This one’s for the true crime lovers but this podcast is not an easy listen. It’s an in-depth examination of an investigation that spanned half the world – from Manchester’s very own Chorlton, to the Caribbean, to California – over almost four decades.
In 1978, childhood sweethearts, Chris Farmer and Peta Frampton, went missing. The Chorlton couple had travelled to Belize and were sailing the Caribbean Sea with a man named Silas Duane Boston – and his two young sons. They were found weeks later, having drowned under suspicious circumstances. 38 years later, the now-adult sons are ready to talk about what they saw in the summer of 1978 aboard The Boston.
Recorded in Manchester, it describes how the city's cultural explosion in the 70s shaped Chris and Peta’s early lives. Dan Maudsley, BBC 5 senior broadcast journalist and presenter of Paradise, describes it perfectly within the first episode – “it all felt very close to home, literally.” Sadly, we then journey through the couple’s last years as they acquired a taste for adventure, leading up to their tragic demise.
Dan Maudsley and Stephen Nolan examine the strange circumstances which led to the young couple’s death, as well as the reason their families were left without answers for so long. In collaboration with the main suspect’s own son, Vince Boston, they search for answers.
Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster
Ok, ok, so this podcast isn’t *technically* Manchester-based, it’s UK-based and guests are from all over. However, the subject matter is a Confidentials reader’s dream.
Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster (who plays a genie, so he can make things appear at whim) invite a new guest every week and dissect the ingredients for their perfect three-course dining experience. Whilst, currently, we can’t actually go out for dinner, it’s calming to listen to comedians and chefs alike tell Ed and James exactly what they want from a restaurant. Segments include ‘still, sparkling, or tap water?,’ the slightly random ‘poppadoms or bread?’ and their guest's ideal choice of drinks, starters, mains, and desserts – and why they picked them. It’s simple yet delicious, and also it’s bloody hilarious. It makes us miss restaurants. More importantly, we know EXACTLY what we’re ordering as soon as we’re allowed to go out for dinner again.
Manchester-based broadcaster, co-host of the annual Manchester Food and Drink Awards and all round nice guy Matt White, hosts Manchester’s only dedicated food and drink podcast. In each episode Matt explores Greater Manchester, chatting to the region’s finest chefs, producers and food lovers. Episodes cover subjects like Bolton Market; International Woman’s Day, where he chatted to the female movers and shakers in local hospitality; and interviews with restaurateurs and personalities with an interest in Manchester such as Gino D’Acampo and Tom Kerridge. The Fodder podcast is for anyone that likes to cook and eat and loves Manchester.