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Will Young’s new podcast about mental health, The Wellbeing Lab, sees him – and occasionally his dogs – record in his living room. Show caption Will Young’s new podcast about mental health, The Wellbeing Lab, sees him – and occasionally his dogs – record in his living room. Photograph: Joseph Sinclair
Best podcasts of the week

The singer is casual and welcoming as he talks to experts in his thoughtful new podcast about mental health. Plus: Michelle Visage has a charismatic conversation with Cameron Diaz

Fri 18 Mar 2022 06.00 GMT

From next week, your podcast newsletter will have a brand new look. Discover the best new shows and hidden gems with the new Hear Here, which will arrive in your inbox on Thursdays

Picks of the week

The Wellbeing Lab With Will Young Will Young could verbalise his thoughts on drying paint for an hour and it would still be a charming listen. But here he is talking about important and relatable stuff: mental health issues such as shopping addiction, body dysmorphia and cognitive behaviour therapy. It’s a casual and welcoming vibe as he records from his living room table, with his dogs making guest appearances as he chats thoughtfully with experts. Hollie Richardson

Hear Her Voice The words “women in music” usually sparks an eye roll, but Laura Whitmore’s podcast on the subject is a refreshing take, free from pretence and completely female-powered. Whether it’s Lliana Bird talking about Grace Jones or Self Esteem talking about on-stage confidence, there’s so much drive and positivity it’s irresistible. HV

The Big Green Money Show Who knew Deborah Meaden was an “environmentalist”? Presumably the college tutors who marked her thesis, which – according to her and Felicity Hannah’s podcast scrutinising businesses’ efforts to go green – was on climate change. Despite her unchallenging interview with easyJet’s CEO on flying’s eco impact, the experts who answer listeners’ questions make for illuminating listening. Alexi Duggins

ZOE Science Nutrition Health app ZOE might be known for conducting the world’s largest Covid-19 study, but this podcast focuses on its day job: nutrition. It’s a food geek-pleasing scientific deep dive into how we eat, from the complex chemistry of dark chocolate through to an incredibly detailed scientific analysis of how gluten intolerance works. AD

Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers

The Drag Race judge interviews Cameron Diaz in her new podcast, Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC

The Drag Race superstar is as charismatic as ever in her interview podcast celebrating people who do things differently. Cameron Diaz is not the obvious choice of rebel, but the revealing chat brings out some sound views about ageing and becoming a mother in midlife. Dita Von Teese and Billy Porter are coming up. Hannah Verdier

Producer pick: Invaded: Voicemails from Ukraine

Chosen by Danielle Stephens

Three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, you’d be forgiven for finding it tough to keep up with the news coming out of Kyiv and other cities that are under constant bombardment. Brave journalists have worked through air raids and dangerous situations to bring us the truth, but there is a lot to be said for hearing what Ukrainians living through invasion are experiencing.

That’s the simple concept behind Invaded: Voicemails from Ukraine, by Tortoise. Every day, we get a short update from men and women trying to navigate the war – whether that means living in a warzone, or escaping the shelling by fleeing as a refugee. There’s no sound design; it isn’t needed. Just a quick recap from a Tortoise journalist on what we last heard from the Ukrainian who’s about to talk to us, and a couple of minutes from Nina, Oleksandr, Ksenyia, and others on what they’re experiencing – and how they’re coping. It’s almost like getting a daily voice note from a friend who you find yourself worrying about when you haven’t heard from them in a while. That’s the importance of this podcast. In such a short space of time, you find yourself connected to people thousands of miles away, hoping they’ll be OK.

Talking points

  • Acast is celebrating Comic Relief with a gigantic podcast collab-fest. Some of the biggest names from the world of speaking into your ears are joining forces to create mashed-up pods, including My Dad Wrote A History Hit (My Dad Wrote a Porno with Dan Snow’s History Hit), Menus To Be Buried With (Off Menu and Films to be Buried With) plus Drunk Women Solving Richard Herring (Drunk Women Solving Crime meets Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast). You can listen to the full list here.

  • Why not try: Planet Weirdo with Holly H | Devils in the Dark

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about Hear Here or any of our newsletters please email [email protected]

• This article was amended on 21 March 2022. The Comic Relief podcast mash-up list was compiled by Acast, not the BBC as an earlier version said.












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