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FREAKONOMICS RADIO

Apart from posing unprecedented challenges to healthcare, the Covid-19 pandemic has put the social and economic health of nations under pressure. As the confusion thickens every day, it may be cathartic to listen to this podcast by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner, co-writers of the best-selling book Freakonomics (2005). The hosts typically solicit the opinions of experts across disciplines on current affairs. Discussions are conducted in a language free of academic jargon and the paranoia of television news. From the side effects of social distancing to the plausibility of a loneliness epidemic, the subjects are diverse, and analysed with calm empiricism.—SG

The Director’s Cut

The Director’s Cut is one of the most satisfying cinema podcasts around, for two reasons. It’s by the Directors Guild of America, which allows access to some of the top film-makers in the world. The second reason is the format. Each episode (usually 30 minutes) has a director interviewed by a peer about a recent work: Rian Johnson discussing Knives Out with Denis Villeneuve; Martin Scorsese talking about The Irishman with Spike Lee. It’s not only a great look at the directorial process but a chance to hear major film-makers act like excited fans of each other.—UB

Beyond the Grid—The F1 podcast

With the Formula One season and other major global sporting events postponed, you can tune in to this weekly podcast, with presenter Tom Clarkson, to relive the other side of the enthralling motor sport. Beyond The Grid features personal interviews with former drivers—the latest being with Ferrari’s former Brazilian driver Felipe Massa—team engineers, legendary figures and other prominent figures from F1 as they speak about the “human side" of the sport. A recent 1,000th race special episode also featured renowned commentator Murray Walker, often referred to as the “voice of F1".—NS

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts has an ingenious concept. Get musicians from different genres, world famous or obscure, plonk them behind a literally tiny desk, and ask them to play intimate, stripped down sets of 15-20 minutes each. The shows began in 2008 and in the 12 years since there have been over 900 concerts, with artists ranging from the venerable David Crosby to stars like Lizzo and Harry Styles (and this is from just the past six months). You can watch the videos or listen to the gigs as a podcast. From 24 March, the show has morphed into Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, starting with indie singer-songwriter Soccer Mommy’s gig from behind a tiny desk in her bedroom.—BB

All About Agatha

Agatha Christie fans in India may not yet be able to watch The Pale Horse, a new BBC One series based on one of the Queen of Crime’s most underrated books, but keeping up with all things Christie is easy with this podcast. Hosted by Los Angeles-based author Kemper Donovan and literary researcher Catherine Brobeck, the podcast started in 2016 and is going strong after 150-odd episodes. After all, with 66 novels and over 100 short stories, Dame Agatha is among the most prolific writers ever, and the hosts go through the books and stories roughly in the order in which they were published. Besides deconstructing each book for plot, structure, characterization and atmosphere, they also delve into adaptations and their relative merit. There is even an attempt at ranking the novels—or at least of identifying the top 10. Fun and conversational, this podcast doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor does it hold back from calling out Christie on her frequent racism and sexism while simultaneously paying homage to her unparalleled plotting skills.—SB

All these podcasts are available to stream on any of your preferred platforms.

Each episode of The Director's Cut, one of the most satisfying cinema podcasts, has a director interviewed by a peer about a recent work.
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Each episode of The Director's Cut, one of the most satisfying cinema podcasts, has a director interviewed by a peer about a recent work.
NPR Podcast
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NPR Podcast
All About Agatha
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All About Agatha
Formula One podcasts: Beyond the Grid
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Formula One podcasts: Beyond the Grid
Freakonomics Radio
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Freakonomics Radio
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