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Good, clean fun with Mrs Hinch – podcasts of the week

Picks of the week

All the Best (and Worst) With Mr and Mrs Hinch
Instagram’s leading cleaning guru Sophie Hinchliffe has become a vinegar-touting sensation with four million followers. She kicks off her new podcast with the story of how she and husband Jamie met at work. “A good back and a nice set of teeth,” she muses. “You were fit,” he recalls. It’s a tale with the depth of a Love Island bikini in which nothing much happens except a trip to Primark to buy accessories for a date, but fans will lap up the bubbly and likable couple. Hannah Verdier

Born In Ghostland
Where is home, if home doesn’t exist any more? Host Yelena Zhelezov speaks with people from countries or territories which are now extinct, to find out what happens to a person’s sense of self, in a thoughtful show from EastEast Radio, a new online station focused on “stories and music from West Asia, north Africa, the Global east and its diasporas”. Her first guest is Anna Zoria, an artist who was born in Khabarovsk, Russia, at the tail end of the Soviet Union, and who later learned about the realities of communist rule through her parents. Hannah J Davies

Producer pick: I’m Not a Monster

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced observation post overlooking the city of Baghuz, on 12 February, 2019.
A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced observation post overlooking the city of Baghuz, on 12 February, 2019. Photograph: Achilleas Zavallis/The Guardian

Chosen by Danielle Stephens

I enjoy listening to podcasts when I have no idea what the outcome will be at the end. It’s hard to find a show that can offer that these days. Often I’ll know what the story is, but will listen for analysis, or deeper knowledge.

I’m Not a Monster by BBC Sounds, Panorama, and PBS Frontline ticked all of the boxes, though. I hadn’t seen host Josh Baker’s original reporting, so I was going in cold. The series is a perfect example of a slow burn teaser throughout. The listener is introduced early on to the titular character, “the monster” – otherwise known as Sam Sally – an American woman who ended up in the heart of the Isis ‘caliphate’ in Syria with her children.

As the series develops, it’s up to the listener to decide whether Sally is a victim, or a mass manipulator – at the end of every episode I had changed my mind and come to new conclusions. Though I didn’t binge it in one go, I was always glad when I went back to it.

Talking points

  • With Reply All on a controversy-induced hiatus, and much of our lives still playing out via social media rather than face to face, now is the ideal time for a new internet culture podcast to enter the fore. US news site Slate have thrown their hat in the ring with ICYMI (In Case You Missed It), a new twice-weekly show hosted by writers Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher on everything from Twitter spats to TikTok crazes.
  • Why not try: Derren Brown’s Bootcamp for the Brain | Mixed Up | Still Processing

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