General musing

What I’m listening to right now


…well, not literally right now. But here are some of the things I’ve been listening to over the last few months.

I find listening to the radio comforting; I like having noise around the place, and it’s like a stress-free conversation, as there’s absolutely no pressure for me to hold up one end of it. Unless otherwise linked to, I’ve been listening to these via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, and they’re on Radio 4 or Radio 4 Extra.

Panel shows


Gyles Brandreth hosts (with regular panellist Natalie Haynes) a show all about words and language. As someone obsessed with both (Susie Dent is my hero), this show is perfect for me.

Today’s episode introduced me to the word ululate (thank you Richard Herring) and the origin of the phrase ‘Sweet FA’.

The Unbelievable Truth

David Mitchell presents a show where four panellists have to smuggle five (generally ridiculous) truths into a largely made up speech on a given subject. One of my favourites so far has been Rufus Hound talking about hats.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue

This show has been around for a long time, and is essentially half an hour of nonsense (it bills itself as the ‘antidote to panel shows’). From singing one song to the tune of another, to the game Mornington Crescent (I actually had to Google the rules to this, to find out that…there aren’t any), it’s very entertaining, and Jack Dee’s deadpan delivery is brilliant.


Cabin Pressure

This is an absolute gem of a comedy, and I adore it. It stars Roger Allam, Stephanie Cole, Benedict Cumberbatch and John Finnemore (who also wrote it), and follows the crew of MJN Air, a charter airline with just the one plane (Gerty). They visit a different place in each episode, starting in Abu Dhabi and ending in Zurich.

I have many favourite lines, but Benedict Cumberbatch saying “Ohhhhh, I wanted to be Miss Marple!” is definitely one of the best.

John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme

Another John Finnemore-written gem, this sketch show has a very talented cast, and includes sketches on such diverse topics as voting, Fahrenheit v Celsius and the man who makes the noise of the TARDIS. It features musical numbers too, from begging restaurants to put food on plates to a tale of procrastination

Colin Hoult’s Carnival of Monsters

This is wonderfully weird, dark and very, very funny. Colin Hoult and the cast introduce you to a series of (mostly horrible) characters who all belong to the carnival of monsters.

My favourite is Anna Mann, star of stage and screen, mostly for the way she says: “But I wasn’t qualified to drive a hovercraft and we knew that”.


Standard Issue

This is a fab, magazine-style podcast. It has a real mix of interesting content (I learn something new with every episode), and it’s pretty funny too.

The Comedian’s Comedian

A work colleague told me about this one months and months ago, and I’ve been catching up on it ever since. Stuart Goldsmith speaks to fellow comedians about their act, how they do it, and a lot more besides. It’s fascinating. This week, I listened to his chat with Tom Wrigglesworth (his Radio 4 show, Tom Wrigglesworth’s Hang Ups, is definitely worth a listen), and I’m looking forward to listening to the most recent one with the Scummy Mummies when I’m feeling a bit braver.


Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I loved this book (given to me by my lovely friend Claire), and she brought my attention to its being on Radio 4 Extra this week. Maureen Lipman reads an abridged version of the story, and it’s a nice, easy to listen to story.

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

I first read this when I was about nine years old. My mum had a copy, which I borrowed (pretty sure she didn’t know about it). I enjoyed listening to it during my walk yesterday, and am pleased to report that most of the references went over my head first time around.

Home Front

These 10-minute tales are in an ‘on this day in 1918’ format, and I believe they’ve been running since 2014. Each one focuses on one person in a community, and when listened to together, tell a much broader story. It’s an interesting take on life at home during World War I.


Blimey, that’s a longer list than I was expecting when I started this post. Lovely readers, help wean me off Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra – do you have any recommendations for me?




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