AUDIBLE is an interesting subject when it comes to podcasts. An Amazon-linked subscription service (from £7.99 a month), it’s known primarily for its audiobooks offering.
A lot of people may well have tried a free month’s trial to listen to the West Cork podcast (and to see if audiobooks are for you) and then cancelled. But there’s plenty more podcasts than that to discover — it’s just you rarely hear listeners, or Amazon, shouting about them. It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind and ears.
Another quirk is that rather than number of episodes, it displays length of series — a la Netflix, they arrive all at once for prime binging. You also can’t use Audible as your primary podcast-listening app — there’s no 2 Johnnies or David McWilliams here (well, the latter does have some audiobooks available). This is Audible Originals only.
There are some big names offering exclusive shows. Special forces soldier and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton is the current posterchild, with his seven-part show Mind Over Muscle channelling all of Bressie’s favourite topics (running, mental health, psychology) for those in marathon training.
With Sleeping, David Baddiel “invites you into his bedroom as he explores the power of sleep”. Former Great British Bake Off judge Sue Perkins has a couple of series about plants and animals, while friendly faces Stephen Fry and David Mitchell have their own shows too. The Secret History of Hollywood might offer an alternative for fans of You Must Remember This. It’s all very much MOR podcasting.
For West Cork fans, meanwhile, Body of Proof is an intriguing, eye-opening experience. Hosts/wannabe PIs Sophie Ellis and Darrell Brown even have a similar rapport to West Cork’s Sam Bungee and Jennifer Forde. A true-crime podcast, it examines the disappearance and death of Suzanne Pilley in Edinburgh in 2010 and the subsequent conviction of David Gilroy. The listener’s scepticism slowly ebbs away as the 10 episodes race by.
When Audible Originals does hit on a good show, though, they’re essential - it is the home of Jon Ronson’s The Butterfly Effect, after all. It’s just revealed We Need To Talk About The British Empire, one of the best history lessons around, particularly post- Brexit. We’ll discuss it next week.