Best Documentaries podcasts (Updated February 2018; image)
Related podcasts: Documentary Society News Public History Filmmakers Photography Filmmaking Interviews Film Arts Conversations Music Featured FM Francesca Lalor Documentary On Newstalk Nonfiction Criticism Radio Station Media  
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The Guardian's Audio Long Reads
Weekly+
 
The Guardian's Audio Long Reads podcasts are a selection of the Guardian’s long read articles which are published in the paper and online. It gives you the opportunity to get on with your day whilst listening to some of the finest journalism the Guardian has to offer: in-depth writing from around the world on immigration, crime, business, the arts and much more.
 
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Seriously...
Weekly
 
A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, introduced by Rhianna Dhillon.
 
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Short Cuts
Monthly
 
Short documentaries and adventures in sound presented by Josie Long
 
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The Radio 3 Documentary
Monthly+
 
Exploring different aspects of history, science, philosophy and the arts.
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Multi award winning documentaries from Ireland. With over 1,500 documentaries on offer, the Documentary On One has the largest archive of documentaries available globally. These productions are radio stories about real life and contain documentaries dating as far back as 1954, right up to the present day. A wealth of life, ideas and experiences are on offer - but most importantly - stories. Winner of over 150 national and international awards since 2008, why not immerse yourself in a world o ...
 
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Earshot - ABC Radio National
Weekly+
 
Earshot presents documentaries about people, places, stories and ideas, in all their diversity.
 
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Showcase from Radiotopia
Monthly+
 
Showcase, from PRX’s Radiotopia, features original podcast series of all stripes, from emerging and leading producers around the world.
 
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Newstalk Documentaries
Monthly+
 
Newstalk 106-108 FM features many documentaries from the plight of the Malawi people to video documentaries on Aurora Borealis.
 
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The Kitchen Sisters Present
Monthly
 
The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. The episodes tell deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse producers The Kitchen Sisters (Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, Fugitive Waves and coming soon… The Keepers). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast ...
 
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Making Obama
Rare
 
Former President Barack Obama — along with key advisers, mentors, and rivals — tells the story of his climb from Chicago to the national stage. Season One of Making told the story of how Oprah built a media empire. Now, the story of how Chicago shaped the country's first African-American president.
 
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Documentary of the Week
Weekly
 
Every week, WNYC tells you about the best documentaries as they become available on screens of any size. Our hosts are Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, co-founders of the Pure Nonfiction podcast and the DOC NYC festival, the largest non-fiction film festival in the U.S. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.
 
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A Point of View
Weekly
 
A weekly reflection on a topical issue
 
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Newstalk Documentaries
Monthly+
 
Newstalk 106-108 FM features many documentaries from the plight of the Malawi people to video documentaries on Aurora Borealis.
 
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APM Reports Documentaries
Rare
 
The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 130 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.
 
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show series
 
John Gray argues that, throughout history, highly educated people have often made the worst decisions. Taking George Orwell as his starting point "There are some ideas so absurd that only intellectuals could believe them", he asks why we're still so reluctant today to give credence to the views of ordinary people.He examines the role of univers ...…
 
Dawn Walton, artistic director of Eclipse, the black theatre touring company, was bored of only ever coming across three black stories in British theatres - slavery stories, immigrant stories, and gang stories. She knew there was a far greater range of stories out there and she wanted to tell them. Revolution Mix is the result - a programme of ...…
 
At the beginning, we hunted frantically for any medical breakthrough that might hint at a cure. Then hope gave way to the unbearable truth Read the text version here
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
A documentary by former world champion Bernard Dunne about Michael Gomez – the controversial bad boy of Irish boxing and a night in the national stadium when something strange and inexplicable happened - something never before seen in an Irish ring? (2014)
 
The new documentary “Tell Them We Are Rising” tells an expansive story of historically black colleges and universities - known as HBCUs. Filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams cover multiple eras from Reconstruction to Civil Rights to the present day. The film is streaming on PBS Independent Lens and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. — ...…
 
Former President Barack Obama won his first political seat in 1996. Hear what he had to learn, and the conflicts he faced, to get there. wbez.org/makingBy podcasts@chicagopublicmedia.org (WBEZ Chicago).
 
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Earshot - ABC Radio National
 
The aftermath of child sexual abuse is an ordeal for all survivors - but for men, it can carry particular challenges. Mal and Ari tell their stories.
 
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Short Cuts
 
From an island which resists invasion to a beloved city in which you can't be free - Josie Long presents a series of short documentaries where the landscape becomes a character.Ribbon GumsProduced by Sophie TownsendResistanceFeaturing Lars Christian Kofoed Romer and ViolaProduced by Rikke HoudMosul EyeProduced by Andrea RangecroftSeries Produce ...…
 
How cunning is Donald Trump?In Queenan on Cunning, the satirist Joe Queenan explores a word rarely associated with the current President of the USA."From Odysseus to Bismarck, via Brer Rabbit and Machiavelli's The Prince, there's a fine tradition of tricksters and hucksters, but where does the Donald fit in the mix? You need patience, intellige ...…
 
Focus groups make us feel our views matter – but no one with power cares what we think Read the text version here
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Free from the constraints of working life, retirement is the time to start embracing a new-found freedom and enjoying your life. Growing old should be celebrated; seen as a chance to explore new interests and embark on adventures. The world is your oyster so time to start ticking off that bucket list. (1993)…
 
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Earshot - ABC Radio National
 
Poet Andy Jackson writes about people who live Marfan Syndrome, including some famous characters who are thought to have had it, such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert Johnson and Rachmaninov.
 
W.B. Yeats is revered, Seamus Heaney is beloved, but the poet that everyone in Ireland can quote is Patrick Kavanagh. 50 years after Kavanagh's death the poet Theo Dorgan wanders the streets of Dublin and lanes of County Monaghan, tracing his life and significance. Patrick Kavanagh was one of ten children, his father a shoemaker and farmer. He ...…
 
In 1967, the philosopher Philippa Foot developed a thought experiment about a runaway trolley. It involved countless dilemmas designed to illustrate human behaviour. But whatever the scenario, the rhetoric was always the same....the overwhelming desire was for the trolley to kill fewer people and save more. AL Kennedy argues that today that rhe ...…
 
The work of the entomologist very often involves the killing of insects in large numbers. This happens in the search for new species in the exploration of the planet's biodiversity and in ecological investigations to monitor the health of wild insect populations and the impact we are having on the environment. But the methods of entomologists h ...…
 
New evidence shows that an MI6 informant convicted of a notorious murder may be innocent, but due to a gagging order, his case cannot be heard • Read the text version here
 
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Documentary of the Week
 
St. Clair Bourne was a pivotal figure in putting black lives on film, from the 1970s to his death in 2007. As founder of the Black Documentary collective, he also mentored generations of black filmmakers. Now a retrospective at the Metrograph provides a rare opportunity to see his documentaries on Paul Robeson, Amiri Baraka, Spike Lee and more, ...…
 
Secrets is a show about the secrets we all carry inside of us. What happens when you face those secrets? In the final episode of our series, Mohamed’s secret sister Maria finally agrees to meet. Mohamed brings his daughter Samira with him to the meeting at Maria’s house a few hours drive outside Stockholm. They finally meet and talk, and try to ...…
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Mairead is excited about making her First Communion with all her school friends. But for her non-practising Catholic parents, Anne and Joe, it's not so simple as they navigate their way through this Irish tradition. (2014)
 
When Barack Obama first came to Chicago, a political transformation was happening in the city. Hear how that change inspired him.By podcasts@chicagopublicmedia.org (WBEZ Chicago).
 
The tragedy of contaminated Anti D led to one scientist discovering that some people have a built-in immunity to Hepatitis C—and how they could hold a key to the cure.
 
The tragedy of contaminated Anti D led to one scientist discovering that some people have a built-in immunity to Hepatitis C—and how they could hold a key to the cure.
 
Love lost and found, a lingering goodbye and the after image of a loved one - Josie Long presents stories of holding on.From the echoes of a partner that linger after their death to an extraordinary tale of love regained after fifty years apart.Her Name Was JeanFeaturing Dennis Vinar, Karen Lehmann Vinar and Jean VoxlandProduced by Andrea Range ...…
 
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Seriously...
 
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia or CLL, is the most common form of leukaemia. It's a disease which kills. The most common treatment is with chemotherapy. If that doesn't work, most patients can only expect to live for another few years at most.But there are dramatic developments with new targeted treatments which are less toxic than conventional ...…
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Hugh Lane amassed a collection of pictures with his brilliant eye for art. A man whose life was surrounded by the sort of controversy which was only equalled by his untimely death onboard the Lusitania in 1915. The fate of 39 paintings has been a bone of contention between British and Irish governments that still remains unsolved. (1980)…
 
Jelly Roll Morton talks of being a “Spy Boy” in the Mardi Gras Indian parades of his youth. Bo Dollis, of the Wild Magnolias, tells of sewing his suit of feathers and beads all night long. Tootie Montana masks for the first time after Mardi Gras started up again after being cancelled during World War II. Big Queen Ausettua makes connections bet ...…
 
Robert Worby on how post-war German radio and new music were conscripted to fight the cultural cold war, juggling political, economic and cultural forces outside of their control.
 
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Earshot - ABC Radio National
 
The story of a young Australian man killed fighting with the Kurds in Syria.
 
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A Point of View
 
"Death's not great for selling yoghurt" writes AL Kennedy, "but making Death dance through a culture seems to do more than reinforce dominant ideologies....it can lend power to the powerless". She says for millennia, the human race has searched for everlasting life. Instead of resisting our mortality, she argues that it's empowering to reflect ...…
 
Willow on Leather, produced by Grainne McPolin, explores the story of County Kerry Cricket Club and how the new Irish have helped to bring about a resurgence in the sport
 
Willow on Leather, produced by Grainne McPolin, explores the story of County Kerry Cricket Club and how the new Irish have helped to bring about a resurgence in the sport
 
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Seriously...
 
Illegitimacy once meant you were a 'bastard'. The MP Caroline Flint wants to know what the word 'illegitimate' means now.Caroline has always been open about her unmarried Mum having her when she was 17 years old and that she had her first son before she got married. Caroline describes her own family's story as a Catherine Cookson novel. There a ...…
 
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The Guardian's Audio Long Reads
 
How a late-blossoming classics don became Britain’s most beloved intellectual Read the text version here
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Being a shy person is often seen as something that you will overcome as you get older. Many introverts feel that there is something wrong with them. Being an introvert is perfectly normal and defining it as something you lack doesn't seem fair. Pauline Dunne decided to challenge the common perceptions. Think you know introverts, think again!…
 
The documentary “The Peacemaker” profiles Boston bar owner Padraig O’Malley, who’s known in the world of international diplomacy for his skills at negotiating in conflict zones. Filmmaker James Demo follows O’Malley to war torn cities in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East and beyond to understand what makes him tick. — Thom Powers a ...…
 
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Showcase from Radiotopia
 
Secrets is a show about the secrets we all carry inside of us. How do you know if you ever truly know someone? Mohamed’s father abandoned Mohamed, his mother and his sisters and moved back to Morocco. There he started a third family. He told Mohamed’s mother nothing of this, and told the new family in Morocco that his family in Sweden had died. ...…
 
Before he was the 44th President, Barack Obama worked as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. Hear how the city shaped his political ambitions.By podcasts@chicagopublicmedia.org (WBEZ Chicago).
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Cistercian bells have been ringing across Europe since 1098. This religious order created the continent's first farmlands. In 1998, they celebrated 900 yrs of prayer and farming. Arriving in Ireland in 1142, their architecture is seen in the picturesque ruins of their abbeys. What influence did they have on economic life in medieval Ireland?…
 
Helen Pankhurst presents the previously untold story of one of the foremost Suffragettes, as she uncovers her grandmother Sylvia's role in the fight for Ethiopian Independence, and reveals a lifelong love for the fascinating country that became her home.Emmeline's radical left-wing daughter, Sylvia Pankhurst, became deeply involved in the Ethio ...…
 
Work has ruled our lives for centuries, and it does so today more than ever. But a new generation of thinkers insists there is an alternative • Read the text version here
 
A tale of friendship, betrayal, hoarding, squatters and a missing $100,000 dollar cheque. Helen and Franca weren't meant to be friends because Franca was Helen's husband's lover. But then Franca had a daughter and a big problem with hoarding. Helen stepped in to help.
 
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The Radio 3 Documentary
 
Lindsay Johns argues that the South African novelist Alex La Guma is an overlooked literary colossus who should be restored to his rightful place - at the centre of the literary canon.Travelling to Cape Town, Lindsay visits some of the places and people that inspired La Guma's writing. And as he does, from the bustle of Athlone township to the ...…
 
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A Point of View
 
"Winning - isn't it great?" asks AL Kennedy. But she argues that our "winner takes all" mentality is suffocating democracy. "On both sides of the Atlantic, in regimes around the world", she writes, "we can watch the chaotic dissolution of administrations based on winning at any price". Producer: Adele Armstrong.…
 
In the documentary “The Force,” director Peter Nicks embeds with the Oakland police force for two years during a period when leaders tried to reform after past abuses of power. While there are many documentaries about law and order, few bring the depth and nuance of this one. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here ...…
 
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Seriously...
 
Julian Pettifer, the BBC's 'man in Saigon' during the Vietnam War, reflects on the Tet Offensive of 1968 as a turning point in world history.On the evening of 30th January 1968, Julian dined with his cameraman Ernie Christie in a hotel in Saigon, while reporting the Vietnam War. There were few journalists there at the time because the Communist ...…
 
Every baffled new parent goes searching for answers in baby manuals. But what they really offer is the reassuring fantasy that life’s most difficult questions have one right answer • Read the text version here
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Fr. Pat Noise died when his carriage plunged into the Liffey in 1919. His death is commemorated by a plaque on O'Connell Bridge, installed without permission by a mysterious group. This was also where the Millennium Clock was lowered into the Liffey before disappearing after a few months. Was it coincidental that both events happened at this spot?…
 
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Showcase from Radiotopia
 
Secrets is a show about the secrets we all carry inside of us. How is it to be the one kept in the dark? When Mohamed’s mom was left alone with her six children, she worked herself to death and eventually collapsed at home with a heart attack. Mohamed was 12 years old. Now, 25 years later, there is no one to answer the questions he would like t ...…
 
The brain - the final frontier. Radio 4 is setting out on an exploration of the creative mind.Gerald Scarfe's drawings have intrigued and alarmed for more than fifty years but where do his ideas come from? Professor Vincent Walsh of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience has a theory he wants to pursue. Vincent is an expert in the workings of ...…
 
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Documentary on One - RTÉ Documentaries
 
Since its foundation in 1988, the Dublin International Piano Competition has grown in stature and now ranks among the most important piano competitions in the world. Previous winners acknowledge the role it has had on their careers. The success of this event relies on the generosity of volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes. (1997)…
 
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