Best Documentaries podcasts (Updated April 2018; image)
Related podcasts: Documentary Society News Public History Filmmakers Photography Filmmaking Interviews Film Conversations Arts Music Featured FM Francesca Lalor Documentary On Newstalk Nonfiction Criticism Radio Station Media  
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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.
 
S
Short Cuts
Monthly
 
Short documentaries and adventures in sound presented by Josie Long
 
Exploring different aspects of history, science, philosophy and the arts.
 
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 ...
 
Earshot presents documentaries about people, places, stories and ideas, in all their diversity.
 
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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.
 
Showcase, from PRX’s Radiotopia, features original podcast series of all stripes, from emerging and leading producers around the world.
 
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 ...
 
Newstalk 106-108 FM features many documentaries from the plight of the Malawi people to video documentaries on Aurora Borealis.
 
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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74 Seconds
Monthly+
 
74 Seconds tells the story of a July 2016 traffic stop that ended with the world watching a man die, live on their phones. This is the story of that man, Philando Castile, and the officer who is about to go on trial for his death, Jeronimo Yanez. Through comprehensive reporting, MPR News examines this intersection of race, policing, justice and safety in America. A lot can happen in 74 seconds.
 
A frank look behind the scenes with broadcasters Jane Garvey and Fi Glover as guests from Radio, TV and podcasting share stories they probably shouldn’t. Released every Friday.
 
Newstalk 106-108 FM features many documentaries from the plight of the Malawi people to video documentaries on Aurora Borealis.
 
The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 140 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.
 
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show series
 
The American journalist Sally Herships has long felt she carries within herself a sense of the trauma suffered by her grandmother a century ago, in Russia, and subsequently passed down through her own mother. How is it possible to explain a fear that isn't of any thing tangible or present, a fear that isn't our own, that isn't rooted in direct ...…
 
A complete history of silent films in Ireland from one of the first moving pictures documenting Queen Victoria's visit in 1900, through to the pioneering feature films of Sidney Olcott, to the imported European films that were shown in Dublin's first cinema opened by James Joyce. (1976)
 
When a young American took up a position with the US Antarctic Program in the late '90s he imagined incredible adventures within a pristine landscape, but he found something completely different.
 
Mimi Chakarova is a Bulgarian-American filmmaker, photographer, journalism professor, activist, immigrant and single mother. Her documentary “Men a Love Story” premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2017 where Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters interviewed her on stage. How can you not be mesmerized by a woman who makes a film called “The ...…
 
Jodee Mundy is the only person in her family who can hear. Ever since she was little, she has moved between the Deaf community and mainstream society, feeling a little out of place in both.
 
In this Sunday Feature, historian Chris Harding travels from Tokyo to the deep countryside of Japan's north east to tell the alternative story of the country, looking at how, throughout their history, Japanese people have used ghosts and ghost stories to make sense of themselves and their place in the world. In the aftermath of the Fukushima nu ...…
 
"The past is concretised and solidified in things", writes Stella Tillyard "and they vibrate with the experience of their use".Stella tells the story of a small Italian Museum - the Museum of Deportation and Resistance - and reflects on how we remember the past.Producer: Adele Armstrong.
 
On the first week in her new role as presenter of World at One, journalist Sarah Montague joins Fi and Jane to talk balanced journalism, interrupting, and presenting Today.Plus Jane’s wet step, Fi’s skiing holiday and the disloyalty of mothers.
 
In 2014 Polly Weston's sister Lara died. She had just turned 22. Lara and her family had never discussed organ donation, and she wasn't on the register. But when the family were asked if they would consider donation, they said yes. Out of the tragedy of her death, medics managed to donate her organs to four women, while her eyes saved the sight ...…
 
Two unlikely men meet to swap jobs. One is a 70-year-old chimney sweep, who left school at 13, the other a professor of philosophy at UCD. The professor cleans a chimney while the sweep delivers a talk to the Philosophical Society at UCD (Broadcast 2009).
 
In a country with one of the lowest murder rates in the world, the killing of a 20-year-old woman upended the nation’s sense of itself Read the text version here
 
The HBO documentary “I Am Evidence” investigates the crisis of hundreds of thousands of rape kits that went untested across the United States. Actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay teams with directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir to focus on the crusade of Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy and others who campaigned to rescue kits from storage. ...…
 
This episode features Kiese Laymon’s memoir about growing up as a young black man in the South. The piece is performed by a small group of young black men who Al mentored in their youth. Errthang is produced and hosted by Al Letson, with co-host and music supervisor Willie Evans Jr., show systemizer Brie Burge and actor Jason Stephens. Check ou ...…
 
Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera returns to his home town of Wolverhampton where a battle raged over the right to wear the turban on the buses in Enoch Powell's constituency at the time he made his Rivers of Blood speech.In 1967 Sikh bus driver Tarsem Singh Sandhu returns from his holidays wearing a turban and a beard, both against the un ...…
 
Tommy O’Reilly remembers his passing out ceremony, proudly marching by his family in his Irish Army uniform. For Tommy, the decision to volunteer for active service in Lebanon was an easy one; he believes that it is his duty as a soldier. But, with recent reports of hostages captured in the region, this is an anxious time for his family.(1991)…
 
Imagine where we’d be without Shakespeare’s plays. It’s difficult to contemplate now. But it was thanks to another man that many of them were brought to life. Today, Richard Burbage is a not a household name. But he should be. He’s the man for whom many of the great Shakespearean roles were created. One of the founding members of the Lord Chamb ...…
 
How a homeless child grew up to become the most inventive chef in history • Read the text version here
 
What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make to pursue your life’s work? When anthropologist Laura Rival left Europe to live and work with a remote group in Amazonia, she took her young daughter with her. But things didn't go to plan, and Laura faced a difficult decision
 
Tom Shakespeare on why we need to rethink our use of the mental illness metaphor. Is President Trump really "mad"?, he asks. Is Brexit "bonkers"? Or is the latest government policy "schizophrenic"? He says we all do it. "Within five minutes of starting to write this talk, I find I'm doing it myself!" But he says we need to break the habit since ...…
 
This award-winning doc tells the story of Jenny Tyrell who was adopted in 1972. But, Jenny was almost 9 before she found out she was adopted. In this story, Jenny and her birth mother reunite and speak candidly about the hurt, the pain and the love.
 
Al goes deep exploring the "good guy’s” relationship to the #MeToo movement, through a story about his old friend, Louis. After the story, Al sits down with feminist commentator Kimberly Foster of For Harriet, to talk about the story, Rape Culture, and how to move forward. Errthang is produced and hosted by Al Letson, with co-host and music sup ...…
 
An unprecedented US mission to Pyongyang in 1999 promised to defuse Kim’s nuclear threat. But it all came to nothing – and then the hawks took power • Read the text version here
 
In the documentary “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami,” filmmaker Sophie Fiennes combines performance and intimate observation to profile the singer, model and icon. “Bloodlight” is the red light outside a recording studio and “Bami” is a Jamaican flatbread. The words refer to Jones’ art and life. She constantly blurs the lines between the two a ...…
 
A new two-part radio documentary series follows one Dublin man’s journey to build a radio telescope in Ireland. Produced by Athena Media.
 
A new two-part radio documentary series follows one Dublin man’s journey to build a radio telescope in Ireland. Produced by Athena Media.
 
Jonathan Izard killed a man in a road traffic accident. It wasn't his fault. In an attempt to come to terms with what happened, he tries to get to know the man he killed, Michael Rawson.Jonathan goes back to the place on the road where his car hit Michael, on New Year's Eve 2015. Michael was crossing the road on his crutches from the bus stop t ...…
 
Mansoor Adayfi spent 15 years detained without charge at the American military prison in Guantanamo Bay. Now released, he guides us vividly through an unlikely exhibit of artworks made by former and current Guantanamo war-on-terror detainees.The exhibit, titled Ode to the Sea, was held at the John Jay College at the City of New York in the autu ...…
 
Sgt. Sharon Duggan applied to join the Irish Army while she was in secondary school. She was part of a group of women who marched into history as the first female recruits to the Irish Defence Forces. She embarked on a lifelong ambition to serve in Lebanon as part of the UN peacekeeping forces. How did Sharon adapt to life in this war-torn country?…
 
Just two and a half years after his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, Barack Obama announced he was running for president.By podcasts@chicagopublicmedia.org (WBEZ Chicago).
 
Jorge Amado, the beloved Brazilian author of Gabriella, Clove and Cinnamon, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Tent of Miracles – wrote over 30 books in his lifetime. His works have been translated into 49 languages and adapted for film, television, and theater. In 1984, The Kitchen Sisters interviewed Jorge Amado, his wife Zelia Gattai, Brazilian ...…
 
Today we're breaking taboos. It's all about the Class. Comedian Nelly Thomas gathers a group of her blue-collar classmates for a frank chat.
 
Paul Morley asks "Can there be too many artists in the world?"
 
"Western liberals", writes John Gray, "are horrified by the rise of Xi Jinping". But as China's parliament votes to allow him to be President for life, John Gray argues that the future of the liberal West ironically depends on the continuing success of the world's most powerful authoritarian state. Producer: Adele Armstrong.…
 
Adam Tjolle is a vet with two brains - who once starred on the BBC's Animal Hospital. His second brain - in reality a slow-growing tumour - was discovered by accident on a scan when he fell off his bike.The presenter of the programme, his friend (and psychologist) Claudia Hammond is really interested in what's going on inside his head, so has k ...…
 
Martin McKenna’s career began in a hay barn in Limerick and ended up with three best-selling books about dog behaviour in Australia - he could not read or write but he would become known as 'The Dogman'. (2010)
 
It’s time to end a system that excludes the less privileged from the arts, media and politics • Read the text version here
 
The documentary “ACORN and the Firestorm” traces the 40 year history of community organizers brought down by a right wing attack. Filmmakers Rueben Atlas and Sam Pollard show how a simple lie travels faster than a complicated truth. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.…
 
Al and Willie tell stories about fatherhood. Al’s story is about being a black father to a white kid, while Willie recounts teaching his son how to handle a bully. Errthang is produced and hosted by Al Letson, with co-host and music supervisor Willie Evans Jr., show systemizer Brie Burge and actor Jason Stephens. Check out season one here. Seas ...…
 
From tree climbing to getting lost in the forest, Josie Long ventures into the woods. Featuring Sook-Yin Lee on the wild forest of her childhood, the musician and radio producer Phil Smith on the love and freedom of clambering amid the branches, and a mother and daughter losing themselves amongst the trees.ClimbFeaturing Jochen Raiss and LeahPr ...…
 
Exactly 50 years ago, two assassinations rocked America. The civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F Kennedy were murdered two months apart. Michael Goldfarb retells their story and asks their children, grandchildren and close friends about America in those terrible days and America now.Producer: Julia HayballA Certain H ...…
 
Ireland is the perfect place to sail around, the course retains a magic all of its own for most sailors. However, when the ingredients include a modern ocean racing catamaran, extreme weather from gale to calm, and a diverse crew attempting to break the all-time around Ireland record - the outcome is captivating. Will they succeed? (1986)…
 
For Barry Jorgensen, an electrician and lifelong tinkerer, learning to live with Parkinson’s Disease is a bit like constantly rewiring a faulty circuit board. For his family, it's a fragile negotiation of a chronic illness, family dynamics, and memories of lives past.
 
Cerys Matthews explores the enduring influence of the Psalms across centuries and genres.
 
John Gray says the idea that empire has had its day is one of the delusions of our age.Old empires, he says, are being replaced by new ones - in China, Russia and - he argues - in Europe. He examines the idea of a European "empire of the good" - one that is liberal and democratic throughout. Producer: Adele Armstrong.…
 
BBC 6 Music's Chris Hawkins listens to new music every day - and he's noticing a trend.More and more of the bands he plays on the station are writing about politics. Acts like Nadine Shah, Cabbage, Idles and Life are covering topics as diverse as The NHS, the refugee crisis of 2016, austerity and rail privatisation. Chris visits the performers ...…
 
Fi travels to Jane’s home in West London for the final episode in this series.Together they talk about their favourite guests, the futility of ball tampering and whose porn name would be Tiddler O’Neil.
 
How the rise of the luxury pram capitalised on the status anxiety of a new generation of parents • Read the text version here
 
The documentary “The China Hustle” tells a story of global financial corruption that could be a ticking time bomb for Wall Street. Director Jed Rothstein teams with executive producer Alex Gibney for a film that’s alternately funny, infuriating and terrifying, in the tradition of “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” — Thom Powers and Raphael ...…
 
Al recounts when he went to a protest to report the news, but became the news. Letson saved a right-wing protester from a vicious beating by Antifa. This episode is about why he did it, how it all happened, and how he felt afterwards. Errthang is produced and hosted by Al Letson, with co-host and music supervisor Willie Evans Jr., show systemiz ...…
 
Two Dublin children, with a knack for bunking off school and fare dodging, embark on an unbelievable adventure. On a warm summer's day in 1985, they hop on a Dart and skip out to Dun Laoghaire, nothing much to be doing there, so they sneak on the ferry for Holyhead and make it all the way to London Heathrow where they board a plane to NYC. (2011)…
 
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