BBC Sounds launches 20 new podcasts and music programmes

This spring BBC Sounds is launching 20 new podcasts and music programmes.

Published: 3 February 2020
Whether people want laughs and entertainment, or insight and intrigue, Sounds has something relevant for everyone.
— Jonathan Wall

The new hosts of BBC Sounds podcasts include Fearne Cotton, comedian James Acaster, 1Xtra’s Dotty, Matt Lucas and 1Xtra’s Sideman.

Listeners will be able to enjoy more true crime and investigations, entertaining comedy and chat, original journalism and brilliant storytelling, as well as great new voices on BBC Sounds.

Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Sounds, says: “Sounds is growing and growing with 3 million people now coming to us for music, radio and podcasts each week. We keep upping the ambition for our on demand audio and I’m delighted with the variety of great podcasts and music we’ve got coming up. Whether people want laughs and entertainment, or insight and intrigue, Sounds has something relevant for everyone. It lets us give new voices a platform to talk about what matters as well as bring the best of what the BBC does to new listeners.”

In the coming months on BBC Sounds there are:

  • Seven new podcasts in which younger voices explore the subjects that matter to them, such as United Zingdom in which Zing Tsjeng figures out whether to become British; gaming journalists Julia Hardy and Aoife Wilson present This Game Changed My Life; in new series Jacob Hawley: In Love the comedian looks at different aspects of relationships and he returns with more episodes of Jacob Hawley: On Drugs too; in Them Ones three best mates from Birmingham reveal their Whatsapp chat and, consequently, the inner workings of their lives; and 5 live’s Hope High follows the families of secondary school students in Huddersfield. Power Out is a pacey thriller from Radio 4 about young people taking power in their own hands; and Asian Network launches new podcast Bollywood Uncovered
  • New podcasts from BBC news and current affairs: The world’s longest running current affairs programme Panorama launches a podcast; and Americast with Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel will share the latest drama from the race for the White House. The most popular podcast on Sounds at the end of last year - Brexitcast - is evolving into Newscast taking listeners behind the scenes for an inside look at the biggest news stories
  • Three true crime podcasts including Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle from Radio 5 live and hosted by Peter Bleksley; Where is George Gibney? in which journalist Mark Horgan investigates the internationally-renowned Olympic swimming coach; and Mortem which tells the story of three bodies through forensics science
  • Matt Lucas, 1Xtra’s Sideman and Dotty bring listeners brand new comedy chat. There will be jaw dropping conversation on The Dotty Podcast; on Weird Flex But OK, Sideman meets people with weird but wonderful habits; and on Bitch Bitch Bitch, Matt Lucas brings guests together to gossip about the unpleasant side of jobs many might wish they had
  • More great music content including Sounds Of The 90s with Fearne Cotton, a nostalgia drenched celebration of the best music and pop culture from the decade; and in podcast James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds the comedian proposes that 2016 is the greatest year for music of all time, sharing his obsession with fellow comedians. BBC Sounds is also launching four brand new music mixes including 1Xtra R&B Chill from Nadia Jae and Radio 1’s Movie Mixtapes from Ali Plumb


True crime and investigations

Where Is George Gibney?

George Gibney was an internationally-renowned Olympic swimming coach. He was a charismatic celebrity in his native Ireland. He regularly appeared on television screens and across newspaper headlines. He was also charged with 27 counts of sexual abuse of young swimmers but never stood trial. Instead, he vanished.

Reporter Mark Horgan of Second Captains travels across continents - from Ireland and the UK to the US - speaking to the people Gibney tried to silence for decades, as well as those who tried to help him. The podcast asks how has he escaped justice for so many years? Does he still have access to children? Who is protecting him? Where Is George Gibney?

  • A Second Captains production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from May


A curious mortician. Determined forensic scientists. And one suspicious death.

Welcome to Carla Valentine’s mortuary. A chilled, white, windowless room, where you cross the threshold into the world of the dead. From the first cut, to the final stitch, Carla examines how each body got to her slab. But it’s forensic science that joins the dots, as we venture to the scene of the crime and join the scientists on the frontline.

Each case, told over three episodes, tells the story of one body, through the sciences you may have never heard in detail before.

The victim is fictional. But the science is real. Based on true crime investigations.

  • A Whistledown production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from February

This release was amended to clarify that this podcast does not focus on real victims

Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle

Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle will follow former undercover police officer Peter Bleksley as he searches for one of Britain’s most wanted men. Kevin Parle is a suspect in two brutal murders that took place in Liverpool in the early 2000s. He’s been on the run for 15 years. Peter Bleksley, best known from Channel 4’s Hunted and a former Metropolitan Police officer, wants to find the fugitive so he can be returned to Liverpool to face justice. Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle follows Peter's hunt for Parle as the former detective uses old-school know how, intelligence experts and amateur detectives from around the world to trace the suspect. Peter has faced abuse and threats during the making of the podcast and the search for Parle. Made by the producer of the award-winning Beyond Reasonable Doubt podcast, will Peter find his man?

  • A 6Foot6 production for BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from February


The world’s longest running current affairs programme launches a podcast. Over multiple episodes, each series will tell a single story, giving listeners a new perspective on the journalism behind Panorama. It will chart a global investigation in forensic detail, revealing the people the team speak with and the leads they follow. Now listeners will be able to go deeper into a Panorama investigation, hearing how stories can change course and developments wax and wane in the search for the truth.

Rachel Jupp, Editor of Panorama, says: “We want to take new audiences on the investigative journey with us, to delve deeper into the story and to understand all the journalism that goes on behind the scenes. We’re really excited that Panorama is entering the world of podcasting.”

  • A BBC News and Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds

This Thing Of Darkness

A gripping drama exploring the psychological impact of murder, based on the working practice of renowned forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead (a former guest on Desert Island Discs), written by Lucia Haynes with monologues by Eileen Horne. Dr Alex Bridges (Lolita Chakrabarti) is an expert Forensic Psychiatrist, assessing and treating perpetrators of the most unthinkable crimes. Alex charts the psychological impact of the murder of a young man on his family, whilst letting us eavesdrop on her therapy group for murderers. Also stars Robin Laing, Shauna Macdonald, Jessica Hardwick, Reuben Joseph, Simon Donaldson and Brian Vernel. Listeners will be able to dive into episode two straight after the series starts on Radio 4 with the next instalment available first on BBC Sounds each week.

  • A BBC Radio production

Available on BBC Sounds on 24 February

Culture and new voices

United Zingdom

Zing Tsjeng, executive editor at VICE, can finally apply for a British passport. But there’s a catch. She’s already got a passport from Singapore, the country where she was born and where her family are, and it doesn’t allow dual nationality. So she’s got a choice to make; it’s either a British passport, or a Singaporean one. It’s a serious decision for her, and more than just about a piece of paper! Zing's mainly lived in London since she got to the UK aged 15, and she hasn't seen much of the rest of the country she's called home. Could an adventure around the country, meeting the Brummies, Scousers, Glaswegians and many others proud of their unique hometowns help her figure out whether to take the plunge and become British?

  • A BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from March

Jacob Hawley: In Love

Jacob Hawley: In Love will explore different aspects of love and relationships including topics such as nudes and leaks, sex clubs, contraception, polyamory, pornography and much more.

  • A BBC Studios production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from April

This Game Changed My Life

Superstar gaming journalists Julia Hardy and Aoife Wilson present a podcast about videogames and real life. From a kid sleeping rough whose expertise at Tekken took him to the apex of professional gaming, to a Syrian refugee who created a game about his escape, to a couple who fell in love inside World Of Warcraft, this is a podcast for everyone who knows how much games matter.

  • A BBC Radio Arts production

Available on BBC Sounds from February

Pride & Joy

Freddy McConnell explores the many ways LGBT+ people are starting their families. Freddy is a trans man. He gave birth to his first child in 2018 - an experience documented by Jeanie Finlay in the film Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth. He is also fighting a court battle to have trans parents' identities recognised on their children's birth certificates.

In this podcast, Freddy explores the myriad ways queer people are planning and starting their families today, including a mother who was the surrogate for her gay son, a woman who co-parents with five other adults, a trans man who donates his eggs and a queer couple who only received NHS support by being read as straight.

The series gives original and vital insight into the hard-fought, creative, exhausting and wondrous ways queers have kids. It explores, interrogates and celebrates how 'family' is being redefined in the 21st century.

  • A Something Else production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from May

Them Ones

What happens when three best mates from Birmingham make their WhatsApp chat public? Zaeem, Fahd and Thumbi reveal the inner workings of their lives by doing just that. Them Ones is real talk, no holds barred conversations about hopes and dreams, DM dilemmas and the never-ending drama of finding a wife!

  • A BBC Asian Network production

Available on BBC Sounds from April

Hope High

In a community dealing with county lines drug gangs, violence and poverty, where does the hope come from? Hope High is the culmination of a full year that BBC Radio 5 live spent shining a light on the real stories of families in Ashbrow, Huddersfield. The story is rooted in the local secondary school where poverty, crime and education meet head on. It reveals how teachers are battling to keep children in school who are being groomed by county lines gangs, carrying weapons and being targeted by criminals. Across seven episodes listeners will journey through the year of four boys and their families, seeing complex lives up close, and understanding how a child ends up selling drugs, carrying weapons or in prison. 5 live journalist Annabel Deas (pictured above) presents the series, which digs into the fabric of this community. She questions whether society has the right structures and services to protect children and their families - and to give them an education, a future and a hope.

  • A BBC Radio 5 live production

Available on BBC Sounds from March

Power Out

Power Out, a new thriller by award winning writer Sarah Woods with a cast of emerging new talent led by rising star Vinnie Heaven who plays Sean, including Ayden Brouwers as Skimmer, and Celia Dominguez as QuiQui. Jason Done appears as Cyber Crime investigator Tim Graham and Debbie McAndrew as Cathy, Sean’s anxious Mum.

An eco-activist group seem to be threatening the national grid, marking their protests with an apparent animal invasion of the House of Commons, and now Sean’s in trouble with the cybercrime police.

How do you cope with climate change? Take action. Power Out.

A pacey immersive thriller about young people taking power into their own hands.

  • A BBC Radio 4 production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from March

Comedy and entertainment

The Dotty Podcast

Dotty rips up the rule book in a no-holds-barred podcast! Expect unfiltered chat and jaw dropping conversation as you are granted front row access to her wildest (and most inappropriate) thoughts. Buckle up and please note, this ride is not for kids.

  • A BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra production

Available on BBC Sounds from Spring

Weird Flex But OK

1Xtra’s Sideman meets people whose lives have a slightly sideways flex. Will he be convinced by their weird but wonderful hobbies and habits?

  • A BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra production

Available on BBC Sounds from Spring

Bitch Bitch Bitch

What brings the people of Britain together like nothing else? Complaining about their jobs, of course! And in his new podcast Bitch Bitch Bitch, Matt Lucas is witness to the unpleasant side of the jobs we all wish we had. In every episode, three guests in the same line of work come together to reveal what really grinds their gears about their jobs. Big name West End actors, glamorous flight attendants, acclaimed chefs; they’ll give you the gossip you never knew you needed about these aspirational professions.

Matt Lucas says: “I’m thrilled to be providing these free therapy sessions for the workers of Britain through my new Radio 2 podcast for BBC Sounds. No gripe will be left unheard!”

  • Commissioned by BBC Radio 2, produced by Rethink Audio

Available on BBC Sounds from Spring

Bollywood Uncovered

Exactly how easy is it to become a leading star in the largest film industry in the world? What really goes on behind the scenes in the making of these international celebrities? BBC Asian Network’s Haroon Rashid is on a mission to learn how the gloss and glamour is created, and how leading actors navigate the constant gossip and criticism with the demands of the picture houses and PR giants, hearing from those pulling the strings as well from the stars themselves.

  • A BBC Asian Network production

Available on BBC Sounds from April

Amitabh Bachchan: The Biggest B

What does it take to be India’s biggest actor, dominating the Bollywood scene for 50 years? How do you manage to keep several generations glued to the big screen all at the same time? Millennial ‘Big B’ super fans Haroon Rashid, Amn Kaur and Shehzaad Lohar take a screen break to chat about the prolific actor, tracing his beginnings, highs and lows - and locking horns when they don’t always agree! They hatch a plan for one of them to head to Mumbai to put their disputes directly to the big man himself. But will he open his door to them and set everyone straight, or will he leave them in the throng that gathers every Sunday outside his home in the hope of catching a glimpse of the icon?

  • A BBC Asian Network production

Available on BBC Sounds from March



BBC Newsnight’s lead presenter, Emily Maitlis and the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel join forces in Americast, a new podcast from the creator of Brexitcast following the US presidential election, all the way from the Democratic primaries through to election night in November.

Jon and Emily are seasoned US observers – and also happen to be old friends. Each week they’ll catch up across the Atlantic and share the latest drama from the race for the White House.

The internationally available podcast will drop weekly, with the opportunity for more ad hoc episodes as and when the presidential campaigns heat up.

Emily Maitlis says: “We’ll offer an insider’s take on what’s happening beneath the headlines. What’s more, we’ll reunite the Maitlis/Sopel BBC presenting combo in a format where we don’t have to sit next to each other and may therefore have more chance of keeping a straight face.”

Jon Sopel says: “We don’t have a dog in this fight. We are going to look at what is going on and give a fresh and impartial perspective on what promises to be a fascinating election.”

  • A BBC News production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from February


Newscast will take listeners behind the scenes for an inside look at the biggest news stories of the moment.

Evolving from the award-winning podcast, Brexitcast and its political spin-off podcast, Electioncast, Newscast will update listeners on topical news stories and major headlines from across the UK and internationally, hearing from expert correspondents and editors.

On major political events and milestones in the Brexit story, ‘emergency’ Brexitcast episodes will be hosted by former presenters Adam Fleming, Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler and Chris Mason.

On other major stories, Newscast will hear from the BBC’s specialist presenters and correspondents, reporting on a range of issues and events, from entertainment, sport, economics and foreign affairs, to education, technology, media and more.

The podcast will also be televised on the BBC News Channel and BBC One on Thursday evenings.

• A BBC News production for BBC Sounds

Music on Sounds

James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds

James Acaster presents this new podcast where he argues that 2016 is the greatest year for music of all time. Following a breakup James set out to rekindle his love for music by buying hundreds of new and niche releases from 2016. Now he’s sharing his obsession with fellow comedians, exploring his favourite albums: from Beyoncé’s internet breaking Lemonade, to Colombian math rock fusion, and everything in between.

  • A BBC Radio 1 production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from April

BBC Sounds Of The 90s With Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton's BBC Sounds Of The 90s is a nostalgia drenched celebration of the best music and pop culture from the decade. She'll be playing all the big hits from all genres; girl power, rave, grunge, RnB, indie and pure pop, whilst also embracing chill out and dance. Alongside the music Fearne will celebrate the movies, TV and fashion along with major cultural moments - Gazza’s tears, the launch of the World Wide Web and Right Said Fred declaring themselves too sexy for many many things. Fearne will also be joined by big name guests in sharing listener’s best and worst memories from the 90s.

Fearne Cotton says: “I’m really excited to be presenting this new music programme for BBC Sounds. The 90s was such a fun era for me - from growing up as a teen listening to likes of Spice Girls, Oasis and Hanson to then starting my presenting career. I can’t wait to share with everyone some of the best music to come from a time that was really special for me.”

  • A Somethin’ Else production
  • Commissioned by BBC Radio 2

Available on BBC Sounds from early Spring

Radio 1’s R&B Anthems and Radio 1’s Rap Anthems

Expect to hear everything from Drake to Destiny’s Child in these mixes full of the biggest and best Rap and R&B Anthems.

Exclusive to BBC Sounds, listeners can have a party on their commute, at the gym, at home with friends or anywhere they like!

Radio 1’s R&B Anthems will be available on 13 February and Radio 1’s Rap Anthems will be available on 14 February on BBC Sounds

Radio 1’s Movie Mixtapes

Ali Plumb picks the best songs from the most legendary films to make some epic soundtracks for every mood. Listeners can walk to work with the best Bond songs and head home feeling like a princess with Ali's Disney mix. Each week he'll delve into something new, sharing his favourite musical moments from the likes of Tarantino's back catalogue, the Marvel cinematic universe, the Teen movie genre, the underworld of gangster films and much more.

Available on BBC Sounds on 12 February

Freestyles From 1Xtra: Don’t Choke

Dropping monthly, listeners can hear nothin’ but the best freestyles from BBC Radio 1Xtra, hosted by Kenny Allstar drawn from his, Sir Spyro and Tiffany Calver’s shows.

Available on BBC Sounds on 14 February

1Xtra R&B Chill

Nadia Jae curates a weekly mix of chilled laid-back R&B. Expect to hear the smoothest vibes from Ella Mai to H.E.R and more.

Available on BBC Sounds from February

Returning podcasts

Evil Genius

Evil Genius is back and to kick off the new series, Russell Kane cheers his panel on as they tear their hair out over some sporting greats-who-might-not-be-that-great. That includes The Greatest - Muhammed Ali, a civil rights hero who might not be one for much longer. George Best, who had his demons, but was one of the best footballers of all time and a handsome devil to boot. Plus Adi Dassler, founder of sportswear brand Adidas. Do listeners know about the dark history hidden behind the three stripes? Russell had to burn his tracksuit after this one, and his friends and family were mightily relieved.

  • A BBC Radio 4 production

Available on BBC Sounds from February

No Country For Young Women

No Country For Young Women is back for a fourth season, bringing it’s raw, unpredictable, audacious and outrageously funny take on life in a white man’s world. A revamped format and extended run gives Sadia and Monty space to transcend generalisation and investigate the specific issues they each face in 2020.

Friends of the podcast will help them pick apart identity, ethnic and cultural topics. Hilarious and insightful interviews with star names will return. There is no subject that is off limits as they explore life from the perspective of young British women balancing their ethnic identity.

  • A BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from Spring

Jacob Hawley: On Drugs

Jacob Hawley makes money from drugs. As a stand-up comedian he tells jokes about his own recreational use. Now he’s exploring the scene in more depth, talking to people involved in all aspects of the drugs scene. In part two of Jacob Hawley: On Drugs, Jacob’s going to be going to a prison, looking at performance enhancing drugs and county lines.

  • A BBC Studios production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from March

Fashion Fix

Fashion Fix is back for a second season! Model and activist Charli Howard continues to delve deep into the fashion industry, and she’ll be taking to industry experts and fashionistas on all things fashion, exploring genderless dressing, vegan clothing and more.

  • A BBC Radio Arts production

Series one available now on BBC Sounds, with series two launching in May

1800 Seconds On Autism

Robyn Steward, Jamie Knight and their guests explore autism from the inside. Home, family, music and epic geekiness - this is a funny, enlightening podcast about thinking differently.

  • A BBC News and Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds

Available on BBC Sounds from April

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Podcast

Phase two of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry started on Monday 27 January 2020. It will investigate how the tower was covered in combustible materials during a refurbishment, breaching building regulations. Every week the Grenfell Tower Inquiry sits, we analyse and explain the evidence heard.

  • A BBC News and Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds

Available now on BBC Sounds

13 Minutes To The Moon

Season two of the award-winning podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon will tell the story of Apollo 13. It should have been the third Moon landing, but after an explosion, it almost ended in tragedy. The season begins with the ‘six minutes of silence’, when the crew re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere having survived four days in a stricken ship with dwindling power and oxygen supplies. As the seconds tick by and the world awaits for radio contact to be re-established, mission control begin to fear the worst. This will be the definitive audio story, told in six episodes by those who managed to prevent disaster. Contributors include Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise and the mission’s commander, Jim Lovell, and his family.

  • A BBC World Service Production

Available on BBC Sounds from March

The Gemma Collins Podcast

The GC returns with a second run of her chart-topping podcast. She tackles the tough questions: Do houses have feelings? Should we make candles that smell like vaginas? And really though, what is time?

  • A Listen production for BBC Sounds

Available now on BBC Sounds