You can’t talk about true crime podcasts without acknowledging the granddaddy of the genre. Dating way back to 2014, series one of ‘Serial’ is the most famous and successful podcast of all time: Sarah Koenig’s hyper in-depth exploration of a 1999 Baltimore murder has been downloaded well over a hundred million times, and had a vast cultural impact. It laid down a template that many, many true crime podcasts have understandably followed. But it still stands up terrifically today.
There’s much more to the world of podcasts than true crime, but there’s no denying that true crime dominates the podcasting world. Spurred on by the almost incomprehensibly vast success of 2014’s ‘Serial’, the standard true crime ’cast now has a very recognisable form, usually revolving around an intrepid investigative reporter drilling into a criminal case – often a cold one – and shedding new light on it throughout a multi-part documentary that goes deeper than any TV show would likely be allowed to. But crime isn’t just dead bodies: this eclectic list touches on everything from a podcast about British colonial looting to a reappraisal of Jack the Ripper’s victims.