From cold case investigations to a chilling haunting, Entertainment Editor Liam Rudden chooses his Top 10 podcasts for lockdown listening

There are thousands of them. Suddenly, everyone has their own podcast and if they don't, then they're talking about the one they’re listening to, but if you’re new to the medium, with so much choice, where do you start?

By Liam Rudden
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 10:18 am
Popular podcasts
Popular podcasts

Podcasts are big business these days. Just a decade ago, while recording On The Fringe, the Evening News' first podcast, we knew there was limited competition, today, every conceivable topic has a host of titles deconstructing it in the minutest of detail. Criminal investigations, chilling hauntings and historical revelations all now regularly top podcast charts and, over the years, I've discovered a fair few that are well worth a listen. So, if you love a good mystery or fancy yourself as a bit of an armchair detective, let me share 10 podcasts that have held me gripped during lockdown.

Body of Proof

This 10-part podcast examines the high-profile investigation into the disappearance of Suzanne Pilley, the 38-year-old Edinburgh bookkeeper, last seen on CCTV alighting from a bus on Princes Street on her way to work, who was the focus of intensive police enquiries that culminated in the arrest and conviction of her ex-lover in 2012, despite her body never being found. Made over two years, Body of Proof is an intriguing and at times gruelling five-hour listen, presented by TV documentary makers Sophie Ellis and Darrell Brown. Available on Audible

The Battersea Poltergeist

Sending chills down the spine, this paranormal cold case is currently being re-investigated using the drama/documentary approach to tell the true story of one of Britain’s strangest hauntings. Presented by Danny Robins, the podcast tells of the haunting of 63 Wycliffe Road, London, and a poltergeist case that spanned a 12-year period becoming a major national news story with headlines about strange noises, flying objects, exorcisms and ghostly communication. Addictive and disturbing by turn. Available on BBC Sounds

Where Is George Gibney?

Irish Olympic swimming coach George Gibney was charged with child sexual abuse but never stood trial. Instead, he vanished. Three decades on, reporter Mark Horgan travels across Ireland, the UK and the US on his trail, determined to track him down. Of particular interest to Edinburgh listeners will be episode four, as Gibney's trail brings Horgan to the Capital, where the disgraced coach was hired by Warrender Swim Club while on the run. Over 10 episodes, Horgan travels the world, eventually challenging the abuser face to face. Available on BBC Sounds

Manhunt: Finding Kevin Parle

A live investigation: Two murders, one fugitive and a hunter tracking down the target. Finding Kevin Parle is the story about one of Britain's most wanted criminals. ​Former Scotland Yard detective Peter Bleksley wants to find Parle, a man on the run for more than 14 years having murdered a 16-year-old boy in 2004 and 22-year-old mum of three in 2005. Join Bleksley in real time as he tracks the fugitive around the world in this gripping ongoing podcast. Available on BBC Sounds

Susan Morrison's Time Travels

Susan Morrison delves into Scotland’s rich and sometimes murky past. If you like a cracking story, this is the podcast for you. Comedian Morrison and historian Louise Yeoman zip through the centuries exploring the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people with the help of a team of ‘history detectives’. From medieval queens to Jacobite minstrels, accused witches and Far East POWS, every episode is a chance to travel in time. Available on BBC Sounds

The Missing Crytoqueen

Dr Ruja Ignatova persuaded millions to join her financial revolution. Then she disappeared. Why? Jamie Bartlett presents a story of greed, deceit and herd madness. Ignatova told people she had invented a cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, persuading them to invest billions. Then, two years ago, she vanished. Did she cross the wrong people? Is she in hiding? Bartlett sets out to track her down. Available BBC Sounds

Assume Nothing: Did The Right Man Hang?

April 1933. Belfast Gaol. Prisoner 1192, Harold Courtney, was executed for the brutal murder of Minnie Reid. Or was he? Digging deep, journalist Gordon Adair attempts to find out, he’s heard a strange tale of plots, threats, deceit and cover-up. It’s a trail that takes the investigation across the globe and of people who, 90 years on, still believe this is a case that shouldn’t be talked about, after all, if Courtney didn’t hang, who did? Available on BBC Sounds

Hunting Ghislaine with John Sweeney

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of a disgraced billionaire and the former partner of a super-rich paedophile who killed himself while awaiting trial. After hiding for almost a year, she now faces multiple charges for helping Epstein sexually exploit and abuse under-age girls. In this new podcast series from LBC, reporter John Sweeney investigates how a princess ends up accused of being the monster. Available on

Death In The Ice Valley

An unidentified body. Who was she? This cold case podcast from BBC World Service and NRK reopens a mystery unsolved for ​more than ​half a century.​ ​A woman's badly burnt body is found in a remote spot, Ice Valley, near Bergen​, ​Norway. ​The l​abels​ have been cut ​from ​her clothes and ​p​olice soon uncover coded messages, disguises, fake identities...​ was she a spy or just someone who stumbled across a dangerous secret. Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy​ investigate​.​ ​Available on BBC Sounds

The Boy In The Burning Car

A young man’s body is found inside a burnt out stolen car. Police say he wasn’t dead when the fire started, and think he wasn’t alone in the car. Who was he? How did this happen?​ ​Events previously accepted as factual, are re-interrogated​ in this podcast from BBC Radio Ulster. The ​investigation ​teams assume nothing as they dig out old records and create fresh leads to find out what really happened.​ Compulsive listening. ​Available on BBC Sounds

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