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Pick of the podcasts: Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, America’s Girls, Steelheads

© ShutterstockFearne Cotton
Fearne Cotton


Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place – Apple, Google, Spotify

New Year, new you; or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.

The options for turning over a new leaf in 2022 are seemingly endless; in fact there are so many leaves to be turned it’s no wonder that our January resolutions often turn into, at best, a compost heap by the time the clocks go forward.

Whether it’s your career which needs a new direction, what you eat which needs tweaking or you simply have the urge to get yourself off the couch for a walk now and then it’s easy to forget the goal. And that is to be happy.

Fearne Cotton might have you covered. The former Top Of The Pops and Celebrity Juice presenter’s podcast is called Happy Place and is concerned with lifting your spirits.

Since launching in 2018 it has gone on to rack up scores of episodes featuring Jamie Oliver, Alicia Keys, Ricky Gervais, Hilary Clinton, Mary Berry and of course, Cotton’s best pal, Holly Willoughby. It’s also spawned a virtual festival, books and a dedicated following.

The format of the podcast is simple: Cotton chats with her guests about happiness and how they achieve it.

Although this sounds a bit woo-woo, discussions are frank and it’s heartening to hear high-achieving celebrities, politicians and sports people openly talk about how success isn’t a bed of roses (while the rest of us are tangled in the thorns).

Recent guest Jamie Oliver may seem like a bubbly cockney geezer but even if you find him less appealing than some of the dishes he can create, his disarming view of his own failures is enjoyable.

Even the normally rather shy Leona Lewis volunteered to visit Fearne’s pod studio.

Cotton is a boundlessly enthusiastic host, too. You can see why this pod isn’t just a Happy Place for her guests.

America’s Girls – Apple, Spotify, Google

American football is like a giant game of violent, armoured chess designed to cause neck injuries, but beyond the sportsmen on the field is a supporting cast.

First and foremost are the cheerleaders, whose history is explored in America’s Girls. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were cheerleading pioneers and here host Sarah Hepola explores their battle for fair wages, as well as their creepy fans.

Steelheads – BBC Sounds

When a young British tennis pro, Joleen Kenzie (Jessica Barden), is diagnosed with a rare terminal illness, she has herself cryogenically frozen at an experimental lab in Seattle, in the hope that one day – perhaps hundreds of years into the future – there will be a cure and she can be revived.

She awakes to find a world in chaos. New medical thriller from the writers of The Cipher, from BBC Radio 4.