Earworms: What the industry’s been listening to this week

Building new projects off a popular franchise

Not all ideas have to be completely original in order to be successful. In fact, some of the most popular fiction podcasts are adaptations of already existing franchises, whether they are continuations of nostalgic 90s shows or based on book series that people have grown up with - as seen in this week’s new launches. The opportunity lies in how these stories can be transformed into an audio format, using acting, sound design, and other elements to make them just as engaging and entertaining for audiences. 

This week, PodPod also spoke to a range of industry experts - both those who work behind the scenes and in front of the mic - to find out which podcasts inspire or entertain them in their day to day life. 

What’s in the industry’s ears?

Catherine Carr - Producer, Talking Politics podcast

I’ve been listening to iHeart’s Wilder, about Little House On The Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read the seven books in the Little House on the Prairie series until they fell apart, and this is a great series... Leftfield, feminist and brilliant!

Joel Emery - Co-founder, Holy Smokes Audio

I love American History Tellers - I genuinely just jumped into this podcast for some research after we were asked to work with Wondery... And now I'm addicted to the show. Well written, great breadth of subjects and cool sound design. I can't always tune into fiction or comedy when I'm trying to switch off from work. Chat podcasts I can't really get into, so scripted factuals have become my little area of escape - and this is one of the best.

Adam Zmith - Co-founder, Aunt Nell 

I recently binged The Banksy Story by BBC Radio 4, as a podcast. The reporting was top class, because it had great access to people around the mysterious Banksy, and adopted a style that fit the content — irreverent, playful and critical all at the same time. I also loved the way it skewered the art world, in the same way that Banksy does. It's a fun and provocative series.

Pauline Moore - Co-host, Talking Derry Girls 

I’ve just discovered Trendy from Tortoise - which specialises in slow news. It’s hosted by Sir John Curtice - Britain’s leading pollster and political scientist along with former political advisor Rachel Wolf. It’s all about trends, social attitudes and what shapes political opinion behind the headlines. The latest episode and first I’ve heard is all about University: who goes, who pays and how does it change us?

Mark Steadman - Founder, Bramble

Earlier in the year a friend got me into The Witch Farm, a paranormal limited-run series which was part dramatisation and part investigation. I binged through that, and the prequel, then got into Uncanny, which as of today has its first TV special. I love the production on the show – how Danny brings the listener along with him, and how interactive it feels. The theme tune’s great, and the occasional live shows sound really fun.

Freshly Dropped

Sherlock & Co.

Imagine a world in which Sherlock Holmes existed in modern times, and instead of being fictional detectives, both Holmes and his partner Dr John Watson were the co-hosts of a true crime podcast, sharing stories about their investigations to listeners in this audio format. Goalhanger’s new audio fiction podcast Sherlock & Co., written and directed by comedic duo Holy Smokes, explores that idea. The show debuted on Tuesday this week and plans to cover all 60 original short stories from the franchise. 


BBC’s hit investigative podcast Vishal is back for another episode with updates on the 40-plus year investigation, which has now been reopened by the Sussex Police after witnesses came forward with new information following the podcast’s launch. The episode debuted on Monday this week and is hosted by award-winning investigative reporter Colin Campbell, who also looks at if this new information would be enough to keep the case moving forward. 

Jen & Lottie Do… Parenting

Parenting podcast Jen & Lottie Do… Parenting, hosted by Irish comedians and presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Lottie Ryan, is back for season two, highlighting more stories about their biggest fears, failures, and wins as parents. The second series launched on Tuesday this week and is now part of the Acast Creator Network. 


British stand-up comedian and television presenter Russell Howard is the host of a new interview-format podcast titled Wonderbox, which launched on Wednesday this week during the East Coast USA leg of his latest sold-out live tour. The podcast features Howard speaking to special guests about the moments that make life worth living including fellow comedians Munya Chawawa, John Oliver, and more. 

Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

Cult 90s TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been adapted into a podcast by Audible, starring original cast members reprising their roles on the show. The podcast titled Slayers: A Buffyverse Story debuted on Thursday, exclusively on Audible, and takes place 20 years after the show’s finale with James Marsters’ character Spike at the centre of the plot.