It's the time for end-of-year lists, so here - in no particular order - are my five favourite podcast episodes of 2019. Let me know what you think...
WTF with Marc Maron - Episode 989 - Allison Janney
I love WTF. Marc Maron is a brilliantly funny and empathetic interviewer who always makes me laugh and rarely fails to draw out interesting stuff from his interviewees. As a big West Wing fan, it was a real pleasure to listen to Allison Janney talk about her life. I hadn't really heard her talk much before and she was just as warm and witty as I'd hoped.
Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin - James Caan: Last of the Tough-Guy Movie Stars
I could listen to Alec Baldwin talk all day. His voice is a reassuringly silky presence in an uncertain world. In this episode he talks to movie legend James Caan, whose voice is now as gravelly as a rucksack full of rubble, and whose stories of growing up in Queens and later working with the cream of Hollywood make for a riveting listen.
RHLSTP with Richard Herring - Episode 195 - Joe Lycett
Richard Herring is hilarious. Joe Lycett is hilarious. Esme, a judge on the Great British Sewing Bee who is revelling in the afterglow of a day on the booze with Joe and pipes up from the front row, is hilarious too. The funniest podcast episode of the year by a mile.
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day - Series 4, Episode 2 - John Crace
Elizabeth Day is a deceptively brilliant interviewer. She lets her interviewees talk for ages before cutting in with a perfectly judged question that takes them even deeper than you - and probably they - thought they would. This episode, with the Guardian's political sketch writer, John Crace, is a perfect example. John's story is often a tough listen, but Elizabeth guides him - and us - through it with a beautifully sympathetic ear.
The Adam Buxton Podcast - Episodes 104 & 105 - Chris Morris
This was definitely the podcast I was most excited about in 2019. I spent much of the 1990's and early 2000's obsessed with Chris Morris's output, especially The Day Today and Brass Eye. The man is, frankly, a comedy genius and he rarely gives interviews so as soon as Adam Buxton announced he was putting out two whole episodes of his interview with him, I couldn't wait to listen to them. Fortunately, they did not disappoint.