Eleven Great New Podcasts:

Wow - I was in Podcast heaven this month with lots of new releases. Here are my top eleven Podcasts for December 2021.

1. Bonaparte - Hosted By Jason Stavers - From Imperative Entertainment & Vespucci.

Bonaparte is a true crime ten part Podcast series investigating the unsolved murder of Laura Van Wyhe. This investigation is led by a close friend of the victim, attorney Anne Champion who wants justice for her friend and to find those responsible:

“It’s been 25 years since Anne Champion’s friend was killed, but the case was never solved. When Anne, now a prominent Manhattan attorney, gets an unexpected phone call from an old friend, it compels her to return to Iowa, her childhood home, to try and piece together the events around Laura Van Wyhe’s mysterious death.” (Source here).

This Podcast is really well produced and the facts are presented in a clear and logical manner. The host Jason Stavers works well with Anne Champion and their investigation skills are commendable. This Podcast reveals:

“… the remarkable journey of one woman’s resolve to help piece together events surrounding the mysterious and unsolved death of her childhood friend 25 years prior.” (Source here).

I find myself waiting for the latest episode every week, anxious to hear the next part of the story.

2. Sweet Bobby - Reported & Hosted By Alexi Mostrous for Tortoise Media.

I heard about this Podcast while listening to another great previously featured Podcast, My Therapist Ghosted Me with Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally and of course I had to check it out.

“Sweet Bobby is a live, multi-part investigation in search of one of the world’s most sophisticated catfishers. It’s a story about who we are online, and how social media can be weaponised as a tool of abuse and coercion.” (Source here).

This is one hell of a catfish story, told by the victim of the catfisher, Kirat. In the first episode we learn that Kirat is:

“… a successful marketer and local radio presenter.” (Source here).

Then one day, Kirat is contacted online by a man with whom she has a very loose connection to and so the “catfishing” commences:

“…she’s contacted by a man she vaguely knows called Bobby, and they start chatting. Slowly, they become close… and she’s reeled in to a scam of epic proportions.” (Source here).

I don’t want to say too much about this Podcast and give the story away - I suggest that you clear your diary before you start listening as you will not be able to stop yourself from binging all the available episodes!

3. Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera - Hosted By Trace Lysette for Wondery.

Wondery’s new six part series tells us the story of Miriam Rivera and the reality TV show by Sky TV “There’s Something About Miriam” in which she featured. This was a reality TV show with a big “twist”:

“It was supposed to be a reality show with a twist. In a sun-drenched villa in Ibiza, six hot guys compete for a cash prize and for the love of the beautiful and mysterious Miriam. It’s meant to be her big break: the moment she becomes the superstar she was born to be. But this is the era of “cruel reality TV” and the show producers have a different goal: they want to surprise the men with the fact that Miriam is trans.” (Source here).

I can’t recall this show which aired in 2004 and so the Podcast is even more intriguing as I do not know the story and/or what the outcome and aftermath of it was, but I am expecting it was not good. The first two episodes of this Podcasts are available now with the rest of the episodes to be released weekly.

4. Casefile Presents: Searching for Sarah MacDiarmid - Spotify Studios.

This is another true crime Podcast. The victim Sarah MacDiarmid disappeared 30 years ago and her family are still waiting for answers.

“It’s been 30 years since the night Sarah MacDiarmid vanished from the Kananook railway station (in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) on Wednesday 11 July 1990. Blood evidence at the scene suggested Sarah had been attacked and may not have survived. But her attacker took her and Sarah’s body has never been recovered.” (Source here).

Despite extensive searching, police investigations and the presence of blood evidence at the scene, Sarah has never been found. We hear from Sarah’s parents, brother and other family members in this Podcast as well from many that have been involved in the investigation of her disappearance since the beginning.

There are currently nine episodes available and I think the door has been left open for more to follow should new evidence or information come to light.

5. POWER: Hugh Hefner - Hosted By Amy Rose Spiegel for Somethin’ Else.

If you liked Power: The Maxwells then be sure to check out this new series of Power which looks at the life of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In this Podcast we learn of the the rise of Playboy, from the first Playboy magazine to the opening of multiple exclusive Playboy Clubs and all that followed.

We hear from a lot of insiders; those who knew and/or worked with or for Hugh Hefner.

“Who was Hugh Hefner? Centerfold models, Playboy Bunnies, and other women from the Playboy founder’s inner circle, like TV personality and author Holly Madison, tell journalist Amy Rose Spiegel their side of his story. We hear how Playboy changed their lives, for better and for worse. Beyond the bunny tails are darker questions: What actually went on at the notorious Playboy Mansion? How can we square Hefner’s progressive legacy with his abuse of vulnerable people? What can the Playboy saga tell us about sex and power—then and now?” (Source here).

I am really enjoying hearing the first hand accounts of those who modelled for Playboy magazine as well as the women who worked as Playboy bunnies, learning the “bunny dip” while attending “bunny school” while under the instruction of a “bunny mother” as well as other Playboy employees and ex-girlfriends of Hugh Hefner. New episodes are released weekly and there were five available at the time of writing this blog.

6. Fallen Angel: The Victoria’s Secret Story - Hosted By Vanessa Grigoriadis & Justine Harman - From C13Originals, Cadence13 Studio & Campside Media.

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the Victoria Secret fashion shows? Wondered how the models are chosen? How they maintain their enviable figures? Well this Podcast will answers all these questions, uncover all these secrets and reveal much much more!

“The series investigates the origin story of one of the world’s most iconic brands and its effect on American culture for nearly 40 years, all told by women who witnessed what really happened behind the curtain. Fallen Angel goes back to the beginning of the lingerie megabrand to confront the many ways the brand influenced how a generation of women think about sex, desire, and beauty. The series also explores Les Wexner, the private man who has been at the head of the company for over 35 years, and his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” (Source here).

This Podcast is so interesting and insightful and introduces the listener to the “darkside” of Victoria Secret which includes claims of sexual misconduct, bullying, abusive work environments and more - eye opening to say the least! Once again episodes are released weekly and there were eight episodes available at the time of writing.

7. The Thing About Helen & Olga - Hosted By Keith Morrison for Dateline NBC & NBC Audio.

Anyone who has followed this Blog for a while will know I am a big fan of the Dateline NBC Podcast as well as the mini series that they release from time to time. These includes The Thing About Pam, Mommy Doomsday and Motive For Murder. The Thing About Helen & Olga is their newest mini series and all six episodes were released on the same day which made it the perfect Podcast for me to binge on this month (on the day it was released of course).

Keith Morrison once again does a great hosting job, I love his voice! Keith tells us the story of Helen and Olga:

“Helen and Olga are kindly old ladies who open their hearts and wallets to down-and-out men in Los Angeles. In a city named for angels, the two women seem heaven sent. After one of the men is killed by a hit-and-run driver and then another suffers the same fate – investigators uncover a horrifying and twisted plot that stuns even the most seasoned detectives.” (Source here).

A true crime Podcast that begins when:

“An insurance investigator’s hunch leads law enforcement to assign a task force to tail two little old ladies.” (Source here).

The highlight of this Podcast for me was getting to hear Helen and Olga having a conversation in a police station when they had been arrested but were unaware that they being monitored and recorded - you get a real insight into their characters and their actions.

8. Operator - Hosted By Tina Horn for Wondery.

Wondery’s latest Podcast Operator is an eight part series about:

“… big ambitions, Shakespearean-level corporate backstabbing, men and women at the cutting edge of a technological revolution…and on the front lines of a sexual one.” (Source here).

A deep delve into the world of phone sex, its origins and the stigma that surrounds sex work:

“During the 1-900 number craze of the Nineties, one company provided the vast majority of phone sex. American Telnet was an empire founded by the man who called himself “The Telephone Pimp.” He ran the company “like General Motors” and got filthy rich doing it. But for the (mostly) women who answered the calls and delivered fantasies 24-7, it was a different story. The powerful stigma against sex work was always lurking just beneath the surface, until it threatened to tear apart the whole company.” (Source here).

Operator is the perfect Podcast if you are tight on time, each episode is only 25-35 minutes long. Be warned that this Podcast is for a mature audience only, especially episode four which is very explicit!

9. Believe Her - Hosted By Justine van der Leun for Lemonada Media and Spiegel & Grau.

Believe Her is a true crime Podcast hosted by journalist Justine van der Leun that investigates the 2017 murder of Chris Grover. However, what is unusual about this Podcast is that the accused killer Nikki Addimando was in a relationship with and living with Chris at the time of his death and always maintained that she killed him in self defence. So who is telling the truth?

“As this six-part series unfolds, listeners will put together different pieces of a disturbing puzzle. One thing is clear: perception ≠ reality.” (Source here).

A jury found Nikki guilty of his murder and she was sentenced to 19 years in prison her crime. Was Nikki wrongly convicted? In this Podcast we are given:

“… rare access to police audio, a month-long trial, conversations with Nikki, and original reporting, journalist Justine van der Leun lays out the killing, the evidence, and the aftermath.” (Source here).

As the story progresses you will come to your own conclusions but also get to hear the story unfold in full:

“Believe Her is a riveting chronicle that grapples with assumptions we make about domestic and sexual violence, the long reach of trauma, and the ways in which survival is criminalized, leaving us shocked at how far people will go to avoid seeing what’s right in front of them.” (Source here).

All six episodes are available now.

10. Even The Rich: Murder in the House of Gucci - Hosted By Brooke Siffrinn & Aricia Skidmore-Williams for Wondery.

Hosts Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams are back with another brilliant series, this time we are talking all things Gucci!

About this Podcast:

“When Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiano fell in love, they were able to give each other exactly what they needed. For Patrizia, who was born out of wedlock, that was social standing. For Maurizio, who grew up under his father’s thumb, that was confidence. Now that they’ve found each other, they’re ready to take over the world – or, at least, the Gucci empire.” (Source here).

This Podcast has been released at the same time that the new House of Gucci movie starring Lady Gaga is hitting cinemas worldwide so I am betting it is going to quickly be trending in the Podcast charts - I am loving it!

If you haven’t already listened to any of the earlier series from Even the Rich but would like to know more about them, click the links below!

11. Smoke Screen: The Sellout - Hosted By Mariah Castañeda for Neon Hum Media & L.A. TACO.

The Sellout is the latest Smoke Screen series from Neon Hum Media. This nine part investigative series is hosted by journalist Mariah Castañeda.

At the centre of this investigation is Jose Huizar and the location is Boyle Heights, Los Angeles:

“Jose Huizar grew up in Boyle Heights – a working-class Latinx neighborhood in L.A. Eventually, he became their councilperson. And, for the most part, people trusted Huizar… until the day the FBI raided his home and offices, looking for evidence of corruption. The Feds would go on to say that Huizar led a criminal enterprise based in city hall. He stands accused of taking bribes from luxury developers as his constituents were displaced from their homes.” (Source here).

Mariah Castañeda:

“…investigates how Huizar got the power to do what he did, and how the community that raised him paid the price.” (Source here).

There are currently six episodes available.

While I am enjoying this series, I have to say I prefer the previous two series, Smoke Screen: Fake Priest and Smoke Screen: I Am Rama. I think the topics covered in the previous series were just more interesting to me and I preferred their hosts too but The Sellout is definitely worth a listen too!

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