The Hottest 8 New Non-True Crime Podcasts Right Now - December 2023
I have been listening to some great non-true crimes podcasts over the last couple of months. So before 2023 ends, I decided to put them together into one last non-true crime blog for 2023.
If you are looking for more non-true crime podcasts then please check out my Best Non-True Crime Podcasts of 2023 - The Complete List blog!
1. Intrigue: Million Dollar Lover - Hosted By Sue Mitchell - BBC Radio 4 & BBC Sounds.
This non-true crime podcast has me properly hooked! Intrigue: Million Dollar Lover tells the enthralling tale of an “unlikely love story” between:
“… a wealthy widow, Carolyn, who is 80 and Dave, 57, a former drug addict who is homeless and has a long criminal history.” (Source here).
The host (who is excellent by the way) is trying to establish if the connection between Dave and Carolyn is genuine (as Dave and Carolyn insist it is) or some kind of con, with Dave simply after Carolyn’s money (as her daughters suspect):
“… everyone is asking whether Dave is really a tender carer or a dangerous interloper who will fleece her – breaking her heart and her family?.” (Source here).
What I love about this podcast is that we hear directly from Carolyn, Dave and their children (and others). This means that we hear all sides to this very complex story. As the episodes progress we learn more and more about both Dave and Carolyn and their lives before they met and how this is impacting their relationship now. In the broader sense, this podcast highlights how past experiences, losses, traumas and so on can really affect the decisions and choices we make in our later lives.
This is such an fascinating and thought provoking podcast. There are six episodes available now.
2. Real Survival Stories - Hosted By John Hopkins - Noiser.
As the title suggests, this podcast tells us true stories of survival. We learn how “ordinary people thrust into extraordinary survival situations” react, fight and survive! What is great about this podcast is the real survival stories are told by the person themselves - the ones who have lived to tell their tale! I feel like I might actually learn something from this podcast but I hope I will never need to use any of my newly acquired knowledge.
There are about sixteen stories now available. Some stories require multiple episodes to be told, while others slot into just one episode. My standout survival stories so far have been “Swallowed by a Hippo: Zambezi River Safari”, “Pacific Castaways: Adrift on the Ocean” and “Canoeing Trip Wildfire: Inferno in Paradise”. This podcast has rave reviews and I can see why - captivating!
3. Diss and Tell - Hosted By Sydney Battle & Matt Bellassai - Wondery.
I am loving this highly entertaining witty podcast, the hosts are excellent, such great banter between them! In each episode of Diss and Tell:
“Hosts Sydney Battle and Matt Bellassai take you deep into pop culture’s most iconic celebrity feuds.” (Source here).
Honestly, this podcast makes me laugh out loud. Such an easy enjoyable listen. This is the perfect podcast if you are in need of a “pick me up”, it is guaranteed to get you smiling!
There are 25 episodes available now.
Fans of the excellent Even the Rich podcast (which I have featured many times) should definitely check out this podcast!
4. Dear Alana - Hosted By Simon Kent Fung - Tenderfoot TV & iHeartPodcasts.
Dear Alana tells the story of Alana Chen who tragically took her own life at the age of 24. Alana left behind a series of journals which revealed many of the internal battles she was facing leading up to her death:
“… journals that reveal her aspiration to become a nun alongside fatal secrets about sexuality and faith.” (Source here).
At the age of 14, Alana “confesses” to her priest that she is attracted to women. Alana subsequently develops an obsessed with “sin”. Alana is made to feel (by her church) that her religious beliefs and her sexuality are not compatible and so she tries to suppress her sexual desires (and is encouraged to do so by her church). There is so much more to Alana and her story, I have barely scratched the surface here, but I think it is better that you listen to the podcast and hear Alana’s story in her own words (through her journals). Members of her devastated family are also interviewed in this podcast and their absolute love for Alana is palpable.
This is a very sad podcast covering a lot of difficult topics. The host does an excellent job, he is respectful and truthful in his telling of not only Alana’s story, but his own too.
All eight episodes are available now.
5. The Big Flop - Hosted By Misha Brown - Wondery.
This is another light-hearted feel good podcast. In each episode of The Big Flop the host (and some guest hosts):
“… dissect the most deliciously disastrous flops in recent history.” (Source here).
These “disastrous flops” are told in a very humorous manner with some excellent one liners from the hosts thrown in, guaranteed to have you laughing!
There are around thirteen episodes available now. Standout episodes for me so far have been “Cats The Movie”, “Crystal Pepsi” and “Kid Nation” - these I found particularly amusing.
6. Dear Jane - Noelle Mc Carthy - The Spinoff Podcast Network.
Dear Jane is a five-part series which explores:
“… the impact of a sexual relationship between a young teenage girl and her adult youth group leader.” (Source here).
In the first episode we are introduced to Jane, now in her 40s and a mother herself, living a “normal life”. But Jane is trying to come to terms with her teenage past. This is Jane’s story about:
“… her experience of what she believed as a teenager to be a loving relationship in an Auckland church community during the 1990s. It was a sexual relationship with a man who was not only ten years her senior, but also her youth group leader.” (Source here).
I binged this podcast series as I quickly became invested in Jane’s story. I wanted Jane to get the answers she so badly desired and her chance to confront the group leader. You will have to listen yourself to see how this story unfolds.
All five episodes are available now.
7. Secrets We Keep: Shame, Lies & Family (Season 1) - Hosted By Amelia Oberhardt - LiSTNR.
When host Amelia Oberhardt’s mother dies, she discovers an old photography that leads her down a rabbit hole of discovery. What Amelia uncovers are traumatic stories of historical forced adoption in Australia. This was widely practised in the 1970s, particularly in the early 1970s. A lot the practices that took place in Australia mirror what occurred in Ireland, enforced by the Irish Catholic Church and the Magdalene Laundries that has left a deep scar on Irish history. In fact, Amelia states that this series was almost titled “Irish Catholic Guilt” and states:
“There is a generation of women in Australia that have been affected by a practice so cruel, its hard to wrap your head around.” (Episode 4).
In Secrets We Keep: Shame, Lies & Family, Amelia sets out to:
“… understand the stories of the mothers that were affected by a practice of historical forced adoption, a broad term used to describe the various illegal and unethical ways, usually single mothers, were coerced into giving up babies for adoption.” (Episode 4).
According to Oberhardt:
“… official figures show about 150,000 adoptions in Australia between 1951 and 1975 - impossible to know for certain how many of those babies were taken from their mothers against their will.” (Episode 4).
There is no denying that this podcast is sad, the stories told by some of the women who went through this process are heart wrenching but at the same time, I could not stop listening. Their stories are captivating and their strength is immeasurable. All nine episodes are available now.
A quick side-note, if you want to learn more about Ireland’s past practice of forced adoption then check out the excellent The Home Babies podcast which I included in my Top Irish True Crime Podcasts Blog.
8. The Louis Theroux Podcast - Spotify Studios.
I am a big Louis Theroux fan so I was excited to see that he was back with a brand new podcast. In each episode Louis Theroux:
“… embarks on a series of in-depth and freewheeling conversations with a curated collection of fascinating figures from across the globe.” (Source here).
Of the available nine episodes, my favourite episodes were with Shania Twain, Tan France and Nick Cave. They are just easy, interesting and relaxing listening!
I really hope he has a season two in the works as there have been no new episodes since August.