Back in 2018, Serial was THE podcast that hooked many newbies into the podcasting world, it was a story about how a a popular high-school senior disappeared after school one day. The series went on to question why her ex-boyfriend was arrested for her murder.
Figures released in September 2018 revealed seasons one and two of Serial had been downloaded over 340 million times, back then - they established a podcast world record. [Lord knows what those figures are now!]
And since Serial changed the path for podcast possibilities, true crime has continued to be one of the medium's most listened to genres.
But put aside the fantastic work by NPR stations and production companies like Wondery and This American Life...what offerings are there when it comes to true crime on good old British soil?
Turns out there's absolutely tons.
The BBC is now commissioning series via BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 4. The Guardian has been a leader in the UK podcast scene for over a decade. And many newspaper reporters are now enjoying exploring the medium as a new outlet for sharing longer-form perspectives of their content.
So this week, I popped into MediaCityUK to see the lovely Sarah Brett and offer my picks for great British true crime podcasts as part of the weekly BBC Radio 5Live must-listen segment.
You can watch our conversation (including clips of the series we talk about) below, you can listen on the BBC Sounds app (skip 90 minutes in) here: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009ybd or below I've listed the series we highlight so just jump right in and go enjoy listening straight away!
The Missing Cryptoqueen
BBC Radio Productions
Pres Jamie Bartlett/Prod Georgia Catt
Description: Dr Ruja Ignatova persuaded millions to join her financial revolution. Then she disappeared. Why? Jamie Bartlett presents a story of greed, deceit and herd madness - into the world of the ‘OneCoin family’.
Pres Tim Weaver/Prod Kindred & Penguin Books
Description: Investigating the world of missing people – who disappears, why they disappear, the pressures of life on the run, and who tracks them down – and charts the progression of a missing persons search. We follow Tim as he meets with leading experts from the worlds of investigation, surveillance, data, forensics, psychology, and technology. Ends with Tim challenging himself with the ultimate question: is it really possible to disappear?
Unheard: The Fred and Rose West Tapes
Pres Howard Sounes/Prod Somethin’ Else
Description: In this gripping 12-part series, author Howard Sounes revisits his unheard interview tapes to reveal the true story of husband and wife serial killers, Fred and Rose West.
All Killa No Filla
Pres Rachel Fairburn/Kiri Pritchard-Mclean
Description: Two female comedians explore a shared passion - serial killers. Each episode the pair talk all things murder and macabre about a specific person and have a right laugh doing it.
*Brucie bonus - NYPD's Break In The Case
Part of a new wave of genre called ’copcasts’! The New York Police Department has created a podcast that delves into its most interesting cases. Called ‘Break in the case’ - hosted by an actual detective.