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The Top Five Essential Podcasts for Killing Time This Summer

I may not have listened to all quarter of a million podcasts that are out there as of yet (there are 99 languages that I'm yet to master), but I'm confident that I'm more qualified than most... So let's get cracking, here are my five essential podcasts that I recommend you should download immediately.

Apple has over 250,000 unique podcasts in more than 100 languages on iTunes. Yes siree, Bob, that's a hell of a lot of audio!

But thankfully my lifestyle (gym, regular train travel, baths, non-existent love life) means that I have been handed the opportunity to experience a multitude of podcasts as a means to make these aforementioned activities more bearable/enjoyable.

Sure, I may not have listened to all quarter of a million podcasts that are out there as of yet (there are 99 languages that I'm yet to master), but I'm confident that I'm more qualified than most to be able to recommend some superb shows that are worthy of a listen on your handy little "fruit-related devices".

So let's get cracking, here are my five essential podcasts that I recommend you should download immediately...

1) Kermode and Mayo's Film Review

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Review show on BBC Radio 5 Live provides the UK with some film reviews (and friendly bickering) on a Friday afternoon.

The duo has been doing the Beeb's flagship movie show (which also goes by the affectionate nickname "Wittertainment") on the old wireless since 2001. Yes, the immaculately bequiffed film critic has now been joining the former Radio 1/Top Of The Pops man to give his verdict on the week's latest movies for over 15 years. Blimey.

The show's podcast, the fourth most popular BBC podcast of the last decade (with over 50m downloads), was launched back in 2005. And yes, due to the pair's impressive broadcasting stamina, you newcomers out there will have a seemingly endless supply of film-themed audio at your disposal! Result.

Hello to Jason Issacs.

2) The Bugle

John Oliver is of course now the host of HBO's brilliant Last Week Tonight. But in the days before the former member of the Cambridge Footlights triumphantly became "the new Jon Stewart," he was perhaps best known for his hilarious satirical podcast with Andy Zaltzman, The Bugle.

This cult audio comedy goldmine was initially distributed by TimesOnline in 2007 - but became independently released in 2012. They've sadly just announced that Oliver is leaving the podcast due to his telly commitments, but just like an audio version of Have I got News For You, a merry go round of guest hosts will be joining Zaltzman (whose voice actually sounds remarkably similar to Oliver) in the relaunched weekly show that begins in mid-September.

Ultimately, I think listening to The Bugle will make you feel a little bit refined. Why? Well, they discuss politics and topical issues and stuff. Classy. It's like listening to Radio 4, minus the tedious boredom.

3) Song Exploder

This fantastic mandatory podcast for indie music fans has boasted the likes of Iggy Pop, Bjork, Courtney Barnett, and MGMT in the spotlight of the 80 episodes thus far, who have all provided interesting insights and yarns behind the specific track that's under the microscope in that episode. Simple, yet brilliant.

Song Exploder, produced and presented by Los Angeles-based host Hrishikesh Hirway, has exploded (Sorry!) in popularity since being its launch at the beginning of 2014, and the release of a new episode is widely reported on by a who's who of influential music/tech media.

Be warned though, the critically-acclaimed podcast is a rather short (each episode lasts around the 10 to 20-minute mark) when compared to the other podcasts featured on this list, so avoid this on marathon car journeys or when taking long baths etc. Why? You'll need to successfully cue up the next episode without causing a motorway pile-up or an iPhone/bubble bath-related mishap. Both of which are equally catastrophic.

4) Nerdist

The weekly show, which began in 2010 and is hosted by Chris Hardwick, features celebs talking "about what it really means to be a nerd".

This popular podcast is downloaded by around 6.9 million people each month. Wow. And despite me not being a nerd (I'm actually ridiculously cool!), it's great to hear the likes of Simon Pegg, Tina Fey, J.J. Abrams, Will Ferrell, Richard Ayoade, or The Bugle's very own John Oliver discussing their lives and nerdy tendencies in detail.

Of course, the guest is the key on any interview-focused podcast - but the Nerdist interviews (there have been 813 episodes) are generally all wonderfully fun and engaging. I even somehow managed to listen to the Tom Cruise one in full without rolling my eyes once. A remarkable achievement not to be sneered at.

5) F This Movie!

Yep, here's another film podcast here. But in contrast to the superb Mayo/Kermode offering, which is (probably) produced in swanky diamond-encrusted BBC studios, the F This Movie! podcast has a refreshingly more lo-fi option, recorded in the cosy basement setting of a Chicago home.

Patrick Bromley is regularly joined by one or two chums in his gaff (or via Skype for non-Windy City-based personnel) to discuss a movie. For example, Patrick's best friend (Doug) and his former high school teacher film teacher ( J.B.) are two semi-regular sidekicks who chew the filmic fat with our likeable host.

Sure, you may not have the same passion for cult slasher flicks (Sorry guys, I'm a sensitive soul.) - but the podcast's late night sleepover-esque vibe means you'll be able to comfortably listen to Patrick and co. passionately discuss any film from any genre, ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbuster to cult/classic movies.

And that concludes my essential podcast round-up. Have I missed anything unmissable? Let me know of any additional auditory delights. Happy listening!

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