Entertainment This year through headphones: Five of 2020’s best new podcasts

This year through headphones: Five of 2020’s best new podcasts

A look back at some of the best podcasts of the year. Photo: Getty
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In many ways, 2020 has been the year of podcasting.

While Hollywood shuttered its doors and deprived us of new films and TV shows, access to conferencing technologies allowed podcasts to remain one of the few mediums that was largely unaffected by the pandemic.

Luckily, while we all hunkered down at home, we had nothing but time to explore and discover all the podcasts that came out during the year from hell.

Unsurprisingly, the true crime category dominated the airwaves and many of this year’s standouts delved into the eerie, dark and depraved details of the world’s most shocking crimes.

But there were also a number of self-help, relationship and conversation-style podcasts that had listeners tuning in to pass the time.

Here are some of this year’s most outstanding podcasts.

Many of us zoned out and tuned in during lockdown. Photo: Getty

The Night Driver – Hedley Thomas

The Night Driver is the podcast by The Australian’s Hedley Thomas, and follows the disappearance of a 31-year-old Bathurst woman.

Security footage shows Janine Vaughan, who was being stalked at the time she went missing, climb into the passenger side of a red four-door sedan in December 2001.

She was never seen or heard from again.

Thomas, the investigative journalist behind The Teacher’s Pet, explores the perspectives of Janine’s family, friends and the law enforcement who investigated her case.

Chasing Charlie – Julia Robson

Between podcasts like Who the Hell is Hamish? and Dirty John, it’s clear listeners have a morbid fascination with manipulative men and their swindled sweethearts.

And here’s another one.

Chasing Charlie follows determined, Melbourne-based private investigator Julia Robinson on her seven-year quest to track down an elusive conman whose victims describe being cheated out of their money and coerced into performing sadistic sexual acts.

The Nurse – Camille Bianchi

Australian journalist Camille Bianchi examines how a much-loved Tasmanian nurse harbouring a dark secret was able to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.

“Unfortunately pedophiles and predators – they exist, but how people stand by and enable them is a different matter,” Ms Bianchi told The New Daily earlier this year. 

“He raised some red flags, but a lot of people didn’t know he had this duality, and he collected victims for decades.”

Since the release of The Nurse, a class action investigation has been launched against the Tasmanian Health Service in response to the allegations of child sexual abuse against the now-deceased nurse.

If you want gritty and up-to-date true crime, this is the podcast for you.

The Michelle Obama Podcast – Michelle Obama

Coming off the success of her best-selling memoir, Becoming, the former first lady decided to gift fans with her podcast.

Beginning in July, The Michelle Obama Podcast gives listeners an in-depth 45 to 50-minute chat between Obama, her friends, families and other experts.

Her topics range from relationships, health, feminism and raising children.

If that wasn’t enough to entice you, her first guest is none other than her husband, former US President Barack Obama.

Phoebe Reads A Mystery – Phoebe Judge

Podcast enthusiasts will recognise Phoebe Judge’s soft, calming voice from one of the biggest pods in the game: Criminal. 

But during the pandemic, Judge lent her recognisable voice to a new endeavour.

Insomniacs and night owls can find solace in Phoebe Reads A Mystery, which features Judge reading a chapter of a well-known mystery novel every day.

This podcast is the perfect spooky bedtime story for restless sleepers.