A Passion for Podcasts: Bingeworthy Audio Drama
by Sali Earls
I love podcasts. I’ve been listening to a wide range for years, from documentaries and news programmes, to fashion and beauty, to comedy. But the one genre I come back to time and time again is drama.
Whether it’s a solo narrator telling us a story, or gifted voice actors playing out a tale, I believe that audio drama works so wonderfully as listeners play a vital role in the story. We use our imaginations in order to fill in the gaps and see what can only be described or alluded to with sound effects. But it takes a deft writer of fiction to craft something compelling enough for us to engage with and want to listen to episode after episode.
Here are three of my most recent favourite audio drama podcasts that I think are definitely worth a binge listen.
On the surface, The Harrowing, written and directed by Mark Healy, is a police procedural crime drama, but it is so much more than that. The story unfolds over eight taut episodes through interview and flashback and predominantly takes place on the remote Scottish island of Toll Mtr. As a huge storm hits, cutting off the island, a terrible crime takes place, bringing about supernatural events which threaten to change the course of history. It’s a gripping and exciting story, performed by a cast of outstanding actors, led by Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey).
The Antique Shop is the second podcast from independent podcaster Ghostly Thistle. Our narrator and protagonist, the mellifluously voiced “Maya”, is a Scottish student desperately in need of a part time job to make ends meet. She finds one at the Antique Shop, run by the enigmatic Madam. We soon discover, after some unusual interactions with customers, that nothing is quite as it seems and almost anything is possible. This is an ongoing drama, currently at 19 episodes.
My top recommendation for this issue is Borrasca, from audio drama powerhouse QCode. I binged the nine episodes in one day, as I had to know what happened next. The story is told via flashback, as our protagonist Sam recounts terrible and strange events from his childhood and youth following the family’s move to a Missouri town. Disappearances, strange noises from the mountain, and a disturbing forest based ritual make for an intriguing and heart wrenching story. Told by an excellent cast, led by Cole Sprouse (Riverdale), this is one story not to be missed.
Do you have any audio drama podcast recommendations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org