7 British True Crime Podcasts That Are Spooky AF & Totally Puzzling
Over the past few years, true crime has transformed from a guilty interest you only admit to your friends once you're sure you're BFFs, to a pop culture juggernaut worthy of water cooler discussion — and the revolution was led by true crime podcasts. Though the market may appear to be dominated by American offerings — is there a smartphone wielding human alive who hasn't listened to Serial, or My Favorite Murder, or In The Dark? — I'm here to inform you that there is, in fact, a healthy British true crime podcast scene just waiting to supply the macabre for your morning commute.
Wave a terrified farewell to the reassuring buffer of the Atlantic Ocean: most of the stories told by these podcasts happened right here in the UK, potentially just around the corner from you. West Midlanders: ever heard of the unsolved 1943 case in which the skeletal remains of a woman were found inside a hollow tree trunk, with just one shoe and a wedding ring? Try an episode of Unexplained to find out more. Peterborough residents: heard about the series of bodies dumped in ditches a mere five years ago, just outside your fair city? Listen to All Killa No Filla if you're interested in never looking at your roommates the same way again.
Ready for some fresh, organic, homegrown horror? Read on to discover seven of the best British true crime podcasts on iTunes, for more chills than an ill-advised summertime dip in the North Sea.
1. 'All Killa No Filla'
Comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean launched All Killa No Filla in October 2014, and have released an episode approximately once a month since. Discussing a new serial killer every episode, the pair manage to combine the unlikely bedfellows of comedy and murder with hilarity and tact, researching each episode intensely to ensure they accurately represent their topics.
2. 'They Walk Among Us'
What better way to cement a marriage than to hole yourselves up in your bedroom and discuss the most harrowing of British true crime? That’s the path chosen by Benjamin and Rosie of They Walk Among Us. As the Guardian reported, the duo record their podcast in their bedroom, unpacking murders and mysteries that hit unnervingly close to home.
Recent episodes have explored the secret language of identical twins Jennifer and June Gibbons, the disappearance of Helen Bailey, and the homophobic persecution of computer scientist and codebreaker Alan Turing.
The first two series of Untold, hosted by Peter Jukes and produced by Deeivya Meir, trace the 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, who was killed with three axe blows to the head in the car park of a Sydenham pub. The Times reported that Morgan's family believe he was on the cusp of exposing police corruption to the media, a claim which hasn't been proven in court.
Morgan's murder has been the subject of five police enquiries, none of which have involved a successful prosecution — little wonder, then, that Untold became a true crime phenomenon. After hundreds of thousands of downloads across both sides of the Atlantic, Jukes and Meir are now turning their attention to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in a new crowd-funded series.
Created by British crime writer Tim Weaver, Missing investigates how and why people choose to disappear, tackling the psychology behind the choice to leave their life behind, as well as the practicality of evading discovery in today's heavily surveilled world. Though it's no longer being updated — the initial series was released in 2015, while three bonus episodes were added in 2016 — the podcast remains a worthy listen, offering novel insights aided by experts in the field of finding missing people.
5. 'Real Crime Profile'
OK, it’s technically only 1/3 British, but I’m going with it anyway. Real Crime Profile is a podcast hosted by former FBI profiler Jim Clemente, Criminal Minds casting director Lisa Zambetti, and Laura Richards, a criminal behavioural analyst formerly of Scotland Yard (see? British). The trio use their expertise to reflect on real criminal cases.
What’s more, they’ve discussed TV crime shows like Mindhunter, The Keepers, and The People v. O.J. Simpson, and devoted a recent episode to stalking in connection with National Stalking Awareness Week.
6. 'A Stab in the Dark'
Crime writer Mark Billingham hosts this UKTV-produced podcast, which maybe isn't exactly true crime but hits similar notes. In each episode, Billingham interviews a prominent figure from the worlds of crime TV and literature about their interest in the brutal and bloody.
Recent guests include David Simon, creator of The Wire; Sherlock's Mark Gatiss; and American crime writer Karin Slaughter.
Created by Richard MacLean Smith, Unexplained unspools the paranormal, the terrifying, and, well, the unexplained. The podcast, deemed “distinctly uneasy listening” by the Guardian, is now into its third unsettling series, accruing millions of streams by the end of its first.
That should be enough to load up your libraries, true crime fans, whether you're into inscrutable disappearances, remorseless serial killers, or otherworldly terror. Are you frightened yet?