33 of the best podcasts of 2023

A few weeks ago, said James Marriott in The Times, I wrote a column about my devotion to The Rest Is History. Since then, I’ve been swamped by emails from fellow fans, many of them recommending an American podcast called Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. So now I’m recommending it, too. It’s not for the faint-hearted: most episodes run to five or six hours, and the tone is decidedly “macho”. But for lovers of “military history, drama and violence” it’s a rare treat.

Each of Carlin’s lengthy monologues, delivered in his inimitable “barroom growl”, is a “miniature epic of condensed research, brisk narrative and humour”. I’ve been listening to the episode called Supernova in the East, a survey of Japanese militarism in the 20th century. The total running time, spread across five episodes, is 27 hours. See, I told you it was hardcore.