THEY WALK AMONG US: A UK TRUE CRIME PODCAST

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The term ‘binge’ is definitely the word for our generation.  Thanks to service providers like Netflix, you can quite literally stay up to the early hours and keep saying to yourself “Just one more episode.”  Before you know it, you’ve finished 100 seasons in 2 days.  Same can go for music.  You listen to one song, and before you know it, you’ve bought the entire discography and seen the band 17 times in one month.  Podcast is another word for our generation. Over the last 10 years or so, it’s gone from strength to strength, and are now the forefront of audible entertainment.  Reaching people all over the world, anyone from famous comedians to sports entertainers has a weekly podcast to make that journey to work less tiresome for commuters ears.  One podcast I have come across lately dives into UK True Crime.  An astonishing 40 minute documentary-like episodes that takes you into the world of the surreal and the most sadistic cases in British history.  From just 7 listens on their first episode, by word of mouth and sharing the podcast on social media accounts, the podcast now gains an astonishing nine million listens and counting.  With 2 seasons and 48 episodes to date,  I binged them in two weeks.

The structure with every episode starts with the criminal’s and sometimes victim’s upbringing, and how the two would eventually meet. It never ends well.  For one would be meeting their untimely and tragic end, while the other would meet countless courtrooms and a lifetime behind bars.  They end with a sort of epilogue named “So Where Are We Now?” in which it brings us to the present day and discusses where everyone is and how life has changed for anyone involved in the tragedies, or indeed if the ones in jail have been released or still living inside a cell. Within the episodes are audible clips from police custody interviews and speeches to the press after the jury’s decision is handed out only adds more layers and keeps you more engrossed.  With such incredibly detailed research, you feel like you know the entire history of the person of interest and what drove them to such hateful and abusive crimes, spanning from robbery to cold-blooded murder.

Told almost like a horror story you hear at a sleepover, these accounts are far from fiction.  You can hardly believe they’re true sometimes.  Like a horror film you can’t bear to watch, but at the same time you can’t bring yourself to look away.  Such as the way these cases are presented to us in the podcast, you just don’t have it in you to press pause.

You may have read some of these headlines in the papers, maybe seen a few clips on the news.  The amazing style of this podcast though, told in chronological order, the accounts are more gripping and you feel more sympathy with the families of the victims and more disgust for the people committing these hateful acts.

Highlight episodes share the harrowing story of Alan Turing.  The man who single-handedly stopped the second world war by two years thanks to his enigma machine, cracking secret German codes and saved millions of lives in the process.  Disgustingly convicted of being gay, the sad events leading up to his tragic death should not be overshadowed by what he has done to help Britain overcome the worst days the country has ever seen. Another stand out is about the life of the notorious and legendary tough guy Charles Bronson.  Dissected in an amazing two parter, we find out how he became the most violent inmate ever.  A truly dark and brutal tale of a prison escapee and keeping a family hostage is something that could easily be made into a horror masterpiece.  This one nearly gave me nightmares.  Incredible episode. Season 2, Episode 16.  I’ll say no more.

Honorable mentions as well include the most famous of UK cases, such as “The Silent Twins” Jennifer and June Gibbons, the unsettling case of the murder of young teenager Jodie Jones, the horrendous killing spree of Joanna Dennehy, and serial rapist and killer Stephen Port.

The title of this podcast is a startling reminder that the people who decide to ruin lives is not just something you read about and see on the news.  Though it’s unbearable to think about, these devils cloaked in human skin can be anywhere and anyone.  They could be behind you waiting in line at the supermarket.  They could be your next door neighbour.  The question should not be “So Where Are We Now?”, the question we all  need to ask ourselves as we look over our shoulders is: “Where Are THEY Now?”

Do you have any podcasts that you’re obsessed with?

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By George Millard

 

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