Inside Kissinger’s secret trip to China – podcasts of the week

Picks of the week

The Documentary: When Kissinger went to China (from 12 Jun)

The Guardian’s China affairs correspondent Vincent Ni hosts this episode of the podcast/radio show from the BBC World Service. We open with Henry Kissinger’s 1971 trip to meet then-Chinese PM Zhou Enlai, a secret cold war-era mission to forge new connections after two decades with no contact. How did this clandestine trip change the course of history – and why did relations later deteriorate once again? The likes of historian Neil Ferguson explain, in a smart, generation-spanning show.

Hannah J Davies

My Dad Wrote a Porno

More ribald, reckless adventures in the company of hosts Jamie, James and Alice, and – of course – Jamie’s dad’s truly unsexy erotic fiction, as the hit show continues its sixth run. As it continues to unfold, expect more unfathomable tales from the world of sales girl Belinda, complete with terrible accents, burgeoning breasts, unprintable bodily fluids, and the strangest of details (a recent episode saw the trio try to figure out the logic behind a cocktail “served with a fish finger garnish”). HJD

Producer pick: Finding Natasha

Finding Natasha’s Debbie Gayle in 1973, at the age of 16, with teacher Anna Northcote. Photograph: Message Heard

Chosen by Danielle Stephens

I’ve always been jealous of my younger cousin Isabella, a talented ballerina, so I was intrigued to hear Message Heard’s new podcast series, Finding Natasha. It also helped that there was a mystery to solve – and not one of the true crime kind. Throw in some history and Soviet Union secrecy, and I really was all ears.

Recently I’ve become fed up with certain male presenters using other people’s stories as a way to inevitably make a podcast about themselves, but Jake Warren doesn’t do that here. Early on, I realised the star of the show is his mum, Debbie Gayle, a hugely warm and naturally funny woman, who has an unbelievable story to tell. The scoring can sometimes be overwhelming, but overall the production value is stellar. I won’t give any spoilers, but all I’ll say is I found it difficult to take the earphones out for this bingeable series.

Talking points

Feeling peckish? You might well be after listening to a new Guardian podcast, launching next week. Grace Dent hosts Comfort Eating, featuring celebrity guests, conversations both lighthearted and heartfelt – and lots of homely grub.

Why not try: Day X | Masala Podcast | Food Behind Bars

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