There are plenty of conspiracy theories knocking about with some rather disturbing and others damaging.

But there are also those that are just plain daft. And one such theory is explored in a podcast released earlier this year by Irish comedian Joanne McNally.

The theory goes that Canadian punk pop singer Avril Lavigne had either died or gone to ground following the released of her first album ‘Let Go’ in 2002 and before the release of her second album ‘Under My Skin’ in 2004.

There was speculation her image had drastically changed and even her voice was different with claims she had been replaced by a lookalike called Melissa Vandella.

In her podcast ‘Who Replaced Avril Lavigne?’, McNally takes a playful look at the theory and tells the listener she has been obsessed with the theory for some time.

In the first episode she even says: ‘I think this story could be true, I want it to be true.’

This is technically a mockuseries but it is pretty subtle and McNally does take a pretty serious look at what evidence people are basing this bizarre theory on.

In the first episode, she looks into Avril’s dramatic image change, her apparent change of voice and even her handwriting which has also apparently changed to something more ‘girly’.

McNally admits the extent of her ‘research’ has come from hours trawling through TikTok.

But she does hang out with some Avril Lavigne fans before a concert in London and gets their take on the theory which is largely dismissed out of hand unsurprisingly.

She drafts in some fellow podcasters to look over the evidence. There is not much hard evidence to be fair.

She and fellow Irish comedian Gearoid Farrelly examine the reasons why the conspiracy theory has grown legs. They speculate Avril does look different post 2003 with Farrelly suggesting her eye and face shape has changed.

There is even speculation she shrank by an inch. There is also a photo which shows the word Melissa written on her hand.

McNally went on to try and get a word with Avril Lavigne but was given an emphatic rebuff from her representatives – not that her attempts were particularly subtle or serious for that matter.

She ends the first episode heading off to Canada to unearth Avril’s ‘origin story’.

This is a quirky podcast which appears a serious investigation initially but you quickly realise this is a comedy podcast rather than a serious piece of investigative journalism.

It is fun and fascinating and I will be listening to the other episodes to see what other rabbit holes McNally goes down even though we know she is not going to prove the Canadian superstar was ever replaced.

No surprise to hear some hardcore fans of Avril Lavigne have hit back at McNally and missed the point of the podcast.

In response, McNally said: ‘It’s so funny when her die-hard fans come in at me. They’re like: “See? Look! It’s really her,” and I’m like: “I… you don’t need to convince me.”’

‘There’s no one in the world thinks Avril Lavigne is actually replaced by somebody else except for maybe three flat-earthers. It’s just a bit of craic. I can’t imagine she’s that worked up about it. Just a bit of craic.’

The six-part series is available on BBC Sounds with each episode roughly 30-40 minutes long.