History

Spartacus & The Gladiator War
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
193

Spartacus & The Gladiator War

Romans
Slavery
Revolution
War
Politics
Sep 14, 2021
-
25
minutes

In 73BC, a group of 70 gladiators escaped from a training school outside Naples.

It turned into the biggest slave rebellion in ancient history and has inspired people all over the world.

In this episode, we'll learn about what actually happened, why the rebellion was so successful, and the fascinating legacy it has left.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
188

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Scotland
18th Century
Great Britain
European history
UK politics
Aug 27, 2021
-
29
minutes

In 1745 Charles Stuart arrived on the west coast of Scotland with the aim of taking back the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.

It didn't go as planned and resulted in the last battle fought on British soil.

In this episode, we'll learn about his failed rebellion, and the legacy he has left on Great Britain.

Mary Queen of Scots
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
187

Mary Queen of Scots

Scotland
The Catholic Church
UK politics
Great Britain
France
Aug 24, 2021
-
25
minutes

She became queen of Scotland when she was only six days old, and the rest of her life was filled with tragedy, betrayal, and bad men.

Learn all about the history of this brave queen, and what her story tells us about life as a woman in the sixteenth century.

William Wallace
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
186

William Wallace

Scotland
UK politics
The Middle Ages
War
Politics
Aug 20, 2021
-
23
minutes

He was the Scottish rebel who fought against the English and has become the most famous freedom fighter in Scottish history.

In this episode, we'll learn all about his battles against the English, and the legacy that William Wallace left on the country.

Winston Churchill: A British Icon
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
179

Winston Churchill: A British Icon

20th Century
English speaking
Politics
UK politics
World War II
Jul 27, 2021
-
27
minutes

He was the iconic wartime leader of the United Kingdom, but his life was not without controversy.

Learn about his fascinating life, his work, and the legacy he has left on Britain.

The Space Race - Part One | The Early Years
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
176

The Space Race - Part One | The Early Years

Space
USA
Russia
The Cold War
World War II
Jul 16, 2021
-
24
minutes

After the end of the Second World War, the US and the USSR were locked in a race to get to space first.

Discover how the race started, who scored all the early points, and why going to the moon first was the biggest prize in space history.

The Curious Taste of British Food
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
172

The Curious Taste of British Food

Food & drink
Life in the UK
Great Britain
The British Empire
England
Jul 2, 2021
-
24
minutes

British food has a bad reputation. It's often considered boring, uninspiring, and tasteless.

But it hasn't always been this way.

Discover what role William the Conqueror, Henry VIII, The French Revolution and Colonialism all played in making British food taste the way it does.

The Curious History of Spice
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
168

The Curious History of Spice

Weird history
Food & drink
Asia
India
The Middle Ages
Jun 18, 2021
-
20
minutes

Spices are an integral part of almost every cuisine in the world and are something that most of us now take for granted.

Yet spices used to be an incredibly valuable commodity and were the preserve of only the very richest in some societies.

In this episode, we'll learn more about how they went from being the preserve of the very richest in society to something that we sprinkle on our dishes without worrying about the cost.

Pompeii
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
163

Pompeii

Romans
Natural world
Italy
Naples
Volcano
Jun 1, 2021
-
20
minutes

In AD79 Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering much of the nearby area in a thick layer of ash and killing thousands of people.

Today we tell the story of what happened, what archaeologists discovered in the ancient town, and what secrets about Roman life have been uncovered.

Politics & The Olympic Games
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
160

Politics & The Olympic Games

Sports
Greece
Politics
US politics
Apartheid
May 21, 2021
-
26
minutes

The Olympics are meant to be a politics-free zone.

But is this ever really possible?

In this episode, we'll learn about the history of The Olympics, and analyse five times politics was at the heart of the games.

The Grand Tour
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
156

The Grand Tour

Great Britain
The British Empire
Italy
European history
British class system
May 7, 2021
-
23
minutes

“A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.”

It was the trip of a lifetime, where young, aristocratic British men would travel across Europe and open their eyes to new worlds.

Discover why these men would do this, how they travelled, what they got up to, and what it tells us about our relationship with tourism today.

The French Revolution
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
152

The French Revolution

18th Century
France
Revolution
Napoleon
Kings & Queens
Apr 23, 2021
-
28
minutes

It is the most famous revolution in Europe and saw the continent's most populous country execute its monarch and restructure its society.

From guillotines to out of touch queens, the French Revolution is the story of how France became the country of "liberté, égalité, and fraternité".

The American Revolution
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
151

The American Revolution

USA
18th Century
Colonialism
The British Empire
Revolution
Apr 20, 2021
-
26
minutes

The United States of America is a global superpower, but 250 years ago its eastern states belonged to Great Britain.

Learn about how they broke free, why they rose up against their colonial masters, and how the story almost had a very different ending.

The Industrial Revolution
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
150

The Industrial Revolution

18th Century
Great Britain
The British Empire
Entrepreneurship
British class system
Apr 16, 2021
-
26
minutes

It was the period in the mid 18th century where Britain experienced a radical transformation.

The Industrial Revolution saw huge improvements in manufacturing, millions of people move to the cities and the fabric of British society change forever.

The Enlightenment
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
149

The Enlightenment

17th Century
18th Century
Philosophy
Mathematics
Economics
Apr 13, 2021
-
28
minutes

It was the intellectual movement in 17th and 18th century Europe, where thinkers started to question the status quo.

From science to philosophy, The Age of Enlightenment saw an explosion in critical thinking and laid the groundwork for some huge shifts in society.

The Death of God's Banker
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
147

The Death of God's Banker

Crime
1980s
Italy
The Mafia
Business
Apr 6, 2021
-
20
minutes

On June the 18th, 1982, a man was found hanging from under a bridge in London.

His name was Roberto Calvi, and he was the boss of one of Italy's largest private banks, with strong links to the Vatican.

Here is the story about who he was, what he was doing, who might have killed him, and why we might never know the truth.

Whaling
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
144

Whaling

Environment
Animals
Consumption
USA
Weird history
Mar 26, 2021
-
18
minutes

It has been called the "bloodiest business in history", and cost the lives of 3 million whales.

In today's episode, we take a look at the amazing history of whaling, from how it really worked to the reasons it went on for so long.

The Great Siege of Malta
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
143

The Great Siege of Malta

Malta
European history
Turkey
Christianity
The Middle Ages
Mar 23, 2021
-
24
minutes

In 1565 an army of 40,000 Ottoman soldiers attacked the tiny island of Malta.

On the island, a force of just 700 Knights and 8,000 Maltese soldiers stood against the invading army.

Here is the fantastic story of what actually happened.

Scotland
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
142

Scotland

Scotland
Great Britain
Life in the UK
UK politics
European history
Mar 19, 2021
-
17
minutes

It's one of the four countries that form part of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and has a fantastic history of invention, rivalry with its neighbour, and fierce pride.

In this episode, we take a look at the fantastic history of Scotland and ask ourselves how long it will remain part of the UK.

Disney Part I: The History
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
136

Disney Part I: The History

Film & Cinema
Art
Advertising
Business
Weird history
Feb 26, 2021
-
21
minutes

In the first part of our three-part series, we take a look at the fascinating history of Disney.

From why Mickey Mouse isn't a rabbit through to what Walt Disney was like as a person, the history of Disney is as interesting as it is magical.

Valentine's Day
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
132

Valentine's Day

Romans
The Middle Ages
Advertising
Christianity
Feb 12, 2021
-
19
minutes

It's the day of the year where we celebrate love and desire.

But where does it actually come from?

The origins of Valentine's Day are mysterious, and not even that closely related to love at all.

The Black Death
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
129

The Black Death

The Middle Ages
Health
Pandemic
European history
Christianity
Feb 2, 2021
-
22
minutes

It was the most deadly pandemic in human history, and was responsible for reducing the world's population by half a billion people.

Learn about the gruesome story of The Black Death, from how it started through to the devastating effects it had on Europe and the Middle East.

Genghis Khan
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
123

Genghis Khan

Central Asia
War
Mongolia
China
Asia
Jan 12, 2021
-
23
minutes

He was the ruler of the Mongols and the most powerful man in the world.

In this episode, you'll learn about his early life, how he united the Mongol tribes, and we'll ask ourselves whether he was really as brutal as he is often made out to be.

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
119

Giuseppe Garibaldi

Italy
South America
European history
Revolution
France
Dec 29, 2020
-
26
minutes

He was the charismatic, guerilla fighter who will forever be associated with pro-independence movements, and is an Italian national hero.

In this episode you'll learn about his fascinating life, and the unlikely story of how he managed to unify Italy.

9 Things That Happened on Christmas Day
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
118

9 Things That Happened on Christmas Day

Christmas
Weird history
European history
The Cold War
World War I
Dec 25, 2020
-
18
minutes

You might think that nothing of historical importance ever happens on Christmas Day, but you'd be wrong.

Here are 9 weird and wonderful events.

The one thing they have in common? They all happened on December 25th.

The Great Fire of London
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
115

The Great Fire of London

London
Life in the UK
England
Great Britain
Weird history
Dec 15, 2020
-
17
minutes

In 1666 a huge fire swept through London, destroying much of the city and making a third of the population homeless.

Learn about how it started, what happened, why it happened, and the effect it left on the country's capital.

Mao Zedong
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
113

Mao Zedong

China
Asia
Communism
Politics
The Cold War
Dec 8, 2020
-
22
minutes

He was the founding father of China, and ruled the country until his death until 1976.

Learn about his early life, his rise to power, his rule of China, and the complicated legacy he left behind.

The British Empire
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
109

The British Empire

The British Empire
India
USA
The Victorian Era
Great Britain
Nov 24, 2020
-
21
minutes

Discover how one small country's appetite for expansion led it to control a quarter of the world's population and a quarter of the world's land area.

Learn about the how, when, and why of the British empire, and learn about the complicated legacy it has left in Britain and abroad.

Penal Colonies
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
108

Penal Colonies

The British Empire
Australia
Crime
Great Britain
Prison
Nov 20, 2020
-
17
minutes

Starting in the 17th century, Britain sent hundreds of thousands of people to America and Australia for crimes as small as stealing a loaf of bread.

Learn about why this happened, how it worked, and the legacy it has left on the countries where these prisoners were sent to.

Coffee
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
105

Coffee

Coffee
Consumption
The Enlightenment
The Middle East
The Catholic Church
Nov 10, 2020
-
17
minutes

Learn about the fascinating history of this little bean, how it was first discovered, helped create the 'penny university' and rose to its current position as the world's most popular drug.

Oswald Mosley & British Fascism
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
101

Oswald Mosley & British Fascism

Great Britain
World War II
World War I
Politics
Hitler
Oct 27, 2020
-
22
minutes

He was called 'probably the best orator in England', and founded The British Union of Fascists.

Learn about the fascinating life of Oswald Mosley, how he brought fascism to Britain, and why it was soundly rejected by the British people.

The Vikings
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
96

The Vikings

Vikings
European history
The Middle Ages
Terrorism
Oct 9, 2020
-
23
minutes

For almost 300 years the Vikings terrorised large parts of Europe, arriving in boats and killing anyone that got in their way.

But they were also traders, inventors, and storytellers, and they have had a lasting legacy on the world we live in.

The Opium Wars
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
93

The Opium Wars

China
Great Britain
Drugs
The Victorian Era
Sep 29, 2020
-
18
minutes

In the 19th century Britain went to war with China over the drugs, causing the downfall of ancient China and a 'century of humiliation'.

Discover what happened, why Britain did this, and why this story is vitally important if you want to understand modern China.

The House of Medici
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
90

The House of Medici

Art
Italy
The Renaissance
The Catholic Church
Kings & Queens
Sep 18, 2020
-
18
minutes

The Medici family rose to power in Florence in the 1400s, and controlled the city for a large part of the Renaissance. Their legacy lives on through much of the art, culture, and architecture that we now take for granted.

In this episode we tell the story of how they rose to power and developed the idea of modern philanthropy.

Tito | The Man Who Stood Up To Stalin
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
84

Tito | The Man Who Stood Up To Stalin

World War I
World War II
Russia
Communism
Hitler
Aug 28, 2020
-
21
minutes

Tito, the former president of Yugoslavia, survived 21 assassination attempts, fought in two world wars, and managed to stand up to Josef Stalin and live to tell the tale.

In this episode we tell the tale of the fascinating life of Josip Broz, 'Tito'.

Robert Maxwell | From Baron to Villain
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
73

Robert Maxwell | From Baron to Villain

Business
British class system
Crime
UK politics
World War II
Jul 21, 2020
-
15
minutes

Discover the story of the man who escaped the Nazis, built up a publishing empire in Great Britain, then died mysteriously off the coast of the Canary Islands after stealing £500 million from his employees’ pension pots.

The Great Game
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
71

The Great Game

Central Asia
Russia
Great Britain
The Cold War
Politics
Jul 14, 2020
-
20
minutes

In the 19th century, young British and Russian men played a dangerous diplomatic game in central Asia.

Discover the unknown story of how these two empires fought for power in Afghanistan, and the men behind the story.

The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
63

The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi

True crime
The Catholic Church
Crime
Corruption
Jun 16, 2020
-
22
minutes

In 1983, a 16 year old girl who lived in the Vatican City didn't return home after a music lesson.

This true story involves the pope, gangsters, Turkish ultra-nationalists, and The Vatican Bank.

It's time to tell the story of Emanuela Orlandi.

The Great Exhibition
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
59

The Great Exhibition

London
The Queen
The Victorian Era
Jun 2, 2020
-
19
minutes

In 1851, in London's Hyde Park, an immense glass structure towered above the trees.

Inside was an exhibition of the latest technologies, available for all to see.

It was so impressive that 1/3 of the British population came to see it, and Queen Victoria even visited 41 times.

In this episode, we tell the story of The Great Exhibition, and the mark it left on Britain, and the world.

The Spanish Flu
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
48

The Spanish Flu

World War I
USA
Pandemic
Apr 28, 2020
-
22
minutes

The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 infected 1/3 of the world's population, and it's estimated that it killed up to 100 million people.

In today's episode we take a look at what really happened, how it spread so quickly, and what countries did to contain it.

Guy Fawkes // The Man Who Tried To Blow Up Parliament
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
45

Guy Fawkes // The Man Who Tried To Blow Up Parliament

London
Kings & Queens
Terrorism
UK politics
Life in the UK
Apr 17, 2020
-
17
minutes

In the early hours of November 5th, 1605, a man was found in a cellar under The Houses of Parliament. He was moments away from blowing everything up, killing the King, and changing the course of British history forever.

Today we tell the story of Guy Fawkes, and how we went from religious terrorist to anti-establishment icon.

The Man Who Cracked The Nazi Code
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
44

The Man Who Cracked The Nazi Code

World War II
Hitler
Geniuses
Eccentric people
Apr 14, 2020
-
18
minutes

The Enigma machine, used by the Nazis in World War II, had 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 possible combinations, and was thought by many to be impossible to crack.

In this episode we tell the story of the man who cracked the code, and his tragic end.

The Great Train Robbery
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
41

The Great Train Robbery

True crime
Crime
South America
Apr 3, 2020
-
16
minutes

In 1963 a criminal gang managed to stop a Royal Mail train, steal £2 million pounds in cash (£55 million in today's money), and escape.

It took them just 15 minutes.

Today we tell the story of this infamous robbery, and the hunt to find the men who did it.

London’s Gin Craze // Mother’s Ruin
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
37

London’s Gin Craze // Mother’s Ruin

Pandemic
The Victorian Era
Food & drink
Mar 20, 2020
-
15
minutes

300 years ago, London experienced a gin craze of epic scale, with the average Londoner drinking 10 times the amount of gin that the world's biggest gin drinking country does now.

Today, it's time to learn about how gin almost destroyed London.

The Suffragettes // How Women Won The Vote
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
36

The Suffragettes // How Women Won The Vote

World War I
Women's rights
The Royal Family
Mar 17, 2020
-
minutes

"We are here not because we are law-breakers, we are here in our efforts to become law-makers"

Hunger strikes, chaining yourself to railings, and being killed by the King's horse.

It's time to tell the story of The Suffragette movement in Britain, and how women got the right to vote.

Henry VIII - The King With Six Wives
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
32

Henry VIII - The King With Six Wives

Kings & Queens
UK politics
Mar 3, 2020
-
14
minutes

His 36-year rule saw England break ties with the Catholic church and two of his six wives lose their heads.

Today we're taking a look at Henry VIII of England, and his unfortunate wives.

Jack The Ripper
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
30

Jack The Ripper

True crime
Crime
The Victorian Era
Feb 25, 2020
-
17
minutes

In 1888 a serial killer terrorised the streets of London's East End, brutally murdering women.

Over 2,000 people were questioned, but the killer's true identity has never been revealed.

Today it's time to tell the story of Jack The Ripper.

North Korea - The Hermit Kingdom
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
27

North Korea - The Hermit Kingdom

North Korea
Russia
China
Weird history
Feb 18, 2020
-
20
minutes

The media might portray it as just a failed state run by a mad dictator, but today we'll find out that it might be just a little bit more complicated than things seem.

British Food Part 4: The (Earl of) Sandwich
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
19

British Food Part 4: The (Earl of) Sandwich

Food & drink
British class system
Life in the UK
Jan 21, 2020
-
18
minutes

It was called "Britain's biggest contribution to gastronomy" by the Wall Street Journal.

Today, in part 4 of our mini-series on British food, we're looking at the sandwich, the story behind it, why it is so important for people in Britain, and how it reached such an iconic status.

British Food Part 3: The English Breakfast
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
18

British Food Part 3: The English Breakfast

Food & drink
Life in the UK
British class system
Jan 17, 2020
-
17
minutes

The English Breakfast is a truly British institution, and its history goes back 700 years.

In today's episode we go into the story behind the meal, and reveal how it went from favourite of lords and ladies to the way the working classes started the day.

British Food Part 2: Fish & Chips
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
17

British Food Part 2: Fish & Chips

Food & drink
Jewish history
The Victorian Era
Life in the UK
Jan 14, 2020
-
13
minutes

It's a British classic, but how much do you really know about it?

Today we are diving into the fascinating history of fish and chips, and we'll discover that it might be not quite so British as you might think.

British Food Part 1: Oysters
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
16

British Food Part 1: Oysters

Food & drink
Life in the UK
Romans
Jan 10, 2020
-
18
minutes

Part 1 of our 4-part mini-series on British food. First up it's the oyster.

It's not something that people normally associate with British food, but this little creature was hugely important in British cuisine.

In this podcast we'll learn about how it went from the choice of emperors to food of the poor, hear about how one man (supposedly) ate 1,200 in a single sitting, about a time when the average Londoner used to eat 1 oyster a day, and when they used to be given away for free outside pubs.

Why is New Year, New Year
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
13

Why is New Year, New Year

Romans
Weird history
Dec 31, 2019
-
10
minutes

Have you ever wondered why January 1st is the start of the new year?

In today's episode we'll discuss the history of new year, talk about the longest year ever (it had 445 days), and you'll find out why new year is celebrated on January 1st, and not on any of the other 364 days of the year.

The Sea That Disappeared
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
12

The Sea That Disappeared

Central Asia
Russia
The Cold War
Uzbekistan
Dec 27, 2019
-
10
minutes

Today we're going to talk about a sea that disappeared, and find out what happens when a country tries to start a hub for cotton farming in the middle of a desert.

Spoiler alert: it doesn't go well.

The Most Amazing Prison Escapes in History
Bonus | Member-only episode
Episode
3

The Most Amazing Prison Escapes in History

Crime
Drugs
Prison
USA
Dec 2, 2019
-
12
minutes

From a Korean yoga expert to a wooden pistol, we take a look at the most ingenious ways in which people have escaped their captors.

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