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 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 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'.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.