History

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.

Back to all subjects