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History Extra podcast

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The latest news from the team behind BBC History Magazine - a popular History magazine. To find out more, visit www.historyextra.com

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The Tommies’ final acts

23:16 | Jul 30th

Jonathan Ruffle, creator of the BBC Radio 4 historical drama Tommies, explores the situation on the front line in August 1918 as the First World War approached its end

Hamilton: the man behind the musical

56:38 | Jan 4th

We explore the amazing life story of Alexander Hamilton, with Ron Chernow, whose biography of the American Founding Father inspired the hip-hop musical sensation.

The Great Fire of London

49:34 | Aug 25th, 2016

As we approach the 350th anniversary of the 1666 blaze, historical author Alexander Larman describes how the inferno devastated London. Meanwhile, we speak to Nicholas Kenyon, director of the Barbican Centre, about the rebuilding of the city that too...Show More

The Nazi on the run

31:45 | Oct 5th

The author and barrister Philippe Sands discusses the incredible story of Otto von Wächter, which forms the basis of his new BBC podcast and Radio 4 series, Intrigue: The Ratline

America’s changing dream

40:31 | May 31st

Professor Sarah Churchwell and fellow historian Adam IP Smith explore some of the ideas in her new book Behold, America, which traces the history of America First and the American Dream

Challenging British heroes

28:21 | May 29th

Ahead of her new Channel 4 series, the author and broadcaster Afua Hirsch argues that we need to seriously revise our understanding of the likes of Nelson and Churchill

Opposing the Nazis

47:13 | Mar 26th

Robert Scott Kellner talks about the extraordinary diary of his German grandfather, Friedrich, who recorded his observations of many of the Third Reich’s crimes. He also tells us about his role in getting the diary published more than 70 years later

Science and suffrage

39:26 | Feb 26th

Historian of science Patricia Fara discusses her new book A Lab of One’s Own, which explores the challenges facing women scientists in the First World War era

Alfred the Great and science at Christmas

55:07 | Dec 21st, 2017

Historian and author Max Adams discusses the famed Anglo-Saxon king and considers whether he deserves his stellar reputation. Meanwhile, we team up with our friends from the Science Focus podcast to explore the history of the Royal Institution Christ...Show More

The origins of civilisation

46:53 | Dec 18th, 2017

Yale political scientist James C Scott talks to us about his new book, Against the Grain, which explores some of the key questions around early agriculture and state-building.

Cornwell on Shakespeare

29:31 | Dec 14th, 2017

We are joined by the world-renowned historical novelist Bernard Cornwell who shares the story behind his latest book Fools and Mortals, which explores the world of Elizabethan theatre and the man at the centre of it

Germany’s World War Two

1:00:28 | Jul 18th, 2017

In a talk that he delivered at our recent World War Two event in Bristol, Professor Nicholas Stargardt reflects on how the Second World War was experienced by ordinary Germans, both on the front line and back home

Hans Sloane and the British Museum

53:08 | Jul 6th, 2017

Author and historian James Delbourgo discusses his new book Collecting the World, which explores the life of the 18th-century natural historian Hans Sloane whose collections went on to form the basis of the British Museum in London

Medieval manuscripts and the First World War

1:09:30 | Jun 8th, 2017

Christopher de Hamel discusses his recent book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, which has just won the Wolfson History Prize. Meanwhile, we speak to Jonathan Ruffle, creator of the BBC Radio 4 drama series Tommies, about some of the fascinating ...Show More

Wonders of the Middle Ages

35:19 | Dec 17th

Kathleen Doyle and Tuija Ainonen discuss a major Anglo-French project that has made hundreds of medieval manuscripts available for the public to view online

Letters that changed the world

28:36 | Dec 13th

Bestselling historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore describes some of history’s most fascinating and important letters, from Mark Antony’s thoughts on Cleopatra to a message Gandhi sent to Hitler

Black radicalism with Kehinde Andrews

48:44 | Dec 10th

Kehinde Andrews, professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, discusses his new book, Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century, and offers his opinions on a range of issues including Black History Month, reparations...Show More

Napoleon: the insecure emperor

31:29 | Dec 6th

Historian Adam Zamoyski, author of a new biography of Napoleon, offers his views on the iconic French leader, exploring how his stellar career was driven by insecurities

History in colour

29:26 | Dec 3rd

Popular historian Dan Jones and digital artist Marina Amaral discuss their groundbreaking book The Colour of Time, which uses colourised photographs to chart the history of the world from the mid-19th to mid 20th century.

Walter Ralegh: enemy of the state

39:23 | Nov 29th

Anna Beer, biographer of Walter Ralegh, explores the extraordinary life and incendiary legacy of the Tudor polymath. She reveals how he became a favourite of Elizabeth I, only to fall foul of her successor, James VI & I, with deadly consequences

The Germans who fought Hitler

43:50 | Nov 26th

Paddy Ashdown tells the stories of German opponents of Nazism who plotted to bring down Hitler’s regime.

Hunting Britain’s Nazis

24:31 | Nov 22nd

Journalist and author Robert Hutton talks about his new book Agent Jack, which describes the activities of Nazi sympathisers in Britain during World War Two and reveals the brilliant methods MI5 used to subvert them.

Tales from D-Day

33:17 | Nov 19th

Author and historian Giles Milton describes some dramatic but lesser-known stories of soldiers and civilians who were involved in the Normandy landings of June 1944

Bernard Cornwell on the Last Kingdom

34:02 | Nov 15th

As the third series of the Anglo-Saxon drama is about to air, we speak to the renowned historical novelist Bernard Cornwell about his books that inspired the programmes, and about his writing career more broadly.

Nietzsche’s dangerous ideas

45:28 | Nov 12th

The award-winning biographer Sue Prideaux discusses the life and work of the influential 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and explains how his ideas came to be associated with Nazi Germany

Dan Snow on shell shock

25:06 | Nov 8th

The popular historian discusses war trauma over the past century, the subject of his upcoming BBC Two documentary

The end of the First World War

43:19 | Nov 5th

As we approach the centenary of the Armistice, Gary Sheffield explores the final moments of the conflict that devastated the world for four and a half years

Mike Leigh on Peterloo

15:55 | Nov 1st

The acclaimed writer and director talks about the creation of his major new historical epic

The Peterloo Massacre

35:24 | Oct 29th

Historian and author Jacqueline Riding discusses the tragic events of August 1819

Anglo-Saxon treasures

35:00 | Oct 25th

Claire Breay, lead curator of a major new Anglo-Saxons exhibition at the British Library, explores the cultural highlights of 600 years of English history

Thomas Cromwell reconsidered

49:57 | Oct 22nd

Diarmaid MacCulloch discusses his new book on the Tudor statesman

A new life of Churchill

34:07 | Oct 18th

The historian and author Andrew Roberts discusses his new biography of Winston Churchill, revealing some of the insights arising from his research and tackling some of the biggest debates around Britain’s wartime prime minister.

Peter Jackson on the First World War

45:02 | Oct 15th

We speak to the Lord of the Rings director about They Shall Not Grow Old, his ambitious new film that recreates the First World War in colour

Adventures in Iceland

33:08 | Oct 11th

With the aid of his recently discovered diaries, Katherine Findlay tells the unusual story of Pike Ward – a Devon fish merchant who became an Icelandic knight in the early 20th century.

Brexit and American independence

28:08 | Oct 8th

Historian Tom Cutterham compares the ongoing negotiations to take Britain out of the EU with those of the 1780s when the United States departed from the British empire.

Bonus Episode: Identifying Jack the Ripper

26:17 | Oct 7th

In this special edition, produced by our friends from the Science Focus podcast, criminologist David Wilson applies the latest scientific techniques in the case of the notorious Whitechapel murderer of 1888.

The spy who changed the cold war

40:56 | Oct 1st

Bestselling historical author Ben Macintyre talks to us about his new book, The Spy and the Traitor, which tells the remarkable story of a KGB double agent who risked his life to help the west during the Cold War

Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley

44:19 | Sep 27th

We head to Kensington Palace, once home to the young Victoria, to discuss the queen’s life with the author, historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley

Neil Oliver’s history of the British Isles

51:31 | Sep 24th

The archaeologist and broadcaster Neil Oliver talks about some of the highlights of his new book, which charts the history of the British Isles through 100 key locations

The good war?

30:52 | Sep 20th

Journalist and author Peter Hitchens discusses his new book, The Phoney Victory, which challenges a number of popular beliefs about the Second World War

The extraordinary history of ordinary things

31:57 | Sep 17th

Historians Sam Willis and James Daybell explore some of the fascinating stories that appear in their Histories of the Unexpected book and podcast, from signatures to lions

A half-hour history of Europe

36:07 | Sep 13th

Author and journalist Simon Jenkins is joined by Professor Kathleen Burk to discuss his forthcoming Short History of Europe, which explores some of the key themes and milestones in the continent’s past

Dissent through the centuries

32:04 | Sep 10th

The Private Eye editor and broadcaster Ian Hislop is joined by curator Tom Hockhenhull to discuss some of the themes and objects that appear in their new British Museum exhibition, I Object

Who should we commemorate?

28:52 | Sep 6th

Professor Lawrence Goldman explores the issues surrounding monuments to controversial historical figures in light of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and other recent debates

Scots and Catalans

44:01 | Sep 3rd

Historian Sir John Elliott explores the long histories of Scottish and Catalan nationalism and considers some of the key similarities and differences between the two.

100 women who changed the world

42:08 | Aug 30th

Historians Joanne Paul, Olivette Otele and June Purvis dissect the results of our recent poll into history’s most important women, which saw Marie Curie come top, followed by Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst

Charles de Gaulle reconsidered

1:01:05 | Aug 28th

Historian Julian Jackson, author of a major new biography of Charles de Gaulle, offers a fresh take on the iconic French leader, exploring his role in World War Two and decolonisation, among other things.

Female spies of the Civil War era

26:37 | Aug 23rd

Historian Nadine Akkerman introduces a number of remarkable women who acted as secret agents in the 17th century

Captain Cook’s Endeavour

26:06 | Aug 20th

Journalist and author Peter Moore talks about HMS Endeavour, the ship that carried Cook on his landmark voyage to the Pacific 250 years ago

Dan Jones on the secrets of popular history

1:03:06 | Aug 17th

Historian, author and broadcaster Dan Jones talks to us about his career, his latest projects and how he combines swimming with his love of the past

Mary Beard’s life in Classics

45:17 | Aug 16th

We pay a visit to the renowned Cambridge classicist to discuss her career, her passion for the ancient world and her desire to share her expertise with the masses

Historical fact and fiction

29:16 | Aug 15th

Historian and author Tracy Borman describes the process of writing her first historical novel, set in the era of King James VI & I and the European witch craze

Ian Kershaw on postwar Europe

1:02:29 | Aug 14th

For the 500th episode of the History Extra podcast we are joined by Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, who appeared in our very first programme. This time the topic for discussion is his new history of modern Europe

Inside the mind of Elizabeth I

36:59 | Aug 13th

In the first of five special programmes to mark our upcoming 500th episode, historian, author and broadcaster Helen Castor explores the psychology of the Virgin Queen and discusses the challenges of writing a new biography of one of England’s best-kn...Show More

Britons under Nazi rule

49:38 | Aug 9th

Historical author Duncan Barrett tells the stories of Channel Islanders who spent several years living under German occupation during World War Two

Islam’s struggle with modernity

44:46 | Aug 6th

Ed Husain, author of The House of Islam, meets with the historian Tom Holland to explore the roots of some of the challenges Muslims face in the 21st century

Britain’s foreign policy secrets

33:14 | Aug 2nd

Historian Rory Cormac discusses his new book Disrupt and Deny, which investigates Britain’s use of spies and special forces for covert operations in the postwar period.

Catholics in Elizabethan England

31:20 | Jul 26th

Historian Jessie Childs tells the story of Thomas Tresham, a Tudor gentleman who built a remarkable monument to his Catholic faith and risked the anger of the Virgin Queen

Rethinking 20th-century Britain

30:48 | Jul 23rd

Professor David Edgerton explains why we need to revise our understanding of recent British history, from the world wars to the welfare state

Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary life

57:23 | Jul 19th

On the centenary of Mandela’s birth, we speak to the politician and author Peter Hain about the South African leader’s remarkable achievements in the face of tremendous adversity

The murder of the Romanovs

32:50 | Jul 16th

Historical author Helen Rappaport explains why the last Russian tsar and his family met a violent end in 1918 and considers whether Britain could have saved the Romanovs from their fate

Britain’s refugee camps

29:22 | Jul 12th

Historian Jordanna Bailkin discusses her new book, Unsettled, which explores the experiences of people of several different nationalities who fled to Britain in the 20th century

Spies through the ages

33:33 | Jul 9th

Professor Christopher Andrew discusses his new book The Secret World, which explores the history of intelligence and espionage from ancient times until the present day

Making the modern world

33:26 | Jul 5th

We are joined by bestselling historical author Simon Winchester, who reveals how some of history’s greatest engineers helped create the industrial age

Ireland’s past and present

34:48 | Jul 2nd

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer discusses a new multi-volume history of Ireland and explains how the past continues to affect Anglo-Irish relations today

Sherwood Forest through the ages

31:26 | Jun 28th

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, presenter of a BBC Radio 3 series on forests, takes a trip to the home of Robin Hood to explore how forests have shaped our history and mythology

The national debt dilemma

40:08 | Jun 25th

Economist Martin Slater charts 350 years of British government borrowing – from the Glorious Revolution to the 2008 financial crisis – and considers what lessons this history might have for policy makers today

Restoring women’s voices

29:47 | Jun 21st

Sarah Jackson, joint founder of East End Women’s Museum, explores how historical women are currently commemorated and how this might be done better in future

The history of manners

37:15 | Jun 18th

Distinguished historian Sir Keith Thomas reflects on how concepts of civility and civilisation shaped society in the early modern period

World War One at home

25:22 | Jun 14th

Professor Maggie Andrews, historical consultant on the BBC Radio 4 drama series Home Front, joins us to reveal how the First World War was affecting British civilian life as the conflict entered its closing stages

Grenfell Tower: from hope to tragedy

27:02 | Jun 11th

Ahead of the BBC Two documentary Before Grenfell: A Hidden History, architect Peter Deakins discusses his involvement in the creation of the tower block and considers its place in the history of social housing in Britain

Britain’s Catholic emancipation

32:38 | Jun 7th

Acclaimed historian and author Antonia Fraser joins us to discuss her new book The King and the Catholics: The Fight for Rights 1829

The mystery of Donald Maclean

40:45 | Jun 4th

Author and editor Roland Philipps discusses A Spy Named Orphan, his new biography of the enigmatic Cambridge spy Donald Maclean

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s favourite queen

26:19 | May 24th

Bestselling author and historian Alison Weir discusses the life and tragic death of the Tudor king’s third wife, who bore him his long-awaited male heir. Alison also reveals the challenges of recreating Jane for her new historical novel

The remarkable history of the Netherlands

22:51 | May 21st

In advance of his new BBC Radio 4 series, the journalist and broadcaster Misha Glenny reflects on some of the key moments in the Netherlands’ story: from the Dutch Golden Age to World War Two

Beevor on Arnhem

59:14 | May 17th

Bestselling military historian Antony Beevor discusses his new book, which outlines why 1944’s Operation Market Garden was one of the biggest disasters of the Allied war effort

The Women Behind Lord Byron

31:13 | May 14th

Miranda Seymour discusses the extraordinary lives of Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace, the wife and daughter of Lord Byron

The Entebbe raid

44:50 | May 10th

As the film Entebbe is about to arrive in UK cinemas, historian and author Saul David reveals the extraordinary story of the Israeli operation to rescue dozens of hostages from an airport in Uganda in 1976

The failings of the French Revolution

27:14 | May 7th

Stephen Clarke, author of a new history of the French Revolution, argues that we need to look afresh at the events of 1789 and beyond

500 years of medicine

21:05 | May 3rd

We speak to Simon Bowman of the Royal College of Physicians, which is celebrating its 500th anniversary, about how the work of doctors has changed since the time of Henry VIII

Were the suffragettes terrorists?

28:37 | Apr 30th

Historian Fern Riddell talks about her new biography of suffrage campaigner Kitty Marion, which explores some of the darker aspects of the campaign for votes for women

1983: the Cold War almost goes nuclear

41:50 | Apr 26th

Historian and author Taylor Downing describes the events of the Able Archer scare, which nearly witnessed global Armageddon when the Soviets misread the intentions behind a NATO war exercise

Economists who changed the world

28:28 | Apr 23rd

Author and economist Linda Yueh discusses the work and legacy of some of history’s greatest economic thinkers, revealing some of the lessons they might offer for us today

Medieval bodies

34:23 | Apr 19th

Art historian Jack Hartnell talks about his new book Medieval Bodies, which offers some fascinating perspectives on the ways people in the middle ages viewed their physical selves

Africa’s contested past

40:30 | Apr 16th

Historians Tom Young and Emma Dabiri explore how Africa’s past has affected its present in a discussion prompted by the themes of Tom’s new book, Neither Devil Nor Child: How Western Attitudes Are Harming Africa

Shakespeare’s greatest actor

23:23 | Apr 12th

Ahead of his BBC Radio 3 documentary Exit Burbage, the journalist and author Andrew Dickson explores the remarkable career of Richard Burbage, a Jacobean actor who played many of Shakespeare’s best-known roles for the first time.

The Vietnam War on film

28:19 | Apr 9th

Acclaimed filmmaker Lynn Novick describes the making of an epic documentary series on the conflict in Vietnam, which she has co-directed with Ken Burns. She also reveals the secrets to making high quality history television programmes

Medieval mystics

27:10 | Apr 5th

Medieval historian Hetta Howes reveals the extreme lengths to which women in the Middle Ages went to get closer to God and discusses how mystics were perceived by their contemporaries

A quick history of France

31:07 | Apr 3rd

Historian and author John Julius Norwich reflects on some of the key moments in France’s history and relates a few of the more unusual and scandalous stories he uncovered while researching his latest book.

Creating the SAS

47:53 | Mar 29th

We are joined by John Lewes, nephew and biographer of Jock Lewes, to talk about how his uncle helped found one of the world’s most famous special forces during World War Two

The history of today

33:41 | Mar 22nd

Historical novelist and broadcaster Sarah Dunant expands on her new BBC Radio 4 series When Greeks Flew Kites, which uses the past to illuminate modern concerns around medicine, old age, debt and sexual harassment

The postwar world

33:50 | Mar 19th

Historian and author Keith Lowe joins us to talk about his book The Fear and the Freedom, which explores the legacy of the Second World War on the decades that followed

The Marshall Plan and the Cold War

39:51 | Mar 15th

Economist and author Benn Steil explains the background to the 1947 US aid initiative to Europe and describes how it helped shape relations between the USA and USSR. He also considers what impact it had on European recovery after the Second World War

Ruth Ellis: the last woman to be hanged in Britain

42:25 | Mar 12th

Ahead of her new BBC Four series The Ruth Ellis Files, Gillian Pachter explores the controversial case of a British woman who was hanged for murder in 1955

Vikings on screen

39:19 | Mar 8th

We speak to the acclaimed screenwriter and producer Michael Hirst about his work on the smash hit series Vikings and the secrets of creating blockbuster history dramas

Music and revolution

38:27 | Mar 5th

Music expert Graham Griffiths discusses the 20th-century pianist and composer Leokadiya Kashperova, whose career was blighted by the events of the Russian revolution and whose work is now being celebrated with a special BBC Radio 3 concert

Schama on Civilisations

29:41 | Mar 1st

As the major new BBC arts history series Civilisations is due to air, we speak to Simon Schama, one of its three presenters, to discuss the making of the series and how he was inspired by Kenneth Clark’s original

The Terracotta Warriors

50:07 | Feb 22nd

With a new exhibition open in Liverpool featuring a group of Terracotta Warriors, Edward Burman explores the fascinating history of these ancient Chinese sculptures

BBC Arabic at 80

27:57 | Feb 19th

In the year that BBC Arabic celebrates its 80th anniversary, we speak to the network’s Communication Advisor, Wissam El Sayegh, about the BBC’s history of broadcasting to the Arab world

The World Cup story

36:37 | Feb 15th

With this year’s tournament in Russia only a few months away, we speak to veteran football writer Brian Glanville about the 88-year history of this global sporting extravaganza

The Spanish Flu pandemic

40:39 | Feb 12th

Catharine Arnold joins us to discuss her new book Pandemic: 1918, which explores the story of the influenza outbreak that caused devastation across the globe a century ago

The Pankhursts

43:02 | Feb 8th

In the second of our two episodes marking the centenary of (some) women being granted the vote in Britain, historian June Purvis considers the role of the Pankhurst family in the long battle for female suffrage

The Suffragettes

40:05 | Feb 5th

As we approach the centenary of (some) British women being granted the vote, historian and author Diane Atkinson explores the stories of the suffrage campaigners who believed in ‘deeds not words’

Elizabeth’s love rival

48:17 | Feb 1st

Historian and author Nicola Tallis explores the life of Lettice Knollys, who was a leading figure at the Tudor court until she enraged the Virgin Queen by marrying her favourite, Robert Dudley

Britain’s secret wartime prison

36:29 | Jan 29th

Historian Helen Fry shares her discoveries about the Cage, a clandestine British interrogation centre, where extreme methods were used to extract information from enemy prisoners during the Second World War

Living with the oceans

54:47 | Jan 25th

Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe meets with historian David Abulafia to discuss humanity’s relationship with the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since ancient times

The story of the Bayeux Tapestry

29:27 | Jan 22nd

Following the announcement that the Noman embroidery may soon be heading to Britain, historian Kathryn Hurlock tackles some of the big questions relating to the iconic medieval artefact

East End Crime

33:46 | Jan 18th

John Bennett delves into the dark history of disorder and lawlessness in London’s East End From Jack the Ripper to the Kray twins, historian and tour guide John Bennett explores four centuries of crime and disorder in the London neighbourhood.

Prisoners of war

44:10 | Jan 15th

Historian Clare Makepeace joins us to discuss her new book Captives of War, which draws on first-hand testimonies to examine the experiences of British soldiers who were confined in POW camps in World War Two

Mary Shelley and her monster

39:58 | Jan 11th

Fiona Sampson, author of a new biography of Mary Shelley, discusses the remarkable life of the Frankenstein author and considers what her story can tell us about Georgian society

The tragedy of Lady Jane Grey

53:36 | Jan 8th

Historian, author and broadcaster Helen Castor describes the short, but dramatic, life and reign of England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’, who is the subject of her new BBC Four series.

Churchill’s darkest hour

48:21 | Jan 2nd

Antony McCarten, writer of the new historical blockbuster Darkest Hour, considers whether the British leader came close to seeking peace with Hitler in 1940

1917: The world at war

44:55 | Dec 28th, 2017

Renowned First World War historian Professor David Stevenson explores the Russian Revolution, the Balfour Declaration, Passchendaele, and American entry into the First World War, as part of his survey of one of the 20th century’s most pivotal years

Christmas history quiz

33:34 | Dec 25th, 2017

The History Extra team present our annual festive quiz, testing your history knowledge with a Christmas twist. The questions have been set, as always, by QI writer Justin Pollard

Eating with Dickens

39:06 | Dec 11th, 2017

Food historian and author Pen Vogler explores the Victorian diet and recipes through the life and works of 19th-century Britain’s best-known writer

Animals that changed us

40:05 | Dec 7th, 2017

The academic, author and broadcaster Alice Roberts talks to us about her new book Tamed, which explores some of the most important relationships people have forged with different species over our history

Britain on the edge

54:21 | Dec 4th, 2017

The historian and journalist Simon Heffer ranges over class, empire, politics. scandals and suffrage in an exploration of Britain in the years leading up to the First World War

Black Tudors

44:26 | Nov 30th, 2017

Historian Miranda Kaufmann, author of Black Tudors: The Unknown Story, explores the lives of several Africans who resided in 16th-century England

Victorian medicine

42:02 | Nov 27th, 2017

Dr Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering Art, delves into the terrifying world of 19th-century hospitals and shows how scientific advances eventually led to dramatic improvements

The history of sleep

36:46 | Nov 23rd, 2017

Historian Sasha Handley explores the bedtime routines of the early modern period and considers what lessons today’s sleepers can draw from past centuries

Charles II on the run

1:06:28 | Nov 20th, 2017

We join historian and author Charles Spencer on location at Boscobel House to discuss Charles II’s desperate flight from parliamentarian forces at the end of the Civil War. Boscobel was famously a hiding place for the king as he sought to escape his ...Show More

Demons and shipwrecks

54:33 | Nov 16th, 2017

To accompany their upcoming events in the UK-wide Being Human festival, Kasia Szpakowska discusses her research into Ancient Egyptian demonology, while Dan Pascoe reveals some of the insights that have been gained from excavating a sunken 17th-centur...Show More

Drinking history

35:21 | Nov 13th, 2017

Mark Forsyth, author of A Short History of Drunkenness, draws on fascinating examples from across the globe to explore humanity’s longstanding relationship with alcohol

Britain’s Chinese army

54:16 | Nov 9th, 2017

Historians Frances Wood and Spencer Jones, who are both contributors to the upcoming Channel 4 documentary Britain’s Forgotten Army, reflect on the little-known contribution of more than 100,000 Chinese labourers to the Allied effort in the First Wor...Show More

The Last Kamikazes

41:58 | Nov 6th, 2017

BBC journalist Mariko Oi discusses her experiences of interviewing some of the last survivors of the notorious Japanese raids in World War Two, in advance of her new documentary on BBC World Service

How networks shape history

48:53 | Nov 2nd, 2017

The renowned historian, author and broadcaster Niall Ferguson reveals the ways networks have transformed our world, from the medieval era to the social media age

The search for King Arthur

47:53 | Oct 30th, 2017

Archaeologist Dr Miles Russell talks to us about his bold new theory on the legendary British ruler, which is based on a reinterpretation of Geoffrey of Monmounth’s History of the Kings of Britain

The Medici

39:02 | Oct 26th, 2017

Historian and author Mary Hollingsworth reflects on the powerful dynasty who dominated the Italian Renaissance but whose tale also includes tyranny, crime and murder

The death of Stalin

42:47 | Oct 23rd, 2017

Historian Joshua Rubenstein discusses the dramatic events surrounding the death of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1953, now the subject of a major new historical comedy film.

The Gunpowder Plot

48:19 | Oct 19th, 2017

Historians Hannah Greig and John Cooper, who are consultants on the new BBC drama Gunpowder, explore the story of the 1605 attempt to blow up the king and parliament. Plus they reveal the challenges involved in recreating the events for the small scr...Show More

Living with the Gods

47:17 | Oct 16th, 2017

Former British Museum director Neil MacGregor talks about his new BBC Radio 4 series Living with the Gods, and the accompanying exhibition, which together explore humanity’s longstanding relationship with faith

Richard III reconsidered

1:06:34 | Oct 12th, 2017

Historian and politician Chris Skidmore discusses his major new biography of the Yorkist king, offering his take on pivotal moments such as Richard’s seizing of the throne, his death at Bosworth and the disappearance of the princes in the tower

The Munich Conference

55:12 | Oct 9th, 2017

The acclaimed historical novelist Robert Harris talks to us about his new book Munich, which explores the events of September 1938 where Neville Chamberlain, Hitler and other European leaders met in Germany in an attempt to avert European war.

The world of the Scythians

34:16 | Oct 5th, 2017

We explore some of the most fascinating objects in the British Museum’s new exhibition about this nomadic warrior people who flourished 2,500 years ago. Curators St John Simpson and Chloë Leighton join us to share their thoughts on the Scythians

Starkey on the Reformation

49:47 | Oct 2nd, 2017

Ahead of his BBC Two documentary to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the historian and broadcaster David Starkey offers his views on Martin Luther, Henry VIII and the religious upheavals of the 16th century, revealing some fascinating p...Show More

Tales of war

56:57 | Sep 28th, 2017

The distinguished authors and broadcasters Peter Snow and Ann MacMillan discuss their new book War Stories, which explores some remarkable incidents of ordinary people caught up in conflicts through history

Victoria the matchmaker

40:08 | Sep 25th, 2017

Author and TV producer Deborah Cadbury discusses her new book Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking, which reveals how the 19th-century British monarch sought to influence the future of Europe through the marriages of her descendants

Christianity and the classical world

1:00:09 | Sep 21st, 2017

Classicist and journalist Catherine Nixey talks about her new book The Darkening Age with Professor Edith Hall. Their discussion explores the momentous changes that occurred when Christianity became the dominant faith of the Roman empire

The Ukrainian famine

51:24 | Sep 18th, 2017

Historian and author Anne Applebaum discusses her new book Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, which charts the events of the devastating 1932–33 famine in Soviet Ukraine. Almost 4 million people lost their lives in this man-made catastrophe

The Knights Templar

1:48:48 | Sep 14th, 2017

In a special extended-length episode popular historian Dan Jones is joined by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb to discuss his new book The Templars, which explores the rise and fall of the medieval military order who became the stuff of legend

William Marshal: the greatest knight

52:37 | Sep 11th, 2017

In a talk from our 2015 History Weekend event, medieval historian Thomas Asbridge reflects on the remarkable career of William Marshal who served five English kings in the 12th and 13th centuries

The History Hot 100

1:04:19 | Sep 7th, 2017

Historians Greg Jenner and Joanne Paul join us to talk about the results of our 2017 History Hot 100 survey. We asked you to tell us which historical figures are interesting you most and the final list has provided plenty of food for thought...

Viking Britain

37:15 | Sep 4th, 2017

We speak to Thomas Williams of the British Museum about his new book Viking Britain: An Exploration, which offers a fresh take on several centuries of Viking invasions and rule in Britain

A deadly royal favourite?

41:36 | Aug 31st, 2017

Author and broadcaster Benjamin Woolley explores the very close relationship between James VI and I and his favourite the Duke of Buckingham. He also considers what role Buckingham may have played in the king’s demise

Queen Victoria behind closed doors

49:57 | Aug 29th, 2017

Historian and author Professor Jane Ridley reveals some lesser-known aspects of the 19th-century monarch’s life in a talk that she delivered at our Victorians Day earlier this year

Friends or Enemies? Anglo-French relations

43:28 | Aug 24th, 2017

Historians Fabrice Bensimon and Renaud Morieux explore the complex relationship between France and Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was an era dominated by war and revolution but one which also saw more positive interactions between the cou...Show More

Migrating to Britain

44:32 | Aug 21st, 2017

Clair Wills of Princeton University discusses her new book Lovers and Strangers, which explores the lives of people from across the globe who moved to Britain after the Second World War

The Jarrow March

46:21 | Aug 17th, 2017

Author and BBC broadcaster Stuart Maconie reflects on the iconic 1936 protest against poverty and unemployment. He also describes his experiences of retracing the route of the march 80 years later

Witchcraft through the ages

39:03 | Aug 14th, 2017

We speak to Professor Ronald Hutton about his new book The Witch, which reveals how societies throughout the globe have lived in fear of witchcraft for more than 2,000 years

Icelandic murder mystery

36:53 | Aug 10th, 2017

We speak to filmmaker Dylan Howitt, director of a new BBC Four documentary entitled Out of Thin Air, which explores the story of a double disappearance and controversial criminal investigation from 1970s Iceland

China in World War Two

1:03:02 | Aug 7th, 2017

Expert historians Hans van de Ven and Rana Mitter discuss China’s lengthy war against Japan and consider its impact on the country’s civil war and Chinese participation in the later conflict in Korea

The Koh-i-Noor

41:46 | Aug 3rd, 2017

Historian and author William Dalrymple and BBC journalist Anita Anand join us to discuss their new history of the Koh-i-Noor, the famed Indian diamond, which was controversially brought to Britain in the 19th century

Living through Partition

36:32 | Jul 31st, 2017

We speak to Kavita Puri, presenter of the new BBC Radio 4 series Partition Voices, which tells the story of the turbulent birth of India and Pakistan through interviews with those who lived through it

The lost objects of South Asia

37:27 | Jul 27th, 2017

Kanishk Tharoor talks about the latest series of BBC Radio 4’s Museum of Lost Objects, which explores the heritage of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The brilliance of Henry James

32:16 | Jul 24th, 2017

In advance of a major new Henry James season on BBC Radio 4, Professor Sarah Churchwell explores the life and work of the great Anglo-American author, whose books offer insights to changes in the USA and in the role of women in the late 19th and earl...Show More

The English in America

47:30 | Jul 20th, 2017

Historian and author James Evans talks to us about his new book Emigrants, which explains why hundreds of thousands of English people decided to make a new life in the Americas during the 17th century. He also explores the challenges of migrating to ...Show More

Voices of the Cold War

36:56 | Jul 13th, 2017

We are joined by the BBC journalist Bridget Kendall who picks out some of the most fascinating stories that feature in her new book and Radio 4 series on life in the Cold War

A legendary spymaster

35:04 | Jul 10th, 2017

Historical author Henry Hemming discusses the life and career of Maxwell Knight, an eccentric spymaster and nature enthusiast who may have inspired the Bond character M

Female flyers in Nazi Germany

38:03 | Jul 3rd, 2017

Author and biographer Clare Mulley discusses her new book The Women Who Flew for Hitler, which explores the lives of two remarkable women who became leading aviators in the Third Reich

Children at war

38:14 | Jun 29th, 2017

Historian Emma Butcher reflects on the experiences of child soldiers throughout history, ranging from Ancient Sparta to the Hitler Youth and recent conflicts in Africa

The Second World War

48:13 | Jun 22nd, 2017

James Holland discusses the second book in his The War in the West trilogy with John Buckley, focusing on the years 1941-43.

Jane Austen and Tudor London

1:05:38 | Jun 15th, 2017

Historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley shares her thoughts on the Georgian novelist who is the subject of her new biography. Meanwhile, Professor Stephen Alford reflects on how the English capital was transformed over the course of the 16th century

The Six-Day War and the Great Fire of London

1:06:32 | Jun 1st, 2017

Professor Matthew Hughes reflects on a brief, but hugely-important, Arab-Israeli conflict that began 50 years ago this month and continues to have an impact on the region. Meanwhile, historian and broadcaster Dan Jones joins us to highlight some of ...Show More

Civil wars and Restoration England

59:06 | May 25th, 2017

Harvard professor David Armitage explores how internal conflicts have changed through history and considers what lessons can be learned for the wars of today. Meanwhile, bestselling popular historian Ian Mortimer guides us through life in England fol...Show More

England’s bloody Reformation

54:51 | May 18th, 2017

As we near the 500th anniversary of the European Reformation, Professor Peter Marshall explores how the events impacted on England. He explains how Henry VIII’s break with Rome led to many decades of violence

Queen Victoria’s dinners and Henry VIII’s niece

1:05:36 | May 11th, 2017

Food historian and broadcaster Annie Gray explores the eating habits of Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch and compares them to the typical Victorian diet. Meanwhile, historian and author Morgan Ring tells the story of Margaret, Countess of Le...Show More

Martin Luther and the making of the USA

49:41 | May 4th, 2017

Professor Lyndal Roper explores the life of the father of the Reformation and considers his impact on Protestant history. Meanwhile, we speak to Misha Glenny about his new BBC Radio 4 series, which charts key milestones in the development of the Unit...Show More

The Islamic enlightenment

45:45 | Apr 27th, 2017

Journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown interviews Christopher de Bellaigue about his new book The Islamic Enlightenment, which considers how the Muslim world has adapted to some of the wider changes of the 19th and 20th centuries

Historical fiction and a US murder scandal

1:06:18 | Apr 20th, 2017

Philippa Gregory talks to us about her 30-year career as a historical novelist and the history behind bestsellers such as The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen. Meanwhile, David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z, discusses his new book, which d...Show More

The ‘Father of History’ and India in the British empire

1:01:58 | Apr 13th, 2017

Professor Paul Cartledge reflects on the work of the Greek author Herodotus, who was born 2,500 years ago and is regarded as the first historian. Meanwhile, we catch-up with Dr Jon Wilson to discuss some of the big questions around the Raj

America in World War One and a naval tragedy

1:24:32 | Apr 6th, 2017

On the centenary of America’s entry into the First World War, historian Adam IP Smith explores the impact of this momentous decision on both the conflict and the history of the United States. Meanwhile, we speak to archaeologist Graham Scott about th...Show More

Women in popular history

1:01:38 | Mar 30th, 2017

We gathered a panel of historians – Janina Ramirez, Anna Whitelock, Joann Fletcher and Fern Riddell – to consider the the challenges and opportunities for women in TV, book publishing and other forms of public history


54:20 | Mar 23rd, 2017

Military historian Lloyd Clark challenges a number of myths about the 1940 German invasion of France, in a lecture he delivered at our World War Two day in Bristol’s M Shed last month

Utopias in history and an environmental disaster

53:35 | Mar 16th, 2017

Writer and thinker Rutger Bregman discusses his new book Utopia for Realists, exploring examples of how to create a better society. Meanwhile, we speak to BBC radio producer Julian May about the aftermath of the Torrey Canyon disaster, when a huge oi...Show More

Postwar occupations and Raleigh bicycles

51:54 | Mar 9th, 2017

Professor Susan L Carruthers tells the story of American forces who occupied Germany, Japan and other defeated powers after World War Two. Meanwhile, we are joined by TV producer Steve Humphries to chat about his upcoming BBC Four documentary Pedalli...Show More

The Reformation

52:35 | Mar 2nd, 2017

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Professor Eamon Duffy joins us to discuss some of the big questions about the religious upheavals that altered the course of English and European history.

A revolutionary engineer and Victoria’s Indian confidant

55:55 | Feb 23rd, 2017

Journalist and author Julian Glover describes the life and remarkable career of Georgian engineer Thomas Telford, the subject of his new biography. Meanwhile, we meet up with the writer Shrabani Basu to discuss the relationship of Queen Victoria with...Show More

The roots of modern rage

53:28 | Feb 16th, 2017

Author and journalist Pankaj Mishra and historian Tom Holland discuss Mishra’s new book, Age of Anger, which explores the origins of the resentments that are fuelling radical politics around the world

The impact of war and a zoological institution

58:09 | Feb 9th, 2017

Professor Peter Clarke shares some insights from his new book The Locomotive of War, which considers how conflicts have shaped modern history. Meanwhile, Isobel Charman reveals some fascinating stories from the early years of London Zoo in the 19th c...Show More

The Russian revolution and myths of ancient Egypt

57:14 | Feb 2nd, 2017

Robert Service explores the downfall of tsar Nicholas II while John Romer discusses popular misconceptions about life in ancient Egypt

The history of puzzles and the extraordinary life of Lady Anne Barnard

55:43 | Jan 26th, 2017

Alex Bellos explores 2,000 years of puzzles, while Stephen Taylor introduces an unconventional Georgian aristocrat

The Battle of Britain

1:03:19 | Jan 19th, 2017

In a talk from our 2015 History Weekend at Malmesbury, historian James Holland describes how the Luftwaffe and RAF fought to control the skies over Britain in 1940. He explains how Britain came out on top in one of the pivotal clashes of World War Tw...Show More

A history of Istanbul

52:13 | Jan 12th, 2017

Historian Bettany Hughes talks to Peter Frankopan about her new book exploring Istanbul's diverse history, from its earliest days through to the upheavals of the 21st century

The big questions of the Holocaust

1:03:28 | Jan 5th, 2017

Historian, author and broadcaster Laurence Rees joins us to discuss his upcoming book The Holocaust: A New History and consider some of the key debates in the history of the Nazi genocide of the Jews

The birth of Eurasia

1:01:02 | Dec 29th, 2016

In a talk from our 2016 History Weekend event in Winchester, the renowned archaeologist Barry Cunliffe discusses the subject of his recent book By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean

2016 Christmas history quiz

35:30 | Dec 22nd, 2016

Join the BBC History Magazine team for the return of our annual Christmas history quiz. The quizmaster is QI writer Justin Pollard

Corner shops and Russian ballet

1:03:27 | Dec 15th, 2016

Babita Sharma talks about her new BBC Four documentary 'Booze, Beans and Bhajis: The Story of the Corner Shop', while Simon Morrison explores the colourful history of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Historians in parliament

44:37 | Dec 8th, 2016

Historian-politicians Tristram Hunt, Chris Skidmore, Kwasi Kwarteng and Peter Hennessy explain how their two professions relate to each other.

The attack on Pearl Harbor and physics through the ages

52:43 | Dec 1st, 2016

Nicholas Best reflects on the events and aftermath of the 1941 Japanese raid, while Carlo Rovelli discusses his new book 'Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity'.

Arts and Crafts and unusual inventors

1:01:33 | Nov 24th, 2016

Rosalind Ormiston discusses an important 19th-century artistic movement, while David Bramwell introduces some of history’s most talented eccentrics.

Soviet science and feeding Britain at war

1:09:10 | Nov 17th, 2016

Simon Ings, author of Stalin and the Scientists, describes how the Bolshevik leaders intervened in scientific research in the USSR. Meanwhile, food writer William Sitwell tells the story of a man who battled to bring supplies into Britain during the ...Show More

The wartime SAS and Hitler’s drug addiction

1:16:57 | Nov 10th, 2016

Author and broadcaster Ben Macintyre details the extraordinary activities of the Special Air Service in the fight against the Axis, based on research for his new authorised history. Meanwhile, we speak to the German writer Norman Ohler whose sensatio...Show More

Black British history and Charles I’s children

1:19:46 | Nov 3rd, 2016

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga explores Britain’s often forgotten links with the people of Africa. Meanwhile, historical author Linda Porter, describes the fates of a group of royal children whose father was executed in 1649

Reporting from war zones

1:04:02 | Oct 27th, 2016

John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, reflects on his 50 years of reporting from conflicts all over the globe. Plus, he considers how life for the foreign correspondent has changed throughout history

The Aberfan disaster and women who made history

49:49 | Oct 24th, 2016

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, historian and producer Steve Humphries talks about how the Welsh village has coped with the tragedy. Meanwhile, we are joined by Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray to discuss some of the f...Show More

The Norman Conquest

1:06:44 | Oct 13th, 2016

As we approach the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings, medieval historian Marc Morris tells the story of William the Conqueror’s dramatic victory of 1066 and explores its profound legacy for England

Lenin and the Russian revolutions

1:03:27 | Oct 6th, 2016

Catherine Merridale recounts the future Soviet leader’s famous 1917 train journey across Europe to Petrograd, where the took command of the Bolsheviks. Meanwhile, we speak to Helen Rappaport about some of the foreign nationals then living in Petrogra...Show More

Historical television and the battle of Flodden

1:10:06 | Sep 29th, 2016

Tony Robinson discusses his new autobiography, No Cunning Plan, and the impact of shows such as Time Team and Blackadder. Meanwhile, Dr Katie Stevenson explores the 1513 battle of Flodden and its consequences for Scotland. Why did England emerge vict...Show More

Women in politics and Robinson Crusoe

1:00:05 | Sep 22nd, 2016

Julie V Gottlieb charts the progression from the Suffragettes to Theresa May and Hillary Clinton, while Andrew Lambert tells the story of a Pacific island connected to the famous Daniel Defoe novel

Cold War summits

1:12:05 | Sep 15th, 2016

Historians David Reynolds and Kristina Spohr discuss their new book about the postwar meetings between international leaders that aimed to control the nuclear arms race

Poldark and historical TV drama

1:06:07 | Sep 8th, 2016

As the smash-hit series Poldark returns to our screens, its historical advisor, Hannah Greig and Horrible Histories historian Greg Jenner join us to discuss the growing popularity of historical fiction on TV. The pair also consider the big question o...Show More

The end of the First World War and the Duke of Wellington

1:04:04 | Sep 1st, 2016

Professor Robert Gerwarth discusses his new book The Vanquished, which shows how Europe continued to be beset by violence long after 1918. Meanwhile, Dr Huw Davies pays a visit to Apsley House, the magnificent London residence of the hero of Waterloo

The Suez crisis and the north of England

1:09:24 | Aug 18th, 2016

Historian and author Alex von Tunzelmann reflects on the dramatic events that took place in the middle east and Hungary 60 years ago. Meanwhile, we speak to broadcaster Melvyn Bragg about his new BBC Radio 4 series that charts the fascinating history...Show More

The 1920s: Roaring or tame?

1:09:22 | Aug 11th, 2016

Historian, author and broadcaster Kate Williams explores the key developments of the early interwar period, in this talk that was delivered at our 2015 History Weekend event in Malmesbury

The Cold War and the history of philosophy

1:06:38 | Aug 4th, 2016

Dr Rory Cormac guides us around York Cold War Bunker, which was designed to monitor the fallout of a nuclear attack. Meanwhile, we speak to historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes about some of the enduring ideas from Ancient Greece

Jacobites and the Ancient World

1:09:01 | Jul 29th, 2016

Jacqueline Riding describes the events of the 1745 rebellion, while Michael Scott explains how ancient cultures across the globe managed to interact with each other

Two King Edwards

1:15:26 | Jul 21st, 2016

Richard Davenport-Hines and Piers Brendon, authors of new biographies of Edward VII and Edward VIII, discuss the two kings’ contrasting lives and reigns and their impact on the British monarchy

Paris’s women at war and the Housewives’ League

1:06:15 | Jul 14th, 2016

Anne Sebba talks to us about her new book, Les Parisiennes, which explores how women of Paris fared under Nazi occupation. Meanwhile, we catch up with Jo Fidgen, presenter of a BBC Radio 4 documentary about housewives in postwar Britain

Britain’s Second World War and the Country House

1:02:52 | Jul 7th, 2016

Dr Daniel Todman talks to us about his new book: Britain's War: Into Battle, 1937-1941. Meanwhile, we are joined by historian Adrian Tinniswood to discuss the changing nature of English country houses during the interwar years

Battle of the Somme special

1:01:26 | Jun 30th, 2016

As we approach the centenary of the 1916 clash, we speak to Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, author of Somme: Into the Breach. Meanwhile, Jonathan Ruffle of gbfilms.com joins us to talk about his ongoing BBC Radio 4 series Tommies and how he plans to tackle th...Show More

The Radium Girls and the cotton revolution

1:02:16 | Jun 23rd, 2016

Kate Moore describes the tragic story of a group of women who were exposed to radium in 20th-century America, while Terry Wyke visits a key site from Britain’s textile heritage

Wolfson History Prizes: Nazi camps and St Augustine

1:19:10 | Jun 16th, 2016

Robin Lane Fox and Nikolaus Wachsmann talk about their award-winning books: Augustine: Conversions and Confessions and KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Operation Barbarossa

58:56 | Jun 9th, 2016

As we near the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s assault on the Soviet Union, Antony Beevor explores this pivotal moment in the Second World War

Tudor monarchs and a Medieval civil war

1:15:56 | Jun 2nd, 2016

Tracy Borman reveals the secret lives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor et al, while Nicholas Vincent describes the events of Simon de Montfort’s rebellion

Writing history in the 21st century

1:07:40 | May 26th, 2016

Four leading historians discuss the big developments in book publishing since the launch of BBC History Magazine back in May 2000

The battle of Jutland and 1950s domestic dangers

1:04:26 | May 19th, 2016

Admiral Lord West describes a crucial First World War naval clash, while Suzannah Lipscomb tells us about her new BBC documentary: Hidden Killers of the Post-war Home

A Victorian murder and a ship that made history

1:06:05 | May 12th, 2016

Kate Summerscale, author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, tells us about her new book, which investigates another shocking 19th-century crime. Meanwhile, Andrew Lambert guides us around the famous clipper Cutty Sark, a ship that raced around the worl...Show More

Sykes-Picot and a 17th-century polymath

1:05:37 | May 5th, 2016

On the centenary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, historian Catriona Pennell reflects on this secret 1916 Anglo-French agreement to divide up the Middle East. Meanwhile, we talk to Joe Moshenska, author of A Stain in the Blood, which describes the amazi...Show More

The history of consumerism and Chinese philosophy

1:01:14 | Apr 28th, 2016

Frank Trentmann explores how our patterns of consumption have changed over the centuries, while Christine Gross-Loh discusses the legacy of ancient Chinese thinkers

Shakespeare’s world and cricket in South Africa

1:02:44 | Apr 21st, 2016

Edward Wilson-Lee looks at how the playwright’s work became celebrated on a global scale, while Dean Allen recounts the story of a pioneering British cricket enthusiast who popularised the sport in 19th-century South Africa

Student life and working class culture

58:38 | Apr 14th, 2016

Our own Ellie Cawthorne talks about her new BBC Radio 4 series that focuses on 900 years of higher education. Meanwhile, author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie discusses his documentary about the decline of working class representation in the arts and...Show More

Charles II and an Atlantic experiment

50:00 | Apr 7th, 2016

Historian Clare Jackson talks about her new biography of the 17th-century king, which is part of the Penguin Monarchs series. Meanwhile, BBC radio presenter Peter Gibbs tells us the story of how Ascension Island’s plant life was transformed 150 years...Show More

The Dissolution and a forgotten colony

1:03:00 | Mar 31st, 2016

Dr Adam Morton visits Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire to explore the events of Henry VIII’s assault on the monasteries. Meanwhile, historian and author Matthew Parker tells the story of Willoughbyland, a forgotten English colony in South America

Democracy and an age of genius

1:18:43 | Mar 24th, 2016

Classicist Paul Cartledge heads back to Ancient Greece to explore the roots of mass participation in politics. Meanwhile, we speak to philosopher AC Grayling about his new book The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mi...Show More

The Easter Rising and a Victorian heyday

1:13:46 | Mar 17th, 2016

Heather Jones explores the dramatic rebellion of 1916, while Ben Wilson explains why the 1850s was such a transformative decade

Muslims and Jews in the 16th century

1:07:54 | Mar 10th, 2016

Historian Jerry Brotton describes how Elizabethan England formed an important relationship with the Islamic world. He then goes on to tell the story of Venice’s Jewish ghetto, which was created 500 years ago

The Holy Roman Empire and Capability Brown

1:02:23 | Mar 3rd, 2016

Professor Peter Wilson discusses his new book The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History. Meanwhile, garden historian Sarah Rutherford pays a visit to the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire where she explores the work of the g...Show More

Middle East history special

1:03:57 | Feb 25th, 2016

Kanishk Tharoor and Maryam Maruf, the presenter and producer of the new radio series Museum of Lost Objects, highlight some of the antiquities that have been destroyed during recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, we’re joined by historian To...Show More

Verdun and the Renaissance

1:01:37 | Feb 18th, 2016

Professor David Reynolds describes the Battle of Verdun, which pitched French and German forces against each other in one of the bloodiest episodes of the First World War. Meanwhile, art critic and broadcaster Waldemar Januszczak talks to us about hi...Show More

Benjamin Franklin in London

1:06:58 | Feb 11th, 2016

George Goodwin discusses the American Founding Father’s years in the British capital, on location at Benjamin Franklin House

The battle over Henry VIII’s will

1:05:49 | Feb 4th, 2016

Tudor expert Dr Suzannah Lipscomb talks to fellow historian Dan Jones about a remarkable 16th-century document. The king's will had great ramifications for 16th-century England and is still hotly debated today

The Romanovs and King Arthur

1:05:01 | Jan 28th, 2016

Historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore talks to us about his new book that chronicles the remarkable Russian ruling dynasty. Meanwhile, archaeologist Miles Russell pays a visit to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, which has long been associated with ...Show More

A global view of history

54:50 | Jan 21st, 2016

In a talk from our 2015 History Weekend event at Malmesbury, historian Michael Scott argues that we need to bring the histories of China, Greece, India and Rome together to adopt a less segmented approach to the ancient world

Postwar Germany and medieval CSI

1:02:47 | Jan 14th, 2016

Dr Lara Feigel talks to us about her new book, The Bitter Taste of Victory: In the Ruins of the Reich, which shows how the Allies used culture to try to rebuild Germany after 1945. Meanwhile, we are joined by historian Elizabeth New to discuss a proj...Show More

The amazing history of Egypt

1:03:19 | Jan 7th, 2016

In a lecture from our 2015 History Weekend event, Professor Joann Fletcher, presenter of the BBC series Immortal Egypt, explores the story of this remarkable civilisation, from the pyramids to Cleopatra

Victorian bakers and the Leningrad symphony

50:49 | Dec 31st, 2015

Historian and TV presenter Alex Langlands explains how bread making in the 19th century differed from today. Meanwhile, music expert Tom Service tells the remarkable story of Dimitri Shostakovich’s 7th symphony, which was composed and performed durin...Show More

2015 Christmas history quiz

32:48 | Dec 24th, 2015

Test your trivia knowledge with our podcast pub quiz. The questions have been devised by QI’s Justin Pollard

Britain’s railways and the Titanic

1:00:38 | Dec 17th, 2015

Simon Bradley, author of The Railways: Nation, Network and People talks to us about a British transport revolution. Meanwhile, we pay a visit to Titanic Belfast in the company of Aidan McMichael, an expert on the world’s most famous ocean liner

A history of red hair and amazing animals

54:17 | Dec 10th, 2015

Jacky Colliss Harvey charts the fascinating history of red-headedness from ancient times until the present day. Meanwhile, Stephen Moss talks about his new book Natural Histories, which accompanies a recent BBC Radio 4 series, describing extraordinar...Show More

The Battle of the Atlantic and the history of Spain

1:07:42 | Dec 3rd, 2015

Jonathan Dimbleby describes the pivotal World War Two naval clash, while Marion Milne talks about a new BBC Four series on Spain through the ages

Shakespeare in 1606 and Olympic swimmers

58:53 | Nov 26th, 2015

Professor James Shapiro talks to us about his new book 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear, a follow-up to his acclaimed 1599. Meanwhile the author Julie Checkoway tells the story of a remarkable group of Japanese-American swimmers who sou...Show More

The Peasants’ Revolt and a Cold War spy

1:02:37 | Nov 19th, 2015

Author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg introduces his latest historical novel, Now is the Time, which centres on the 14th-cenury uprising. Meanwhile, we talk to Andrew Lownie about his new biography of a key member of the Cambridge Spy Ring, Guy Burgess...Show More

Ancient Rome special

1:05:56 | Nov 12th, 2015

Classical historian and broadcaster Mary Beard talks to us about her new one-volume history of Rome entitled SPQR. Meanwhile, we speak to the bestselling historical novelist Robert Harris about his latest fictional portrait of the Roman statesman Cic...Show More

The end of the Cold War and British culture

1:09:00 | Nov 5th, 2015

Professor Robert Service describes how the leaders of the United States and Soviet Union – Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev – brought about a dramatic change in east-west relations. Meanwhile, historian Dominic Sandbrook talks to us about his new ...Show More

World War Two spies and an extraordinary naturalist

1:10:05 | Oct 29th, 2015

Bestselling military historian Sir Max Hastings joins us to discuss his new book The Secret War. Meanwhile, we speak to historian and author Andrea Wulf about Alexander von Humboldt who made great strides in natural sciences in the 18th and 19th cent...Show More

The Last Kingdom and Agincourt

1:03:17 | Oct 28th, 2015

Bernard Cornwell talks about his books that inspired the new TV drama The Last Kingdom, while Anne Curry discusses Agincourt ahead of the 600th anniversary

A year in medieval England

1:12:07 | Oct 15th, 2015

Cambridge historian and BBC Making History presenter Helen Castor interviews medieval historian Dan Jones about his new book, Realm Divided, which explores what it was like to live during the tumultuous year of 1215

The Brontës and a revolutionary artist

1:07:01 | Oct 8th, 2015

Charlotte Brontë’s latest biographer, Claire Harman, visits the home of three remarkable literary sisters. Meanwhile, broadcaster and historian Loyd Grossman introduces the Georgian painter Benjamin West who shook the art world with his depiction of ...Show More

New views on the Holocaust and 1980s Britain

1:11:22 | Oct 1st, 2015

Yale historian Timothy Snyder discusses Black Earth, his bold new study of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Meanwhile, we speak to Andy Beckett whose latest book charts the early years of the Thatcher revolution in the UK.

Celts special

58:47 | Sep 24th, 2015

As the British Museum’s major new exhibition, Celts: Art and Identity, opens, curator Julia Farley guides us around some of the most important and intriguing objects on show.

The Somme and the Jacobites

57:52 | Sep 18th, 2015

Historian Andrew Roberts talks to us about his new book on the opening day of one of World War One’s bloodiest battles. Meanwhile, Professor Christopher Whatley discusses the events of the Jacobite revolt, 300 years after the 1715 uprising

Roman emperors and women through the ages

1:00:25 | Sep 10th, 2015

Tom Holland speaks to us about his new book on the first five Roman emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. Meanwhile, we’re joined by historical author Amanda Foreman to discuss her new BBC TV series The Ascent of Woman.

North Sea oil and the Blitz

1:13:25 | Sep 3rd, 2015

BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie talks to us about his new series that charts the history of Britain’s oil boom, which began 40 years ago. Meanwhile, historian and author Joshua Levine reveals how the Nazi bombing raids in World War Two impacted ...Show More

Killing Mussolini

56:44 | Aug 27th, 2015

In a lecture from our 2014 History Weekend, historian Roderick Bailey describes the attempts of Britain’s SOE to assassinate the Italian Fascist leader during World War Two.  To find out more about our 2015 History Weekend events in York and Malmesb...Show More

Ancient cities and the Norman conquest

1:05:48 | Aug 20th, 2015

Classical historian Andrew Wallace-Hadrill explains how the great cities of Athens and Rome functioned in the ancient world. Meanwhile, medieval expert David Bates pays a visit to Norwich Castle, a key site for understanding how the Normans consolida...Show More

Crusade logistics and the battle over the slave trade

1:13:57 | Aug 13th, 2015

Oxford historian Christopher Tyerman talks to us about his new book How to Plan a Crusade. Meanwhile, we pay a visit to the University of Cambridge where Ryan Cronin introduces some remarkable documents relating to British slave ownership. 

The Pacific War and First World War black soldiers

1:04:01 | Aug 6th, 2015

Historian Francis Pike challenges some commonly-held assumptions about World War Two in Asia, as we reach the 70th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima. Meanwhile, Stephen Bourne, author of Black Poppies, talks about the participation of black Brit...Show More

Ancient thinkers and the history of madness

1:04:45 | Jul 30th, 2015

Historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes discusses three of history’s greatest philosophers: Socrates, Confucius and the Buddha, who all feature in her new BBC Four TV series. Meanwhile, Professor Andrew Scull talks to us about his recent book: Madne...Show More

Witch trials and feuding queens

1:16:58 | Jul 23rd, 2015

Historian Robert Poole visits Lancaster Castle, scene of the dramatic 1612 trials of the Pendle witches. Meanwhile, we’re joined by Nancy Goldstone whose latest book delves into the turbulent relationship of Catherine de Medici and Marguerite de Valo...Show More

Anglo-Saxon saints and British slave-owners

1:17:21 | Jul 16th, 2015

Oxford historian Janina Ramirez picks out some of the most remarkable saints from the early medieval period. Meanwhile, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga talks to us about his new BBC Two series Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners. Plus, this epis...Show More

Regency scandal and the history of canals

49:44 | Jul 9th, 2015

Historical author Geraldine Roberts talks about a disastrous Georgian marriage that filled the newspapers of the day. Meanwhile, Professor Emma Griffin visits a historic canal to explain how these waterways helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution in...Show More

India at war and mining accidents

1:08:26 | Jul 2nd, 2015

Historian Yasmin Khan talks about her new book, The Raj at War, which explores the impact of World War Two on the people of India, many of whom fought in the conflict. Meanwhile, we speak to Daniel Blackie about a project that is examining the fate o...Show More

Terror in Elizabethan England

1:17:52 | Jun 25th, 2015

In a lecture from our 2014 History Weekend in Malmesbury, Tudor historian Jessie Childs describes how Catholics were suppressed during the reign of the Virgin Queen. This week’s episode also includes an audio version of July’s anniversaries, written ...Show More

Waterloo 200 special

1:04:47 | Jun 18th, 2015

As we reach the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo, expert historians Julian Humphrys and Tim Blanning reveal how Napoleon was finally defeated, and offer their thoughts on the legacy of the events of 1815. Plus, we broadcast a bonus audio version...Show More

The real King John and the BBC in World War Two

1:27:30 | Jun 11th, 2015

As we reach the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, historians Stephen Church and Marc Morris offer their views on the controversial king who sealed the charter. Meanwhile, we are joined by the renowned broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby to talk about his u...Show More

Queen Victoria at home and a new Civil War museum

1:01:29 | Jun 4th, 2015

Jane Ridley, biographer of Queen Victoria, guides us around Osborne on the Isle of Wight where the queen and Prince Albert used to reside. Meanwhile, Charlotte Hodgman gets an early preview of the new National Civil War Centre in Newark, where she di...Show More

The Battle of the Bulge and children of the Holocaust

1:05:00 | May 28th, 2015

Military historian Antony Beevor offers a fresh interpretation of the 1944 Ardennes offensive that represented Hitler’s final attempt to turn the tide of the war. Meanwhile, journalist Wendy Holden tells the remarkable tale of three young women who g...Show More

The history of India and a terrible explosion

1:05:10 | May 21st, 2015

Professor Sunil Khilnani joins us to talk about his new BBC Radio 4 series Incarnations, which tells the story of India through the lives of its most remarkable figures. Meanwhile, we speak to Brian Dillon about an accident in a munitions factory tha...Show More

Wolfson History Prize 2015 special

1:13:48 | May 14th, 2015

The winners of this year's Wolfson History Prize, Richard Vinen and Alexander Watson, join Rob Attar for a discussion about their books on the First World War and national service. 

VE Day special

1:02:02 | May 7th, 2015

Historian Richard Overy describes the situation in Britain and Europe as the Second World War came to an end. Meanwhile, we’re joined by TV producer Steve Humphries to talk about his new series Britain’s Greatest Generation, which contains interviews...Show More

Magna Carta and the Holocaust

1:04:06 | Apr 30th, 2015

David Starkey, one of Britain’s best-known historians, joins us to offer his views on the Great Charter as it approaches its 800th anniversary. Meanwhile, we speak to Professor Dan Stone about the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and about ...Show More

Medieval universities and an unlikely friendship

1:12:14 | Apr 23rd, 2015

Historian Hannah Skoda pays a visit to Merton College in Oxford to explore the origins of one of the world’s most famous educational institutions. Meanwhile, Anna Thomasson talks to us about her new book on the relationship between the artist Rex Whi...Show More

Gallipoli and famine

55:27 | Apr 16th, 2015

On the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli, Australian writer Peter FitzSimons describes the disastrous Allied campaign of 1915. Meanwhile, historian Cormac Ó Gráda, author of Eating People Is Wrong, explains how famines occasionally resulted in can...Show More

Saladin and suffragettes

58:00 | Apr 9th, 2015

John Man – author of a new biography of Saladin – explains how the medieval Muslim leader was able to triumph over the crusaders. Meanwhile, we talk to historian June Purvis about why the votes for women campaign turned to violence. 

Science and St Peter

53:44 | Apr 2nd, 2015

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Steven Weinberg discusses his new book that charts thousands of years of scientific discovery. Meanwhile, actor and TV presenter David Suchet speaks to us about his upcoming BBC documentary series on the first Bishop of ...Show More

The history of immigration

49:32 | Mar 26th, 2015

This week’s episode is an immigration history special. Historians Robin Fleming and Mark Ormrod draw on the latest research to examine the lives of migrants into England during the anglo-Saxon and medieval periods.

Richard III reburial special

58:22 | Mar 19th, 2015

With just a few days to go until the reburial of the last Plantagenet king in Leicester Cathedral, we speak to two experts with close connections to the event. Phil Stone, chairman of the Richard III Society, considers the ways that the recent discov...Show More

Food from the past and the history of illegitimacy

1:03:59 | Mar 12th, 2015

As the new BBC TV series Back in Time for Dinner is due to air, we talk to food writer Mary Gwynn about how our mealtime tastes have changed over the past 70 years. Meanwhile, historian Jane Robinson discusses her new book In the Family Way, which lo...Show More

Shakespeare and war in the Middle East

1:13:47 | Mar 5th, 2015

Charlotte Hodgman visits Stratford-upon-Avon to explore the birthplace of William Shakespeare in the company of expert Paul Edmondson. Meanwhile, Oxford historian Eugene Rogan discusses the final years of the Ottoman empire and explains how the First...Show More

The life of Keynes and a trip to Ancient Greece

1:05:35 | Feb 26th, 2015

Acclaimed biographer Richard Davenport-Hines talks to Matt Elton about his new book on the 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes, which focuses on the man rather than his work. Meanwhile, classical historian Peter Jones tackles some important qu...Show More

The Peasants’ Revolt

49:14 | Feb 19th, 2015

This week we are broadcasting a lecture that was delivered at our History Weekend festival in Malmesbury in October 2014. Historian Juliet Barker speaks about the great uprising of 1381, and challenges a number of misconceptions about the revolt.

Amazing inventions and London after dark

1:03:50 | Feb 12th, 2015

Science writer Steven Johnson discusses his new BBC TV series How We Got to Now, which explores some of the greatest innovations in history. Meanwhile, Dr Matthew Beaumont describes how famous Londoners have gained inspiration from walking the city’s...Show More

Life in the workhouse and British biographies

53:16 | Feb 5th, 2015

Charlotte Hodgman visits a former Victorian workhouse in the company of historian Samantha Shave to see whether life inside really matched the Dickensian legend. Meanwhile, we speak to Sir David Cannadine on the challenges of editing the gigantic Oxf...Show More

Elizabeth I and an unlikely suffragette

1:05:33 | Jan 29th, 2015

Historian Lisa Hilton explores the life and reign of the Virgin Queen, subject of her new biography Elizabeth I: Renaissance Prince. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4 presenter Anita Anand discusses Sophia Duleep Singh, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria who wen...Show More

Debating British monarchy

1:26:02 | Jan 22nd, 2015

The authors of new Penguin biographies of Henry VIII, Edward VI, George V and George VI discuss these kings' lives and reigns. They also consider wider themes relating to British monarchy in a debate chaired by Helen Castor.

Henry VIII and Henry the Young King

1:18:13 | Jan 15th, 2015

Tudor historian John Guy, author of a new short biography of Henry VIII, discusses the Tudor king’s life and relationships and what he’s learned about Henry over his many years of research. Meanwhile, medievalist Thomas Asbridge tells us about a 12th...Show More

Wolf Hall and medieval civil war

59:54 | Jan 8th, 2015

As the BBC TV dramatisation of Wolf Hall is shortly due to air, series director Peter Kosminsky reveals the challenges and joys of filming Hilary Mantel’s acclaimed novels. Meanwhile, Professor David Crouch visits Wallingford Castle in Oxfordshire, w...Show More

Stalin’s early years and Mein Kampf

1:12:36 | Jan 1st, 2015

Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin, author of a major new biography of Josef Stalin, describes the Soviet leader’s path to power. Meanwhile, BBC journalist Chris Bowlby gives us the lowdown on his forthcoming Radio 4 documentary about Adolf Hitler’s ...Show More

Christmas podcast quiz

35:53 | Dec 24th, 2014

For our Christmas Eve podcast, it’s the return of our annual history quiz. Test your knowledge of all things historical with four themed rounds of questions written by QI elf Justin Pollard and delivered by the BBC History Magazine team.

Kamikaze pilots and Captain John Smith

1:05:14 | Dec 18th, 2014

Christopher Harding analyses the motivations of the Japanese kamikaze pilots, while Peter Firstbrook describes the life of the man whose life was famously saved by Pocahontas

Student radicals and Crete in WWII

1:15:41 | Dec 11th, 2014

Esmée Hanna explores the wave of protests that took place in a number of British universities in the 1960s. Meanwhile, Rick Stroud tells the story of the audacious kidnap of a Nazi general in Crete during the Second World War and describes the role o...Show More

The North Sea and Bronze Age remains

1:13:53 | Dec 4th, 2014

Historical author Michael Pye explores several centuries of the North Sea’s history to reveal how its waters aided all manner of social, economic and cultural development. Meanwhile, Charlotte Hodgman visits Flag Fen in the company of archaeologist F...Show More

Revolutions in Europe and forensics in history

1:10:54 | Nov 27th, 2014

Historian Adam Zamoyski discusses his new book, Phantom Terror, which reveals how Europe’s rulers lived in fear of conspiracies in the years between the revolutions of 1789 and 1848. Meanwhile, crime writer Val McDermid highlights some of the scienti...Show More

Science fiction and dancing in history

1:02:07 | Nov 13th, 2014

Dominic Sandbrook gives us the lowdown behind his new TV series Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction. Meanwhile, Lucy Worsley explains how the dances of the past can reveal a great deal about Britain’s social history.

The Berlin Wall and the return of Charles II

1:01:20 | Nov 6th, 2014

As we approach the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, historian Hester Vaizey reveals the impact this momentous event had on the lives of ordinary East Germans. Meanwhile, freelance journalist Dan Cossins visits the Banqueting House in ...Show More

The Gunpowder Plot and the First World War

1:02:41 | Oct 30th, 2014

As we approach Bonfire Night, historian Clare Jackson pays a visit to Coughton Court in Warwickshire to explore its connections to the Gunpowder Plot. Meanwhile, Yale University’s Jay Winter joins us to discuss the First World War.

Germany through the centuries and Hitler’s cocaine habit

53:54 | Oct 23rd, 2014

British Museum director Neil MacGregor joins us to talk about his new BBC Radio 4 series Germany: Memories of a Nation, which illustrates the country’s history through a wealth of fascinating objects. Meanwhile, historical author Giles Milton discuss...Show More

Georgian gardens and historical fiction

51:57 | Oct 16th, 2014

Charlotte Hodgman heads to Hampton Court Palace to check out their restored Georgian kitchen garden in the company of garden keeper Vicki Cooke. Meanwhile bestselling historical novelist Wilbur Smith talks about his latest book Desert God. Plus we co...Show More

The battle of Agincourt and the Spanish communists

1:16:27 | Oct 9th, 2014

Ranulph Fiennes talks about his ancestors’ involvement in the battle of Agincourt, and Paul Preston explores the life of Spanish communist politician Santiago Carrillo

The trials of Joan of Arc

1:24:53 | Oct 2nd, 2014

Historian Helen Castor discusses her new biography of the tragic French heroine Joan of Arc, describing her famous victories and the dramatic trial that condemned her to death. Putting the questions is fellow historian Dan Jones.

The history of humanity

1:04:15 | Sep 25th, 2014

Dr Yuval Harari chats to us about his new book, Sapiens, which explores tens of thousands of years of history and offers fresh insights into subjects such as agriculture, war, empire, science and capitalism. Plus, he questions whether all our progres...Show More

Hunting the regicides and the Chartist movement

55:55 | Sep 18th, 2014

Charles Spencer talks to Matt Elton about his new book, Killers of the King, which describes Charles II’s efforts to track down and take revenge on the men who executed his father during the Civil War. Meanwhile, Charlotte Hodgman visits Rosedene cot...Show More

Fresh views on the Wars of the Roses

1:10:45 | Sep 11th, 2014

Dan Jones is interviewed by Tudor expert Suzannah Lipscomb about his new book on the Wars of the Roses. The two historians discuss the writing of popular history, the role of medieval kings and the controversial figure of Richard III, among other thi...Show More

Thomas Cromwell’s fall from grace

45:43 | Sep 4th, 2014

Tudor historian Tracy Borman discusses the career of Thomas Cromwell, the henchman of Henry VIII who brought down Anne Boleyn only to eventually share the same fate. Meanwhile, our First World War audio series continues as veterans recall September 1...Show More

George III and the art of anatomy

1:05:08 | Aug 28th, 2014

Former BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow talks about her new book The Strangest Family, which explores the private lives of King George III and his family. Meanwhile, we speak to Adam Rutherford about his BBC Four series The Beauty of Anatomy that des...Show More

The long history of the Crusades

57:05 | Aug 21st, 2014

In a lecture from our 2013 History Weekend festival, historian Tom Asbridge talks about how our understanding of the Crusades has changed over the past several centuries

James Bond and Vichy France

59:10 | Aug 14th, 2014

Historian and author Matthew Parker discusses how Ian Fleming's James Bond novels reveal his thoughts about the changes taking place in Jamaica in the 1950s and 1960s. Meanwhile, author and biographer Caroline Moorehead discusses her new book about r...Show More

The global First World War

53:39 | Aug 7th, 2014

Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga discusses the subject of his new TV series The World's War, revealing how millions of people across the globe arrived in Europe to fight the First World War.

The German view on the First World War

51:52 | Jul 31st, 2014

As we approach the centenary of the First World War, historian Alexander Watson, author of Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918, offers a German and Austro-Hungarian perspective on the events of 1914–18 and explains how the Ce...Show More

Richard III and dirty Tudors

59:43 | Jul 24th, 2014

Chris Skidmore, who is writing a new biography of Richard III, talks to us about how his research is presenting a different picture of the controversial 15th-century king. Meanwhile, we speak to Pamela Hartshorne about the challenges people faced in ...Show More

The World War Two French resistance and British holidays

1:07:41 | Jul 17th, 2014

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown talks to Matt Elton about his new book on French resistance fighters who took on the Nazis during the Second World War. Meanwhile, Kathryn Ferry takes a trip to Hastings and St Leonards, in the company of ...Show More

Cold War smuggling and First World War veterans

50:58 | Jul 10th, 2014

Peter Finn and Petra Couvee reveal how the CIA tried to change the course of the Cold War by smuggling banned literature into the USSR, including Boris Pasternak's 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago. Plus, in the second instalment of a series of extracts of i...Show More

Delphi and the Spanish empire

1:00:30 | Jul 3rd, 2014

Classical historian Michael Scott delves into the remarkable history of Delphi, the site of a renowned oracle in Ancient Greece and a place that was visited by many leading figures in the Greek and Roman worlds. Plus we speak to Hugh Thomas, who has ...Show More

Finance and war

1:01:20 | Jun 26th, 2014

Historian and Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng explores the long and complex relationship between wealth and warfare, from the Spanish empire until the present financial crisis. Meanwhile, Richard Van Emden explains how he put together a new book of fi...Show More

English gardens and Latin American football

1:14:11 | Jun 19th, 2014

Timothy Mowl guides us around a historic English garden, while Andreas Campomar explains Latin America's fixation with football

The legacy of the First World War

1:04:50 | Jun 12th, 2014

We're joined in the studio by the acclaimed Yale historian Adam Tooze to talk about his new book The Deluge, which focuses on the climax of the First World War and the resultant rise of the United States. Plus, we kick off our new Our First World War...Show More

Wolfson History Prize special

1:06:48 | Jun 3rd, 2014

Historians Catherine Merridale and Cyprian Broodbank have just been announced as the winners of the latest Wolfson History Prizes for their books on the Kremlin and the Mediterranean world. We spoke to them about their research and the challenges of ...Show More

D-Day and the Wars of the Roses

57:18 | May 29th, 2014

As we approach the 70th anniversary of D-Day, military historian James Holland challenges some popular assumptions about the 1944 Normandy campaign and recounts his experiences of meeting veterans. Meanwhile, historian and author Sarah Gristwood pays...Show More

Roman slavery and the man who started the First World War

53:15 | May 22nd, 2014

Jerry Toner discusses the lives of slaves in Ancient Rome, while Tim Butcher explores the life of Gavrilo Princip, killer of Franz Ferdinand

Monte Cassino and revolutionary Russia

56:50 | May 15th, 2014

On the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, Matthew Parker explores one of the Allies' toughest challenges in the Second World War. Meanwhile we speak to Professor Orlando Figes, author of a new book and website about Russia's revolutiona...Show More

Thomas Malthus and Wilkie Collins

58:54 | May 8th, 2014

This week we explore the life and work of two intellectual giants of the 19th century. First up, Robert Mayhew discusses the Georgian economist Thomas Malthus whose theories on population growth have remained controversial ever since. After that we'r...Show More

Victorian burials and the history of psychology

55:43 | May 1st, 2014

Ruth Levitt describes how London's cemeteries couldn't cope with the rising number of dead in the 19th century and reveals the solutions the Victorians devised for this problem. Meanwhile, we speak to Martin Sixsmith, presenter of the Radio 4 series ...Show More

The value of war and the rail revolution

1:00:52 | Apr 24th, 2014

We speak to Ian Morris, author of War: What is it Good For?, about why he believes conflict has sometimes been a force for good. Plus, railway historian Di Drummond pays a visit to Manchester Liverpool Road Station where the age of passenger rail tra...Show More

African history special

1:14:44 | Apr 17th, 2014

This week's podcast focuses on African history. First up, Miranda Kaufmann visits a replica of Francis Drake's Golden Hind and there explains how Africans played an important role in the Tudor explorer's adventures in the 16th century. Meanwhile, Gus...Show More

Lawrence of Arabia and the Romanov sisters

1:03:17 | Apr 10th, 2014

Scott Anderson, the latest biographer of TE Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia) describes his subject's eventful life and considers whether Lawrence's vision might have created a more stable Middle East. Meanwhile, we're joined by Helen Rap...Show More

Britain in the 1970s

49:11 | Apr 3rd, 2014

Dominic Sandbrook charts the highs and lows of 1970s Britain in a lecture delivered at our History Weekend festival

Anglo-Saxon treasures, and did Britain invent freedom?

58:22 | Mar 27th, 2014

Charlotte Hodgman explores the Staffordshire Hoard, while Daniel Hannan argues that English-speaking people created many of our modern liberties

Cold War spies and friendship through the ages

49:27 | Mar 20th, 2014

Ben Macintyre delves into the life of double agent Kim Philby, while Thomas Dixon explains how the meaning of friendship has changed over the centuries

Escaping the Blitz and recording the First World War

47:50 | Mar 13th, 2014

Juliet Gardiner pays a visit to an unusual Second World War shelter, while Julia Cave recalls her experiences interviewing veterans of the First World War

Viking treasures and Hitler's 'perfect woman'

58:31 | Mar 6th, 2014

Gareth Williams guides us through the British Museum's major new Vikings exhibition, while Julie Gottlieb explains why a Nazi women's leader was visiting Britain in 1939

Tasmanian aborigines and the historic importance of the River Nile

1:00:52 | Feb 27th, 2014

Tom Lawson talks about the often-brutal experiences of the people of Tasmania, while Toby Wilkinson explores the historic importance of the River Nile

Napoleon's formative years and great thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment

56:01 | Feb 20th, 2014

Michael Broers discusses Napoleon's formative years, while Alexander Broadie looks at some of the great thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment

The Babylonian Noah and Norse mythology

1:07:15 | Feb 13th, 2014

Irving Finkel describes a remarkable Babylonian tablet that changes our understanding of the flood legend. Meanwhile, Joanne Harris gives us her take on the Norse gods

Royal cousins at war and Brunel's brilliance

59:38 | Feb 6th, 2014

Richard Sanders considers how Europe's monarchs ended up on opposing sides in the First World War, while Eugene Byrne explores the talents of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Memories of Churchill and the history of the individual

1:00:30 | Jan 30th, 2014

John Julius Norwich recalls his remarkable childhood, while Larry Siedentop discusses liberalism and the West's 'crisis of confidence'

Paxman on World War One

1:01:28 | Jan 23rd, 2014

Jeremy Paxman discusses Britain in the First World War, as his new BBC TV series is about to air. Meanwhile, Miles Russell takes us on a trip to a luxurious Roman home

Britain and the Union

56:12 | Jan 17th, 2014

Linda Colley discusses the history of the United Kingdom and considers its future

Britain in 1914 and Jesus in history

52:10 | Jan 9th, 2014

Mark Bostridge describes some of the challenges facing Britain before the First World War, while Reza Aslan comments on the historical Jesus

The aftermath of the Second World War

54:54 | Jan 2nd, 2014

Keith Lowe examines the struggles that faced postwar Europe, in a lecture from our recent History Weekend

The Black Death and Tudor adventurers

58:10 | Dec 27th, 2013

John Hatcher visits a village devastated by the Black Death, while James Evans describes the doomed search for the north-east passage in the 16th century

Christmas quiz

33:58 | Dec 19th, 2013

Test your history knowledge with our annual Christmas podcast quiz

Nelson Mandela special

56:32 | Dec 12th, 2013

Following the death of Mandela, Saul Dubow and Aron Mazel consider his remarkable political career and his role in ending Apartheid

The legacy of the First World War and Gandhi's early years

1:03:52 | Dec 5th, 2013

David Reynolds explains how the First World War shaped the 20th century, while Ramachandra Guha considers Mahatma Gandhi's formative years

Victorian vigour and a remarkable family

1:03:52 | Nov 28th, 2013

Simon Heffer discusses the triumphs of Victorian Britain, while Adrian Tinniswood talks about the 17th-century Rainborowes who were involved in the Civil War

JFK and a neglected Tudor

1:07:12 | Nov 21st, 2013

Mark White reappraises JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, while Alison Weir describes the life of Elizabeth of York, mother of Henry VIII

Global history and the rise of the factories

48:56 | Nov 14th, 2013

Michael Scott chats about his new Radio 4 series Spin the Globe, while Simon Thurley guides us around an important site in Britain's Industrial Revolution

Cold War culture and the path to the First World War

54:33 | Nov 7th, 2013

Dominic Sandbrook explores how the Cold War impacted on many aspects of British life, while Margaret MacMillan tells us why she believes the First World War broke out when it did