History Extra podcast

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


  • Notre-Dame

    Apr 18 2019

    Following Monday’s blaze that devastated Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral, we speak to historian Emma J Wells about the medieval building’s remarkable history and what its future might hold

  • Melvyn Bragg on Heloise and Abelard

    Apr 15 2019

    Renowned author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg discusses the 12th-century French thinkers Peter Abelard and Heloise, and the enduring love story at the centre of his new novel

  • Exploring Britain’s cathedrals

    Apr 11 2019

    Travel writer Christopher Somerville discusses his experiences of visiting some of Britain’s historic cathedrals and explains what they can tell us about the country’s religious past

  • The Scottish Clearances

    Apr 08 2019

    Professor Tom Devine explores one of the most traumatic moments in Scottish history and explains how a number of misconceptions still exist around the Clearances.

  • King John: medieval monster

    Apr 04 2019

    Professor Nicholas Vincent discusses the life and reign of the infamous 13th-century monarch, whose reign saw military disasters abroad and the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.

  • World War Two's 'ordinary' soldiers

    Apr 01 2019

    Military historian Jonathan Fennell discusses his new book, which explores the experiences of citizen soldiers from Britain, its empire and commonwealth in the global battle against the Axis.

  • Rethinking the crusades

    Mar 28 2019

    Historian Nicholas Paul explores some little known aspects of the crusades and also considers why this aspect of medieval history has inspired the far-right. Find out more about his research at: https://medievaldigital.ace.fordham.edu/mapping-projects/oxford-outremer-map-project/

  • The women killed by Jack the Ripper

    Mar 25 2019

    Hallie Rubenhold discusses her new book The Five, which uses the untold stories of Jack the Ripper’s victims to reveal what life was like for working-class women in Victorian London.

  • The global Vikings

    Mar 21 2019

    Medieval historian Levi Roach describes how the Norse people travelled, raided and settled far beyond their Scandinavian homeland, even journeying across the Atlantic to America.

  • Henry VI: terrible king

    Mar 18 2019

    Historian and author Lauren Johnson discusses the life and reign of Henry VI, whose decades on the throne coincided with defeat in the Hundred Years’ War and the disaster of the Wars of the Roses.

  • Churchill's navy

    Mar 14 2019

    Professor Matthew Seligmann describes the changes made by Winston Churchill to the Royal Navy in the years leading up to the First World War – ranging from pay and conditions to discipline and the treatment of homosexuals.

  • Victorian murder scandal

    Mar 11 2019

    Author and biographer Claire Harman talks to us about a 19th-century killing that drew in the literary world, including Dickens and Thackeray.

  • Rutger Bregman: historian in the news

    Mar 07 2019

    We speak to Dutch historian Rutger Bregman, who recently hit the headlines with his appearance at the World Economic Forum and an unaired interview on Fox News. He discusses some of the ideas that caused a global sensation and the role of a historian in the modern world.

  • King George V at war

    Mar 04 2019

    Alexandra Churchill considers the impact of the British monarch on the First World War, and explores the question of whether he could have done more to save his cousin Tsar Nicholas II.

  • Schools through time

    Feb 28 2019

    Former education secretary Alan Johnson discusses the history of schooling since the Victorian era, which is the subject of his new series on BBC Radio 4

  • Bart van Es on The Cut Out Girl

    Feb 25 2019

    Professor Bart van Es talks to us about The Cut Out Girl, which was recently announced as the Costa Book of the Year. He explains how his family took in a young Jewish girl in the Netherlands during the Second World War, and the complex legacy of the traumatic war years for those involved.

  • Medieval warrior queen

    Feb 21 2019

    Historian Catherine Hanley tells the story of Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I whose battle with Stephen for the English throne in the 12th century became known as ‘the anarchy’.

  • A global history of philosophy

    Feb 18 2019

    Philosopher and author Julian Baggini speaks about his new book, How the World Thinks, in conversation with the historian Justin Champion.

  • Love in Georgian times

    Feb 14 2019

    For our Valentine’s Day episode, historian Sally Holloway explores the nature of courtship, love and marriage in 18th-century Britain, highlighting the similarities and differences to the modern day

  • Eric Hobsbawm: history and politics

    Feb 11 2019

    Professor Richard J Evans discusses his new biography of Eric Hobsbawm, the influential 20th-century historian who was famously – and sometimes controversially – a committed Marxist throughout his career

  • The story of modern Japan

    Feb 07 2019

    Dr Christopher Harding explores Japan’s dramatic history over the past 150 years, considering its relationship with the west and the cultural impact of its rapid modernisation

  • War and music

    Feb 04 2019

    BBC broadcaster John Simpson discusses the connections between classical music and some of the most notable events of the mid-20th century, from World War Two to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Bonus Episode: How technology is changing politics

    Feb 02 2019

    In this special edition, produced by our friends from the Science Focus podcast, Jamie Susskind explains how the politics of the future will be shaped by the technology influencing our lives today.

  • A Roman woman of great power

    Jan 31 2019

    Historian Emma Southon explores the extraordinary life of Agrippina the Younger, who was the wife of Claudius, the mother of Nero and the sister of Caligula, as well as being a remarkable woman in her own right.

  • World-changing women

    Jan 28 2019

    Jenni Murray, longstanding presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, discusses her new book, which tells the stories of some of the most fascinating women in global history, from Joan of Arc to Marie Curie and Madonna.

  • Legacies of the Holocaust

    Jan 24 2019

    Historians Mary Fulbrook and Richard J Evans explore the aftermath of the Nazi genocide, looking at how thousands of perpetrators escaped justice and considering how subsequent generations have sought to understand the greatest atrocity of the 20th century

  • Diversity in history

    Jan 21 2019

    Olivette Otele, who recently became Britain’s first black female professor of history, joins Dr Sadiah Qureshi of the University of Birmingham to discuss race and equality in the British historical profession

  • The story of the Hurricane

    Jan 17 2019

    Joel Hammer, producer of the new BBC World Service podcast The Hurricane Tapes, revisits the life of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, the American boxer whose imprisonment for a 1966 triple murder inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film.

  • Mary, Queen of Scots’ tragic life

    Jan 14 2019

    Historian, author and broadcaster Kate Williams tells the dramatic story of the 16th-century Scottish queen and reflects on her doomed relationship with Elizabeth I of England. As part of the conversation, Williams also discusses the upcoming film of Mary’s life

  • The true history of The Favourite

    Jan 10 2019

    Historians Amanda Vickery, Hallie Rubenhold and Hannah Greig discuss the acclaimed new historical drama The Favourite and consider how accurately it reflects the reality of Queen Anne’s court in the early 18th century

  • Remarkable women through history

    Jan 07 2019

    Max Adams, author of Unquiet Women, explores the lives of some remarkable women from history whose stories have been largely forgotten. He also overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible – and explains why women’s history narratives are easy to find, if only you look in the right places

  • Egypt’s lost tombs

    Jan 03 2019

    Egyptologist, author and broadcaster Chris Naunton talks about the search for the resting places of famous Egyptians such as Nefertiti and Cleopatra

  • Medieval civil war

    Dec 31 2018

    Historian, author and broadcaster Nick Barratt explores the dynastic clashes between Henry II and his ambitious sons for control of the Plantagenet crown in the 12th century

  • Indians in World War One

    Dec 27 2018

    Professor Santanu Das explores the experiences of Indians who fought in and were affected by the First World War and explains how he has utilised a wide range of sources to uncover their forgotten stories

  • 2018 Christmas history quiz

    Dec 24 2018

    Join the BBC History Magazine team for the return of our annual Christmas history quiz with questions set by QI writer Justin Pollard. Read the text version at: www.historyextra.com/christmasquiz2018

  • Bess of Hardwick: a Tudor success story

    Dec 20 2018

    Kate Hubbard, biographer of Bess of Hardwick, explores the fascinating life of a Tudor woman who rose from relative obscurity to become one of the richest and most influential people of her age

  • Wonders of the Middle Ages

    Dec 17 2018

    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

    Dec 13 2018

    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

    Dec 10 2018

    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 for slavery and the state of history education in the UK

  • Napoleon: the insecure emperor

    Dec 06 2018

    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

    Dec 03 2018

    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

    Nov 29 2018

    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

    Nov 26 2018

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

  • Hunting Britain’s Nazis

    Nov 22 2018

    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

    Nov 19 2018

    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

    Nov 15 2018

    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

    Nov 12 2018

    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

    Nov 08 2018

    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

    Nov 05 2018

    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

    Nov 01 2018

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

  • The Peterloo Massacre

    Oct 29 2018

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

  • Anglo-Saxon treasures

    Oct 25 2018

    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

    Oct 22 2018

    Diarmaid MacCulloch discusses his new book on the Tudor statesman

  • A new life of Churchill

    Oct 18 2018

    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

    Oct 15 2018

    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

    Oct 11 2018

    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

    Oct 08 2018

    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

    Oct 07 2018

    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 Nazi on the run

    Oct 05 2018

    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

  • The spy who changed the cold war

    Oct 01 2018

    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

    Sep 27 2018

    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

    Sep 24 2018

    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?

    Sep 20 2018

    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

    Sep 17 2018

    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

    Sep 13 2018

    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

    Sep 10 2018

    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?

    Sep 06 2018

    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

    Sep 03 2018

    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

    Aug 30 2018

    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

    Aug 28 2018

    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

    Aug 23 2018

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

  • Captain Cook’s Endeavour

    Aug 20 2018

    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

    Aug 17 2018

    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

    Aug 16 2018

    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

    Aug 15 2018

    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

    Aug 14 2018

    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

    Aug 13 2018

    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-known historical figures.

  • Britons under Nazi rule

    Aug 09 2018

    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

    Aug 06 2018

    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

    Aug 02 2018

    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.

  • The Tommies’ final acts

    Jul 30 2018

    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

  • Catholics in Elizabethan England

    Jul 26 2018

    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

    Jul 23 2018

    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

    Jul 19 2018

    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

    Jul 16 2018

    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

    Jul 12 2018

    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

    Jul 09 2018

    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

    Jul 05 2018

    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

    Jul 02 2018

    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

    Jun 28 2018

    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

    Jun 25 2018

    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

    Jun 21 2018

    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

    Jun 18 2018

    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

    Jun 14 2018

    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

    Jun 11 2018

    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

    Jun 07 2018

    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

    Jun 04 2018

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

  • America’s changing dream

    May 31 2018

    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

    May 29 2018

    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

  • Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s favourite queen

    May 24 2018

    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

    May 21 2018

    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

    May 17 2018

    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

    May 14 2018

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

  • The Entebbe raid

    May 10 2018

    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

    May 07 2018

    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

    May 03 2018

    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?

    Apr 30 2018

    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

    Apr 26 2018

    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

    Apr 23 2018

    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

    Apr 19 2018

    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

    Apr 16 2018

    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

    Apr 12 2018

    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

    Apr 09 2018

    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

    Apr 05 2018

    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

    Apr 03 2018

    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

    Mar 29 2018

    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

  • Opposing the Nazis

    Mar 26 2018

    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

  • The history of today

    Mar 22 2018

    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

    Mar 19 2018

    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

    Mar 15 2018

    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

    Mar 12 2018

    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

    Mar 08 2018

    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

    Mar 05 2018

    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

    Mar 01 2018

    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

  • Science and suffrage

    Feb 26 2018

    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

  • The Terracotta Warriors

    Feb 22 2018

    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

    Feb 19 2018

    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

    Feb 15 2018

    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

    Feb 12 2018

    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

    Feb 08 2018

    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

    Feb 05 2018

    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

    Feb 01 2018

    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

    Jan 29 2018

    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

    Jan 25 2018

    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

    Jan 22 2018

    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

    Jan 18 2018

    John Bennett delves into the dark history of disorder and lawlessness in London’s East EndFrom 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

    Jan 15 2018

    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

    Jan 11 2018

    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

    Jan 08 2018

    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.

  • Hamilton: the man behind the musical

    Jan 04 2018

    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.

  • Churchill’s darkest hour

    Jan 02 2018

    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

    Dec 28 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

    Dec 25 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

  • Alfred the Great and science at Christmas

    Dec 21 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 Christmas Lectures in the company of the writer and marine biologist Helen Scales

  • The origins of civilisation

    Dec 18 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

    Dec 14 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

  • Eating with Dickens

    Dec 11 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

    Dec 07 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

    Dec 04 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

    Nov 30 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

    Nov 27 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

    Nov 23 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

    Nov 20 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 foes

  • Demons and shipwrecks

    Nov 16 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-century warship.

  • Drinking history

    Nov 13 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

    Nov 09 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 World War

  • The Last Kamikazes

    Nov 06 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

    Nov 02 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

    Oct 30 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

    Oct 26 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

    Oct 23 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

    Oct 19 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 screen

  • Living with the Gods

    Oct 16 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

    Oct 12 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

    Oct 09 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

    Oct 05 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

    Oct 02 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 parallels with the present day

  • Tales of war

    Sep 28 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

    Sep 25 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

    Sep 21 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

    Sep 18 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

    Sep 14 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

    Sep 11 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

    Sep 07 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

    Sep 04 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?

    Aug 31 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

    Aug 29 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

    Aug 24 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 countries

  • Migrating to Britain

    Aug 21 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

    Aug 17 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

    Aug 14 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

    Aug 10 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

    Aug 07 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

    Aug 03 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

    Jul 31 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

    Jul 27 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

    Jul 24 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 early 20th centuries

  • The English in America

    Jul 20 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 the New World

  • Germany’s World War Two

    Jul 18 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

  • Voices of the Cold War

    Jul 13 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

    Jul 10 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

  • Hans Sloane and the British Museum

    Jul 06 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

  • Female flyers in Nazi Germany

    Jul 03 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

    Jun 29 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

    Jun 22 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

    Jun 15 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

  • Medieval manuscripts and the First World War

    Jun 08 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 wartime incidents that he has researched for the programme

  • The Six-Day War and the Great Fire of London

    Jun 01 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 the most interesting aspects of the 1666 inferno, which is explored in his new Channel 5 TV series

  • Civil wars and Restoration England

    May 25 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 following Charles II’s Restoration – a time of sweeping changes throughout society

  • England’s bloody Reformation

    May 18 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

    May 11 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 Lennox, who had one of the most colourful lives of the Tudor age

  • Martin Luther and the making of the USA

    May 04 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 United States

  • The Islamic enlightenment

    Apr 27 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

    Apr 20 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 details the killing of several Native Americans in the 1920s and the subsequent investigation by the FBI

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

    Apr 13 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

    Apr 06 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 the SS Mendi disaster, which saw hundreds of South Africans drown off the coast of England in 1917

  • Women in popular history

    Mar 30 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

  • Blitzkrieg

    Mar 23 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

    Mar 16 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 oil tanker ran aground in 1967

  • Postwar occupations and Raleigh bicycles

    Mar 09 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 Pedalling Dreams, which charts the history of the iconic Raleigh bicycle

  • The Reformation

    Mar 02 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

    Feb 23 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 her Indian teacher Abdul Karim

  • The roots of modern rage

    Feb 16 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

    Feb 09 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 century

  • The Russian revolution and myths of ancient Egypt

    Feb 02 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

    Jan 26 2017

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

  • The Battle of Britain

    Jan 19 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 Two.

  • A history of Istanbul

    Jan 12 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

    Jan 05 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

    Dec 29 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

    Dec 22 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

    Dec 15 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

    Dec 08 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

    Dec 01 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

    Nov 24 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

    Nov 17 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 era of rationing

  • The wartime SAS and Hitler’s drug addiction

    Nov 10 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 sensational book Blitzed highlights the astonishing extent of drug use in the Third Reich

  • Black British history and Charles I’s children

    Nov 03 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

    Oct 27 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

    Oct 24 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 figures she's chosen for her new book A History of Britain in 21 Women

  • The Norman Conquest

    Oct 13 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

    Oct 06 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 Petrograd who witnessed the year’s revolutionary events

  • Historical television and the battle of Flodden

    Sep 29 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 victorious and how grievous a blow was the death of Scottish king James IV?

  • Women in politics and Robinson Crusoe

    Sep 22 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

    Sep 15 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

    Sep 08 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 of accuracy in historical drama.

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

    Sep 01 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 Great Fire of London

    Aug 25 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 took place after the Great Fire and, later, following the Blitz

  • The Suez crisis and the north of England

    Aug 18 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 of the north of England

  • The 1920s: Roaring or tame?

    Aug 11 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

    Aug 04 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

    Jul 29 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

    Jul 21 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

    Jul 14 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

    Jul 07 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

    Jun 30 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 the Somme anniversary on the programme.

  • The Radium Girls and the cotton revolution

    Jun 23 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

    Jun 16 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

    Jun 09 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

    Jun 02 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

    May 26 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

    May 19 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

    May 12 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 world as part of the lucrative Victorian tea trade.

  • Sykes-Picot and a 17th-century polymath

    May 05 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 amazing adventures of Sir Kenelm Digby.

  • The history of consumerism and Chinese philosophy

    Apr 28 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

    Apr 21 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

    Apr 14 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 media

  • Charles II and an Atlantic experiment

    Apr 07 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 ago

  • The Dissolution and a forgotten colony

    Mar 31 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

    Mar 24 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 Mind

  • The Easter Rising and a Victorian heyday

    Mar 17 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

    Mar 10 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

    Mar 03 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 great landscape designer Capability Brown.

  • Middle East history special

    Feb 25 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 Tom Asbridge to explore the events of the Third Crusade, which pitted Saladin against Richard the Lionheart

  • Verdun and the Renaissance

    Feb 18 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 his new BBC Four series The Renaissance Unchained

  • Benjamin Franklin in London

    Feb 11 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

    Feb 04 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

    Jan 28 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 one of Britain’s most powerful legends

  • A global view of history

    Jan 21 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

    Jan 14 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 project that uses modern forensic techniques to analyse medieval seals

  • The amazing history of Egypt

    Jan 07 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

    Dec 31 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 during the World War Two siege of Leningrad

  • 2015 Christmas history quiz

    Dec 24 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

    Dec 17 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

    Dec 10 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 extraordinary species that have changed our world

  • The Battle of the Atlantic and the history of Spain

    Dec 03 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

    Nov 26 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 sought unlikely Olympic glory.

  • The Peasants’ Revolt and a Cold War spy

    Nov 19 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.

  • Ancient Rome special

    Nov 12 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 Cicero

  • The end of the Cold War and British culture

    Nov 05 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 BBC TV series Let Us Entertain You, which highlights Britain’s postwar cultural successes

  • World War Two spies and an extraordinary naturalist

    Oct 29 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 centuries

  • The Last Kingdom and Agincourt

    Oct 28 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

    Oct 15 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

    Oct 08 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 General Wolfe’s death

  • New views on the Holocaust and 1980s Britain

    Oct 01 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

    Sep 24 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

    Sep 18 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

    Sep 10 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

    Sep 03 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 on many different aspects of British society. 

  • Killing Mussolini

    Aug 27 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 Malmesbury, and to buy tickets, click here. 

  • Ancient cities and the Norman conquest

    Aug 20 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 consolidated their rule in England. 

  • Crusade logistics and the battle over the slave trade

    Aug 13 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

    Aug 06 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 Britons in World War One. 

  • Ancient thinkers and the history of madness

    Jul 30 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: Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity.

  • Witch trials and feuding queens

    Jul 23 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 Valois in the 16th century. 

  • Anglo-Saxon saints and British slave-owners

    Jul 16 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 episode includes an audio version of an article from our August 2015 magazine.

  • Regency scandal and the history of canals

    Jul 09 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 Britain. 

  • India at war and mining accidents

    Jul 02 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 of miners with injuries and disabilities in the 19th century.

  • Terror in Elizabethan England

    Jun 25 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 by Dominic Sandbrook.

  • Waterloo 200 special

    Jun 18 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 of a recent article on the tragic ascent of the Matterhorn.

  • The real King John and the BBC in World War Two

    Jun 11 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 upcoming TV series, BBC at War.

  • Queen Victoria at home and a new Civil War museum

    Jun 04 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 discovers how the 17th-century conflict is being presented to visitors.

  • The Battle of the Bulge and children of the Holocaust

    May 28 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 gave birth while in Nazi captivity. 

  • The history of India and a terrible explosion

    May 21 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 that caused great loss of life just before the battle of the Somme.

  • Wolfson History Prize 2015 special

    May 14 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

    May 07 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 with surviving veterans of the conflict. 

  • Magna Carta and the Holocaust

    Apr 30 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 how these events impacted on all those involved.

  • Medieval universities and an unlikely friendship

    Apr 23 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 Whistler and the author Edith Olivier. Plus, we continue our First World War oral history series.

  • Gallipoli and famine

    Apr 16 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 cannibalism.

  • Saladin and suffragettes

    Apr 09 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

    Apr 02 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 Rome.

  • The history of immigration

    Mar 26 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

    Mar 19 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 discoveries have changed our view of the king. Meanwhile, Alexandra Buckle of Oxford University, explains how her research will inform the reinterment ceremony.

  • Food from the past and the history of illegitimacy

    Mar 12 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 looks at the stigma that often used to be faced by unmarried mothers and their children.

  • Shakespeare and war in the Middle East

    Mar 05 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 World War led to its downfall.

  • The life of Keynes and a trip to Ancient Greece

    Feb 26 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 questions about the Greek world

  • The Peasants’ Revolt

    Feb 19 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

    Feb 12 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 streets at night over the centuries.

  • Life in the workhouse and British biographies

    Feb 05 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 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

  • Elizabeth I and an unlikely suffragette

    Jan 29 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 went to to campaign for women’s rights

  • Debating British monarchy

    Jan 22 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

    Jan 15 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-century English king who never sat on the throne and his friendship with William Marshal, famed as ‘the greatest knight’.

  • Wolf Hall and medieval civil war

    Jan 08 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, which played an important role in the 12th-century battle for England’s throne between King Stephen and Empress Matilda.

  • Stalin’s early years and Mein Kampf

    Jan 01 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 notorious book, Mein Kampf.

  • Christmas podcast quiz

    Dec 24 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

    Dec 18 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

    Dec 11 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 of British agents in the adventure.

  • The North Sea and Bronze Age remains

    Dec 04 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 Francis Pryor to discover what the site tells us about life in Bronze Age Britain

  • Revolutions in Europe and forensics in history

    Nov 27 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 scientific techniques that have been used to catch criminals in the past

  • Science fiction and dancing in history

    Nov 13 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

    Nov 06 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 London in the company of Professor Ronald Hutton, to discuss the Restoration

  • The Gunpowder Plot and the First World War

    Oct 30 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

    Oct 23 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 discusses some surprising tales from the past, including the story of Adolf Hitler’s drug addictions. To read an extract from Milton's book, click here.

  • Georgian gardens and historical fiction

    Oct 16 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 continue our First World War series with memories of November 1914

  • The battle of Agincourt and the Spanish communists

    Oct 09 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

    Oct 02 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

    Sep 25 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 progress has made us happier

  • Hunting the regicides and the Chartist movement

    Sep 18 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 cottage in Worcestershire to discover more about Chartism

  • Fresh views on the Wars of the Roses

    Sep 11 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 things.

  • Thomas Cromwell’s fall from grace

    Sep 04 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 1914

  • George III and the art of anatomy

    Aug 28 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 describes the connections between anatomical study and great works of art.

  • The long history of the Crusades

    Aug 21 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

    Aug 14 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 resistance to the Nazis in occupied and Vichy France during the Second World War

  • The global First World War

    Aug 07 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

    Jul 31 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 Central Powers were overcome by the Allies. Meanwhile, we continue our series of extracts from interviews with veterans of the war, this time focusing on the month the conflict broke out.

  • Richard III and dirty Tudors

    Jul 24 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 Tudor England when trying to keep their cities clean and hygienic.  

  • The World War Two French resistance and British holidays

    Jul 17 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 Charlotte Hodgman, to explore Britain's interwar holiday boom.

  • Cold War smuggling and First World War veterans

    Jul 10 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 interviews with First World War veterans – recorded by the Imperial War Museum – retired parachutist Dolly Shepherd, reservist George Ashurst and Royal Navy seaman George Wainford take us back to July 1914: Franz Ferdinand is dead, and...more

  • Delphi and the Spanish empire

    Jul 03 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 just completed the third volume of his trilogy of books on the Spanish empire, about how Spain managed to rule vast territories during the 16th century

  • Finance and war

    Jun 26 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 first hand reminiscences from the First World War

  • English gardens and Latin American football

    Jun 19 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

    Jun 12 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 series with audio clips of interviews with veterans of the conflict.

  • Wolfson History Prize special

    Jun 03 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 writing popular history.

  • D-Day and the Wars of the Roses

    May 29 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 a visit to Tewkesbury Abbey, which was a pivotal location in the 15th-century Wars of the Roses.

  • Roman slavery and the man who started the First World War

    May 22 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

    May 15 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 revolutionary period.

  • Thomas Malthus and Wilkie Collins

    May 08 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're joined by Andrew Lycett, the latest biographer of the Victorian thriller writer Wilkie Collins, whose own life was also filled with secrets.

  • Victorian burials and the history of psychology

    May 01 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 In Search of Ourselves, about the history of psychology.

  • The value of war and the rail revolution

    Apr 24 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 travel was born.

  • African history special

    Apr 17 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 Casely-Hayford reveals the amazing historical achievements of the inhabitants of Timbuktu in Mali, in a talk that was given at our 2013 History Weekend festival in Malmesbury.

  • Lawrence of Arabia and the Romanov sisters

    Apr 10 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 Rappaport, author of a new book on the private lives of the four daughters of Nicholas II of Russia, who would eventually all be murdered by the Bolsheviks.

  • Britain in the 1970s

    Apr 03 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?

    Mar 27 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

    Mar 20 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

    Mar 13 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'

    Mar 06 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

    Feb 27 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

    Feb 20 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

    Feb 13 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

    Feb 06 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

    Jan 30 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

    Jan 23 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

    Jan 17 2014

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

  • Britain in 1914 and Jesus in history

    Jan 09 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

    Jan 02 2014

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

  • The Black Death and Tudor adventurers

    Dec 27 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

    Dec 19 2013

    Test your history knowledge with our annual Christmas podcast quiz

  • Nelson Mandela special

    Dec 12 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

    Dec 05 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

    Nov 28 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

    Nov 21 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

    Nov 14 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

    Nov 07 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