There are 59 episodes

Episode one logo Episode One: Blackbeard (Radio Edit)
This is an Episodic show. You can listen to it in any order, but episode one is always a great place to start.

Created by: BBC Radio4

UK 6-1011+

Started: November 14th, 2020

Status: Active, 59 episodes

Kind: Episodic

Language: English

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Emma of Normandy (Radio Edit)
00:28:11 | June 21st, 2024

Greg Jenner is joined by Professor Elizabeth Tyler and comedian Jen Brister in early medieval England to learn all about Queen Emma of Normandy. Emma was wife to two English kings – Aethelred and Cnut – and mother to two more, Harthacnut and Edward the Confessor. She was a key player in the complex politics of 11th-Century England, and symbolised the overlapping English, Norman and Scandinavian identities at play in England even before the Norman conquest of 1066. This episode traces Emma’s life from her childhood in Normandy, through her marriages to the English Aethelred and Danish Cnut, and into her final years as mother to the king. Along the way, it explores Emma’s political savvy, and the messy family relationships that shaped early medieval English history.

The Inca Empire (Radio Edit)
00:28:09 | June 14th, 2024

Greg Jenner is joined by Professor Bill Sillar and comedian Sue Perkins to learn all about the South American Inca empire. At their height, the Inca controlled a vast territory from their base in Peru, one that stretched down the mountainous west coast of the continent, from Ecuador all the way down to Argentina. But the empire barely lasted for a century. Beginning in the mid-15th Century, it fell in the 1530s with the arrival of Spanish conquistadores, led by Pizarro. This episode goes beyond famous sites like Machu Picchu and explores all aspects of Incan life, death – and taxes! Along the way, it takes in social and family structures, food and drink, religious practices, art and architecture. [The podcast version of this episode has been edited slightly to amend an incorrect reference to the weight of the stones carried from Cuzco to Ecuador]

The Queen of Sheba (Radio Edit)
00:28:14 | June 7th, 2024

Greg Jenner is joined by Dr Jillian Stinchcomb and comedian Sadia Azmat to learn all about the legendary Queen of Sheba. From her first appearance in the Hebrew Bible, the Queen of Sheba has fascinated Jewish, Muslim and Christian writers. But do we know anything about her as a historical figure? And how has her story been told, used and reinterpreted throughout history? This episode traces the legends written about the Queen of Sheba across Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 600 BCE to today, exploring the ambiguous and contradictory depictions of her as a wise and powerful ruler, an exoticised and seductive woman, the founding member of an Ethiopian royal dynasty, and a possible half-demon!

The History of Bollywood (Radio Edit)
00:28:32 | May 31st, 2024

In this episode, Greg Jenner is joined by Professor Sunny Singh and broadcaster Poppy Jay to learn all about the history of Indian cinema, colloquially known as Bollywood. Filmmaking technology arrived in India in 1896, only six months after the Lumiere brothers debuted their invention in Paris. Nowadays, over 700 films are released in India every year, and it is the most popular cinema in the world, reaching over a billion more viewers a year than Hollywood. From the first Indian film in 1913, through the arrival of ‘talkies’ and colour in the 1930s, to its incredible success today, this episode explores the vibrant history of Bollywood, and the way it has reflected and shaped modern Indian society and politics.

Simón Bolívar (Radio Edit)
00:28:22 | May 24th, 2024

Greg Jenner is joined by historian Dr Francisco Eissa-Barroso and comedian Katie Green to learn all about the complicated life and legacy of 19th-Century South American revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar. Bolívar liberated six modern countries from Spanish colonial rule, but also had himself appointed president for life, and argued that popular elections had led to the failure of earlier revolutions. Taking in Bolívar’s political philosophy, scandalous personal relationships, and constant military struggles to liberate and unify South America, this episode explores the life, times, and legend of this complex man.

Madam C.J. Walker (Radio Edit)
00:28:20 | May 17th, 2024

In this episode, Greg Jenner is joined by Professor Noliwe Rooks and comedian Athena Kugblenu to learn all about the life and business savvy of 19th-century Black American haircare entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker. After working as a sales agent for another haircare brand, Walker founded her own company, selling products to help Black women look after their hair and becoming incredibly wealthy in the process. But how did she make so much money, and what did she spend it on? From impoverished beginnings to a lavish villa in New York, via her charitable and political work, this episode charts Walker’s journey to becoming the first self-made woman millionaire in American history.

Pythagoras (Radio Edit)
00:28:21 | May 10th, 2024

In this episode, Greg Jenner is joined by Professor Edith Hall and comedian Desiree Burch to learn about ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. Pythagoras is famous in maths classes everywhere for his triangle theorem, but surprisingly little is known about his actual life, and his theorem was actually invented by Babylonian mathematicians centuries before he was born! This episode explores the myths and legends that grew up in the ancient world about Pythagoras’s life in the centuries after his death.

The Bloomsbury Group (Radio Edit)
00:28:09 | May 3rd, 2024

Greg Jenner is joined by Dr Jane Goldman and comedian Suzi Ruffell as he travels back a century to1920s London to learn all about the members of the Bloomsbury Group. A collection of intellectuals and artists active in London in the early 20th Century, the Bloomsbury Group included such luminaries as Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and John Maynard Keynes. From their origins at the University of Cambridge to their bohemian lifestyle in London in the 1910s and 20s, and taking in their political work, artistic output, and boundary-pushing relationships, this episode explores the lives, loves and cultural impact of Bloomsbury Group members.

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What’s not to love about finding out about chocolate, whilst eating chocolate, and, er, drinking it.


by Orange One

Created by: BBC Radio4
Started: November 14th, 2020
Status: Active, 59 episodes
Kind: Episodic
Language: English

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