All the podcasts on this page in my humble opinion are well worth listening to. And I should say that does NOT mean that if they are not here they are not worth listening to! If you see what I mean. Anyway, I have however divi’d them up a bit now that there are a lot of them.
Pax Britannica: The Rise of a Global Empire by Sam Hume
The British Empire is increasingly conflicted history of course and increasingly becoming a political and cultural football. Sp you need a reliable and trustworthy friend to take you through it. Sam is just such a person – an academic, professional historian with all the commitment to objectivity and understanding that implies. He’s also a wordsmith, so you will enjoy his style and turn of phrase. He does start from the very beginning it has to be said, with Elizabethan Ireland. but it;s a great period anyway.
Empire podcast by Anita Anand & William Dalyrmple
I came to this expecting to hate it, for slightly petty reasons; I’d seen a couple of throwaway comments by Dalyrmple about the reformation which were so silly as to make me distrust his commitment to accuracy. But it’s very much won me other; both are very good – Anand is a journalist, presenter and author, Dalrymple written many books on India. It’s a bit clunky to begin with, but then it gets going and the pair of them have great knowledge, work brilliantly together and the content is very good indeed.
1666 and All That by Miranda Malins and Paul Lay
A podcast about the frankly wildly fascinating 17th Century in the British Isles and Ireland. Miranmda is a historical novelist and very articulate; Paul is the editor of a History magazine and history author to boot. So both know their stuff. It’s just started at the time of writing, so they are just finding their feet a bit in terms of interaction, but the content is really good and it’s definitely worth sticking with.
Christopher has a great voice for podcasts, and again a great passion for his subject. Much of what he podcasts about is cultural – Gin culture for example – as well as political and economic. Plus he’s just getting onto empire at the time of writing, which will of course be interesting!
It’s a different approach and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy it. It’s a two-blokes-in-a-pub, light-hearted format marking all England’s monarchs and deciding if they have the Rex Factor or not. But actually the work behind it is impressive. Also, the podcast predates mone, and so has been with me all the way through, like an old pair of slippers.
The British History Podcast by Jamie Jeffers
Slightly irritatingly, Jamie has essentially cornered the market for British history. People love his style, his humour, and his passion for the subject. He’s built great communities around the podcast too, so you can join loads of other people. Definitely worth trying out, if you haven’t done so already.
The History of English by Kevin Stroud
The story of the development of the English language is fascinating – like any language I guess, but hey it’s my language. So I was delighted to find Kevin’s new podcast. It’s got loads of depth, and is much broader than just English, some of the episodes are pure genius. Also I met him a few years ago and had a bite to eat, and he’s a very nice bloke. .
Magazine & General
Rest is History by Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook
This has been a runaway success and you can understand why. Both are very good, published historians, and Tom in particular has a very wide range of expertise. Their output is extraordinarily vast and varied, they get on well together so the episodes flow really well, and the content is great. Their approach to history is of a traditional hue, but objective.
The History of European Theatre Podcast by Philip Rowe
I have learned so much from this podcast, and it’s really well told. Philip clearly loves his subject and was also kind enough to do a guest episode on the History of Eng;land, so he must be good. if the suvhect interests you, definitely worth checking out
I had avoided putting on the BBC series, just on the basis that I’m sure everyone knows them anyway. But I supposed I should put them up for completeness. So this one is my favourite; Melvyn Bragg the presenter has become something of a national institution in the UK and he is very good. Because it’s the BBC, it means that the contributors are excellent, the subjects great, and of course the production top notch. So it should be a first port of call.
The same applies to this really – Matthew Paris is also an excellent presenter. The Lives they pick are a bit eclectic, so you have to pick and choose, but when they fall in an area you are interested in, they are superb.
The podcast is a very good range – a series of interviews with people, usually the authors of articles in the magazine. The articles are thought provoking is the thing – and gives you a subject to take forward, or gives a different perspective, and the interviewees are very expert. Honestly, the interviewing and format isn’t wildly good, but you can cherry pick.
Revolutions by Mike Duncan
I was slightly conflicted when this came out, and am getting more so. I really enjoyed THOR, and Revolutions is equally good; It’s pretty thorough, but as ever Mike’s very good at finding the stporyline and picking what’s interesting, without getting bogged down. So that’s great, yes? Well yes and no. It’s one of my favourite periods, and I have no idea how I am going to improve on the way Mike’s done it. Anyway, it’s really good, and is now a staple for me, though now coming to an end.
When Diplomacy Fails by Zack Twambley.
Zack did a guest appearance, with a great podcast on Bannockburn, so you’ll know him anyway. It’s a great idea for a podcast, and allows him to pick all the most dramatic conflicts in world history; but it’s much more than just the wars themselves. Zack mixes it up a bit as well, with some conversational episodes. The style is very upbeat and conversational.
The Maritime History podcast by Brandon Huebner
I do love boats and stuff, and so was very excited when I saw this podcast. It then took me absolutely ages to get round to listening to it, but when I did it is a joy and a delight; a soft spoken host, who speaks with great clarity and authority; and a nice website which made me jealous. Very much worth a try.
The History of Rome by Mike Duncan
Like many others, I love this ‘award winning’ podcast. Mike’s delivery is dry and witty, pitched at the perfect level for the amater, enthusiastic, ever-so-slightly geeky historian. I listened to this for a few months then though maybe I could copy/rip off/plagiarise/be inspired and do my own thing along the lines. And the rest is history … podcasting . . .
The Egyptian History Podcast by Dominic Perry
I was so pleased to have found this – since THOR it’s seemed to me that there are two obvious candidates for podcasts – Ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. And so here’s one of them – and it is really good. Dominic Perry clearly knows his stuff, he speaks really well, there’s some personality that comes through – so basically I am very confident this will be in my shortish list of ‘I-must- listen-to-these-if-none-others’ list. Really good.
The Ancient World by Scott C
Now this is a really good one; a survey of the ancient world, which in this idiom means from the earliest civilisations to about 500BC. Apparently it’s going to be done in 15 episodes, so that’s an impressive coverage! The pace is really good, Scott’s reading is clear and engaging. The content though is the real thing about this podcast; it’s not stuff I know much about so it’s really fascinating. Give it a go, it’s excellent.
The History of Byzantium by Robin Pierson
Robin Pierson bravely took up the challenge of carrying on where the History of Rome left off. As soon as you hear Robin’s delivery you feel in the hands of a professional, with a superbly professional and clear delivery. I’ve just listened to some excellent scene setting episodes about the city of Constantinople which were fascinating.
The History of Witchcraft by Sam Hume
This is a great topic, and Sam does a great job of using sources to add reality, and fortunately includes critical evidence such as Monty Python sketches. It takes a cultural perspective as well, to explain what lay behind the growth of Witchcraft.
The Romance of 3 Kingdoms Podcast by John Zhu
A wonderfully narrated podcast, with dry wit mixed with love of the subject, cl;early a passion from an early age. Its a retelling of an ancient historical text, full of stratagems and battles and under hand dealings to gain power and glory, A really good listen, though you might miss the odd name here and there!
The History of Philosophy (without any gaps)
There are some ambitious podcast projects out there and no mistake – but I think this one has got to be the winner. We got to episode 53, and just got past Aristotle… I have to admit that I found the first 2 or 3 a bit slow, but after Heraclitus I really found myself enjoying it. The style is definitely academic, but engaging and constantly witty and relaxed. He gets some other people to contribute as well, so there’s a nice variety. But you’ve got to be really interested in philosophy!