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Author and historian Guy Walters presents a Mail+ history podcast talking to top experts on stories from the past which still have an impact on our lives today
May 13, 2021
The real Game of Thrones: The true story of John of Gaunt
Even today, there are pubs and a horse race named after John of Gaunt, a 14th century prince and warrior who rose to become one of the most powerful men in England, and whose son would return from exile to claim the throne, and found the House of Lancaster. Author and historian Guy Walters talks to Helen Carr, author of The Red Prince, on how John of Gaunt schemed his way through a real-world game of thrones, becoming the forefather of all English kings and queens. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 6, 2021
Hitler's hoard: The real place where looted Nazi treasures still lie hidden
From half a billion buried in a Polish palace to submarines full of glittering loot, ‘lost Nazi gold’ is an urban myth which refuses to die - but there IS one place where there genuinely is a huge amount of Nazi treasure still waiting to be discovered. Author and historian Guy Walters talks to World War 2 expert James Holland on why most hoards of Nazi treasure are never found - and where the thugs of the Third Reich REALLY hid their loot (so safely that it’s still there today). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 29, 2021
The real enigma: Why every story you have heard about Alan Turing is a lie, by Dermot Turing
Alan Turing was the oddball genius who single-handledly broke the Enigma code, ended World War II, and was hounded to death by the ungrateful authorities over his homosexuality… right? Wrong, says his nephew Dermot Turing, who tells author and historian Guy Walters that his uncle’s story has been seriously distorted to fit in with modern-day obsessions - and that the story told in films such as The Imitation Game risks masking many of Alan Turing’s real achievements in the field of computer science. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 22, 2021
'Never greater slaughter': The ancient battle which spelt life or death for the English
In the year 937, the idea of Englishness came close to being wiped off the face of the Earth as four armies faced off against the shield wall of the Anglo-Saxon king Athelstan in a brutal battle which left thousands dead. Author and historian Guy Walters talks to author Michael Livingston about why the Battle of Brunanburh was so pivotal for the English - and why the battle arouses such strong passions today that Livingstone had death threats after suggesting a location where it may have taken place. (Photo: Richard Cutts) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 18, 2021
Crumbs! The curious history of a very British treat - the biscuit
From its origins in Mesopotamia in 3,000 BC, the history of Britain’s favourite tea-time snack takes many surprising turns - from biscuit recipes made by alchemists, to sponge fingers dipped in wine by aristocrats. Author and historian Guy Walters talks to biscuit guru Elizabeth Collingham about the history of a treat which Britain eats more of than any country on Earth (and how eating Custard Creams was once seen as daringly cutting-edge). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 8, 2021
The real Great Escape: The very different true story behind the stirring Hollywood tale
It was one of World War II’s most daring escapes, where dozens of POWs attempted to crawl to freedom down tunnels built under the noses of their German guards - and the 1963 Steve McQueen film became a cherished Bank Holiday favourite in Britain. But what was the real story? Author and historian Guy Walters reveals why the reality of the escape from Stalag Luft III was VERY different (and why not everyone in the camp wanted to escape in the first place). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 5, 2021
The swords and the stone: The tiny bead which tells us so much about the Vikings
A small reddish-orange bead unearthed in a Viking grave in Derbyshire reveals that the Scandinavian sailors were far more than brutal warriors who loved raiding British monasteries. Author and historian Guy Walters talks to bioarchaeologist Dr Cat Jarman, who reveals how the bead helped her unravel how the Vikings engaged with the East just as much as the West, sailing across Russia by river boat and even travelling to Baghdad. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 27, 2021
Heil school: The Nazi finishing school in East Sussex (and other British friends of the Third Reich)
A new film tells the story of a villa in Bexhill-on-Sea which played host to an extraordinary finishing school, where the children of elite Nazis such as Himmler and von Ribbentrop learned English (while doing Nazi salutes and celebrating the Fuhrer’s birthday). Author and historian Guy Walters talks to author Adrian Weale on why the school existed at all - and the inglorious history of British believers who supported Hitler and the Third Reich. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 19, 2021
That woman: The real story of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII
Wallis Simpson became the most hated woman in Britain after King Edward VIII gave up his throne for her and left the country (in a move with echoes in today’s Royal Family). Author and historian Guy Walters asks biographer Anne Sebba how alike Wallis and Meghan Markle really are - and whether we can learn any lessons from the 1936 abdication crisis as the Royal family is once again rocked by the arrival of an American woman. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 13, 2021
Two minutes to midnight: How the human race came close to the brink in 1953
As America tested the first hydrogen bomb - capable of flattening entire cities - the Cold War entered a new and deadly phase, with the Soviets, America and Britain racing to build weapons of mass destruction (including secret tests of deadly nerve agents) - and the Doomsday Clock set to two minutes to midnight for the first time. Guy Walters talks to author Roger Hermiston about why 1953 could have spelt the end of the human race. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 6, 2021
How my grandfather walked out of the 'escape-proof' POW camp Colditz, by Sebastian Neave
It was one of the most daring escapes of World War II: when Airey Neave walked out through the gates of Colditz, the ultra-secure camp used to house the most notorious escapers among the Allied forces. His grandson, Sebastian Neave, tells author and historian Guy Walters about his grandfather’s epic journey to freedom - and how he went on to play a key role in the trial of Nazi war criminals at Nuremeberg. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 27, 2021
Digging deeper: Are there other treasure hoards like Sutton Hoo waiting to be found in Britain?
In the first of a brilliant new podcast series, author and historian Guy Walters asks whether there could be other hoards of buried treasure out there waiting to be found - like the Sutton Hoo treasure in hit Netflix film ‘The Dig’. Guy talks to Professor Mark Horton about the telltale signs on earth mounds which hint at riches within, and about the undiscovered hoards buried across England - including the lost treasure of English ruler King Penda, a brutal warlord from the 7th Century. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 4, 2021
Jab wars: The long, strange history of the anti-vaccine movement
Long before the word ‘vaccine’ existed, campaigners battled against the life-saving new technology, spewing lies which sound eerily familiar from today’s online anti-vaxxers. Historian Nigel Jones talks to presenter Jenny Longden about how the anti-vaccine movement began at almost the very moment a country doctor, Edward Jenner, noticed that milkmaids were immune to smallpox and tested a truly revolutionary idea - and how this offers lessons for us today. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 4, 2020
History Now: Churchill and ‘The Prof’
Historian Nigel Jones talks to presenter Jenny Longden in the first of an enthralling new series of history podcasts from Mail Plus. It's a situation with fascinating parallels to today: a Prime Minister hanging on the words of a widely loathed intellectual. Winston Churchill’s friendship with his controversial chief scientist, Frederick Lindemann - a statistical genius known as ‘The Prof’ - led to daily meetings, deadly gadgets such as ‘sticky bombs’, and, eventually, to a tragedy which cost hundreds of thousands of lives. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.