History podcasts

The Archaeology Channel

Weekly updates.

The British History Podcast

Excellent, in depth, insightful. Includes discussion of the original sources, their context, and how we should interpret them. It’s like listening to a story.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

There are two or three history podcasts that other producers talk about as a reason for starting their own podcast. This is one of them. It’s absolutely brilliant. Dan Carlin produces occasional, but hugely in-depth podcasts on a range of historical topics. He shines a light in the corners where others don’t go, and equates the history to now, with lessons for now, giving you a sense of the past as something real, not just an academic exercise.

Dan Snow’s History Hit

Dan is the son of Jon Snow, the broadcaster. Dan has an infectious enthusiasm for history, and each podcast he has an engaging conversation with someone doing some historical work.

History Extra – BBC

This is the podcast accompaniment to the BBC History magazine. Each week there’s an interview with an author.

In Our Time, History – BBC

Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time has been going for many years on the BBC, covering a broad range of topics. This feed pulls out the history episodes. Melvyn chairs a panel of three experts as they discuss the chosen topic.

Making History – BBC

The History of Rome

This Podcast by Mike Duncan is one of those that others quote as an inspiration for their own podcasts. It’s brilliant. Duncan has also now published a book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic which is a New York Times Bestseller.

Revolutions

This is what Mike Duncan went on to when he finished with Rome. Looks in depth at different revolutions throughout history.

The History of Byzantium

This excellent podcast continues the story of the Roman empire from where Mike Duncan stops.

The History of China

It’s clear that the narrator has an in-depth knowledge of the subject, and there’s a lot to know. I do find that much of the early stuff is about battles and territory, and not much about how people lived, but that could be due to lack of sources, although it’s not clear. It’s easy to get lost in the names of tribes and places that you’re not familiar with, but it is well narrated. The website is a bit bizarre.

The History of Egypt

The early podcasts are pretty much the history of pyramids and tombs, and the narrator has a very clipped precise style, as if he’s trying to be very clear so people will understand. It comes over a bit odd. However, the narrator seems to relax further on, and become more natural, and the subject matter broadens out.

The History of England

Some overlap of content with the British History podcast, but this goes at a faster pace, which will suit some. I like both. It took the narrator a while to settle into his style, which is witty, with frequent nods to Python, Hitchhikers Guide, and other elements of British culture past. You might understand a reference, you might not, it just adds to it if you do.

The History of the Christian Church

This is produced by a pastor of a southern US church, which could lead to a distorted narrative. I think though that he does a good job of sticking to the facts. Of course he has a view of the world that provides some colour, but it’s interesting to learn of his perspective.

The Maritime History podcast

Does what it says. Infrequent updates now.

The National Archives

Talks from people who have been researching using the British National Archives, based at Kew in London.

Shakespeare’s Restless World

This is an absolutely terrific production from Neil MacGregor and the BBC. It provides some fascinating insights into what was going on in Shakespeare’s time, and how it reflects in his plays. If you think of contemporary theatre, and the in-jokes and allusions, and then think about would someone in a few hundred years time still get it, then you’ll have an idea of what most people (including me) miss in Shakespeare. It adds a whole new dimension of understanding.