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  • Summary

  • On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you'll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder.

    Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we're told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the "˜forbidden' festering beneath Victorian society?

    Across 12 episodes, Stephen presents a series of true accounts of the dangerous low life and debauched high life of Victorian Britain.

    This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 12 episodes to your Library now.

    ©2018 Audible, Ltd. (P)2018 Audible, Ltd.
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Episodes
  • Oct 18 2018

    Of course, all families, high born and low have secrets. Confidential conditions of mind or body. Black sheep. Skeletons in cupboards. Unmentionable uncles. Naughty nephews... aunties who aren't... conventional. More often than not it boils down to something - sexual.

    This episode is about the keeping and uncovering of family secrets. In a way it unlocks all the secrets in all our episodes.

    Many Victorians, especially the more successful ones, feared shame. In a way this fear was something quite new. A new and growing newspaper industry was keen to amplify that shame. And a new middle class, desperate to cling to its new-found monied status, felt threatened. And, new theories about heredity, coming later in the century, meant that (perish the thought!) shamefulness could be passed on – like red hair or big feet - from generation to generation.

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    44 mins
  • Oct 18 2018

    Step right up, step right up and don’t be shy - welcome to Victorian Secrets, and the secrets of... The Freak Show. The secrets of enormously fat men and bearded ladies, the secrets of exotic women with enticingly large buttocks, the secrets of Siamese Twins and dwarf families and, in particular, the secrets of our own, our very own Aztec Children, seen by half a million people on the European continent before they publicly revealed their own, personal, extraordinary secret.

    We’ll go backstage to hear the terrible secrets of the freaks themselves, we’ll lift the lace curtains of Buckingham Palace, where our own Queen, god bless her, took tea with the tiny, the towering and the terribly formed.

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    37 mins
  • Oct 18 2018

    This episode will penetrate some of the secrets of Victorian sexuality, public and private and will challenge some deeply held misconceptions.

    We tend to think of the Victorians as dyed in the wool prudes, and we have latched onto the idea that the Victorians felt their values of self-discipline, temperance and hard work were threatened by the temptations of the flesh. This episode will show in enjoyable detail that ordinary Victorians’ attitudes to sex was for the most part enthusiastic, unembarrassed and surprisingly well informed. Apart, that is, from one secret sexual practice that was loathed, feared and tragically misunderstood.

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    34 mins

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What listeners say about Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets

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Love this!

Eclectic group of scenarios, stories and topics read entertainingly by Stephen Fry and a handful of actors. Very entertaining!!

9 people found this helpful

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Very interesting

Loved listening to such interesting and never heard of facts about the people and, somewhat, strange events in the Victorian era. As always, it's fantastic to listen to Stephen Fry's amazing voice.

3 people found this helpful

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  • AM
  • 12-04-2019

Great stories.

Easy to listen to and fascinating yarns. Fry is a wonderful story teller. I recommend.



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top notch

factually fabulous and and characteristically charming. binged the whole thing and I loved it completely.

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  • Nic
  • 28-05-2020

won't down load, always gives error message

I have no idea about this book as it won't down load, always gives an error message that it can't download. No matter what I do I can't delete the file, it keeps coming back like a bad case of herpes.

1 person found this helpful

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Very interesting telling of historical occurance.

Love Stephen Fry's narration plus the other narrators included. Also nice to hear from historians and have facts represented.

1 person found this helpful

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Good insight into this era

excellent.insight in to Victorian England and abroad. Well narrated by Stephan Fry. would like to see more installments

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Good

Good story to hear and the narrator shows hoe the story goes in good spirit

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Best car audiobook ever

This book is interesting and entertaining no matter who you are. Every story is fascinating, every episode interesting. This audiobook made my commutes to work enjoyable and I look forward to and hope there will be another in the same vein released soon

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Sorry it ended!

I’ve listened to Victorian Secrets and Edwardian Secrets and loved them both. More please Steven!

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  • Matthew Henry
  • 11-03-2021

Interesting

Ignore the guy complaining about the piano background music. It's totally fine. :-) I learned some things and Stephen Fry is great as always. Well worth a listen.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-09-2020

Please remove the horrible music

The awful piano background music sadly makes these very interesting and beautifully narrated stories unlistenable. Can't go on listening, it's too irritating.

18 people found this helpful

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  • P. Schroeder
  • 06-10-2020

Informative and Fun

This series was fun, insightful, and engrossing. I listened to all 12 episodes within 24hrs and wish there were more.

14 people found this helpful

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  • dinah jolie
  • 21-03-2021

Absolutely Smitten!

I agree with Mathew Henry’s assertion to respectfully disregard the prior complaint about the background piano music...I found it atmospheric in the most unobtrusive way.

Stephen Fry’s storytelling prowess is quite legendary! An added bonus is the regular appearance of guest experts who add richness and flavor to each episode. Victorian Secrets shines an humorous, sometimes shocking, cross cultural spotlight on the people, places, and stories unique to the Victorian era whose existence have been denied historically in mainstream media and academia. I appreciate the inclusion of primary historical resources like personal diaries. I also love that the performances given by the voice actresses and actors never feel forced and caricature-like.

You will laugh, wince, cry, and contemplate throughout. You will be compelled to perform multiple Google searches to further enrich your self-education of Victorian his and her-story. While this podcast may not feel appropriate for children under the age of 12, I feel caregivers are ultimately responsible for deciding their child’s maturity and comfort level with subjects like sexual identity, death, mental illness, human anatomy, mythology, pornography, and political scandal. Used as a learning tool and with responsible adult “supervision”, each episode holds the power to catalyze important conversations between adult caregiver and child about class, sex, race, discrimination, diversity, disease, innovation, abuse, empowerment, and disenfranchisement.

I look forward to learning more about the Victorian era as well as listening to more of Stephen Fry’s creative content. Cheers and thanks for reading!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Candice C
  • 28-10-2020

Well Done!

I loved everything about this production. This is a perfect one for a road trip with your spouse. Don’t have the kids tuning in though.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 05-03-2021

Fun, enlightening, and well narrated

I was excited to see Stephen Fry narrating something new because I’ve liked everything he has read aloud. The pacing of this series was engaging, making each episode seem to quickly go by. The added theatrics (music, additional voice actors, sound effects) were fun, and they were used in the right quantities to spice up the podcast without being annoying. The information was interesting and well delivered. I often shared the details I’d learned from the podcast with friends and family, and they were entertained and interested in the bits of new knowledge about the era. Overall, this was fun, entertaining, engaging, and quick.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Valérie
  • 09-02-2021

Quite Enjoyable

I'm starting to think that Stephen Fry is incapable of being dull, These episodes are all interesting, enjoyable and quite informative.

4 people found this helpful