• Ep1: 1920
    Nov 17 2022

    Three stories set in the very first year of the 1920’s: A single soldier’s corpse is repatriated to Britain to a hero’s welcome; The first ever radio broadcast by a professional performer and the story of a scheming young Lord who is not what he seems.  

    Plus, Stephen compiles an ABC of words invented in this decadent decade.

    Further Reading: Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook, by Matt Houlbrook

    Show More Show Less
    39 mins
  • Ep 2: Unflappable
    Nov 17 2022

    The first female youth cult of modern times means a revolution in hair, shockingly short skirts and yes, more dancing.

    But what about the ‘unflappable’ women who became professionals and politicians, thanks to the change in female status brought about during the war? Meet the controversial woman who pioneered female policing, but rather overdid it.

    Further Reading: Mary Sophia Allen: Suffragette to Fascist by Nina Boyd

    Show More Show Less
    41 mins
  • Ep 3: Britain Off Its Head
    Nov 17 2022

    Despite the government’s efforts to control drinking and drug abuse, narcotics were widely available, and alcohol was widely abused. Women were at the centre of shocking behaviour over both, and predictably the press was suitably scandalised.  

    We introduce the nightclub queen who employed ‘292 women of the unfortunate class’.

    Further Reading: Dope Girls by Marek Kohn

    Show More Show Less
    35 mins
  • Ep 4: Censored
    Nov 17 2022

    The publication of a novel featuring a (then) little known female sexual practice seemed, to the establishment, to offer a threat to British life itself. The banning of the book was the centre of a cause celebre over censorship and freedom of expression in this early period of what we now call ‘culture wars’.

    Further Reading: A Matter of Obscenity by Christopher Hilliard, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe

    Show More Show Less
    32 mins
  • Ep 5: Secrets of the BBC
    Nov 17 2022

    This episode uncovers new evidence about how the national broadcaster was founded in 1922 and why British establishment was terrified of the American commercial radio free for all. One January evening in 1926 listeners heard reports of a murderous march in central London, with buildings torched and a cabinet minister murdered. Could they be true?

    Further Reading: This New Noise by Charlotte Higgins

    Show More Show Less
    42 mins
  • Ep 6: I Love Your British Sense of Humor
    Nov 17 2022

    You’d think Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp and PG Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster had little in common. One’s clever, one seems rather stupid. One’s silent, the other loquacious. It’s their Britishness that helped propel them to US stardom and this episode explains how, with stories about both characters and their creators, and why Americans continue to have a soft spot for British comedy. It all started in the 20’s.

    Further Reading: Extricating Young Gussie by PG Wodehouse published in the story collection The Man with Two Left Feet.

    The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse.

    Jeeves and the King of Clubs by Ben Schott

    Show More Show Less
    40 mins
  • Ep 7: Secrets and Lies
    Nov 17 2022

    The secret and illegal military pact between old enemies Russia and Germany, as told through the stories of young German fighter pilots covertly trained in Russia. And the multiple conspiracy theories surrounding a secret letter allegedly from Russian Communist officials to British Trade Unions urging them to revolt on a Soviet scale. It helped bring down the first Labour government. But was the letter a fake and if so who faked it?

    Further Reading: Faustian Bargain by Ian Ona Johnson.

    The Zinoviev Letter by Gill Bennett 

    Show More Show Less
    36 mins
  • Ep 8: Bruno Hat and the Bright Young Things
    Nov 17 2022

    They were young, monied, snobbish and cliquey. The Bright Young Things were determined to rip up the rule book of social behaviour and replace it with a new shiny partygoing lifestyle. Above all they loved art, welcoming middle class arrivistes like photographer Cecil Beaton whose daring photo session with Edith Sitwell won him fame. But feted new artist Bruno Hat concealed a shocking secret.

    Further Reading: Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age by DJ Taylor.

    The Wandering Years: 1922-39 by Cecil Beaton 

    Show More Show Less
    33 mins