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Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets

By: Stephen Fry, John Woolf, Nick Baker
Free with 30-day trial

$16.45/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

  • 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
  • Ep. 1: Family Secrets
    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
  • Ep. 2: The Buckingham Palace Freak Show
    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
  • Ep. 3: Pornography, Pleasure and the Press
    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

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!!

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9 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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3 people found this helpful

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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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2 people found this helpful

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A study of the beginning of modernity

I couldn't get enough of this series and was quite disappointed when it ended. Stephen Fry, as always, was an engaging narrator bringing his perspective and humour to some occasional very tough subjects.
Beautifully written and wonderfully interesting.

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A Not So Secret Pleasure

Stephen Fry is a master narrator. His voice is so hypnotic, mesmerising and enrapturing!

He draws you right in to his stories with humor and wit that is a rare but wonderful talent.

such a wonderful series. Well worth the listen!

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enjoyable to listen to

loved it. the narration is great, and the stories, though at times wierd, were interesting.

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History comes to life!

Great to find a free, fun and informative book that's such a pleasure to listen to, a blast from the past!

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Great series

Perfect for listening to while commuting. The always entertaining Stephen Fry delights in his role as spiller of secrets. Wholly enjoyable listen.

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easy listening

i have trouble sleeping it helps me with my sleeping steven has a great voice to do this job

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So good!

So interesting I really loved every minute of it, I'm sad now I have finished both this podcast and secrets of the edwardians

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