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Not What You Thought You Knew

Not What You Thought You Knew

Think you know your history? Think again.

From the former slave that taught Darwin to the first female playwright who was also a spy for the English King, historian, author and broadcaster Dr Fern Riddell is exploring some little-known characters from history to reveal not just their incredible stories, but also why they're so important for our view of what the past looked like.

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The Sacred Band of Thebes

An army of lovers seems like something from ancient myth but the story of the Sacred Band of Thebes is based on reality. This elite fighting force of the Theban army played a crucial role in ending Spartan hegemony in the 4th century BC.


To find out more Dr Fern Riddell speaks to Professor of Ancient History at the University of Warwick James Davidson and Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Bucknell University Stephanie Larson.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-11-10
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Olaudah Equiano and the British Abolitionist Movement

Olaudah Equiano's autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was one of the very first slave narratives that spawned a popular literary genre. However, while relatively famous in the 18th century, his legacy was largely forgotten in the UK until the 1960s when there was a resurgence of interest in his life. How could such a prominent figure be all but forgotten while their contribution to the abolition movement be supplanted by his white contemporaries such as William Wilberforce and Granville Sharp?


To find out more Dr Fern Riddell speaks to co-founder of The Windrush Foundation and The Equiano Society Arthur Torrington CBE and historian, author and broadcaster Professor Gretchen Gerzina.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-11-03
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A Tribute to Olaudah Equiano

While Dr Fern Riddell takes a week off before we bring the final two episodes of the series, we have a special teaser for our penultimate episode.


The BBC's Calypsonian-in-Residence Alexander D Great regularly works with organisations such as the Windrush Foundation and the Equiano Society and has written an original song on Olaudah Equiano's life which he has kindly given us permission to bring to you.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-10-27
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Allan Noel Minns the WW1 Officer and Son of Britain's First Black Mayor

Allan Noel Minns, son of Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns, Britain's first Black mayor when elected mayor of Thetford in 1904, served in the British Army as a medical officer during the First World War.


To find out more Dr Fern Riddell speaks to former soldier and director of Recognize Black Heritage and Culture Garry Stewart and academic Dr Remi Adekoya, author of Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race which is set for release in 2021.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-10-20
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The Ivory Bangle Lady and Roman Britain

What does the archaeological evidence tell us about the Ivory Bangle Lady, a wealthy woman who died in 4th Century York, and what do her grave goods tell us about material culture in the African diaspora throughout history?


To find out more Dr Fern Riddell speaks to archaeologist Professor Hella Eckhardt and fashion historian Teleica Kirkland. For more information on the topics discussed in this episode visit The Yorkshire Museum and The Costume Institute of the African Diaspora.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-10-13
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The First Black British Football Heroes

Uncovering the story of our pioneering Black British footballers, finding out what we can learn from their experiences, and their long history in The Beautiful Game.


Dr Fern Riddell speaks to The Voice and Football Black List's Rodney Hinds, and sports broadcaster Anne-Marie Batson, assistant producer on the documentary Coming in from the Cold, which looks at the history of black and mixed race footballers in England.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-10-06
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The Night Witches and the Fighting Women of the Soviet Union

The Night Witches were the feared, all-female military aviators of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Yet the Night Witches weren't the only Soviet women on the front-line during the Second World War. Women were pilots, doctors, partisans, snipers and anti-aircraft gunners.


Dr Fern Riddell speaks to Dr Reina Pennington and Prof Kristen Ghodsee.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-09-29
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The Chevalier d'Éon and Gender Nonconformity

Soldier, diplomat, spy and fencing champion: the Chevalier d'Éon lived an extraordinary life. But on top of that they are also an important figure for the understanding of gender diversity throughout history,


Dr Fern Riddell speaks to author and historian Dr Andrew Lear and curator of the Museum of Transology EJ Scott.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-09-22
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Inghen Ruaidh, the Birka Grave and Viking Warrior Women

We touch on the mythology behind Viking shield-maidens, what we do know about Viking warrior women and how we need to address bias in archaeology.


Dr Fern Riddell discusses the legend of Inghen Ruaidh with Professor Judith Jesch and the Birka female Viking warrior grave with Professor Rebecca Gowland.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-09-15
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Dr Fern Riddell returns with a brand new series sponsored by Ancestry

Hosted by historian, author and broadcaster Dr Fern Riddell, Not What You Thought You Knew explores some unexpected stories of remarkable characters from history revealing why they?re so important for our view of what the past looked like.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross, research by Mary Nzeh, and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2020-09-08
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John Edmonstone the Former Slave who Taught Darwin

John Edmonstone was born into slavery in the former Dutch colony of Demerara in the late 1700s but died a free man in Scotland having taught one of the greatest men in the history of science, Charles Darwin, the skill of taxidermy. 


We speak to Dr Angelina Osborne, independent researcher and heritage consultant and co-author of the upcoming book, 100 Great Black Britons about Edmonstone's life and his remarkable journey from the coastal jungles of Demerara to the cobbles of Edinburgh's old town.


And to understand the art taxidermy and the skills that Edmonstone imparted to his pupil, we also talked to Tannis Davidson, curator at UCL's Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy who explains the importance of taxidermy to zoologists like Darwin and why her favourite specimen in the museum isn?t some exotic creature but a taxidermy chicken.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2019-11-27
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Mary Anning the Pioneering Fossil Hunter

A well-known celebrity in her day, we have somewhat struggled to appreciate the incredible weight of what Mary Anning's discoveries of ancient marine reptiles meant at the time for a burgeoning science.


We speak to Dr Aubrey Roberts, a palaeontologist at the University of Oslo, Norway, and affiliated with the London Natural History Museum, and Dr Rebekah Higgitt, a historian of science and senior lecturer at the Centre for the History of the Sciences at the University of Kent, about Mary Anning: who she was, the discoveries she made and her long-lasting legacy in the field of palaeontology.

 

Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2019-11-20
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Aphra Behn and Female Espionage

Aphra Behn, one of the first women in England to make her living as a writer, also just so happened to be one of the country's first female spies.


To discover more about the world of female spies, Dr Fern Riddell speaks with Dr Nadine Akkerman, Senior Lecturer at Leiden University whose book Invisible Agents is the first study of early modern female spies. As Fern finds out, espionage and fiction are more closely linked than you think. But why has the important role of female spies played in history been largely forgotten? For that answer we need to head to archives. To give a modern-day perspective on women in espionage, Fern talks to Dr Elizabeth Bruton, curator of the Science Museum's new exhibition, Top Secret. The exhibition features one daring story of a UK-based spy ring whose female members, played an integral role in passing on military secrets to the Russians.

 

Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross and series produced by Sam Pearson.


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2019-11-06
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The Mary Rose and the People of Tudor England

Earlier this year, analysis on the remains of eight sailors who drowned on the Mary Rose yielded some astonishing results for our perception of the people of Tudor England.


In speaking to Dr Alex Hildred and Dr Onyeka Nubia, we?ll hear that while the study helps to paint a new picture of the historic population of southern port towns we now know that this wasn?t unique.


Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross and series produced by Sam Pearson.


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

2019-07-19
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Dr Fern Riddell's #NotWhatYouThought

Hosted by historian, author and broadcaster Dr Fern Riddell, Not What You Thought You Knew explores some under-celebrated characters from history and reveals not just their incredible story but also why they?re so important for our view of what the past looked like.

 

Sky HISTORY's Not What You Thought You Knew is presented by Dr Fern Riddell, produced by Kim Sergeant, Peter Ross and series produced by Sam Pearson.


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

2019-07-10
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