We’ve found ourselves increasingly listening to historical podcasts during the lockdown. One of our favourites is In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson which tracks the powerful role in the Johnsons’ presidency that his wife played. Taken from 123 hours of Lady Bird Johnson’s own audio diaries and covering everything from the assassination of JFK to her activist role in the promotion of civil rights, it reveals that she was anything but just a pretty First Lady. We also love You’re Wrong About which re-appraises the big players and events in history. The tone is more pop culture than academic, with topics including Marie Antoinette, Monica Lewinsky and The Beatles.
Renegades: Born in the USA is the new podcast from Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama. If you’re a fan of either (or both, like us) then it’s a great listen, though the topics are quite serious. The same could be said for The Slow Newscast from Tortoise Media, which offers a fascinating, in-depth look at particular news stories, like Jim Ratcliffe’s rise to knighthood. For something lighter, we’re still loving Grounded with Louis Theroux whose recent guests include Leah Remini (on Scientology), FKA Twigs, Oliver Stone and a particularly entertaining episode with his cousin Justin Theroux.
On our must-hear list is an upcoming Fane talk. Author of The Bletchley Girls, Dr Tessa Dunlop is joined by two of the final Bletchley Park veterans, Betty Webb OBE and Pat Davies. Betty, 98, worked at Bletchley Park and by 1945 was one of the only women in the Pentagon. Pat, meanwhile, was intercepting messages along Britain’s coastline, on the coalface of the codebreaking operation, she sent vital information back to the Park. Tickets to the live stream are £10 each, book here.
For children, BBC Maestro have launched a free Writing Course with David Walliams for ages 7-12. The twelve-part series is divided into 3-4 minute video sessions focussing on different parts of storytelling from characters to setting to finding inspiration. At the end you can submit your one-page story, of which 20 entries will be chosen at random and their authors will get the chance to attend a writing session with David Walliams as well as an illustrated and signed copy of their book. Available until 31 March here.