Chalke Talk

The podcast from the Chalke Valley History Festival
Released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings


Latest releases

  • 201. 1918: ONE HUNDRED DAYS TO VICTORY
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    The stunning series of victories that brought the First World War to a close are regarded as some of the most important battles the British have ever fought. Yet today they are largely forgotten. Dan Snow tells the story of The Hundred Days Offensive and how a hastily assembled army of civilians was forged into […]

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  • 200. NAPOLEON: THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH
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    ‘What a novel my life has been!’ exclaimed Napoleon – but he wrote much of it himself. A masterful and shameless manipulator of myths, he created a narrative that still inspires passionate and conflicting responses. Was he a god-like genius, Romantic avatar, megalomaniac monster or just a nasty little dictator? Adam Zamoyski argues that he […]

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  • 199. A PERSONAL HISTORY OF MUSICALS: HOW TO SUCCEED, BY MISTAKE, IN THE WORLD OF MUSICAL THEATRE
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    Multi-award-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice is responsible for some of the most successful musicals of all time both on stage and on screen. In this talk, he discusses his own journey from his partnership with Andrew Lloyd-Webber in the 1960s through to collaborating with Elton John, winning Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys, Ivor Novellos and having […]

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  • 198. ALL OUT WAR: THE FULL STORY OF HOW BREXIT SANK BRITAIN’S POLITICAL CLASS
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    This is political history that rivals the very best thrillers: a behind the scenes account of what really happened before, during and immediately after the Brexit referendum. Tim Shipman had unrivalled access to many of the key players and, in this discussion with Guy Walters, offers a ringside view of the decision that will change […]

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  • 197. BREAD FOR ALL: THE ORIGINS OF THE WELFARE STATE
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    From the Victorian workhouse to the National Insurance and National Health Service Acts that came into effect in 1948, Chris Renwick exploreS the welfare state’s evolution, one of the greatest transformations in British intellectual, social and political life. He challenges common assumptions about what the welfare state was originally for and in doing so aska […]

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  • 196. CONSTANT HEART: THE WAR DIARIES OF MAUD RUSSELL 1939-1945
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    Mottisfont Abbey was home to Maud Russell, an active figure in British political and artistic life. Maud’s granddaughter, Emily Russell, has edited her private diaries and tells tales of Maud’s encounters with celebrated artists and writers such as Matisse, Rex Whistler and Ian Fleming, her wartime life on a country estate, and her struggle to […]

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  • 195. HOW IDEAS CHANGE: THE EVOLUTION OF EVERYTHING
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    Best-selling author Matt Ridley’s fascinating argument for evolution definitively dispels a dangerous myth: that we can command and control our world. Taught that the world is shaped by those in charge, his perspective revolutionises the way we think. Drawing from science, economics, history and philosophy, he proves that it is actually ‘bottom-up’ trends which shape […]

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  • 194. HOW TO REMAIN SANE IN THE AGE OF POPULISM
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    In recent years, a wave of populism has swept the world, fuelled by fear, anger and resentment. Internationally award-winning author and TED Global speaker Elif Shafak asks how we remain sane in the age of populism. Should we retreat into tribes of our own; should we create new tribes, or should we, and can we, […]

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  • 193. KENNETH CLARK: LIFE, ART AND CIVILISATION
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    James Stourton, former Chairman of Sotheby’s UK, and official biographer of the great British art historian Kenneth Clark, draws on previously unseen archives to reveal the astonishing life of this formidable intellect who wielded enormous influence over all aspects of the arts despite deep emotional and intellectual contradictions and a very complicated private life.

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  • 192. KINGS OF YUKON: THE HISTORY OF THE SALMON RUN
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    The Yukon river is over 2,000 miles long, flowing northwest from Canada through Alaska to the Bering Sea. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of King salmon migrate the longest salmon run in the world. Adam Weymouth traces the profound interconnectedness of the local people and the fish to offer a powerful glimpse into the erosion […]

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