Chalke Talk

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


Latest releases

  • 182. THE IMPERIAL TEA PARTY: FAMILY, POLITICS AND BETRAYAL
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    Before King George infamously denied his Romanov cousins asylum when the Bolsheviks were closing in, there were three extraordinary encounters between the British and Russian royal families. Although well intentioned and generally hailed as successes, Frances Welch shows that these meetings, beset by misunderstandings and misfortunes, were to have far-reaching consequences for twentieth century Europe […]

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  • 181. THE POETRY PHARMACY: TRIED-AND-TRUE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE MIND, HEART AND SOUL
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    In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart, founder of National Poetry Day, has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain. Here he speaks about the most essential poems in his dispensary: those which have repeatedly shown […]

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  • 180. THE QUEEN
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    Renowned biographer A. N. Wilson celebrates the life of the Queen in this vibrant examination of Britain’s most iconic figure. He paints a vivid portrait of “Lilibet” the woman, and of her unfaltering reign during the tumultuous twentieth century, while asking candidly whether Britain can remain a constitutional monarchy after her reign ends.

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  • 179. The Write Fantastic: Terry Pratchett
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    Sir Terry Pratchett is one of the most popular authors to have ever lived. His Discworld novels have sold tens of millions all over the world. In this talk his right-hand man and collaborator, Rob Wilkins, discusses his life, his work, his inspiration and his profound love of the Chalke Valley.

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  • 178. VICTORIA: QUEEN, MATRIARCH, EMPRESS
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    Queen Victoria inherited the throne aged 18 and, in an unprecedented reign of 63 years, she oversaw intense industrial, cultural, political, scientific and military change within the United Kingdom, and great imperial expansion outside it. In the bicentenary of her birth, Professor Jane Ridley overturns the established picture of the dour old lady to create […]

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  • 177. Viking Britain: An Exploration
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    To many, the word ‘Viking’ brings to mind scenes of violence and pillage, of marauders from beyond the sea rampaging around the British coastline in the last gloomy centuries before the Norman Conquest. Thomas Williams, however, offers a vital evocation of a forgotten world, its echoes in later history and its implications for the present, […]

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  • 176. WHY THE ANGLO-SAXONS MATTER
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    Acclaimed historian and broadcaster Michael Wood tells fascinating tales from our early history: Augustine of Canterbury and the coming of Christianity, Theodore of Tarsus, the golden age of Northumbria, the Lady of the Mercians, Alfred, Athelstan, and the Norman Conquest; stories of men and women, kings and peasants, of the beginning of English literature and […]

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  • 175. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
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    T.E. Lawrence is famous for Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his personal account of the Arab revolt during World War I. What is less known is that he burnt the first, more intimate, version of his memoire. Highly acclaimed author Anthony Sattin uncovers the story of Lawrence’s pre-war adventures and the personal reasons that led to […]

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  • 174. THE VICTORIANS: TWELVE TITANS WHO FORGED BRITAIN
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    Many associate the Victorian era with austere social attitudes and filthy factories. Jacob Rees-Mogg discusses a very different picture of the age, one of bright ambition, bold self- belief and determined industriousness. Whether through Peel’s commitment to building free trade, Palmerston’s deft diplomacy in international affairs, or Brunel’s incredible engineering feats, the Victorians transformed the […]

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  • 173. INTO THE CANNON’S MOUTH: THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF INFANTRY CHARGES AT CULLODEN AND ISANDLWANA
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    In this talk, the brilliant conflict archaeologist Professor Tony Pollard adopts a forensic approach to dissect the Jacobite charge at Culloden (1746) and that by the Zulus at Isandlwana (1879). Using the results of archaeological investigations the two are compared and contrasted and the factors that influenced Jacobite defeat and Zulu victory examined.

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