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Episode 4 

Hitler’s dreams to unify his empire with a monstrous railway



In 1941, Adolf Hitler issued orders to Nazi Germany’s railway officials. He wanted them to develop a new type of railway. It was to be bigger, far bigger, than anything that had ever been seen.

Trains the height and width of a suburban house and the length of the Empire State Building would hurtle across the Greater German Reich, from Brest in the west to Bucharest in the east.

They would be luxurious, providing unimaginable amenities for travellers.

And, unsurprisingly, they were never built.


Episode 3

A taste of Hades – commuting hell on the underground steam railway



What happened when steam engines were placed in the tunnels of the world’s first underground railway? London’s Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863 and, for its first 45 years, it ran steam trains.

That is smoke and cinder belching steam trains, running underground in confined tunnels.

And you think your commute is bad?


Episode 2

An unfortunate tête-a-tête



Maréchal Pétain’s journey from war hero to traitor was so complete that it surprised those who had not kept abreast of developments.

The result was a rather surprising encounter between Charles de Gaulle and Pétain’s former Great War colleague and American hero, General Pershing.

In this episode, we also hear about General Foch’s surprisingly accurate prediction about the outbreak of the Second World War made when the ink was drying on the peace that ended the First.


Episode 1

How a game of football led to an English revolution



In 1647, the new puritan government tried to cancel Christmas.

People in Canterbury protested in a peculiarly English way with a destructive game of football.

The city’s Plum Pudding Riots led to a royalist revolt and the second round of the Civil War.

Kent had escaped the worst of the slaughter and spoil. So why were its people inviting ruin by sparking a rebellion against Parliament?