Chalke Valley History Hit

Chalke Valley History Hit

United Kingdom

We’re raiding the archives of the largest history festival in the world, the Chalke Valley History Festival, which every summer draws in some of the very best and most eminent historians in the UK and beyond. Recorded on location in south-west Wiltshire, each talk is presented by historian and festival director, James Holland, and features an incredible array of subjects and personalities. Join the conversation on Twitter: @CVHISTORYFEST & @HistoryHit


German WWII Veteran - Günter Halm  
Günter Halm was an anti-tank gunner who served in North Africa under Rommel and later in Normandy, and received his Knight’s Cross for destroying nine British tanks at Alamein in July 1942. He was awarded his medal by Field Marshal Rommel in person.

The Plantagenets: Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty - Dan Jones  
The fifteenth century saw the crown change hands seven times as the great Plantagenet families fought to the death for power, majesty and the right to rule. Dan Jones breathes life into some of the greatest heroes and villains in English history, who tore themselves apart and enabled the Tudors to snatch the throne.

Rani Lakshmibai Of Jhansi, India's Joan Of Arc - James Heneage  
James Heneage is a founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival and was founder of the Ottakar’s chain of bookshops which was sold to Waterstones in 2006. He is a former Chairman of the Cheltenham Literary Festival and a Booker Prize judge.

King Alfred - Michael Wood  
Michael Woods speaks of the making of England under King Alfred.

The Romanovs - Simon Sebag Montefiore  
The House of Romanov was the second dynasty, after the Rurik dynasty, to rule over Russia, which reigned from 1613 until the abdication of Czar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the February Revolution.

The Peasants’ Revolt - Melvyn Bragg  
Melvyn Bragg paints a colourful portrait of the 1381 violent uprising, the biggest armed rebellion against Church and State in English history.

The Dreyfus Affair - Robert Harris  
In this talk, best-selling author Robert Harris turns to one of the key scandals in French history, the Dreyfus Affair. Discussing this infamous miscarriage of justice that rocked France in the years before the first world war, he brings new insights to this world of secret service dealings, cover-ups and betrayal…

Jung Chang - Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China  
In this talk, best-selling author of Wild Swans, Jung Chang gave a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern china and an intimate portrait of the most important woman in Chinese history. One of the emperor’s concubines, she launched a palace coup to become the Empress Dowager Cixi, the absolute ruler of a third of the world’s population who overcame huge obstacles to bring a medieval empire into the modern age.

The Bomber Crew  
We had the privilege of having a complete 7-man crew who made up the different roles on a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War at Chalke Valley History Festival in 2015. George ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, Jo Lancaster, Frank Tilley, Hal Gardner, John de Hoop, Dave Fellowes, Steve Bethell were in discussion with Paul Beaver.

It was the chance to hear what it was like to fly over Nazi-occupied Europe, whether pilot, bomb- aimer, navigator, flight engineer, tail-gunner, radio operator or mid-upper gunner – and from men whose combined experience amounted to over 150 operations.

Martin Brown - Drawing Horrible Histories  
Martin Brown is a published author, illustrator, and a translator of children’s books. His illustrations for the wildly successful series of Horrible Histories has made him a household name.

Dr Sam Willis - Shipwreck: A History of Disasters at Sea  
Sam Willis is a maritime historian, archaeologist, and broadcaster. He is the author of a number of books on maritime and naval history, including the Hearts of Oak trilogy and the Fighting Ships series. He has appeared in and presented numerous TV series, including Shipwrecks and Castles for BBC4 and Operation Grand Canyon for BBC2. He is a Visiting Fellow in Maritime and Naval History at the University of Plymouth, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Ian Hislop - The Olden Days  
Ian Hislop returned to the Festival to talk about ‘The Satirical Magazine and the History of Private Eye’. He discusses the importance of satire, both in the past and present, and the story behind Private Eye, from its beginnings to its ongoing role in ensuring the absurdities and pomposity in life continue to be exposed.

Andrea Wulf - The Invention of Nature  
The great scientist Alexander von Humboldt was one of the most famous men in Europe. He inspired princes and presidents, scientists and explorers with his spectacular adventures and discoveries. Rivers, mountain ranges, towns, a penguin and more are named after him and his ideas remain important today. Andrea Wulf not only won the 2015 Costa Prize, she is also an absolutely superb speaker.

Damian Lewis - Band of Brothers  

Damian Lewis is an English actor and producer. He is known for portraying U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland (which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award), and U.S. Army Major Richard Winters in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, which also earned him a Golden Globe nomination. His performance as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall earned him his third Primetime Emmy nomination and fourth Golden Globe nomination. Lewis currently stars as hedge fund manager Bobby "Axe" Axelrod in the Showtime series Billions.

Dan Snow - Somme Reflections  
Having attended the commemorations in France for the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Somme as part of the BBC’s coverage, Dan Snow hurried back to the Chalke Valley to give his own thoughts and perspectives – not only on the battle itself, but also its enduring legacy and his own reflections on what he has witnessed in France two days earlier.

Series Producer: Dan Morelle

Subscribe, rate and review on iTunes.

James Holland interviews Geoffrey Wellum DFC  
Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC is a British Battle of Britain fighter pilot and author. Aged eighteen, he signed up on a short-service commission with the Royal Air Force in August 1939. He saw extensive action during the Battle of Britain and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1941 in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy. On 11 August 1942, Wellum led eight Spitfires launched from the carrier HMS Furious to reinforce the fighter complement at Luqa airfield on Malta. He wrote a widely acclaimed book about his experiences during World War II, entitled First Light: The Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies Above Britain.

Series Producer: Dan Morelle

Subscribe, rate and review on iTunes.

Niall Ferguson - Kissinger 1923-1966: The Idealist  
No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed as the ‘indispensable man,’ he also attracted immense hostility. In this talk, renowned historian, Professor Niall Ferguson revealed an extraordinary panorama of Kissinger the man: from his Jewish upbringing in Germany to his rise as one of America’s most influential politicians and grand strategists.

Series Producer: Dan Morelle

Subscribe, rate and review on iTunes.

Peter Frankopan – The Silk Roads: A New History of the World  

Dr Peter Frankopan @PeterFrankopan is a historian at Oxford University, where he is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. The Silk Roads was named The Daily Telegraph’s History Book of the Year 2015. it has topped the Sunday Times Non-Fiction charts, remaining in the Top 10 for seven months, as well as being #1 in China, India, Ireland and many other countries around the world. Peter has been described in The New Statesman as ‘the history rock star du jour’, we agree.

Series Producer: Dan Morelle

Subscribe, rate and review on iTunes.

Video player is in betaClose