Histories of the UNEXPECTED

Histories of the UNEXPECTED

United Kingdom

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history. Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell. Series Producer: Dan Morelle

Episodes

Dreams  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Weapons  

This is a special episode to coincide with Sam's new 3-part TV series on BBC Four entitled Sword, Musket & Machine Gun - Britain's Armed History. If you're in the UK you can watch it on Thursday at 9pm or on iPlayer. Watch the trailer on YouTube.

Introducing a Brand New Show to History Hit Network: Art Detective with Dr Janina Ramirez  

Art is the truest expression of the workings of the mind, free from learnt language. More than that, it is the visual expression of culture, politics, society, religion, emotion, zeitgeist, channelled through the brush, chisel, or hands of creative individuals. Understanding art allows us to understand history: to pin it with images, and pepper it with the faces, colours, drama and expression of its time.

This series is designed to give bite-sized insights into the world of Art History, bringing one image to life across 20 minutes through discussion with world experts, close visual analysis, and high-resolution images that will accompany the series. History is never far from view, so each image will be expanded to sit within the cultural and historical context that produced it.

Subscribe to Art Detective.
The Wheel  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Pen  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Zebra  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Christmas  

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ...” (Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1956)

It can only be the Unexpected History of Christmas!


Let us once again join the Santa of Historical Skepticism, Professor James Daybell and the Charles Dickens of Christmas Past, Dr Sam Willis as they untangle the tinsel and unravel the lights to reveal the unexpected history of Christmas. Upon Santa’s sleigh, they will dash from medieval carousing to a Dickensian Christmas, and from racing crabs on Christmas Island in the 1950s to the Puritans and Christmas riots in Canterbury, 1647.

Like Christmas Elves they’ll assemble the links between rituals and traditions, Minst pies (not a typo) and celebrations, international date lines and land shy ravens. Listen out as James plays ‘guess the day an island was discovered,’ and Sam suggests one way to get two Christmases in one day. Oh, and whoever wrote the song about the three kings following the star, well they may need to rewrite, although it may not have quite the same rhyming style! “God bless us, everyone!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843)


“Good tidings we bring for you and your kin
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year”

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Gift  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Smile  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Bed  



Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Party  

It’s our 10th episode!

So blow out the candles, cut the cake and make a wish!

You are cordially invited to join the Cultivator of Chronicles, Dr Sam Willis, and the Tim Peake of Time, Professor James Daybell as these history DJs get the unexpected history of the party started.

From garden parties to peripatetic English monarchs, from the vomiting ladies of the court of James I to the myth of the Roman Vomitorium, there’s much to celebrate as Sam and James make the links between Edvard Munch and wallflowers and bacchanalian excess and yelling at cider trees in an English orchard. And, of course, no real party could be complete without the furniture being trashed, or in the case of John Evelyn a much-prized 400ft long, 9ft high and 5ft wide, now no longer impenetrable hedge. Wow did those Russians know how to party! Keith Richards had his T.V. set, Keith Moon his exploding toilet, Aerosmith their chainsaw, and Peter the Great … a wheelbarrow.

“Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
Whence thou mayst bud,
And whence thou mayst blow!
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow!
Hats full! Caps full!
Bushel – Bushel – sacks full,
And my pockets full too! Huzza!”

(South Hams, Devon, 1871 Wassailing song – in case you wanted to sing to the cider trees).

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Boxes  

Boxes, coffins, letter, houses, locks and more. Sam and James audio-google their way through the unexpected history of boxes.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

The Letter  

This week Sam and James discuss the historical significance of The Letter.

Bubble  

The unexpected history of the bubble, which is all about the history of childhood and innocence as well as fate and fortune, champagne, bottle strength and taming the bubble.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Hair  

This episode is all about the unexpected history of hair. Which is all about the Duke of Wellington, and scalping!?.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Lightning  

This episode is all about the unexpected history of lightning. Which is all about American independence, and Horatio Nelson's front porch...

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Gloves  

All about power and politics, the perfumed glove as a political gift, the history of the hand, and the history of touch. It's also about explosions and the Japanese industrial revolution.

Smoke  

This episode is all about the unexpected history of smoke. Which is all about state craft and diplomacy. It's ritualised smoking of the peace pipe. And it's to do with smuggling and public execution.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Oranges  

Find out about the unexpected the history of the orange, how it's linked to the the Gunpowder Plot, and other extraordinary historical connections.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

Windows  

Find out about the unexpected the history of the window, how it's linked to the 30 years war, and other extraordinary historical connections.

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcst HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle

0:00/0:00
Video player is in betaClose