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Podcast / The British History Podcast

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The British History Podcast is a podcast hosted by Jamie Jeffers since 2011, a lawyer turned podcaster, focusing on the history of Great Britain. This podcast is known for its extraordinary attention to detail, with full episodes dedicated to events or people who in almost any other historical work would be relegated to the footnotes. Official website here.

The British History Podcast contains examples of:


  • Action Girl: Quite a few. Jamie's discussion on Boudica's rebellion alone gets two episodes with a combined runtime of over an hour.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Scotcast and Welshcast episodes.
  • Author Tract: In-universe. Gildas, one of the most important sources for the history of Wales, has an unfortunate tendency to go off on rants about how evil and sinful he thinks everyone is.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: One of the scholars Alfred the Great brought to Wessex held the memorable name of Werwulf.
    • There's also the short-lived Roman emperor Magnus Maximus, whose name Jamie gushes over.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Almost every time the Praetorian Guard is mentioned is in this context.
  • The Chessmaster: Jamie voices suspicions that Hugh the Great might have been this, given how many seemingly healthy kings of England died young during his reign.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Eadric Streona joins and betrays practically every side of every conflict, sometimes more than once. Until Cnut decides he has outlived his usefulness.
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  • Creator Provincialism: The Venerable Bede's list of Seven Bretwaldas, or kings over all Britain, includes three kings from Northumbria while ignoring several Mercians who might have fit the bill. Bede himself was from Northumbria.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Happens several times, but most notably to Alfred the Great when Guthrum launches a surprise attack on his quarters at Chippenham.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jamie himself.
  • Disease by Any Other Name: Alfred the Great and a few of his descendants suffer from a debilitating ailment. While nobody in their time would have been able to diagnose it, Jamie remarks that it was almost certainly Crohn's Disease.
  • The Dreaded: The Jomsvikings. Overlaps with Elite Mooks.
  • The Everyman: Jamie is fond of using "Unferth" as a name for generic Brits during the Anglo-Saxon period.
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  • Evil Overlord: If the sources are to be believed (and that's a big if), Aethelfrith of Northumbria was a real-life example of this trope. At one point, a kingdom allegedly ordered two hundred monks to pray that Aethelfrith's rampage would not overrun them. Aethelfrith is said to have massacred the monks.
  • Femme Fatale: Gunnhild, consort of Eric Bloodaxe, is portrayed this way in some historical texts. Jamie has a great time coming up with increasingly outlandish nicknames for a beautiful, insatiable Danish sorceress.
  • Forbidden Love: Judith and Baldwin, who fall for one another while Judith is locked in a convent by her domineering father.
  • Genre Deconstruction: In a way, the entire podcast is one for historical narratives that treat history as a settled story about the deeds of great kings. Jamie's most recognizable traits as a podcaster are his preference for social rather than "great man" history, and his willingness to say "we just don't know."
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: While Aethelred was definitely a very bad king, Jamie argues that his historical reputation as the embodiment of incompetence is a little exaggerated. He notes that Aethelred takes flak for actions like paying danegelds that "good" kings Alfred and Aethelstan also did.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The citizens of Chester beat back a Viking army by hurling beehives at them.
  • Jerkass: Suetonius, part-time mountain-climber and full-time jerk.
  • Lady of War: Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia.
  • Long Runner: Has been running since 2011, with nearly 350 episodes as of March 2020.
  • MacGuffin: The relics of saints were frequently real-life examples of this trope. Cnut and his followers executed an elaborate heist to steal a relic that was bringing money and prestige to London, the main base of opposition to Cnut's rule.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Plenty of the Vikings, though Eric Bloodaxe is a particularly good example.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Viking armies were this for the Anglo-Saxons. Saxon kings repeatedly expect the Northmen to play by their cultural rules—e.g. assuming they won't attack on Christian holy days—and pay a heavy price for it.
  • Road Trip Plot: In 208 Septimius Severus took his sons, Caracalla and Geta, who both hated each other and were each accustomed to a life of unbridled debauchery, on a campaign to Caledonia to try and fix their wagons. Unfortunately, it failed.
  • Running Gag: The Wilhelm Scream any time one of the descendants of Ida dies.
    • Playing the intro to Flo Rida's "GDFR" whenever one of Aethelred Unraed's eoldermen marshals an army to fight the Vikings, only to cut out abruptly when the cowardly lord loses his nerve and flees.
  • Tangled Family Tree: A common problem in the Saxon era. Religious authorities had to step in more than once to prevent lords and kings from marrying their own stepmothers.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Jamie dedicates multiple episodes to why the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle should not be taken at face value. Its narration often cuts out completely when events occur that go against its agenda, forcing historians (and the podcast) to reconstruct the timeline from context clues.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Byrhtnoth has a Viking army trapped in a hopeless position, but allows them to leave so they can face each other in an honorable open battle. He gets slaughtered.

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