Aggregated reviews for In Our Time: History

Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

Discrimination/poor treatment of women   (3/5)

7 minutes into my first episode I noticed what others have noticed.... the host is unbelievably rude to his female guest and polite to his male guest. The information from this podcast is lovely but I can’t stand this extremely poor etiquette. I had hoped the episode I was listening to was an exception but upon reading everyone else’s reviews I can see it was clearly not. Very disappointing.

Incomparable podcast   (5/5)

I love this podcast and have yet to find another like it. I’m a woman listener, and I will listen with more attention to how the host treats guests based on the other reviews going forward, but I have actually noted the opposite- how he always apologizes when he interrupts, how he always makes sure to ask for women historians’ opinions and how there is ALWAYS a woman historian at the table! More than can be said for many podcasts. I’ve learned about so many things I had never even heard of by listening to In Our Time, and I’m grateful for the intellectual discussion, as opposed to a barrage of dramatic storytelling and sound bites.

Host is awful   (1/5)

Can’t stand the annoying interrupting host

A podcast for thinking people   (5/5)

Melvin Bragg is a host from a different era: knighted for his public radio work, a writer himself, he prepares extensively for each program and holds the guests to a much higher standard than do hosts in almost all other podcasts around these days. Yes he is direct and sometimes rude, probably more so to female guests than male guests (although it’s obvious that some of his favorites are women, eg Angie Hobbes), but at least some instances are actually maneuvers whereby he keeps the guests on topic and in check. The intelligence and articulateness of some of his repeating guests are stunning: I can spend all day listening to Marcus du Sautoy and Ian Stewart on math, Edith Hall on Ancient Greece, or Anthony Grayling on philosophy, and he brings on sometimes independent researchers with extremely unconventional and yet interesting ideas. I take notes on each program as they are so dense in contents. Dislikers can go listen to politically correct hosts politely interview a carefully curated list of racially and ethnically diverse guests (I say this as a colored woman academic), but I take In Our Time with its actual focus on intelligent inquiry and genuine curiosity any day.

Hyper controlling, interrupting and rushing host   (2/5)

I’m disgusted that when he has a male and a female guest, he inevitably tells the woman to speak “please, in as few words possible,” or “keep it as short as you possibly can.” It’s disgusting — I’m sure the interesting content eclipses this for some and encourages them to wave off his behavior as “generational,” but no. It’s horrendous. I always learn from this information ally rich content, but it is such a bitter pill to look past the host’s embarrassing and misogynistic boorishness.

Outstanding!!!!   (5/5)

Simply wonderful. Not overly theatric like American cultural podcasts, particularly historical explorations. Love the model and approach. I even like Bragg’s occasional snark.



So interesting and informative!   (5/5)

I stumbled on to this and I’m glad I did! This Ohio USA old lady loves it. It’s like getting a masters degree by Podcast! I love the diversity of programs, especially the literature. Hope to hear many more!

Yes and no   (4/5)

Yes it’s got a huge range of discussions about many topics I’ve never heard of. And many that I am very interested to hear about. However Bragg’s constant interruptions when a guest is talking is really irritating. He’s SO rude. His interruptions are usually spot on but I wish he would be a little more polite. And his constant throat clearing need to go too. His people really know their stuff.

Exceptional - Thanks to Bragg and the BBC   (5/5)

I have recommended this amazing resource to numerous colleagues and family members - there is nothing else like it and I hope the BBC continues to broadcast this very valuable programme for many years to come.

Great!   (5/5)

So good! love it!

Fantastic   (5/5)

A roundtable discussion with some of those respected scholars in a field of historical study, expertly moderated by one of the classiest and most well spoken British radio hosts in the business. Sure, there are some ragged episodes here and there, but on balance the episodes are beautifully handled, largely because Bragg gives a focused structure to the conversations that keeps them from wandering all over the place. In my opinion, too many history podcasts consists of one person simply reading scripts into a microphone. I much prefer the lively conversations featured here as something about the variation in voices and perspectives makes much of the information easier to absorb.

Too short   (4/5)

Alas, most subjects are way too large for a 50-minute discussion. Sometimes a subject must be treated so generally that we’re left with no more than a Britannica entry. Sometimes I fancy Melvyn Bragg’s impatience aimed not at a scholar trying to elucidate a complex point but at the clock, which he, as moderator, must enforce. Right now, Melvyn takes about five minutes to introduce and question, while each guest is budgeted about fifteen. We need a ninety-minute program to give each guest at least twenty minutes, plus more time for give-and-take. Some of the best moments of In Our Time is when scholars get a chance to spar with each other. This is the best intelligent talk show on radio. It needs to be bigger!

An absolute classic podcast with the most effective host on radio   (5/5)

Ask yourself, how can a weekly erudite broadcast on an incredibly broad range of topics and a different group of academics each week have a successful 21(+?) year run? On the face of it, it would be impossible. Professors, in particular in the humanities, would either just drone on about their particular tiny corner of the topic or the group discussion would devolve into the pettiest and most unseemly of arguments, the academic argument. And yet, with Melvyn, it becomes the most engaging half hour on radio, precisely because he is both fully engaged in the discussions at the level of the intelligent impartial listener and is willing to elegantly exercise a firm but fair hand to keep a discussion (that could profitably go on for weeks) focused on important themes and delivered in a tight 30 minutes. It becomes that most improbable of things, a group of academics having a discussion worth the time commitment that you actually want to listen to. Amazing. Humanities programs at universities should take note.

Some really interesting topics   (5/5)

Always interesting and learn something new.

Great   (5/5)

A great choice for history.

Outstanding Podcast   (5/5)

Not to be missed, informative and interesting - a treasure

So informative and educational   (4/5)

I love this podcast because it’s not just one person blathering on for two hours. I enjoy that it’s more of a conversation and so we get more perspectives but I absolutely cannot stand when the host interrupts the historians! Don’t ask a question if you’re just going to speak over them! It’s rude and provides a less-than-ideal listening experience.

My Favorite Podcast   (5/5)

Excellent programs on a bounty of historical topics. Absolutely fascinating.

Listenability varies wildly.   (2/5)

Some historians are not meant to be public speakers. So many “ums”. Very interesting subjects are rendered painful to listen to. I turned off the Eunuchs episode as the accent of the first historian and her tendency to pronounce “r’s” with a “w” sound makes the presentation distracting. Also, the host is an obnoxious old man with bad manners and no concept of how to treat his guests. I recommend the History of England Podcast if you are into a few of these subjects, especially the Tudor court.

In Our Time   (5/5)

Wonderful podcast.

Favorite   (5/5)

This podcast is my only hope to sleep at night. Like a close friend. Perhaps not a seemingly favorable admission. It is worthy enough to capture my thoughts away from my pernicious thoughts of daily travails that keep me from sleep. Solid consideration in a world of frivolity and inanity. Precious.

A Yankee in Melvyn Bragg’s Court   (5/5)

Thank you so much for the English & European insight into history. It is nice for this American to get your perspective on history, and really appreciate the banter and the breadth of topics and knowledge. Cheers!

My favorite subject   (4/5)

I loved the story of Mary but could not listen to the stutter. Sorry.

Best History Podcast   (5/5)

Such a wonderful history podcast- engaging, lively, and comprehensive. The host could speak more clearly.

Absolutely wonderful history show   (5/5)

Great guests, interesting topics, and Melvin keeps the conversation moving and fun

What a podcast should be!   (5/5)

I can’t get enough of this podcast - it’s packed with fascinating discussion and information without getting bogged down in minutia. A wonderful array of subjects as well. Wonderfully done, thank you!

The Best History Podcast   (5/5)

The In Our Time Podcast is great but the History version is my go-to for an escape. Beautifully hosted and amazingly wide ranging. Today alone I traveled from the Persian - Greek wars to Revolutionary France to post Civil War America. Always smart and accessible.

Would be better if Melvin wasn’t so rude.   (3/5)

I’m always interested in the topics, but every time I put on an episode, I’m put off by how rude Melvin is to his guests. He interrupts and snarks at his guests in a way that keeps me from listening to all of these. It’s disappointing.

Rude host   (2/5)

Host is rude. I couldn’t finish the episode.

Great listen most times   (5/5)

More times than not, a podcast worth the hour. Still worth 5 stars, great general interest history podcast.

Excellent   (5/5)

I always love the topics and guests. Excellent across the board- history, culture, religion.

Worst Host   (1/5)

I had to turn it off half way through because the host would not stop doubting and down playing everything they were saying. If he doesn’t care about the subject enough to respect the culture history without questioning everything, then they should’ve hired someone who actually enjoys this topic. So distracting and I felt so bad for the guests whose voices felt they were constantly trying to justify everything they said.

Interrupted by the host   (2/5)

The host constantly interrupts the guests speaking which is so annoying. It generally happens right after he asks a question which is even more annoying.

host   (2/5)

The host sounds a bit rude to the guests.

Recommend!   (5/5)

Good series - i particularly enjoyed the Margaret of Anjou episode, as I am a huge Wars of the Roses fan!

Great Material and Guests   (5/5)

I enjoy this podcast for it's wide-arrange of subjects, many of which are never covered in more "pop" history podcasts. I had written a previous review praising the podcast but complaining of the hosts tendency to interrupt guests, particularly women. However, I'm pleased to say that since then, I've noticed him catching himself when he does this and inviting his guests to go on. Not sure if that's in response to feedback, but it's welcome and great to see him improving, making a good great podcast even better. Thanks BBC!

My favorite!   (5/5)

I love the In Our Time series and recommend it to anyone!

Really enjoy In Our Time   (5/5)

I really enjoy the many hours spent listening to Melvin and his knowledgeable guests speak about such a beautifully eclectic span of topics. Great show!

Great Pod - Melvyn Should Lighten Up a Bit   (5/5)

The contributors are top notch and the q & a with MB is interesting. He rules with authority & if he’d lighten up the narrative would probably flow better. And get more down the road on the topic. The looser ‘bonus’ minutes is how the whole show should go and skip the gimmick. Otherwise add some time to the show.

Fascinating   (5/5)

A fascinating podcast!

Pompous Brit!   (5/5)

Mr.Bragg is pompous and condescending which is exactly why I can’t stop listening. He keeps the guests on point and is exacting in his questions. The choice of subjects are a wonderful melange. I wait with anticipation for each new episode! Keep it up Melvyn!

Prolific & Magnificent   (5/5)

A few of my favorite episodes: Heat (surprisingly fantastic) Pascal Robert Hooke Climate Change (healthy debate!) Ice Ages (a must following the climate change episode) 1816, the Year Without a Summer Siege of Vienna

Great show!   (5/5)

Excellent and highly informative program.

Beacon of Scholarship   (5/5)

In a world of divisive chatter, it’s a wonderful relief to hear considered and honest conversation in a pleasant forum of thought.


This would be so much more enjoyable if the moderator wasn’t always breathing and salivating on the mic. How old is this dude?!

Sexist   (1/5)

Female contributors always have shorter segments, leading questions (males more often get open-ended narrative questions), and are more likely to be asked questions that create doubts about their expertise. For example, in the Constantine segment, the males are simply asked to narrate the official history of C's life, while the female is asked about his early life, which is not documented then we move quickly to the men's more sure stories. The result is that she looks like she didn't do her homework in comparison to her colleagues. It's very annoying to -- you guessed it -- a female listener.

Great history podcast   (5/5)

Tons of podcasts for on a variety of subjects

Learning so much!   (5/5)

When do I get invited for tea?

Great Discussions on historical topics   (5/5)

I love it!!!! Melvyn does a superb job moving the dialogue forward so we leave with a cohesive story of what happened in an event/person all with true historians who have studied and taught from original source material. I feel more educated every time I listen!

Wth is his problem?   (1/5)

I was really really into this podcast until I started the Reign of Terror in France one. For some reason, Marvyn Braggs got super butthhurt that the historian, his guest and the EXPERT on the time period, corrected him, politefully enough. He was rude to her multiple times after that. I couldn't figure out why, except maybe that he didn't appreciate a woman telling him he was wrong? Unless I'm wrong, he's just the host with minimal expertise on each subject, so whyyyyy would he get so offended when an expert is trying to explain what happened? He said multiple things to her that really rubbed me the wrong way. I lost respect for a host that couldn't handle his temper gracefully and deal with his feelings off the mic. Too bad because it was such an interesting topic!

Message to Melvin Braggs   (1/5)

Can someone tell Melvin Braggs that Native Americans/Native Mesoamericans/Mayans/Aztecsare not/never unintelligent barbarians? Thanks ✌🏼

Educational Entertainmnet   (5/5)

In Our Time: History is a true gem educates about a wide spectrum of topics , many of which would otherwise be obscure footnotes. Very well done.

It's Terrific!!!   (5/5)

Just the best!!!!

Absolute best   (5/5)

This is one of the best podcasts I have found thus far. The conversations, topics, and moderation by Melvin are all superb, every single episode. The back catalog is massive and full of intriguing topics. I recommend this podcast to everyone I know!

Boxer rebellion   (5/5)

The boxer rebellion was formed to fight droughts....? I'm pretty sure they were formed to fight against imperialist. Awesome podcasts though.


Why would one cancel this program?

Brilliant   (5/5)

This series is the first podcast series I ever stumbled upon and still one of the best!

One of my favorite podcasts   (5/5)

I wish there were most podcasts like this one. Brain food.

A gift for the ages   (5/5)

I started listening to this in 2007. Now I can finally get back episodes! This is great!

Wow!   (5/5)

Incredible discussions.

Great commute listening   (5/5)

I love this fast paced erudition. I will listen to them all.