An Utterly Impartial History Of Britain

John O'farrell's comical and irreverent take on British history, read by Jan Ravens, Mark Perry, Rupert Degas and the author.


01Dire Combustion2007110520110523 (BBC7)

Celebrating Bonfire Night with two historical sequences: the Gunpowder Plot and, 60 years later, the Fire of London.

02The Vikings2007110620110524 (BBC7)

The Anglo Saxon era, with Alfred the Great, Ethelred the Unready and the arrival of the Scandinavians with names like Eric Bloodaxe, Guthrum, Thorfinn Skullsplitter and Olav Tidyhouse.

Harald Wartooth, immigration, Alfred and the cakes, murder and pillage: all grist to John O'Farrell's mill.

03Revolting Times2007110720110525 (BBC7)

In the early 19th century, only 435,000 males could vote and all MPs who had no pay had to be property owning.

It was time for reform and the Chartist movement.

One man, one vote? It wasn't always so, as John O'Farrell explains at length.

04The Norman Conquest2007110820110526 (BBC7)

William, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy and a tanner's daughter, defeats King Harold at Hastings and becomes William the Conqueror, introducing Britain to his fancy French ways, including red or white wine.

How did Britain take to William the Conqueror's fancy French ways? John O'Farrell explains.

05 LASTTheir Finest Hour2007110920110527 (BBC7)

Or how a two-minute silence from Winston Churchill changes the whole course of the war.

O'Farrell has a surprisingly high opinion of Churchill as prime minister during the Second World War in this the final extract from his latest book.

Never have so many, for so few, on the beaches.