Blind History

Blind History is a crash course in getting to know history’s greatest men and women - and by great we don’t always mean good.

Hosted by Gareth Cliff and Anthony Mederer, this series will tell you what the history books sometimes leave out - the sordid stories, the less well-known details, some of the stuff they didn’t teach you at school.

Each person will help you put a piece of the puzzle in place, and bring history to life.
Weekly English South Africa History · Education
98 Episodes
1 – 20

Nelson Mandela

The most famous South African, the first democratically elected president of the Rainbow Nation, the anti-apartheid icon, and the man who spent 27 years in prison for his conviction and devotion to the cause. There are many ways to describe Nelson Mandela, but we had to end this season with…
6 Dec 2022 27 min

Howard Hughes

Long before Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, there was a billionaire playboy who set the standard - a genius with a passion for flying and designing planes, a womaniser who bedded the sexiest women in Hollywood, and a man who was eccentric enough to be declared mentally ill by today’s…
29 Nov 2022 24 min

Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

The fiery, furious relationship between the medieval era’s most famous power couple led to glory and terrible failure. The empire they presided over was the greatest empire in the West since the time of Charlemagne. He was 9 years younger than her, but she matched his energy. When they weren’t…
22 Nov 2022 26 min

Lord Nelson

Vice Admiral Viscount Horatio Nelson was the greatest British sailor of all time, possibly the greatest sailor in all the world’s history. His adventures, tactical genius and courage inspired Britain to become the naval superpower that it was in the 1700s and 1800s, and helped bring about the fall of…
15 Nov 2022 31 min


In 1742 a Russian aristocrat and military engineer, fluent in Turkish and French, rose to prominence in the Imperial court of Peter the Great. He had all the trappings of nobility, and was held in such high regard that the Tsar adopted him. This great figure of Russian history's name…
8 Nov 2022 19 min

Mao Zedong

If there were a prize for genocide, one man would have unbeatable odds at claiming it. He began life as a bright young revolutionary with enormous enthusiasm for change and fairness - but he devolved into a fat, dirty, old tyrant who filled everyone with fear and loathing. He was…
1 Nov 2022 31 min

Lucky Luciano

Long before Mario Puzo wrote 'The Godfather', and before Brando and Pacino brought the book’s characters to life on the big screen, the real Godfather - Lucky Luciano - ruled over the world of organised crime. Gambling, prostitution, guns and shallow graves were his stock-in-trade. He was public enemy number…
25 Oct 2022 21 min

Tuthmosis III

Unlike most great people from history, you can actually still look into the faces of some of the Pharaohs. At the Egyptian Museum of Civilisation, 22 mummies occupy a sanctified space, and represent over 3,000 years of recorded history. One of the most memorable is Tuthmosis III - while he…
18 Oct 2022 22 min

Mansa Musa

Once upon a time, there lived a king... a king who had so much wealth that he could fill great halls to their roofs with it. When he visited the biggest Islamic city of his age, he brought so much money with him that he almost destroyed its economy. But…
11 Oct 2022 21 min

William Marshall

Chivalry, jousting, coat-armour, knights on horseback and the great glory of the Middle Ages are mostly made up. The real Middle Ages were a dirty, bloody, brutal and uncivilised time. Women were mere possessions, land was wealth, might made right, and peasants ate rocks and soil to stay alive. Only…
4 Oct 2022 20 min

Ashoka the Great

Within living memory of Alexander the Great, a vast, powerful and extraordinary empire rose up in Northern India - forged by the strength, intelligence, and philosophy of one man. In one lifetime, he went from warlord to monk, from outcast to emperor... and his ideas brought a new religion, Buddhism,…
27 Sep 2022 20 min

Gilles de Rais

Everyone knows the story of Joan of Arc - the patron saint of France, the heroine who was burnt at the stake for her valour and her faith. History has been less kind to Gilles de Rais, a man whose story is less heroic and more macabre. In the dungeons…
20 Sep 2022 21 min

Captain James Cook

The creaking ship rose and fell in massive swells, the waves as high as 10 men stacked on top of each other. Blistering Antarctic winds seemed determined to prevent anyone from rounding the cursed Cape Horn. It had been months since any of the crew had seen their families, eaten…
13 Sep 2022 21 min

Dr Emma Southon

Dr Emma Southon specialises in Roman history, and has written some incredibly interesting - and very funny - books. As a bonus episode of Blind History, we managed to have a chat with her about Rome, Roman society, the role of women in Roman families, and many more salacious and…
23 Mar 2022 34 min


Some believe he was the greatest man who ever lived, the son of God. Some historians mentioned him in passing as a Jewish rebel and philosopher. Either of those groups may be right, but we’ll never know exactly how to separate the reality from the myth of Jesus of Nazareth.
15 Mar 2022 26 min

Adolf Hitler

We’ve been avoiding this one, but eventually we had to do it ... the arch-villain of modern, if not all history - Adolf Hitler. The Fuhrer of Germany and the man who almost brought the whole Western world to its knees. More has been written about Hitler than anyone else…
9 Mar 2022 26 min

Charles Martel

Charles Martel was born in the palace of Austrasia - which it turns out is neither in Australia nor Austria. If you’re confused, just imagine being French without a France. Austrasia was one of four provinces of what would eventually become medieval France, and Charles Martel would be its first…
2 Mar 2022 22 min

Elizabeth Bathory

Elizabeth Bathory might not be the most famous Hungarian in history, but once you hear her story, you’ll never forget her name. A tale of sadism, torture, cruelty and murder awaits you in this episode of Blind History…
23 Feb 2022 16 min

Hideki Tojo

Coming hot on the heels of last week’s episode, the villains can add another ugly monster to their number. Hideki Tojo was Japan’s fascist, genocidal answer to Himmler in Germany. Throughout his career, only Imperial Japanese priorities would matter, and if people got in the way, he treated them as…
9 Feb 2022 23 min

Heinrich Himmler

If you were to compile a list of the most evil men in history, Heinrich Himmler would undoubtedly be near the top of it. Hitler’s chief executioner and the mastermind behind the genocidal concentration camps, Himmler was obsessed with racial superiority, the occult and killing people efficiently. With his round…
2 Feb 2022 23 min
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