Real Dictators

Real Dictators

Real Dictators is the award-winning podcast that explores the hidden lives of history's tyrants. Hosted by Paul McGann, with contributions from eyewitnesses and expert historians. New episodes available one week early for Noiser+ subscribers. You'll also get ad-free listening and exclusive content. To find out more about Noiser+, head to noiser.com/subscriptions. For advertising enquiries, email info@adelicious.fm Production: Joel Duddell, Miriam Baines, Tom Pink, George Tapp, Dorry Macaulay, Cian Ryan-Morgan, Joseph McGann. Compositions by Oliver Baines, Dorry Macaulay, Tom Pink. We are sponsored by Indeed. Go to Indeed.com/real for £100 sponsored credit.

Episodes

May 7, 2024 70 mins
In the final part of the Cromwell story, outrage at the King’s execution leads Ironsides to wage war on Scotland and, notoriously, Ireland. Insurgencies over, he’ll become Lord Protector - king in all but name. But as discontent continues to spread, the unthinkable will once again become possible. The Stuart monarchy couldn’t be restored… could it?… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. Many thanks to Peter Gaunt, Clare Jack...
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With the King in captivity, both sides seek a settlement. But when Charles escapes, all trust is broken. For Cromwell there is only one course of action - a solution that will plunge the British Isles into unknown territory. His Majesty must be put on trial… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. Many thanks to Peter Gaunt, Clare Jackson, Anna Keay, John Morrill, Nicholas O’Shaughnessy, Micheál Ó Siochrú. This is Part 3 of 4....
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England is plunged into conflict. Oliver Cromwell, an obscure politician, soon proves himself an outstanding military commander. King Charles, meanwhile, unveils his own star signing - a dashing young cavalry officer named Prince Rupert. A daring mission featuring the Queen threatens to tip the balance the Royalists’ way. But Cromwell’s New Model Army will prove itself unstoppable… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. Many ...
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Say “Oliver Cromwell” today and certain things come to mind. He won the English Civil War and prompted the execution of Charles I. He purged the realm with such zeal that he even cancelled Christmas. In Ireland, where Cromwell’s troops besieged its towns with a notorious barbarity, his name is still used as a curse. “The greatest prince that ever ruled England”, as one historian called him? Or, as Winston Churchill would counter, a...
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A brand-new podcast from the Noiser network. Join domestic historian Ruth Goodman as she explores the remarkable, often epic, tales behind everyday objects. This taster episode is all about the bath. A murderous emperor builds the grandest bath complex ever seen in Ancient Rome. The arrival of a new disease spells trouble for the bathhouses of Tudor London. An excitable Victorian clergyman extolls the virtues of skinny dipping. And...
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As a new premier takes charge in Moscow, Hoxha makes a new friend in China. The Albanian dictator tasks an entire media industry with maintaining his image. But as his country sinks into an economic mire and his own health deteriorates, Hoxha and Albania’s isolation will be complete. How will the country even begin to escape his clutches? A Noiser production, written by Sean Coleman. Many thanks to Bernd Fischer, Artan Hoxha and Sh...
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From 1944 to 1985, Enver Hoxha ran Albania as an extraordinarily repressive Stalinist dictatorship. But how did a middle class teacher from the provinces become the most powerful man in the country and a key player in the communist world? What did he do to turn Albania into one of the most isolated countries in the world? And how did ‘Uncle Enver’ keep his citizens in the dark for so much of the 20th century? A Noiser production, w...
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Herod leaves Rome to wrest Judea from the Parthians. He will marry a princess, commission extraordinary building works, and even murder his in-laws as he tries to win over his people. But how will that desperate quest shape his subjects’ lives, and his own legacy? And what of Herod’s most notorious act - the Slaughter of the Innocents? A Noiser production, written by Kate Harrison. This is Part 2 of 2. Get every episode of Real Dic...
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December 20, 2023 58 mins
Herod - you may well know the name from the Nativity story. The cruel king who learns of a prophecy proclaiming a Messiah and orders the slaughter of innocent children in response. He’s become synonymous with almost pantomime villainy. At the same time, Herod changed the face of the Middle East in the 1st century BC. His reign featured dazzling architectural ventures and significant legal changes… as well as social division, politi...
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December 13, 2023 53 mins
In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair send troops back into Iraq. In a highly symbolic moment, beamed around the world, a giant statue of Saddam comes crashing down. But as the Iraqi dictator performs his vanishing act, how soon can they track him down? And after Saddam’s toppling, how will ordinary Iraqis fare? A Noiser production, written by Duncan Barrett. This is Part 5 of 5. Get every episode of Rea...
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December 6, 2023 46 mins
After Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, US forces are deployed to the region. For some Iraqis, it seems like the perfect time to rise up against their dictator. As economic sanctions bite, Saddam treats himself to a bit of retail therapy. All the while, his sons are becoming terrifying figures in their own right. A family crisis is about to snowball into a murderous feud… A Noiser production, written by Duncan Barrett. Get every episode o...
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Saddam nationalises the Iraq Petroleum Company and clashes with the new leader of Iran. A man called ‘Chemical Ali’ commits one of the most heinous atrocities of modern times. Meanwhile, sculptures of the Iraqi dictator are commissioned across the land. With his personality cult firmly established, Saddam is ready for war… A Noiser production, written by Duncan Barrett. For more on Saddam and his cook, listen to our bonus episode o...
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Saddam consolidates his own power base, appointing friends and relatives to key positions. We hear a remarkable account from a woman whose own family was targeted by his secret police. Soon, the deputy will be in pole position to move against his mentor. And after that, Saddam will shore up the loyalty of his party with an act of political theatre for the ages… A Noiser production, written by Duncan Barrett. Get every episode of Re...
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November 15, 2023 49 mins
In the spring of 1937, a child dies and his brother is born. Translated from Arabic, the newborn’s name - Saddam - means ‘one who confronts’. As his life will demonstrate, it couldn’t be more appropriate. So how does a boy from a tough peasant background go on to rise to the very top of Iraq’s leadership? How does his journey towards global infamy begin? Narrated by Paul McGann. A Noiser production, written by Duncan Barrett. Get e...
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With President Macías in power, educated Equatoguineans come under attack, as a bizarre vendetta is pursued against teachers, lawyers and doctors. Things take a turn for the metaphysical, as Macías declares himself God. Finally, as paranoia completely overwhelms him, his inner circle will take matters into their own hands… Narrated by Paul McGann. A Noiser production, written by Sean Coleman. This is Part 2 of 2. Get every episode ...
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This is the extraordinary, blood-curdling story of a dictator you may never have heard of. From 1968-1979, the African nation of Equatorial Guinea was helmed by its first, and to date only, freely elected president. Initially, Francisco Macías Nguema was seen by the Spanish colonial authorities as a safe choice. He proved to be anything but. Things went off the rails at an astonishing rate, as Macías rapidly turned the country into...
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October 3, 2023 64 mins
We reach the dramatic conclusion of Hitler’s downfall. With the Battle of Berlin raging, the Führer makes his last stand. Underground, in a bunker beneath the Chancellery, he will conduct the final act of his life: a macabre ritual of marriage, murder and suicide… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. This is Part 25 of the Hitler Story. Scroll down the Real Dictators feed for earlier episodes. For ad-free listening, exclusi...
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A delusional Hitler downplays the Normandy Landings. A group of generals, meanwhile, attempts an audacious military coup. And with Allied bombers pounding the Fatherland, Germany’s dictator plays his next card… Scientific wonder-weapons that will turn the war back his way… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. This is Part 24 of the Hitler Story. Scroll down the Real Dictators feed for earlier episodes. For ad-free listening...
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September 19, 2023 51 mins
In Italy, Il Duce is overthrown. So Hitler stages a daring mission to rescue his fascist partner. With the Red Army rampant, another epochal battle sends the Wehrmacht on the retreat. Soon, more bad news will reach the Berghof, as Allied troops start landing in Normandy. But with the Führer fast asleep in his quarters, will anyone dare to break it to him? A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. This is Part 23 of the Hitler St...
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September 12, 2023 56 mins
The myth of the Nazi war machine is blown apart in one of the pivotal battles of World War 2. Serious questions arise as to Hitler’s leadership, encouraging a growing German resistance. As Allied forces eye Sicily, a paranoid Führer retreats further into himself. His war of conquest is becoming a war of defence… A Noiser production, written by Jeff Dawson. This is Part 22 of the Hitler Story. Scroll down the Real Dictators feed for...
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