BBC Radio 4 has released a new podcast series on the unsung heroes of the Second World War, hosted by award-winning actress Helena Bonham Carter.
The 10-part series titled History’s Secret Heroes explores the untold stories of ordinary people that changed the course of the war. The podcast is available as a boxset on BBC Sounds and is being broadcast weekly on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays.
“Both sets of my grandparents were unconventional war heroes, so I was thrilled to be involved with this fascinating new series and help tell these lesser known, but extraordinary, stories from World War II,” said Bonham Carter. “The risks these people took and the number of lives they saved was nothing short of heroic and it’s a privilege to shine a light on their acts of courage.”
People explored in the podcast include Major Charity Adams, the first African American officer to join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, Bela Hazan, an undercover Jewish woman who fought against the Nazis at the Gestapo headquarters, Virginia Hall, an american woman who helped organise the French resistance, and Star Trek actor George Takei, who was imprisoned without trial at five years old after the Pearl Harbour attack with 120,000 other Japanese Americans.
This podcast is part of a new slate of content commissions from the network as part of the BBC’s initiative to continue expanding its podcast programming and creating more “great British IP”, according to BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore.
This slate includes a number of other podcasts with big names like Kirsty Young, former host of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, who will be making her podcast debut for the network soon with a series on conversations with a number of the UK’s “most prominent public figures”, asking them what they would like to tell their younger selves.
Other productions include a new six-part series for BBC Radio 4 hosted by English scholar Mary Beard titled Being Roman, in which she recreates the lives of six people living within the Roman Empire and offers history lessons and stories about Ancient Rome. BBC Audio Production will also be launching a 10-part podcast series in partnership between The National Portrait Gallery and BBC Radio 4 to mark the re-opening of the Gallery in the summer. The series will be presented by journalist Martha Kearney and feature 10 influential British figures who will come face to face with portraits from the Gallery’s collection that mean something to them on a personal level.