What’s it called?

Real Dictators

What’s it about?

Dictators. Real ones, such as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Kim Jong-il, son of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung and father of its current leader, Kim Jong-un. Real heavy-weight nasties, in other words. The podcast only launched in April and with three episodes dedicated to each subject it’s only the last two in that list who have been covered so far. But the podcast’s discursive nature is one of its strengths: working through the early life of, say, Kim Jong-il provides a deeper understanding of the social and political context. Did you know, for instance, that he was born in Soviet Russia during the second world war but spent the rest of his life pretending he hadn’t? Or that in 1907 Josef Stalin held up a stagecoach in a heist in which 50 people died, and escaped with the equivalent of tens of millions of roubles in today's money?

Who’s in it?

The narrator is Paul McGann. Yes, that Paul McGann, he of Withnail And I fame. Adding their expert and well-researched analysis is a roster of historians and journalists.

What’s so good about it?

It goes into its subjects in real depth, helped out by the expertise of the interviewees, and uses sound effects to try to put you right in the centre of the events it’s narrating.

Fun fact …

Kim Jong-il liked to dine on lobster and was the world’s largest single paying customer for Hennessy cognac.

Where can I find it?

The podcast is made by Noiser and is available to download for free on iTunes.

For fans of …

Dictators, BBC Four history shows