Episode 5: Mary Garden - Scotland’s Diva

• September 25th, 2019

Described by some as "the Sarah Bernhardt of opera", Mary Garden was an actress, a talented singer, and quite the character. She was famous for  her formidable  vocal range and she first rose to success in Paris during the first decade of the 20th century. A few years later, she would be a household name in America as an operatic superstar, and starred in operas in several major American cities. Later on Mary would appear in two silent films made by Samuel Goldwyn.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.


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Anne of Cleves: Henry’s Luckiest Wife

• May 19th, 2019

We go back once again to Tudor times to look at the life of Henry VIII's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. She has gone down in history (unfairly) as the ugly fat dim one, the one Henry was so repelled by, he couldn't consummate the marriage. Anne was Henry’s wife for just six months, making her the shortest reigning of all his queens and has subsequently been dismissed as little more than a hiccup in the history of England’s most-married monarch.
However - there is far more to this story than the frankly humiliating spin that has been doing the rounds since 1540. Anne may not have been to Henry's liking, but how she responded to being rejected by him proves that she was nothing like the hapless victim of legend. 

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

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Tsarina Alexandra - Last Empress of Russia

• April 25th, 2019

Alexandra Feodorovna, formerly Princess Alix Victoria Helena Louise Beatrice Von Hesse and By Rhine, was grand daughter to Queen Victoria, daughter of Princess Alice of Great Britain, and the last Tsarina of Russia. As a young woman, Alex fell in love with Nicholas, the heir to the Russian throne. The feelings were mutual, and they were married, but instead of living happily ever after, their lives were set on course for tragedy of epic proportions, the repercussions of which are still felt to this day, over a hundred years later.

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Merle Oberon - Dark Angel

• March 14th, 2019

One of the most beautiful and enigmatic actresses of Hollywood's first century,  the words ‘dark angel’ summed up Merle’s hauntingly beautiful, exotic looks perfectly. She was, in fact, Anglo-Indian, something which back in those days would have put paid to any film career if it had been common knowledge. For most of her life, Merle claimed she was born in Australia — but the racism and snobbery of that era forced Merle to spend a lifetime hiding the fact that she was born to a poverty stricken mother of part-Anglo Indian part-Maori heritage in India. However, that wasn't the only skeleton in the closet, and despite her success and the fact she had a life most people would envy, she basically  lived her life as a lie, never able to be her true self, and hiding the truth of her background from close friends, husbands and her own children.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

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Bess of Hardwick - The Other Elizabeth

• February 18th, 2019

Rising from humble origins during a brutal and turbulent period of British history, Bess became the second most powerful woman in England after the Queen. She used her skills to navigate the risky world of the Tudor court and outlived monarchs and husbands along the way, as well as bearing 8 children and building an empire. Few royal courtiers would climb as high as Bess did, and she made some enemies in her lifetime, and probably due to this, many early  biographers (male) have portrayed Bess as a hard, scheming and proud woman who worked her way through four husbands and managed to get her hands on all their fortunes when they died. But OF COURSE there's more to Bess than this.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites. 

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Episode 21: Christine Granville - Churchill’s Favourite Spy

• December 23rd, 2018

Said to be Winston Churchill's favourite spy, Christine was an adrenaline junkie and a countess by birth whose jaw dropping bravery during the Second World War saved many many lives. Over the course of her wartime career, a knack for repeatedly escaping the deadliest of situations had given her almost mythical status. Christine died early at the age of 44, but those years were stuffed to bursting with adventure, the likes of which would be hard to swallow if you were watching a fictitious film with a plot borrowed from Christine's life.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites. Sound effects from BBC Archive Resource.

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Episode 20: Constance Markiewicz - The Rebel Countess

• December 10th, 2018

When American-born English socialite Nancy Astor entered the House of Commons on 1 December 1919, she became the first female MP in British history to take a seat in parliament. But although Nancy was the first woman to take her seat, she wasn't the first to be elected. That was achieved the year before by one Constance Markievicz. Born into County Sligo aristocracy, married into Polish royalty and immortalised by W.B. Yeats in poetry, Constance would at one point be condemned to death for "waging war against the King" . While detained in Holloway Prison for her part in the Easter Uprising of 1916, she ran her campaign for Parliament, and won.
However, as a member of Sinn Fein, she disqualified herself by refusing to swear allegiance to the British crown. She would dedicate the rest of her life fighting for Irish independence.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

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Episode 19: Jane Seymour - Entirely Beloved

• November 13th, 2018

Jane has always been portrayed as a meek and watery woman, the exact opposite of her predecessor Anne Boleyn, and whose only effect on the turbulent world in which she lived was to provide Henry VIII with the son he desired, then quietly fade away into the shadows. Saying that, we'll never know for sure whether Jane sought the king’s favour or was a pawn of her family and the king’s desire, and although she is given little credit for anything other than her provision of England’s heir, Jane Seymour was said to be intelligent and came from a noble and ambitious family. Being the daughter of a courtier, just like Anne Boleyn, she was as aspirational as the rest of them and the power and influence which could be had as the wife of King Henry would have been highly attractive to her. Not much evidence survives which describes her true personality though - was she an innocent pawn, or a secret schemer?

​Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

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Episode 18: The Ripper Victims: Out of the Depths I Cry to You

• October 18th, 2018

Although these five women - Mary Ann, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane - probably never met each other, they had some things in common, including grinding poverty, casual prostitution, the year of their murders, and the likely-hood that they were killed by the same person. The first "celebrity" serial killer, the Jack the Ripper became so famous that his victims' tragic lives have always been overshadowed by "Jack" himself. In this episode, I throw some light on their backgrounds and the desperate lives they lived. Warning: I try not to be too explicit with the murder scenes, but listeners may find some content upsetting. 
​Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

Photo of Annie and John Chapman, c.1869 (Chapman family/Neal Shelden)

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Episode 17: Evelyn Dove

• October 6th, 2018

Evelyn Dove was Britain's first black show business star. She was a true pioneer - she was the first black woman to sing on BBC radio, and the first black singer to move from Britain to make a splash in America. After the second world war, she had her own music series on British television, and was one of the most well loved personalities in what was a new and exciting medium in the world of entertainment. In a career lasting five decades, Evelyn Dove embraced the worlds of jazz, musical theatre and cabaret, refusing  to be constrained by her colour or class, but her career was one of highs and lows...

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

See our gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com site for show notes and sources.

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Episode 16: Barbara Villiers, Curse of the Nation.

• September 5th, 2018

Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, Duchess of Cleveland, was the most notorious mistress of The Merry Monarch, King Charles 2nd of England, who fathered 5 of her children. Her influence on the king was so great, and she was such a force to be reckoned with, that she has been referred to as "The Uncrowned Queen".

Her greed, bad temper, adultery with the king, and pernicious influence at court provoked the diarist John Evelyn to describe her as the "curse of the nation", whereas Samuel Pepys, lover of gossip and ever a sucker for a pretty face, wrote admiringly of Barbara on many occasions, while at the same time fretting over her influence on the king.

Babs is probably the most scandalous woman we've written about so far, and her exploits were pretty outrageous even by today's standards. Join us!

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

See our gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com site for show notes and sources.

 

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Episode 15: Flora MacDonald - Jacobite Rebel

• July 27th, 2018

In 1746 a young woman, Flora MacDonald, sailed over the sea to Skye with her Irish "maid", Betty Burke. The "maid" was actually Prince Charles Edward Stuart, a fugitive from the forces of King George II who were hunting him following his escape after the disastrous Battle of Culloden. The grandson of James II of England, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as he was known in Scotland, had led the second Jacobite Uprising of 1745 to overthrow King George, where his army of Jacobites was slaughtered and he was forced to flee for his life. This was where Flora came into the picture. Like Outlander? Maybe you'll like this.

The version of "The Skye Boat Song" we use in the show is by The Corries, and Ronnie Brown kindly gave us permission to use it. Thank you Ronnie!

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter.  All other music used in the show is from copyright free music sites.

See our gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com site for show notes and sources.

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Episode 14, Grace O’Mally - The Pirate Queen

• July 6th, 2018

Grace O'Mally, The Pirate Queen, was a flamboyant outlaw and the scourge of the Western Approaches. An unsung Celtic heroine, Grace's story is outrageous, involving kidnap, murder, piracy and intrigue. She lived in a time of great change - in 16th century Ireland, the old Gaelic way of life was being encroached upon by the English, and shifting loyalties set clan against clan and tribe against tribe… 

Join Donna and Tom as they dive into the life and times of this remarkable woman.

Opening music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Closing music by Wellington Sea Shanty Society :  Great Open Sea

All other music is sourced from copyright free music websites.

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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Episode 13: Anne Boleyn - The Courtier’s Daughter

• June 14th, 2018

Described by her enemies as a "goggle eyed whore",Anne Boleyn was the first English queen to be publicly executed. Five hundred years after her death, her tragic tale is still the subject of historians and the inspiration for films. Out of all of Henry VIII's wives, Anne is the without doubt the most famous, and most enigmatic. Join Donna and Tom as they talk about her life. 

Music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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Episode 12: Enid Blyton - Her Own Greatest Creation

• May 22nd, 2018

Enid Blyton's books were the height of escapism for children. She told stories of youngsters who were free to roam around unsupervised; children whose parents were conveniently absent, allowing them to explore the dens of smugglers, kidnappers and no-good Johnny-foreigners – who the plucky children would always outsmart and deliver into the hands of the local, bungling police, before going home to sardine sandwiches and of course... lashings of ginger beer... ripping!

She wrote almost 800 books in her lifetime, including the Famous Five series, the Noddy books and The Faraway Tree series. Her books have been best sellers since the 1930s, selling over 600 million copies to date, despite becoming increasingly controversial from the 1950s onwards. Join us as we have a nosy into her life!

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Episode 11: Lydia Thompson - Godmother of Burlesque.

• April 28th, 2018

Lydia Thompson is one of the legends of the music hall and considered by many to be THE original Queen of Burlesque. Lydia and her chorus line, The British Blondes, electrified the stages of British Victorian Muisc Halls and introduced Burlesque to American audiences with their bawdy and sensational extravaganzas and they went on to become household names throughout America as the embodiment of saucy glamour. They brought natural female sexuality into direct conflict with the conventional view of what it meant to be a “true woman” in the Victorian era. The Blondes popularity allowed them to subvert class divisions and introduce a lowbrow brand of entertainment to highbrow audiences, blurring the lines that separated sex and entertainment by class and gender...

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Episode 10: Fanny Cradock - Nightmare in the Kitchen

• April 4th, 2018

Fanny Cradock was one of the first tv chefs, terrifying viewers and employees alike from the fifties until the 1990s. Her on and off-screen shenanigans were the stuff of nightmares and she is still (in)famous over twenty years after her death. Join Donna and Tom as they talk about her life.

Music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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Episode 9: Christina Rossetti - From Storm to Calm

• March 24th, 2018

Donna and Tom discuss the Victiorian poet, Christina Rossetti. A member of the remarkable Rossetti family (her brother was the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) her most famous poem is probably "Goblin Market", which is still in print today. She spent much of her life unhappy, in emotional turmoil, wrestling with her personal demons, but always creating prolific amounts of poetry. As poets (especially women poets) of the Victorian era go, her name is one of the most well known.

 

Music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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Episode 8: Catherine of Aragon - The True Wife

• March 8th, 2018

Welcome to Episode 8! Here we will talk about Catalina, or Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, the King and Queen of Spain. Betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, from the age of 4, Catherine's fate would involve widowhood after only a few months of marriage and eventual marriage to Arthur's younger brother Henry, the future King of England. Unfortunately, she became victim of Henry VIII's inability to produce a male heir, and her subsequent downfall was inevitable. A fervent Catholic, her refusal to agree to an annulment of their marriage so he could marry Anne Boleyn, eventually led to Henry's break with Rome and the Pope, and the creation of the Church of England.

Music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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Episode 7: Elizabeth Ponsonby and The Bright Young People.

• February 22nd, 2018

Welcome to episode 7 of the show. Here, we talk about Elizabeth Ponsonby, one of the main characters of the so called Bright Young People of the Roaring 1920s. As the Jazz Age exploded, a set of young socialites issued in a short-lived era of 24 hour partying, drinking, drug-taking and gilded fun. This group of aristocrats, adventurers and bohemian artists lived large and provided the tabloid press of the day with a stream of outrageous gossip and photographs and fabricated "youth culture." But, as the second world war loomed, reality set in for most of these people, with Elizabeth being a notable exception.

Music by Stefan Kartenburg, featuring Dimitri Artmenko on strings, and it's from dig.ccMixter. 

Our website is gallusgirlsandwaywardwomen.weebly.com, and you can find us on Twitter @gallusgirlstory

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