8 episodes

Real Dictators is the new podcast series hosted by Paul McGann (Dr Who, Luther, Withnail and I) that explores the hidden lives of history’s tyrants.
New episodes each Wednesday from May 2020.

Real Dictators Noiser

    • History
    • 4.8, 868 Ratings

Real Dictators is the new podcast series hosted by Paul McGann (Dr Who, Luther, Withnail and I) that explores the hidden lives of history’s tyrants.
New episodes each Wednesday from May 2020.

    Mao Zedong Part 1: The Peasant’s Son Who Craved Power

    Mao Zedong Part 1: The Peasant’s Son Who Craved Power

    In the centre of China’s capital city, Beijing, lies a corpse that no one dares remove. It’s been 44 years since Mao Zedong’s body was laid to rest in the grandiose Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. He may be gone but he is not forgotten. To some, he’s the father of modern China. To many others, he’s a sadistic thug - a man willing, even happy, to sacrifice millions of lives in pursuit of power and economic dominance. Mao Zedong is born in Hunan Province in 1893. Growing up on his father’s farm, he consumes books and ideas. He becomes a devoted left-wing activist. Mao’s rise to the top of the Communist Party is littered with violent outbursts, setting the tone for the decades to come.
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    • 41 min
    Joseph Stalin Part 3: Hitler Attacks

    Joseph Stalin Part 3: Hitler Attacks

    Stalin’s regime hits the rocks when Adolf Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa and invades Russia. Nazi tanks plough towards Moscow in a devastating advance. Stalin’s legacy is forged in this fight to the death. In his final years, the strongman succumbs to cardiac problems. His tools for progress have been famine, slavery and execution. Yet to this day, some of his countrymen and women lionise him as the man who turned Russia into a superpower.
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    • 50 min
    Joseph Stalin Part 2: The Secretary Becomes Dictator

    Joseph Stalin Part 2: The Secretary Becomes Dictator

    With the First World War underway, Stalin’s journey to becoming a brutal dictator grinds into gear. After the War, Russia is turned upside down. Stalin thrives in the chaos, masterminding a string of elaborate takedowns of his rivals. Rising to party leader, Stalin visits a ruthless purge on his enemies. The dreaded secret police cleanse the country of so-called traitors. Rural society collapses under this onslaught. But Stalin’s brutality does not go unchallenged. The peasants revolt, while a showdown with his own wife at a dinner party has tragic consequences.
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    • 56 min
    Joseph Stalin Part 1: The Young Bank Robber

    Joseph Stalin Part 1: The Young Bank Robber

    Joseph Stalin - the “man of steel” - was the party secretary who plotted a route to absolute power, becoming head of the Eastern Bloc and, in time, chief nemesis of the United States. But how did a man from the Georgian frontier of the Russian Empire do it? In 1917, the 300-year-old Romanov Dynasty collapses. The communist Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace and seize power. From this band of revolutionaries, a future bloody dictator - a man with an extraordinary backstory - begins to emerge.
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    • 49 min
    Kim Jong-il Part 3: Nuclear Armed

    Kim Jong-il Part 3: Nuclear Armed

    Installed as dictator, Kim Jong-il builds an all-powerful state that rules the lives and minds of its people without mercy. North Korea is wracked by famine. The people adapt to survive - we hear from one man who flouted the rules on trade and commerce and paid a horrific price. With the country starving, lurid rumours emerge about how the ‘Dear Leader’ spends his leisure time. And Kim Jong-il begins work on an arsenal of nuclear weapons that will spook the world and pave the way for his own son’s ascent to power.
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    • 53 min
    Kim Jong-il Part 2: Time to Make a Movie…

    Kim Jong-il Part 2: Time to Make a Movie…

    Kim Jong-il has risen to become head of North Korean propaganda, under the rule of his strongman father. Now, he hatches an audacious plan to turn North Korea into a filmmaking powerhouse. South Korea’s finest actress and leading director are kidnapped and find themselves on boats bound for the North. Elsewhere, Kim launches a charm offensive at the armed forces, readying the ground for his coronation. And his father dies, leaving the path to power seemingly clear.
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    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
868 Ratings

868 Ratings

monkeytrouble240106 ,

Excellent and beautifully presented

Couldn’t recommend this podcast more! Extremely well researched and very interesting- love it

Spaniards rule ,

So good

Really good I can’t get enough of it. The description is amazing.

Steeno the brave ,

Superb

Paul McGann could read the history of paint drying and it would be engaging. Thankfully this isn’t that. It’s 1000000 times better. A must listen.

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