15 episodes

A podcast documentary about Cheltenham, the home of British spying, and the cracks of lying and deception that run through this seemingly perfect Cotswolds town.

Praise for The Town That Didn't Stare:

"Arch and funny, ­but... deeply serious in trying to understand the peculiar history of the town" – Financial Times
"Facinating... mysterious, it really hooks you in" – BBC
"Brilliantly arch" – Sunday Times
"Hilton is an engaging narrator, tip-toeing the lines between nostalgia, comedy and truth-telling" – The Big Issue

The Town That Knew Too Much Podot

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 117 Ratings

A podcast documentary about Cheltenham, the home of British spying, and the cracks of lying and deception that run through this seemingly perfect Cotswolds town.

Praise for The Town That Didn't Stare:

"Arch and funny, ­but... deeply serious in trying to understand the peculiar history of the town" – Financial Times
"Facinating... mysterious, it really hooks you in" – BBC
"Brilliantly arch" – Sunday Times
"Hilton is an engaging narrator, tip-toeing the lines between nostalgia, comedy and truth-telling" – The Big Issue

    The Doughnut

    The Doughnut

    The Doughnut. A giant circular low-rise office block in west Cheltenham; it is, jokingly I'm sure, said to look from above like a giant bullseye.

    Here, the men and women of GCHQ go to work every day. Here they listen to the world. Here they keep tabs. And here, in 2013, their secrets spilled out to the world. This is the story of Edward Snowden and the GCHQ/NSA leaks, and how the secret world of surveillance was blown wide open almost a decade ago. What happened? And have things really changed?

    Contributors to this episode: Geoff Dyer, Alan Rusbridger, Ewen MacAskill, James Ball, Michael S. Kinch, Sam Kean.




    You also heard GCHQ by Markee Ledge, reproduced with permission, and voice acting by Scott Westwood.




    This is the seventh, and final, episode of The Town That Knew Too Much, written, produced and presented by Nick Hilton.




    The music is by George Jennings, based on The Planets by Gustav Holst. The entire score for the series is available to stream on Spotify.




    This is the seventh part of a 7-part series available on all good podcast platforms. You can find out more about the show on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – just go to @thetownpod – or visit www.thetownpod.com for episode notes and more information. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please go to your podcast provider and leave a rating and review.




    The Town That Knew Too Much is a Podot podcast, for more information visit podotpods.com.

    • 45 min
    The Black Abbot

    The Black Abbot

    Where do the dead go when they die? Do we file them away in obituaries? Or celebrate them at a memorial service and slowly forget their day-to-day existence?

    This is a story of death. It is a story of spirits lingering on. It is a story of how lives become stories and how stories define places. From the ghosts of Prestbury to the dead GCHQ mathematician Gareth Williams – via, of course, the singing mice of the Tailor of Gloucester – The Black Abbot is about the imprints we make on the world and how they outlive us.

    Contributors to this episode: Ian Jelf, Philip Ingram, Catherine Curzon, Colin Towns, Iggy Ostanin.

    This is the sixth episode of The Town That Knew Too Much, written, produced and presented by Nick Hilton.




    The music is by George Jennings, based on The Planets by Gustav Holst. The entire score for the series is available to stream on Spotify.




    This is the sixth part of a 7-part series available on all good podcast platforms. You can find out more about the show on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – just go to @thetownpod – or visit www.thetownpod.com for episode notes and more information. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please go to your podcast provider and leave a rating and review.




    The Town That Knew Too Much is a Podot podcast, for more information visit podotpods.com.

    • 34 min
    Time of Trial

    Time of Trial

    Geoffrey Prime, Soviet spy at GCHQ, has been arrested on sexual offences against children. But that was just the start of his world unravelling. And as the Prime affair came to a boil, the grubby compromises of espionage would also be aired.

    This is the story of the Prime trial and the trials that all people must bear as their world disintegrates. From the calm of Cleeve Hill to the Mafia drama of the death of Roberto Calvi, this is a story of how things come to their end.

    Listener note: This is the second episode of the series dedicated to the story of Geoffrey Prime. The first episode looking at Prime – 'Through The Looking Glass' – is the third episode in the series, and should ideally be listened to before 'Time of Trial' as it provides contextual details that may not be repeated in this episode.

    Contributors to this episode: Rupert Aker, Dominic Carman, Richard Norton-Taylor, Nick Davies, Peter Picken, Gerald Posner, Jeff Stein, and Ben Meier.

    This is the fifth episode of The Town That Knew Too Much, written, produced and presented by Nick Hilton.




    The music is by George Jennings, based on The Planets by Gustav Holst. The entire score for the series is available to stream on Spotify.




    This is the fifth part of a 7-part series available on all good podcast platforms. You can find out more about the show on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – just go to @thetownpod – or visit www.thetownpod.com for episode notes and more information. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please go to your podcast provider and leave a rating and review.




    The Town That Knew Too Much is a Podot podcast, for more information visit podotpods.com.

    • 33 min
    The Wishing Fish Clock

    The Wishing Fish Clock

    There's a clock in Cheltenham that hangs above a shopping arcade. Below its face a magnificent golden fish rotates and, on the half hour spews bubbles. It is a singular work from a singular mind: that of Kit Williams.

    Williams is most famous for the Masquerade puzzle hunt in the 1980s. This is the story of the man, the book and the quest he set in motion. And if you keep listening throughout the podcast, you might find yourself off on a hunt of your own...

    To start your puzzle hunt go to WishingFishClock.com

    Contributors to this episode: Paul Slade, Dan Amrich, Mariella Cook, Kelvin Horton, Stuart Ashen, Anneka Rice, Karl Coppack.




    And the team at Dreamcatcher: Sarah Binney, Michael Kearns, Ben Below and Catalin Ursachi.



    This is the fourth episode of The Town That Knew Too Much, written, produced and presented by Nick Hilton.


    The music is by George Jennings, based on The Planets by Gustav Holst. The entire score for the series is available to stream on Spotify.


    This is the fourth part of a 7-part series available on all good podcast platforms. You can find out more about the show on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – just go to @thetownpod – or visit www.thetownpod.com for episode notes and more information. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please go to your podcast provider and leave a rating and review.


    The Town That Knew Too Much is a Podot podcast, for more information visit podotpods.com.

    • 37 min
    Through The Looking Glass

    Through The Looking Glass

    This is the story of a man who had not one but two double lives. It is the story of the disorientating topsy-turvy world you'll find through the looking glass, where all is not what it seems. This is the story of GCHQ's mole...

    From Lewis Carroll to Geoffrey Prime, this episode looks at the lies we tell to keep our worst secrets from the outside world. It is an episode that looks at how lies expand to fill the space they're afforded and how once you start living in the shadows, dishonesty and deception becomes easier and easier.

    Contributors to this episode: Katie Roiphe, Jenny Woolf, Peter Picken, Dominic Carman, Nick Davies, John D’oh, Ian Bailey, Anna Leszkiewicz, and Dallas G. Denery II.




    Voice acting by Evelyn Lockley and Keif Gwinn.

    This is the third episode of The Town That Knew Too Much, written, produced and presented by Nick Hilton.


    The music is by George Jennings, based on The Planets by Gustav Holst. The entire score for the series is available to stream on Spotify.


    This is the third part of a 7-part series available on all good podcast platforms. You can find out more about the show on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – just go to @thetownpod – or visit www.thetownpod.com for episode notes and more information. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please go to your podcast provider and leave a rating and review.


    The Town That Knew Too Much is a Podot podcast, for more information visit podotpods.com.

    • 37 min
    Enigmas

    Enigmas

    Enigmas. Things that cannot be understood; things that must be unravelled and unriddled. Things that are not what they seem.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
117 Ratings

117 Ratings

Ourfvortvntrovntrojvntrvjon ,

Really insightful

I grew up near Cheltenham so was immediately intrigued by this podcast. I’ve found it really eye opening and engaging even though this isn’t my usual sort of podcast! I particularly appreciated the use of the reinterpretation of the planets as the music for the show as well, really well produced.

LibbyC2000 ,

A treat

These town podcasts are like mind maps linking together research and top tier interviews with Nick’s fantastic insights and humour. I’m from Cheltenham and didn’t know the half of it. Where to next?

nickcoke ,

So good

As good as the brilliant East Grinstead series

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