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Mark Steel

Mark Steel

Mark Steel is a British comedian, commentator, and sometime panelist on the British comedy quiz show QI. But without doubt, Mark's greatest contribution to the world have been his 30 minute television and radio shows that were originally broadcast on the BBC and are collectively known as the Mark Steel Lectures.

The lectures are, well, lectures covering important historical events and lives of famous historical figures. You can learn about Ludwig van Beethoven, Oliver Cromwell, English suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, Thomas Paine, England's first megasports star W. G. Grace , Charlie Chaplin, Lord Byron, Leonardo Da Vinci, Che Guevara, Billie Holiday, Karl Marx, Hannibal, Isaac Newton, Mary Shelley, Muhammad Ali, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, René Descartes, Harriet Tubman, and Aristotle. These lectures have the unique characteristic that they are 1) informative, 2) accurate, 3) enjoyable, and 4) downright funny particularly since the lectures are illustrated with vignettes where actors play the historical figures but in a modern setting. Most notable is how the humor aids in the learning.

Of course, like all television and radio shows on history (and yes, books), there is a certain amount of simplification in chronology and concepts. There are also a few out-and-out errors, mostly minor, and some of which you can read if you just click here. But these trifles in no way detract from the merit of the shows.

Sadly and as you may expect for educational shows that are accurate and enjoyable - and particularly for shows that share the CooperToons' fight against ignorance and superstition - none of these programs are available in the United States.

Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli.