Assassin’s Creed

The video game is over 10 years old now but it started a hugely successful series that is still massively popular today. This episode looks at the game that kicked everything off. The game itself is set during the 3rd crusade it allows NEON to look at these religiously motivated campaigns. Jem explores what they were and what they weren’t and that why everything after 9/11 has been tainted by that event leading to all kinds of misconceptions about the crusades.  This episode features the real assassins, rampaging Mongols, violent pagans and the Pope comparing the attempted assassination of Queen Elizabeth I with a crusade. 

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: Black Sheep – Counting Sheep

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The Handmaid’s Tale & The Running Man

Again you get two for the price of one in an episode. Arnie’s 80’s action fest and the modern thoughtful TV series about women’s rights are eerie echoes of each other. While there can be little doubt as to which is more morally complex, better shot and acted, that may not mean that it is pulling from history as effectively. Because these are dark stories, the history is equally brutal, from Nazi breeding programmes to the rise of fascist regimes this is a horrifying but fascinating episode. NEON walks a tight rope with this one, trying to entertain but also enlighten about some of the worst moment from human history.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: Sunset Lover – Petit Biscuit

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World Cup 2018

Football nearly came home, but “the boys did us proud”. When the World Cup coms around, other forms of entertainment run and hide. The sense of togetherness, the millions spent on advertising, the prestige of hosting the games. All of this is part of the concept of “soft power”. NEON delves deep looking at past historical examples of how money and marriages can sometimes get you more than an army ever could. As well as the current battle for hearts and minds carried out by the two giants of soft power in the world today, America and China.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: House of Pain – On Point (Beatminerz Instrumental)

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Love Island

How can an unscripted reality show, largely filled with vacuous individuals teach us history? For this one NEON goes way back and talks about the biological reason for finding a mate as opposed to the way strawberries or starfish can do it on their own. Finding a mate defines most of the natural world and a lot of human history too and Love Island shows us this. Add to that the dark under belly of human emotion enjoying mocking those less fortunate and you find out a lot about how the show works and about your own psychology in this episode.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu (honest guv, doesn’t watch Love Island but thinks Eyal is a bit too intense and Amy went out too early, poor thing).

Produced by Dan Morelle (doesn’t watch Love Island but thinks the music selection is really good. See you at 9pm on ITV2!).

Music: Kwabs – Wrong or Right

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Vikings

The History Channel’s biggest home grown hit Vikings is now on its 5th series. It started as a historical drama but by season 3 it was clearly trying to be Game of Thrones with longships. NEON takes this to task, if you have a degree in medieval history you can tell when they change the tone, but could the average viewer. Is this kind of disregard for real events dangerous? Are some of the real events left on the cutting room floor even more entertaining than fiction? Have a listen to find out.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: Massive Attack – Teardrop

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Battlefield 1

With video game logic, Battlefield 1 came out after Battlefield 4, the reason for the title is because it’s set in that most unlikely setting for a video game shooter; World War I. NEON applauds the fresh take on a war that is commonly explained as men sitting in trenches for 4 years. It is, as always, more complicated than the summary and this video game shows us this. From highlighting the brave exploits of now dead nations such as Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, to the diverse locations the war was fought. This game sneaks real history into the brains of teenagers of today.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: Cavern – Liquid Liquid

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Westworld

Is this series HBO’s new Game of Thrones? More importantly, how can sci-fi have any real history in it? NEON excavates the foundations of the show and comes up with real historical nuggets. From the attention to detail of the weapons to the whole concept of the cowboy as a near mythological hero. There’s even a section on how France created modern warfare in 1888. Then there’s the original movie and how it inspired two of the greatest film franchises in history, one of those was another creation by Michael Crichton, the other wasn’t…

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu

Produced by Dan Morelle

Music: Barry 7’s Contraption – Add N To (X)

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Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

How can a podcast about the real history behind pop culture resist a Victorian era Batman? This one gets as dark as the dark knight. We have Jack the Ripper, H.H. home’s murder hotel and an animated movie not suitable for kids. There’s even a story of a filed concept in early forensic science that will leave you scratching your head how anybody could think it was likely to work. On the more fun side we find out about Chicago’s rivalry with Paris and how America accidentally invented a common theme park ride in an attempt to rival the Eiffel Tower.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu
Produced by Dan Morelle
Music: Bat For Lashes – Prescilla
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The Greatest Showman & Hamilton

This time around NEON gives you two for the price of one. Two musicals about real people from history, but can you get real history from a musical? If so, which one does it better? The Greatest Showman was a surprise smash hit and Hamilton is the awards laden mega hit from Broadway. If you are looking for historical accuracy in a movie where everyone spontaneously bursts into song and dance, that’s not reality but the story it is telling may well be sneaking in real history to learn from. And finally who would you trust with real history Lin-Manuel Miranda or Hugh Jackman?

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu
Produced by Dan Morelle
Music: Hamilton Instrumentals – Cabinet Battle #2 – Instrumental
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Predator

This is one of the greatest action films of all time. It has Arnie at his prime. It has Stan Winston at his most creative and it has John McTiernan making the mistake of going to a seasonal rainforest where the leaves were falling off. It’s action cinema at its purest, and yet as scary as the Predator is, what the film is really about is one of America’s fears, jungle warfare and America’s obsession in the 20th century of fighting in them. NEON not only talks about the most manly hand shake in history, but also the traumas of fighting in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Written & Presented by Jem Duducu
Produced by Dan Morelle
Music: Alan Silvestri – Predator Main Title
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