BBC History Magazine was founded in 2000 with the intention of supporting the BBC’s strong TV and radio history output. Our early issues coincided with Simon Schama’s landmark History of Britain TV series and, in the wake of a popular history boom, the magazine swiftly became the market leader. Since then our readership has grown significantly, even at a time of general decline in the print media industry. The multi-award winning magazine is now enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe each month and the brand also extends to a successful website and a very popular weekly podcast.
We have always sought to be a purveyor of intelligent, accessible history, in line with the BBC’s desire to “inform, educate and entertain”. Our contributors are drawn from the leading ranks of academic and popular historians and include famous names such as Simon Schama, David Starkey, Mary Beard, Ian Kershaw and Niall Ferguson, as well as experts from some of Britain’s most prestigious universities. All of our authors wear their learning lightly, ensuring the magazine can be – and is – consumed by everyone from enthusiastic amateurs and students right up to senior professors of history.
The magazine is committed to covering a broad range of historical topics within every edition. We feature stories from all over the globe and our chronological span covers everything from prehistory until the present day. We explore political, social, economic and cultural history and, while the magazine does emphasise more popular areas – such as the two world wars, the Roman empire, Tudor England and the medieval period – it also alights on a number of far more obscure subjects as well. Some recent examples of the latter include Ju-jitsu Suffragettes, Victorian dinosaur-dung sellers and the 17th-century obsession with vegetable aphrodisiacs.
Although our focus is historical, the magazine is far from stuck in the past. Our feature articles are frequently drawn from cutting-edge historical research, and this also extends to our breaking news pages. Meanwhile, in each edition we provide the background to current affairs that are dominating the British and international headlines. The magazine also keeps its readers up-to-date with developments in the history world through an extensive book reviews section, together with previews of events and exhibitions and TV and radio programmes.
We continue to cherish our links with the BBC who regularly audit the title to ensure it meets the corporation’s very high standards. As often as possible, the magazine seeks to complement BBC programming, often with articles by some of its best-known historical experts. In addition, one of the world’s best-loved historical broadcasters, Michael Wood, writes a monthly column for the magazine, where he draws on his extensive experience to comment on the latest talking points. Michael also sits on our advisory board, which comprises a group of esteemed historians who help to shape the direction of the magazine and strengthen our links with the academic community.
Since its foundation, the magazine has just had three editors, all of whom have had extensive backgrounds in history and journalism. The current incumbent, Rob Attar, was awarded the Editor of the Year title by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2015. Both of his predecessors – Greg Neale and Dave Musgrove – also continue to be actively involved in the title, providing invaluable expertise as the magazine grows and develops.