Bettany Hughes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bettany Hughes
Bettany Hughes.BH.jpg
Born (1967-05-14) 14 May 1967 (age 51)
London, England
EducationNotting Hill and Ealing High School
Alma materSt Hilda's College, Oxford
OccupationBroadcaster and writer
Known forTelevision history; radio broadcasting; author
Spouse(s)Adrian Evans
Parent(s)Peter Hughes, Erica Hughes
RelativesSimon Hughes (brother)

Bettany Hughes (born 14 May 1967)[1] is an English historian, author and broadcaster. Her speciality is classical history.

Early life and family[edit]

Hughes was born and brought up in west London.[2] She is the daughter of actor Peter Hughes and the sister of cricketer and journalist Simon Hughes.

Hughes is married to Adrian Evans who, in 2012, was the Pageant Master for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The couple have two children.[3]

Education and career[edit]

Hughes won a bursary to attend Notting Hill and Ealing High School in Ealing. She was awarded an entrance scholarship to St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she earned a degree with second-class honours in ancient and modern history.[4]

She is currently a visiting research fellow at King's College London, a tutor for Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education,[5] an honorary fellow at Cardiff University, and the holder of an honorary doctorate from the University of York.[6]

Hughes has written two books on Ancient Greek subjects. Her first, Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, has been translated into ten languages. Her second, The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, was Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4[7] and was especially well received. Hughes was nominated as a finalist for the Writer's Guild Award[8] and made The New York Times Bestseller List for The Hemlock Cup. It was also chosen as Book of the Year in several publications.[9][10]

Hughes has written and presented documentary films and series on both ancient and modern subjects for National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, PBS, The History Channel and Channel 4. In July 2012, she co-presented a series on ITV with Michael Buerk called Britain's Secret Treasures.[11]

Hughes has received numerous accolades for her broadcasting work. In 2009, she was awarded the Naomi Sargant Special Award for excellence in educational broadcasting,[12] and in 2010 was specially awarded for services to Hellenic culture and heritage by the Greek Department of Culture. She has also been awarded the 2012 Norton Medlicott Award for services to history by the Historical Association, of which she is an honorary fellow.[13]

Hughes has been invited to universities in the US, Australia, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands to speak on subjects such as Helen of Troy, the origins of female "Sophia" and concepts of time in the Islamic world. In 2010 she gave the Hellenic Institute's Tenth Annual lecture "Ta Erotika: The Things of Love",[14] and in 2011 was invited to give the Royal Television Society's Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, in which she argued that history on television is thriving and enjoying a new golden age.[15] She was also asked to chair the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction,[16] the UK's only annual book award for fiction written by women.[17]

Hughes is a long-standing patron and supporter of educational and campaigning charity the Iris Project, which has been promoting and teaching Latin and Greek in state schools since 2006.[18] She is an honorary patron of Classics For All, a national campaign to get classical languages and the study of ancient civilisations back into state schools in the UK launched in 2010.[19] She is also an advisor to the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation which fosters large-scale collaborative projects between East and West.[20]

Hughes sits on the tutor panel of Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education. In 2014, she was made a Distinguished Friend of the University of Oxford.[21] In 2016, Hughes delivered the British Humanist Association's annual Voltaire Lecture,[22] which took place in London.


  • Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07177-7.
  • "Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore" – European Cultural Centre of Delphi, XIII International Meeting On Ancient Drama 2007, The Women in Ancient Drama, Symposium Proceedings
  • "'Terrible, Excruciating, Wrong-Headed And Ineffectual': The Perils and Pleasures of Presenting Antiquity to a Television Audience" – Dunstan Lowe, Kim Shahabudin (ed.), Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009, ISBN 978-1443801201
  • The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life, 2011. ISBN 0-224-07178-5
  • Hughes, Bettany (2017). Istanbul : a tale of three cities. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Critical studies and reviews of Hughes' work[edit]

  • Hansen, Suzy (22 February 2018). "Istanbul blues". The New York Review of Books. 65 (3): 34, 36–37. Review of Istanbul : a tale of three cities.

Television productions[edit]

Bettany Hughes talking to Ralph Jackson (Curator of Romano-British Collections at the British Museum) during filming of Britain's Secret Treasures at the British Museum
  • Leviathan – BBC 2 – 1999
  • Breaking the Seal (2000). BBC/OU
  • Mysteries of the Ancients (2002).
  • The Spartans (2003) – produced by Lion TV, three 60-minute episodes.
  • Seven Ages of Britain (2003) – a social history from the Ice Age to the Industrial Revolution.
  • The Minotaur's Island (2003) – produced by Lion TV.
  • The Minoans (2004) – produced by Lion TV.
  • Helen of Troy (2005) – produced by Lion TV.
  • When the Moors Ruled in Europe (2005).
  • Athens: the Dawn of Democracy (2007). Former title Athens: the Truth about Democracy.
  • Engineering Ancient Egypt (2008).
  • The Roman Invasion of Britain (2009).
  • Sex in the Ancient World: Egyptian Erotica – (2009) produced by History Channel.
  • The Bible: A History – (2010) Channel 4: one episode (4 of 7) titled Daughters of Eve.
  • Time Team (2010) Channel 4: season 17, episode 1
  • Atlantis: the Evidence (2010): A Timewatch special about the lost continent being the volcanic island of Santorini
  • Alexandria, City of Dreams, More 4, 2010
  • The Ancient World, 2010
  • The Day Jesus Died, BBC One, 2010
  • Countrywise, ITV, 2009–2013
  • Forgiveness, BBC One, 2011
  • The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World, BBC Two, 2011
  • The Story of the East, Channel 4, 2011
  • Nefertiti – The True Face, Discovery Channel, forthcoming
  • Divine Women, BBC, 2012
  • Britain's Secret Treasures, ITV, July 2012 – Present
  • Britain's Secret Homes, ITV, June 2013
  • Tutankhamun Conspiracies with Bettany Hughes, Discovery History
  • Secrets from the Sky (Late 2014) – ITV
  • Genius of the Ancient World (Buddha, Socrates, Confucius), BBC4 2015
  • Genius of the Modern World (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud), BBC4 2016
  • Eight Days that Made Rome, Channel 5, 2017
  • Venus Uncovered, BBC4, 2017.
  • Bacchus Uncovered, BBC4, 2018.
  • Pompeii's Final Hours: New Evidence, Channel 5, 2018
  • Mars Uncovered, BBC4, 2019.

Radio productions[edit]

  • Live from the Coliseum – Radio 3 – 2002
  • There's Something About Eleanor of Aquitaine – BBC Radio 3, 2004
  • Amongst the Medici – 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, February–March 2006.
  • The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships – BBC Radio 3, 2006
  • Sisters of Aphrodite – BBC Radio 3, 2007
  • Byzantium Unearthed – 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, October 2008
  • The Return of King Arthur – Radio 4 – 2008
  • Call Yourself a Feminist – 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, 2009
  • Great LivesSappho episode 2 of series 22, BBC Radio 4, 10 August 2010
  • Tracking The Aryans Sunday Special – BBC Radio 3, 2010
  • Banishing Eve – 3 parts, BBC Radio 4, 2010
  • Forbidden Families Radio 4 – 2011
  • The Romans in Britain Radio 3 – 2011
  • The Ideas That Make Us – BBC Radio 4, 2013 (ongoing)
  • Sunday Feature – Caucasian Roots – 2 parts, BBC Radio 3, 2015
  • Ancient Ways – The Via Egnatia – BBC Radio 4, 2015


  1. ^ "About Bettany". Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ "About Bettany". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  3. ^ "My perfect weekend: Bettany Hughes, historian". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Bettany Hughes". Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "University awards five honorary degrees". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Book of the Week: The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life". Book of the Week. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Writer's Guild Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Books of the Year for Christmas: History". The Daily Telegraph. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  10. ^ Lo Dico, Joy (5 December 2010). "Books of the Year: Biography and Memoir". The Independent. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Series 2 of Britain's Secret Treasures is on the way". Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  12. ^ "VLV Awards 2009". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  13. ^ "The HA honours Bettany Hughes for services to History: Medlicott Medal 2012". HA News. The Historical Association. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  14. ^ "7 February 2011: Tenth Annual Hellenic Institute Lecture". News and Events. Royal Holloway, University of London: The Hellenic Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Huw Wheldon Lecture 2011 with Bettany Hughes: TV – Modern Father of History". Royal Television Society Lecture. BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  16. ^ "ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2011 JUDGES ANNOUNCED". Orange Prize. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  17. ^ "History of the prize". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Supporters". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Aims & Mission". Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ British Humanist Association (25 May 2016), The Voltaire Lecture 2016, with Bettany Hughes | Socrates, Confucius, and the Buddha, retrieved 8 June 2016

External links[edit]