Fern Riddell is a cultural historian who specialises in entertainment, sex, and the suffragettes in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Currently reading for her PhD at King’s College, London (due for completion in 2014), she obtained her BA degree and Masters in History from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is dedicated to getting unique historical stories into the widest possible arena, through projects that combine multiple media platforms, and are exciting and entertaining, as well as educational.
She joined the consulting team for series 3 of the BBC drama “Ripper Street” in 2014, as their ‘Women/Sex/Music Hall’ historian, and advised on the Royal Shakespeare 2014 production of ‘The Roaring Girl’. She also writes a monthly column ‘Old News’ for BBC History Magazine.
Fern has appeared on BBC One’s ‘Heir Hunters’, BBC Coast (Series 8, Series 9, and forthcoming Series 10), Radio 3 (from Matthew Sweet’s ‘Chaplin and Music’, to regular contributions on ‘Free Thinking’, and the Doctor Who 50th Special), ITV’s ‘Secrets of The Workhouse’, and ‘Secrets From The Asylum’, as well as BBC Radio 4’s series ‘British Conservatism: The Grand Tour’. Her first presenter-led documentary for BBC Radio 3 is ‘Kitty Marion: Singer, Suffragette, Firestarter’.
A graduate of The BBC Academy’s ‘Expert Women’ programme, Fern was also selected as one of the 10 AHRC/BBC Radio 3’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ for 2013, contributing to Radio 3’s ‘Nightwaves’ programme. Her first piece, a call for greater examination of the militant suffragette violence, can be heard online.
Fern has written for The Guardian, BBC History Magazine, and Times Higher Education. She also has an active twitter and blogging platform, and has just published her first book ‘A Victorian Guide to Sex’, for Pen and Sword Books Ltd. This takes a light-hearted look at the sexual ideas and advice that helped to build an empire – from sex dolls to suffragettes – and is out now.