The inner courtyard of a big stone castle.


Title: Secrets of Great British Castles (Season #1)
Released: 2015

Fix: History, Documentaries, Castles!!!, Nerdy-Cute Host
Platforms: Netflix

Official Summary:

Dan Jones visits great British castles to reveal their secrets.

FYA Summary:

If you are a nerd, especially a nerd who read a lot of fantasy and historical fiction as a child, you might have grown up with a serious hankering for your very own castle. If you’re me, you prefer ruined stone castles of military might to fairy-tale fripperies (but let’s be honest, I’ll take what I can get). It turns out that history is stranger than fiction, and this six-episode series will delve into some of the most fascinating stories the British strongholds have to offer. From dungeons to royal love matches, Dan Jones takes you on a scandalous historical journey through six of Britain’s most famous castles.

Familiar Faces:

Dan Jones as the host

He’s a tattooed and leather clad, nerdy historian with a charming accent. Where was he when I was a history major?

William the Conqueror as Himself

Owen Glendower as Himself

Yes, that Glendower. I see you squealing over there.

Anne Boleyn as Herself

…and many more!

Couch-Sharing Capability: It Depends

Whether or not you choose to share this with friends and family should all depend on how they feel about history and documentaries. As far as documentaries go, this is a fun one–light on the cheesy reenactments, heavy on the fun facts and primary sources that make discovering the past such a joy.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Have a Pint

Obviously, if this is your jam, you’re probably going to want to remember what you learned. However, I suggest at least one pint per episode you watch, which you should sip every time you think inappropriate thoughts about leather-clad, tattooed historians. (Just me?)

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Recommended For History Nerds

To be totally frank, I usually put on documentaries to put me to sleep, and watching this one started out that way. There’s something about a documentary narrator that is like non-prescription Ambien for my overactive brain–however, much to my dismay, this series captured my interest so thoroughly that it had the opposite effect. Crap, I thought at 3:30am, this is no Ken Burns production, and resigned myself to staying awake forever.

Of course, that’s all to say that I found it engaging, and I think that if you like history even the smallest bit, you will, too. It’s not just recounting historical tales of ambitious rulers and sweeping vistas of castles perched on shorelines, but also includes demonstrations of medieval weaponry, like trebuchets (far more impressive than I ever thought they could be!), and delicious scandals from medieval times to the present. It’ll give you at least six new places to visit on your next trip to the British Isles!