Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets

An Audible Original
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History
4 out of 5 stars (17,444 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Listening to Stephen Fry is always a treat, and this audiobook makes the treat even sweeter. Frequently joined by a number of historians, authors, and reenactors, Fry seems to be having a wonderful time recounting some of the fascinating arcana of the ostensibly tightly wound Victorian Era. With whimsical music to mark the short, informative, and entertaining chapters, Fry delivers hidden truths and juicy secrets on subjects ranging from scandals and sanitation to sexuality and sadism. Diaries, journals, newspaper articles, and historical materials of the period offer listeners you-are-there reenactments of crime, sex, freaks, medical practices, and more - all interspersed with Fry's amusing commentary. Thanks to Fry, audio is unquestionably the best way to enjoy this material. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award." (AudioFile magazine)

On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder. 

Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we’re told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the ‘forbidden’ festering beneath Victorian society? 

Across 12 episodes, Stephen presents a series of true accounts of the dangerous low life and debauched high life of Victorian Britain.

©2018 Audible, Ltd (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Go Behind the Scenes of Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets

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Our favorite moments from Stephen Fry's Victorian Secrets

High walls, lace curtains, the ability to keep things to themselves
One of the most dangerous British women of the century
A secret not kept within the household
The dark side of private Victorian asylums
New connections with the afterlife

  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  • High walls, lace curtains, the ability to keep things to themselves
  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  • One of the most dangerous British women of the century
  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  • A secret not kept within the household
  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  • The dark side of private Victorian asylums
  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets
  • New connections with the afterlife

About the Performer

Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, comedian, television presenter, film director, and all-around international treasure. He is an acclaimed narrator of beloved audio titles including J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Sherlock Holmes, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Tales of Max Carrados. Stephen has contributed numerous columns and articles to newspapers and magazines, performs frequently on radio, and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography.

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A must hear ... but not for kids!

I must say I did not anticipate how risqué this audiobook was gonna be. But as pointed out in most episodes we all tend to have a one dimensional view of the Victoria era. Full of well bred, impeccably brought up people. But yeah, thats not the case. And its pretty refreshing to know how human even the richest people were. To be honest there were some really weird stories and even in today's society it wouldn't just be frowned on, it would be condemned.

Its very adult in nature with topics ranging from sex, porn and homosexuality. Its not the topics that make it adult but rather some of the in-depth descriptions and scenes. A bit much but I guess it adds to the impact of what really happened in those days.

As he is in everything he does, Stephen Fry is outstanding!

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Part history lesson, part audio documentary.

Loved everything about it. Stephen Fry, who'd I'd heard clips of, does an excellent performance, as does the people being interviewed. Brings to light much about that time period many didn't know until now, I'm sure.

87 people found this helpful

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  • N
  • 11-28-18

Audible Originals Play Piano Behind Reader - Annoy

Audible Originals Play Piano Behind Reader - Annoying

The story is OK and Fry's narration is good, but trying to listen to it with easy-listening piano music as background is very annoying. I don't mind a little music as an intro to chapters, but it should not be on ALL THE TIME!

74 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting but a bit overproduced

Interesting take on less well known aspects of Victorian life. The writing skips around a bit more than necessary or helpful and they go way overboard on music and sound effects, as if they do not trust the material to stand on its own. It could, and would probably be better served with less add ons.

94 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating content with noisy background sound

The four free Audible Originals I have received so far have some great content, but the background sound has been very distracting on all. I'd like the narration without the distracting background noise please.

72 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Please, have mercy and cut out the sound effects

I hate sound effects and intrusive music in my audible experiences, if you play a *short* tune between chapters, fine. (as long as its short) but background music is unnecessary and distracting.

Ditto, only more so, for *sound effects* the reason reading (and listening) to books is so fulfilling for me is because it allows me to use my imagination to fill in the blanks. This is something I enjoy doing and you adding sounds separate from the voice of the narrator is harshing my groove.

KNOCK IT OFF,

please.

53 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Why the background noises?

Who thinks it improves books to have all that mindless monotonous piano diddling and other disrupting noises behind the narrative? This title does contain some interesting, if sordid, historical info, but the unnerving noises make it a listening chore. Couldn't Audible produce a narrative only version for people who prefer that?

95 people found this helpful

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  • HT
  • 11-04-18

Not What I Expected

I could not get past the first chapter. There were too many people voicing parts that made it hard to keep track what was what and who was who. It would have been much better if was just Stephen Fry narrating the book. I had expected that the music would have gone away towards the beginning, but no, it kept playing throughout which I found distracting to the narration. I wanted to return it, but since I got it as an Audible Original, I discovered that I couldn’t, which was disappointing.

The only positive, if one could could say that, was that it appears that there were a lot of interesting subjects in this recording that I probably would have found interesting if it had been presented differently than what I described above.

72 people found this helpful

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Great info but awful production

This seems so interesting and I love anything to do with m Victorian history, but I could not get past the first chapter. I thought the music would eventually fade away and give me just the narration. It’s did not. To hear music playing through the entire narration of the book is SO distracting, not to mention the different voices that jump in and out of the book. Very hard to keep track of just which story the narrator was trying to tell at all, too much jumping around. Too many different voice characters and that AWFUL piano nonsense in the background!

86 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative, scary, and funny. In that order.

This series is a real gem and I’m glad I found it. Each and every episode is fascinating and they each give quite an in-depth and compelling look into the secrets Victorians kept each and every day. The narration by Stephen Fry is perfect as ever. He keeps his trademark wit but he also seems genuine and sympathetic when discussing the more horrible parts of Victorian life. They couldn’t have found a more appropriate middle-man to introduce us to the skeletons of the Victorian closet.
History geeks in particular will enjoy it but I would honestly recommend this to anyone. It’s equal parts informative, scandalous, enlightening and at times grotesque, but I enjoyed every minute of it and couldn’t give it enough stars. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

55 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Nicholas Hutchings
  • Nicholas Hutchings
  • 01-30-20

If you love Fry, you'll love this.

Fascinating and naughty stories of the secrets of the Victorian era told with scintillating splendour by the great wordsmith himself. If you love listening to Fry, then his Victorian secrets will entertain & delight you.