Helen Lewis & Chris Bryant

Sun, Jun 13, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

Helen Lewis

Chris Bryant

Chaired by: Rachel Cooke

Two groups of people making history but airbrushed from the history books as inconvenient truths.

Meet the 'Glamour boys', a little-known group of courageous queer MPs, among them Ronnie Cartland (brother of Barbara), who were among the very first to warn Britain about the danger of Hitler's rise to power and the most vocal in demanding that the government stop appeasing and start opposing him. In doing so they risked everything, swimming against the overwhelming tide of public opinion at a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison.

Then meet the brave and bullish feminist trailblazers who have been sidelined for being 'difficult' - and discover how they made a difference – among them strikers in saris; bomb-throwing suffragettes; the pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men's rights activist; the working class suffragettes and the princess who discovered why so many women were having bad sex.

In Difficult Women, Helen Lewis, staff writer at The Atlantic, former deputy editor of the New Statesman, and host of Radio 4's The Spark, seamlessly blends scholarly inquiry and journalistic investigation with autobiographical titbits – while Chris Bryant, MP and author who has appeared on every major TV and radio current affairs programme, has brought to light the remarkable and in some cases, heroic, contribution of gay MPs to Britain's involvement in the Second World War in The Glamour Boys. Together they have tackled the complexities of group biography with aplomb and in doing so cast light on some of those airbrushed from history.

Chaired by journalist Rachel Cooke, author of Her Brilliant Career – Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties.

Chris Bryant photograph © Mr Phil Warren