Rex Factor is a podcast where two history enthusiasts (Graham Duke and Ali Hood) review all the kings and queens of England from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II and now, in their second series, of Scotland from Kenneth MacAlpin to James VI.

In each episode we look at one monarch, going over their life and reign before reviewing them on a number of factors:

  • Battleyness – how good they are in battle and warfare
  • Scandal – their notoriety and tendency towards naughtiness
  • Subjectivity – how well and justly they ruled (i.e. would you want to be a subject?)
  • Longevity – how long they ruled for
  • Dynasty – how many legitimate, surviving children they had

And then, finally, we considered whether or not they have that certain something, that lasting legacy, the star quality that we call the Rex Factor.

The podcasts are well researched but also light-hearted and unscripted to provide a more accessible approach to history.


31 thoughts on “About

  1. I’ve been reading a lot on Henry and Anne Boleyn lately and I stumbled across the Anne Boleyn review and fall. Brilliant podcast, so funny as well. I will definitely listen to more.

  2. I’ve just discovered this wonderful podcast. I’ve listened so far to Alfred the Great, Edward VI and James I.
    I listen while I’m running. Thank you so much!

  3. Just wanted to thank you both in advance for the thousands of dollars you’ll be saving me in school tuition fees – all four of our kids love your podcast, which will hopefully mean history scholarships for the lot of them thanks to you. Much history love from the bottom of the world (Tasmania)!

  4. Just found your podcast a few months ago, and I am in love! Im a huge history nut, and unlike here in the US, English history is jam packed with juicy stories from the monarchy so your podcast is a must for my historic obsession.

    Its hard to get my significant other into a lot of shows/podcasts about the Medieval/Renaissance Ages (too much drama for him) but Rex Factor has made it possible to keep his attention with the unique rating system so that I can finally listen to some historic stories on long trips without hearing any sighing. Keep up the great work and thank you for be awesome!

    • Hi Abbey, thanks for the message, really glad you’re enjoying the podcast and that we’ve managed to sneak under the significant other’s radar without too much sighing!

  5. Pingback: Penny Tangey » Wars of the Roses

  6. Absolutely love your podcast! I listen to it while I plan my lessons and also completing other work. Really helps me focus for some reason – must be the wonderful exchanges that you both have. Excellent all round! – Bidita, Notting Hill, London

  7. I listen to your podcast every day on the bus to and from work in Seattle. I smile and chortle and snort the whole way. It’s like having two great friends I get to hear from daily, and I love it so much. I’m now on Henry I, just approaching the period I know a tiny bit about. Thrilled that there are so many more ahead of me. Thank you for making something so lighthearted, smart, and delightful!

  8. I just discovered your podcast a couple of weeks ago–and am thrilled that there are at least 148 episodes ahead of me!

    I must say, however, that I think you were terribly unfair to poor Edmund Ironside! That dude definitely had the Rex Factor in spades! Great leadership does not always lead to winning, you know! And winning is not always the mark of a great leader (as President Trump clearly demonstrates)–but since this episode was done in 2010, I’m hoping your definition of what contributes to a “Rex Factor” has perhaps broadened over the years.

    Thanks for a terrific treatment of fascinating material–I look forward to every episode whether I agree with your scoring or not.

    • Hi Alix, thanks for the message, really glad you’re enjoying the podcast! We have had a few messages about Edmund Ironside, actually – you’re quite right, it’s not all about the winning, and different circumstances and contexts do allow for people to get the Rex Factor even if they aren’t always necessarily triumphant in battle (particularly in the Scottish series where they tend to come out on the losing side against the English most of the time)… But I think I’d still be saying no to Edmund! It was all set, it had all the makings of a classic, but losing the big battle, splitting the kingdom and then skulking away to get picked off on the toilet was a disappointing way for all that expectation to fizzle out! Particularly when you have the example of Alfred as a great comeback king, Athelstan as a mighty warrior – Edmund’s reign is so short and really only consists of almost doing something very impressive, he doesn’t really have anything to justify the Rex Factor without the caveat of “almost…” But he was so close!

  9. Hi, just wanted to say thank you. l discovered your entertaining selves a few weeks ago and am really enjoying myself!
    Great blend of humour and facts. Am amused at how much I end up agreeing with your conflicts regarding scoring. Poor Edgar is all I can say! Have spread the word to friends so they can enjoy the fun too.

  10. Here you have a Belgian 72-year-old guy , who for the second time is ploughing his way through your podcasts. Next to reading many history books your story is so refreshing and illuminating : those kings actually come alive .I can almost touch them. You brighten up my days with your “light” version of this thing called History.Thanks.Dank u wel !

  11. Just discovered your podcast and they’re fantastic! I wanted to find out more about the two of you such as why you started the podcast and whether this is your ‘real’ job, but I can’t find it anywhere. Can you enlighten me?

    • Hi Jenni, so glad you’re enjoying the podcast! Guess the “About” page isn’t very illuminating on that front! We did a Q&A podcast after the first series which does answer some of those questions (would probably be worth having links on this page or maybe an FAQ). So check those out but as a quick answer, no, the podcast is still just the hobby at the moment!

  12. Hello, I just wanted you to know I am enjoying your podcast so much and learning a lot as well. I am big reader so if you ever have book recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

    I’m only on Stephen so I’ve got a lot to look forward to in the future!

    Greetings from FL

    • Hello, thanks so much for the message, really glad you’re enjoying the podcast! Happy to recommend some books – are there any of our monarchs or characters in the episodes you’d like to know more about?

  13. To Rex factor
    I am twelve and listen to your podcasts every day and they are not only incredibly funny and enteresting but by far the best podcasts.

    • Hi Ami, thank you so much for getting in touch and for the lovely message, it’s great to hear you’re enjoying the podcast! Do you have a favourite king or queen that we’ve reviewed?

    • I like the Macbeth podcast and Robert the Bruce is pretty cool. I also enjoyed the Aragorn special episode (also a big fan of lord of the rings.)
      Thanks for responding, are you going to start a new series after the play offs of the Scottish monarchs?

      • Glad you enjoyed those episodes, the Aragorn episode seems to have been a very popular one so I think we must have quite a few LOTR fans (even if Ali isn’t one of them!) We are indeed going to be doing a third series after the Scottish play-offs and we will be revealing what it will be on very soon…

  14. More photos of Ali and Graham! Please?
    (Preferably particularly Englishy ones for those off us in America who find that kind of stuff exotic.) Oh, and awesome podcast, been listening since day 1; love the knowledge + hilarity. – Arizona, US fan

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