Behind the Bastards, with Robert Evans: an infectiously enthusiastic dive into the darkness


Mark Horne
Mark Horne is a board member of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He currently works as Development Manager at a university and has been a fundraiser, copywriter, researcher and campaigner.

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This twice-weekly podcast, running since 2018, looks at some of the worst people in history. As you might imagine from the title, the Behind the Bastards takes in a lot of obvious targets, from the Ku Klux Klan to Jeffrey Epstein, via Saddam Hussein’s erotic fiction and Joseph Stalin’s childhood. 

While almost everyone can get on board with hating the above-mentioned bastards, the show also covers a lot of targets that skeptics in particular may consider worthy of vitriol and discussion. Episodes have focused on everyone from Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, to discredited ex-physician Andrew Wakefield, the man behind the MMR anti-vaccine scare that lingers to this day. 

The podcast is hosted by former editor and Bellingcat journalist Robert Evans. Evans is fairly open and vocal about his opinions, and this makes the podcasts very entertaining, and also leads to fun political connections, from the links between Nazis and Flat Earth to the racist origins of phrenology

There are also plenty of episodes that turn up less-obvious curiosities, from the influence of astrology on Ronald Reagan’s presidency, to the surprisingly lurid links between Aleister Crowley and Jack Parsons, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

Evans is always joined by a guest – either a writer, actor, podcaster or comedian, including David X Cohen, Edgar Momplaisir and Sofiya Alexandra – with whom he has excellent chemistry. The style is fairly irreverent and despite the often extremely dark subject matter remains an upbeat and funny listen. This is primarily down to Robert Evans’ infectious enthusiasm, and his endless jokes about starting a cult, podcasting machetes, and the super-awkward cuts to adverts, during which he typically damns the upcoming products and services with extremely faint praise that relate to the podcast topic at hand, promising that they defintely won’t murder your children or are highly unlikely to commit genocide. 

Finally, for a skeptic it’s reassuring to note that all of the episodes are well-referenced, in case you want to go behind-Behind the Bastards and check Evans’ sources.

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