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Miss Fern Riddell

Biographical details

Fern Riddell obtained her BA degree and Masters in History from Royal Holloway, University of London. Dedicated to getting unique historical stories into the widest possible arena, she has appeared on BBC Coast, Radio 3, Radio 4, and ITV.
A graduate of The BBC Academy’s ‘Expert Women’ programme, Fern has also been selected as one of the 10 AHRC/BBC Radio 3′s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ for 2013, and will spend the next year contributing and appearing on BBC Radio 3′s ‘Nightwaves’ programme. Her first piece, a call for greater examination of the militant suffragette violence, can be heard online. As a contributor to the Journal of Victorian Culture Online, the web-based supplement of the top academic journal in her field, she writes and films “Shooting the Victorians” a vlog series exploring how the nineteenth century is represented in films, TV, radio and literature. 
She also has an active twitter and blogging platform, and has just completed her first book for the publishers Pen and Sword Books, ‘A Victorian Guide to Sex’. This takes a light-hearted look at the sexual ideas and advice that helped to build an empire – from sex dolls to suffragettes – and is due out in 2014. 

Research interests

Thesis: Vice and Virtue: Pleasure, Morality and Sin in London's Music Halls 1850-1939.
Using the theatrical space of the music halls as a prism for social investigation, this thesis explores how the stage was used to transmit and negotiate ideas of sexuality and social control from 1850-1939. Beginning with the development of urban understanding in the acts and songs of the male comic singers, to the militant feminist expressions of the suffragette stars, Fern is exploring how the music halls existed in a state of constant flux: as a place of radical political expression, and also conservative reinforcement. The main case study of the thesis is the incredible life of Kitty Marion, Militant Suffragette and Music Hall Star. 

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