The Sound of Anger

Welcome to The Sound of Anger podcast series, winner of two British Podcast Awards, produced by Natalie Steed for the Queen Mary Centre for the History of Emotions.

The series was the winner of both the “Smartest” and “Well-being” Gold awards at the 2020 British Podcast awards, and received a Silver Lovie Award in 2021 in the health and wellness podcast category. On this page you can listen to all eight episodes.

Here’s what the Radio Times had to say about The Sound of Anger:

Find out why this has received more nominations than anything else in July’s British Podcast Awards. Prof. Thomas Dixon’s examination of all things furious, vengeful and irate is mind-blowing.

In the series, Thomas goes on an odyssey to come to terms with the nature of anger, and his own complex feelings about it. He is helped by historians, psychologists, and political thinkers.

The Sound of Anger includes two brilliant new dramas by Craig Baxter – Seneca Annoyed and Darwin Vexed.

You can listen to all eight episodes below, and they are available as a playlist on our SoundCloud.

The Sound of Anger was made with the support of the Wellcome Trust. We hope you enjoy listening to the series, and that it might help us all grapple with indignation, fury, outrage, and revenge in the twenty-first century.




1. What is Anger?

In this opening episode of ‘The Sound of Anger’, Historian of the emotions Professor Thomas Dixon sets out to discover what anger really is. He meets experts including psychologists and historians and confronts his own furious demons.

Inuit Crow

2. How does it feel?

In this episode, Thomas tries to discover how anger sounds, feels, and looks. He hears from opera singer Lora Lixenberg, and historians Imke Rajamani and Fern Riddell. He also discusses a classic by the anthropologist Jean Briggs.


3. What is it good for?

Is everyday anger the same thing as political anger? And is furious protest effective or healthy? Thomas confronts his dream of a world without rage, and learns why others see anger as a politically essential emotion.

Death of Seneca

4. Seneca Annoyed

When the Emperor orders that Seneca should kill himself, the Stoic philosopher determines to end his life in a calm and dignified manner. He hasn’t counted, though, on the frailty of his own body, the incompetence of his friends, or the blind fury of his wife, Paulina.
Darwin's dog

5. Darwin Vexed

Charles Darwin elicits the help of his love-struck daughter Henrietta, her dog Polly and flamboyant photographer Oscar Rejlander to complete his book on The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. How can he explain all their powerful but fleeting emotions?

James Russell

6. Jim Russell

Thomas and Jim Russell chew over the idea of anger as a basic emotion. Professor Russell is a world expert on the psychology of emotions and explains Paul Ekman’s ideas about ‘basic emotions’ and the problems with the theory, especially in relation to facial expressions.

Fern Riddell

7. Fern Riddell

Cultural historian Dr Fern Riddell is an expert on the history of suffragism and author of a biography of radical suffragette Kitty Marion. Fern and Thomas debate the meaning of ‘anger’, whether it is always expressed in violence, and what place it had in the suffragette’s struggle.


8. Seneca's De Ira

In this, the final episode of The Sound of Anger, Thomas Dixon reads some extracts from his favourite text about angry emotions, the Roman philosopher Seneca’s treatise on rage – De Ira.
Emotional Shorts

Emotional Shorts

Enjoyed The Sound of Anger? Why not listen to our Emotional Shorts series, in which researchers explore how our understanding of our feelings has changed over time. Learn more about anxiety, the place of compassion in nursing, or why disgusting things are, well, disgusting! 

The Emotions Lab