Author Archives

Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, UK.

Moral Panic and William Harrison Ainsworth’s “Jack Sheppard” (1839)

Many people will remember the furor over so-called “video nasties” in the early 1990s, when certain horror movies had been blamed for some particularly heinous juvenile crimes. Newspapers such as the The Sun carried headlines such as “burn your video nasties.” This was a knee-jerk reaction that is known as a “moral panic.” However, it was not the first time that the newspapers had blamed a form of entertainment for particularly heinous crimes.

Penny Dreadful PDFs: The New Newgate Calendar (1863)

Here are the scans I’ve recently completed of the penny dreadfuls in my collection so far.

They were originally on my academia.edu page but I’m moving them here as I find that website a bit slow and “fiddly” at times. My hope is that other researchers will be able to use these resources (and maybe save themselves an archive trip!), and permission is given freely (though an acknowledgement might be nice!). This post will therefore be updated as and when I have the time to upload them. Enjoy!

The New Newgate Calendar

In the penny dreadful version of The New Newgate Calendar, scenes of the most sensational and sexual type were included for publication – torture scenes, nudity, and flagellation – and sparked a moral panic amongst middle-class press commentators.

A Real Robin Hood?

Who is the most likely candidate for being the original Robin Hood?
The last historian to address this was James Clarke Holt, and the evidence for the most likely candidate which he identified is laid down here.