A west Donegal woman’s lively history podcast has made it to the top of Apple and Spotify charts in several countries across the world.

Katie Charlwood, from Lettermacaward, is the big brains behind the hugely popular Who Did What Now? (The history podcast that’s not your history class!).

Her WDWN charted this week at No.1 on the US, Iceland and even the Cayman Islands Apple History charts. It also climbed to the top five in the UK, Canada, Australia and, of course, Ireland!

On Spotify, WDWN charted in second place in Australia, UK and the USA. At home, it made it to the Top 10 in the Listener’s Choice at the Irish Podcast Awards 2023, beating out other well-established podcasts like the Two Johnnies and Jenny & Mairead Now. 

The Leitir native went to St Columba’s Comprehensive in Glenties before travelling Europe and going to University in the UK as a mature student and obtaining a degree in history and sociology. 

“My particular area of expertise is the rise of sensationalism and the use of print as propaganda in the late modern period,” Katie told Donegal Daily this week.

Katie Charlwood working on her Who Did What Now? podcast.

Who Did What Now? is a history podcast that mainly covers the people and events that either don’t make it into the textbooks, or have been misrepresented either in their time or after.” 

For example, some of the topics she covered were: 

-William Dorsey Swann, the first self-proclaimed drag queen who was born a slave

-Bridget Cleary, the last ‘witch’ burned alive in Ireland

-Gráinne O’Maille the Irish pirate queen, a woman whose very name has been taken from her. 

“So often referred to as ‘Grace’ when that is not her name. I’m a firm believer that people in history deserve the right to their names,” Katie added.

“Most recently I covered the Magdalene Laundries for International Women’s Day, a topic that requires so much care and sensitivity, not only because there are so many survivors still alive today. But because so many women and girls had their trauma buried with them, with no one to stand by them or believe their stories.”

But it’s not just harrowing histories she covers, having podcasted events such as Gland Larceny: The Testicle Thieves of Chicago (yes really), how post-revolutionary France invented the millionaire and the Cuban Cow Crisis. 

“I do try and provide humour where I can because history can be quite depressing, so I do attempt to grab onto those funny moments when I can.”

Katie is about to embark on her History Harlots tour of Ireland and the UK at the end of April. 

Her TikTok and Instagram accounts (@whodidwhatnowpod) both have over 300,000 followers each. Indeed, some videos have reached over two million views to date.You could say Katie is Top of the Pods!