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Hoaxed

Episode one: Secrets and lies

Season 1, Ep. 1

Two young children make horrific allegations in a London police station, lighting the fuse on the most serious British conspiracy theories in decades.


All six episodes are now available to listen for free. You can listen to the full series ad-free and get access to exclusive bonus content coming soon by subscribing to Tortoise+ on Apple podcasts or joining Tortoise as a member where you can support the investigation and get tickets to exclusive events. Just visit the Tortoise website and use the code Alexi50 for half price membership.



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  • Introducing: Hoaxed

    01:16
    In 2014, two children told police a shocking story: that they were being abused by a Satanic cult; a cult headed by their father and by parents and teachers at their school in the wealthy London suburb of Hampstead. The story was a lie. But on the internet, that didn't matter. From the team who brought you Sweet Bobby, Hoaxed is an investigation into one of Britain's most serious-ever conspiracy theories. A story about a modern-day Satanic panic; about the victims whose lives were destroyed and about the conspiracists who spread the lie around the world. Oh, and it's about our hunt for the perpetrators - the people who forced the kids to lie - the ones who started it all. New episodes of Hoaxed launch each week, but Tortoise members and Tortoise+ subscribers on Apple Podcasts get exclusive, early and ad-free access. To access the first 5 episodes now subscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts or join Tortoise as a member, where you will also get invites to exclusive events. Visit the Tortoise website and use the code Alexi50 for half price membership for £50 per year.
  • 2. Episode two: Ella's list

    41:28
    Seized upon by conspiracy theorists, Ella’s list of alleged cult members spreads like wildfire across the Internet. Hampstead parents start receiving death threats and lives are torn apart.Listen to the full series today. For the premium Tortoise listening experience, curated by our journalists, download the free Tortoise audio app. For early and ad-free access to all our investigative series and daily and weekly shows, subscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts.If you’d like to further support slow journalism and help us build a different kind of newsroom, do consider donating to Tortoise at tortoisemedia.com/support-us. Your contributions allow us to investigate, campaign and explore, and to build a newsroom that is responsible and sustainable.
  • 3. Episode three: The Avengers

    42:35
    The perpetrators of the Hampstead hoax meet their match in an unassuming mystery novelist, who is determined to expose their lies and bring them to justice.Listen to the full series today. For the premium Tortoise listening experience, curated by our journalists, download the free Tortoise audio app. For early and ad-free access to all our investigative series and daily and weekly shows, subscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts.If you’d like to further support slow journalism and help us build a different kind of newsroom, do consider donating to Tortoise at tortoisemedia.com/support-us. Your contributions allow us to investigate, campaign and explore, and to build a newsroom that is responsible and sustainable.
  • 4. Episode four: Infiltration

    27:22
    All 6 episodes are available to listen for free today. You can listen to the full series ad-free and get access to exclusive bonus content coming soon by subscribing to Tortoise+ on Apple podcasts or joining Tortoise as a member where you can support the investigation and get tickets to exclusive events. Just visit the Tortoise website and use the code Alexi50 for half price membership.For a conspiracy to spread, important people need to be listening. Alexi discovers that the perpetrators of the Hampstead hoax have friends in high places, while he and the team close in on Abraham's location. 
  • 5. Episode five: The Healer

    27:59
    Alexi and his producer fly to Morocco to confront Abraham Christie - and learn dark secrets about his past.Listen to the full series today. For the premium Tortoise listening experience, curated by our journalists, download the free Tortoise audio app. For early and ad-free access to all our investigative series and daily and weekly shows, subscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts.If you’d like to further support slow journalism and help us build a different kind of newsroom, do consider donating to Tortoise at tortoisemedia.com/support-us. Your contributions allow us to investigate, campaign and explore, and to build a newsroom that is responsible and sustainable.
  • 6. Episode six: Bonnie and Clyde

    46:05
    In the final episode of Hoaxed, Alexi confronts Abraham and Ella. about what they. did in Hampstead - and why. And the police give Alexi some surprising news.Listen to the full series today. For the premium Tortoise listening experience, curated by our journalists, download the free Tortoise audio app. For early and ad-free access to all our investigative series and daily and weekly shows, subscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts.If you’d like to further support slow journalism and help us build a different kind of newsroom, do consider donating to Tortoise at tortoisemedia.com/support-us. Your contributions allow us to investigate, campaign and explore, and to build a newsroom that is responsible and sustainable.
  • Introducing...Who Trolled Amber?

    37:12
    Introducing..Who Trolled Amber?What comes to mind when you think of Amber Heard? Liar? Survivor? Narcissist? Millions of us watched the celebrity trial of the century, Depp v Heard, in 2022. Amber Heard lost and Johnny Depp was vindicated. But what if Amber was actually the victim of an organised trolling campaign? What if the online hate against her was manufactured?Alexi Mostrous, the reporter who brought you Sweet Bobby and Hoaxed, investigates what happened to Amber and who might have been responsible. It’s a story about how our own thoughts and opinions can be moulded without us even realising.The first two episodes of Who Trolled Amber are available now, with further episodes released each week. To listen to the whole series become a Tortoise member or subscribe to Tortoise+.To find out more about Tortoise:Download the Tortoise app - for a listening experience curated by our journalistsSubscribe to Tortoise+ on Apple Podcasts for early access and ad-free contentBecome a member and get access to all of Tortoise's premium audio offerings and moreIf you want to get in touch with us directly about a story, or tell us more about the stories you want to hear about contact hello@tortoisemedia.comReporter and host: Alexi MostrousProducer: Xavier GreenwoodEditor: David TaylorNarrative editor: Gary MarshallAdditional reporting: Katie Riley Sound design: Karla Patella Artwork: Jon Hill & Oscar Ingham