Tony McMahon – who am I?

Tony McMahon historian

THE BEARDY HISTORIAN – Tony McMahon – as seen on TV!


Join me on YouTube: @tonymcmahon_historybear

Historian, author and former journalist. My background as a print, TV and online reporter and producer means I approach history from an investigative angle. Looking into the past to uncover the truth about mysteries that are seemingly unsolvable. My job is to distinguish fact from fiction, history from mystery.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and please feel free to contribute and comment!

Topics of interest:

  • The Knights Templar – the mystery and the history of this enigmatic order of monastic warriors
  • Post-war politics including Watergate, Vietnam, McCarthyism, Thatcher, trades unions, etc
  • Terrorism and violent extremism – worked for years as a consultant to the UK and US government on communications around preventing extremism and wrote a book on Islamist ideology
  • History of Horror – huge interest in vampires, werewolves, and mythology plus the origin of children’s fairy stories

You may have already caught me on TV talking history and science – on the Discovery channel, Channel 5, History, Smithsonian, Science, Travel, ITV, etc. I’m a regular contributor on such documentary series as Forbidden History, Strange Evidence, NASA’s Unexplained Files, Private Lives of the Monarchs, Buried and America Unearthed.

On TV making history fun!

Over the last thirty years, I’ve been a BBC news producer, Sky News reporter and an award short-listed author. I’m represented by the Futerman Rose literary agency and have been published by Aurum Press, Saqi Books and Bertelsmann.

My history TV appearances seem to have involved caves quite a bit. In Portugal, I crawled around some subterranean spaces with a crew from History for the documentary series Buried talking about Templar treasure being hidden away in the Templar citadel of Tomar. And then in Scotland, I was literally crawling on my belly to enter a cave with presenter Scott Wolter for an episode of America Unearthed – that broadcast on Travel.

On ITV, I dressed as Henry VIII and walked down a high street in London…

And on Forbidden History, I discussed Queen Victoria’s love of drugs…

At the Bradford Literature Festival, I talked Templars with Professor Helen Nicholson and the broadcaster Remona Aly…


And then there’s my novel on The Knights Templar published by Bertelsmann in Europe and also available via Amazon in the UK and US…

Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_4908282

In 2016, Saqi Books published a major work co-authored with human rights activist Sara Khan on the crisis facing modern Islam from a minority of extremists. The Battle for British Islam was reviewed by The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Sky News, BBC and other media outlets.

I’m an ex-BBC news producer and print journalist and my first forays into books were biographies published by Aurum Press, a division of Quarto. I spent several years studying the subjects and when the books came out, they got extensive media coverage including interviews on the BBC and Sky News.

In 2010, Aurum Press/Quarto published my book ‘No Place To Hide’, the hard hitting biography of 1980s boxer Errol Christie.   This book was short-listed for the 2011 British Sports Book award and long-listed for the William Hill sports book prize.  It was also recommended by The Guardian as a 2010 Christmas read and Errol was the subject of interviews in the national press as well as Sky News and the BBC.

2010 also saw the paperback edition of my biography of Neville Staple – front man in ska band The Specials.  ‘Original Rude Boy’ was reviewed in the Huffington Post, read the review here. The Specials, in case you didn’t know, were the coolest pop combo in the early 1980s and gave voice to a generation of youth who felt very alienated and ignored. The book launch happily coincided with the reunion tour of The Specials, which saw sell-out gigs all over the world.

66 thoughts on “Tony McMahon – who am I?

  1. Hi Tony, is there an original branch of the Knights Templar active today. I have came across a few sites on the Internet that claims they are part of the Knights Templar today, and if the Knights do not exist today, why not. Thank you for your research and the truth….

  2. Hello Tony. Always interested in the link between the emptying of the Templar coffers and the ships sent to Scotland. Did any of them make it to Iona, do you know?

  3. Tony, do you know of any definitive book or literary resource about the Knights Templar?

    I just ordered “A History of the Crusades” by Steven Runciman from the Folio Society. It’s a 3-volume set, which apparently details the complete saga of the “Crusades.” I also found “Lost Colony of the Templars” by Steven Sora, which discusses the plausible belief that some of the Knights Templar made it to North America about a century before Columbus. I don’t have that book yet.

    I wanted to get your opinion on these items. I’m also eagerly waiting for your book to come out in print, since I don’t have a Kindle. I’m as fascinated as you are about the KT and I appreciate all the research you’ve done.

  4. I am a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, and am also fond of history especially templar or legion affiliations. I would enjoy speaking with you about this if you have time please call 1-864-367-9966

  5. I am Dr. Antonio De Mandeville MD, Ph.D., Psy.D. It is clear you are a skilled author and I respect that. I need a pargraph written about the family De Mandeville are you intrsted!

    1. Alejandro – I have heard of the cartel. I was in Mexico last week, should have looked you up! I was in Mexico City and then down in Yucutan. The state of Michoacan has been at the receiving end of the Caballeros as you know. I did blog about them a while back, if you search you’ll find some old posts. But I thought I’d steer clear for now! They’re a brutal bunch. T

    1. Not at all – and I don’t believe that such a group of people control the world or much else. Unfortunately, there seems to be a widespread and growing belief, especially among young people, in the Illuminati.

  6. Just a quick note to say to tell you that your statement about Winchester Geese having syphilis is complete rubbish.

    Syphilis, like potatoes and tobacco, was imported from America and unknown in Europe pre-Columbus

  7. Dear Templar Knight,

    Thank you for the information and the link, that was a big help! Now I have a guide to help me make the tunic and cloak more accuratly. I don’t have the money to call/ring the museum though as I live in the USA. It’s a nice thought though!

    Thank you again!


  8. Hello, just stumbled onto this site while doing research for an clothing search for the Knights Hospitaller . I am making a Knights outfit for an SCA group but cant find any good drawings or pictured of their garments from that time. Can some one show me a web site with good refrences for their clothing and armor? I want to makeit as accurate as possible.Thanks! This site is great!


  9. Hello Tony,
    Thank you for following my blog. I really like your photographs of the rose petal city of Petra – a place I have longed wished to visit myself!

    Have you read Katherine Sim’s book on Jean Louis Burckhardt in which she describes how he hoodwinked his guide to lead him to the ruins of the infidels?
    As a Christian Arab it has always occurred to me that the crusaders would have been more successful if they had followed the true teachings of Jesus. Their huge fortresses showed just how uneasy they felt and how weak their foundation was.
    Muna Zaki (

  10. 888 is the Gematria of Christ, and 8888 is the number of His New World Order.
    think on these things, and your mind will become enlightened “Light is knowledge, and light comes from God thru the sun (son) of God!

  11. In this day and new Age the number 8 is showing up everywhere when you dial long didtance you dial 1-800 or 1-888. Eight is the number of new beginnings, thwe number of Christ, ,is (8) the Gematria of Christ is 888, does this mean that the christ is living among us as an ordinary man, just as He lived as an ordinary boy and man before thje age of approx 20-30 years of age beofore making himself known publicly, I myself believe that He already present on earth, and has been for many years now, as an ordinary human, and He isw just now becomimg aware of who He is, and now waiting for His Godm and Father to make the moves in Him, personally i believe he has been with us for more than threescore and ten like over 70 weeks of years. “something like that”

  12. I am a Knights Templar Tony it is my understanding that the Knights Templar control all the wealth of the World which is $980. Trillion dollars in gold and it also said that this gold will be used to see the the USA never falls, it is also said that the Templars are the living sons of God.


    1. That is interesting! Thanks for that. You may want to watch out for my travels in two weeks time round the Middle East. I’m going to be visiting a few Templar sites and posting photos. I won’t spoil the surprise!

  13. Hi Tony, thank you for visiting/following my blog. I like a good mystery and the study of history; the story of the Templars cetainly provides interesting puzzles in both areas of interest. I watched the National Geographic video on the Templars… very intriguing… thanks for sharing that with your readers.

    I actually have two blogs, one dedicated to sewing and fabrics and the other to exhibiting my fabric mosaics. If you’re interested in more art, please visit Remnantworksfabricmosaics also a wordpress blog

  14. Thanks for following my blog, especially as the “follow” has pointed me in the direction of your really interesting blog. I think it’s the main “blessing of blogging” to find like-minded people and so I’ll be following your blog with great interest and enjoyment.

  15. Thanks for folllowing Suzy Is Opinionated…and welcome! I post new material on Fridays, so stop in on the weekend. I think your blog is probably going to be addictive. I am addicted to reading and have read many books based on the Knights Templar, so I’m sure I’ll be visiting here often.

    If you are interested, I have a couple of blogs that I also post on Fridays

    and if by some chance you are interested in knitting, ;o)

  16. Tony, thank you for following my blog at Please feel free to pass it on to anyone you think may enjoy it.

    I am eager to read some of your writings as I also love history and find other view points and experiences most interesting. My husband and spent some time in England last year. We loved seeing all the old things. So much of the USA is new in comparison with Europe. We also find the traditions of the English people and the beautiful cathedrals inspiring.

    Blessings to you at this Easter season. Nancy Boyer

  17. I am a Mason. While stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army I was initiated into York Rite (Knight Templar) and accordingly tend to be very interested in articles, books and other sources regarding the subject. Overall, the Templars managed to do considerable good in very turbulent and dangerous times, as Masonry also is dedicated to doing in modern times.

    1. It’s an honor to have you following this blog and please contribute your views. As you say, the Templars are an incredibly interesting subject and if you feel there’s something not being covered here, please tell me. I’m very open to researching whatever users want to hear about. All the best!

  18. Hey thanks for following my blog. This seems like an interesting blog. The Knights Templar are a very interesting subject, and a controversial one. It will be interesting to read what you have discovered about them. I had disliked Medieval history, but after taking a few classes that involved study on the era I have grown fond of it. Anyways, thanks again for following.

    1. Like you, I used to think the medieval period was a kind of long, unchanging, church-ridden phase of history that extended from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance – and it was taught like that at school. Truth is – the more you delve, the more you find what a turbulent and very dynamic period it was. The 11th century was very different from the 14th century. The Knights Templar are just fascinating – warriors, monks (sort of), bankers and farmers. And then all the mysterious stuff. I try to convey some interesting things about the time without repeating what everybody knows already and I hope you enjoy!

  19. By the way, nice website!

    Coming from one who creates, SEO codes and markets them.
    Someday I’m going to step outside my little sandbox and explore WordPress.
    And to think, I once scoffed at them!

    JP Noel

      1. Thank you,

        The story was released on Easter this year, but only on St. Croix Island. If you have ever been to St. Croix, you would certainly question why I decided to launch the book there considering the extremely high illiteracy rate. However, in a sense, I felt it was their story to begin with, and they should be able to have first dibs on a story about their home. Fortunately, the book/story was embraced, the entire island was a buzz with the possibility of my story/theory being plausible.

        It’s now ready for the masses and larger markets.

        As for the research and writing of The St. Croix Ark . . . It was fun, and yet at times, relying on other researchers who have special access to archives can be a “trying” experience. I also spent two years creating 99% of the art and images in the book. The book is very unique, the best description I can think of is: coffee table book meets National Geographic magazine.

        You know, once all of the worlds famous archives become scanned & digitized, especially the “no-access to the public” documents, many new revelations will shake the pillars of our collective history.

        Example: until 2003, 90% of our knowledge of Christopher Columbus was locked away in a private collection. Ever wonder why, when you think about him your stuck with some old school house jingle “in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue” and not much more? Google “Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book Collection” and start really learning about the man who came to the early Americas.

        He didn’t even set foot in America – until 1917! The year America purchased St. Croix Island. In fact, the exact spot where he first landed in America (posthumously), is ground zero for The St. Croix Ark.

        In the book, I expose three revelations that should blow the readers’ minds. I did test reads with a few very high (32 degree) ranking American Freemasons, they read the book, front to back, in just one day. They too agreed with nearly all the research, right down to the plausibility of the Ark of the Covenant on St.Croix Island.


        JP Noel

  20. I am at work and cannot stop reading ANYTHING an EVERYTHING you write. I am not sold that you are an atheist. Your writing portrays some deep seeded “faith” even when stating facts. A passion not found in most that have no belief, no faith of any kind. I would love to hold all I read in my mind for further use and reflection but the retention is lite in my mind. I could read for hours and days on end of European history but life has not given me such a blessing of free time.
    I am excited to read your book coming out in Autumn of this year.

    Isn’t it something how this man calling himself a Knight of Templar has brought about a renewed interest in the history in the Templar. Society today is starving for some kind any kind of hero that we will bring from the dead the Templar. I am sure in some other life if it true they exists I would have wanted to experience all that has brought us to where we are today. I enjoy this blog and quite certainly would not have found it if not for the recent tragedy in Norway. Please keep me informed as to when your book is available.
    Waterford, Michigan
    United States

    1. Hi – Kind words and I suppose I am an atheist with a strong obsession with religion. I am very passionate on the subject and was brought up a Catholic – well, I am half Irish and half Portuguese. If you enjoy this blog, then I assure you the book will keep you up for nights on end. I have researched it heavily. To me, the three main characters are very real. The events are largely based on fact with some artistic licence of course. It’s not a Dan Brown. I’ve based it entirely in the twelfth century and the staff at the British Museum, Museum of London and European research bodies have very kindly assisted me in getting things correct. I will keep you posted and look forward to enthralling you with a good read. All the best, Tony

    1. Just saw that movie ‘The Eagle’ last night and was almost impressed! Good article in BBC History this month saying that contrary to some media commentary around the movie, there is hardly any evidence the Ninth Legion disappeared in the east and arguably more evidence they got slaughtered in the wild north of Britannia. Anyway….good to here there are shared interests. Hope you are enjoying the blog. I’m on the last draft of the book now with publication due in September but not allowed to say much now else my agent will chop my fingers off. Any suggestions for blog posts welcome. Brentford? Hmmm….

  21. I’ve always found templar articles utterly interesting. I even did the templar tour several times in southern France<:) I love McMahon's insight on the matter!

  22. Hi,
    I am wrote a series of Knights Templar stories for Electric Scotland in 1999 and 2000. Many authors have used my research with and without my permission. Dan Brown being one who never gave myself or ES credit but did ask permission. I have to question your motives and research? The Knights Templar bloodlines have dispersed all over the world. Everyone wants to ride Dan Browns’ wave.

    1. Hi Kelly – no, I don’t want to be Dan Brown. In fact my agent was adamant that I don’t go down that route. I’m not actually even looking at the Templars in the Holy Land/outremer but primarily in western Europe. As regards motivation, I’ve been a history geek all my life and in professional terms, I’m a journalist – so curiosity and thorough research comes naturally. Sorry to hear you were plagiarised, I credit my sources on this blog and I’m happy to big up other people’s work. In terms of the novel I’m working on, I’ve travelled to all the locations involved and co-operated with staff at several museums and historical organisations. Google and Wikipedia are not what I rely on unlike a certain person we won’t mention here. You sound like you’ve had a bad experience in the past – as a journalist I’ve had my copy appear under other people’s names and realise how frustrating and embittering that can be. Anyway, no Dan Brown! My approach is more of a medieval social realist, brutalist. Tony

      1. Tony,
        What do you do when you find an ancient Templar artifact in amazing conditionwith huge significance, and when all the age, and symbol testing comes back positive?

      2. Well, that sounds interesting – tell me more! If what you have has been valued by reputable experts, then the choice is always to sell it through an auction house or dealership or approach a museum or hold on to it. How you found it and the laws of your country of residence on ‘treasure trove’ should be borne in mind.

      1. I see what you mean about the layout! I’ve got rather attached to it now. I didn’t see Patrick Lambke but will seek it out – thanks!

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