Seriously...

Seriously...

By BBC Radio 4

Seriously is home to the world’s best audio documentaries and podcast recommendations, and host Vanessa Kisuule brings you two fascinating new episodes every week.

Episodes

Searching for Butterflies

In the mountains of Latakia, Syria, Mudar Salimeh devotes much of his time to searching for butterflies. A geologist, artist, and nature lover, Mudar's fascination with butterflies began in the spring of 2018 when a great number of caterpillars appeared in his art studio. Over time, the caterpillars transformed into a cloud of white butterflies, sparking Mudar's quest to find and document these beautiful, elusive creatures.Syria's civil war has caused extensive ecological damage, affecting far more than just human lives. Then, in February 2023, an earthquake struck the region of Latakia.Spring 2024 arrives and butterflies start to emerge, we join Mudar as he creates an encyclopedia of the different butterfly species in Western Syria - a task made challenging by the shadows of war.Photo credit: Mudar Salimeh From his blog: https://syrianbutterflies.wordpress.com/Field Recordings by Mudar Salimeh Music by Samer Saem Eldahr a.k.a. Hello Psychaleppo https://www.psychaleppo.com/ Lepidoptera Sound Recordings: Maria BrænderProduced by Nanna Hauge Kristensen A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
19/07/2428m 52s

Shifting Soundscapes

“Sound is the barometer of the health of the planet.”It's almost 60 years since 11-year-old Martyn Stewart made his first recording near his house in Birmingham using a reel-to-reel machine borrowed from his older brother. From that day forward, he set out to capture all the natural sounds of the world, amassing nearly one hundred thousand recordings.Now, musician and sound artist Alice Boyd retraces his steps to three locations in Britain to document how these environmental soundscapes have changed, revealing vanishing ecosystems, amplified human noise and the return of endangered species.(Photograph courtesy of Tom Bright.) With archive from Martyn Stewart's library, The Listening Planet. Location recordings and original music by Alice Boyd. A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
12/07/2429m 3s

Brood X

Every 17 years in the eastern United States, a roaring mass of millions of black-bodied, red-eyed, thumb-length insects erupt from the ground. For a few glorious weeks the periodical cicadas cover the trees and the air vibrates with their chorus of come-hither calls. Then they leave a billion eggs to hatch and burrow into the dirt, beginning the seventeen year cycle all over again. Sing. Fly. Mate. Die. This is Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood. It’s an event which, for the residents of a dozen or so US states, is the abiding memory of four, maybe five, summers of their lives. In a programme that’s both a natural and a cultural history of the Great Eastern Brood we re-visit four Brood X years....1970, 1987, 2004 and 2021…. to capture the stories of the summers when the cicadas came to town. Princeton University's Class of 1970 remember the cicadas’ appearance at their graduation ceremony, during a time of student unrest and protest against the Vietnam War; a bride looks back to the uninvited - but welcome - cicada guests attending her wedding; a musician recalls making al fresco music with Brood X; and an entomologist considers the extraordinary life cycle of an insect which is seems to possess both great patience and the ability to count to seventeen. Brood X cicadas spend 17 years underground, each insect alone, waiting and listening. In 2021, as Brood X stirred and the air began to thicken with the cicadas’ love songs, we all shared with them that sense of emerging from the isolation of lockdown and making a new beginning.Featuring: Elias Bonaros, Liz Dugan, Anisa George, Ray Gibbons, Peter Kuper, Gene Kritsky, Gregg Lange, David Rothenberg, Gil Schrage and Gaye WilliamsProducer: Jeremy GrangeCicada audio recorded by Cicada Mania and David RothenbergProgramme Image: Prof. Gene Kritsky
09/07/2428m 21s

Stoppage Time for Scunthorpe

When Bury FC was expelled from the Football League after 125 years, the government commissioned a fan-led review of football's financial stability. Centring the importance of football clubs to hundreds of local communities, it recommended tough new rules about governance and ownership of football clubs. Five years on and with both Labour and the Conservatives supporting the creation of a new regulator, Scunthorpe United has become a case study for why politicians think they need to step in. A succession of owners, a string of relegations and a more than gloomy balance book left the North Lincolnshire town wondering what life without its football club might look like. But the efforts of the local community led to a small piece of hope. For Radio 4, lifelong Scunthorpe fan and BBC political journalist (in that order) Jack Fenwick tells the inside story of how it all went so wrong and what happened next.Presenter and producer: Jack Fenwick
05/07/2428m 36s

The City That Stayed at Home

At the last general election, three of the four seats with the lowest turnout, where the lowest number of eligible people came out to vote, were in Hull. Alex Forsyth sits down with people who stay at home on election day to find out why. She begins in Hull East, the seat which had the lowest turnout in the UK at the last general election, visiting Marfleet, a ward with low turnout at local elections. She explores how a pattern of not voting is repeated in other parts of the city. Alex goes on to examine the complex reasons for not voting and speaks to those who believe key events in the city's history might provide part of the answer.Presented by Alex Forsyth Produced by Camellia Sinclair for BBC Audio in Bristol Mixed by Ilse Lademann
28/06/2428m 29s

Living Without My Smartphone

A group of teenagers agree to give up their smartphones for 5 school days. The phones are locked in a box, and our subjects pick up their old style “brick” phone instead. What’s the best and worst of their smartphone free days? Can they cope, and what, if anything, do they, their parents and teachers notice? Rachel Burden has teenagers, and knows all about smartphone parenting. She joins our intrepid students throughout their week, and reflects upon the positives and negatives of a world where everyone can choose to be constantly connected.Produced by Victoria Farncombe and Tim O'Callaghan Mixed by Nicky Edwards Edited by Clare Fordham
25/06/2428m 45s

The Beauty of Everyday Things

Poet Ian McMillan has a gift for the art of small pleasures; the joy of close observation; revelling in everyday things, places and encounters; describing and re-describing them endlessly. In the company of fellow poets Helen Mort, Steve Ely and Dave Green he takes us to ordinary places that fascinate him: a railway platform with a striking red bench, on a bus journey, to a village cafe, and a local museum of curiosities; where we discover they can be portals into different ways of thinking, of feeling, and of being, where anything can happen, where the ordinary can become the extraordinary if we simply open our eyes and our ears. Presented by Ian McMillanProduced by Cecile Wright
21/06/2428m 38s

Conflict on Campus

Examining how the Israel-Gaza war is affecting students here in the UK. Anwar Akhtar is a director at the Samosa Project, a media and arts charity working to create understanding across cultures. He heads to Leeds, and gets a close-up view of the tensions bubbling over at the university.This programme was first broadcast on 12 May, 2024.
18/06/2429m 2s

The Switch

Three people from three different eras reveal what it's like to live with multiple personalities, or Dissociative Identity Disorder.A retired librarian who lived through the disorder's most controversial time and has found peace as several parts; an early YouTuber who fought stigma about DID and now lives as one person; and a young TikToker navigating life as a 'system'.The BBC has been sharing stories and tips on how to support your mental health and wellbeing. Go to bbc.co.uk/mentalwellbeing to find out more.Presenter/producer: Lucy Proctor Researcher: Anna Harris Mixed by: James Beard
14/06/2428m 14s

The Beaches

A top secret little-known mission that changed the outcome of World War II. Not Alan Turing's Enigma code-breaking mission but a daring foray, conducted behind enemy lines on the shores of Normandy. Harrison Lewis and wetland scientist Christian Dunn re-enact one of the most remarkable feats of the Second World War and discover the intricate details of the daring but forgotten science that underpinned D-Day.
07/06/2428m 30s

Broken Politicians, Broken Politics

Are British politicians at breaking point? In this new digital age with its high level of public scrutiny, the sheer amount of abuse, disdain and direct threat politicians get is causing their mental health to take a real hit.And this matters. Broken politicians equal broken politics and that’s bad news for us all.Few can dispute that in the wake of a near constant stream of scandals, public perceptions of politics and politicians have become increasingly cynical and toxic. So what impact is this all having on our politicians and our politics? Jennifer Nadel - Co-Founder of Compassion in Politics - hears raw personal testimony from MPs across the House who have reached breaking point and worse, asking what this means for the health of our democracy?In this Radio 4 investigation into the mental health and wellbeing of politicians, MPs talk candidly about the incessant pressures of the job and the escalating mental health crisis in parliament.The programme reveals shocking testimony including one former government minister who tells us ‘Politics has left me a broken human being.’ A young MP describes attempting to take his own life, revealing to the BBC that he is not alone.This programme asks whether the mental health crisis is affecting MPs' ability to govern. Many say it does, and that good people are simply being driven out or away from public life.In the face of these mounting personal testimonies Radio 4 asks MPs what can be done?If you have particular experiences or a story related to this podcast that you would like to share in confidence with the programme makers, you can e-mail: Daniel.Tetlow.ext@bbc.co.ukProducer: Daniel Tetlow Presenter: Jennifer Nadel Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Richard Vadon The music was composed by Daniel Tetlow and Benjamin Bushakevitz and performed by Ammiel Bushakevitz
04/06/2428m 41s

Portugal’s Carnation Revolution

25th April 2024 marked the 50th anniversary of Portugal's 'Carnation Revolution', which overthrew the authoritarian dictatorship of the Estado Novo ('New State') which had governed Portugal since the 1920s. A largely bloodless revolution, marked by the carnations that were placed in the rifles of the soldiers, it led to the successful establishment of democracy in Portugal and the integration of more than half-a-million 'retornados' - returnees - Portuguese citizens from its former African colonies.Portugal's revolution was indeed televised, and recorded in sound. One of those who bore witness to its aftermath was journalist, and former Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, who reported from Portugal at the time for LBC Radio. At this important anniversary, he remembers his time there, and tells the story of what unfolded, through archive and interviews with those who organised and lived through those heady days of April 1974. Presenter: Jon Snow Producer: Michael RossiWith thanks to RTP (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal) and LBC for archive.
21/05/2428m 13s

Night Train

In literature and film, night trains are the setting for intrigue and romance, espionage and sudden death. And in real life too they’re places of possibility and the expectation of new adventures. Writer Horatio Clare boards a train to Vienna for a night-time journey across Europe… and into the archive, aboard night trains of decades past. His journey begins at the Gare de l’Est in Paris, the departure point for the original Orient Express. He looks back to the golden age of the Wagons-Lits, sleeper trains with wood-panelled cabins, an attendant in every carriage ready to be summoned and dining cars where evening dress was obligatory. It was an era which provided rich inspiration for writers and Horatio evokes his predecessors who used night trains to tell stories of brief encounters, betrayal and, of course, murder. But luxurious Wagons-Lits are only one part of the story. Other travellers find themselves on very different night-time journeys. There are the rucksack-lugging student inter-railers of the ‘70s and ‘80s, sleeping in train corridors on expeditions of discovery (and self-discovery); the perils of sharing sleeping compartments with strangers; and the Ukrainian refugees reluctantly taking the ‘Rescue Express’ westward as they fled the Russian invasion. After a long period of decline, night trains are on the rise again as new routes open up across Europe. Maybe it’s because we’re tired of the indignities of budget air travel but it’s also driven by the “Flight Shame” and “Train Brag” movements - a growing awareness that travelling by train is better for the planet. “I’m on a train” is no longer an apology for a poor phone signal. Now it’s a claim to the moral high ground.Horatio’s journey doesn’t quite go to plan. But as he overcomes the challenges and navigates his way to Vienna, he discovers that night trains have always taken our imaginations to new destinations.Produced by Jeremy Grange for BBC Audio Wales and West
17/05/2457m 24s

True Crime 1599

For the last decade, True Crime has become ubiquitous on television and podcasts. Yet despite its current popularity, it’s not a new phenomenon. In this programme, author Charles Nicholl take us back to a time before podcasts, TV, pulp magazines, even Penny Dreadfuls – all the way to the English stage 400 years ago when, for the first time, playhouses were putting contemporary news onstage.Presenter: Charles NichollActors: Rhiannon Neads, John Lightbody, Michael Bertenshaw, Josh Bryant-Jones, Ian Dunnett Junior Sound design: Peter Ringrose Producer: Sasha Yevtushenko
14/05/2428m 38s

Haiti - Descent Into Anarchy

With criminal gangs now controlling most of Haiti's capital and no function government, Mike Thomson explores what caused this spiralling descent to Anarchy in this predominately Christian, Caribbean country, where more than half its eleven million French and Creole speaking people live below the poverty line. Mike looks for answers with help from Haitians, experts and political leaders who’ve lived through many of their nation’s recent social upheavals and natural disasters.Producer: Ed Prendeville BBC Audio in Cardiff
07/05/2428m 54s

A Dentist's Life

In February 2024, the NHS dental crisis hit the headlines as hundreds of people queued outside a dental practice in Bristol to register as NHS patients. It was the latest sign of the severity of the national shortage of NHS dentists.The Nuffield Trust have declared that NHS dentistry faces its 'most perilous point' in 75-year history and the government have responded pledging to improve access and funding for dentistry.At the centre of this crisis are the dentists who serve our communities. A Dentist's Life follows one Cornwall based dentist, Dr Jenna Murgatroyd, as she treats patients needing vital care, manages a practice facing financial risk and trains the next generation of dentists. As a second generation dentist, Dr Murgatroyd also reflects on the past and the future of the profession and asks what it means to be a NHS community dentist today.Produced by Mugabi Turya
03/05/2428m 51s

Counterfeit Characters

What do Artificial Intelligence and digital technology mean for actors and their relationship with audiences?Leading acting coach Geoffrey Colman, who has spent his working life on the sets of Hollywood movies, in theatrical rehearsal spaces, and teaching in the UK's most prestigious classrooms, wants to find out. AI, he says, may represent the most profound change to the acting business since the move from silent films to talkies. But does it, and if so how are actors dealing with it? What does that mean for the connection between actors and audiences?Geoffrey's concern is rooted in acting process: the idea that the construction of a complex inner thinking architecture resonates with audiences in an authentic almost magical way. But if performance capture and AI just creates the outer facial or physical expression, what happens to the inner joy or pain of a character’s thinking? The implications for the actor’s technique are profound.To get to the bottom of these questions Geoffrey visits some of those at the cutting edge of developing this new technology. On the storied Pinewood lot he visits Imaginarium Studios, and is shown around their 'volume', where actors' every movement is captured. In East London he talks to the head of another studio about his new AI actor - made up from different actors' body parts. And at a leading acting school he speaks to students and teachers about what this new digital era means for them. He discusses concerns about ethical questions, hears from an actor fresh from the set of a major new movie, quizzes a tech expert already using AI to create avatars of herself, and speaks to Star Wars fans about how this technology has allowed beloved characters to be rejuvenated, and even resuscitated.Producer: Giles Edwards
26/04/2429m 3s

Home Fires

Richard King explores the past and present of the second homes debate in Wales, revisiting the story of Meibion Glyndwr – active terrorists on British soil for almost 15 years. The proliferation of second homes is a problem in many parts of the UK. They contribute to pushing up house prices, often in low-income areas, effectively locking young people out of the housing market. It’s a problem with different characteristics in different places. In Wales it is compounded by the fate of Cymraeg, the Welsh language. It is felt by many that second homes contribute to the fragmentation of Welsh-speaking communities and pose a threat to the survival of the language. It's nothing new. Beginning in 1979, Meibion Glyndwr – Sons of Glyndwr (Owain Glyndwr being a soldier who led a revolt against English rule in the 1400s) – responded to this threat by carrying out hundreds of arson attacks and fire-bombings. Initially targeting second homes and holiday cottages in Welsh-speaking areas, the campaign later expanded to target estate agents, English-owned businesses and the offices of police and politicians, accompanied by stencilled letters containing extravagant nativist threats. Hundreds of properties were damaged and destroyed. It lasted until 1994 and only one person was ever convicted of a related offence.The Meibion Glyndwr campaign was audacious and shocking – and utterly ineffective. In the thirty years since the last attack Wales has gained its own parliament and with it a measure of power to decide its own fate. And as elsewhere in the UK, the issues around second homes have only become more urgent. One of the newer policies enacted by the Welsh government is a council tax premium on second homes, with local authorities able to decide how much of a levy to apply, up to a possible 300%.Writer Richard King visits Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula, a village very much at the sharp end of the current situation and hears from some of those who lived through the Meibion Glyndwr campaign.Featuring Robat Gruffudd, Amanda Jones, Richard Wyn Jones, Alun Lenny, Louise Overfield and Eifiona Wood.With grateful thanks to Sian Howys, Meic Parry and Dylan Roberts.(The programme contains an archive recording which refers to RS Thomas as a non-conformist minister. RS Thomas was a priest in the Anglican Church in Wales.)
23/04/2428m 54s

Mila’s Legacy

How many medicines can you think of created for just one person? The likelihood is none - which is why the world hasn’t heard of milasen yet. But its creation, and the efforts behind it, could build a pathway towards some of the greatest advances in genomic medicine, and a new initiative being trialled in Britain has a huge role to play in making this happen. At the age of seven, Mila Makovec became the first person in the world to be treated with a medicine created just for her. A bubbly young girl from Colorado, Mila suffered from a very rare genetic disorder called Batten disease, which leads to a painful early death in children. Mila’s mother, Julia Vitarello, resolutely sought out scientists to try to discover a way to save her daughter. After relentless efforts, one doctor, Timothy Yu from Boston Children’s Hospital, imagined a possible treatment for Mila. The challenge was it involved making a completely unique treatment for Mila’s specific genetic mutation. It would be novel and very expensive - but it was her only option. Julia raised the millions of dollars required through a charity she set up in her daughter’s name, and in 2018 Mila became the one patient in the world to receive the drug milasen. Initially, it worked, and Mila’s condition stabilised and improved. However, the treatment was given after the disease had done a great deal of damage to a small child, and Mila died when she was ten years old.There are an estimated 7,000 rare diseases in the world, affecting more than 400 million people - and most are genetic. The majority have no effective treatment. New medicines for these conditions can’t be put through clinical trials on groups of patients because they are so rare. So, currently, such novel therapeutics can only be legally given after lengthy and costly work that is uncommercial for drug firms. Having got so achingly close to saving her daughter, Mila’s mother is now leading efforts to make these new genetic medicines available to other children with rare diseases - and Britain is where her campaign is about to take a huge step forward. The launch of the Rare Therapies Launch Pad is bringing together efforts from Mila’s Miracle Foundation, the UK medicine’s regulator the MHRA, Genomics England and Oxford University in an world leading attempt to build a new streamlined regulatory pathway to allow one-off drugs to be designed and approved for use in individual patients with rare diseases. Natasha Loder, Health Editor at the Economist, tells this very personal story of how one mother’s determination to try and save her daughter could lead to a revolution in personalised medicine - one that has the potential to bring hope to millions of families. Producer: Sandra Kanthal
16/04/2428m 49s

Protein: Powerhouse or Piffle?

Take a trip around the supermarket and you'll see shelves of products claiming to be 'high in protein'. Scroll through your social media and you'll find beautiful, sculpted people offering recipes and ideas for packing more protein into your diet. Science presenters Dr Julia Ravey and Dr Ella Hubber have noticed this too. They wanted to unpick the protein puzzle to find out what it does in our bodies and how much we really need. Can this macronutrient really help us lose weight, get fit and be healthier?Along the way, they speak to Professor Giles Yeo from the University of Cambridge, Bridget Benelam from the British Nutrition Foundation, Paralympian hopeful Harrison Walsh, and food historian Pen Vogler.Presenters: Dr Julia Ravey and Dr Ella Hubber Producer: Alice Lipscombe-Southwell Editor: Martin SmithCredits: @thefitadam/@TSCPodcast/@tadhgmoody/@meg_squats/@aussiefitness
12/04/2428m 55s

Rwanda Thirty Years On

Victoria Uwonkunda makes an emotional journey back to Rwanda, where she grew up. It’s the first time she’s visited since the age of 12, when she fled the 1994 genocide with her family.Victoria retraces her journey to safety out of the capital Kigali, to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.Along the way Victoria speaks to survivors of the violence – both victims and perpetrators – to find out how the country is healing, through reconciliation and forgiveness.Victoria meets Evariste and Narcisse, who work together on a reconciliation project called Cows for Peace. Evariste killed Narcisse’s mother during the 1994 genocide. Cows are important in the Rwandan culture. Evariste and Narcisse explain their own journeys to forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. And Victoria meets Claudette, who suffered unimaginable horrors at the hands of a man, Jean Claude, sitting next to her as she tells her story.Victoria Uwonkunda finds that Rwanda, and its people, are healing. There are those who say that the steps Rwanda has taken do not go far enough and question freedom of expression in Rwanda. But Victoria finds hope in the country, a desire to move on for a younger generation – and she finds her own peace with the country that she was born in.
09/04/2428m 41s

Dehumidified

One baffling online scam – involving a £138 dehumidifier – and a humiliated BBC producer who will not rest until she has a return address for it.January 2024. Polly Weston’s toddler has a terrible cough, no one in the house is getting any sleep, and, as is traditional for Bristol Victorian Terraces, her house has a lot of damp patches. So she decides to invest in a dehumidifier. A very convincing review online, by a real consumer journalist called Luke Edwards, recommends one company. The company's sleek website reads “Dewett UK – Better Air, Better Life.” Sold. She orders one for £138… Then it begins. Luke, it turns out, had his identity stolen. Day after day he receives the same desperate phone calls from people across Britain who have fallen victim to his “byline”. The story is always the same. Once the dehumidifier arrives, it doesn’t work, and you can’t return it – Dewett will not give you a return address. It's come from China, they say, and there is no point in you sending it back. The email exchanges become increasingly wild. But what starts out as the story of one BBC producer, on a vendetta to find a return address (and to prove, despite being duped, she’s still a good journalist)… will take us to corners of the world we never could have predicted. It might just end in us accidentally blowing the lid on something much, much bigger... Produced and presented by Polly Weston A BBC Audio Bristol production
05/04/2428m 55s

Do We Still Need the Pips?

To mark the centenary of the Greenwich Time Signal on the BBC, Paddy O'Connell asks the unaskable - Do We Still Need the Pips?First broadcast at 9.30pm on Feb the 5th 1924, the six pips of the Greenwich Time Signal have become synonymous with Radio 4. But today digital broadcasting has rendered this time signal delayed and inaccurate. Plus their immovable presence can cause accidents on-air, and no-one wants to crash the Pips. So after 100 years, should Radio 4 just get rid of them? What is the point of a time signal in 2024 anyway?Paddy O'Connell looks back across a century of organised beeps, and meets the people who listen to, broadcast and sometimes crash in to the Pips to find out what we really think about these six little characters. With interviews including Mishal Husain, Robin Ince & Brian Cox, Jane Steel, Richard Hoptroff, Jon Holmes and David Rooney.Produced by Luke Doran. Original music by Ed Carter.
02/04/2429m 2s

Wokewash - Episode 1

Following on from the success of Green Inc and with the same bold, provocative and entirely un-switchoffable energy, writer, comedian and satirist Heydon Prowse turns his tongue-in-cheek attention corporate Wokewashing. From a razor company talking about #MeToo to an LGBT sandwich and a burger chain tackling depression, writer and satirist Heydon Prowse unpacks how some of the world's biggest corporations are falling over themselves to appear socially conscious, progressive. And he lifts the lid on the advertising and PR companies who've woken up to just how much money they can make helping them.In this first episode, Pride Before a Fall?, Heydon investigates corporations’ approach to LGBTQ+ inclusivity. He’ll trace the history from brands’ first engagements with gay customers to the situation today, where Pride month sees the high street and social media festooned with corporate rainbow flags. Heydon will ask how many companies live up to this inclusive message in actions. This episode will also take a look at the backlash to brand engagement with LGBTQ+ issues that has been seen in the UK and the USA as the corporate world is drawn into the culture wars. It’s led to boycotts and hasty backpedalling, but what’s really going on, and why?To listen to the rest of the series, just search for Wokewash on BBC Sounds.Contributors: Peter Tatchell, Activist and Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation Prof Alison Taylor of New York University's Stern Business School and author of 'Higher Ground: How Businesses Can Do the Right Thing in a Turbulent World.' Rain Dove, Model and Actvist Andrew Doyle, Comedian, GB News Presenter and author of The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World.Producer: Sam PeachArchive Credited To: John Sloman (Youtube) Dove US (Youtube) raindovemodel (instagram) dylanmulvaney (instagram) Make Yourself At Home Podcast by Nines Ben Shapiro (Youtube) CNN WKMG News Kid Rock (X)
29/03/2429m 16s

The War the World Forgot

Since it gained Independence in 1956 Sudan has had at least 2 major civil wars. The last one resulted in Southern Sudan becoming an Independent state in 2011. The latest civil war broke out last April between two rival factions of the military government, the Sudanese Army Force (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF. Thousands have been killed and the country is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Why aren't we hearing more about it? James Copnall, former BBC Sudan Correspondent finds out what exactly is going on from historians, personal testimony, government and humanitarian aid agencies. Presenter: James Copnall Producer: Julie Ball Editor: Tara McDermott
26/03/2428m 23s

Farmers and Furious

Following wide ranging farmers' protests across Europe, now British farmers are starting to show their discontent with thousands of farmers meeting in Wales, as well as protests taking place in England. BBC Radio 4 Farming Today's Charlotte Smith joins farmers as they are protesting and asks if the industry is now at breaking point. Will the new promise by the prime minister to ensure food production is supported, and not just environmental work, be enough to appease English farmers? And has the Welsh First Minister's comments that farmers can not simply decide themselves what to do with millions in subsidies, just inflamed the situation further? With so many demands on our land, from capturing carbon to reversing the biodiversity loss, is there still space for farmers to produce food profitably in the UK?Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Beatrice Fenton.
15/03/2428m 28s

Decolonising Russia

All along Russia’s border, in former Soviet republics, the Ukrainian war has prompted a new, more assertive sense of national identity. They’re asking whether – despite independence – they’ve really overcome the legacy of 'Russian colonialism.' Meanwhile activists from the many ethnic minorities inside Russia are increasingly describing themselves as victims of colonialism too - and demanding self-determination. The debate about the 'imperial' nature of Russia has now also been taken up by strategists, politicians and scholars in the West. Many are questioning their own previous 'Russocentric' assumptions, and asking whether 'decolonising' Russia is the only way to stop the country threatening its neighbours - and world peace. But some also wonder whether the term 'decolonisation' is really relevant to Russia – and what it means. Is it about challenging the '0imperial mindset' of its rulers – and perhaps of every ordinary Russian? Or perhaps it means dismembering the country itself? Or, as some claim, is the very idea of 'decolonising Russia' just part of an attempt by the West to extend its own neo-colonialist influence? Tim Whewell dissects a new and vital controversy with the help of historians, thinkers and activists from Russia and its neighbours, the West and the Global South.Sound mixing by Hal Haines Production coordinators: Sabine Schereck, Maria Ogundele, Katie Morrison Editor: Richard Fenton Smith Extract from "Winnie-the-Pooh" by A A Milne, read by Alan Bennett
12/03/2427m 54s

How to Build an Oil Field

In September 2023 permission was given to develop Rosebank, the UK’s largest untapped oil field. Located west of Shetland, the UK government says it will provide energy security in the UK for a whole generation, at a time where we have never felt more insecure about the source of our energy and the cost. But will it? A feat of modern engineering, with the latest technology used to create it. Once operational, where is all this money, and oil, going to flow? And how does this fit into a commitment to transition from a dependency on fossil fuels to greener alternatives?  There’s a lot at stake with this new oil field: jobs, investment, income, and oil, of course. There are so many questions about how oil and gas works in terms of its relationship to the UK, yet surprisingly few clear answers. This programme will help fill in the blanks.
08/03/2428m 35s

The Forensic Jeweller

Jewellery can tell us so much about people - the ones that wore it, and the ones that made it. It reveals something about status, or power, or belief systems - religion and relationships. There's so many interesting things that you can uncover about a person, or a group of people, by their jewellery. This makes it an incredibly useful tool for forensic analysis. Dr Maria Maclennan, is the world's first, and currently only, Forensic Jeweller. In this show, we accompany Maria to the Evros region of Greece, where she, along with her team of Dr Jan Bikker, Professor Pavlidis Pavlos and Filmmaker Harry Lawson, are using the forensic analysis of jewellery to identify deceased migrants.The goal is to give back a name to many of the missing and unidentified who sadly lose their lives trying to enter Europe. A single piece of jewellery can unlock an entire identity.
05/03/2429m 1s

The Rise of Sinn Féin

Ireland correspondent Chris Page looks at the growth of Sinn Féin across the island of Ireland over the last 30 years and explores how it has achieved that. He examines the party's current aims and policies, from housing to the economy. And he asks, given the current trend in the polls, what the implications might be of the party being in government in two jurisdictions - in Belfast and in Dublin.Presenter: Chris Page Producer: Camellia Sinclair Lead broadcast engineer: Ilse LademannCredit: "Two Tribes", RTÉ One, 22nd December 2022
27/02/2428m 43s

Who Do You Really Think You Are?

We’re a nation obsessed with genealogy. Millions of us are gripped by TV shows like 'Who Do You Think You Are', where genealogists show celebrities their famous ancestors - like Danny Dyer being descended from Edward III, the first Plantagent King! But what if Danny doesn’t get exclusive bragging rights? With the help of mathematician Hannah Fry and Habsburg Royal Historian professor Martyn Rady, population geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford sets out to prove that we're all descended from royalty, revealing along the way that family trees are not the perfect tool for tracing your heritage. But can it really be true? Can we all be descended from Henry VIII or Charlemagne!?
23/02/2428m 51s

Prosecuting Polmont

In 2018, within a few months of each other, Katie Allan and William Lindsay took their own lives at Polmont Young Offenders Institution in Scotland. There have been nine suicides at Polmont since 2012 and the overall suicide rate in Scottish prisons is at a record high. Katie's mum Linda believes many of these deaths were avoidable. She was told by the Crown Office that there were sufficient grounds for prosecuting the Scottish Prison Service for potential failures of duty of care to both Katie and William, but they couldn't proceed because, unlike the police, the NHS, or even a private prison, the prison service has immunity from prosecution. With a Fatal Accident Inquiry about to open into Katie and William's deaths, Linda has little faith it will hold the prison accountable. Dani Garavelli Presenter and Researcher Liza Greig Producer Elizabeth Clark Executive ProducerBBC Scotland Productions for BBC Radio 4
20/02/2428m 49s

How to Read the News - Episode 1

When journalists tell stories, they rarely start at the beginning but instead with the latest development. Context comes towards the end. It’s called the ‘inverted pyramid’. When scandal at the Confederation of British Industry hit the newspapers and boss Tony Danker was dismissed, he complained that articles didn’t state right at the start that he was not accused of the worst misconduct. If you didn’t make it much past the headlines, you might not realise that. We discover why journalists write stories ‘the wrong way up’, how that affects how we understand them, and how that might change with new technology.‘How to Read the News’ - this series is all about giving you the tools to decode the news. Presenter: Jo Fidgen Producer: Charlotte McDonald Researchers: Beth Ashmead Latham, Kirsteen Knight Editors: China Collins, Emma Rippon
16/02/2414m 37s

Graceland in the Glens

In 2019, Elvis Presley Enterprises threatened to deconstruct Graceland and move it to Saudi Arabia, Tokyo, or whoever was the highest bidder. Artist, writer, KLF member and money burner - Bill Drummond - realised something had to be done. Bill's relationship with Northern Ireland began before his relationship with Elvis - but at some junction, these two relationships were bound to collide. It seems the Curfew Tower at the junction of the crossroads in the village of Cushendall in the Glens of Antrim is where this collision will be taking place. Producer: Conor Garrett
13/02/2428m 55s

The Screening Dilemma

Ronnie Helvy is on his way for a screening test. He's in his sixties and wants an assessment to check for a variety of cancers. He isn't currently displaying any symptoms but is seeking reassurance. His blood will undergo a series of tests in exchange for over a thousand pounds. The outcome might be able to determine whether he is susceptible to cancers that some of his family have died from. It sounds like a good thing. Or is it?Advances in health screening have allowed us to see far into our bodies' future. During the pandemic home testing became an everyday routine. The same technology has helped develop new tools that can sequence our DNA quickly. Simple tests are making the process less intrusive than ever before.These improvements have also seen the development of a number of major national screening programmes. Including Our Future Health and the UK Biobank. Both of these are large scale research studies to help researchers prevent chronic health conditions. They could also inform the NHS on how to implement generalised screening across more of the population.Private health clinics are also offering health check-ups -- tests that could spot future warning signs. Home-testing kits can be ordered from the internet. But what does this information tell us? And is it information we can trust? We look at whether the private industry is acting responsibly when it comes to genetic testing.The BBC's Health Correspondent Matthew Hill finds out whether screening programmes can really help us live both better and longer lives. And he asks: can diagnosing conditions decades before they might affect us cause more harm than good?The promise of diagnosing conditions early is an exciting one. But there are fears among some health professionals that more screening might not be entirely helpful. We take a look at what lessons from the past could tell us about the current surge in screening. And we consider some of the dilemmas it might present us with.Presenter: Matthew Hill Producer: Robbie Wojciechowski Editor: Richard CollingsContributors: Dr Paul Cornes, Oncologist and International Advisor on cancer Prof. Clare Turnbull, Division of Genetics and Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research Helen Wallace, Deputy Director of GeneWatch UK Prof Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford and the UK’s Life Sciences Champion
09/02/2428m 43s

Hotel Room Art

The inside story of art in hotel rooms - and why hoteliers think it's so important to get it right. Ian McMillan has always been fascinated by the artworks he finds on his travels. Here he encounters mass produced flowers, abstract excitement and ancient artefacts. In three very different hotel bedrooms he meets curators, designers and artists - but most importantly he meets the art, and asks why we have ‘art’ hotels .
06/02/2428m 37s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 1. Pride

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins. Rolling with the order established by Pope Gregory the Great, first up is pride, followed by greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and (finally) lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Pride - also known as the "original sin" - is now a bit of a double-edged word. The good side is motivating and self-affirming: to be proud of your work, your kids, or your identity. But then there’s the ugly side of pride: thinking you’re better than others. Arrogance, narcissism, an inflated sense of superiority. How can we have one without the other? Confidence without arrogance? Self-worth without self-aggrandisement? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, neuroscientist and clinical psychologist Professor Ian Robertson from the Department of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, self-aware narcissist and motivational speaker Lee Hammock, Professor Jessica Tracy from the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and a parade of people at a Pride march.Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 44s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 2. Greed

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins, in the order established by Pope Gregory the Great: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Greed is in the spotlight today. And we're not talking food. (That’s gluttony, we come to that later in the series.) We're talking greed for money, for land, for material things – and ultimately for control, status, dominance, power. The kind of greed that separates the "haves" from the "have nots". On one hand, greed is a great motivator, driving us all forward in our pursuit to get more of whatever it is we want. But at its ugliest, greed can come at a huge cost to other people, and to the planet. When does self-interested behaviour become selfish? And can we be greedy for the good? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, psychologist and social scientist Professor Paul Piff from the Department of Psychological Science at the University of California, Executive Director of the New Economy Organisers Network, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, and a few wise words from Sir David Attenborough.Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 42s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 3. Lust

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins, in the order established by Pope Gregory the Great: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Lust is today's hot topic. It's crucial to the continuation of our species, but it's also a form of neurochemical madness that can lead us astray. We all have wildly different brains, bodies, and cultural references, so everyone’s relationship to lust is highly personal. Is it true that men want it more than women? When was the "lustiest" time in history? And, back in today's world, how can we navigate our drives alongside cultural expectations and the issue of consent? And how can we feel desire without shame? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, sexologist with a specialty in men’s health and sexual function, Dr Anand Patel, and sex historian Dr Kate Lister, lecturer at Leeds Trinity University and author of 'A Curious History of Sex'.Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 29s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 4. Envy

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins, in the order established by Pope Gregory the Great: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Envy is in the spotlight today. On one hand, it indicates what it is you want, and it motivates you to go out there and get it. On the other hand, it can be a corrosive feeling of yearning that eats you up from the inside. And at its ugliest, it can drive you to seek the destruction of others...How can we listen to our feelings of envy, without being riddled with resentment? And how can we make peace with that restless, nagging feeling that the grass is always greener? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, psychotherapist and author of 'Coping with Envy', Professor Windy Dryden, from the Department of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths University, author and scholar Professor Ilan Kapoor, from the Department of Critical Development Studies at York University in Toronto, and clinical psychologist, poet, writer and educator, Dr Sanah Ahsan.
12/01/2429m 3s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 5. Gluttony

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins, in the order established by Pope Gregory the Great: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Gluttony is on the menu today. On one hand, the odd bit of indulgence isn't such a bad thing. Eat, drink, and be merry. But sometimes we overdo it. We crave, we binge, we short circuit our dopamine reward systems, and before we know it, we can't stop. But why do we crave? Can we control our cravings? And when does a little bit of binging become too much? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, food writer Mark Schatzker, author of 'Steak', 'The Dorito Effect' and 'The End of Craving', Dr Andrew Moynihan from the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick, and writer AK Blakemore, author of 'The Glutton'.Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 36s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 6. Wrath

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins, in the order established by Pope Gregory the Great: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Wrath is today's hot topic, and things can get pretty ugly when our blood starts to boil. Some of us are quick to flip, some of us brood, and some of us push down our anger. But ultimately anger is a motivator; a driver for change in the face of a perceived injustice. The question is, how are you going to act on it? For bad? Or for good?To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, psychology professor Dr Ryan Martin (aka "The Anger Professor"), multidisciplinary artist and former Children's Laureate of Wales, Connor Allen, and Jake Hall from the Destroy'd Rage Rooms. Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 39s

Seven Deadly Psychologies - 7. Sloth

Becky Ripley and Sophie Ward take a cold hard look at the psychology behind each of the seven deadly sins. Rolling with the order established by Pope Gregory the Great, first up is pride, followed by greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and (finally) lazy old sloth. Why have we evolved these ugly emotions? What’s going on in the brain and the body when we feel them? And how best can we live alongside them - in ourselves and with others?Pride - also known as the "original sin" - is now a bit of a double-edged word. The good side is motivating and self-affirming: to be proud of your work, your kids, or your identity. But then there’s the ugly side of pride: thinking you’re better than others. Arrogance, narcissism, an inflated sense of superiority. How can we have one without the other? Confidence without arrogance? Self-worth without self-aggrandisement? To guide us through this mess is evolutionary anthropologist Dr Anna Machin from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, neuroscientist and clinical psychologist Professor Ian Robertson from the Department of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, self-aware narcissist and motivational speaker Lee Hammock, Professor Jessica Tracy from the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and a parade of people at a Pride march.Producer: Becky Ripley
12/01/2428m 39s

Finding My Father

This is a remarkable true story of how an elderly former engineer met a new partner, who eventually put in a care home without telling his family where he was. His daughter embarked on a long search to track him down - when she finally found him last Christmas he had advanced dementia but recognised her straight away and was overjoyed to see her again. Anyone else might have given up when faced with the obstacles that Carolyn Stephens encountered. Her widowed father met his new partner on a Saga holiday and very quickly Carolyn worried that she was isolating him from family and friends. She was concerned that her dad, Vincent, was losing mental capacity and arranged through his GP for dementia assessments to be organised. The day before his appointment, Vincent Stephens left his home and effectively disappeared from Carolyn's life. Carolyn discovered that he and his new partner had attempted to post wedding bans but had been prevented from doing so by the Chief Registrar for Births Deaths and Marriages, who was worried about his lack of mental capacity. The couple had gone to a solicitor, where he signed a power of attorney giving her control over his financial and medical affairs; his house went up for sale and Carolyn was told by the police that her Dad did not want her to contact him anymore. It soon became apparent that this applied to other family members, who could no longer reach him. His family lost contact with him altogether from 2019 and his daughter only found him again in December 2022 after searching through thousands of voter records in the British Library. She discovered that he had been put in a care home at the start of the Covid pandemic and when she got there and made her way towards his bed to hug him, he waved his arms and kept repeating the word 'surprised.' The search she had undertaken was harrowing and exhausting and Carolyn is telling her story in detail for the first time in the hope that it helps others. She is Professor of Global Health at University College London and is campaigning for better provision for the elderly. This documentary focuses on what protection exists when loneliness and mental decline leave people vulnerable to potential abuse. It is estimated that around 3 million people aged 65 and over live alone in the UK and many hope to form new relationships in later life, especially after bereavement or divorce. The danger can come from strangers, lovers, and carers; but it can also be closer to home, from family and friends. The UK charities working in this field are united in wanting better protection and can relay countless stories of elderly people being isolated and losing contact with people who are important to them. When Carolyn eventually found her father the full impact really hit home: so did her desire to make the most of what little time they had left together. She wants to see safeguarding of elderly people prioritised and is alarmed that protection in key legislation is currently being weakened. This documentary is tied to the BBC Radio 4 series, Million Dollar Lover, which is also presented by Sue Mitchell. It follows the case of an eighty year old woman in America who starts a relationship with a younger lover and sets in motion events which leave her increasingly isolated from those who are concerned about her. And if you want to hear more on this subject, you can listen to Sue Mitchell's ten part series, Intrigue: Million Dollar Lover, on BBC Sounds. We will be following up on the issues raised in future programmes and you can make contact at: sue.mitchell@bbc.co.uk
09/01/2429m 32s

The Green Backlash

As the individual costs of the EU’s Green Deal are becoming clearer, many people across Europe say they are unwilling or unable to pay the price associated with it. Anna Holligan explores the increasing popularity of anti-green political parties across the continent. She talks to dairy farmers in the Netherlands, who fear government green targets would endanger a sector which makes the country the world's second biggest exporter of food. She also travels to Bremen in Germany where concern over the phasing out of new gas and oil boilers for houses, dubbed the “heating hammer” by the nation’s tabloids, has lead to the government slowing down the pace of change.In the meantime, the city’s Green Party vote fell by almost half in recent local elections while Citizens in Rage, which is highly sceptical about how green deal policies are being implemented, came from almost nowhere to capture close to ten per cent of the vote. The experiences in both countries suggests that the political consensus that seemed to exist only four years ago when the EU announced its Green Deal targets seems to have broken down. What might the possible repercussions be on Europe’s politics and its approach to tackling climate change? Produced by Bob Howard.
05/01/2429m 3s

The Big League

Real Madras, Borussia Moobsandbackfat, OB City, Man Titty, Inter PieAmi, Pork Vale, ScranMere Rovers - all real teams that play in the big league. Man Vs Fat is a football league designed to help men lose weight. The league says it has helped around 23,000 men lose 601,288lbs since it started in 2016. But dropping a few belt notches is not the only thing that has transformed lives Men talking about their mental health is still typically rare - Jay Unger has struggled with his own weight and has played in Man V Fat for a few years. Being part of a fat football community, has helped him and thousands of other men to open up about their mental health and get through some of the most difficult situations in their life Some of the stories are really heart-breaking and difficult to listen to - but ultimately the men in Newport, North Tyneside and Edinburgh Jay meets tell him how a community, brought together by football, has helped them reshape their lives.. Presenter: Jay Unger Producer: Jay Unger Editor: Richard McIlory A BBC Audio North Production If you’ve been affected by some of the issues raised, details of organisations that can provide support relating to feelings of despair, addiction and mental health, are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline.
02/01/2428m 33s

South Africa: The Children of Paradise - Episode 1

Three decades after the momentous transition from Apartheid to a democratic South Africa, Fergal Keane returns to see what happened to the hopes and promises of a better nation. In a famous speech thirty years ago, as he collected the Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela spoke of a “common humanity” in which all South Africans would live “like the children of paradise.”As the BBC’s South Africa correspondent at the time, Fergal Keane, along with his colleague and friend Milton Nkosi, lived through some of the country’s most desperate times. It was a period of extreme violence and loss, but also of great hope.Now Fergal and Milton travel through the country, re-visiting some of the places and people they encountered in the lead up to the end of Apartheid. Through this series they will explore how and why paradise was lost. In this first episode they return to Tembisa, a township on the edges of Johannesburg, searching for Cynthia who they first met one winter's morning in 1993, huddling with her children under plastic sheeting. Presenter: Fergal Keane Producer: John Murphy
22/12/2329m 52s

Empire of Tea - Episode 1

George Orwell described tea as “one of the mainstays of civilization in this country.” But how did this foreign plant become so British? Sathnam Sanghera speaks to Orwell expert Jean Seaton, cultural historian Kate Teltscher, and ramblers with flasks of tea in the Peak District, to try and figure out how and why tea became a national obsession. Produced by Paul Martin for BBC Audio Wales
15/12/2314m 53s

Across the Divide - Episode 1

Families from the many sides of the Gaza/Israeli dispute share and reflect on their own personal histories and day-to-day existence.
12/12/2328m 50s

Scorchio! The Story of the Weather Girl

Within weeks of starting as a weather presenter, Sam Fraser’s arse had its own online fan club and she featured on a YouTube channel called Babes of Britain.She hadn’t imagined that decades after the Fast Show comedy sketch Scorchio, the stereotype of the 'weather girl' still held firm.Despite degrees in meteorology and physics or Met Office training, female weather presenters were still seen as dizzy sidekicks to the news anchor, legitimate targets to be sexualized by the media and harassed.Sam puts down her clicker and asks why is the ‘weather girl’ one of the most fetishized roles in popular culture.She hears about the arrival of women into the industry from John Kettley, one of the first weather presenter gods; the role of Bill Giles’ belly in gender equality from ITV’s Sian Lloyd and about the impact on industry of the fun, sexy, flirty and most enticingly Swedish presenter Ulrika Jonsson.Digging through tabloids she sees they are used as clickbait, portrayed as women deliberately inviting you to look at them 'Sarah Keith-Lucas flaunts curves in skin-tight dress,' 'Laura Tobin distracts ITV viewers as she sizzles in leather mini dress,' 'Carol Kirkwood stuns in busty floral dress’.And Sam discovers how if they do not live up to the ‘weather girl’ image, they are shamed for wearing glasses, being too fat, or as one celebrity shamelessly tweeted “MASSIVELY too ugly” for the job.Sarah Leigh Barnett recounts how she was publicly insulted by Boris Johnson when she started presenting; Kate Kinsella the impact of being bombarded with porn on her and her family; and Reham Khan how the term ‘weather girl’ is weaponized against her in Pakistan, used to suggest she too ignorant and immoral to be in politics.Producer: Sarah Bowen
28/11/2329m 8s

Battle Grounds: Culture Wars in the Countryside - Vegans

The British countryside is often portrayed as a green and pleasant land - a rural idyll. But under the surface, rural culture wars rage: the Right to Roam, veganism, rewilding. Anna Jones is a farmer’s daughter who has worked as a rural affairs journalist for almost 20 years. In this series she uncovers the personal stories of individuals caught up in these battle grounds. In this episode she meets Alistair Macbeth. In the 2010s he’s working as a touring fire-breather with long dreadlocks and living in a van. He’s also a committed vegan. So how did he go from that to running a dairy farm in the Peak District? Presented by Anna Jones Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons and Anna Jones
24/11/2315m 11s

The Reinvention of Italy

Anne McElvoy goes on the road in Italy in the latest in her series exploring the convulsions of political and cultural change sweeping through Europe’s great nations. The election last September of the right wing populist Giorgia Meloni shocked the political establishment. Her declared mission: to restore and defend Italy’s national identity. But what does it mean to be an Italian today? We visit Padua in the North Eastern region of Veneto - a city steeped in ancient culture, boasting the oldest university in Europe and the exquisite frescos of the Scrovegni Chapel. It's also at the heart of Italy's more prosperous North - the engine of the country's economy which draws in migrants from inside and outside Italy. A good place to explore the tensions between the old ways and the new which are rumbling through Italian life in the wake of Meloni's election. Touring the city and its regions, we ask Italians from all walks of life - migrant workers, a female-led design and manufacturing business, a demographer and other experts on Italy's political and social culture. How do they see themselves in 2023 and what are the challenges of the future? Why is a country built on the bedrock of the family facing a decline in the birth rate so severe it threatens to wreck the economy? Why is a country whose citizens have emigrated around the world throughout history so uneasy about inward migration? Could a new political era also signal a revival of an Italian economic miracle? Producer: Leala Padmanabhan
21/11/2329m 10s

Military Ink

Glasgow’s west end is home to the Primrose Path Tattoo Society where ex-service men & women have gravitated to reflect, celebrate and sometimes come to terms with their lives in the military, all while under the artists needle. Tattoos have a long tradition in the military but at the Society, each one is custom designed to reflect the deeply personal and emotional experience. David Selwyn joined the army in 2005 and served on two tours in Afghanistan with 2 Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers. He was medically discharged from the army after ten years following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and a recurring injury to his shoulder. David has come to the Studio, ahead of Remembrance Day, to get a large and colourful tattoo from artist William Hughes to represent his own army career and the pride in his Regiment. As the artist focuses on his work we share this uniquely intimate relationship where memories good and bad are recalled, shared and sometimes laid to rest. Details of organisations offering information and support with addiction, mental health, or feelings of despair are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline. Thanks to the Primrose Path Tattoo Society Producer: Debbie McPhail Sound Design: Lee McPhail Sound Recording: Murry Collier and Chris Currie Executive Producer: Peter McManus
17/11/2328m 44s

How to Spot Potential - Sporting Success

Kate Mason looks at how potential can be assessed in the world of professional football with Brentford FC player Michael Olakigbe and talent spotter Lee Dykes. From cycling, Dan Bigham tells us how the potential of technology helped him take on the professionals. Cricketing broadcaster and Director of women’s cricket at Surrey, Ebony Rainford Brent, discusses the Ace programme which helps young people from a range of backgrounds find their potential as cricketers.And we also go back to the 1970s to discover a technique to help us improve our own sporting potential. That idea has now also been widely adopted in business.Presenter: Kate Mason Producer: Julian Siddle
13/11/2315m 35s

Archive on 4 - The Greyhound Diaries 2023

American singer-songwriter Doug Levitt expected his tour to last just the six weeks printed on the face of the Greyhound pass he bought. The idea was to compose a fuller portrait of the United States by writing songs about the lives and struggles of fellow riders. That was over 15 years, 100 songs and 150,000 miles back. Travel by Greyhound is a favored lower-cost option for people who are often just scraping by on the margins of society; many living through profound challenges with employment, family relationships, addiction and incarceration. On the bus, after many hours on the road sitting next to a stranger the stories begin to flow. Maybe it’s the hypnotic rumble of the bus wheels beneath. Or sitting side-by-side staring straight ahead into darkness as passing headlights and taillights streak by.Coming from disparate lives, our stories are where we meet, they are the crossroads of human experience. In 2018, Levitt traveled with radio producer David Goren on a cross-country trip for Greyhound Diaries, and again in 2022 and ‘23. Drawing from more than 75 hours of sound recordings we encounter riders, stations, drivers and highways from New York to California and Minnesota to Texas. We hear from Charmaine, a professional care-giver on her way to a job in Wisconsin; Ricky, a father of 6 who transcended teenage fatherhood and the gang life; Ronald, just released from prison after 15 months for drug dealing; and Melissa, who moved her sons away from a violent neighborhood in Chicago. Presented by Doug Levitt Produced by David Goren Songs and instrumentals by Doug Levitt.
10/11/2357m 24s

How Safe is Maternity Care?

In 2013, broadcaster and journalist Krupa Padhy, one of the presenters for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, lost her first child because of medical negligence in a London Hospital. Legal action was taken. Midwives and doctors were given extra training. Lessons were, apparently, learned. But Krupa's life has been changed forever. Over the last few years, systemic failures at multiple maternity units have been uncovered: at Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury and Telford and East Kent. An investigation is currently underway in Nottingham and there are calls for a review in Leicester. Krupa wants to know what is happening in our maternity wards and how we make them safer. Producer: Caitlin Smith Researcher: Anna Miles Execs: Peter McManus and Clare Fordham Sound design: Eloise Whitmore
07/11/2337m 39s

Redeeming Ricky

Ex-offender Ricky Gleeson has set up HoodEx, a new sustainable clothing charity in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Ricky has a remarkable back story – a deeply troubled, chequered past. His mother was in her teens when she had him, a single parent who struggled to cope with life. She became addicted to drugs and alcohol and had a series of difficult relationships. As a child, Ricky was moved from domestic abuse shelters to foster homes and eventually to children’s homes and hostels. He ended up homeless, at times living rough and turning to petty crime. Somehow, he managed to turn his life around. He joined the Royal Navy, took up boxing, became a husband and father and found his way to a new life. And now in his 40s, he wants to help others who are in the same place as he was in. As he struggles to find suitable premises for his charity venture, he revisits some of the keys places in his past life. Producer: Mohini Patel
03/11/2328m 34s

Hoax - The Planted Plants of Rum

Mysterious plants appear on the Isle of Rum. Do they prove the island miraculously escaped the Ice Age? And what extraordinary lengths would one scientist go to in order to prove that it did? Dr Tori Herridge investigates. Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Beth Sagar-Fenton
06/10/2314m 52s

The Great Replacement

The Great Replacement is an idea fueling far-right recruitment around the world - the idea that white communities and culture are being purposely replaced by non-white migrants. Many far-right terrorists have referenced this theory as the driving force behind their murderous actions - but where does this idea originate from, and how seriously should we be taking its proliferation here in the UK? Terrorism expert Raffaello Pantucci explores the roots of the Great Replacement and asks if this is just a far-right conspiracy theory as some critics claim, or is there a kernel of truth reflected in the UK's changing demography?If so, how are communities - and the government - managing this change? Immigration is often a difficult topic of public debate, with many people concerned that any questioning of immigration policy will label them as racist.But if we can’t talk more openly, without fear of judgement, are we at risk of handing control of the immigration narrative to extremists? Reporter: Raffaello Pantucci, Senior Fellow at the Royal United Service Institute, Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore Producer: Jim Frank Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith
29/09/2337m 57s

Memorial No More? A History of Russian Forgetting

Historian Catherine Merridale witnessed the birth of Memorial in 1989 as the Soviet Union died. An organisation devoted to recovering the past of the Soviet Gulag and soon documenting the new transgressions of the Russian state and its imperial wars. Even as Russia wnet to war against Ukraine it sought to close Memorial down, silence its voice and reshape history. But months after the invasion Memorial shared in the Nobel Peace Prize, only adding to the Russian government's ire. It has closed its archives and offices and pursued leading figures in Russian Memorial through the courts, declaring them responsible for 'rehabilitating Nazism'. Merridale tells a personal story of the opening of history that Memorial was essential to and the tragedy of its closing and the closing of the past. The Kremlin's current occupants are no more willing to consider the victims of state repression - largely Stalin's repression - than their Soviet predecessors were. The story of Memorial, the association, established in 1989, that set out to find, investigate and discuss the Soviet Union's record of political violence against its own citizens, is one of real heroism. From its initial aim of creating a physical memorial to Stalin's victims it became a focus for research and advocacy, a living witness to the intellectual freedom that comes after the past is faced. The state argues that what it does - harping on about Stalin's crimes - dilutes great Russian patriotism. Some of its critics have gone as far as to say that Memorial's work helps to justify Nazism. But branches of Memorial in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe do what they can to keep memory alive. Producer: Mark Burman
22/09/2329m 13s

Lego Overboard

In 1997 a freak wave washed 62 containers into the sea off a cargo ship near the coast of Cornwall. Inside one were five million pieces of Lego. By a strange quirk of fate, many of the Lego pieces had a sea theme. This is the story of the community of beachcombers trying to track down the miniature octopuses, scuba tanks, life rafts, flippers, sharks and some very rare green dragons still washing ashore today. Beachcomber Tracey Williams set up the social media account Lego Lost At Sea, allowing people to share their finds. She leads BBC reporter Robin Markwell on a journey around the Cornish coastline looking for the tiny toys. On the way they meet fishermen still bringing up Lego in their nets, families brought together by dragon-hunting and an artist making sculptures out of millions of pieces of microplastic. Lego Overboard is a tale about the joys of treasure-hunting with a serious message about the long-lasting legacy of plastic pollution in our seas.Producer: Robin Markwell for BBC Audio in Bristol
19/09/2328m 37s

Archive on 4 - The Holy Blood

Two decades ago Da Vinci Code mania gripped the world. But the story behind the theory that Jesus Christ had a secret bloodline is more surprising than any thriller. Step aside Indiana Jones and Robert Langdon - BBC Paris Correspondent Hugh Schofield heads to the South of France to uncover a forgotten milestone of broadcasting which helped set the template for the modern conspiracy theory. The Lost Treasure of Jerusalem was a 1972 episode of the BBC history series Chronicle. It sets out the unusual local mystery of Rennes-le-Château - and the charismatic parish priest who somehow funded a major church renovation. What treasure had he uncovered? Written by and featuring the actor-turned writer Henry Lincoln, the programme was a phenomenon. The idea that the church was decorated with symbols and clues hinting at the origin of the unexplained wealth gripped viewers and led to two follow-up programmes. But Lincoln's research for the programmes became the keystone of the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail - popularising theories of Christ's marriage which went stratospheric with the 2003 release of The Da Vinci Code. Intrepid Hugh reveals the forgotten global impact of the Chronicle series - speaking to The Damned drummer Rat Scabies who had a surprising ringside seat for much of the drama, and to Dame Marina Warner who was the star of a thrilling encounter with the three authors whose book was about to become a global best-seller.We hear how this forgotten series popularised a spurious new approach to historical research and facts - one that reverberates through conspiracy theories today. Presented by Hugh Schofield Produced by Kevin Core
15/09/2357m 7s

The Murder of Kelso Cochrane

When a gang of youths attacked and killed an Antiguan man in 1959, it sparked uproar in the local community, in the press, and even drew the attention of politicians. Like Stephen Lawrence, Kelso Cochrane was a black man stabbed to death by a white gang on a London street. His death brought the local community together, black and white - it helped lead to laws against discrimination, and the annual Carnival in the streets of Notting Hill. But no-one was ever prosecuted for the murder, and questions linger about the approach of the Metropolitan Police. Their investigation files have been sent to the National Archives but are closed for another 30 years. As Sanchia Berg discovers, Kelso Cochrane’s family are embarking on legal action to try to get them open. Producer: Charlotte McDonald Researcher: Paige Neal-Holder Production Co-ordinators: Debbie Richford, Sophie Hill and Maria Ogundele Editor: Clare Fordham
12/09/2355m 58s

Bug in the System: The Past, Present and Future of Cancer - Episode 1

Dr Kat Arney explores cancer through the lens of evolution. Why do we get cancer? In this episode we find out that far from being a new disease, cancer is embedded deep in almost every branch of the tree of life, from the very earliest organisms through to today, and in most species from aardwolves to zebras. Kat explores how the origins of cancer are inseparable from the history of life itself, with the help of some ancient mummies, cheating amoebas, lazy bees and naked mole rats. Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Beth Sagar-Fenton Edited by Chris Ledgard
29/08/2329m 20s

BFFs: A Life Built on Friendship

Emily Knight lives with five housemates. One of them is her partner. But this isn't a student house-share. They are all in their 30s, have no plans to break up the group, and Emily can't imagine life without them all. So could the rest of her life be built on these friendships? Traditionally life's big chapters - housebuying, raising kids, retiring - are seen as things you probably do with a romantic partner. In BFFs, Emily meets people from across the UK doing things differently, and asks if a life built on friendship can really work. In Greater Manchester she meets Sam and Sean, renovating the three-bedroom house they bought together last year. Sandra and Lisa reflect on raising their daughters as two single mums together in Hull. In Colchester, Andy, Anne and Barbara are three members of a bigger group of friends living in a co-housing settlement. For them, friendship is a way of guarding against loneliness as they get older. And from the United States, Emily hears about the developing concept of "platonic co-parenting", while writer Rhaina Cohen explains why she feels deep friendships can be unappreciated and misunderstood.Producers: Paul Martin & Emily Knight A BBC Audio Wales Production for Radio 4
18/08/2328m 48s

An Almanac for Anxiety: In Search of a Calmer Mind - Episode 1

Anxiety is the most common form of mental illness in the UK, with nearly a fifth of people experiencing it over the course of a year. Although it is often treated through medication, there are many alternative ways which are proving to be very effective in reducing anxiety amongst some people. In this series, we explore how connecting with the elemental forces of nature helps people with a range of mental illnesses to feel better. We also learn about the current academic research behind these methods.In Episode 1 - Fire - we visit an overnight camp on the banks of the River Spey near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands run by the charity Fire and Peace. According to the participants, - who have a range of mental ill health and addiction issues - the experience of spending time around the fire in nature is transformative when it comes to promoting feelings of connection and wellbeing. We also hear new research which shows how being around a campfire can be calming.Produced and Presented by Helen Needham Research by Anna Miles and Maud Start Original Music by Anthony Cowie Mixed by Ron McCaskillA BBC Scotland Production made in Aberdeen for BBC Radio 4
15/08/2315m 12s

The Trouble with Sheep

Sheep have been instrumental in creating some of the UK’s most iconic upland landscapes – from the sweeping fells of the Lake District, to the moors of Devon and Cornwall. These humble animals have left their mark on our language, our place names and even our architecture. But upland sheep are under fire. As the farm subsidy system changes post Brexit, it’s getting harder to make money out of them. The wool is now less than profitable, and lamb consumption has decreased. Meanwhile, sheep are being criticised by many environmentalists, who say they have degraded upland habitats. In this programme, Charlotte Smith travels from Dartmoor to North Wales, exploring the places and meeting the people who have been formed by sheep…and asking what their future holds. What is the trouble with sheep? Answers range from being picky eaters, to getting bad press! Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Heather Simons
28/07/2328m 44s

Fever: The Hunt for Covid's Origin - Episode 1

As a deadly new virus starts spreading in Wuhan, China, so do rumours about a lab there. In the remote, jungle-covered hills of China’s far-southwestern Yunnan Province, teams of scientists have spent years intensively researching one animal: bats. The scientists are virus hunters, trying to better understand and mitigate the threat of new viruses jumping from bats to other animals and humans, potentially setting off a pandemic. Their samples of bat droppings are brought back to labs, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. So when a new coronavirus begins killing people in that same city, questions are raised about whether the people trying to stop a pandemic could’ve accidentally triggered one.Archive: CBS; The White House; NPR; CGTN; NBC.Presenter: John Sudworth Series producer: Simon Maybin Editor: Richard Vadon Sound design and mix: James Beard Commissioning editor: Dan Clarke Science advice: Julian Siddle and Victoria Gill Extra production: Eva Artesona and Kathy Long Research support: Zisheng Xu and BBC Monitoring Production coordinators: Siobhan Reed, Helena Warwick-Cross, Sophie Hill, and Debbie Richford Theme and original music: Pete Cunningham, with trumpet by Joss Murray Radio 4 Editor of Editorial Standards: Roger Mahony Head of BBC News - Long Form Audio: Emma Rippon
18/07/2329m 21s

Yeti - Episode 1

Tales of a bipedal ape-like creature persist in the myth and legend of the Himalayas. But does the yeti really exist? Two enthusiasts are determined to find out. Andrew Benfield and Richard Horsey begin their search in the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Speaking to villagers and yak herders, they hear multiple accounts of yeti sightings. Will they find the evidence they need to prove the creature is real? Producer: Joanna Jolly. Executive Producer: Kirsten Lass. Sound designers: Peregrine Andrews and Dan King. Composer of original music: Marisa Cornford. Assistant Producer Maia Miller- Lewis. A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/07/2328m 50s

Brexit: A Guide for the Perplexed - Movement of People

The free movement of people from the EU has ended, but immigration has reached record levels. Former Brussels correspondent, Adam Fleming, charts how Britain’s workplaces and universities have changed as a result of Brexit, and learns from seasonal workers about the art of picking asparagus. Producers: Sally Abrahams and Diane Richardson Production Co-ordinator: Janet Staples Editor: China Collins Sound engineer: James Beard
11/07/2315m 2s

The Fast Furniture Fix

Fair fashion campaigner and influencer Venetia La Manna sets out to discover how the ways we produce, consume and value furniture have transformed over recent decades, and what that means for our homes and the planet. From the comfort of our sofas, it’s a giant footprint and a major waste category that many of us are barely aware of. And with diminishing quality feeding our throwaway mindset, are we beginning to get stuck in a perpetual cycle? Venetia finds out how we got here and explores the nuanced reasons we turn to fast options – out of both choice and necessity, from the influence of social media to the housing crisis. We hear about the turning tide towards second hand furniture and the growing reuse market, and ask pioneering homewares giant IKEA about their sustainability strategy. If we act now, can fast furniture slow down before it’s too late? With contributions from design historian Deborah Sugg Ryan, sustainable consumption expert Tim Cooper, TrendBible’s Home and Interiors Editor Wendy Lowe, culture journalist Kieran Yates, and representatives from Bristol Waste, Gloucestershire County Council, and IKEA. Photo credit: Holly Falconer
07/07/2329m 17s

Windrush: A Family Divided - Episode 1

Robert and Jennifer Beckford are married and agree on most things - apart from one issue; was the Windrush Generation better off after coming here or should they have stayed in the Caribbean? And ultimately, whether they should take their teenage children to live in Jamaica. The question is simple, but the arguments are complex and multi-layered, but what about the consequences for the Beckfords? Robert feels that moving to the UK for the Windrush Generation was an overwhelmingly good thing and that they should be seen as pioneers, who broke frontiers. . Jennifer disagrees, the Windrush migrants would have been better off going back to the Caribbean and using their skills to help re-build their own countries. To make amends she wants to take her family to Jamaica for a new life there, something Robert can't fathom. This authentic argument is the driver for a critical examination of the legacy of Windrush 75 years since it docked at Tilbury. Each episode will examine a different key quality of life indicator to critically evaluate the legacy of Windrush. Through speaking to family members as well as people both in the UK and Jamaica, Radio 4 listeners will be immersed in this - very personal - debate. In the first of the four-part series the couple look at the Windrush generation’s success in terms of work and money. Producer: Rajeev Gupta
23/06/2328m 57s

What Are the Railways For?

As the government prepares a major reorganisation of Britain's railways, Daniel Brittain asks what are they for. It's a question which has been ignored in previous reorganisations - which typically take place after a crisis or a disaster. So Daniel travels to Greater Manchester, meeting people on trains, people who want to be on trains, and those who run the railways, to understand how the rail industry has changed, and what its place in Britain's society, economy and culture might be in the future. Producer: Giles Edwards.
20/06/2328m 54s

Searching for Cosmic Dust

Norwegian jazz musician Jon Larsen was having breakfast one clear spring morning when he noticed a tiny black speck land on his clean, white table. With no wind, birds or planes in sight, he wondered if it fell from space.Dust from space isn’t as fanciful as it sounds. Billions of microscopic meteorites, dating back to the birth of our solar system, fall onto Earth every year. But they are so tiny, hidden among the copious dust of everyday life, that scientists believe they are impossible to find outside ultra clean environments like Antarctica. But this doesn’t deter Jon, who, against the advice of all experts, decides he is going to be the first person to find an urban micrometeorite.He takes presenter Caroline Steel and planetary scientist Dr Matthew Genge up onto some roofs, in search of the elusive particles. Can we find stardust on the top of the BBC?Featuring Jon Larsen, Dr Matthew Genge (Imperial College London) and Svein Aarbostad. Presenter: Caroline Steel Producer: Cathy Edwards and Caroline Steel
16/06/2329m 12s

The Boy in the Peking Hotel

When 8 year old Kim Gordon set off for China in 1965, it set in train a tale of passion, imagination and still unanswered questions. Kim’s parents were committed communists in the thick of Mao’s cultural revolution. Kim became a Red Guard, one of an army of children and teenagers marshalled in support of Mao and he had a ringside view of the vast rallies in Tiananmen Square. But when the political tide turned against foreigners, the family was imprisoned for two years in a tiny hotel room, Room 421. The Gordon family had no contact with the outside world for two years and their families back in Britain had no idea where they were. With only a block of paper and a wild imagination for company Kim passed the time by writing letters that could never be sent, and thrilling plays which he’d act aloud playing all the parts himself. His story reveals much about families and loyalties; on the grip of ideology; and the ingenuity of a child shut in an empty room. A rich and strange reminiscence not just of China but of the human heart. Charlie Brand plays young Kim in this dramatic, intimate documentary. Producer: Monica Whitlock Photo by Eric Gordon. 'Kim Gordon in Peking, 1966'
06/06/2329m 1s

Does the Irish Republic Want Reunification?

25 years since the people of both Northern Ireland and the Republic voted to accept the Good Friday Agreement, another potential referendum looms on the distant horizon. That Agreement, though primarily to end the violence of the Troubles, allows for a future border poll that would determine whether Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom, or re-joined the south. But crucially, few people realise that it’s not just up to Northern Ireland voters: consent is required on both sides of the border. And for voters in the Republic, it’s more complicated than you might think. Andrea Catherwood investigates what the new, highly-educated, liberal, European-focused Irish Republic thinks about the possibility of its northern neighbours, from whom they were parted more than 100 years ago, re-joining their country. Polls suggest a number of issues; symbols, violence, economics. Can Ireland afford it, and does it want to? Is it just too much trouble? With contributions from the main Irish political parties, as well as economist David McWilliams and Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy, the assumption of a yes vote from the republic isn’t as straightforward as many assume. Presented by Andrea Catherwood Produced by Sarah McGlinchey Executive Editor Andy Martin A BBC NI production for BBC Radio 4
02/06/2329m 1s

Supersenses - Episode 1

We've been building computers to think like us for years, but our ability to replicate human senses has been impossible. Until now. This technological revolution is starting to profoundly change not only how we interact with the world around us, but is allowing us to see, hear, smell, taste and even touch things we never imagined possible before. An Artificial Intelligence revolution is super-charging sensing technology, promising us eyes with laser precision, ears that can distinguish every sound in a mile's radius and noses than can sniff out the early signs of forest fires before the first flame forms.Evolutionary biologist and broadcaster Prof. Ben Garrod, is off to meet some of these sensory innovators and technological pioneers. The archaeologists, ecologists and medics, who are turning our world upside down and inside out. In episode one, Ben tries seeing further. The visible world to us is tiny, and we are able to detect just a fraction of the light spectrum that is out there. But new technology is pushing the boundary of what is visible. Ground penetrating LIDAR arrays are helping us to peel back the layers of planet Earth, and see the remains of ancient civilisations, previously invisible to us. The same technology is being used on the moons of Jupiter to provide 3D maps of the craters of faraway worlds. In the forests of west Africa, we meet the psychologists using infrared to monitor the stress levels of silverback gorillas being returned to the wild. And in a lab in central London, we meet the extraordinary animals that see hidden patterns in the natural world and perhaps even fields that are entirely invisible to us.Could these new technologies be redefining what it is to see, hear, smell, and feel? Ben takes us through the amazing adaptations and development under the bonnet, and speculates where else these all seeing eyes may yet gaze.Produced by Robbie Wojciechowski Presented by Professor Ben Garrod
30/05/2329m 3s

Is Psychiatry Working? - Anxiety Special

In a special episode to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, writer Horatio Clare and psychiatrist Femi Oyebode consider the purpose of anxiety, and how it can manifest in different ways. They look at where it comes from, and hear from firefighter Jonny about his journey with panic attacks and his techniques for coping with them.
26/05/2328m 53s

Buying a British Dad

You can buy almost everything on social media – how about a British dad for your child? A year long BBC investigation has uncovered a brazen illegal immigration scam in which pregnant migrant women who are in the UK without a visa are paying British men thousands of pounds to pose as fathers to their children. The women gain British citizenship for their child, which means they may be able to get the right to remain themselves. The fake fathers receive hefty sums of money. And a network of criminal 'fixers' and translators are also cashing in. Divya Talwar reports.
23/05/2328m 37s

The Truth Police

For years, science has had a dirty secret; research has been dogged by claims and instances of fraud, malpractice and outright incompetence. Suspicious-looking data sets, breakthrough results that can’t be replicated, eyebrow-raising statistical sleights of hand - science has been undergoing something of an existential crisis. And at the forefront of keeping science honest has been a bunch of outsiders, some of them with no formal academic positions, no salaried posts, double-checking the published claims of researchers and academics. Their work is not without controversy, especially when they go public; nevertheless, they’ve achieved impressive results. Presenter Michael Blastland meets some of these ‘Truth Police’, discovering their methodology and their motives, as well as asking how scientific institutions are reacting to the deep issues they have brought out into the light.Presenter: Michael Blastland Producer: Nathan Gower
16/05/2328m 55s

Magic Consultants - Episode 1

Adam Shaw peeks behind the curtain of the consultancy industry. Worth hundreds of billions of pounds, consultants stretch across almost every industry, government department and international border.Since the pandemic there’s been an unprecedented demand for their services and many believe our future is determined by what they think and do. Yet little is known about these largely hidden influencers. They are magnetic and mesmerizing yet, to many of us, shrouded in mystery. Adam asks who these wizards, what do they do and how much do they influence our lives. On the one hand, they're talked of as genius solvers of the world’s greatest problems and masters of the machinery of management. On other, some think of them in more shadowy terms, whispering their guidance into the ears of the rich and powerful. Adam sets off with missionary zeal to detangle two very different stereotypes. Across the series he hunts for the first ever consultant, finds out how they shape our language and politics and discovers how they bounce back from appalling scandals. He joins a consultancy fair to meet aspirant consultants, hears stories from the glass towers of late nights and rewards, explores FOMO and addition, turnarounds and triumphs. In this first episode he asks what value do consultants add and why are they seemingly opaque. And he pulls out his wand and performs a rather impressive magic trick of his own. With contributions from: Tamzen Isacsson, CEO of the Management Consultancies Association, Andrew Sturdy, Professor in Management at The University of Bristol, Dr Chris McKenna, Reader in Business History and Strategy at the Said Business School, Rosie Collington, co-author of The Big Con, author Eric Edstrom and broadcaster Paddy O'Connell. Producer: Sarah Bowen
01/05/2315m 24s

Princess - Leila Pahlavi

Presenter Anita Anand joins comedian Shaparak Khorsandi and author Andrew Scott Cooper to explore the tragic life, death and legacy of Princess Leila Pahlavi, the last Princess of Imperial Iran. Leila was the daughter of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the last in a long line of Iranian Royalty. But when the 1979 revolution began, Leila and her family were forced to escape. Leila spent the rest of her life in exile and while she had a brief career as a model and 90s It Girl, she tragically died alone in a London hotel. In this episode, we trace her story and the monumental impact it’s left on the Iranian community. Producer: Rufaro Faith Mazarura Editor: Ailsa Rochester Sound Design: Craig EdmondsonAn Audio Always production for BBC Radio 4
14/04/2335m 16s

All Work and No Homes

Communities in the Scottish Highlands are facing a housing crisis so bad, it’s been described as a clearance for the 21st century. According to the Convenor of the Highland Council, Bill Lobban, “the species most under threat in the Cairngorms National Park isn’t the Capercaillie but the young family trying to find a home”. Ironically one key cause of the problem is also what brings most into the local economy – tourism.Across the region the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry is driving the demand for 2nd homes and many houses are now used for short-term holiday lets, with the result that very little accommodation remains for locals searching for somewhere to live, what does remain is usually unaffordable or unsuitable. The knock-on effect is that businesses across the Highlands are struggling to find staff and even when they manage to find them, they often lose them because there’s no rental accommodation locally. A sector which has been particularly hard hit is hospitality where low wages exacerbate the issue with the result that hotels and restaurants find themselves in the unenviable position of having plenty of customers but not enough staff to serve them. Often, the only way many businesses can secure staff is if they provide accommodation but that’s not always suitable for long term employees and skilled staff who might have young families plus not all businesses can afford to buy or manage housing for their staff. It’s not just the hospitality sector either which is suffering, the salmon farming industry is being hit hard too and its not just low paid workers, all professions are being priced out of the housing market by too many people chasing too few properties. In Rental Health: All Work No Homes Pennie Stuart heads first to the northwest Highland village of Ullapool to hear how the business community is responding to the unintended consequences of the tourism boom while further south in Aviemore, in the heart of the Cairngorms national park, she hears about the radical solutions being proposed to bring staff, homes and tourism back into some kind of balance. Produced by Dan Holland Presented by Pennie Stuart
06/04/2329m 4s

Analysis - Lessons from the Vaccine Task Force

In May 2020 a group of experts came together, at speed, to form the UK’s Vaccine Task Force. Born in the teeth of a crisis, its efforts were responsible for allowing Britain to be among the first countries in the world to roll out vaccines against Covid-19. But as memories of the pandemic fade, the urgency it brought to its work has subsided as well. In this edition of Analysis, Sandra Kanthal asks what lessons have been learned from the success of the Vaccine Task Force and if we should be prepared to allocate the time, energy and expense required to be permanently prepared for the next global health emergency. Presenter: Sandra Kanthal Producer: Sandra Kanthal Editor: Clare Fordham
04/04/2329m 15s

The New Nomads

The roads and byways of the British Isles are home to a new generation of travellers. Alongside the traditional Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities there’s a booming sub-culture of van dwellers who prefer the open road to bricks and mortar. For some it's a lifestyle choice. They spend the summer moving from festival to festival, picking up casual jobs as they go. They celebrate their light touch on the planet and those who can afford it take the snowbird route for the winter, heading south through Spain. For increasing numbers, however, there's less glamour in 'van life'. Rapidly rising rents force them into vehicles and a long, cold winter searching for welcoming roadside stops with toilets and taps. Travel writer and broadcaster, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent has spent many months living out of her own battered VW van. She understands the fantasy and the practical difficulties. In the New Nomads she hears about both sides of van life and discovers new challenges on the horizon. For many travellers- traditional and new- the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act of 2022 feels specifically designed to make their lives as difficult as possible.It creates a new offence of “residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle” and makes it easier for the police to remove unauthorised encampments. Fresh ideas are helping the increasing number of van dwellers. In Bristol, brownfield areas are being turned into temporary spaces for vans and caravans. The residents are happy with these cheap and cheerful campsites but demand far outstrips supply. Unless more affordable homes are built it seems inevitable that more and more young people will have little choice but the open road. Producer: Alasdair Cross
31/03/2330m 51s

Troubled Water - Episode 1

Are we running out of water? Britain may be known for its rain but, as our climate changes, there are warnings we could be closer than we think to our taps running dry. In this episode of Troubled Water, James Gallagher asks why our pipes are being pushed to the brink and what can be done about it, all from the comfort of his bathroom. Huddled in the loo, he talks to Professor Hannah Cloke, OBE, who predicts rainfall events through her work at the University of Reading, Dr Francis Hassard, from the Water Science Institute at Cranfield University, Andrew Tucker who manages water demand at Thames Water and inventor Garry Moore who shows how he's hoping to revolutionise our loos with his air-pressurised Velocity toilet. Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Tom Bonnett
28/03/2328m 48s

Homesick Planet

Much of an astronaut’s leisure time is spent staring back at Earth, they just can’t stop looking back at home. Major Tim Peake journeys into the misunderstood phenomenon of homesickness. Tim had never experienced it until he found himself looking through the copula window of the space craft, which orbited earth several times before reaching the International Space Station. The British astronaut spent 185 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes in space and during that time, developed a deep longing for home, particularly fresh air, nature and the colour green. But what is this powerful desire for home? Is homesickness a psychological illness? A cultural phenomenon? Or something else? Psychotherapist Sarah Temple-Smith who works for the Refugee Council believes the condition is widely misunderstood and its impact critically under-appreciated. She believes it’s a deep-rooted condition with existential consequences. Speaking to those who suffer from it, and those who study it Tim attempts to understand exactly what homesickness is: how it manifests, what it feels like, and the psychological triggers that underpin it.Produced by Kate Bissell and Gail Tolley Sound Design by Joel Cox Developed by BBC Scotland Productions Photo credited to Tim Peake/ESA
10/03/2329m 27s

Life on the Edge of Oil

Situated 75-miles off the west coast of Shetland, the future of Cambo, a prospective new oil field in the North Sea, has big implications for Shetland. Cambo has become emblematic of the debate about fossil fuels. In 2001, an oil exploration license for the site was granted. In 2021, when public sentiment towards fossil fuels cooled, the project was shelved. But now, Cambo is being reconsidered once again... The war in Ukraine and fears over energy security have changed how we feel about oil and gas. But what's the problem that Cambo is providing a solution to? Will it give us better energy security? Will it enrich the lives of local people? Turns out, the answer is more complex than that... Shetland has directly benefitted from its relationship with North Sea oil. Unlike in the rest of the UK, the local council established something akin to a sovereign wealth fund. They made a proceed from every barrel of oil processed at Sullum Voe Oil Terminal. It's really positively impacted the local population, and as the cost of living crisis bites, the chance of a renewed boost to the local economy is hard to entirely reject, even in the face of growing environmental awareness. In this one-off doc, journalist Jen Stout assesses how the potential end of oil looks from Shetland's perspective. With contributions from historian Ewan Gibbs, energy researcher Miriam Brett, environmental lawyer Tessa Khan, energy transition expert Daniel Gear, former oil worker and councillor Billy Fox, and energy and climate change researcher James Price. Producer: Victoria McArthur Presenting and production: Jen Stout Research: Emily Esson Sound mix: Sean Mullervy Senior Producer: Peter McManus
07/03/2329m 11s

Shocking

The word “controversy” almost always accompanies any reference to ECT or electroconvulsive therapy. It has a dark history and remains a deeply contentious practice. For many, ECT is seen as outdated, forever linked with frightening images of medical abuse, cruelty and even punishment. But when Professor Sally Marlow met Dr Tania Gergel at King’s College London, she was forced to acknowledge and then reassess everything she thought she knew about ECT. Her friend Tania told Sally that ECT had saved her life on numerous occasions and that ECT is, in fact, the only treatment that can bring her back to health after episodes of severe depression, psychosis and mania. Tania is Director of Research at Bipolar UK. She’s a philosopher and an internationally respected medical ethicist. She also lives with a serious mental illness; an unusual mixed type of bipolar disorder, and during her last period of illness a year ago, Tania kept an audio diary. In this programme, Sally wants to test her own preconceptions about ECT and to find out about the group of people who describe ECT as having "given them back their lives". She delves into her own family history and talks to her mum, Kath, about the secrecy and shame around the mental illness of her Auntie Joyce, who received ECT in the 1960s. And she joins Tania in the ECT suite at Northwick Park Hospital with nurses Anjali and Kathy to understand how modern ECT is given, with anaesthetic, muscle relaxants and, as Tania says, much kindness. Retired social worker, Sue, tells Sally about the dramatic impact on her acute illness of ECT and clinician and researcher Professor of Psychiatry George Kirov, ECT lead for the Cardiff area, describes the group of patients for whom this treatment works. And Sally talks to the grandfather of American ECT, Professor Max Fink, now 100 years old, about the origins of electroconvulsive therapy. Throughout, Tania shares extracts of her audio diary in order to break down stigma around both mental illness and ECT. Producer: Fiona Hill
03/03/2329m 0s

Woke: The Journey of a Word - Episode 1

Matthew Syed traces the history of a term that's synonymous with our era of angry debate.
28/02/2314m 33s

The Privatisation of British Gas

Historian Phil Tinline explores why, 37 years ago, the Thatcher government privatised British Gas, how what followed has shaped today's energy price crisis - and what should happen next. Contributors: Professor Michael Bradshaw, Derek Davis, Dr Amy Edwards, Mathew Lawrence, Tim Lefroy, Sir John Redwood Producer: Phil Tinline
24/02/2329m 20s

How Wars End

It seems like an impossible conundrum. Ukraine is valiantly defending itself against the man Boris Johnson called "a blood-stained aggressor" and fighting for survival in a war that is currently deadlocked. President Zelensky has warned that attempts at talks with The Russian Federation will fail, because Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted. So in the absence of a decisive victory or a negotiated settlement - what happens? James Naughtie investigates how other conflicts have come to a conclusion, in a bid to shed light on a war which has so far defied predictions. He will talk to key figures who have been in the room as peace deals are ground out - and visit the law makers in Washington DC who are the key source of defence funding for Ukraine. History may have lessons when it comes to a conflict for which there seems no end in sight.Presented by James Naughtie Produced by Kevin Core
21/02/2328m 57s

Taiwan: Hyper-democracy

Taiwan is one of the world's youngest democracies. The first fully democratic presidential election was held as recently as 1996. But it's now being heralded as a place where digital technology is giving citizens a sense of direct engagement with political systems and law creation.They have a Minister of Digital Affairs, Audrey Tang, who has brought his computer software programming expertise learned in Silicon Valley to bear on the way in which ideas, petitions and suggested law reforms can be promoted by way of a website which boasts millions of users. The BBC's former Taiwan Correspondent Cindy Sui revisits the Island to try and measure the success of the website called 'Join' at a time when Taiwan faces very direct international pressures. But she also explores more established systems of local democracy, including the system of community chiefs or Li Zhangs and the 24-hour hotlines with their promise of a speedy response to any inquiry or report about issues closer to home.Western democracies have faced harsh criticism in recent years about sections of their populations feeling that their voices aren't being heard. Does Taiwan have lessons for its more established Democratic colleagues, and if it does, are they in the field of high tech or grass roots representation? Producer: Tom Alban
07/02/2328m 56s

Why Coups Fail

Recently, in both Europe and the United States, there have been serious attempts to overthrow elected governments by force.History is full of examples of coups d'etat succeeding, going all the way back to Ancient Rome. But these latest coup attempts failed. And they left a strange impression: of events that were part-horrific, part-absurd. In this programme, the novelist and classicist Natalie Haynes takes three examples of power grabs from Ancient Rome - one by the military, one by senators, and one conducted by stealth - and uses them to try to make sense of recent events in France, Germany and America. With the help of leading scholars of the dark art of the coup, she probes why these assaults on power flopped, and what all this tells us about where power now lies. And she asks where the subtler threats to democracy are lurking, against which we now need to be on guard. Contributors include: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Alexander Clarkson, Rory Cormac. Producer: Phil Tinline
03/02/2328m 56s

The Boat Smugglers

The recent rise in migrant boat crossings between France the UK is being fuelled in part by the more sophisticated methods gangs are using to source the boats.Last year when they investigated the smuggling gangs for BBC Radio 4, reporter Sue Mitchell and former British soldier and aid worker, Rob Lawrie, were alongside border force officials as they seized all manner of dinghies used in the crossings. Today that haul looks very different: the makeshift supply has been replaced by a sophisticated business which sees boats manufactured in Turkey and transported across Europe to the beaches of France. This streamlined supply chain is big business and it’s enabled the gangs to rapidly expand the trade: bigger boats made specifically for these crossings are mass manufactured in Turkey and shipped straight into the hands of smugglers. It’s a complicated dodging of laws as they’re transported across Europe, with authorities slow to react. And it promises to thwart whatever deals are secured between Britain and France to intercept the Channel crossings themselves.
24/01/2329m 14s

First Contact

For thousands of years we have gazed up at the stars and wondered: is anybody out there? The idea of meeting aliens has been the inspiration for countless books and films; for art and music. But today, thinking about meeting life on, or from, other planets is no longer dismissed as pure make-believe – it’s the focus of political consideration and cutting-edge space science. Farrah Jarral presents the story of the fantasy and the reality of preparing for first contact with extra-terrestrials.
09/01/2344m 26s

The Crowning of Everest - Episode 5

2 June 1953. As the crowds line the streets to see their new Queen crowned, the news that Everest has been conquered is relayed over loudspeaker and adds to the excitement of the day. The Times prints its headline - the scoop delivered in secret code from the mountain.Edmund Hillary is knighted while the press clamour to know who was first to the summit. No better news could have reached Britain on the day of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It was a magical day that brought together a young Queen, her Commonwealth and her people in celebration. Presenter: Wade Davis Series producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Sound design: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross
03/01/2314m 40s

The Crowning of Everest - Episode 4

The world is waiting for news of success from the British expedition on Mount Everest. James Morris, later to become Jan Morris, is a reporter from The Times newspaper embedded with the team on the mountain. When news arrives that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay have reached the summit, he must find a way to get the news to London without it leaking to other journalists waiting in Kathmandu. Morris delivers the news via a secret code. As the climbing team make their way down the mountain crowds gather to greet the heroes. Presenter: Wade Davis Series producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Sound design: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross
03/01/2313m 49s

The Crowning of Everest - Episode 3

In 1953 the 9th British expedition to the top of Mount Everest finally reaches the summit.In the final team was a New Zealander and a Nepalese Sherpa. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay come down the mountain to a blaze of publicity. They were soon to become the most famous men in the world. To the team involved and the wider world the expedition was a British one, but Britain, New Zealand, Nepal and even India would lay claim to its success. Just as Britain was preparing Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, the world would learn that Everest itself had been crowned. Presenter: Wade Davis Series producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Sound design: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross
03/01/2313m 50s

The Crowning of Everest - Episode 2

Britain has tried and failed to reach the top of Everest for decades. George Mallory and Sandy Irvine disappeared on the mountain in 1924. There were various British expeditions during the 1930s - all unmitigated failures. The Second World War interrupted the race to conquer Everest. But by 1951, with Tibet closed by communist China, a new unexplored route through Nepal was available.The Swiss expedition had nearly succeeded in 1952. The French are scheduled to climb in 1954. For John Hunt's British team in 1953 the pressure is on. It is now or never. Meanwhile, back in London, a different race begins. If the British get to the top it's the scoop of the century for whichever newspaper can report the story first. The Times pays £10,000 to have its reporter James Morris, later Jan Morris, embedded with the expedition.Presenter: Wade Davis Series producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Sound design: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross
03/01/2313m 53s

The Crowning of Everest - Episode 1

In 1953 Queen Elizabeth II is crowned. It's also the year that the British expedition makes an attempt to climb to the summit of the highest mountain in the world. The story of Mount Everest spans the life of the new Queen and beyond, from the height of the British Empire to the rebirth of Britain as a nation. In this episode, Wade Davis, explorer and anthropologist, looks at events taking place in Britain in 1953 and how the nation was poised for news of an Everest success as it planned for the coronation of a new monarch. Presenter: Wade Davis Series producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham Sound design: Richard Hannaford Editor: Tara McDermott Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed and Helena Warwick-Cross
03/01/2314m 46s

Bad Blood - 6. Newgenics

Are we entering a ‘newgenic’ age - where cutting-edge technologies and the power of personal choice could achieve the kind of genetic perfection that 20th century eugenicists were after? In 2018, a Chinese scientist illegally attempted to precision edit the genome of two embryos. It didn’t work as intended. Twin sisters - Lulu and Nana - were later born, but their identity, and the status of their health, is shrouded in secrecy. They were the first designer babies. Other technological developments are also coming together in ways that could change reproduction: IVF can produce multiple viable embryos, and polygenic screening could be used to select between them. Increased understanding and control of our genetics is seen as a threat by some - an inevitable force for division. But instead of allowing genetics to separate and rank people, perhaps there’s a way it can be used - actively - to promote equality. Professor Paige Harden shares her suggestion of an anti-eugenic politics which makes use of genetic information.Contributors: Dr Helen O'Neill, lecturer in Reproductive and Molecular Genetics at University College London, Dr Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin, Professor Kathryn Paige Harden from the University of Texas and author of The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality. Music and Sound design: Jon Nicholls Presenter: Adam Rutherford Producer: Ilan Goodman Clips: 28th Nov 2018 - BBC Newsday report, BBC Breakfast News / BBC Breakfast news report Chinese letter of condemnation / BBC Newsnight from 1988 on 10th anniversary of Louise Brown’s birth
24/12/2229m 30s

Bad Blood - 5. The Curse of Mendel

A key goal of eugenics in the 20th century was to eliminate genetic defects from a population. Many countries pursued this with state-led programmes of involuntary sterilisation, even murder. We unpick some of the science behind this dark history, and consider the choices and challenges opened up by the science today.In the mid-19th century, an Augustinian friar called Gregor Mendel made a breakthrough. By breeding pea plants and observing how certain traits were passed on, Mendel realised there must be units - little packets - of information determining characteristics. He had effectively discovered the gene. His insights inspired eugenicists from the 1900s onwards. If traits were passed on by specific genes, then their policies should stop people with ‘bad’ genes from having children. Mendel’s ideas are still used in classrooms today - to teach about traits like eye colour. But the eugenicists thought Mendel's simple explanations applied to everything - from so-called ‘feeblemindedness’ to criminality and even pauperism. Today, we recognise certain genetic conditions as being passed on in a Mendelian way. Achondroplasia - which results in short stature - is one example, caused by a single genetic variant. We hear from Professor Tom Shakespeare about the condition, about his own decision to have children despite knowing the condition was heritable - and the reaction of the medical establishment. We also explore how genetics is taught in schools today - and the danger of relying on Mendel’s appealingly simple but misleading account. Contributors: Dr Brian Donovan, senior research scientist at BSCS; Professor Tom Shakespeare, disability researcher at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Dr Christine Patch, principal staff scientist in Genomic Counselling in the Society and Ethics Research group, part of Wellcome Connecting Science. Music: Jon Nicholls Presenter: Adam Rutherford Producer: Ilan Goodman
23/12/2228m 37s

Bad Blood - 4. Rassenhygiene

In the name of eugenics, the Nazi state sterilised hundreds of thousands against their will, murdered disabled children and embarked on a programme of genocide. Why? We like to believe that Nazi atrocities were a unique aberration, a grotesque historical outlier. But it turns out that leading American eugenicists and lawmakers like Madison Grant and Harry Laughlin inspired many of the Nazi programmes, from the mass sterilisation of those deemed ‘unfit’ to the Nuremberg laws preventing the marriage of Jews and non-Jews. Indeed, before WW2, many eugenicists across the world regarded the Nazi regime with envious admiration. The Nazis went further, faster than anyone before them. But ultimately, the story of Nazi eugenics is one of international connection and continuity. Contributors: Professor Stefan Kühl from the University of Bielefield, Professor Amy Carney from Penn State Behrend, Dr Jonathan Spiro from Castleton University, Professor Sheila Weiss from Clarkson University and Dr Barbara Warnock from the Wiener Holocaust Library Music and Sound Design by Jon Nicholls Presented by Adam Rutherford Produced by IIan Goodman
23/12/2228m 44s

Bad Blood - 3. Birth Controlled

Who should be prevented from having children? And who gets to decide? Across 20th century America, there was a battle to control birth - a battle which rages on to this day. In 1907, the state of Indiana passed the first sterilisation law in the world. Government-run institutions were granted the power to sterilise those deemed degenerate - often against their will. In the same period, women are becoming more educated, empowered and sexually liberated. In the Roaring Twenties, the flappers start dancing the Charleston and women win the right to vote. But contraception is still illegal and utterly taboo. The pioneering campaigner Margaret Sanger, begins her decades long activism to secure women access to birth control - the only way, she argues, women can be truly free. In the final part of the episode, sterilisation survivor and campaigner Elaine Riddick shares her painful but remarkable story. Contributors: Professor Alexandra Minna Stern from the UCLA Institue of Society and Genetics, Professor Wendy Kline from Purdue Univerity, Elaine and Tony Riddick from the Rebecca Project for Justice Featuring the voice of Joanna Monro Music and Sound Design by Jon Nicholls Presented by Adam Rutherford Produced by IIan Goodman Clips: Coverage of Dobbs v Jackson Supreme Court decision from June 24, 2022 including BBC News / CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford / BBC News Sarah Smith / audio of protesters from Channel 4 News. / Mike Wallace interviews Margaret Sanger, September 1957, from the archive at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin
23/12/2229m 2s

Bad Blood - 2. You Will Not Replace Us

"You will not replace us" was the battle cry of white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville in 2017. They were expressing an old fear - the idea that immigrants and people of colour will out-breed and replace the dominant white 'race'. Exactly the same idea suffused American culture in the first decades of the 1900s, as millions of immigrants arrived at Ellis island from southern and eastern Europe. The 'old-stock' Americans - the white elite who ruled industry and government - latched on to replacement theory and the eugenic idea of 'race suicide'. It's all there in The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel set in 1922 - which takes us into the world of the super-rich - their parties and their politics. Amidst this febrile period of cultural and economic transformation, the Eugenics Record Office is established. Led by Charles Davenport and Harry Laughlin, it becomes a headquarters for the scientific and political advancement of eugenics. By 1924, the eugenically informed anti-immigrant movement has triumphed - America shut its doors with the Johnson-Reed Act, and the flow of immigrants is almost completely stoppped. Contributors: Dr Thomas Leonard, Professor Sarah Churchwell, Professor Joe Cain Featuring the voices of David Hounslow, Joanna Monro and Hughie O'Donnell Music and Sound Design by Jon Nicholls Presented by Adam Rutherford Produced by IIan Goodman Clips: BBC News, coverage of Charlottesville protests, 2017 / CNN, coverage of buffalo shooter, 2022 / MSNBC, coverage of buffalo shooter, 2022 / Edison, Orange, N.J, 1916, Don't bite the hand that's feeding you, Jimmie Morgan, Walter Van Brunt, Thomas Hoier / BBC Radio 4 Great Gatsby: Author, F Scott Fitzgerald Director: Gaynor Macfarlane, Dramatised by Robert Forrest.
23/12/2229m 0s

Bad Blood - 1. You’ve Got Good Genes

In this 6-part series, we follow the story of eugenics from its origins in the middle-class salons of Victorian Britain, through the Fitter Family competitions and sterilisation laws of Gilded Age USA, to the full genocidal horrors of Nazi Germany. Episode 1: You’ve Got Good Genes Eugenics is born in Victorian Britain, christened by the eccentric gentleman-scientist Sir Francis Galton. It’s a movement to breed better humans, fusing new biological ideas with the politics of empire, and the inflexible snobbery of the middle-classes. The movement swiftly gains momentum - taken up by scientists, social reformers, and even novelists as a moral and political quest to address urgent social problems. By encouraging the right people to have babies, eugenicists believed we could breed ourselves to a brighter future; a future free from disease, disability, crime, even poverty. What, its proponents wondered, could be more noble? The story culminates in the First International Eugenics Congress of 1912, where a delegation of eminent public figures from around the world gather in South Kensington to advocate and develop the science – and ideology – of better breeding. Among them Winston Churchill, Arthur Balfour, the Dean of St Pauls, Charles Darwin's son, American professors and the ambassadors from Norway, Greece, and France: a global crusade in motion. But amidst the sweeping utopian rhetoric, the darker implications of eugenic ideas emerge: what of those deemed 'unfit'? What should happen to them? Contributors: Professor Joe Cain, Daniel Maier, Professor Philippa Levine, Professor Angelique Richardson Featuring the voices of David Hounslow, Joanna Monro and Hughie O'Donnell Music and Sound Design by Jon Nicholls Presented by Adam Rutherford Produced by IIan Goodman Clips: Trump addresses a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota in 2020, C-Span / Trump on his German blood, Kings of Kallstadt 2014, directed by Simone Wendel, produced by Michael Bogar, Mario Conte, Inka Dewitz, Thomas Hofmann / Julian Huxley - Heredity in Man, Eugenics Society, 1937
23/12/2229m 28s

The Susurrations of the Sea

The Susurrations of the Sea is a collaboration between the poet Katrina Porteous, who lives right next to the North Sea in Beadnell, Northumberland; radio producer Julian May, who grew up close to the Atlantic in Cornwall; and with the sea itself. They gather the variety of its sounds, from gentle susurrations as the tide moves over mud, to the steady roar of surf and mighty waves crashing onto rocks.They weave these with the words of people who, more than most of us, listen to these sounds. Melissa Reid is a visually impaired competitive surfer at Porthtowan in Cornwall. The writer Lara Messersmith-Glavin grew up on a salmon seiner, fishing out of Kodiak Island, Alaska. Lara recalls how the sounds of the sea brought fear as well the comfort. David Woolf, in Orkney, who works on wave energy projects, tells the life story of a wave, and considers the role of the oceans in the climate crisis. Stephen Perham, rowing his picarooner out of Clovelly harbour, shows how, when fishing for herring without an engine or any modern equipment, learning the sounds of the sea is essential.The susurrations of the sea are culturally important, finding their way into language and music. At his piano the musician Martin Pacey illustrates how Benjamin Britten captures these in his Sea Interludes, and how these reflect mood and character. For Stephen and Katrina the words people use to describe that sea are themselves sea susurrations.Katrina writes a new sequence of poems in response to the sounds of the sea and these run through the programme like breaking waves, a choppy sea and an ocean swell.Producer: Julian May
20/12/2228m 11s

A Bad Guy with a Gun

A bad guy with a gun.At 09:30am on the 14th December 2012, the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School locked the school's doors, a security precaution they took every day. At 09:35 a gunman shot his way through a glass panel and entered the school. By 09:40am twenty children and six adults were dead.Surely something so horrific must be an isolated incident?It wasn’t.Since that day there have been active shooter incidents at almost 1000 schools and colleges across the US. In 2022 alone 47 people have been killed and 118 wounded by gunmen in American schools.We’ve all seen the aftermath of the shootings, the grieving families, the marches, the vows of ‘never again’ yet it does happen, again and again.America has a complicated relationship with guns, less than half of households claim to own one yet there are estimated to be 393 million firearms owned by American civilians. That’s a lot of guns.So where did it all start and why does the threat of gun violence provoke some politicians to loosen gun restrictions rather than increase them?It all starts and ends with a bad guy with a gun.Producer: Lizzy McNeill Narrator: Alison Shultes Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Manager: Rod FarquharThanks to the following for the use of their archive:The Revolutionary Institute The Nation Rifle Association TED x Boulder, Aaron Stark. Tiktok Cassie Walton
16/12/2228m 3s

Falling Stars

In the history of science, many individuals are honoured by having technical terms named after them. To modern sensibilities, this is sometimes regrettable. Poet Dr Sam Illingworth looks at the challenges of scientific terms named after people we perhaps wouldn't celebrate today. Who gets to choose them anyway? It's one thing to quietly change the name of a scientific prize, a research facility or a lecture theatre. But how would you rename an element or a famous equation? With a book, a record or a painting we can choose to leave them on the shelf if we so wish, but some scientific names seem as hard-wearing as concrete... Photo: The Pillars of Creation as captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope/JWST Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI Written and presented by Sam Illingworth Produced by Alex Mansfield With contributions from: Dr Emma Chapman, University of Nottingham author of "First Light" Sam Kean, historian of science and author of "The Disappearing Spoon" and "The Icepick Surgeon". Prof Natalie Bann, University of Victoria, British Columbia Derek Robertson, artist, co-author of "Bho Bheul An Eòin / From The Bird's Mouth" Derek's exhibition of the project is at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh until Dec 31st 2022.
09/12/2229m 57s

When Reality Breaks: Demystifying Paranoid Schizophrenia

Growing up in Canada, her father's delusions and paranoia gave Julia Shaw a front-row seat into an alternate reality Believing "they” were out to get him – including everyone from aliens to the Bin Laden family – he would later email her, warning that she too was targeted by those monitoring him. He believed that doctors too were part of the conspiracy - so has never had a diagnosis from a psychiatrist. Witnessing her father experiencing a parallel "reality" inspired Julia to look into the mind and she had a "lightbulb moment" at university studying psychology when she first heard a description of paranoid schizophrenia. We hear from Julia and her mum as they meet up, driving through Canada. The well-known "positive" signs of a psychotic episode like hallucinations, paranoia and deluded thoughts can feel frightening to witness but Julia learns how the some families find it hardest to live with the "negative" symptoms like a Iack of motivation and difficulty in concentrating. Julia talks to families who understand the demands of living with someone who has serious delusions – to hear what helped them to look after themselves as well as their loved one. We hear from Philippa whose son had his first episode of psychosis when he was at university. Although he now has the right medication to control his symptoms he struggles to motivate himself and a troubling side effect is weight gain which puts him at risk of physical health problems. Kate was only 11 when her cool, older brother Sean first showed the signs of schizophrenia. After numerous spells in hospital she remembers how he struggled to look after himself back in the community and became homeless, sometimes going missing Both women found support from Rethink Mental Illness, a charity which helps people severely affected by mental illness to improve their lives. Kirsty was 8 years old when she started going to workshops with her dad at the Our Time charity, which supports any child with a parent affected by mental illness. She says that role play and talking openly with others about mental health helped to prepare her for when her dad had a psychotic episode on her 13th birthday: although it was frightening she recognised the signs and knew that they wouldn't last. Another concern for Julia was the increased risk for family members who might inherit a disorder like paranoid schizophrenia. Dr Rick Adams explains how the risk is higher - at around 10%, it does mean there's a much higher likelihood that she hasn't inherited it. One voice Julia feels is missing is that of the person who hears voices and believes them: she hasn't been able to reach her father. Instead she talks to Ashley who's 25 and is living with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Ashley explains how her voices were always male and it it's not a good idea for loved ones to tell a person having hallucinations that they're not real: they have to find this out for themselves. She says that educating herself about mental illness and her faith have helped her to keep calm, along with support from her family. Like the other families she's spoken to Julia feels guilt about her father and wonders if she could have done more to help him - but hearing about support from charities makes her hopeful. And despite all the difficulties, she also recognises how he has passed onto her a love of learning and to stand up for herself.Presenter: Julia Shaw Producer: Paula McGrath
29/11/2229m 7s

The Name Is DeSantis

You may not know who he is - but you should. Under Donald Trump Ron DeSantis rode the MAGA wave to to the governor job in Florida. For some, he's a "smart Trump". For others, a "troll" who, with a series of eye-catching stunts and pronouncements, has dominated headlines and is now viewed as a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2024. From transporting migrants to the millionaires' playground of Martha's Vineyard to taking on Disney over so-called "Don't Say Gay" legislation, this is a politician who has weaponised the culture wars to enormous effect. For liberals, he's a cruel, socially awkward bogeyman, to his supporters, a resolute strongman turning the tide against corrosive wokeism. James Naughtie profiles the man who, if he does turn his eye to The White House, may have to take the gloves off with the man who many say made him - Donald Trump. The programme features Fernanda Santos of Futuro Media, Mike Binder of the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab and Rick Wilson, founder of The Lincoln Project. Presented by James Naughtie. Produced by Kevin Core.
08/11/2229m 7s

Disaster Trolls - Episode 1

Daren is haunted by his experience of the Manchester Arena bombing. So why do people taunt him with conspiracy theories which falsely claim the attack didn’t happen? On 22 May 2017, a terrorist bomb was detonated in the foyer of the arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and the bomber. Daren, who had been in the audience with his son, rushed to help the injured. He has lived with the trauma of that night ever since. But to Daren’s disbelief, it wasn’t long before sinister claims began circulating online, wild allegations that the attack was faked. He and other survivors were accused of being “crisis actors” paid to play a part in a massive deception by evil forces in the government. So who is propagating these baseless claims? In this BBC Radio 4 podcast, the BBC’s disinformation and social media correspondent Marianna Spring, investigates how survivors of UK terror attacks and tragedies are targeted with horrific conspiracy theories, online abuse and threats. Some are even tracked down offline too. Now they want answers and justice. Across this series - and in this episode - there are graphic descriptions of violence. This episode contains audio from Richard D Hall’s website. Presenter: Marianna Spring Producer: Ant Adeane Editor: Ed Main
04/11/2216m 7s

Music to Scream to - The Hammer Horror Soundtracks

Curse of the Werewolf, The Brides of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell – films from the height of Hammer Films’ prolific output in the late 1950s and 1960s. Many of the horrific music soundtracks, carefully calibrated to set the pulse racing, were composed by leading British modernists of the late 20th century. Hammer’s music supervisor Philip Martell hired the brightest young avant-garde composers of the day – the likes of Malcolm Williamson (later Master of the Queen’s Music), Elisabeth Lutyens, Benjamin Frankel and Richard Rodney Bennett made a living scoring music to chill the bones to supplement their concert hall work. Prising open Dracula’s coffin to unearth the story of Hammer’s modernist soundtracks, composer and pianist Neil Brand explores the nuts and bolts of scary music – how it is designed to psychologically unsettle us – and explores why avant-garde music is such a good fit for horror. On his journey into the abyss, Neil visits the haunted mansion where many of the Hammer classics were made, at Bray Studios in Berkshire, and gets the low-down from Hammer aficionado Wayne Kinsey, film music historian David Huckvale, composer Richard Rodney Bennett, and one of Hammer’s on-screen scream queens, actress Madeline Smith. Producer: Graham Rogers
28/10/2229m 0s

Desert Island Discoveries - Lauren Laverne and Vick Hope

Lauren shares handpicked gems from the Desert Island Discs back-catalogue with Radio 1 presenter Vick Hope, including Bob Mortimer, Maya Angelou, Joe Wicks, Sophia Loren, Tom Hanks, Dame Pat McGrath and Sinéad Burke.
24/10/2231m 32s

The Other Black Door

Jack Fenwick explores how the think tanks and pressure groups behind the black door of an anonymous building in Westminster have shaped the last decade of British politics - and asks how they might shape the next few years. For this programme Jack has spoken to more than 50 current and former government insiders about how the organisations based at 55 Tufton Street have influenced British public life. He reveals how organisations including the Taxpayers Alliance, Brexit Central and the Global Warming Policy Foundation helped set the narrative on issues such as austerity, Brexit and climate change. He tracks how some of their ideas become government policy, explores the issue of whether the rules governing these organisations need to change and, with a new Prime Minister in Number 10, he asks how the ideas developed behind one black door might influence policy behind the most famous black door in Britain. Producer and presenter: Jack Fenwick Assistant producer: Maddy Trimmer.
14/10/2229m 10s

Ugandan Asians: The Reckoning

General Idi Amin seized power in in Uganda in 1971. His brutal dictatorship is synonymous with the deportation of the country's 80,000-strong Asian population fifty years ago this year. As the popular story goes, Asians built the economy and the country. Then a brutish African leader exiled them from their adopted homeland. Some 28,000 arrived in the UK in the summer of 1972. The story of industrious, virtuous Asian families being thrown out for no reason and succeeding against all odds, has been endlessly recycled according to Ugandan-born journalist and broadcaster. But, she argues, though powerful and moving, it is incomplete and simplistic.Their story in East Africa has much more humble beginnings and goes as far back as the Victorian era. The colonial rulers had set Asians up to be the buffer between them and and the lowly black Africans. At the time native Ugandans had little or no education, little or no knowledge of how to do business, to access loans, trade etc. Asian middlemen ran everything and were seen as the oppressors. Among the reasons Amin gave for their expulsion were that they were exploiters who made no attempt to integrate with black African Ugandans and that they invested their profits abroad rather than in Uganda. Even though black Ugandans suffered most under Amin - the so-called "Butcher of Uganda" tortured his own people and killed an estimated million of them during his eight-year rule - yet there was still a sense of liberation when the Asians left. These, according to Yasmin, are inescapable truths - truths that Asians wished to forget but black Ugandans never have. Some still maintain that for all the terrible things Amin did, they finally got their country back. Yasmin delivers a sharp reappraisal of this secret history and delves into the forgotten, concealed past from which the Ugandan Asians do not escape without blame. Producer: Mohini Patel
11/10/2229m 12s

The Scramble for Rare Earths - 5. The Great New Game

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals. In this final episode he hears how Russia's interest in Ukraine might be partially motivated by its huge mineral deposits.Guests: Rob Muggah is a co-founder of SecDev, a Canadian data, science and open intelligence company focused on mitigating risks and strengthening resilience. Dr Samuel Ramani teaches politics and international relations at Oxford University and is the author of two upcoming books on Wagner’s activities. Dr Julie Klinger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware and author of Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes.Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Hugh Levinson Sound engineer: James Beard Production coordinator: Janet Staples
30/09/2215m 11s

The Scramble for Rare Earths - 4. The EU's Dependency on China

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals. He asks whether the EU can end its dependency on China's supply of critical raw materials to fuel the green transition.Guests:Olivia Lazard, fellow at Carnegie Europe. Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission Dr Julie Klinger, author of Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar LandscapesProducer: Ben Carter Editor: Hugh Levinson Sound engineer: James Beard Production coordinator: Janet Staples
30/09/2214m 25s

The Scramble for Rare Earths - 3. The Super Magnets

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals. Neodymium is vital for wind turbines and electric motors but can the world become less dependent on China to supply it?Guests: Dr Julie Klinger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware and author of Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes. Ian Higgins, managing director of Less Common Metals. Paul Atherley, chairman of Pensana.Producer: Ben Carter Editor: Hugh Levinson Sound engineer: James Beard Production coordinator: Janet Staples
30/09/2214m 33s

The Scramble for Rare Earths - 2. The Hidden Paradox

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals. Reducing CO2 emissions requires critical raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel but mining and processing them can pose a serious threat to the environment. Can we solve the paradox?Guests: Dr Julie Klinger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware and author of Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes Teresa Ponce De Leao, chief executive of the Portuguese National Laboratory of Energy and Geology Henry Sanderson, author of Volt Rush Guillaume Pitron author of Rare Metals WarProducer: Ben Carter Editor: Hugh Levinson Sound engineer: James Beard Production coordinator: Janet Staples
30/09/2214m 32s

The Scramble for Rare Earths - 1. The Magnificent 17

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals and other critical raw materials. They are vital for the future of technology and the green transition. But some see China's monopoly on production as a major global threat.In the first of five episodes, Misha finds out what the 17 rare earth metals are and hears about their weird and wonderful applications. He also discovers how China has managed to dominate the mining and refining of them.Guests: Dr Julie Klinger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware and author of Rare Earth Frontiers: From Terrestrial Subsoils to Lunar Landscapes Sophia Kalantzakos, Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at New York University and the author of China and the Geopolitics of Rare EarthsProducer: Ben Carter Editor: Hugh Levinson Sound engineer: James Beard Production coordinator: Janet Staples
30/09/2215m 54s

Will the US and China go to war over Taiwan?

A recent visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has heightened tensions between the US and China. America has accused China of dangerous military provocations in the region. China has warned the US not to play with fire. Add to all that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and concerns that China could be contemplating something similar in Taiwan, and it’s time to ask the question: Will the US and China go to war over Taiwan?Contributors: James Lin from the University of Washington and expert on Taiwanese history Dr Yu Jie, Senior Research Fellow on China, Chatham House
16/09/2229m 6s

The Dark Side of Direct Sales

Big money, glamorous work trips abroad, and becoming your own boss - the world of door-to-door selling and chugging on the high street has been rebooted for the social media age. The industry has been around for decades, but revenues have seen a boost over the last few years and it is now worth £2.6bn a year in the UK. Some direct selling firms in the UK are jumping on the popularity of trends such as hustle culture to recruit young, ambitious people into entry-level jobs in ‘marketing’ or ‘management’ and to work with big, well-known, clients. But as Lora Jones finds out, the reality is very different. She finds keen young people who have been sold the dream, only to find themselves working 80-hour weeks - for low rates of pay. So how exactly is that possible - and what's the set-up that can reel in so many hungry young recruits? And what protection do they really have from exploitation? Reporter: Lora Jones Producers: Jim Booth, Samantha Everett, Nalini Sivathasan Researchers: Star McFarlane, Jade Thompson Executive Producers: Gail Champion and Kim Rowell Production Manager: Jon Briest
13/09/2237m 56s

Bhopal - 5. The Fatal Night

The Bhopal gas tragedy was the world's worst industrial accident. Tens of thousands of people died and many more suffered long term illnesses when lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city in central India on 2nd December 1984. For the previous two years one man had been predicting that Bhopal was an accident waiting to happen. Forty years ago this month the Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses at the plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary series tells his story for the first time. Episode 5. The Fatal Night As the city slept on the night of the 2nd December 1984, a huge leak of lethal methyl isocyanate escaped from the Bhopal Union Carbide chemical plant. Keswani realises his worst fears have come to pass. All his warnings have been ignored and now people are dying in their thousands before him. Union Carbide refuses to divulge what gas has been released and hospital doctors are helpless, not knowing what treatment to administer desperate patients. After the tragedy, Rajkumar Keswani is honoured with India's most prestigious award for journalism. In his acceptance speech he said he was receiving this award for his greatest journalistic failure. Narrator Narinder Samra Written and researched by Anubha Yadav and Radhika Kapur Music and Sound Design by Shreyan Chatterjee Studio Mix Donald McDonald Producer Neil McCarthy
09/09/2215m 6s

Bhopal - 4. Bhopal on the Brink of Disaster

The Bhopal gas tragedy was the worlds worst industrial accident. Tens of thousands of people died and many more suffered long term illnesses when lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city in central India on 2nd December 1984. For the previous two years one man had been predicting that Bhopal was an accident waiting to happen. Forty years ago this month the Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses at the plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary series tells his story for the first time. Episode 4. Bhopal on the Brink of Disaster Keswani decides he must get the attention of law makers and show them his evidence. His safety concerns are raised in the State Assembly but the labour minister at the time bats them away giving Keswani the sense that Union Carbide is unimpeachable. He then petitions the Supreme Court of India, but gets no reply. Feeling somewhat defeated and with increasing financial woes, Keswani decides to take a steady job at a newspaper in a nearby city. But soon enough his conscience drags him back to Bhopal where he writes to the editors of national newspapers. He gets a big break, publishing a comprehensive account of his findings in a leading national daily. He waits for a response. Narrator Narinder Samra Written and researched by Anubha Yadav and Radhika Kapur Music and Sound Design by Shreyan Chatterjee Studio Mix by Donald McDonald Producer Neil McCarthy
09/09/2214m 9s

Bhopal - 3. Friendly Business

The Bhopal gas tragedy was the worlds worst industrial accident. Tens of thousands of people died and many more suffered long term illnesses when lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city in central India on 2nd December 1984. For the previous two years one man had been predicting that Bhopal was an accident waiting to happen. Forty years ago this month the Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses at the plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary series tells his story for the first time. Episode 3. Friendly Business The more Keswani investigates the more he finds a cosy relationship between Union Carbide and local politicians and journalists. He's determined to expose the nepotism he uncovers but yet again, his written warning to the city falls on deaf ears. His friends and family don't believe him either, apart from his wife. Money troubles don't help. But Keswani is sure he has truth on his side, and sets his sights on the highest court in the land. Narrator Narinder Samra Written and researched by Anubha Yadav and Radhika Kapur Music and Sound Design by Shreyan Chatterjee Studio Mix by Donald McDonald Producer Neil McCarthy
09/09/2214m 15s

Bhopal - 2. The Smell of Grass

The Bhopal gas tragedy was the worlds worst industrial accident. Tens of thousands of people died and many more suffered long term illnesses when lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city in central India on 2nd December 1984. For the previous two years one man had been predicting that Bhopal was an accident waiting to happen. Forty years ago this month the Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses at the plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary series tells his story for the first time. Episode 2. The Smell of Grass Keswani digs deeper and discovers that a town planning order to relocate the chemical plant to an industrial zone, away from densely populated areas, was ignored. Union leaders smuggle him into the factory where he sees first hand the lack of safety controls and general disrepair. He learns more about the chemicals being manufactured as pesticides inside Union Carbide and understands the danger if they were to leak. He sits down to write his first 'Rapat' newspaper article under the headline 'Save, Please Save this City', and waits for a response. Narrator Narinder Samra Written and researched by Anubha Yadav and Radhika Kapur Music and Sound Design by Shreyan Chatterjee Studio Mix by Donald McDonald Producer Neil McCarthy
09/09/2214m 15s

Bhopal - 1. A Friend Dies

The Bhopal gas tragedy was the worlds worst industrial accident. Tens of thousands of people died and many more suffered long term illnesses when lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in the city in central India on 2nd December 1984. For the previous two years one man had been predicting that Bhopal was an accident waiting to happen. Forty years ago this month the Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani wrote his first article warning of the dangers posed by safety lapses at the plant. During a dogged investigation pitting him against political power, corporate money and the indifference of the media and public opinion, he never gave up. This cinematic documentary series tells his story for the first time. Episode 1. A Friend Dies Keswani is the kind of journalist who finds his stories on the ground, talking to people in his native Bhopal. One evening he learns from his friend Ashraf, a worker at the Union Carbide chemical plant, that there are regular safety lapses and leaks. Shortly afterwards, Ashraf dies when he's exposed to lethal gases. A grief stricken Keswani decides he must find the truth behind safety concerns at the plant. But when questioning government officials he finds nothing but support for the multinational company that had chosen Bhopal as its base. He hears more worrying accounts from local union officials and when they are published in a small article, retribution follows. Keswani feels sure that something troubling is going on behind the scenes. Narrator Narinder Samra Written and researched by Anubha Yadav and Radhika Kapur Music and Sound Design by Shreyan Chatterjee Studio Mix by Donald McDonald Producer Neil McCarthy With thanks to Down To Earth
09/09/2215m 22s

Recalculating Art

Art by women is literally undervalued. The highest price achieved by a contemporary female artist is $12.4m, while it is $91m for a man. If a painting is signed by a man it goes up in value, signed by a woman it goes down. We might expect this historically, but as the majority of art students today are women, why is there such a gender value gap now? To untangle this mystery, Mary Ann Sieghart enters a thrilling world of glitzy, high-stake auctions and make-or-break gallery decisions. She lifts the lid on the opaque world of art valuation, explores how punters react to genderless AI art, and uncovers historic collusion and contemporary bias. She asks if male artists are actually better than women and why, in the bible of the art world today, there is just one woman mentioned, as a footnote. Pinning down work being done to level this playing field, Mary Ann talks to the galleries showing more works by women, discovering powerful women shifting the attention and canny investors who are realising maybe it is just the right time to buy. Featured in the programme are: Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern; Prof of Finance, Renee Adams; from Sotheby’s Helena Newman and Marina Ruiz Colomer; philanthropist Valeria Napoleone, Bellatrix Hubert from David Zwirner gallery; author Helen Gorrill, art curator Naomi Polonsky, and the London Art Fair. Producer: Sarah Bowen
30/08/2229m 13s

Leeds: Life in the Bus Lane

Rima Ahmed takes the bus into Leeds and tries to find out why it is “the biggest city in Western Europe without a mass transit system”. Rima meets passengers, campaigners and history buffs as well as local politicians to delve into why the city has had so many failed attempts to improve its public transport system since its tram was abolished in 1959.Leeds was a transport pioneer - it introduced the first electric trams and trolleybuses in the country. In the 1970s and 80s, local councillors proudly declared Leeds “the motorway city” hailing the building of a massive urban motorway right through the city centre. In the 1990s, Sheffield was already building its supertram network and Leeds was also asking government to fund its own version. Despite funding being approved in 2001, £70 million had been wasted by the time Leeds’s supertram project was pulled by Transport Secretary Alastair Darling in 2005. A “trolleybus” scheme mooted in 2012 was also scrapped.Now, the citizens of Leeds have been told that, if they are lucky, they may get a new mass transit system by 2040. Work may begin sometime by the end of the decade. In the meantime, the commuters of Leeds continue to live life in the bus lane.Presenter: Rima Ahmed Producer: Johnathan I'Anson Sound mix: Craig Boardman Production Co-ordinator: Janet Staples Editor: Nicola Addyman
23/08/2228m 58s

Inheritors of partition

In homes across the UK, partition is not history but a live issue for its young descendants. Over the course of a year, Kavita Puri follows three people as they piece together parts of their complex family history and try to understand the legacy of partition and what it means to them today. She connects with a young man who goes to the Pakistani village where his Hindu grandfather was saved by Muslims; a woman who has always thought of herself as British Pakistani but a DNA test reveals she also has roots in India; a woman with Pakistani heritage and a man with Indian heritage plan their wedding and realise that their families actually originate from within an hour of each other in the Punjab. Five years after the award-winning series Partition Voices, Kavita Puri explores the 75th anniversary of the division of the Indian subcontinent through three stories from the third generation in Britain.
16/08/2243m 7s

Generation Games

Can video games change lives? And, if so, how? 50 years after the arrival of Pong, gamer and writer Keza MacDonald considers what gaming has done for us. Using the rich BBC Archives, she explores how video games grew from a niche pursuit to a cultural phenomenon which stokes the imagination of, and offers agency to, those who fall for its charms. Games now influence who we are, what we think and how we act. Keza speaks to collectors, competitive gamers, psychologists, games designers and, mostly importantly, gamers young and old to find out what impact games have had on us. We hear about the deep relationships that millions cherish with Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong, and illustrate the entanglement of life and gaming that is increasingly impossible to sever. Presenter: Keza MacDonald Producer: Gary Milne
02/08/2257m 49s

Welcome to Rwanda

The government has described Rwanda, where it intends to send some people who arrive illegally in the UK, as "one of the world's safest nations". But this small, landlocked country in east Africa divides opinion. To some, it’s the Singapore of Africa, with a burgeoning economy, clean streets and gleaming skyscrapers. It’s also heralded for having the highest proportion of women parliamentarians in the world. But to others, Rwanda is a frightening and repressive place. In this programme, Victoria Uwonkunda looks at what’s happening in the country of her birth, which she fled as a child during the genocide of 1994. Is this country a developmental model for the rest of the continent – or an autocratic and ruthless state?
29/07/2238m 42s

Evacuated to Russia

More than a million refugees from the war in Ukraine have ended up in the arms of the enemy, Russia. Have they been rescued? Or illegally deported in another Kremlin war crime?
26/07/2229m 33s

Schools Apart

Film and theatre producer Anwar Akhtar, Director of the educational charity Samosa Media, visits schools exploring diversity and the curriculum and asking questions about difficult topics such as segregation and the importance of an inclusive education. A Mancunian and first generation son of Pakistani immigrants, Anwar traces his career development to his school days at Loreto College in the 1980s. Educated with students from a range of multicultural backgrounds, he developed a sense of belonging. But he worries that some second and third generation youngsters from minority backgrounds have not had the same positive, inclusive experience. He has watched as many struggle, feeling marginalised and isolated. He considers why their experience has been so different from his own, exploring the problem of communities living and schooling apart from each other, focusing on the Pennine mill town of Oldham, a few miles from where he grew up. Anwar wants to explore solutions, how schools can help divided communities connect to each other. He revisits Loreto college to explore lessons from his own background. He looks at a radical integration project in Oldham in which segregated schools were merged. And he considers the central role of curriculum diversity in helping build a shared identity for young people, talking to pioneering teachers at two London schools, Stepney All Saints and Lilian Baylis in Lambeth. At the heart of the programme is Britain's island story, the shared solidarity and cultural capital which built the modern nation. If young people feel included in that story, and are helped in school to connect to it, we can help divided communities come together and help children fulfil their potential.Producers: Tom Edgington and Leala Padmanabhan
12/07/2228m 58s

Ceausescu's Children

Today, the actor Ionica Adriana lives with her family in the North Yorkshire countryside - but her life could have turned out wildly different. Until the age of two-and-a-half, Ionica lived in an orphanage, in Transylvania, north-western Romania. From 1965-1989, the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu enforced a strict set of policies to set about vastly increasing the Romanian population. But widespread poverty meant it was impossible for many Romanian parents to look after their newborn children - and so many ended up in state-run institutions, where they received little care and attention, and where they were left in dirty clothes, to feed and fend for themselves. Ionica returns to Romania to uncover her past and the history of Ceaușescu’s barbaric orphanages. She explores what childcare and protection looks like in Romania today, meets someone who grew up in the state system his entire childhood and has an emotional encounter of her own. Producer: Sasha Edye-Lindner A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4
05/07/2229m 6s

London on the Line

This summer marks a decade since the 2012 Olympics - a moment of national pride when London represented Britain on the global stage. Ten years on from those Olympian heights, the capital is struggling. Scarred by the pandemic and entrenched inequality, London faces challenges which are often overlooked or ignored. Meanwhile a cultural backlash, an anti-Londonism, threatens a crisis of confidence - at a time when the city's success looks far from guaranteed. London expert Dr Jack Brown, who was born and still lives in the Olympic borough of Waltham Forest, talks to fellow residents about life in the capital. He hears from those who defy the 'liberal metropolitan elite' stereotypes - those who stay local and rarely, if ever, venture into Zone One, those of deep faith, and the gentrifiers who now can't afford their rent. He asks why London has attracted, magnet-like, so many negative associations, and how views of the city might change. Can London recapture the spirit of 2012? Can capital and country be at ease again? Producer: Emily Craig Executive producer: Leala Padmanabhan
07/06/2228m 57s

The Dancer and Her Shoe Maker

A dancer at the top of her career can't do her job without the skill and attention to detail of their shoemaker. Francesca Hayward is a principal dancer for the Royal Ballet and Bob Martin is her shoemaker. It’s a very personal choice for a dancer to settle on the perfect shoe - each maker is different - and so once they've found one, they rely on the maker of that shoe for their whole career. Pointe shoe making is a dying craft which has recently been given heritage craft status in the UK. There are not many people left like Bob. This programme takes you behind the curtain to peep into a world of craft, sweat and determination. Rich in ballet music, this is an uplifting real life fairy tale of two people connected by a shoe. Producer: Catherine Robinson for BBC Audio Wales and West
03/06/2229m 7s

Bound to the Mast

Why are people with mental illness committing themselves in advance, when well, to treatment that they know they may want to refuse when they become unwell? Sally Marlow investigates. Juan was diagnosed with bipolar in his late teens. In the decade that followed, he suffered an episode of severe mental illness once nearly every year, plagued by intense paranoid thoughts that distorted his thinking. Each time this happened, it got to the point that he could no longer care for himself and he was detained or ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act for his own safety. Juan has enjoyed good mental health for the past three years and he hopes that it will stay that way. But, as a precaution, he has joined a pilot study taking place at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. It's part of the reforms to the Mental Health Act which are underway to give service users more control, when well, over what happens to them when they become seriously ill. Sally Marlow talks to Juan who, as part of the pilot, has written an advance choice document. In this he summarises what it was like for him when he was unwell and how he’d like to be treated if it ever happens again. The document can include a range of preferences, within reason, such as which medication a person might prefer while in hospital and a request for admission earlier in an episode to avoid reaching crisis point. The person records their preferences when well so that they can be read and acted upon by the health professionals treating them if they become unwell in the future. Where reasonable, their preferences must be followed. This might seem straightforward but, as medical ethicist Tania Gergel explains, some people may choose to include a so-called ‘self-binding’ element, saying “this is what I want to happen, and when I’m ill over-rule me even if I say otherwise”. The powerful image of Odysseus bound to the mast to resist the Sirens’ song, captures the overwhelming role that distorted thinking can play in mental illness, and the therapeutic potential that binding oneself to a treatment decision in advance might have. It’s hoped that advance choice documents, including this 'self-binding' element, will help people who have fluctuating periods of mental ill health, such as those with bipolar, and a recent survey of hundreds of people with the condition largely agree. PRESENTER: Sally Marlow PRODUCER: Beth Eastwood
27/05/2229m 22s

The Future Will Be Synthesised - Episode 5

What do we want the synthetic future to look like? It’s seeping into our everyday lives, but are we ready? We need a conversation about the legal, policy and ethical implications for society. Deepfakes’ murky origins are in a form of sexual image abuse that is being used against hundreds of thousands of people, most of them women. Presenter and synthetic media expert Henry Ajder speaks to journalist Sam Cole, who first reported on deepfakes in 2018. She uncovered a Reddit forum sharing pornographic videos with the faces of famous Hollywood actresses transposed on to the bodies of porn performers. Since then the technology has become much more accessible and ordinary women have become the target. Henry interviews a woman who was targeted with deepfake image abuse, and considers what we can do to protect citizens from synthetic media’s malicious uses. Interviewees: Sam Cole, Vice; Noelle Martin, campaigner; Jesselyn Cook, NBC
20/05/2214m 59s

The Future Will Be Synthesised - Episode 4

If anything can be a deepfake, perhaps nothing can be trusted - and politicians can take advantage of the so called "Liars' dividend" by dismissing real media as fake. In satire, deepfakes have already had a controversial impact, targeting politicians, business leaders, and celebrities. Meanwhile, convincing deepfake audio and video have the potential to create a new wave of fraud where faces, voices and bodies can be stolen. These malicious uses of deepfake technology started out targeting celebrities and people in the public eye, but have become a mainstream challenge for cyber security professionals and ordinary individuals whose images have been used without their consent. Deepfakes can be used to defame or discredit people - but on the flip side, the cry of ‘deepfake’ could undermine trust in the use of video evidence in the justice system. What can we do to protect citizens from synthetic media’s malicious uses? And might there be some positive applications for deepfakes in politics? Interviewees: Sam Gregory, Witness; Nina Schick, author; Victor Riparbelli, Synthesia
20/05/2215m 21s

The Future Will Be Synthesised - Episode 3

If anything can be a deepfake, perhaps nothing can be trusted - and politicians can take advantage of the so called "Liars' dividend" by dismissing real media as fake. In satire, deepfakes have already had a controversial impact, targeting politicians, business leaders, and celebrities. Meanwhile, convincing deepfake audio and video have the potential to create a new wave of fraud where faces, voices and bodies can be stolen. These malicious uses of deepfake technology started out targeting celebrities and people in the public eye, but have become a mainstream challenge for cyber security professionals and ordinary individuals whose images have been used without their consent. Deepfakes can be used to defame or discredit people - but on the flip side, the cry of ‘deepfake’ could undermine trust in the use of video evidence in the justice system. What can we do to protect citizens from synthetic media’s malicious uses? And might there be some positive applications for deepfakes in politics? Interviewees: Sam Gregory, Witness; Nina Schick, author; Victor Riparbelli, Synthesia
20/05/2215m 57s

The Future Will Be Synthesised - Episode 2

Ever since the 2018 mid-term elections in the US, people have been sounding the alarm that a deepfake could be used to disrupt or compromise a democratic process. These fears have not yet come to pass, but recently deepfakes of Zelensky and Putin were deployed as the Ukrainian conflict escalated. How much disruption did these deepfakes cause? How convincing were they? And are they an omen of things to come? Could deepfakes enhance disinformation campaigns that already cause significant harm? Presenter and synthetic media expert Henry Ajder unpicks the most recent deepfake video and speaks to a journalist who reported on an unusual news report which used a deepfake news presenter to attempt to spread disinformation in Mali. Interviewees: Kateryna Fedotenko, Ukraine 24; Sam Gregory, Witness; Catherine Bennett, Le Monde/ France 24
20/05/2214m 51s

The Future Will Be Synthesised - Episode 1

What do we want the synthetic future to look like? It’s seeping into our everyday lives, but are we ready? We need a conversation about the legal, policy and ethical implications for society. Deepfakes’ murky origins are in a form of sexual image abuse that is being used against hundreds of thousands of people, most of them women. Presenter and synthetic media expert Henry Ajder speaks to journalist Sam Cole, who first reported on deepfakes in 2018. She uncovered a Reddit forum sharing pornographic videos with the faces of famous Hollywood actresses transposed on to the bodies of porn performers. Since then the technology has become much more accessible and ordinary women have become the target. Henry interviews a woman who was targeted with deepfake image abuse, and considers what we can do to protect citizens from synthetic media’s malicious uses. Interviewees: Sam Cole, Vice; Noelle Martin, campaigner; Jesselyn Cook, NBC
20/05/2215m 11s

The P Word

Is the use of the ‘P’ word ever acceptable? Prompted by the recent allegations of racism at Yorkshire CCC by cricketer Azeem Rafiq, Rajan Datar and producer Rajeev Gupta go on a journey of personal exploration. Like many South Asians in the 1970s and 80s, Rajan was routinely called the P-word as he walked to and from school, but a new generation of young British Asians say they now claim the word and it can be used within the community as a sign of power. Rajan finds out for himself how true this is and does a context in which the use of the word is acceptable actually exist? Produced by: Rajeev Gupta
15/04/2229m 55s

Am I That Guy?

Scottish writer and broadcaster Alistair Heather is not proud of some of his past interactions with women. In a previous job as a builder’s labourer, he would watch and laugh as co-workers wolf-whistled and cat-called passing women. In the street, on trains, in cafes, bars and other public places, he would see it as his right to approach and talk to women. He knows that in behaving like that he has contributed to women and girls feeling excluded and unsafe. Now he wants to find out what he should be doing to help change the culture for the better. Alistair discusses ‘locker room talk’ with former Aston Villa youth player and Dundee United Hall of Famer Seán Dillon, challenges an old friend and explores Police Scotland’s much-praised campaign which urged men to address their attitudes to women with a hard-hitting viral video telling them: “sexual violence begins long before you think it does. Don’t be that guy". Producer Dave Howard Researcher Carys Wall Sound design Joel Cox
12/04/2229m 41s

The Witches' Pardon

From allegations of cursing the king's ships, to shape-shifting into animals, or dancing with the devil, three centuries ago witch-hunting was a mania that spread right across Europe. But nowhere did it exert a greater grip than in Scotland, which had an execution rate five times higher than England's. It remains an example of just how vicious sexism and misogyny - exacerbated by superstitious beliefs and religious extremism - can be. Now campaigners are on course to win an official pardon for the estimated four thousand - mostly women - tried as witches. Leading QC Claire Mitchell, known for her prominent role in the Lockerbie appeal, is also fighting for an apology for all those accused, and for a national monument to mark the state-sanctioned atrocities she calls "the greatest miscarriage of justice in Scottish history." Claire Mitchell and co-founder Zoe Vendittozi hope that First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will issue a formal apology. But will she? And why does it matter? Once again 'witch' is a name being levelled at women, usually in high profile cultural or political roles. It's not unusual to see figures like Hillary Clinton, Nicola Sturgeon, Professor Mary Beard, in twitter memes with green faces, stirring cauldrons and wearing pointy hats. Dani Garavelli takes a fresh look at the history and at why women were so often accused of being witches. She explores the campaign which has gained mass traction across the UK and Europe, and spawned a copy-cat campaign in Catalonia. Which power structures were being maintained then, and which ones now? Producer: Caitlin Smith Presenter: Dani Garavelli Sound Design: Joel Cox
01/04/2229m 5s

Sir Alex Ferguson: Made in Govan

BBC Radio Manchester presenter Mike Sweeney and former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson go back a long way. They used to play football together and bonded over their love of music from the sixties. In this edition of Archive on 4, they sit down together to talk about Sir Alex as a young man and the influences which shaped his extraordinary career. Sir Alex reflects on his upbringing in Govan, the tenements where he lived and the people who first believed in him. He reveals how his early experiences as a working man left him with values that last to this day. He tells Mike about the magic of first playing football, and reflects on the ups and downs of his playing and coaching career and their impact on what came next. Moments from the BBC Archive help Mike tell Sir Alex's story.Presented by Mike Sweeney. Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Camellia Sinclair. Mixed by Michael Harrison.
29/03/2258m 6s

Cold as a Mountain Top

WH Murray was one of a pioneering group of climbers in Scotland in the 1930’s, establishing new routes in Glencoe, Ben Nevis and The Cuillin. But it was one particular mountain that he loved – and climbed – the most; the iconic Buachaillie Etive Mor at Glencoe. This was the last mountain he climbed just before leaving for war in 1941. Murray was captured in the African desert but his life was saved when he uttered the words, ‘Cold as a mountain top.’ The German officer was also a mountaineer and took him prisoner instead of shooting him on the spot. During his imprisonment in Italy and Czechoslovakia he wrote the seminal ‘Mountaineering in Scotland’ completely from memory, recalling the intimate details of climbs he undertook in the 1930’s. The book has been a talismanic text for climbers like Robert Macfarlane. He's turned to it often, particularly when the cold of the mountain top has felt very far away during recent periods of confinement. In this immersive audio voyage, Robert returns to Murray’s beloved Buachaille with 'Mountaineering in Scotland' by his side. Produced by Helen Needham in Aberdeen. Readings by Cal MacAninch. Sound design and composition by Anthony Cowie. Sound consultation and mixing by Ron McCaskill. Our mountain Guide was Richard Parker. Thanks to Robin Lloyd-Jones, WH Murray's biographer, for help with the preparation of this programme.
25/03/2228m 55s

Women in Stitches: The Making of the Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to Britain in the near future. It’s among the world’s most famous works of art, but it's also a mystery: no one knows who made it. The stitching, though, is full of clues. Abigail Youngman seeks to reveal the truth about the lives of the women who stitched it, to unpick the secrets they left in plain sight, in the margins of the tapestry. The Bayeux Tapestry records great historical events but its humanity is in the details: the little boy holding his mother's hand tightly as they flee their burning home; scenes of sexual violence; bawdy jokes at the Normans' expense. Scholarly opinion is divided, but some think it was stitched by Anglo-Saxon women who had experienced war and occupation first-hand. The main panels were probably designed by an Important Man (hence the focus on battles, on big sexy horses – surely the BMWs of their day – and political propaganda). But the margins of the tapestry may have been left to the imagination of the stitchers themselves: probably English women. This 'freehand' marginalia tell a different story, sometimes undercutting the message of the Norman conquerors in surprising ways. We can imagine the camaraderie and humour of the women sewing it, talking, about their personal tragedies, the terror they survived, the soldiers who were husbands and sons. Read this way, the Tapestry becomes a tantalising portrait of a group of women who are largely unrepresented in history, speaking to us vividly from a thousand years ago. Abigail Youngman uncovers fascinating and intimate details of these women's lives with the help of Dr Alexandra Makin, Dr Daisy Black, Dr Christopher Monk, Professor Gail Owen-Crocker and Dr Michael Lewis. Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery
11/03/2228m 59s

5. The Lowball Tapes – Hunting the Truth

The public had a chance to find out the truth about the Libor scandal in 2012 – but somehow they didn’t. Andy finds secrets kept from MPs and even the juries in the rate rigging trials. Can he find out where the instructions to lowball really came from? Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones
03/03/2215m 7s

4. The Lowball Tapes – The Overseers

Who was responsible for Libor? It was hailed as the world’s most important number but who was looking after it and were the custodians behaving with integrity? While traders went to prison for rigging interest rates were there orchestrated manipulations of Libor by far bigger players? Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones
03/03/2215m 39s

3. The Lowball Tapes – The Whistleblower

Pressure is put on a reluctant trader to manipulate interest rates. But where are his instructions coming from? As Libor begins to feel like a lie, Andy is given a flash drive with some incendiary audio recordings. Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones
03/03/2216m 11s

2. The Low Ball Tapes - The Trails

Andy Verity investigates the secret history of Libor, asking did the right people go to jail? Were the rate rigging trials about law and the evidence, or were they show trials to appease public anger towards banks? Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones
03/03/2215m 13s

1. The Low Ball Tapes - Arrested

The secret tapes the authorities, on both sides of the Atlantic, wouldn’t want you to hear. Andy Verity, the BBC’s Economics Correspondent has audio recordings, kept secret for years, which reveal evidence that could upend the received version of the biggest scandal since the financial crash. We might have thought that the rate-rigging bankers, ‘the LIBOR manipulators’ were justly jailed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, but over 5 episodes, Andy questions the traditional narrative. The Lowball Tapes exposes evidence, much of it kept out of the trials, to show how they were instructed to give a falsely low LIBOR rate, ‘to lowball.’ Outraged, some of the traders turn whistle-blowers; but rather than stopping the deception, the whistle-blowers find themselves pursued. In interviews with convicted traders, including one on the run, Andy hears how it appears blame for manipulating LIBOR was shifted onto junior traders, while those higher up escaped prosecution. Did the world fail to see the truth at the time? We’ve acquired a huge cache of exclusive evidence - recorded phone calls, confidential internal emails and witness statements - which suggest maybe it wasn’t just the market that was rigged. Can he find out who was pulling the strings and where the instructions ultimately came from? Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones
03/03/2215m 20s

Art Came in the Night

Kevin Harman is an Edinburgh artist best known for creating 'situations', such as borrowing all his neighbours’ doormats to create an installation, smashing the window of an art gallery and transforming rubbish in skips into sculptures. In this programme he explores what happens when public art and people clash and gets a sense of what it's like when 'art comes in the night'. Whilst working on his own installation in Govan, he ponders what success and failure really mean in the sometimes controversial world of public art. Some public art is loved, some even defended from packs of roving art dealers, some is brushed off with indifference, or grumbling about wasted tax money. But when art comes out of the galleries and is splashed on the wall of someone's house or stuck outside on a shared stretch of grass the community can't help but be changed by its presence, and the art is at the mercy of those surrounding it. Kevin meets architect Lee Ivett who, in 2017, embarked on a new project in Govan, a huge sculptural installation constructed from ropes taken from the former shipyards. Within 48 hours it had been burned to ashes by local teens. Although always intended as a temporary installation, community anger at large pots of money being given to artists erupted, stoked by articles in the press. But was this destruction simply vandalism or a sign that some important local needs weren't being met? Artist Nicola Atkinson has created public art all over the world, including recently in Dunfermline. She talks to Kevin about different ways she's found to engage with communities and cautions against the scandalisation of public art which can disempower artists and undermine the idea that art should be for everybody.
25/02/2228m 43s

A Recipe for Love

What makes us feel in love? And can we make ourselves feel it? Biomedic Sophie Ward sets herself the deluded task of making a scientifically-accredited love potion, with the help of neuroscientists, evolutionary anthropologists, aphrodisiac historians, and a smell scientist who really likes pumpkin pie. Ingredients: a neurochemical cocktail of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and beta endorphin, a metaphorical "good egg", a splash of kindness, a cup of communication, five figs, an entire tiramisu, a punnet of stewed plums and a stick of liquorice. Prescribed by the following doctors of various disciplines: Dr Anna Machin, Dr Helen Fisher, Dr Viren Swami, Dr Kate Lister and Dr Alan Hirsch. Produced by Becky Ripley
22/02/2229m 26s

Episode 5

Negotiations between the UK and Iran to settle an old debt and allow Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to return to her family in the UK take a new turn. But the United States creates a fresh obstacle to her release. Presenter: Ceri Thomas Producer: Matt Russell Original music: Tom Kinsella A Tortoise Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/02/2215m 7s

Episode 4

Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, begins his public campaign to win her freedom. And the British government explores some creative solutions for paying off a debt it owes to Iran. Finally, in 2019 the UK and Iran head to the table to negotiate a deal for Nazanin’s release. Presenter: Ceri Thomas Producer: Matt Russell Original music: Tom Kinsella A Tortoise Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/02/2214m 30s

Episode 3

In early 2016, the United States secured the release of some of its citizens imprisoned in Iran. Months later, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken hostage, caught up in the backdraft of the US deal. Her fate and the decades-old issue of an unpaid debt finally collide. Presenter: Ceri Thomas Producer: Matt Russell Original music: Tom Kinsella A Tortoise Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/02/2215m 51s

Episode 2

A deal for the UK to sell tanks to Iran was cancelled after the Islamic revolution. The company behind it is owned entirely by the British government - International Military Services. Even today, it may hold the key to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release. Presenter: Ceri Thomas Producer: Matt Russell Original music: Tom Kinsella A Tortoise Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/02/2215m 8s

Episode 1

What’s the key to bringing home Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman who has been held hostage in Iran for almost six years? And how closely linked is Nazanin’s release to a tank deal debt more than 40 years old? In episode 1 of Nazanin, former Today programme editor, Ceri Thomas, explores the origins of the debt, the apparent corruption which surrounded the deal which created it, and its long, difficult legacy. It’s a story which begins in the freewheeling 1970s when the need to ‘grease the wheels’ of big arms deals seemed barely controversial, and when the Shah of Iran and a notorious middleman known around Whitehall as ‘Mr 1%’ were able to pocket millions in commissions paid by the UK. And it leads back to the fate of more than one hostage today. Presenter: Ceri Thomas Producer: Matt Russell Original music: Tom Kinsella A Tortoise Media production for BBC Radio 4
14/02/2214m 47s

Paris-Zurich-Trieste: Joyce l'European

The Irish cultural industries have in recent decades managed to turn James Joyce into a valuable tourist commodity - 'a cash machine', 'the nearest thing we've got to a literary leprechaun.' Joyce would surely have disapproved. "When the soul of man is born in this country," he wrote, "there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets." That is precisely what he did, leaving Ireland behind and living more than half his life across Continental Europe. As Anthony Burgess put it, "Out there in Europe the modernistic movement was stirring," and by placing himself in the cultural cross-currents of cities like Trieste, Rome, Zurich, Paris & Pola, where he experienced the early rumblings of Dada, Psychoanalysis, Futurism et al, Joyce became a part of an endlessly plural social and linguistic explosion, far removed from the monolithic oppressiveness of Ireland. Backed up by interviewees including Colm Tóibín, John McCourt and Liv Monaghan and illustrated by rich archive recordings, Andrew Hussey argues it was the deliberate rupture of leaving home - taking up "the only arms I know - silence, exile and cunning" - that allowed Joyce to develop the necessary breadth of vision and literary skill to write his greatest works. The Dublin of Ulysses itself becomes, according to Tóibín, 'a Cosmopolis... another great port city like Trieste." For Hussey, who has himself lived and worked as a writer in Paris for many years, Joyce was not only a great pathfinder, he also offers an inspiring trans-national vision of Europe and the world just at a time when borders are tightening and the darker shades of nationalism are once again looming large. Produced by Geoff Bird
01/02/2259m 10s

Room 5 - Episode 1

‘He was interested in why I was so attached to this penguin’ Bex is at university when she starts feeling anxious and overwhelmed. As Bex deteriorates, doctors are in a race against time to diagnose her. And that’s where the penguin comes in. In Room 5, Helena Merriman interviews people who - like her - were changed by a diagnosis. Written, presented and produced by Helena Merriman Composer: Jeremy Warmsley Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore Production Co-ordinator: Janet Staples Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Editor: Richard Knight #Room5 With special thanks to Rachel Roberts, principal viola with the LSO End song: Miffed by Tom Rosenthal If you have a story you’d like to share you can email: room5@bbc.co.uk
28/01/2230m 11s

Bloody Sunday: 50 Years On

Fifty years ago on 30 January 1972, a day that came to be forever known as “Bloody Sunday”, soldiers of the First Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, shot dead 13 civil rights marchers in Londonderry/Derry. Peter Taylor tells the story of that day with a mix of his own unique archive and new interviews from those on all sides about what the events meant then and still mean today - including a rare interview with Lord Saville, who carried out an exhaustive 12 year Inquiry into the events of that day. Bloody Sunday was the moment that changed the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland. It saw the re-birth of the IRA with hundreds of new recruits joining in the immediate aftermath of that day's events. And it was the spark which ignited and intensified the so-called Troubles, which left 3600 dead and tens of thousands injured. Producer: Jim Frank Editor: Penny Murphy
25/01/2257m 58s

Night Watch

At night women say goodbye, telling each other "text me when you're home". We carry keys between our knuckles, avoid dark streets, cross the road, then cross back again, keep looking over your shoulder. In Night Watch, four women from different parts of Britain share stories of street harassment. Woven through this feature is a new, specially commissioned poem by Hollie McNish. The murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa compounded the perception of city streets as male spaces- unwelcoming and unsafe for women, and other marginalised groups. Is this the way it's always been? In these raw and unfiltered accounts women will hear their own experiences echoed back in others' words; stories of shouted insults, rejected come-ons, intimidation. Featuring the voices Nosisa and Alison Majuqwana, Aggie Hewitt, Katie Cuddon, Alice Jackson the co-founder of Strut Safe, author Rebecca Solnit, author and moral philosopher at Cornell University Kate Manne and design activist Jos Boys. If you've been impacted by any of the issues raised in this documentary contact details for support organisations can be found in this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2MfW34HqH7tTCtnmx7LVfzp/information-and-support-victims-of-crime Producer: Caitlin Smith Poetry: Hollie McNish Sound Design: Joel Cox Executive Producer: Peter McManus
18/01/2229m 8s

The Lullaby Project

Felicity Finch reports on a pioneering project that sees members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra working alongside inmates in HMP Norwich. The aim is to workshop, draft and perform personal songs that will help establish a bond between offenders and their children.A lullaby is the most immediate of musical forms. The singer is a parent, the audience a child. The communication is intimate and helps form intangible bonds. A reality of prison life is that those bonds are, to a great or lesser extent, broken. The Lullaby Project, run by the Irene Taylor Trust, is an attempt to create all the positives of that parental link, without undermining the reality of prison life.Felicity has been given unique access through the Irene Taylor Trust, to follow their artistic director Sara Lee. Sara and a group of musicians made three visits to Norwich prison to help the inmates write lyrics and work on ideas for melodies and rhythms that will result in lullabies that can be recorded. The process is rewarding in itself, but it also encourages inmates to reflect on the nature of their relationship with their children, and how they would like to be perceived by them.Similar projects have been tried in both the USA and the UK, but following the pilot this is the first time the media has been given access to the process. Felicity follows the process from the early and very nervous engagement between musicians and prisoners, through to the astonishment and delight at what emerges from the collaboration, a delight felt on both sides.
14/01/2229m 1s

A Family of Strangers

How a simple DNA test turned a world upside down, leading to profound questions of identity. When 71-year-old Philip was given a genetic testing kit for Christmas, he assumed he would stumble across an ancient line of nobility or a novel identity to latch onto. Instead, he found himself unravelling a mystery with more twists and turns than a spiralling strand of DNA. David Reid meets an extraordinary group of people who sent in DNA samples and tested negative to the question: “Who am I?” Join them on a moving, funny and thought-provoking journey as they dig through layers of family myth and secrecy to unearth the incredible story of their origins. Produced and presented by David Reid Editor: Hugh Levinson Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound: Tom Brignell
28/12/2138m 25s

The Army Girls

80 years after female conscription, the final few tell their extraordinary World War Two stories as part of the ATS. By war's end, 290,000 women of all backgrounds had served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. It may have had a less glamorous image than its naval and air force counterparts but the ATS was by far the biggest military service for women. Initially the ATS had a reputation for dull demeaning work. That changed in 1941. In December of that year, for the first time in British history, young single women had to join Britain's war effort. Their choice of jobs expanded dramatically. Dr Tessa Dunlop unpacks some of the controversies that accompanied putting girls, en masse, into military uniform. With a rich cast of veterans she examines the impact and legacy of Britain's female army. Class, comrades, conflict, loss, love, work - for a generation of young women military service was life-changing. Presenter: Dr. Tessa Dunlop Producer: John Murphy Archive in the programme from BFI National Archive and British Pathe
24/12/2128m 49s

A Line in the Water

At the start of 2021 and the implementation of Brexit, a trade border was created between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. What does this mean for ordinary people who cross the Irish Sea? And where exactly is this border anyway? Neil McCarthy boards Stena Line's ferry 'Embla" which plies a daily and nightly course between Birkenhead and Belfast. He talks to passengers, and crew, lorry drivers and historians, crossing this body of water that both separates and binds the two islands on a search for the elusive line in the water. 'Meridians' written and read by Mark Ward Sound design by Phil Channell Produced and presented by Neil McCarthy
14/12/2137m 43s

The River Man

100 years ago the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, bringing to a formal end the Irish War of Independence and ending centuries of British colonial control. During the war members of the IRA were pitted against the Royal Irish Constabulary, the British Army and the notorious Black and Tans and Auxiliaries. It's a story of divided loyalties and the unresolved traumas of war, with resonance today as Britain and Ireland struggle to address the legacy of the more recent violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In an investigation into the fate of one man, James Kane, the River Man, executed by the IRA a century ago, by men he knew and who liked him, Fergal Keane explores some of these issues. Why did they kill him and what were the consequences for his family and his executioners? Producer: John Murphy
07/12/2138m 3s

Will-of-the-Dump

Will Self tells the story of his black bin bag... from his back door... to its final destination. It's the story of a modern-day dump - an extraordinary, alien, nauseating world - where, instead of being buried, the rubbish will go up in smoke. Voices of waste workers intermingle with the rubbish in a go-round of garbage, scored by Jon Nicholls. There are the bin men who believe 'you just gotta get in the groove' as they walk ten miles a day, to 'pick up a bit of crap, sling it in the back of the lorry and take it down the dump'. There's the weighbridge clerk at the sorting facility taking pride in separating the 'sheepy recycling from the goatish garbage' to load it onto enormous steel containers. Boatmen on the Thames steer these huge barges, bright orange in colour, past the great landmarks of London in 'a cockney pas-de-deux danced with detritus'. Downriver, the bag arrives at its destination - a giant industrial incinerator where ten thousand tonnes of waste are going up in flames, at temperatures of 850 degrees. 'Some people are mesmerized by it', we hear. Will's black bag meets its 'fiery and apocalyptic end'. It's a raw, unnerving look at our relationship with our waste. Sound designer: Jon Nicholls Producer: Adele Armstrong
03/12/2129m 4s

Could I Regenerate My Farm To Save The Planet?

Regenerative Farming is gaining traction around the world as a means of increasing biodiversity, improving soil quality, sequestering carbon, restoring watersheds and enhancing the ecosystems of farms. The shepherd James Rebanks, author of English Pastoral, is on a quest to find out if it is possible to adopt these methods on his farm in the Lake District. He meets leading proponents of these methods in the UK, US and Europe and discovers how mimicking natural herd movements, stopping ploughing and adding costly chemicals could make his farm economically sustainable.This is becoming an urgent question as not only is the global population projected to rise to nearly 10 billion by 2050 but according to the UN's Food and Agriculture organisation within 60 years we may literally no longer have enough arable topsoil to feed ourselves. Meanwhile our reliance on meat products is being blamed for increasing CO2 and climate change.But can James,and indeed other farmers, make the switch to these techniques when industrial farming has been the paradigm for so long? When so many people believe turning vegan and shifting to plant-based ecological farming is the way forward, should he continue breeding sheep and cows? And as companies like Nestle, Walmart, Unilever, McCain and Pepsi all pledge to invest in regenerative farming to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, do the claims about carbon sequestration stand up? How can he use his farm to save the planet?
26/11/2129m 14s

Jan Morris: Writing a Life

Horatio Clare examines how the pioneering writer Jan Morris authored her own life, from her nationality to her sexual identity, trying to get behind the myths and masks she created.Jan Morris wrote more than fifty books but also constructed her life to a degree rarely seen in one individual. She created a glittering career, invented a writing style, chose her nationality and most famously, transitioned. Horatio talks to Michael Palin, travel writer Sara Wheeler, and Jan's biographer Paul Clements, and visits Jan's home in North Wales to meet her son Twm Morys. Hearing interviews she recorded throughout her long life, he attempts to find out who Jan Morris really was.James - as she was then - Morris knew from a very young age both that he was in the wrong body and that he wanted to be a writer. Through a combination of self-confidence, determination and what Jan herself describes as her ‘insufferable ambition’, she achieved what she set out to, becoming one of the most successful journalists of her generation and then a world-famous author of books about places like Venice, Oxford, Trieste and Manhattan, which re-invented travel writing.At the same time as these professional and literary achievements, however, Jan was also undergoing a deep crisis of personal identity. In one of her books, Conundrum, she described how the conviction she’d had as a child that she was in the wrong body had never left her, but by her thirties she was in despair and had even considered killing herself. Conundrum describes how she succeeded in making the transition from man to woman in 1972. She said the sex change brought her the happiness she’d always sought. She also claimed that her decision had made little impact on the happiness of her four children, but that claim is put to the test in the programme.Michael Palin talks about the Jan Morris he met - witty, generous and inspirational, but also a challenging interviewee who used a variety of techniques to deflect difficult questions about her private life. Paul Clements suggests she 'played hide and seek with the facts'. Archive on Four considers how much she constructed and presented her whole life, with determination, guile and skill.Produced by Gareth Jones for BBC Wales
19/11/2157m 45s

How America Learned to Laugh Again

Twenty years ago - in the mind-numbing aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America - the immediate, mind-numbing response of the media was to ban laughter. All laughter, including jokes, chuckles and guffaws. This is the story of what happened next. With contributions from Private Eye to The Onion, via David Letterman, the News Quiz and Have I Got News for You. As well as 9/11 and the death of Bin Laden, Joe Queenan explores the pandemic and the US retreat from Afghanistan."What a year 2021 has been – from the storming of the capitol in Washington to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, this has not been a good time in the US. Probably not so great in the UK either. Throw in some riots, add in the climate crisis and the plague – none of this is worth the slightest lame joke. But is it worth a good joke?"With contributions from three US presidents, plus Ian Hislop and Adam MacQueen from Private Eye, Armando Iannuci (creator of The Death of Stalin), Susan Morrison of the New Yorker, and Robert Siegal editor of The Onion in 2001 - the first US publication to break the laughter ban with the headline, US Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We Are At War With. A copy of that magazine is now in the Library of Congress.Also includes archive from David Letterman, Linda Grant, Michael Rosen, Rich Hall on Have I Got News for You, plus the News Quiz from September 2001.Joe Queenan is an Emmy Award-winning US broadcaster. His previous contributions to Archive on Four include Brief Histories on Blame, Shame and Failure.The producer for BBC Audio in Bristol is Miles Warde.
12/11/2158m 12s

The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 5 - The Sceptics

Who was behind the 2009 hack and leak of emails that fuelled climate change sceptics?Gordon Corera tracks down some of the sceptics engaged in a long-running battle with the climate scientists over data, and he considers the legacy of the events of 2009.Producer: Sally Abrahams Editor: Richard Vadon
02/11/2115m 49s

The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 4 - Dark Money

Who was behind the 2009 hack and leak of emails that fuelled climate change sceptics? Who benefited most from the ‘Climategate’ hack? Powerful corporate interests have been fighting an acceptance of climate change for years. Could they have been behind the hack?Presenter: Gordon Corera. Producer: Sally Abrahams Editor: Richard Vadon
02/11/2115m 21s

The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 3 - The Russia Mystery

Who was behind the 2009 hack and leak of emails that fuelled climate change sceptics? The investigation turns East – towards Russia. Could the mystery hacker have come from there, or was Russian intelligence behind the attack? Where does the evidence lead? Presented by Gordon Corera.Producer: Sally Abrahams Editor: Richard Vadon
02/11/2114m 51s

The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 2 - On the Trail

Who was behind the 2009 hack and leak of emails that fuelled climate change sceptics?Tracking down the police officer in charge of the original investigation into ‘Climategate’, Gordon Corera hears about the list of suspects and meets with Britain’s top cyber spy.Producer: Sally Abrahams Editor: Richard Vadon
02/11/2114m 38s

The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 1 - The Cold Case

In 2009, someone broke into the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and stole emails. The material was distributed online - mainly on blogs linked to climate change sceptics. It was used to make the case that scientists were surreptitiously twisting the facts to exaggerate climate change. That was not the case. But before that became clear, events would take on a life of their own, sparking a global media storm. This is a story that matters - firstly because it may have set back by years efforts to combat climate change. But also because it foretold a future in which emails would be stolen and weaponised and where information and social media would be used to cast doubt on science and expertise. More than a decade on, as the UK hosts a new global climate summit - COP26 in Glasgow - the mystery of who was behind ‘Climategate’ remains.    BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera goes on the trail of this ‘cyber cold case’, talking to the key players as well as police and spies, taking the listener on a journey to a place where climate change and information warfare met - with world-changing consequences. Producer: Sally Abrahams Editor: Richard Vadon Credit: MSNBC News Live 25 November 2009 and NBC Nightly News, 4 December 2009
02/11/2114m 32s

Plastic: The Biography

The remarkable story of how plastic became such a major player in the worlds of industry, medicine and design (among many others) before becoming persona-non-grata thanks to its intimate involvement in our current ecological plight is Shakespearean in its scale and one of the great tales of the last century. Laura Barton sets out to create a biography of this most multi-faceted and fluid titan of the manufacturing world, using the fabulously rich archive from TV, radio, advertising and film - as well as fresh interviews with contemporary experts including Rebecca Altman, Jeff Miekle, Charlotte Hale and Lauren Bassam. Plastic’s story is one of of incredible power, hubris and more recently disparagement, but it is also endlessly complex and morally ambiguous; while plastic’s negative impact on our environment is inescapable, as Laura will set out to describe it has also revolutionised the way we live our lives in any number of invaluable ways.Produced by Geoff BirdThe exhibition 'Plastic: Remaking Our World' will be co-produced in 2022 by V&A Dundee, the Vitra Design Museum and MAAT.
29/10/2158m 4s

The Nuremberg Legacy

It's 75 years since the judgement at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Nineteen high ranking Nazis were found guilty of war crimes, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and conspiracy to commit those crimes. Twelve of them were condemned to death. The trial, which lasted almost a year, made history and the principles of international criminal law first established there are still fundamental to international justice today. The writer and lawyer, Philippe Sands examines the legacy of Nuremberg in subsequent war crimes trials and the founding of the International Criminal Court in the Hague 50 years later. He speaks to people who were there in Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg, as well as leading judges and lawyers in today's international justice system.Producer Caroline Bayley Editor Jasper CorbettImage: View of the judges bench in Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) court in September 1946. Credit AFP via Getty Images
26/10/2138m 4s

The Ballad of the Bet

In the small hours of the night, we are up in our thousands watching a wheel spin on our phones - a roulette wheel. It may be virtual, yet for many of us it has a power beyond the real. Gambling has been spun inside down and inside out by the internet age, never more so than under lockdown. With the Gambling Act currently under review, Amy Acre brings the experience of betting alive through poetry, music and oral histories, tracing the social history of gambling over three generations.Image of Amy Acre by Jamie Cameron Sound design and original music by Jon Nicholls Vocals by Steph MacGaraidh Producer Monica Whitlock Production Coordinator Janet Staples Editor Hugh Levinson
05/10/2129m 3s

Poison: Episode 5 - A Toxic Aftertaste

In July this year South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma, was jailed for contempt of court. The 79-year-old is now facing trial for corruption. But Zuma insists he is a victim of a vast, international conspiracy to poison him and silence him. And when his arrest triggers an orchestrated campaign of violence, fears grow that Zuma’s conspiracy theories and populist rhetoric could threaten the democracy he once fought to build.'Poison' is the story of one man's toxic obsession and the battle for South Africa's future.Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Vauldi Carelse Sound mix: James Beard Series editor: Bridget Harney
27/09/2115m 18s

Poison: Episode 4 - The Russian Antidote

When South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, falls ill from what he suspects to be poison, he flies to Moscow for treatment. But why the need to go abroad? The implication is that Zuma believes Western spy agencies are trying to kill him. But is he now using the Russians, or are they using him for their own strategic purposes?'Poison' is the story of one man's toxic obsession and the battle for South Africa's future.Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Vauldi Carelse Sound mix: James Beard Series editor: Bridget Harney
27/09/2114m 2s

Poison: Episode 3 - How Do You Like Your Tea?

Home after years in exile during the liberation struggle, South Africa’s future President Jacob Zuma is quickly engulfed in corruption scandals. But when one of his wives is accused of trying to poison his tea, Zuma suspects that a foreign government may be plotting to kill him.'Poison' is the story of one man's toxic obsession and the battle for South Africa's future.Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Vauldi Carelse Sound mix: James Beard Series editor: Bridget Harney
27/09/2114m 7s

Poison: Episode 2 - A Pinch of Paranoia

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma is convinced he’s been the target of repeated poisoning attempts. But why? In this episode we dive into the murkiest corners of the long struggle against racial apartheid to uncover Cold War paranoia, toxic underpants, and the origins of Zuma’s fixation with poison.'Poison' is the story of one man's toxic obsession and the battle for South Africa's future.Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Vauldi Carelse Sound mix: James Beard Series editor: Bridget Harney
27/09/2113m 45s

Poison: Episode 1 - The Chuckling Pensioner

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma believes he has been poisoned, repeatedly. He claims to be the victim of a long, sophisticated, and unfinished plot to assassinate him. But who would want to kill a man still celebrated for his role as a fighter in the struggle against apartheid? Could it be linked to the allegations of massive corruption against him? Or is there a broader conspiracy at work – an international plot to silence a man who claims to be speaking up for South Africa’s neglected poor? In this five-part series the BBC’s Africa correspondent, Andrew Harding, digs into a mystery that links a case of poisoned underpants, to a plot to kill Nelson Mandela, to this year’s riots that left 300 South Africans dead. In this episode, Zuma's early years.'Poison' is the story of one man's toxic obsession and the battle for South Africa's future.Presenter: Andrew Harding Producer: Vauldi Carelse Sound mix: James Beard Series editor: Bridget Harney
27/09/2114m 53s

The Delirium Wards

Ten years ago, in 2011, David Aaronovitch felt like he was losing his grip on reality. He'd been placed in a coma, after a surgery gone wrong. Now he was awake and in Intensive Care.Every time he closed his eyes the inside of his eyelids would display a kaleidoscope of red, black and yellow violent cartoon images. Faces appeared before him like odd animation of computer game avatars. That was just the beginning. For the next four days and night David experienced what he describes as a "waking nightmare".These types of hallucinations are called delirium and are a very common side effect of being placed in an induced coma.Now the number of people experiencing delirium is on the rise. That's because those who are critically ill with Covid often have to be ventilated. While it helps their bodies fight the virus, and will often save their lives, the mental toll can be as serious as the physical one. Increasingly, patients are leaving hospital physically healed but mentally scarred.In this powerful and immersive documentary David Aaronovitch hears from three people who have struggled with delirium, and shares his own experience.Producer: Caitlin Smith Executive Producer: Peter McManus Researcher: Anna Miles Sound Design: Eloise WhitmoreWith thanks to Paul Henderson, Zara Slattery, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, ICU nurse Crystal Wilson and Dr Dorothy Wade of Barking Havering and Redbridge Universities Hospital Trust and North EAst London Foundation Trust.Image courtesy of Zara Slattery.
24/09/2128m 38s

The Nuclear Priesthood

How do we send a warning a hundred millennia into the future?Poet Paul Farley considers how we might warn people three thousand generations from now about the radioactive waste we’ve left in geological disposal facilities deep underground. As he does so he explores the essence of communication and storytelling and the elements of our language, art and culture which are truly universal.In countries across the world, including the UK, USA, France and Finland, the hunt is on for underground sites which will survive shifting tectonic plates or passing ice ages and remain secure for tens of millennia - maybe a hundred thousand years - until the radioactive waste they contain is no longer a danger. And once it’s buried, how do we leave a clear, unambiguous warning message - that this site is dangerous and should not be disturbed - for a society which may be utterly different from our own?Can we still use written language? Would pictures and symbols be more easily understood? Or could we construct a landscape of vast monuments to instil fear in anybody who saw them. Paul talks to writer Helen Gordon about her experience of visiting the Onkalo nuclear repository in Finland and the challenges of warning the future about what it contains.He hears from Jean-Noël Dumont, Manager of the Memory for Future Generations programme for the French nuclear agency Andra. For several years Andra has asked artists to devise a warning of the existence of a nuclear repository. Stéfane Perraud and Aram Kebabdjian responded with the idea of a Zone Bleue – a forest of genetically-modified blue trees which act as a memorial rather than a warning.In 1981 linguist Thomas Sebeok proposed the idea of a ‘nuclear priesthood’. The idea takes its inspiration from world faiths which have passed on their message for thousands of years. At an ancient Christian site in the shadow of Heysham nuclear power station Paul meets Robert Williams, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cumbria who, with American artist Bryan McGovern Wilson, has brought to life the idea of a Nuclear Priest, imagining their vestments, their rituals and role.There’s compelling evidence that oral traditions can carry memories of events not just for centuries but for thousands of years. Professor Patrick Nunn has been researching Indigenous Australian stories which appear to carry the folk memory of a time after the last ice age when sea levels were much lower – around ten thousand years.So could a story, a poem or a song be the answer? As the programme unfolds, Paul devises a poem to carry a warning to distant generations.Producer: Jeremy GrangeProgramme image courtesy of Robert Williams and Bryan McGovern Wilson with Michael Coombs. It was taken during the Alchemical Tour of Archaeological Sites in Cumbria and North Lancashire, as part of the Cumbrian Alchemy Project.
14/09/2128m 59s

Behind the Crime

As a society, we send close to 100,000 people to prison each year. But what happens to people while they’re behind bars?Sally Tilt and Dr Kerensa Hocken are forensic psychologists who work in prisons.Their role is to help people in prison look at the harm they’ve caused to other people, understand why it happened and figure out how to make changes to prevent further offending after they’ve been released.In Behind the Crime, they take the time to understand the life of someone who’s ended up in prison, and what happened afterwards.In this episode, they talk to 23 year-old Courtney, a mum who received a five-year sentence for her part in a series of armed robberies at the age of 17.Through the course of the conversation, they explore some of the key events in Courtney’s life and track some of the threads that led her down a path to prison.At the same time, Sally and Kerensa explain some of the methods they use to reach the core factors that can lead to people harming others – and how they then work with people in prison to prevent further harm from happening in the future.Producer: Andrew Wilkie Editor: Hugh Levinson A BBC Radio Current Affairs and Prison Radio Association co-production for BBC Radio 4Image: Sally Tilt and Dr Kerensa Hocken. Credit: Christopher Terry/Prison Radio Association
03/09/2144m 6s

Write Her Story

Why are women not used as the dramatic engines in drama more? asks double Oscar-winning, recent Tony, Bafta and Emmy Award-winning actress Glenda Jackson.Despite improvements, the statistics concur with her theory. With great contributions from actress Adjoa Andoh, director Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia, The Iron Lady), actress Harriet Walter, writer Sally Wainwright and director Richard Eyre.Presented by Glenda Jackson Produced by Pauline Harris
31/08/2129m 14s

Genetics and the longer arm of the law

It is almost 40 years since Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys discovered genetic fingerprints in his University of Leicester laboratory. Now DNA is an integral part of criminal investigations worldwide, providing vital evidence to secure convictions and exonerate the innocent.But the extraordinary breakthroughs in genetic science since then means a suite of new DNA tools is now available to police and law enforcement, as well as private citizens doing a spot of freelance crime fighting. How are these novel uses of forensic genetics overseen? And is there a risk of over-reach, the science running ahead of an ethical and regulatory framework?Turi King led the genetic identification of Richard III after his body was dug up in a Leicester City carpark. She's also a Professor of Genetics at the University of Leicester (Sir Alec was her mentor) and in this programme she explores the history of forensic DNA and the unanticipated role of family tree hobbyists and recreational genealogy databases in crime fighting.It was the recent Golden State killer case in the US where a serial murderer was eventually captured with the help of DNA, that thrust into the spotlight the use of private genealogy databases by law enforcement. Until this case hit the headlines the millions of family tree enthusiasts who had uploaded their DNA profiles in order to find their relatives, were blissfully unaware that the science in the genealogists' toolkit had been adopted by police officers hunting new leads in criminal cases.Turi meets one of the first private DNA detectives from the US, Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick, who coined the phrase "forensic genealogy". Colleen uses her skills as a genealogist (originally this was her hobby; she trained as a rocket scientist) to help police solve scores of cold cases. She tells Turi that the DNA genie is out of the bottle, and the stopper can't be put back in.And Turi discovers this is indeed the case. She hears about a group of private citizens, international freelance crime fighters, who, inspired by the Golden State killer case, are using DNA to track down abusive men.Lawyer and former army officer, Andrew MacLeod, spent years working in war zones and on disaster relief and humanitarian emergencies. Frustrated by what he saw as an institutional failure to stop the rape and abuse of women and girls by aid workers, peacekeeping soldiers and sex tourists, he decided to take direct action through a charity, Hear Their Cries.Their strategy is to match the DNA of children born from these abusive relationships, with relatives on the major genealogy databases ("we're doing family reunions" he tells Turi). Then, using classic genealogy skills, they can build the children's family tree and track down their fathers, wherever they might be in the world.A pilot project in the Philippines led to five out of six fathers in the UK, US, Canada and Australia being confronted with their paternity obligations. The long-term aim, he tells Turi, is to send the message that with the help of DNA to identify them, there will be no escape for abusive men. If they have committed a crime, they will eventually be tracked down and made to pay.Also in the programme: Gill Tully, former Forensic Science Regulator for England and Wales and Professor of Practice for Forensic Science Policy and Regulation at King's College, London; Carole McCartney, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at Northumbria University; Dr Connie Bormans, Laboratory Director for Family Tree DNA, commercial genetic testing company in Houston, Texas; Manfred Kayser, Professor of Forensic Molecular Biology and Head of the Department of Genetic Identification, Erasmus University, the Netherlands and David Baker, former Chief Superintendent Leicestershire Police, led the double murder hunt for the killer of teenagers Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in the 1980s.Producer: Fiona Hill
20/08/2138m 21s

Trading Blows?

Brexit has been a reality for seven months – long enough for fears and speculation to give way to actual experience of individual business people. How is British business faring outside the EU? Do they feel liberated, unchained from the rules of the European Union, or ensnared in a new tangle of unfamiliar red tape? How important are new trade deals in their calculations? This programme is not a definitive verdict. But amid all the wealth of commentary and speculation it is a snapshot of the experience so far of three industries. Mark Mardell looks at Scotch whisky – the country’s biggest and most profitable food and drink export, and talks to the man who prepared the giant drinks company Chivas Brothers for Brexit, and to the boss of a new small Glasgow distillery. He examines aerospace, another huge British money spinner which warned loudly of the dangers of Brexit to their pan-European business, sees how Airbus is coping now and peers in to the future to ask if entrepreneurs at the new cutting edge technology of vertical take-off drones and air taxis are finding fresh opportunities and pitfalls. And he hears from the maker of upmarket lawnmowers who says his customers are fanatical about their striped lawns. But are they taking advantage of predictions that Britain unfettered could prosper making powerful models banned by the European Union?Producer: Caroline Bayley
17/08/2137m 40s

Breaking Through

Breaking, also known as break-dancing, borne in New York City in the 1970s, is set to make its debut at the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.Four-time breaking world champion, BoxWon (Benyaamin Barnes McGee), traces how breaking went from Bronx block parties to NYC’s downtown art scene, to the world.Speaking to legends of breaking, such as Rock Steady Crew's Ken Swift and B-Boy Glyde from Dynamic Rockers, BoxWon reveals how punk impresario, Malcolm McLaren, helped breaking become a worldwide craze in the 1980s - before it vanished.But when the mainstream got bored, breaking didn’t die - it just went back underground, only to re-emerge a decade later more extreme than ever.Breaking is once again a global phenomenon, with pro dancers coming from all corners of the world – Russia, Japan, and South Korea are now home to some of the world’s very best.But when the International Olympic Committee confirmed breaking as a new sport for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, many people were taken by surprise.The last time they had heard of breaking was back in the 1980s - a fad which swiftly disappeared with shoulder pads and leg warmers.Breaking Through tells the fascinating story of how this dance-form survived and evolved outside of the media spotlight, fuelled by the scene’s die-hard devotees.Now, as it attracts global corporate sponsorship and demands for more stringent rules and regulations, we hear about the breaking world's own internal battle to maintain its integrity.Presenter: BoxWon (Benyaamin Barnes McGee) Producer: Simona Rata Research: Emmanuel AdelekunStudio Mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Fenton-Smith
10/08/2129m 24s

Speak Up

Women may be caricatured as babbling chatterboxes, but in public, women speak a lot less.Be it in conferences or committee meetings, television or parliamentary debates, women do not get a proportionate amount of air space as men.Mary Ann takes us on a global journey to find out why women aren't speaking up and if they are being disproportionally side-lined, excluded from the world's debates.She explores the role history and social conditioning plays: the ancient Babylonians thought if a woman spoke in public, she should have her teeth smashed with a burnt brick; in classrooms today boys get far more attention, teachers accepting their calling out of answers, while punishing girls for the same behaviour.She hears that when women do speak, they are often spoken over regardless of their status. In the Australian High Court, women judges and even the female presiding judge were regularly interrupted by male advocates. And women aren't heard in the same way as men; many struggle to see that a woman might be the expert in the room.So how can women be heard? In a year in which the head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said women talk too much and Jackie Weaver had to assert her authority in a fuming parish council meeting, we do need solutions.Should women be hesitant and tentative or bold and chatty? How can a slight change in the layout of a room make a fundamental difference? Mary Ann finds out how to speak up and be heard, to get your point across and influence both men and women.Interviewees: Deborah Cameron, Professor of Language and Communication, Oxford University, Chris Karpowitz, Professor of Political Science, Brigham Young University, David Sadker, Prof Emeritus at The American University, Linda Carli, Senior Lecturer Emerita in Psychology, Wellesley College, Ioana Latu, senior lecturer in Psychology, Queens University Belfast and author and speaking coach, Patricia SeabrightProducer: Sarah Bowen
06/08/2129m 2s

China in Slogans

As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary, Celia Hatton looks at how party slogans reveal the turbulent history of modern China. Throughout its existence, the party has used key slogans to communicate policy and mobilise the country's vast population. These messages reflect not just the ambitions of party leaders but also have a profound impact on the lives of millions. Using the BBC archive Celia examines the story behind eight key Communist Party slogans, from their early years as a guerrilla movement to the campaigns of China's current all-powerful leader Xi XInping.Contributors: Professor Vivienne Shue, Dr Jennifer Altehenger, Dr Olivia Cheung, author Lijia Zhang, Dr Rowena He, and New York Times correspondent Christopher Buckley.Presenter: Celia Hatton Producer: Alex Last Editor: Hugh Levinson
27/07/2158m 1s

Waiting for the Van

"I couldn't stand back anymore and just watch people die."In September 2020, drug policy activist Peter Krykant decided he'd had enough. The former heroin addict, turned frontline campaigner, bought a minivan and kitted it out with sanitisers and needles, a supply of naloxone- the medication used to reverse an opioid overdose- and a defibrillator.He parked it in Glasgow's city centre and opened its doors to homeless drug users who are most at risk of overdose.The van is operating as a drug consumption room (DCR), which are widely used in Europe and North America. But in Britain they're considered illegal under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, though legal experts dispute that.Scotland now holds a per capita death rate three times higher than anywhere else in Europe, tallying six straight years of record-setting, drug-related deaths. The SNP government has expressed support for bold initiatives, like DCRs, but claims its hands are tied by Westminster.A few years ago the Home Office had stepped in to halt plans for permament site in Glasgow. Since then DCRs have been at the centre of fierce debate.For Peter Krykant, setting up the van is not just about saving lives, but challenging drug policy.Presenter Dani Garavelli recorded with Peter at the van over eight months, getting to know him, his family and the users who rely on the service.Producer: Caitlin Smith
23/07/2137m 47s

My Cat, The Judge

Meet Velma: a cat with attitude. (Possibly...)And her owner, ​comedian Suzi Ruffell, who adores her pet - but thinks she's been getting a tad tetchy since they started spending more time together during the past year's various lockdowns.Is Suzi just projecting her own feelings onto an unsuspecting animal, or are those pointed stares a sign that Velma's passing frosty judgement on her owner's life choices?Together, they embark on a journey of discovery to find out more about cat behaviour and cognition, the world of feline research and the bond between cats and humans.And of course, to discover the answer to Suzi's burning question: is her cat judging her?Presented by Suzi Ruffell Produced by Lucy Taylor for BBC Audio in BristolFeaturing excerpts from: - The ending of an episode of the television show 'Pointless', produced for the BBC by Remarkable Television with theme tune composed by Marc Sylvan; - A video of Texas lawyer Rod Ponton appearing as a cat during a virtual court session, as shared online by Judge Roy Ferguson; - A video of 'Barney the Cat' playing the keyboard, as shared on TikTok via @mars.gilmanov.
09/07/2129m 16s

Lost for Words

Struggling to find words might be one of the first things we notice when someone develops dementia, while more advanced speech loss can make it really challenging to communicate with loved ones. And understanding what’s behind these changes may help us overcome communication barriers when caring for someone living with the condition.When Ebrahim developed Alzheimer’s Disease, for example, he’d been living in the UK for many years. Gradually his fluent English faded and he reverted to his mother tongue, Farsi - which made things tricky for his English-speaking family who were caring for him. Two decades on, his son, the journalist and author David Shariatmadari, seeks answers to his father’s experience of language loss. What can neuroscience reveal about dementia, ageing, and language changes? Why are some aspects of language more vulnerable than others - and, importantly, what are the best approaches to communicating with someone living with dementia?David reflects on archive recordings of his dad, and speaks to a family in a similar situation to theirs, to compare the ways they tried to keep communication alive. And he discovers there are actually clear benefits to bilingualism when it comes to dementia: juggling two or more languages can delay the onset of symptoms by around four years. So while losing one of his languages posed practical difficulties for Ebrahim, it’s possible that by speaking two languages in the first place, he was able to spend more valuable lucid years with his family.Presented by David Shariatmadari and produced by Cathy Edwards
06/07/2129m 0s

Return to the Homeless Hotel

A year after rough sleepers were given emergency accommodation during the first coronavirus lockdown, has the unprecedented operation had a lasting impact?In March 2020, Simon’s life was transformed, from sleeping in shop doorways in Manchester to an en suite room at the Holiday Inn. He was one of thousands of homeless people across the country offered somewhere to stay as the Covid-19 pandemic reached the UK. The highs and lows of Simon’s experience were captured in Radio 4’s The Homeless Hotel as he dealt with the challenges of his addictions, illness, and the fear of ending up back on the streets.In Return to the Homeless Hotel, reporter Simon Maybin asks where Simon is now. What’s happened to the hotel? And has the radical approach to accommodating people who are street homeless resulted in a radical reduction of rough sleepers - or a return to the status quo?Reporter/producer: Simon Maybin
22/06/2128m 50s

Adults, Almost

Frank and fearless teenagers from Company Three youth theatre spent 2020 making a time capsule of their lives in lockdown, from the day their schools shut down to the present. Re-cording on their phones, they created lively, intimate scenes from family life, reflecting on what it means to come of age without the usual rites of passage like exams and school leaving parties. They have lost much - but, as the year went on, they found sides to themselves that took them by surprise, and a new appreciation of relationships with other. Presented by Kezia Adewale and Shilton Freeman, the programme includes songs, jokes, sound recordings and thoughts from many other members of Company Three.Sound design and composition: Jon Nicholls.Producer: Monica Whitlock
18/06/2129m 10s

A Sense of Music

Music can make us feel happy and sad. It can compel us to move in time with it, or sing along to a melody. It taps into some integral sense of musicality that binds us together. But music is regimented, organised. That same 'sense' that lets us lean into Beethoven makes a bad note or a missed beat instantly recognisable. But does that same thing happen in the minds of animals? Can a monkey feel moved by Mozart? Will a bird bop to a beat?Do animals share our 'Sense of Music'?Charles Darwin himself thought that the basic building blocks of an appreciation for music were shared across the animal kingdom. But over decades of scientific investigation, evidence for this has been vanishingly rare.Fresh from his revelation that animals' experience of time can be vastly different to our own, in the award-winning programme 'A Sense of Time', presenter Geoff Marsh delves once more into the minds of different species. This time he explores three key aspects of musicality: rhythm, melody and emotional sensitivity.Geoff finds rhythm is lacking in our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. But it's abundantly clear in a dancing Cockatoo, and internet sensation, named Snowball. He speaks with scientists who have revealed that birds enjoy their own music, but may be listening for something completely different to melody. And Geoff listens to music composed for tamarin monkeys, that apparently they find remarkably relaxing, but which sets us on edge.In 'A Sense of Music', discover what happens when music meets the animal mind.Produced by Rory Galloway Presented by Geoff Marsh
11/06/2129m 7s

Descendants: Episode One

One year on from the toppling of the Colston Statue in Bristol, Descendants asks... how close is each of us to the legacy of Britain's role in slavery? And who does that mean our lives are connected to?Yrsa Daley-Ward narrates seven episodes telling the stories of people whose lives today are all connected through this history.The story begins with Jen Reid – whose image first captured attention of the national and international press after a replacement statue of her appeared on the plinth where Colston once stood. In the first episode, we discover the connection between Jen's ancestors in Jamaica and another family 3000 miles away in Detroit. Scrolling backwards and forwards in time, their stories span 200 years and take us on a journey from a plantation field in Jamaica to a football pitch in Scotland and a connection to a legendary figure of the 20th century.Producers: Polly Weston, Candace Wilson, Rema Mukena Editor: Kirsten Lass Academic consultants: Matthew Smith and Rachel Lang of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery at UCL Additional genealogical research is by Laura Berry
01/06/2128m 31s

Daft Punk Is Staying at My House, My House

It was 1994, and legendary techno duo Slam were booked to play an event in Disneyland Paris. “We had a couple of days to kill, and a friend got in touch to say he knew these two young French musicians who wanted to give us music they’d made.”The “young French musicians” Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were still in their teens at that point, and Daft Punk was under a year old. Stuart McMillan distinctly remembers hearing their 4-track demo for the first time; “We were blown away!”Composed of Orde Meikle and Stuart McMillan, Slam launched independent electronic record label Soma in 1991. It had a very DIY ethos. Along with manager Dave Clarke, they’d overseen a number of influential releases. It was Slam’s own track ‘Positive Education’ that piqued Thomas and Guy-Manuel’s interest. They recognised Slam as kindred spirits, and Soma as the label they wanted to launch Daft Punk, and that's when things went really wild.This is the story of Daft Punk's earliest beginnings on Glasgow's techno scene.Narration written by Kirstin Innes Narrated by Kate Dickie Mixed by Alison Rhynas Produced by Victoria McArthur
25/05/2129m 1s

One Night in March

One night in 2012, Anthony Grainger went out and never came home. He was shot dead by Greater Manchester Police in an operation beset with errors and blunders. Why is his family still fighting for accountability?
21/05/2138m 6s

Thinking In Colour

Passing is a term that originally referred to light skinned African Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. The civil rights activist Walter White claimed in 1947 that every year in America, 12-thousand black people disappeared this way. He knew from first-hand experience. The black president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had blonde hair and blue eyes which meant he was able to investigate lynching in the Deep South, while passing in plain sight.In a strictly segregated society, life on the other side of the colour line could be easier. But it came at a price.Here, Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology at Manchester University, explores stories of racial passing through the prism of one of his favourite books, Passing, by Nella Larsen.The 1929 novella brought the concept into the mainstream. It tells the story of two friends; both African-American though one 'passes' for white. It's one of Gary Younge's, favourite books, for all that it reveals about race, class and privilege.Gary speaks with Bliss Broyard, who was raised in Connecticut in the blue-blood, mono-racial world of suburbs and private schools. Her racial identity was ensconced in the comfort of insular whiteness. Then in early adulthood Bliss' world was turned upside down. On her father's deathbed she learned he was in fact a black man who had been passing as white for most of his life. How did this impact Bliss' identity and sense of self?Gary hears three extraordinary personal accounts, each a journey towards understanding racial identity, and belonging. With Bliss Broyard, Anthony Ekundayo Lennon, Georgina Lawton and Professor Jennifer DeVere Brody.Excerpts from 'Passing' read by Robin Miles, the Broadway actress who has narrated books written by Kamala Harris and Roxane Gay.Producer: Caitlin Smith Executive Producer: Tony PhillipsPhoto: Bliss and her dad Anatole, taken by Sandy Broyard
18/05/2128m 50s

Life On Hold

The number of people accessing mental health services in the UK has reached record levels since the start of the pandemic. Many are seeking help for the first time, for others delays in treatment have made life in lockdown much harder.The Royal College of Psychiatrists claims the number of adults experiencing some form of depression has doubled since March 2020. They say NHS services are struggling to cope with demand, meaning some people are having to wait weeks for referrals. Life on hold follows six people as they navigate their way through mental health services. They tell us how they have coped, offer their experiences of support and set out their hopes for life post-lockdown.Among them is Jessie, a frontline worker, who started experiencing anxiety while working to help those suffering from coronavirus. Matt’s ongoing battle with depression became worse after losing his job at the start of the pandemic, while Anjani, a student at Nottingham University struggled being thousands of miles away from her family in India. These are intimate stories of the widespread, but less publicised battle being played out as the world fought Covid 19.Produced and Presented by Anna Hodges Technical Production by Mike Smith
14/05/2129m 9s

After a Death

News of people being killed in knife attacks recurs with tragic regularity, but the reports rarely touch on the impact on the victim’s family and friends. In this programme Sarah O'Connell sets out to understand these ripple effects — some perhaps expected, others likely not — as she explores the case of Russell “Barty” Brown, who was stabbed to death in Bethnal Green, east London, in September 2016.As she speaks to Barty's friends and family, to the medic who treated him and a witness to this terrible incident, Sarah hears about the gap he has left in all their lives, and what kind of a man he was in life.Producer: Giles Edwards Executive Producer: Martin Rosenbaum Sound Engineer: Hal Haines.
04/05/2138m 24s

The Northern Bank Job: Episode One

It was the biggest bank robbery in British and Irish history. Days before Christmas 2004, gangs of armed men take over the homes of two Northern Bank officials in Belfast and County Down. With family members held hostage, the officials are instructed to remove cash from the vaults of Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast city-centre and load it into the back of a van - not once, but twice - before the van disappears into the night, along with more than £26.5 million in new and used notes. With the finger of blame pointed at the IRA, the raid makes headlines around the world and sends shock-waves through an already faltering Northern Ireland peace process.Through dramatized court testimonies, new interviews and archive, Glenn Patterson takes us into the unfolding story of a meticulously planned heist and its chaotic aftermath. Military precision giving way to soap powder boxes stuffed with cash. The bickering of politicians against the silence of the man said to be the robbery’s mastermind. There are even rumours that proceeds from the robbery are to be used as a pension fund for IRA members as it prepares to disarm and disband.Glenn Patterson has unfinished business with the Northern Bank Job. In fact, he thinks all of Northern Ireland does.Episode One: Unexpected Visitors Northern Bank employee Chris Ward is watching TV with his dad when there's a knock at the door. Kevin McMullan is at home with his wife Kyran when Police come to tell them there's been a road traffic accident. But all is not as it seems...Presenter: Glenn PattersonActors: Louise Parker, Conor O'Donnell & Thomas FinneganMusic: Phil Kieran Executive Editor: Andy Martin Producer: Conor GarrettA BBC Northern Ireland production for Radio 4
27/04/2115m 45s

A Pyrotechnic History of Humanity: Fire

This is the first in a four-part series looking at the energy revolutions that drove human history. In this programme Justin Rowlatt goes right back to the origin of our species two million years ago to explore how the mastery of fire by early humans transformed our metabolism, helping us to evolve our uniquely energy-hungry brains.The physical evidence for early use of fire is frustratingly thin on the ground, according to archaeologist Carolina Mallol. But primatologist Jill Pruetz says she has learned a lot from observing chimpanzees interact with wildfires on the African savanna.Research collaborators Rachel Carmody and Richard Wrangham theorise that our ancestors' unique ability to cook their food transformed the way our bodies access the energy it contains - something Justin seeks to test out by going on a raw food diet. The bounty of metabolic energy it delivered may have enabled us to become the formidably intelligent species we are today, according to neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, transforming us into prolific hunters who conquered the world.Producer: Laurence Knight Presenter: Justin Rowlatt Studio manager: Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinator: Zoe Gelber Editor: Rosamund Jones
20/04/2129m 24s

Iran’s Secret Art Collection

In the decade leading up to the Iranian revolution of 1979, the Shah's wife, Farah Pahlavi spent much of her time encouraging the building of museums and institutions intended to celebrate the art and craft of the country. But alongside buildings housing priceless carpets and glassware, she was also keen to use the country's oil wealth to bring examples of modern western art to the capital, Tehran. The result was the collection of works by Jackson Pollock, Henry Moore, Picasso, Bacon, Chagall and Renoir. It remains one of the most valuable collections outside Europe and the US. She even commissioned a portrait by Andy Warhol. The ambition was to house these very expensive works alongside the modern art of Iran in the newly designed and proudly modernist Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. But in 1979, Her Royal Highness had to flee Iran with her husband and the Islamic revolution had little time or appetite for Western art. Through a mix of bravery on the part of local curators, and good luck, the collection survived. Alastair Sooke talks to Her Royal Highness Farah Pahlavi about the collection and discovers why the popular press coverage suggesting that it was her vanity project was so wrong. He also speaks to Joachim Jaeger, the German Art Director who so nearly managed to organise an exhibition of part of the collection in the west a few years ago. It was to be seen in Berlin and Rome before returning home. The exhibition planners in both Germany, Italy and Iran, had got as far as printing a catalogue when the political authorities in Iran decided it wouldn't be going ahead. And Alastair hears from those who remember the pre-revolutionary days when the ambition to bring the arts of East and West together in Iran seemed, not only possible, but inevitable. The Empress even kept a memoir in which she explained her vision for the culture of her country, in spite of the turmoil going on outside the palace gates. Will this extraordinary collection, some of which is now being shown in Tehran for the first time in years, be a force for change in cultural mood? Or will the challenge of works by Francis Bacon and Henry Moore stay safe, but out of the public gaze?Producer: Tom Alban
16/04/2129m 30s

Where is Jack Ma?

On the eve of what would have been the world's largest share listing, Ant Financial, estimated to float for over $300bn, it's founder Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire mysteriously disappeared. Things started to go wrong for Ma after he told a room full of banking regulators that their methods were out of date and not fit for purpose. Shortly afterwards, the Chinese government cancelled the listing and Jack went silent. The extroverted charismatic billionaire, who once flourished in the public eye, simply did not show up at key events.It's happening more and more often in China: some of the country's most famous and powerful people are disappearing after coming into conflict with the Communist Party. China's most famous actress, the Chinese head of the international police agency Interpol and even a top news presenter all disappeared.So what's happened to Jack Ma? In this program journalist Celia Hatton, who spent 15 years living and reporting in China, investigates. Celia asks if Ma is just keeping a low profile or is something more sinister at play? What does Jack Ma’s disappearance tell us about China's relationship with big business, the future direction of its economy and its attitude towards the growing number of domestic tech billionaires?Producer: Rajeev Gupta(Clips used: CBS, CNN, World Economic Forum, Alibaba Group, Financial Times)
13/04/2129m 19s

The Nazi Next Door

In a dusty attic in the Yorkshire hills sits the life’s work of John Kingston, a man who spent decades investigating whether his own stepfather, Stanislaw Chrzanowski, was, in fact, a Nazi war criminal.Whilst most knew ‘Mr Stan’ as a friendly pensioner, growing fruit for his neighbours and zipping around his village in the Midlands on his mobility scooter, John was convinced he was hiding a dark secret. Unable to shake the terrifying bedtime stories his stepdad told him as a child, John spent his adult life trying to expose the truth.When John died in 2018, the year after his stepfather, the files, photographs, and hours of secret recordings he made were left boxed up in his attic, until now, when they were discovered by BBC journalist Nick Southall.Nick has been investigating the extraordinary story of Stanislaw Chrzanowski for over 5 years, trying to establish if this man, who settled here to help Britain rebuild after the war, had also helped the Nazis kill tens of thousands of Jews in his homeland of Belarus.Told using the archive of secret recordings found in John’s attic, and hearing from eyewitnesses who knew Stan Chrzanowski as ‘a butcher’, this often chilling story takes us from Birmingham, to Berlin to the Killing Fields of Belarus. In it, Nick seeks to answer two questions - was ‘Mr Stan’ the monster his stepson believed he was? And, if so, what was the real reason he never saw justice for his crimes?Reporter: Nick Southall Producer: Mick Tucker Editor: Carl Johnston
06/04/2136m 55s

Making Demille

In 2016 when producer Georgia first met him, Demille was a cycle courier in his early twenties, taking his company to a tribunal over better working conditions. He was fired-up, political, and excited about a case he would go on to win.For the past five years, Georgia and Demille have been meeting and recording.Demille’s story is one of being young and trying to stay afloat in the gig economy; of resilience and hope and trying to find control over his city and life.Producer: Georgia Catt
02/04/2128m 58s

Mitchell on Meetings: The Thing

David Mitchell investigates meetings from the ancient "thing" to zoom. Also on the agenda: executive coach Sophie Bryan teaches David to chair a meeting; fellow comedian Russell Kane explores how different personality types behave in meetings; and Dutch sociologist Wilbert van Vree sums up several millennia of meetings history.Producer: Chris Ledgard
26/03/2129m 7s

The Jump: Covid-19

Chris van Tulleken explores the human behaviours causing pandemics, paying the price for getting too close to animals by degrading their territory and allowing viruses to jump. What's clear is that Covid-19 was inevitable; that a coronavirus would jump in Asia was predicted in at least 3 papers in early 2019. It's a symptom of degraded ecosystems leading to intimate contact with animals we don't normally encounter.When examining the origins of Covid-19, perhaps the most amazing aspect is the number of different possibilities. Bats as medicine, bats as food, bat transmission to other intermediate animals - mink farmed for fur or raccoon dogs hunted as game. We don't know if it jumped in a home or a wet market or in a cave. Chris talks to NERVTAG virologist Prof Wendy Barclay who explains why she thinks it's not the case that it escaped from a lab. Plus ecologist and bat enthusiast Prof Kate Jones argues that invasive human behaviours are offering these viruses multiple chances to jump into people – mostly all totally hidden from sight - but is optimistic as the UK Government asks her to advise on spillover risks and how to achieve sustainable landscapes. While Dr Peter Daszak and Dr William Karesh from EcoHealth Alliance highlight how climate change and pandemic risk are interconnected; all the solutions already identified to tackle global warming will also help prevent the next virus from jumping.Produced by Erika Wright Edited by Deborah Cohen
12/03/2129m 12s

Faith, Lies and Conversion Therapy

Despite the overwhelming evidence that human sexuality is innate and immutable over time, proponents of conversion 'therapies' have sought to change or 'fix' queer peoples' sexuality for much of the 20th century. Presenter Caitlin Benedict speaks with scientists, historians and survivors to uncover the heinous practices that LGBT+ people were subjected to with the guise of changing their sexuality, including lobotomies and chemical castration. Caitlin examines how adherents of these 'therapies' adapted to the improving legal and social recognition for homosexuals by modifying conversion practices to embrace Freudian psychoanalytic techniques. Evangelical churches took up the baton left by the discredited 'treatments' in the effort to suppress or 'repair' the sexualities of their LGBT+ congregation, and Caitlin asks what faith groups are doing today to eliminate these practices within their communities.During the summer of 2020, Prime minister Boris Johnson called conversion therapy 'absolutely abhorrent' and promised to 'bring forward plans to ban it'. Caitlin speaks with one of the people responsible for a recent ban on change and suppression practices in the Australian state of Victoria, earlier this year, and seeks to understand how easy a ban will be to implement.And how will any ban on conversion practices affect the trans community? Caitlin speaks with the MP Alicia Kearns about why she thinks any bill to enact a ban must protect trans people while ensuring that psychotherapists are still able to provide affirmative support for their patients. Presenter: Caitlin Benedict (they/them) Producer: Rory Galloway (he/him)
09/03/2128m 48s

The Price of Song

Seriously is home to the world’s best audio documentaries and podcast recommendations, and host Vanessa Kisuule brings you two fascinating new episodes every week.
05/03/2129m 23s

Made of Stronger Stuff: The Heart

Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand focus on the heart, which has been branded the seat of emotion by generations of poets and songwriters.They find out whether it’s medically possible to die from a broken heart, hear from a woman who lived for 16 months without a human heart, and Xand opens up about how Long Covid is affecting his heart.Producer: Dan Hardoon Researcher: Emily Finch Executive Producer: Kate Holland A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4
26/02/2135m 35s

The Battersea Poltergeist – Ep1: 63 Wycliffe Road

63 Wycliffe Road is an ordinary house on a quiet South London street, but in 1956, it becomes famous as the site of an alleged poltergeist. The strange events focus around teenager Shirley Hitchings – but is it a haunting or hoax? Ghost hunter Harold Chibbett arrives to investigate.This series blends drama and documentary to explore an intriguing paranormal cold case. As we hear the original haunting brought to life, host Danny Robins begins his own present-day investigation – what really happened to terrify the Hitchings family 65 years ago?Written and Presented by Danny Robins, starring Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Toby Jones (Detectorists, Capote), Burn Gorman and Alice Lowe, with original theme music by Mercury-nominated Nadine Shah and Ben Hillier, this gripping 8-part series interweaves a chilling supernatural thriller set in 50s London with a fascinating modern-day investigation into Britain’s strangest ever haunting – a mystery unsolved... until now.Cast: Shirley Hitchings........Dafne Keen Harold Chibbett.........Toby Jones Wally Hitchings........Burn Gorman Kitty Hitchings..........Alice Lowe Ethel Hitchings..........Sorcha Cusack John Hitchings........Calvin Demba Mrs Cameroo..........Amina ZiaWritten and presented by Danny Robins With thanks to James Clark, co-author of 'The Poltergeist Prince of London' Consultant: Alan Murdie Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow Sound Designer: Richard Fox Music: Evelyn Sykes Theme Music by Nadine Shah and Ben Hillier Produced by Danny Robins and Simon Barnard Directed by Simon Barnard​A Bafflegab Production for BBC Radio 4
23/02/2131m 4s

Sideways: Siding with the Enemy

Best-selling author Matthew Syed explores the ideas that shape our lives with stories of seeing the world differently.A criminal walks into a Swedish bank brandishing a machine gun. He takes a handful of bank workers hostage. The police lock the victims and their captors in the vault and then things start to get weird. Despite being held captive and threatened with violence, the hostages side with the criminals.Stockholm Syndrome is born.In this episode, Matthew Syed reexamines the birth of this peculiar psychiatric disorder and discovers that all is not what it seems.Producer: Gemma Newby Music, Sound Design and Mix: Benbrick Series Editor: Russell Finch Executive Producers: Sean Glynn and Max O'BrienA Novel production for BBC Radio 4
16/02/2129m 11s

Battle for the Capitol

In the run up to the 2020 Presidential election, journalist Leah Sottile explored the motivations and agendas of America’s far right for the Radio 4 series Two Minutes Past Nine. Recordings were made against a backdrop of a country that felt tense, divided and dangerous.In the past month, a lot has happened. In this reactive and raw programme, Leah explores America’s far-right at this very moment; fired up by conspiracies, frustrations, and the defeat of the first President they have ever supported.On Wednesday 6th January, as a Joint Session of Congress met to certify the election of Joe Biden, Trump supporters breached security lines and stormed the Capitol Building in scenes that looked straight out of the racist hate filled propaganda novel The Turner Diaries. Two pipe bombs were found just blocks away at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees.Leah asks how Donald Trump has managed to manipulate a rabble of foot-soldier extremists and asks what’s next - and how worried we should be.Interviews include Kelvin Pierce, son of William Luther Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, Kerry Noble, and former elder of far right militant group The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord.With thanks to Dave Hawkins for the additional archive.Presenter: Leah Sottile Producer: Georgia Catt
25/01/2128m 24s

39 Ways to Save the Planet: Wood for Good

Tom Heap introduces an episode of Radio 4's new environmental podcast which looks at 39 great ideas to relieve the stress that climate change is exerting on the planet.Trees soak up carbon dioxide, trees store carbon dioxide. So why not build with wood instead of concrete and steel? The usual reason is strength, but Dr Michael Ramage at Cambridge University has what he thinks is the answer- cross-laminated timber. It's strong enough to build a skyscraper and replaces lots of that carbon from conventional building. Tom Heap and Dr Tamsin Edwards take a look at the global possibilities of cities built of wood.Producer : Alasdair Cross
20/01/2114m 33s

I Am Robert Chelsea

The first African-American to have a face transplant tells his own story - in a documentary about faith, identity and character. Robert suffered horrific burns in a car accident - but survived and went ahead with a series of demanding surgical operations in an attempt to restore his appearance. A shortage of black donors meant it was a long wait for his doctors to find even a partial match for his skin colour. In a moving narrative, Robert, his friends, family and doctors reflect on his remarkable journey. Producer: Ben Davis
08/01/2129m 5s

Sci-Fi Blindness

From Victorian novels to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, sci-fi regularly returns to the theme of blindness. Peter White, who was heavily influenced as a child by one of the classics, sets out to explore the impact of these explorations of sight on blind and visually impaired people. He believes a scene in The Day pf the Triffids by John Wyndham imbued him with a strange confidence - and he considers the power of science fiction to present an alternative reality for blind readers precisely at a time when lockdown and social distancing has seen visually impaired people marginalised. He talks to technology producer Dave Williams about Star Trek The Next Generation's Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen talks about Birdbox and world-building from a blind point of view in James L Cambias's A Darkling Sea. Professor Hannah Thompson of Royal Holloway University of London takes us back to 1910 to consider The Blue Peril - a novel which in some ways is more forward thinking in its depiction of blindness than Hollywood now. And Doctor Who actor Ellie Wallwork gives us her take on why blindness is so fascinating to the creators of science fiction. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Kevin Core
05/01/2128m 56s

Can I Talk About Heroes?

Vicky Foster's award-winning Radio 4 Audio Drama Bathwater looked at the effect the murder in 2005 in Hull of the father of her children, a firefighter, is still having on her family .In this documentary, Can I talk about Heroes ? Vicky looks at the way society creates heroes, whether the meaning and significance of that label has changed in recent times and if the term is still useful .This questioning has been prompted by her own story. Stephen Gallant, convicted of the murder of Vicky's ex-partner,was out on day licence attending a prisoner rehabilitation event in November 2019 when he tackled the London Bridge terrorist with a narwhal tusk, which caught the attention of the public and the media. He was quickly branded a 'hero' .Vicky Foster talks to Dr Zeno Franco, Associate Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin Emma Kinder, Victim Support’s Homicide Regional Manager Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, Head of Services at Vitality Homes Recovery Centre Mel, a nurse working on a covid ward.Produced by Susan Roberts, BBC Audio North
29/12/2037m 38s

Scientists in the Spotlight

Back in 2019, most scientists struggled to get any media attention. Now scientists involved in fighting the pandemic are generating media headlines, daily. On top of working harder than ever to understand the virus and how it spreads, many have become public figures. Some have been caught in the headlights. Others have stepped into the footlights. Many have found themselves at the centre of highly politicised conversations - not something their scientific training has prepared them for particularly well. And the fact that everyone is now an expert on R numbers and immunology has created a new set of challenges. Jim Al-Khalili talks to the scientists who have been in the media spotlight in 2020 and hears about some of the challenges they've faced trying to tell us what they know.We may look to science for certainty (all the more so during uncertain times) but there is no magic moment when scientists can announce with absolute certainty that ‘this is how it is’. And now that science is being reported in real time revealing the bumpy road to discovery, there is a risk that our faith in science will be undermined. But scientists airing their dirty laundry in this way could result in a much greater appreciation of the true nature of scientific knowledge and how it’s formed. Perhaps during these difficult times, a new relationship between scientists and the media has been forged? Scientists have been the source of non-stop news. And maybe journalists have help science to progress by synthesising scientific findings and interpreting what they mean. When the pandemic is over, will scientists continue to be part of the national debate?Producer: Anna Buckley(First aired 15 December 2020)
22/12/2039m 6s

Apocalypse How

In the first of a series looking at existential threats to humanity, Jolyon Jenkins asks whether an electromagnetic pulse bomb could send us literally back to the dark agesThe arrival of COVID has brought home to us just how vulnerable we are to external threats, but we've been lucky that it hasn't been a lot worse. So what else is out there that might hit us from nowhere? For many years, some campaigners, particularly on the American right, have been talking up the threat of a nuclear weapon, detonated high in the atmosphere, that could, according to a congressional commission, wipe out 90 per cent of the population in the first 12 months, by bringing down the electric grid and frying electronic devices. They claim that China, North Korea, Russia, and even some terrorist groups might be capable of staging such an attack.Mainstream arms control experts don't give the idea much credence, but they rarely engage with the detail of the argument. So is this a real threat, or just the right's attempt to conjure up an apocalypse that can be survived if you have enough guns, food and defensible real estate?Presenter and producer: Jolyon Jenkins
08/12/2029m 30s

Generation Covid

What has the experience of children and young people living in the era of Covid-19 done for their mental health and wellbeing?Mental health researcher Sally Marlow speaks to epidemiologists, clinicians, parents, and young people themselves to try to evaluate how the challenges of 2020 might have impacted our youngest and more vulnerable members of society. In a sector already in need of investment and refreshment, some have called the situation an imminent “second pandemic”, but is that really the case?Epidemiologists have previously worked with door-to-door and school-based questionnaires to try to evaluate what younger people are going through, and this way have tracked the ongoing rise in numbers experiencing mental health needs. But those scientific tools of objective data gathering which are so crucial to determine mental health policy have not been available this year.The lack of social contact and the closure of schools and youth groups, necessitated by lockdown measures, have also taken away much of mental health professionals’ ability to support the children and young people they work with. So both at the frontline and at a policy level mental health professionals have had to find new ways to work.Some trends are coming through, and they are not positive.But of more concern are the extremes of the scales. As with many aspects of our pre-Covid society, it seems it is the inequalities that are being magnified. Many vulnerable children and young are at increased risk, including those in mainstream schooling, and those who are being looked after by the state. And as with many physical diseases elsewhere in society, remote rather than face-to-face provision may be storing up problems for the future, as fewer and fewer satisfactory diagnoses can be made, and it’s not clear whether digital interventions can deliver the support needed.Children and young people, as Anne Longford, Children’s Commissioner for England, tells Sally, are in need of their own Nightingale-scale moment.Presenter: Sally Marlow Producer: Alex Mansfield
04/12/2038m 12s

Inside the Brain of Jeff Bezos

David Baker reveals the thinking and the values that have made Jeff Bezos the richest man on the planet, and Amazon the most wildly successful company, even in a year when the global economy faces catastrophe.Speaking to senior colleagues within his businesses, longstanding business partners and analysts, David Baker learns the secrets to Amazon's success, and the impact of Jeff Bezos' ideas on all of the commercial, cultural and now environmental sectors - on Earth and beyond - that have been influenced by his investments and activity.Producer: Jonathan Brunert
01/12/2038m 12s

Living with the Dragon

How have recent British governments handled the UK's relationship with China and what does this tell us about the way to live with China today? Nick Robinson talks to former leading politicians, diplomats and officials to cast light on the risks and the rewards. Drawing on his personal experience reporting on prime ministerial visits to China, he recalls telling encounters and the challenges they reveal.Contributors: Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary Lord Charles Powell, former Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Margaret Thatcher Lord Stewart Wood, former adviser to Gordon Brown Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former National Security Adviser Sir Craig Oliver, former Downing Street Director of Communications Tom Fletcher CMG, former Downing Street Foreign Policy Adviser John Gerson CMG, former adviser on China to Margaret Thatcher Katherine Morton, Professor of Global Affairs, Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street Chief of Staff Nick Timothy, former Downing Street Chief of StaffPresenter: Nick Robinson Producer: Sheila Cook
27/11/2038m 34s

The Corrections:Trojan Horse

In 2014 an anonymous letter was sent to journalists detailing a 5 step plan to Islamise schools in Birmingham. The so-called Trojan Horse Affair sparked hundreds of articles and several investigations. But the letter was not all it seemed. The Corrections asks, what was going on behind the headlines?Presenter Jo Fidgen speaks to key players, reporters and media watchers about how the coverage measured up to the reality. How did a local education story become a national security issue? And what dilemmas do journalists face when in receipt of an anonymous tip-off?In a 3-part series, Jo explores how two incompatible narratives developed; how the controversial word ‘extremism’ entered the fray; and what the affair revealed about Britishness. Narrative consultant John Yorke is on hand to explain how storytelling techniques possibly influenced the direction the Trojan Horse story took, and why – in the end – we hear only the version that supports our tribe.Presenter: Jo Fidgen Editor: Emma Rippon
24/11/2029m 59s

Losing It

Through a set of new poems, Caleb Femi, former Young People's Laureate for London, looks back on his first experiences with sex and explores the pressures on teenage boys around losing their virginity. He speaks to his friend, the writer Yomi Sode, about their experiences growing up; to Nathaniel Cole, a workshop facilitator, writer and public speaker on mental health, masculinity, and relationships; and to a group of 17 year old boys from a London school."I’ve always tried to avoid writing about love and sex and all the clichéd things you’d expect a poet to write about. But then lockdown happened and as many of us know, lockdown has a very reflective effect on you. I found myself going back to the beginning… to my teenage years, to all the things that shaped my ideas about sex, gender, love, intimacy, how I relate to women, and what I thought it was to be a man. And how difficult it was to talk about it openly - to express my concerns, my curiosities, my insecurities. I began writing a new set of poems about my first experiences with sex, and started talking to other men and boys about their experiences. I guess my hope is that, by talking more openly about these things that are sometimes hard or awkward to talk about, things will be a little bit different for young people, for teenagers coming up and trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world."There’s no ceremony that my hands know of But to tremble at the thought of touching you And claiming to know what it is I am touching The history of your skin - the story Of its complexion - the craftsmanship of that birthmark I am an idiot playing the role of a surveyor When the truth is this plain it is believable How you find the patience is the real magic of this moment They said I’d become a man here No such thing has happenedCaleb is a poet and director featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. Using film, photography and music Caleb pushes the boundaries of poetry both on the page, in performance and on digital mediums. He has written and directed short films commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4 and poems by the Tate Modern, The Royal Society for Literature, St Paul's Cathedral, the BBC, the Guardian and many more. Between 2016-2018, Caleb was the Young People's Laureate for London working with young people on a city, national and global level. Caleb performs and speaks internationally on major stages, and at institutions and festivals. He works on global advertising campaigns.Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio in Bristol.
17/11/2028m 54s

Can I Still Read Harry Potter?

Journalist and fan Aja Romano examines their decision to close the books on the boy wizard and hears different viewpoints toward Harry Potter and contemporary readership.Aja Romano has been a Harry Potter fan for many years, but after personally disagreeing with statements by their author JK Rowling regarding gender identity, they are considering closing the books for good.Across the world, millions continue to embrace the Wizarding World in all its forms and JK Rowling has received a lot of support for speaking out on an important issue in a personal way.With this in mind Aja assesses the different factors at play in their choice, speaking to cultural experts, academics and fans and considering influences such as social media, trends in fan communities, "cancelling" , literary theory and more. With contributions from critic Sam Leith, writer Gavin Haynes , journalist Sarah Shaffi, Dr Ika Willis and fans Jackson Bird and Patricio Tarantino.'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' film trailer clip courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Director: Chris Columbus.Produced by Sam Peach
13/11/2028m 52s

East Meets West

The UK may have a divide north and south, but how about east and west? Chris Mason takes a virtual journey from Whitby in the east to the Lake District in the west to find out. Chris was born and brought up in the Yorkshire Dales, straddling the centre of the country, so he has had a foot in both camps. But is there a real difference in the east from the west? Certainly the weather, the geology, and the landscapes are contrasting in nature. Chris Mason talks to artists, poets, farmers and journalists about their different identities east and west, and listens carefully as the accents change on his imagined journey across the country.
10/11/2028m 49s

Playing With The Dead

Art has long promised to transport us, to enable us to step outside ourselves and encounter experiences we never would otherwise. Now Jordan Erica Webber explores a possibility only video games can offer, a way to commune with long-dead friends and relatives, sometimes years after their deaths.This experience has a familiar ring to it – finding a photo, a video, or a loved one’s notes scrawled in the margins of a book – but it’s also profoundly different, because in video games you can get to interact with your loved one, to play with their ghost.Sometimes this is accidental: a deceased parent’s data left as a high score, a ghostly shape that races you to the finish line, or Artificial Intelligence storing some part of the person and surprising us with them later. But some game designers have memorialised loved ones in their art intentionally, like Dan Hett, who made a series of microgames about the loss of his brother Martyn in the Manchester Arena bombing, or Ryan and Amy Green who coded their son Joel into a video game character that has already outlived him.Can you bear to beat the high score and erase that recording forever? And when do the Greens stop playing with Joel? This programme examines profound questions that have been posed in all kinds of art from poetry to sculpture to performance, and asks what it means when the ghosts are interactive.Producers: Giles Edwards and Patrick Cowling
03/11/2028m 50s

The Year the Music Stopped

For musician and poet Arlo Parks, 2020 was set to be massive. Festivals, a US tour. Then the world shifted. Her gigs were postponed, festivals cancelled. We watched Glastonbury's empty fields from our sofas where Arlo played, but only for the cows.So instead, she did gigs online, put out new tracks to wide critical acclaim, wrote new music and published poetry on social media. Her thoughtful, intimate music has been the soundtrack to many people's life in lockdown. But still, live performing is on hold. Her fans, once singing her lyrics back at her at shows, feel very far away. She left a bit of her heart out there, on the road.The Coronavirus pandemic has struck a huge blow to everyone involved in the music industry. While the world gets back to some kind of normal, Arlo explores what the psychological effect will be of a world with - for now - no live music in it. She asks other artists she admires like poet and hip-hop artist Kojey Radical, Ed O'Brien from Radiohead, Yannis Philippakis from the band Foals and indie singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, how they've dealt with the void. How have they managed the impact on their creative process and where do the silver linings lie? She asks them what lasting impact this time will have on their live performances once the world's venues are open for business again. And she connects with her fans, the people she can't wait to get back to see in the flesh, down in the auditorium.Presented by Arlo Parks. Produced by Clare Salisbury for BBC Audio in Bristol.Photo by Adrian Lee.
29/10/2029m 13s

The Karen Meme

Tricky is the place to discuss difficult questions away from the bear pit of social media.Drag artist Vanity Von Glow, poet Iona Lee, relationship & sex educator, Esther De La Ford and actor Karen Bartke discuss the 'Karen' meme.Karen is a slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman, who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people's behaviours. It’s similar to the male term 'Gammon' in that they both refer to furious opinionated white people. ‘Karen’ began as shorthand in the US's black community but was popularised right across all sorts of service industries.For the Karen on our panel it puts her off complaining about anything, in case she's accused of ‘being such a Karen' especially because that's her name! But is it now being used simply as a means to shut women down when they express an opinion that usually a man doesn't like? Who is the arbiter of when the meme is being correctly used or is that simply the nature of these things that once they're out they take on a life of their own?Producers: Myles Bonnar and Peter McManus Editor: Anthony Browne A BBC Scotland production for Radio 4
23/10/2030m 18s

A History of Ghosts: Ancient Ghosts

'When was the first time a human felt haunted?'Kirsty Logan travels back to the world’s earliest civilisations to uncover where tales of ghosts first emerged.From the earliest evidence of belief in an afterlife, seen in decorated bones in early grave sites, to Ancient Egyptian letters to the dead, and predatory Chindi unleashed to wreak deadly vengeance in the snowy wastes of North America, Kirsty tells the tales of the spirits that haunted our most ancient forebears, and became the common ancestor for ghost stories across all of human history.
20/10/2015m 9s

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 3

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigate series into the death of young musician, Sean Walsh. Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better. Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life. Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them. Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont
22/09/2021m 17s

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 2

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigate series into the death of young musician, Sean Walsh. Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better. Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life. Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them. Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont
22/09/2017m 26s

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 1

False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigative series into the death of young musician Sean Walsh. Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better. Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life. Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them. Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont
22/09/2024m 34s

Blood Lands: Common Purpose – Episode 5

The final episode of Blood Lands - a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa. A group of white men are on trial accused of murdering two black South Africans, but as a long and explosive trial comes to an end, could muddled medical evidence see them walk free? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring racial tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an dramatic trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution. When a whole community is on trial who pays the price?Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney
14/09/2019m 52s

Blood Lands: Betrayal – Episode 4

Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa. A family betrayal leads to a murder trial in a small farming town in South Africa. But who is telling the truth about a frenzied attack that left two black farm workers dead, and a community bitterly divided on racial lines? Blood Lands is murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney
14/09/2016m 43s

Blood Lands: Shaking the Tree – Episode 3

Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa. Police investigating a suspected double murder in a small South African farming community uncover crucial new evidence. But will it be enough to break the farmers’ wall of silence and solve a case that has divided a town on racial lines? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney
14/09/2018m 20s

Blood Lands: Say Nothing – Episode 2

Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa. A white farming family falls silent following the brutal deaths of two black workers. Were the dead men really thieves? Or has South Africa’s tortured past come back to haunt a racially divided community? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the “rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution. When a whole community is on trial who pays the price?Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney
14/09/2017m 37s

Blood Lands: Blood on the Wall – Episode 1

Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa. At dusk on a warm evening in 2016, two men arrive, unexpectedly, at a remote South African farmhouse. The frenzy that follows will come to haunt a community, destroying families, turning neighbours into traitors, prompting street protests, threats of violence, and dividing the small farming and tourist town of Parys along racial lines. Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the “rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney
14/09/2017m 13s

Broad Spectrum

Autism is a lifelong condition, often seen as particularly ‘male’. Yet a growing number of women, and those assigned female at birth, are being diagnosed as autistic in their 30s, 40s, 50s - and beyond. Writer and performer Helen Keen is one of them, and she’s found this diagnosis has helped her make sense of many aspects of her life, from growing up with selective mutism, to struggling to fit in as a young adult. In this programme Helen asks why she, like a growing number of others, had to wait till she was well into adulthood before finding her place on the autistic spectrum. She discovers that for many years psychologists believed that autism was rarely seen in women and non-binary people. Now it is accepted that people often display autistic traits in different ways, for example, they may learn to ‘camouflage’ and behave in a neurotypical way - but at what cost? Helen talks to others like her who have had late diagnoses and finds out if knowing they are on the autistic spectrum has given them insight into how they can navigate the pressures on them from contemporary society. She also explores how we can value and celebrate neurodiversity.Helen also talks to psychologists Professor Francesca Happé , of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, and Dr Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University about their research into autism.
11/09/2029m 23s

Universities in Crisis

Sam Gyimah, former minister for universities in Theresa May's government, asks if Britain's universities can survive the crisis they now face.Many are calling the immense challenge that Britain's universities now face an existential crisis. With access to leaders of universities from the most traditional to the most modern, Sam Gyimah explores whether the business and education models for Brtain's higher education sector are fit for purpose. The Covid pandemic is significant but when that crisis comes together with the major issues that Britain's universities already face over their funding, it's clear that the coming academic year will be like no other in living memory.Universities in Crisis examines the changes now challenging students, teachers, researchers and all those connected to higher education.Producer: Jonathan Brunert
04/09/2038m 15s

Code-Switching

Like many young black people, Lucrece Grehoua is an expert in code-switching - used to changing her voice, accent and mannerisms when she enters white-majority spaces. But should she really have to? In this programme, Lucrece reveals the cost of hiding who we really are in the workplace and explores the mechanics of code-switching, a term first used to describe the experience of African-American students in the 1970s. She shares her own story of being taught to become “a palatable black girl with a soft voice and an unceasing smile”. And she talks to other young professionals about the steps they’ve taken to fit in – from adopting a “white voice” in the office to changing how they behave and switching up their look. We also hear from those who, tired of code-switching, are daring to be themselves in the corporate world.Lucrece speaks to: Her friends Emmanuel Ajayi, Cheryl Jordan Osei and Ivan Her Mum and brother Steve Criminal barrister Leon Nathan Lynch Sociolinguist Devyani Sharma from the Accent Bias Britain Project Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man, A Satirical Guide to Conquering the World While Black Elizabeth Bananuka, founder of BME PR Pros and The Blueprint Social Mobility Commissioner and lawyer Sandra WallacePicture Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC
26/08/2037m 50s

Led by the Science

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the UK government has stated that its decisions have been “led by the science”. This pithy phrase implies there is a fixed body of knowledge from a consensus of scientists that provides a road map of what to do to stop the pandemic. But there isn’t. And if decisions made by politicians turn out not to work, then who gets the blame? Is it the science? While some scientists have willingly appeared in support of the actions announced, many researchers are furious with the way that the government has used science. They point out that scientists from different disciplines have different expertise to bring to the discussions about what to do in a pandemic caused by a novel virus. Public health doctors say that their experience of local communities has been ignored in favour of mathematical models. Virologists feel their knowledge of how infection works has been sidelined. And psychologists believe the government has taken the idea of nudge as the only way to understand the behaviour of the population. Scientific knowledge changes through debate and discussion, in particular when we are confronted by a novel situation. Philip Ball explores the relationship between science and political decision making in the pandemic. Producer: Alex Mansfield for BBC Radio 4
14/08/2037m 30s

Taking on Trump

James Naughtie examines Joe Biden's chances in the forthcoming US election as he tries to beat president Donald Trump at the polls this November.Donald Trump was elected on the promise to 'drain the swamp' in Washington, and in response the Democrats have chosen a candidate who is from the heart of the political establishment.As a state senator for 36 years and then president Obama's VP for eight more, Joe Biden now carries the standard in the strangest American presidential election of modern times, its character completely changed by the coronavirus pandemic.While Mr Biden is 'Washington Man' epitomised, he has always presented himself as the common man and in this programme we chart Joe Biden's blue-collar roots, his political career, and ask what can he and the Democratic Party offer America?Can a party with its own internal divisions unify to beat the Republicans? And is 77-year-old Joe Biden ready to battle with an incumbent president who is a proven political street fighter?Presenter: James Naughtie Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith
11/08/2037m 40s

Fothermather

When Belfast poet Gail McConnell's son was growing in her partner's womb, Gail was writing poems exploring what it means to be a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship. Gail's poem 'Untitled/Villanelle' lets go of the binaries of motherhood and fatherhood and imagines these roles in more fluid terms as a parent with a bit of both...a Fothermather. We meet Gail, her partner Beth and their son Finn as Gail tries to find language for a family structure we don't have words for yet.Producer: Conor Garrett
07/08/2029m 0s

The Homeless Hotel

Simon had been sleeping in shop doorways in Manchester for three years when the coronavirus pandemic reached the UK. Suddenly, as the government released emergency funding to get people sleeping rough off the streets during lockdown, Simon found himself being offered an en suite room at the Holiday Inn. This is the story of the unprecedented operation to get the country’s street homeless inside - told through one hotel in Manchester. The experience has been transformational for some, including Simon - proof that radical change can happen and happen fast. Government ministers say this is an opportunity to end rough sleeping “for good”. But homelessness charities are warning that as emergency funding runs out, people will end up back on the streets. So what will happen to Simon and others like him as the country moves out of lockdown?Reporter/Producer: Simon Maybin
04/08/2038m 7s

How They Made Us Doubt Everything: 1. Big Oil's Big Crisis

From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured.In this episode we take you to an oil company’s boardroom as they plan their response to the ‘crisis mentality’ that was emerging after the long hot summer of 1988. 5,000 people died in the heat wave, coinciding with the moment NASA scientist Jim Hansen announced that a ‘greenhouse effect’ was ‘changing our climate now’. This looked like a battle for the survival of the oil industry.This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change. With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.Producer: Phoebe Keane for BBC Radio 4 Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
29/07/2014m 17s

A Deadly Trade

The bodies of 39 Vietnamese men and women discovered in a lorry container in Essex highlighted the growing problem of illegal and dangerous journeys into the UK. With police and governments pledging to do more to uncover illegal smuggling operations Radio 4 speaks to refugees, lorry drivers and to some of the smugglers behind this deadly tradeRecent coverage from Greece has highlighted the pressures on borders as desperate people risk everything to cross from Turkey. Dangerous Trade starts by tracking a dinghy full of refugees landing on the island of Lesbos and heading for the now infamous Moria camp. It was constructed for 3,100 people but now has a population of more than 20,000 men, women and children.On the camp refugees speak about their dreams of a new life and many hope to make it to the UK. Following the route of some of those that have, Sue Mitchell joins them in Dunkirk as they negotiate with smugglers and weigh up the risks of crossing the Chanel illegally by boat or stowing away in lorries bound for England. Last year, whilst recording another documentary for Radio 4, Sue met a 14 year old girl who was single-handedly talking to smugglers and raising the money from relatives who had already reached the UK. She details what happens as she and her siblings make the dangerous journey and she reflects on her new life in Britain.Those who make the crossing know they are lucky to have survived. The deaths in the Essex container lorry revealed the shocking risks – as do reports of others who have perished at sea and on land. For the lorry drivers who inadvertently end up smuggling refugees, there’s growing anger that more isn’t being done at the borders. Governments have promised to work together to tackle this growing problem, but solutions are still a long way off.Producer/Reporter: Sue Mitchell
21/07/2028m 50s

Summer with Greta

Everywhere she goes, people ask for selfies and tell her how wonderful she is. But what’s it really like to be the world’s most famous climate campaigner when you’re still a teenager? In this revelatory personal essay which she wrote for Swedish Radio, Greta Thunberg describes her journey to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly, observing the effects of climate change first-hand, her encounters with both powerful and ordinary people and a terrifying trip in a yacht across the Atlantic. This Swedish Radio production is introduced by Justin Rowlatt, the BBC's chief environment correspondent, and Greta's essay is interspersed with excerpts of her favourite music. Producer: Mattias Österlund Sound engineer/technician Lisa Abrahamsson
10/07/201h 19m

Your Call Is Important to Us

Nearly two million people are now known to have applied for Universal Credit since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. For many of them it’s their first time, and is in sharp contrast to how they expected their lives to be. To make a claim, many start off by calling the Universal Credit Hotline, a process that can take hours. Once they start their claim it's likely they'll need to wait five weeks for their first payment. As they wait, in isolation in their homes, we discover more about their lives and follow them on their benefits journey. What led them to this point, how are their personal lives affected and how do they feel? We'll be with them for the ups and the downs. We'll meet Caroline, who works in HR and is battling illness while making a claim, Dan who plays the saxophone and has moved back home to his mum's house because he couldn't afford to live in London and Matt the warehouse worker whose health means he is shielding on his own in a flat with just the birds for company. Plus, we'll have a statement from the Department for Work and Pensions on how they've responded to this extraordinary moment in welfare.Produced and presented by Jess Quayle. Technical Production by Mike Smith.
07/07/2029m 10s

On the Menu

Shark, bear and crocodile attacks tend to make the headlines but humans fall prey to a much wider variety of predators every year, from big cats and snakes, to wolves, hyenas and even eagles that’ve been known to snatch the odd child. The details can be grim and gory as many predators have developed specific techniques for hunting us humans down. But it was always so, as biologist Professor Adam Hart discovers. Archaeological evidence suggests early hominins in Africa were more hunted than hunter, spending much of their lives scavenging for food and fending off attacks from the likes of sabre-tooth-cats and giant hyenas. Much more recently, legends abound about some of the more infamous serial killers of the animal kingdom, such as the 'man-eaters' of Tsavo and Njombe - the latter, a pride of about 15 lions in Tanzania who, it is claimed were responsible for an astonishing 1500 deaths between 1932 and 1947.Today, estimates and sources vary but most suggest carnivorous predators are responsible for hundreds if not thousands of human deaths every year. But how much of this is active predation and how much is mistaken identity or sheer bad luck? Adam speaks to experts in human-wildlife conflict dedicated to reducing attacks on both humans and predators in Africa and India, where the tensions between protecting agricultural interests and preserving predator habitats are most problematic. He discovers the grim reality for many poor rural populations dealing with the sharp end of living in close proximity to large carnivores and discusses the potential solutions for driving down attacks on both humans and predators that are caught up in the struggle for survival. Closer to home, Adam meets a wolf-tracker, who helps to monitor wild wolf populations that have spread up through Italy and France, attacking livestock with increasing confidence. Could humans be on the menu next? Producer: Rami Tzabar
30/06/2028m 42s

The New Tech Cold War

Gordon Corera asks if the West is losing the technological race with China. Why did the decision to let the Chinese company Huawei build the UK’s 5G telecoms network turn into one of the most difficult and consequential national security decisions of recent times? A decision which risks undermining the normally close special relationship between the US and UK? The answer is because it cuts to the heart of the greatest fear in Washington – that China is already ahead in the global competition to develop the most advanced technology. Some people ask how we have got to a position where the West needs to even consider using Chinese tech. The answer may be because they failed to think strategically about protecting or nurturing their own technology industry over the last two decades. A free-market system has faced off against a Chinese model in which there is a clear, long-term industrial strategy to dominate certain sectors of technology, including telecoms, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. This is a rare issue where the US national security community – the so-called ‘Deep State’ – is in close alignment with President Trump. Now the US and UK, among others, are scrambling to try to develop strategies to respond and to avoid dependence on China. But – asks BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera – is it already too late?Producer: Ben Crighton
19/06/2029m 13s

Life, Uncertainty and VAR

When football introduced the Video Assistant Referee, better known as VAR, fans thought it would cut out bad refereeing decisions but, as we limp toward some conclusion of this Covid-19 interrupted season, many now want to see the pitch referee back in charge. In 'Life, Uncertainty and VAR', the writer, blogger and journalist Tom Chivers argues that as in football, so in life and society; promises to eliminate uncertainty are liable to end in disappointment. Worse, the better we get at revealing truth, for example weather forecasts, the more furious we become about the sliver of unknown which remains. So, what to do about uncertainty - reject it or live with it? This programme began with a Twitter thread from a West Ham fan, Daisy Chistodoulou, at the London stadium where play was on hold waiting for the VAR to declare if a goal had been scored. Daisy Chistodoulou's day job is measuring attainment in education. In her experience the tools we use to measure progress can become ends in themselves. As with VAR, the question is when does measurement conflict with meaning - it was a great goal; what has a big toe, forensically snapped breaking a line a minute before, halfway up the pitch, got to do with it? And if you can't tell what just happened, how are we meant to cope with figuring out what might? How are we to act when, as with the Covid-19 crisis, we have a paucity of data that changes rapidly? In search of answers as to how we should cope with uncertainty, Tom speaks to a man whose life's work has being trying to help people understand the risks we face in everyday life , Professor David Spiegelhalter - author of the Art Of Statistics and to Jennifer Rodgers of the medical statistics consultancy Phastar, who interprets data from pharmaceutical trials. We hear from Michael Blastland, journalist and author of The Hidden Half: How The World Conceals Its Secrets, a book about how we don't know half of what we think we do but still manage to struggle on; and finally, Michael Story, a man so good at predicting the future he runs a consultancy called Maybe!Presenter Tom Chivers Producer Kevin Mousley
12/06/2029m 2s

The Wellness Phenomenon

Today there's a booming wellness industry, including luxury spas and hotels as well as personal trainers and supplements, claimed to be worth over $4 trillion a year. Online at least, self-care seems to revolve around buying stuff – luxury oils, face creams, scented candles, face rollers, bath bombs, silk pillows, cleansing soaps and stress-relieving teas. Or we can cherish ourselves by paying someone else for a service, from a yoga session to a delivery of artisan chocolates.With the help of the archives Claudia Hammond explores where the idea of wellness came from. She discovers its roots in the WHO's definition of health and in the counter culture of California in the 1960s, when the residents of Marin County took to hot tubs and peacock feathers. Claudia looks at the thorny relationship between wellness and medicine and those who look after or study our health. There's a Wellness Newsletter that has been produced in Berkeley since 1984 that weighs up the scientific evidence for and against new treatments, and many doctors offer complementary therapies alongside conventional medicine. Yet there is no published research to support the benefits associated with some wellness products.
05/06/2056m 53s

The Global Ventilator Race

The coronavirus outbreak revealed an international shortage of ventilators. Across the world, govenrments scrambled to acquire new ones, not just from traditional manufacturers, but from anyone who though they could design a simple yet functional device. As a result, hundreds of teams and individuals have risen to the challenge, including university students and hobbyists. Jolyon Jenkins set out to design and build a ventilator himself, drawing on the wealth of shared informationi and designs that have emerged in the last few weeks. He soon discovers that it's harder than it looks.Much publicity has gone to organisations that have produced ventilators that are not up to standard. And as knowledge of the disease has progressed, it's become clear that coronavirus patients need very careful and specialised forms of ventilation if it's not to do more harm than good. So are non-specialists capable of producing machines that will actually benefit patients?Presenter/producer: Jolyon Jenkins
26/05/2028m 34s

Art of Now: Raw Meat

Susan Bright gets bloody and fleshy with sculptors, performance artists and filmmakers who use animal parts as their raw material.Images of meat in still life paintings have been a staple in art for centuries, but why are artists now incorporating animal flesh, offal and skin into their work. What draws them to this macabre material and what does it enable them to say?Photographer Pinar Yolacan makes meat dresses for her models, frills from raw chicken, bodices from placenta and sleeves from tripe. Riffling through butchers stocks, she makes the perfect outfit for her models, designing and moulding it to them like a second skin.In a high-vaulted church, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva hangs gigantic curtains of white pigs fat that look like long sheets of lace. Walking down through them, they rustle and reek as you feel encased inside an animal’s stomach.Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr sculpt with live tissue making a semi-living leather jacket, growing wings from pigs and hosting a dinner party with lab grown meat. While Marianna Simnett violently slices open a cow’s udder reorganising our thinking about the body and gender. And with a cast of 100 performers, Hermann Nitsch's theatrical performances involve climbing inside carcasses, bathing in blood and having sex with offal.Their work is shocking, disturbing and fun, making us face our responsibility to animals, each other and the planet and giving us a language to talk about the challenges ahead.We lick our lips and feed on their creativity.Producer: Sarah Bowen
12/05/2028m 46s

The Virus Hunters

Tracking the virus hunters who race to understand and extinguish new pathogens. Sars Cov 2 is the virus responsible for the pandemic of 2020. But there are millions of other viruses living around the world, any one of which could mutate and infect us at any time. Scientists are in a never-ending race to identify these viruses and contain their dangerous effects. Oxford Professor Trudie Lang, director of the Global Health Network, hears from some of the virus hunters who work against the clock to research and combat these threats. Fighting epidemics requires effort from across the scientific spectrum. What we learn from the outbreak of Covid-19 will be crucial beyond understanding this coronavirus, but also when the next Virus X comes - and it will come. Producer: Sandra Kanthal
05/05/2043m 27s

How to Cure Viral Misinformation

The World Health Organisation calls it an “infodemic” – a flood of information about the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the good advice and the measured uncertainty, there’s a ton of false claims, conspiracy theories and health tips which are just plain wrong. We’ve been working to fight the tide of bad info, and in this programme BBC Trending reporters Marianna Spring and Mike Wendling trace the story of one specific viral post. It's a list of supposed facts about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself. Some of the tips are true, some are false but relatively harmless, and some are potentially dangerous. Who’s behind the post – and how did it spread? Here’s our list of seven key tips on how to stop viral misinformation: 1. Stop and think 2. Check your source 3. Ask yourself, could it be a fake? 4. If you’re unsure whether it’s true … don’t share. 5. Check each fact, individually. 6. Beware emotional posts. 7. Think about biasesPresenters: Marianna Spring and Mike Wendling
24/04/2028m 40s

The Phoney War

Edward Stourton tells the story of the BBC in the ”phoney war” of 1939-1940 and the period’s strange echoes of Covid-19 today. When war was declared in September 1939, everyone in Britain expected a catastrophic bombing campaign. Theatres and cinemas were closed and children were evacuated to the countryside. What followed instead was a hiatus when tensions remained high but the bombs did not fall. How does the experience of the Home Front at the start of the Second World War echo the Covid-19 crisis and what did it mean for the evolution of the BBC? The corporation’s initial response became known as the "Bore War". The BBC was berated for broadcasting dreary music and endless, highly repetitive news bulletins. It then changed tack to find a more popular voice, in tune with the needs of its audience. How did it become a trusted source of news in the face of wartime censorship? What did it do to cheer up the nation and enliven public service messages about health and education?Contributors: Peter Busch, Senior Lecturer, King's College, London Martin Gorsky, Professor of the History of Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Sian Nicholas, Reader in History, Aberystwyth University Lucy Noakes, Professor of History, University of Essex Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History, University of WestminsterProducer: Sheila Cook Researcher: Diane Richardson Editor: Hugh LevinsonWith thanks to BBC History https://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/100-voices/ww2
21/04/2057m 41s

The Art of Raising a Child

To survive and thrive in an uncertain world, our children need to be creative and resilient. But how do you build these things? What does it take to make creativity a life skill and where might such a skill take a child in later life? These are the questions at the heart of an ambitious new project underway in Leicester on behalf of the Arts Council. It's called Talent 25 and will track hundreds of babies and their families from birth to their twenty fifth birthdays. Academics from De Montfort University will chart how various creative activities affect the children's income, well-being and abilities in later life. Lindsey Chapman meets parents and babies from some of Leicester's most diverse and economically challenged areas. They talk about how to play without toys, how to encourage children to amuse themselves creatively and how their parenting has already changed in year one. Producer: Olive Clancy
10/04/2028m 30s

The Science of Dad

Whilst most men become fathers, and men make up roughly half the parental population, the vast majority of scientific research has focused on the mother.But studies have started to reveal the impact of fatherhood on both dads themselves and on their children. We're seeing how fathers play a crucial role in children's behaviour, happiness, and even cognitive skills.Oscar Duke, a doctor, new dad and author of How To Be A Dad, discovers how pregnancy, birth and childcare affect the father, bringing about profound physiological and hormonal changes. Only 5% of mammal fathers invest in their offspring, and human males have evolved to undergo key changes when their children are born.Involved fathers can expect their levels of the 'love hormone' oxytocin to rise, nature's way of helping parents bond with their children. At birth, a dad's testosterone levels dramatically fall, increasing affection and responsiveness, and discouraging polygamy.With more fathers taking on a hands-on role in bringing up their children, how can these new discoveries about the science of dad help support them, and inform social and healthcare policies?Presented by Dr Oscar Duke and produced by Melanie Brown and Cathy Edwards
03/04/2028m 38s

The Californian Century: A Twist of Fate

Stanley Tucci continues his history of California with the story of Silicon Valley's troubled founder, William Shockley.Shockley was the man who first brought silicon to Silicon Valley in the 1950s. He was an undoubted genius. But he was also a hideous boss and an irredeemable racist.California wants to dazzle you with its endless sunshine and visions of the future – but that’s just a mirage. Stanley Tucci plays a hard-boiled screenwriter uncovering the full, sordid truth. He knows exactly where all the bodies are buried.Academic consultant: Dr Ian Scott, University of ManchesterWritten and produced by Laurence Grissell
01/04/2014m 24s

The Ugly Truth

The value society places on physical appearance has never quite made sense to blind presenter Lyndall Bywater and yet she's intrigued to discover why it matters so much to those of us in the sighted world. How much of an advantage is it to be beautiful? And what is physical beauty anyway? We've heard about the gender bias, the age bias, and the racial bias but few people talk about the beauty bias and yet it's one of the very first judgements we make when we meet someone. In this programme Lyndall explores this invisible force that controls how we behave - and reveals that when it comes to physical beauty, we all unconsciously discriminate. Producer: Sarah Shebbeare Researcher: Robbie Wojciechowski
31/03/2028m 15s

Preview: Girl Taken - Episode 1

Across the world people were presented with what appeared to be a heart-breaking but straightforward story of a father and his motherless daughter struggling to get to Britain. But behind those headlines lay a far more sinister truth. BBC Journalist Sue Mitchell and former soldier Rob Lawrie discover that the little girl appears to have simply vanished. Can they find her in time?Girl Taken is a 10-part hunt - across closed borders and broken promises - for the truth and to find a little girl, taken.Listen to the rest of the series on BBC Sounds.Producer: Sue Mitchell Studio Production and Sound Design: Richard Hannaford
25/03/2024m 0s

Class Talk

Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn, has learned to code switch with the literary elite, but how can people stuck in poverty or middle class bubbles make meaningful connections? Kerry starts her exploration in her native Scotland with a project providing 'pre-loved' school uniforms to families in poverty. As vital a service as this is it’s the way people access it that's important. Founder Julie Obyrne makes it as simple, as discrete and respectful as possible. There are no forms to fill out, no referral process or establishing of need. You phone the number, give your first name and simply explain what you require. Julie will then meet you at the local shopping centre and hand it over. Confidentiality and dignity are at the heart of the service. But if this is the way that people who are struggling need to access help why isn't anyone listening to them? Kerry's next stop is with a project aiming to address just that. Expert Citizens put people with lived experience at the centre of service design. It draws on the hard won lessons of people who've lived with homelessness, substance abuse or domestic violence to provide a consultancy service to officialdom. But it’s an uphill battle for people at the bottom to get those in the better off parts of society to even bother listening to them. How can a dialogue even take place between classes? One possible model exists but tellingly it’s not in the UK. Cross Class Circles is a community project in Brattleboro Vermont, Kerry hears from the organisers and participants from both sides of the US class divide about why these conversations are so important. Producer: Liza Grieg
10/03/2028m 34s

Lift Going Up

The lift comes to life and tells the story of how the elevator changed the way we live.Emma Clarke plays the voice of the lift in this cultural history of the elevator. As we step inside, the doors close and the lift starts to speak, telling us its story.Before the lift, the top floor was the least desired and most unhealthy place to live. The lift changed all that and made the penthouse glamorous and desirable. The lift made life immeasurably easier but it also brought many anxieties - about safety and the strange, forced intimacy of the lift car. It's also been a source of inspiration for writers - from 19th century German literature right through to Hollywood.And now the lift is about to undergo a radical shift - as engineers develop a lift with no limits on how high it can go.Step inside, relax, and allow the lift to tell you its story.Producer: Laurence Grissell
03/03/2028m 31s

A Sense of Direction

Many animals can navigate by sensing the earth's magnetic field. Not humans, though. But might we have evolved the sense but forgotten how to access it? 40 years ago a British zoologist thought he had demonstrated a homing ability in humans. But his results failed to replicate in America and the research was largely discredited. But new evidence suggests that our brains can in fact detect changes in the magnetic field and may even be able to use it to navigate. Jolyon Jenkins investigates, and talks to a Pacific traditional seafarer who has learned to navigate vast distances across the ocean with no instruments, and who describes how, when all else fails, he has been able to access what he calls "the magic". Is the magic still there for all of us, just waiting to be rediscovered? Producer: Jolyon Jenkins
25/02/2029m 24s

The Inside Story of Election 19

What lies behind Boris Johnson's overwhelming election victory? In this programme, Anne McElvoy talks to the key figures across the political spectrum about how the 2019 general election was fought and lost.To what extent was this a 'Brexit election' and how did the Conservative Party reach out to voters in places that it had not won for decades and in some cases generations? Why did the Opposition Parties agree to holding the election in the first place? What led to Labour's worst defeat since 1935 and why did Jeremy Corbyn's campaign fail to make the impact he had made in 2017? Why did the Liberal Democrats struggle to make the breakthrough that they had hoped for and what difference did the Brexit Party's decision to stand down in Conservative held seats make to the result.Producer: Peter Snowdon
18/02/2028m 49s

My Name Is... Immie

"When I was in primary school, I remember being asked to draw our house. I drew our temporary accommodation, which back then was just an ordinary house. And I think about children living in these office blocks - what would they draw?"When Immie was growing up, she lived in emergency and then temporary accommodation with her mum and three sisters. Temporary can be permanent for many people, but today she feels much more secure. Then one day something odd happened. She was on the bus, on the to deck, looking into the first floor of an ugly office block on the side of the busy A12 in north east London. She could see it had been converted, and there were people living up and down all seven floors. In tiny flats. Some of them were much smaller than the government's minimum space standard.Immie wanted to know how this was possible.We often hear that there is a national housing crisis, but don't always understand what that means. Immie, who is just 22, has made over 80 freedom of information requests to find out how many people are being temporarily housed in office blocks. She discovers that it is perfectly legal to do this - developers can bypass normal planning regulations thanks to Permitted Development Rights or PDR. She meets an architect and a council leader who both say it's wrong, though their reasons are not the same. Features interviews with architect Julia Park of Leviit Bernstein; and Joseph Ejiofor, the head of Haringey Council ... plus some dramatic location recordings too.The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde
11/02/2027m 44s

Code Red

Eddie was set to become another statistic, another teenager killed by rising levels of knife crime.But Eddie’s life was saved by the new field of trauma science. It is revolutionising the way people are treated after shootings, traffic accidents or any injury that causes catastrophic bleeding.The doctors that pioneered the work call it Code Red. Your chances of surviving major bleeding are now higher than ever before.So what changed? Quite simply trauma medicine has been turned on its head. Before 2007, doctors would have treated Eddie’s catastrophic bleeding by trying to replace the fluid leaking out of his stab wounds. Salty water, called saline, and just one component of our blood – the oxygen carrying red blood cells – would be put back into Eddie’s body - in what's called a massive transfusion.It seemed like a good idea. Keep the blood pressure up, keep oxygen moving round the body and keep the patient alive. But that’s not what happened - around half of people died on the operating table. The principles were wrong. They were damaging the body’s natural way of stemming blood loss – clotting.It was around 2003 that the ideas behind the Code Red protocol started to take shape. The poster child of the new field of trauma science was revealing the vital role of clotting. Karim Brohi, Professor of Trauma Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, discovered that major trauma could disrupt the blood’s ability to clot within minutes of the injury, and patients affected were more likely to die. What's more, saline was diluting the blood and making the bleeding worse.Over a decade ago, the Royal London Hospital decided to do something radical. It introduced Code Red, also known as damage control resuscitation, and shifted the focus from blood pressure to blood clotting - get blood products into patients to get on top of any abnormalities there first.Making that happen took a huge culture shift. This is not a normal research environment. There’s no time to ponder, patients are hovering between life and death; and every second counts. But now the innovation has been accepted across the NHS, and recent research reveals a massive drop in the death rate of patients with catastrophic bleeding.Producer: Beth Eastwood
07/02/2028m 31s