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The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

A window into our world – investigating, exploring and telling stories from everywhere. Original BBC documentary storytelling, bringing the globe to your ears. Award-winning journalism, unheard voices, amazing culture and “unputdownable” audio. New episodes every week from our teams: documentaries, Assignment, Heart and Soul, In the Studio and OS Conversations.


Donor babies: A question of identity

For many people around the world, donation of sperm or an egg can be the difference between becoming parents and not. But while this donation can make their dream of parenthood come true, what are the considerations for the end result, the child themselves? Donation and IVF can help jump the hurdles when it comes to the physical process of conception for would-be parents, but what about the emotional and psychological impact on the people who eventually find out they are not biologically related to one or both of their parents? Louise Mcloughlin, herself donor-conceived, hears from people around the world who have been faced with the news they are not the identity they assumed they were.
26/09/23·27m 15s

Ken Loach: The Sequel

The shooting starts on The Old Oak and Sharuna Sagar is there to witness Ken Loach's unique style of directing. Throughout his career from Kes to The Wind That Shakes The Barley to I, Daniel Blake, the 87-year-old film-maker does not like to tell the cast what is going to happen in the next scene. He explains his reasons, while star Dave Turner reveals what it is like to be surprised every day on set.
25/09/23·27m 14s

BBC OS Conversations: The floods in Libya

Storm Daniel delivered 300 times more rain than expected onto the north-east coast of Libya, causing two dams to burst and water up to 30 meters high to tear through the coastal city of Derna. The immense power of the flood smashed everything in its path, claiming thousands of lives and leaving shattered buildings, bridges and mountains of mud. Since the disaster, we have been hearing from people in the city, who have been sharing their thoughts and experiences.
23/09/23·24m 0s

Heart and Soul: Poland's nuns lifting the veil

What happens when a Catholic nun in Poland chooses to leave her religious community? Nuns are rejecting their orders after experiencing what they now regard as abuse. Some say they have even been sexually abused by priests. Izabela Moscicka recently made this journey. She stopped being a nun and is now living independently in Krakow. She knows how hard it can be, so she is setting up an aid centre for nuns and former nuns, who are looking for assistance and refuge. For the first time, Izabela shares her life story, the realities of the day to day life of Polish nuns, and the difficulties they have if they decide to leave the church.
22/09/23·27m 14s

How a war has changed a Norwegian town

Kirkenes, in the far north-east of Norway, once thrived on its close ties with neighbouring Russia. All that changed after the invasion of Ukraine. Now it’s become home to Ukrainian refugees and a safe haven for some Russian journalists escaping President Putin’s media clampdown. For decades this area popularised the phrase “High North, Low Tension.” Close economic and cultural ties developed with brisk cross-border trade. Hundreds of Russians settled in the town. But now new cross-border restrictions have been imposed and co-operation has ended. The local economy has taken a significant hit and cross-border cultural groups no longer meet. However, despite this being a NATO member, the Norwegian government is keeping the border open. Russian fishing vessels still unload their catch in Kirkenes but are no longer allowed to undergo repairs. The Norwegians have stepped up checks on these Russian boats amid concern of a rise in Russian spying and potential sabotage. For Assignment, John Murphy travels to Norway’s Arctic to see how war has changed the town and to ask what’s next for this unique community. Presenter: John Murphy Producer: Alex Last Production co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman Series editor: Penny Murphy (Image: Kirkenes, in the far north-east of Norway. Credit: BBC)
21/09/23·29m 27s

Cricket and the maidens

In March 2023, the first season of the Women’s India Premier League, the world’s second most valuable cricketing league, behind only the men’s IPL, was played. Five teams battled it out to claim the crown, comprised of international teams of women cricketers at the top of their game who earned ten times more than they can elsewhere. While Indian players dominated, there was another factor that marked them out - many Indian women cricketers are single. As Indian women’s cricket has shot to the top of the global stage, how does this rapid change reflect broader changes in Indian society?
19/09/23·27m 27s

In the Studio: Vhils

Alexandre Farto aka Vhils is a Portuguese artist, known for his striking huge murals that have appeared on city walls from Brazil and the US, to Senegal and Vietnam. He uses a bas-relief carving technique, which involves using chisels and even hammer drills to scrape away at the fabric of the wall, revealing the history in the layers below the surface. Abi McNeil talks to Vhils as he works on his latest project – a 31 metre long mural for the Paris headquarters of Unesco.
18/09/23·27m 14s

Bonus: The Explanation

What is a war crime? How is it different to a crime against humanity and genocide? And who holds those responsible to account? Find out in this bonus episode of The Explanation, from the BBC World Service.
17/09/23·19m 7s

Remembering Buthelezi

The BBC's Audrey Brown looks back at the life of South Africa's Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who died earlier in September aged 95. He played a vital - and controversial - role in the country's history during both the Apartheid era and the transition to multiracial democracy.
17/09/23·26m 29s

BBC OS Conversations: The earthquake in Morocco

The earthquake struck in a region of the High Atlas Mountains. Its force destroyed entire villages and could be felt across the country, and even in neighbouring Algeria. Around 3,000 people lost their lives and thousands were injured. It’s described as the worst earthquake in the country in 60 years. Tour guide Mohamed and Majda, an architect, tell host James Reynolds what it was like when the earthquake struck their hometown of Marrakesh. We speak to Paul Philipp, a rescue volunteer in Germany and Ayça Aydın, a Turkish rescue worker, from the organisation Global Empowerment Mission. She visited some of the worst affected areas to care for survivors.
16/09/23·24m 0s

Heart and Soul: Faith, terrorists and mercy at Guantanamo Bay

Dr Jennifer Bryson interrogated suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists at the infamous Guantanamo Bay. She worked at the detention centre in Cuba for two years and says that some of the inmates bragged openly about helping to organise the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that killed 3,000 people. Bryson was the first woman to take up the role of lead interrogator at Guantanamo, and the first who was not a member of the military. She would carry out interrogations herself but was also responsible for signing off methods and techniques used by other interrogators. After some time, she started to feel uneasy about some of the 'enhanced interrogation' methods she was asked to approve - in her gut, she felt something was not right. She says it was her faith-formed conscience that led her to deny her colleagues’ requests to use such interrogation techniques.
15/09/23·27m 15s

Missing in Syria

There are one hundred thousand missing Syrians, according to the UN, who’ve been detained or have disappeared since the beginning of the uprising in Syria twelve years ago and the civil war that followed. Most of their families have no idea where they are and whether they’re alive or dead. Many are paying thousands of dollars for information about them which almost always comes to nothing. For Assignment, Lina Sinjab reports from Turkey and Beirut where she’s been talking to Syrian refugees about the desperate measures they'll go to in their search for their missing relatives. Presenter: Lina Sinjab Producer : Caroline Bayley Editor: Penny Murphy Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar (Image: Framed photographs of some of the people who are missing in Syria. Credit: Guevara Namer/The Syria Campaign)
14/09/23·27m 22s

Building power: India’s new parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi describes India’s new parliament as a reflection of the “aspirations and dreams” of all Indians. But the huge triangular structure that sits next to its colonial-era predecessor is controversial: some opposition parties boycotted its inauguration. From Delhi, Shalu Yadav reports on a story that is about cost, architecture and urban design, but also power, democracy and India’s future.
13/09/23·27m 14s

In the Studio: Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh

Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh is one of Ireland's leading screen costume designers - working on such productions as The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Jimmy's Hall and the recent, multi award-winning The Banshees of Inisherin. For many years she has also been compiling a collection of iconic items seen on the Irish screen. Eimer has been involved in the photographing of each item to museum standard, allowing the entire collection to be available online for anybody across the world to access, free. We follow Eimer as she oversees the meticulous photographing of her applauded and distinctive knitwear for the Banshees of Inisherin.
11/09/23·27m 16s

Inside an autistic mind

Science journalist Sue Nelson shares her personal journey to better understand a condition that affects millions worldwide. Inside her autistic inner world is a cacophony of brain chatter, anxiety and sensory issues - recreated within a 360 degree soundscape - that impact her life and interactions with others. Sue, who discovered she had autism last year aged 60, meets other autistic people, researchers and clinicians to try to make sense of her late diagnosis. Those who offer their own stories and experiences include Canadian actor Mickey Rowe, the first autistic actor to play the autistic lead character in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime; award-winning science writer Dr Camilla Pang; and former teacher Pete Wharmby, who left the profession to write about his condition to help others.
10/09/23·51m 3s

BBC OS Conversations: Climate change in Africa

Africa causes little damage to the climate but tends to feel the brunt of changing weather patterns. That was the debate in recent days as Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, hosted Africa’s first-ever climate summit. More than a dozen African leaders discussed the continent's increasing exposure to climate change and what that means for the environment, food supply and the economy. They also wanted to get their case together ahead of the next big climate conference, COP 28, which will be held in Dubai at the end of the year. We went around the continent to bring together some of those who are affected by climate change. We hear from farmers, environmental journalists and climate activists, with guests from Liberia, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi and Kenya.
09/09/23·24m 0s

Izabela in the forest

Hear the marvellous sounds of Europe's last primeval forest, Białoweiza, in an immersive experience rich with all kinds of bird song and animal sounds, including that of the rare European bison. They're recorded by Polish field recordist Izabela Dłużyk. Izabela is unusual as a young woman recordist, in a profession dominated by men - all the more so because has been blind from birth. She developed a special sensitivity to birdsong ever since her family gave her a tape recorder at the age of 12, and she at once turned its microphone towards the sky. She identifies species entirely though her ears, with an extraordinarily detailed depth of field. Hearing the forest through Izabela’s acute ears, we venture into her world as well as that of the wilderness she loves. Recorded on location in Białoweiza, we also hear night and dawn recordings that bring all sorts of surprises to the microphone. Produced by Monica Whitlock. Mixed by Neil Churchill
06/09/23·29m 50s

Surviving Greece's migrant boat disaster

n the early hours of 14th June, a heavily overcrowded, rusty fishing trawler carrying as many as 750 migrants capsized off the coast of Greece. The passengers - men, women and children from countries including Pakistan, Egypt and Syria - were fleeing conflict and poverty, hoping to start safer and more prosperous lives in Europe. After its engine broke down, the boat drifted for several hours while desperate passengers made distress calls and waited for rescue. Only 104 people survived the sinking. More than 600 may have drowned, making this one of the deadliest disasters in Europe’s ongoing migration crisis. For Assignment, Nick Beake travels to Greece to meet survivors of the sinking, who are now living in a refugee camp outside Athens. He hears how they endured a four-day voyage, during which several passengers died due to a lack of food, water and ventilation on board. Brutal smugglers forced them to board the dangerous boat, and confiscated water bottles and life jackets to make room for extra passengers. Many of the survivors have accused the Greek coastguard of causing the sinking by attempting to tow the heavily overloaded vessel. Greek authorities have denied these claims. Nick meets a Greek activist who volunteers for an emergency hotline that received distress calls from passengers on the ship. She explains that the June 14th disaster is not the first time the Greek coastguard has come under scrutiny, and it has previously been accused of using aggressive and illegal tactics to deter migration. Presented by Nick Beake Producer: Viv Jones Studio mix: Graham Puddifoot Series Editor: Penny Murphy
05/09/23·27m 16s

Slovakia divided

Slovakia may be a small country, but its upcoming elections could have a big impact across Europe and beyond. One of the strongest supporters of Ukraine in its war against Russia, Slovakia was the first Nato country to deliver fighter jets to its eastern neighbour. But could that soon change? September’s snap elections follow the collapse of Slovakia’s staunchly pro-Western government. Leading the polls is the populist party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico. The fiercely Moscow-friendly candidate has promised to end military aid to Ukraine, if he returns to power. John Kampfner travels across Slovakia to find out why the country looks set for a dramatic political about-turn.
05/09/23·27m 17s

In the Studio: Robyn Weintraub

Robyn Weintraub is a leading crossword designer who writes clues and fills in cells for the New York Times, famous for its challenging daily puzzles. She also creates for the New Yorker, People Magazine and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Robyn is known for her distinct style, and keen readers recognise a “Robyn Puzzle” from the quotes and sayings she uses as hints. Tara Gadomski follows Robyn over three intense days as she constructs a new crossword puzzle from blank page to completed grid. We get a glimpse of her long word lists and her daily puzzle-writing routine, and experience Robyn’s final verification - by pencil and paper - to make sure the puzzle is satisfying for the millions of people who will try to solve it then we discover whether Robyn’s puzzle has been accepted for publication by the New York Times
04/09/23·27m 16s

OS Conversations: American voters

The US elections for the next president are not until November 2024, but the campaigning for votes is underway. And it’s two familiar faces who seem to be the ones to beat. Host Lukwesa Barak hears from Democrats and Republicans across the country about what they make of their choices, and also from those who feel that neither party represents them.
02/09/23·23m 55s

Heart and Soul: My sex work and my faith

Aaliyah grew up a devout Muslim but now makes adult content for the online service OnlyFans. She’s often pictured wearing a hijab. Aaliyah is her stage name. She’s had death threats but believes that expressing her sexuality and making her own choices about her body are empowering. She has also had support from young Muslim women and couples. She was brought up in the UK as a Muslim and began to question her faith at the age of 12, when her parents got divorced. She says, “My work now is definitely a rebellion against my upbringing. I’m tired of being told how women should be”. Aaliyah still describes herself as Muslim, and feels that her sex work is more important than the version of Islam she grew up with. Can you be a sex worker and still follow your faith? Sex work has always challenged religion. Although it’s broadly considered immoral within Christianity, Islam and Judaism, sacred texts carry some mixed messages. Women sex workers often see male religious leaders condemning them in public, whilst buying their services in private. In Bangalore in India, women at a sex workers cooperative think religion is compatible with their work. One Christian, who’s a mother and wife, says her family don’t know how she makes her living. “I can talk to God about it when I can’t talk to my husband”. In Nigeria, a Muslim sex worker we’re calling Zara operates in an area where sex work is illegal and dangerous. But she draws strength from her faith. “I know what God says about selling sex, that it’s against the religion but he understands that I have to do it.”
01/09/23·27m 14s

Singing Morocco's new identity

Gnawa music is a Moroccan spiritual musical tradition developed by descendants of enslaved people from Sub-Saharan Africa. It combines ritual poetry with traditional music and dance, and is traditionally only performed by men. But one female Moroccan artist, Asmâa Hamzaoui, has broken the mould. She's become an international star, who has even performed for Madonna on her birthday. For Assignment, reporter Myriam Francois travels to Casablanca to meet Asmaa and her family, and follows her to the Essaouira Festival, the annual celebration of Gnawa culture. What does its ever-growing popularity tell us about the changing identity of a country that once saw itself primarily as part of the Arab world, but has now become more interested in its links to the rest of the African continent? Presented by Myriam Francois Produced by Tim Whewell Series editor Penny Murphy (Image: Asmâa Hamzaoui. Credit: BBC/Myriam Francois)
31/08/23·27m 15s

A new term in Myanmar

On 1st February 2021, a coup d'état began in Myanmar where the National League for Democracy was deposed by Myanmar's military. Students studying at the country’s higher education institutes were left with a decision: continue their studies under the new regime, or walk out. More than two years on, five students at Parami University share their experiences of studying during the coup. Offering a US style liberal arts education, Parami University is one of many institutions offering people another chance to begin, or in some cases restart, their learning. From dealing with electricity blackouts to writing essays about philosophy for teachers who are only ever a tile on a screen - and usually on the other side of the world - each student shares how they are using education as both resistance and hope for themselves and their country. We also hear from Parami University staff and academics who explain how education continues during conflict. Names and voices have been changed on some contributors. With thanks to Dr Shona Loong, Dr Will Buckingham, Dr Kyaw Moe Tun and students at Parami University Producer: Mollie Davidson A 7digital Production for BBC World Service
29/08/23·27m 24s

In the Studio: France's Rugby World Cup kit

The French national team are known throughout the sporting world as "les bleus" because of their iconic kits, which echo the blue of the French national flag. French sportswear brand Le Coq Sportif, in collaboration with the French Rugby Federation, have been creating and developing a new kit for the national squad ahead of France hosting the Rugby World Cup in September and October 2023. Rosa Johnston-Flint talks to some of the creatives behind the design and manufacture of this new kit, and goes to Le Coq Sportif's factory in Romilly-sur-Seine, a small town not far from Paris, to watch the first shirt being made with fabric especially created in France. Rugby is a rough contact sport, so how do you make a jersey that can withstand tackles while being as light as something worn by a cyclist and looking elegant under the spotlight of a home world cup? Presenter/producer: Rosa Johnston-Flint Executive producer: Andrea Kidd
28/08/23·27m 15s

OS Conversations: Migrating from Africa

More than 60 people are currently feared lost at sea after trying to escape Senegal by boat for a better life in Europe. According to the UN, Africa accounts for only 14 percent of the global migrant population. Most Africans also migrate internally but, due to the recent tragedy from Senegal, we decided to focus on those - both skilled and unskilled - who want to leave the continent for elsewhere. Host James Reynolds and his colleague Lukwesa Burak hear from men and women across four countries in Africa to discover the many reasons why they want to leave. We also hear from two unemployed mothers, one of whom is prepared to temporarily leave her young child with relatives in order to secure her own and her daughter’s future. A co-production between the BBC OS team and Boffin Media.
26/08/23·24m 0s

Heart and Soul: 60 years since ‘I have a dream’

Baptist minister Dr Martin Luther King Jr delivered his "I have a dream" speech on 28 August 1963 to crowds of over 250,000 in Washington DC as part of the Great March, which called for jobs and freedom for African Americans. It helped spur the passage of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. On the 60th anniversary of this legendary speech, Emmy award-winning journalist Sherri Jackson meets speakers from differing religious backgrounds and experiences to talk about how they have been influenced by Dr King's words. They discuss the details of his vision, and the role of faith in securing social justice and in anti-racism protest today. Produced by Nina Robinson Series producer: Rajeev Gupta Production coordinator: Mica Nepomuceno
25/08/23·27m 16s

Belize's blue bond

In 2020 Belize was broke. Again. This small, climate-vulnerable, Central American nation is home to the western hemisphere’s longest barrier reef. And it was about to default on a debt of over half a billion dollars. Enter an American NGO... The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the world’s largest conservation charity. TNC made an offer to the government of Belize: it would help restructure the debt, if Belize would channel the savings made into its precious coastal resources. In 2021, the deal became reality – creditors were paid off, and investors found for the new, so-called ‘blue bond.’ Belize’s debt shrank by 12% overnight. A win-win, right? But as Linda Pressly finds on a trip to Belize for Assignment, the ‘blue bond’ hasn’t been universally welcomed. There are concerns about an international NGO having influence in a poor nation, and arguments about which Belizean marine organisations have benefitted from the new investment. And there is one unresolved question: what does the ‘blue bond’ agreement mean for the potential future exploration of offshore oil in Belizean waters? Presenter/producer: Linda Pressly Sound engineer: Neil Churchill Editor: Penny Murphy (Photo: Replanting corals to restore Belize’s barrier reef is critical work in an era of climate emergency. Credit: Fragments of Hope)
24/08/23·28m 17s

Back to school: Supporting neuro-divergent students through LARP

Neurodivergent students learn, think, and process information differently than their neurotypical peers. Because of this, they often face unique challenges in the school setting. Students may struggle with executive functioning skills, typical social and communication skills and have sensory processing difficulties. As a result, they may be more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and many other mental health crises - resulting in a difficult education in which they won't receive the grades or social experience that they could achieve. This programme uses the Østerskov Efterskole school in Denmark as a case study to determine whether their revolutionary LARP (Live Action Role Play) teaching techniques could aid the education of every neurodiverse pupil.
23/08/23·23m 50s

In the Studio: Nicola Benedetti

World famous violinist Nicola Benedetti starts her new job as Director of the Edinburgh International Festival. Anna Bailey follows her as she enters unchartered territory, commissioning new works and running an organisation. Nicola talks through her decisions for her first programme, which features over 2000 artists from 48 countries. And Anna follows the progress of some of those artists as they begin rehearsals in the Scottish capital.
21/08/23·27m 23s

The famine at the edge of the ocean

Madagascar is experiencing its worst famine for over 30 years. With successive years of drought, this began in the country’s deep south but as successive cyclones hit Madagascar in 2022 and 2023, people in the south-east are now also suffering from food insecurity. The United Nations has described this as the “world’s first climate-induced famine”. But some climate scientists claim there is little evidence suggesting global warming is the primary cause. Journalist Raissa Iousouff travels to the south of Madagascar in search of answers and meets many of the local people and communities who are fighting to survive.
20/08/23·50m 11s

BBC OS Conversations: The fires in Hawaii

It is the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century. On the Hawaiian island of Maui, block after block of the seaside town of Lahaina lies in ruins. Only the twisted wreckage of buildings and charred vegetation remain among the ashes. More than 100 people have been killed. Host James Reynolds speaks to Ella, who lost her family home in the fires and with two volunteers, Uilani and Alison.
19/08/23·23m 59s

Heart and Soul: German, soldier, Jew

After the horrific role played by the German military in the Holocaust, arguably the last place you would expect to find a Jew would be in the German Armed Forces. And yet it is estimated that today there are around 300 practising Jewish military personnel, and since 2021 they have had their own chaplain, the first chief rabbi – and the first non-Christian - in nearly 90 years. With the help of serving personnel and the head of the military rabbinate, Shelly Kupferberg explores what it means to be Jewish in today’s German armed forces. Shelly also hears from Michael Fürst, the very first Jew to sign up after World War Two, who is now the president of the association of Jewish communities of Lower Saxony.
18/08/23·27m 23s

Zimbabwe's worker exodus

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans are fleeing their country, looking for work in the West, especially in the United Kingdom. Last year Zimbabwe was the third largest source of foreign workers for the UK, behind India and Nigeria, and ahead of the Philippines and Pakistan, which have much larger populations. A popular social media post reads: “the Zimbabwean dream is to leave Zimbabwe.” Many of those leaving their country are highly qualified. They’re taking jobs in the British care sector, where there is a huge shortage of workers. They send much of what they earn back to their families in Zimbabwe. For those back home it’s often the only way to survive in a country with hyper-inflation. Zimbabwe is about to go to the polls but few expect things to change. The economy is in dire straits and the opposition hasn’t been allowed to campaign freely. Some activists have been imprisoned or even killed. The ruling ZANU PF party, which has been in power since independence in 1980, shows little sign of losing control. Earlier this year the UK gave Zimbabwean teachers “Qualified Teacher” status, allowing them to work long-term in the UK. Zimbabwean parents fear their children’s teachers will be the next to leave. Zimbabwe’s latest skills exodus could break the country’s healthcare and education systems, which are already crumbling after decades of under-investment and corruption. For Assignment, Charlotte Ashton hears from Zimbabweans who’ve left, Zimbabweans who want to leave and Zimbabweans who say they can only dream of leaving. Presenter: Charlotte Ashton Producer: John Murphy (Image: A well-used five US dollar note in Zimbabwe. Credit: KB Mpofu)
17/08/23·27m 29s

Directing disability

In the 15 years that Jordan Hogg has been a TV director, he has never worked with another disabled director. Whilst 18% of the population has a disability, this is not represented in many industries, but Jordan is attempting to change this in TV and Film. Jordan, who has cerebral palsy, speaks to those who are challenging and changing the industry from within. Alongside him is TV Producer (and close friend) Jules Hussey. They speak to Academy award-winning actors James Martin and Rachel Shenton, hear the impact their award wins have had on the communities they were representing and discuss the changes that they believe have the biggest positive effects on inclusivity in Film and TV.
16/08/23·23m 51s

Did big tech know I was gay before I did?

Journalist Ellie House is bisexual. But before she had even realised that, it felt like big tech had already worked it out, with sites like Netflix and TikTok regularly recommending her LGBTQ content. Years later, Ellie goes on a quest to understand how the powerful recommendations systems that big tech companies use really work. She reconstructs her digital fingerprint, and hears from LGBTQ people around the world who are conflicted about the risks and rewards of being queer online.
15/08/23·27m 23s

In the Studio: Christopher and Tammy Kane

Fashion designers and brother and sister duo, Christopher and Tammy Kane have been trendsetters in the fashion world since 2006. They’ve dressed celebrities and world leaders, blending a playful, sexy aesthetic with working-class realism. Now they're launching a brand-new club night in London, the More Joy Disco. But how does their upbringing in a small Scottish village inform the glitz and glamour of their event? And why is joy such a motivating factor for the pair?
14/08/23·27m 23s

The Engineers: Lunar exploration

Humans are returning to the moon for the first time in over 50 years. The multi-national mission is called Artemis and involves the most powerful rocket and capable spacecraft ever built, a space station in lunar orbit, and a permanent moon-base on the surface. At a special event at the Royal Geographical Society in London, Dr Kevin Fong speaks to three of the world-leading engineers who are making this possible: Howard Hu, Orion programme manager at Nasa, Sara Pastor, chief engineer at the ESA Ihab Gateway, Libby Jackson, head of exploration at the UK Space Agency.
13/08/23·50m 15s

BBC OS Conversations: Football in Saudi-Arabia

A new season of the Saudi Pro League is underway, now featuring some of the biggest names in football. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N'Golo Kante, among many others, have all signed-up to play in the country. It has shaken up the transfer window but it is not without its controversy. Former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who signed for a Saudi club for example, was a vocal advocate of LGBTQ+ rights. But in Saudi Arabia, sexual activity with people of the same sex is illegal and can be punishable by death. Henderson’s rainbow armbands have been edited to grey in recent promotional videos. Host James Reynolds hears from three international football fans, Cassie, Alex and Evan.
12/08/23·24m 7s

Heart and Soul: Moscow vicar returns home

The Rev Malcolm Rogers has been in charge of the most extraordinary church.  St Andrews looks like an ordinary British Victorian church, but amazingly it’s just ten minutes from the heart of power in Russia, the Kremlin.   His flock includes local Russian people but also many English speaking ex-pats and members of Moscow's international community. This would have been an unusual posting at any time, but he’s been there during a remarkable period. It included the diplomatic dispute over the Salisbury poisonings, the Football World Cup staged in Russia, the Covid Pandemic and now the war in Ukraine.  It has put him in a sensitive situation at times, but it has also helped him to understand how the world is seen through Russian eyes.
11/08/23·27m 19s

When Wagner came home

Tens of thousands of Russian criminals – murders, rapists, robbers – were recruited from prisons by the mercenary group, Wagner, to fight in Ukraine. Now, after six months on the battlefield, the survivors have returned home, with official pardons. Many served only a fraction of their original sentences. And now, they're officially treated as heroes - protected by a new law which criminalises discreditation of anyone who fights on the Russian side in the war. Already, some returnees are reported to have committed further serious crimes. One has confessed to the brutal axe-murder of his 85-year-old former landlady. In another case, an ex-convict believed to have served with Wagner has been charged with masterminding the killing of two children's entertainers, one of them a 19-year-old woman who was training to be a teacher. The murders in southern Russia provoked an outpouring of anger and grief, with thousands signing a petition demanding that the alleged ringleader - who denies any guilt - should get a life sentence if he is eventually convicted. But they know any punishment will probably be less severe, because the criminal records of former Wagner mercenaries have been wiped. They start their lives again from a clean slate, and if they re-offend, no previous convictions can be considered. Reporter Arseny Sokolov talks to the mother of the murdered entertainer, to campaigners for prison reform - and to an ex-convict who fought for Wagner - to investigate what threat the returned mercenaries pose in their home towns and villages - and to assess the damage "legal nihilism" is doing to Russian society. Producer: Tim Whewell Editor: Penny Murphy (Image: A poster showing Wagner Group servicemen with a slogan reading “Join the winning team” in St. Petersburg, Russia, 24 June 2023. Credit: Anatoly Maltsev/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
10/08/23·27m 25s

Female founders: Green tech in the blue economy

Subsistence fishing employs hundreds of millions of people around the world. It’s an enormous business worth trillions of dollars. It’s also a dirty business. High-cost diesel motors and expensive, inefficient lights consume huge amounts of fossil fuels, leaving a considerable carbon footprint. But these lights are essential. Venturing out onto the high seas in a small boat is always dangerous, but night fishing is absolutely treacherous, so although good lighting saves lives, it also requires a lot of power. We follow the female scientists who are developing solar tech to help fisherfolk in South East Asia reduce their impact on the environment, improve their health and put money back in their pockets.
09/08/23·23m 57s

Inside Afghanistan's secret schools

In March 2022, seven months after the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, second level education was banned for girls, leaving around 1.1 million of them without access to formal schooling. Then in December that year, all female students were refused access to universities and colleges. But across the country, Afghan women and girls are fighting back, and defying the Taliban government by continuing their education in secret. Founded and, for the most part, staffed by women, secret schools have started to emerge from the shadows, offering online and in-person classes to those brave enough to attend. BBC Afghan broadcast journalist, Sana Safi, takes us inside two such secret schools, and into the hearts and minds of those who, despite the risks, refuse to be denied an education. (Photo: A classroom with students. Credit: Getty Images)
08/08/23·27m 25s

In the Studio: Ajay Chowdhury

The Indian-born crime fiction author, Ajay Chowdhury, is writing the fifth instalment of his Detective Kamil Rahman series, set between India and the UK. But Ajay is also a leading digital tech entrepreneur and this side of his life influences how he writes his fiction. Join fellow author Paul Waters as he watches Ajay completing the first draft of his latest book with the help of artificial intelligence tools. Some authors – including Paul - fear that AI is an existential threat to human creativity, so why and how does Ajay use it to make his books better?
07/08/23·27m 15s

Beats, rhymes and life: Hip-hop at 50

DJ and writer Lynnée Denise marks hip-hop’s 50th year by speaking to leading names about the music, the art and the creativity of this global cultural movement. Legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock reminisces over the last five decades, celebrating the artform, exploring its social impact and ask what lies ahead in hip-hop’s story. Artist and rapper Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 tells us how the social realism of Grand Master Flash and the Furious 5 inspired him to write rhymes.
06/08/23·26m 25s

BBC OS Conversatioms: Living through a coup

Niger has been the focus of international and diplomatic attention over the past week after its democratically elected president was removed from power by the military. In recent days, we have seen hundreds of foreign nationals leave the West African country. For most people in Niger though it is about trying to get on with life – amid the uncertainty – in a country that consistently ranks as having the lowest standards of living anywhere in the world. Host James Reynolds hears from two friends in Niger, Sadissou and Sidien, who share their different perspectives on events.
05/08/23·23m 58s

Heart and Soul: Online spiritual communities

A doctor in New York, Anjoli has been longing for a space to practise spirituality within a like-minded community, but she does not want to go to her parents’ Hindu temple. Whilst she likes the rituals and the sense of community, she feels torn over the teachings about race and caste. She's one of a flock of people signing up to an online community called The Nearness - a group brought together by people with Divinity School backgrounds who yearn for a community where they can explore big spiritual questions, but outside the confines of tradition religion. Research suggests that many millennials are hungry for spiritual communities but wary of mainstream religious ones, so they are trying to create their own. But is it possible to do this in a lasting way, without the history, traditions and rituals of an established faith?
04/08/23·27m 15s

Returning to Romania

Millions of people left Romania after it entered the EU in 2007. They were haemorrhaging doctors at such a rate they had to shut entire hospitals and losing so many builders they had to cancel major infrastructure projects. By 2015, nearly 20% of the population lived abroad. Now their government wants them to come home. They’ve doubled health care salaries, offered tax breaks to builders and dished out thousands of Euros in grants for returners who start up a business. And in 2023, with Romania projected to have one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, the migration tide could finally be turning. Dr Tessa Dunlop travels to Transylvania to meet Alina, who was persuaded to leave the UK by a grant that helped her start up a leather clothing business. Adrian, co-owner of an app design company, relishes the high tech salary he can earn and the relatively low living costs in Romania. Dan, a foetal medicine specialist left the UK after nearly a decade working for the NHS, hoping to improve Romania’s maternity wards. In some sectors, though, there are still shortages. Builder Ion can't find the Romanian talent he could easily recruit in Italy. Perhaps not enough has improved, yet, to tempt lower paid workers home. Presenter: Dr Tessa Dunlop Producer: Phoebe Keane Editor: Penny Murphy Production Coordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Mixed by: James Beard (Image: Alina Morar returned to Romania to set up a leather clothing company with the help of a government grant. Credit: BBC)
03/08/23·27m 17s

A billion batteries

Fourteen-year-old Sri Nihal Tammana is on a mission to prevent billions of batteries going to landfill. After watching devastating fires cause by discarded lithium-ion batteries, the kind of batteries found in most modern consumer electronics, he decided to set up a not--for-profit organisation called Recycle my Battery. They have set up recycle points in shops and local businesses, evangelised about the importance of recycling batteries in schools and local temples and have partnered with the largest non-profit battery recycling company in north America, Call2Recycle.
02/08/23·23m 48s

Invading the past: Russia and science fiction

Science fiction flourished from the earliest days of the Soviet Union. A rare space to explore other realms and utopian dreams of progress. But with the Soviet Union's collapse different narratives bubbled up. Many of them reactionary, imperial, violent with one sub genre flourishing above all - Popadantsy: accidental time travel where protagonists return to World War Two or the Imperial past to set the path of Russian history on the 'right' course, Historian Catherine Merridale explores how the once visionary world of Russian science fiction shifted in the time of Vladimir Putin to become a reactionary playground.
01/08/23·27m 15s

In the Studio: Sophie Hannah

The crime writer Agatha Christie remains the best-selling novelist of all time even though her death was almost 50 years ago. Her fictional detective Hercule Poirot has attained legendary status, so for a modern novelist to breathe new life into the character is a considerable challenge. However, the English psychological crime author Sophie Hannah has been doing just that. In 2014 she wrote her first novel using Poirot as the central character and we follow her in 2018 as she prepares her third Poirot novel for publication, entitled The Mystery of Three Quarters. Felicity Finch next catches up with Sophie as her fifth Poirot novel, Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night, is due to be published.
31/07/23·27m 11s

Women writing Zimbabwe

Look at any fiction prize recently and odds are that you will find a Zimbabwean woman nominated, be it Tsitsi Dangaremba, NoViolet Bulawayo or Petina Gappah. But forget the glitz of the Booker, what is the situation inside Zimbabwe? Reporter Tawanda Mudzonga takes us on a literary tour of Zimbabwe to find out why it has produced so many talented and renowned women writers. Tawanda speaks to emerging authors like Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Valerie Tagwira, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and Sue Nyathi among others to explore what their writing can tell us about modern Zimbabwe.
30/07/23·51m 11s

BBC OS Conversations: Women in sport

The Women’s World Cup is underway and global attention is once again on women in sport. Host James Reynolds brings together Preeti Singh, a national and international basketball player for India, lawyer and former England netball player Eboni Usoro-Brown and Jennifer Jones, one of Canada’s most successful female curlers. They compare notes on the progress in their respective professions. We also get into the challenges for a sports woman after having children. Jamaica footballer Cheyna Matthews is currently playing in the World Cup and adds her thoughts.
29/07/23·23m 58s

Botswana: Living with elephants

The battle to keep the peace between people and elephants in northern Botswana. The earth’s largest land mammal, the elephant, is an endangered species. Poaching, habitat loss and disease have decimated elephant populations. But not in Botswana, which has the world’s biggest population of elephants. In the north of the country, in the area around the remarkable Okavango Delta (the world’s largest inland delta), elephant numbers are growing and they outnumber people. This can pose serious problems for the human population, particularly local subsistence farmers. A crop raid by elephants can destroy a family’s annual food supply overnight. Elephants also pose a risk to life in their daily commute between their feeding grounds and their water sources. John Murphy travels to the top of the Okavango Delta, to see what efforts are being made to keep both people and elephants safe, and to persuade locals that these giant animals are an asset not a liability. He also explores threats from further afield to this green jewel in the desert, the Okavango Delta, which animals and people alike depend on. Presenter: John Murphy Producer: Charlotte Ashton Studio Mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Penny Murphy (Image: Elephant wading in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Credit: Brytta/Getty)
27/07/23·27m 25s

Song of the bell

The world's most followed religion is changing rapidly. Hannah Ajala explores how church bells travelling from Italy to Nigeria herald Africa's new role as the beating heart of Christianity. The Marinelli family in Italy have been making church bells for nearly 1,000 years. But in recent decades demand from Italy has fallen as faith dwindles, whilst orders from sub-Saharan Africa have grown dramatically. Hannah Ajala follows the journey of the Marinelli bells to Nigeria where she interviews one of the country's most famous pastors, Dr Paul Enenche, about the rapid rise of Pentecostalism.
25/07/23·27m 22s

In The Studio: SO - IL and Ben Lovett: The architects of music

Brooklyn-based architectural practice SO|IL's have garnered a reputation for crafting exquisite arts spaces. They are joined by musician Ben Lovett, one of the founding members of folk rock outfit, Mumford & Sons. When he is not on stage, he puts his energy into reinvigorating tired music venues with his company TVG. Launching in 2016, TVG is now a leader in this field, helping to ensure the survival of spectacular independent venues which would otherwise be vulnerable to closure. In the Studio gets behind-the-scenes and under the floorboards with the SO - IL experts as they describe how their philosophy and processes enrich and shape their buildings.
24/07/23·27m 21s

BBC OS Conversations: Surviving a heatwave

Millions of people around the world have been living under heat advisories due to record hot temperatures. The exceptional heat is being felt across Europe, the US, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Host James Reynolds hears from three farmers in South Africa, Nigeria and the UK about how they are having to adapt their work and methods due to the extreme conditions. We hear from three doctors in India, France and Australia about the warning signs of heatstroke and the cases they are having to treat due to exposure to the sun.
22/07/23·24m 15s

Heart and Soul: America’s atheist street pirates

On a busy street in Los Angeles a group of people in yellow vests are holding a ladder against a lamppost. Up the ladder, 34-year-old Evan Clark is ripping down a sign that is nailed to the post. It reads “Jesus: The way, the truth, the life”. These are members of the Atheist Street Pirates, local activists who track and remove religious signs affixed to public property. They, along with other volunteers, interfaith leaders and progressive Christian pastors who have joined the pirates to remove signs, as they believe they interfere with creating a pluralistic society. Nastaran Tavakoli-Far travels to Los Angeles and joins the Atheist Street Pirates out on a hunt for religious signs,
21/07/23·27m 38s

Tunisia’s democratic dream

Tunisia’s democracy is being dismantled by a president who claims he’s saving it from anarchy. Parliament has been dissolved, scores of judges sacked and opponents jailed. Once Tunisia - the north African country of just 12 million people squeezed between it’s much bigger neighbours Libya and Algeria - was a beacon of democracy. It was the first Arab country to overthrow it’s dictator Ben Ali in 2011 during what became known as the Arab Spring. Now a new authoritarian leader, Kais Saied, dominates the country. Tunisia faces numerous problems, from soaring prices and shortages of some basic foods - to thousands of migrants – many Tunisians - trying to flee across the Mediterranean to Europe. Mike Thomson meets the sister of an activist who was imprisoned, an aspiring kickboxer who wants to settle abroad, a sub-Saharan migrant who’s lost his job and his home and a rapper, whose music helped inspire that 2011 revolution. What future faces Tunisia – democracy or dictatorship? Presenter: Mike Thomson Producer: Bob Howard Mixed by Rod Farquhar Production coordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Series Editor: Penny Murphy (Image: Tunisians with Tunisian flags protesting against the constitutional referendum. Credit: Mohamed Messara/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
20/07/23·27m 48s

Kew Gardens: Botany and the British empire

For centuries, Kew Gardens was the flash point for a lesser known British imperial project – the collection of plants from colonised nations for political and commercial gain. Author and journalist Rosie Kinchen finds out about the work Kew is doing today to examine this, and looks into how the institution is supporting botanical science and conservation around the globe. Rosie speaks to curatorial and scientific staff at Kew, as well as taking a wider view on the role of plants in colonial history.
18/07/23·27m 38s

In the Studio: Gregory Doran

Acclaimed and award-winning Shakespearean, Gregory Doran, has directed every play in Shakespeare’s First Folio except Cymbeline. For him it’s one of Shakespeare’s most complex creations and he will be directing it for the first time as his swansong, as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic director emeritus. From the start of the production’s rehearsal period until its first performance, we follow Gregory and his team as they get to grips with a play criticised and celebrated for its genre-busting, location-hopping, multiple plotlines, topped by the appearance of the god Jupiter descending from the heavens on an eagle.
17/07/23·27m 39s

Women's football: Passion versus profit

The Euros 2022 saw the Lionesses finally ‘bring it home’ - the excitement and crowd numbers showed there was a huge demand for women’s football. Ahead of the Women’s 2023 World Cup this documentary explores whether opportunities for women have changed. What is the state of play for women’s football around the globe?
16/07/23·50m 4s

BBC OS Conversations: Living with rising prices

Prices almost everywhere are going up, which means most of us have less money to spend. At the heart of it is inflation, the rate at which prices are rising. It means paying higher costs for everything, from food to transport, clothes to power, and less on life’s luxuries. Host James Reynolds has been bringing people around the world together to share their experiences of inflation. Three people living in cities in Asia, Africa and Europe describe their struggles to buy food and pay the rent. We also speak to business owners, in Argentina, Senegal and Zimbabwe, including two who run restaurants. They give us an insight into how they stay solvent and share some advice on spending. They say that even when times are tough, people still want to go out to socialise with friends and family. And two students, in Poland and Lebanon, tell us know they have taken on multiple jobs to make ends meet.
15/07/23·23m 49s

Heart and Soul: Future shaman

As a shaman, Sipa Melo is the beating heart of tribal faith and culture in a remote corner of north-east India, tucked in the shadow of the Himalayan Mountains. He's a healer, a story-teller and a protector of the natural world. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent joins Sipa for a week of ritual, performing ceremonies to mark deaths and births and maintaining taboos that help preserve this mountainous region's indigenous culture and its rich wildlife. She hears about his determined efforts to encourage a new generation of trainee shamans and his worries about the changing values of the region as roads and hydro-electric dams end its isolation from the booming cities to the south.
14/07/23·27m 41s

Speaking for themselves

Kaaps is a language widely spoken in the bleak townships of Cape Town, South Africa. It’s often denigrated as a lesser form of Afrikaans – the language that was used as a tool of white supremacy during the apartheid era. Spoken predominately by working class people on the Cape Flats, Kaaps is associated with negative stereotypes – its speakers denigrated as uneducated, "ghetto" layabouts involved in gang culture. But a new, burgeoning movement led by hip-hop artists, academics, writers and film makers is actively changing that perception. They want to reclaim Afrikaaps to restore the linguistic, cultural and racial dignity of a formerly disenfranchised people. The writer Lindsay Johns travels to Cape Town to meet the activists determined to assert the worth and pride of the people who speak Afrikaaps. Presenter: Lindsay Johns Producers: Audrey Brown and Tim Mansel Mixed by Neil Churchill Production coordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Series Editor: Penny Murphy (Image: Children in Lavender Hill, a township on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
13/07/23·27m 15s

Bangladesh's clothing conundrum

Many Western fashion brands source garments from Bangladesh, a country with a long history of producing affordable clothing. The industry suffered a devastating disaster in 2013 when the eight-storey Rana Plaza factory building near Dhaka collapsed, costing the lives of more than 1100 workers. Ten years on, Bangladesh has tried to reinvent its image: it has brought in safer working conditions and is positioning itself as a sustainable green textile producer. Despite the extra costs of becoming more environmentally friendly, the clothes Bangladesh exports remain surprisingly affordable. In this documentary, fashion media producer and rights campaigner Sheemtana Shameem asks how this is possible. She looks into technologies to help sustainable production, examines what sustainability costs, and visits textile manufacturers to find out what it takes to ensure that sustainability itself remains sustainable. Ultimately, she asks, who is paying the price of Bangladesh’s textile industry going green? Will we all have to dig deeper into our pockets if we want to continue wearing clothes made in Bangladesh? Producer: Shiroma Silva A CTVC production for the BBC World Service
11/07/23·35m 9s

In the Studio: The Aquatics Centre, Paris Olympics 2024

In September 2017, The International Olympic Committee announced that a century after France last hosted the Olympics in 1924, the games would be returning to Paris for the third time in its history. The 2024 games, are set to become the most sustainable games to date and are following a new model -which involves only two new construction projects for the entire games – The Aquatics Centre and Olympic Village. The bid therefore to design the only new permanent sports facilities for Paris 2024 was highly sought after. French journalist, writer and broadcaster, Agnès Poirier, follows the architects who have won this coveted contract - Cécilia Gross and Laure Mériaud.
10/07/23·27m 14s

BBC OS Conversations: Race in France

France has questions to answer around inequity and its approach to policing. It follows days of violent protests after the fatal shooting in Paris, during a police traffic stop, of a 17-year-old boy of Algerian descent. The world also witnessed some of the country’s social issues laid bare, as anger around discrimination in some of France’s poorest areas spread across the country and came, once again, to the fore. In this edition, hosted by James Reynolds, we bring together young French men, mothers and those in public office from the capital’s suburbs to share their experiences of school, work and with the police.
08/07/23·24m 0s

Heart and Soul: A new generation of Nigerian royalty

Hannah Ajala, a Nigerian-British broadcaster explores the new generation of chieftaincy and royalty in Nigeria. She takes a closer look at some of the key aspects of an inauguration ceremony across various states in Nigeria, and the impact Nigerian royalty has within Diaspora. Hannah speaks to the new wave of Chiefs and Kings embracing this tradition and why they continue with this path whilst integrating more modern practices and preserving their ultimate beliefs.
07/07/23·27m 46s

What's happened to Iraq's Yazidis?

In 2014, militants of the Islamic State group set out to destroy the ancient, minority Yazidi community of northern Iraq. Thousands were murdered, thousands of Yazidi women and children were enslaved and brutalised. Since the defeat of IS in 2017, the traumatized community has tried to recover. And yet, as Rachel Wright reports, more than 100,000 Yazidis remain stuck in camps, unable to return to their homes. Photo: Bahar, a Yazidi survivor, holds a picture of her missing husband and son. She and her family were captured by Islamic State in 2014. (BBC) Presenter: Rachel Wright Producer: Alex Last Sound Mix: Neva Missirian Production Coordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Series Editor: Penny Murphy
06/07/23·27m 18s

Wagner's revolt: The world takes stock

Russia's once shadowy private military company Wagner hit the headlines around the world when the group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, ordered his men to march on Moscow. Although the insurrection was short lived, the impact is felt far and wide. The Global Jigsaw from BBC Monitoring examines the Wagner mutiny from the perspective of countries who have a reason to pay close attention.
04/07/23·27m 24s

In the Studio: Shezad Dawood

The British artist, Shezad Dawood is known for his colourful textiles and multimedia artworks, often featuring music and VR to explore issues such as migration, the environment and climate change. His latest exhibition is inspired by the African American composer and musician Yusef Lateef and his 1988 novella Night in the Garden of Love. Join Anna Bailey as she follows Shezad creating his latest commission for the Wiels, Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, along with his collaborator the American musician and percussionist Adam Rudolph. Audio for this episode was updated on 4th July 2023.
03/07/23·27m 25s

BBC OS Conversations: What do Russians and Belarusians make of the Wagner Group?

Following the Wagner group march on Moscow, we hear from Russians and Belarusians.
01/07/23·24m 17s

Heart and Soul: Nick Cave on grief, faith and music

The songwriter, poet and author, Nick Cave has a conversation about grief, faith and the spirituality of music with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Nick writes hauntingly beautiful songs – the themes of which tackle deep questions about humanity – often drawing from biblical sources. In 2015, NIck's son Arthur, died in a tragic accident at the age of 15, after falling from a cliff. Last year, Nick’s eldest son Jethro also died in Melbourne at the age of 31. Much of Nick’s art in recent years has dealt with grief, suffering and forgiveness. He reflects on this in his book, Faith, Hope and Carnage, written during the pandemic with the journalist Sean O’Hagan. And he openly explores love and loss with those who write to him on his online forum called The Red Hand Files.
30/06/23·27m 34s

The Organ Harvesters

Assignment tells the story of a young street trader from Lagos who ended up at the heart of an organ harvesting plot involving a senior Nigerian politician and a hospital in the UK. The young man was tested, trafficked and tricked into a plot to remove his kidney, to donate to the daughter of one of Nigeria’s most powerful politicians. As Mark Lobel discovers, the criminal trial and conviction is the first of its kind in the UK – and has led to police investigating more potential cases. Presenter Mark Lobel Producer Kate West Editor Carl Johnston Studio mix by Graham Puddifoot
29/06/23·27m 35s

Biniam Girmay: Africa’s new cycling hero

Biniam Girmay stands on the brink of history as the first black African rider to win a stage of cycling’s biggest race: the Tour de France. After a hard upbringing as one of six children in the Eritrean capital Asmara, he has become one of the most talented riders from the continent in the sport’s history. We profile an extraordinary early life and examine the significance of what his achievements can mean for such an accessible sport, which, after more than 100 years, remains almost completely white European.
27/06/23·27m 37s

In the Studio: Matthew Xia

***This programme contains racially sensitive language and themes that may be upsetting.*** Matthew Xia is a theatre director and Olivier award-winning artistic director of the Actors Touring Company. As his alter ego DJ Excalibur, he performed to a global audience of over a billion as one of the headline DJs at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. His latest production is a futuristic hip-hop infused performance, Tambo & Bones, at the Stratford East Theatre in London. Written by the US playwright Dave Harris, this satirical play, which is part distorted clown-show, part absurdist Afro-futuristic lecture with robots, explores the commodification and commercialisation of the traumatic black experiences that have been portrayed on stage over the decades. Felicity Finch follows Matthew, his actors and creative team as they develop the work into a playful, funny and provocative show.
26/06/23·27m 35s

BBC OS Conversations: Survival

Race against time rescue stories have been among the dominating international headlines in the past couple of weeks. There was the missing sub in the Atlantic and before that the incredible survival of the four children who were stranded for six weeks in the Amazon jungle in Colombia. Host James Reynolds brings together other people who have survived against the odds after being lost in the jungle and at sea.
24/06/23·24m 32s

Heart and Soul: Windrush at 75

Prof. Robert Beckford interviews Barbara Blake-Hannah the UK’s first black news reporter who returned to Jamaica after just eight years after coming over as part of the Windrush generation. She talks about how racism lead her to embrace the Rastafari faith and what it means to her.
23/06/23·27m 47s

South Korea: A room with a view

“It’s like living in a cemetery.” Jung Seongno lives in a banjiha, or semi-basement apartment in the South Korean capital Seoul. Last August parts of Seoul experienced major flooding. As a result several people, including a family of three, drowned in their banjiha. Seongno dreams of having a place where the sunlight and the wind can come in. These subterranean dwellings are just one example of a growing wealth divide in Asia’s fourth largest economy. With almost half of the country’s population living in Greater Seoul, the struggle to find affordable housing has become a major political issue. It also contributes to Korea’s worryingly low birth rate. The inability of young people to afford a home of their own means they are not starting families. Many have given up on relationships altogether. John Murphy reports from Seoul, where owning a home of your own is so important and yet increasingly unattainable. Produced and presented by John Murphy Producer in Seoul: Keith Keunhyung Park Studio mix: Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinator: Iona Hammond Series editor: Penny Murphy (Photo: Park Jongeon, his wife and dog live in this one room in one of Seoul’s poor housing districts. Credit: John Murphy)
22/06/23·28m 58s

The monkey haters

There is disturbing material, including descriptions of violence and torture of monkeys, from the start of this programme. There's a horrific and disturbing trade in the torture of Macaque monkeys that are filmed and sold online. Rebecca Henschke follows the trade in these videos from the USA to Indonesia to the UK. Who is making them, who is selling them and who is buying them? Why is it that monkeys being put through unimaginable pain is so attractive that people are willing to pay to watch it? Rebecca confronts the people at the centre of this worldwide trade.
20/06/23·44m 0s

In the Studio: Wayne McGregor

Wayne McGregor is a choreographer and director whose future-focused, multi-award-winning works take inspiration from technology, literature and visual art. As resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet since 2006, he has created a catalogue of daring and beautiful dance pieces, pushing the artform in radical new directions. Reporter Eliza Lomas goes backstage at the Royal Opera House, following Wayne as he creates a brand new work. Called ‘untitled: 2023’, the piece developed in collaboration with someone he greatly admires - the late Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera.
19/06/23·27m 46s

Controlled and connected: 50 years of the cell phone

Fifty years on from the first mobile phone call, this programme examines how the device has revolutionised the way we lives our lives. It was 1973 when Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher made the first mobile phone call to his rival at Bell Labs. The prototype weighed 2 kilograms and measured 23 by 13 by 4.5 centimetres. It offered a talk time of just 30 mins and took 10 hours to recharge. Fast forward five decades and checking the phone is the first thing many people do when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they do when they go to bed. How has the mobile phone revolutionised the way we live our lives?
18/06/23·49m 42s

BBC OS Conversations: Air pollution

Hundreds of wildfires are burning across Canada, almost half are classed by officials as ‘out of control’. Their immediate impact is the destruction of homes and businesses, plants and wildlife. But the smoke from those fires is affecting air quality. Maps tracking the spread of the smoke, have shown it covering large parts of Canada, as well as US cities such as Minneapolis and Chicago. We speak to families in Canada and New York who share experiences of the smoke from wildfires in Canada. Plus, mothers from India, Pakistan, and United States discuss the effect of air pollution.
17/06/23·24m 33s

Heart and Soul: Swiss Christians and conversion therapy

There’s a debate raging in Switzerland over a potential nationwide ban on so-called conversion therapy. We meet Christians whose lives the procedure has changed forever. They explain how growing up in an Evangelical community, they struggled with their faith and sexuality from a young age – driving them to seek help. So-called conversion therapy has been around for centuries. The controversial practice is used around the world to try to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has become a hot topic in in Switzerland, and the parliamentary process to potentially enact a nationwide ban is underway. Claire Jones meets the Christians working to change the law, and those who are against a legislative ban.
16/06/23·27m 51s

Catching a Pervert

An investigation by BBC Eye exposes the men profiting from an ugly business of sexual assault for sale. We find websites selling thousands of videos of men sexually abusing women on trains, buses, and other crowded public places across East Asia. You can even order your own tailor-made assault on these sites. They’re run by a shadowy figure known as “Uncle Qi”. He’s hailed as a guru by an online community of perverts. But who is he? The hunt takes Assignment to Japan, where sexual assault in public is known as "Chikan". We take you inside this dark and twisted world to hear from the perpetrators of these horrific crimes, and meet the women who are fighting back. We visit a “Chikan” sex club where customers can pay to legally grope women in rooms decorated like trains; and we follow plain clothes police searching for sexual predators on Japan’s metro. The investigation goes undercover to expose the identity of the men running these websites who are cashing in on sexual violence. Presenter: Zhaoyin Feng BBC Eye Producers: Aliaume Leroy, Shanshan Chen, Zhaoyin Feng Assignment producer: John Murphy Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Production Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Assignment Editor: Penny Murphy This programme deals with matters of a sexual nature which some listeners may find disturbing.
15/06/23·27m 58s

Swan's head, tiger's roar

Producer Steven Rajam travels to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar to meet some of the women challenging convention, tradition and history at home and across the globe, including hip-hop artist Mrs M, Hollywood actress Bayra Bela and traditional throat-singer Zolzaya, whose fiddle is adorned not with the traditional horse's head, but a swan.
13/06/23·27m 51s

In the Studio: Ada Limon

In the Studio follows US poet laureate Ada Limón as she crafts an original poem dedicated to Nasa’s Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s icy moon. Her poem will be engraved on the Clipper spacecraft, which will launch in 2024 and travel 1.8 billion miles to reach Europa - a journey that will last six years. We follow Ada’s creative process over several months, from her first meetings with the Nasa team, through many drafts of the poem and a visit to Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory in California to see the Europa Clipper under construction. In this update, we hear the finished poem.
12/06/23·27m 49s

BBC OS Conversations: India train crash

The collision between three trains in the state of Odisha claimed more than 280 lives and left more than 1000 people injured. We bring together a volunteer, Govind Dalai, who was one of the first on the scene and doctors Manoj Kumar Barik and Amrit Pattojoshi. Dr Barik was working in the local hospital on the night the crash happened, and Dr Pattojoshi, a psychiatrist, has been involved in identifying those who lost their lives. They discuss the support they are trying to provide to the families of victims. Also, Shweta in New Delhi and Riddhi in Ambala City, talk about their experiences of Indian railways and their concerns about safety.
10/06/23·24m 4s

Heart and Soul: America's relief mission

The work of Florida's Baptist Relief responding to climate events like Hurricane Ian and floods in Kentucky - in support of people whose lives have been turned upside down.
09/06/23·26m 46s

Ukraine: The men who don’t want to fight

For more than 15 months the Ukrainian armed forces have held out against the superior numbers of the Russian invasion force. But not every Ukrainian man subject to the draft is willing to fight. More than 6,000 Ukrainian men of military age have been granted protection in Romania since the beginning of the war, according to figures supplied by the Romanian immigration authority. Some left Ukraine in order to avoid the draft. Others served on the front before throwing down their weapons. Romania has a 600-kilometre border with Ukraine, which is difficult to cross. The choice is either a short swim across a fast-moving river or a long trek over snow-covered mountains. A number of those who’ve tried have died in the attempt. Nick Thorpe has been to the border region to meet Ukrainian men who do not want to fight in the war.
08/06/23·29m 45s

Yellowstone: The first national park

In 1872, Yellowstone became America and the world's first national park. Alongside erupting geysers, bubbling hot springs, canyons, and bison herds, we uncover the pivotal role of art in winning over the public and convincing politicians to set aside this unique landscape, which today spans 2.2 million acres. Shirl Ireland is a landscape and wildlife painter from Gardiner, Montana, and naturalist and guide Ashea Mills, tread the same terrain as painter Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson.
06/06/23·27m 21s

In the Studio: Ken Loach

The Old Oak will be Ken Loach's last feature film and Sharuna Sagar was granted exclusive access behind the scenes of this landmark movie. She joins the 86 year old director on his swansong as he brings together his loyal team for one last time. As with his previous two films, I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You, Ken returns to the North East of England, to tell the story of Syrian refugees who have been housed in an ex-mining village. With him are his long-standing partners, producer Rebecca O'Brien and writer Paul Laverty, and they reveal the secrets of Loach's success.
05/06/23·27m 29s

BBC OS Conversations: Mount Everest

It’s 70 years since a New Zealand mountaineer and his Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer guide reached the highest point on Earth. There have been celebrations in Nepal in recent days to mark the anniversary. Thousands of people have followed in their footsteps but this climbing season on Mount Everest is drawing international attention for the record number of climbers and the increased deaths on the mountain. James Reynolds hosts conversations that give us an insight into one of the toughest challenges on the planet, as well as the challenges posed by climate change and the overall impact on those who rely on the mountain to earn a living.
03/06/23·24m 9s

Heart and Soul: The ‘living saint’ who hid a mystical sex sect

Jean Vanier changed Richard and Hazel’s lives. He founded the L’Arche movement – a global network inspired by Christian teaching – where people with and without learning disabilities live together in community. During his life, Vanier was hailed as “a living saint” and “a prophet”. But shortly after his death, a deep and disturbing secret emerged – that Vanier founded L’Arche to hide a mystical sex sect, coercing and abusing at least 25 women, all without disabilities. Richard and Hazel were stunned when they discovered the truth. Now they and 150 L’Arche communities are coming to terms with what has happened.
02/06/23·27m 36s

Myanmar’s war in the air

Russia is supplying the Myanmar military with advanced fighter jets and training their pilots how to use them in a war against their own people. More than two years on from the coup, the country’s military is facing a countrywide armed uprising and their troops are struggling to hold ground and recruit foot-soldiers. So, the strategy is turning increasingly to the air with devastating consequences. BBC’s Asia editor Rebecca Henschke follows those fighting back on the ground and in the air. And meets defectors from the airforce who give exclusive insight into the strategy and psychology behind those operating these deadly machines. (Photo credit: Free Burma Rangers)
01/06/23·27m 36s

Metaleurop : A stain on France

For years the people of Evin-Malmaison in north-east France have lived and brought up children in a town which is dangerously polluted. The Metaleurop Foundry attracted workers and their families, it provided life to the area - but it has now killed it with the pollution, which lies deep in the soil. Twenty years after the factory closed, the scale of the scandal has only just emerged, thanks to a new residents campaign. But who will takes responsibility? Marine Hay meets the families here who say they can't live with lead seeping into their water supply, but can't leave because, who would buy their houses?
30/05/23·27m 34s

In the Studio: Alberta Whittle

Alberta is an award-winning Barbadian-Scottish multi-disciplinary artist whose work encompasses drawing, digital collage, film and video installation, sculpture, performance and writing. In this edition of In The Studio, Antonia Quirke follows the progress of a new painting, commissioned specifically for the exhibition. All is going well with the painting, until Alberta realises that it might be upside down.
29/05/23·27m 37s

BBC OS Conversations: Living with ADHD

The exact cause is unknown, but the mental health condition ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects millions of lives around the world. Symptoms include hyperactive behaviour and maintaining concentration. To understand its effect a little more, we brought people together who are living with it. Two mothers in Kenya and the UK share their experiences of bringing up children with the condition. Host James Reynolds also hears from two couples living with ADHD in Nigeria and the United States, and rapper Jude MI Abaga.
27/05/23·24m 21s

Heart and Soul: Evangelical or political Christianity?

One of the founding principles of the United States is that religion and politics, church and state, are separate. Yet today in America religious belief and politics have become inseparable. Self-styled "evangelical" Christians have become the dominant grassroots force in the Republican Party. "Evangelical" is not a denomination, it can mean different things to different people in terms of religious doctrine. The unifying principle seems to be in the political outlook of its adherents: deeply conservative in the 21st Century American political context. Michael Goldfarb explores the tension between a life of Christian faith and the dirty realities of secular politics.
26/05/23·27m 42s

Germany’s forests under threat

Drought and hotter summers are killing Germany’s spruce forests. They’re a staple of the timber industry but are proving unable to cope with the consequences of climate change. Four out of five of Germany’s trees show signs of sickness, according to the latest survey of the health of the country’s forests. All tree species are affected. And although the last couple of years have seen more rain this hasn’t been enough to compensate for the damage already done. One third of Germany is forested and trees are seen as a means of absorbing carbon emissions, as well as a source of wood for the building industry and heating. Forests are also a popular destination for recreation – hiking, biking or simply relaxing. Caroline Bayley has been to some of the country’s forests to find out what’s being done to rescue Germany’s trees before it’s too late. Producer/presenter: Caroline Bayley Editor: Penny Murphy Studio: Engineer Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross (Photo: Harz mountains by Caroline Bayley)
25/05/23·28m 22s

Global dancefloor: Salvador

Brazil has one of the highest rates of trans and gender-diverse homicides in the world, and almost three-quarters of people killed each year are either black or mixed race. Many think the country's conservative and populist class explicitly targets Afro-Brazilians, whose voices are under-represented in politics and culture, despite making up more than half of the country's population. Frank McWeeny heads to Salvador to meet the queer and PoC collective Batekoo, who are changing perceptions by advocating for freedom of self-expression through music, dance, education and community politics.
24/05/23·31m 41s

Global dancefloor: Beirut

Frank McWeeny heads to Beirut to meet the nightlife community behind the Grand Factory club, and explores how underground culture here survives even during chronic lack of opportunity. This scene is working tirelessly to remain active, while rebuilding both physically and psychologically. But how do you run a club in a country that is going through the worst economic and political crisis in its history?
24/05/23·39m 24s

Beirut: Life in the unliveable city

What is it like to live through the collapse of your country, in a city you love and cannot bear to leave? Lina Mounzer is a writer and translator living in Beirut, and this is a question she wrestles with, both in her writing and her daily life. Lebanon has been in crisis since 2019 when the country’s financial system started to collapse - many people lost their life savings overnight. The 2020 Beirut port explosion then only increased people’s suffering. Lina speaks to friends, family and neighbours to hear how they are coping and trying to keep the spirit of the city alive.
23/05/23·27m 47s

In the Studio: Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and forensic investigator of sound. He describes himself as a 'private ear’, listening to, with and on behalf of people affected by corporate, state and environmental crimes. Whether that’s determining the type of ammunition and location of gunfire from sound alone, drawing on earwitness testimony for evidence, or uncovering crucial information buried within noise. As a new exhibition of his work opens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, presenter Eliza Lomas follows as he prepares for a performance, After SFX. This piece interplays storytelling with live sound design and percussion, drawing from the artist’s investigative work to explore various aspects of sonic memory.
22/05/23·27m 48s

Iraq: Generation Invasion

Twenty years after the US-led invasion, four young Iraqis recall life under foreign occupation and share their hopes and fears for the future. Shedding a light on post-Saddam Iraq are: 26-year-old Dima who rebelled against religious extremists in her native Basra and has rediscovered a love of singing; Bassam, an enthusiastic environmentalist helping re-green the city of Mosul; Ahmed, a Kurdish graduate struggling to make ends meet in a local barber shop; and Baraa, a female publisher, whose message to the world is “Iraqis need a second chance.”
21/05/23·50m 47s

Introducing The Explanation

On a mission to make sense of the world. A new podcast, with hosts John Simpson and Claire Graham. Episodes released weekly from 20 May 2023.
20/05/23·1m 24s

BBC OS Conversations: Long Covid

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest figures suggest that nearly seven million people have died due to Covid - although the true figure is likely to be much higher. While many more contracted the disease and avoided being seriously ill, one estimate suggests 65 million people have not fully recovered. These are the people with long Covid, whose symptoms have persisted for more than six months after being infected. This month, the WHO said Covid-19 is no longer a “global health emergency”, though it still poses a danger. Host James Reynolds hears from those who feel forgotten and misunderstood.
20/05/23·24m 32s

Heart and Soul: The emerging Muslim 'manosphere'

In Britain, the growth of Islam is being driven by a younger population, born and brought up in the United Kingdom. This includes BBC reporter Rahil Sheikh. Having grown up against the backdrop of the ‘war on terror’ and rising Islamophobia, he has seen how young Muslims have turned to social media to forge online safe spaces where they can connect, celebrate and discuss their faith. Young Muslims say these social media stars explain the faith in a more relatable way than the imams or spiritual leaders they may encounter in the mosque. But in recent years, Rahil has noticed that some of these male Muslim influencers have been using Islam to advocate alpha masculinity as a way of combating liberalism and feminism. Critics – including some Muslim women - argue this is a misguided interpretation of the faith.
19/05/23·27m 54s

Hard times in the Big Easy

New Orleans is the murder capital of the United States: researchers into 2022’s crime figures say it suffered more homicides per capita than any other major city. Carjackings, armed robberies and other potentially lethal offences are also at sky high levels in ‘The Big Easy’ - a place better known for its happy mix of cuisine, carnival and colonial architecture. Crime plagues many American cities, and some of these problems are down to familiar causes, with economic disparity, poor education and the prevalence of guns all at play. However, other factors appear unique to New Orleans, such as high incarceration rates; entrenched racial inequality and chronic police understaffing. Many people believe that the chaos and mistrust of authority which followed Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005 has brutalised the generation which grew up in its shadow. For Assignment, the BBC’s Anna Adams meets those at the sharp end of this crisis in her adoptive city, and asks what went wrong. But as she also discovers, the spirit of the Big Easy can still be resilient, with some local people stepping up to do their failing authorities’ work for themselves in a variety of different social projects. To the backdrop of the city’s ever-present music, this is the story of a community that is literally under fire, and fighting for its life. Presenter Anna Adams Producer Mike Gallagher Sound mix Rod Farquhar Production coordinator Helena Warwick-Cross Series editor Penny Murphy (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
18/05/23·27m 55s

Bonus: The Lazarus Heist

Introducing season 2 of an original podcast about hackers and North Korea. They’re back - in fact the criminals never went away. Season 2 begins at an ATM, possibly near you.
17/05/23·36m 23s

In the Studio: Sir Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry's new one man show - August in England gives an insight into the lives impacted by the Windrush scandal. In 2017, thousands of legal residents who arrived from Commonwealth countries from the late 1940s to early 1970s were misclassified as illegal immigrants and were wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights. Their experience inspired Sir Lenny Henry to write and perform his very first one man show from the perspective of August, a grocer and father based in the West Midlands in England, who faces deportation from a country he has lived in for the past 52 years. Presenter Vishva Samani follows Sir Lenny as he prepares for his exciting playwriting debut at The Bush Theatre in London.
16/05/23·27m 54s

Generation Change: Battling for a sustainable environment

Babita Sharma meets young people from around the world working to fight climate change, including a Kenyan engineer who has designed a solar powered fridge which can be used to transport vaccines on a bike, a Californian teenager who has designed a wind turbine for use in cities, and South Korean protesters taking their Government to court. She also meets Nobel Chemistry Laureate Frances H. Arnold, the co-chair of President Biden’s science commission. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
15/05/23·27m 20s

Generation Change: Equality in science and technology

Megha Mohan talks to young people working to diversify science, technology, engineering and maths - fields that will be crucial to the future of our planet, but whose workforces remain predominantly male. She also hears how Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Andrea Ghez overcame gender barriers in her career in science. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
15/05/23·27m 22s

Generation Change: Tackling taboos around organ donation

Babita Sharma talks to young people who are trying to save lives by tackling taboos around organ donation in countries including India and the UK. She also speaks to Nobel Prize-winning economist Alvin Roth, who discusses his work on kidney donation. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
15/05/23·27m 18s

Generation Change: Fighting hunger

Babita Sharma meets young people trying to solve global food problems, including a Lebanese man who worked to feed people after the deadly bomb blast in 2019, and an American woman whose work connecting charities to excess food from restaurants is spreading around the world. She also learns about the work of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning World Food Programme. Generation Change is a co-production of the BBC and Nobel Prize Outreach
15/05/23·27m 22s

BBC OS Conversations with Russians

In recent days, Russia staged its annual Victory Day military parade, celebrating the defeating of Nazi Germany during World War Two, which ended in 1945. Host James Reynolds hears from two women in Moscow, against the backdrop of Victory Day. They talk about the roles their families played during the war 78 years ago, and how they feel about those fighting in Ukraine today. We also bring together three men in Russia to hear their thoughts about fighting for their country.
13/05/23·24m 34s

Heart and Soul: Ticket to Taiwan

Cindy Sui discovers how the Chè-lâm Presbyterian Church in central Taipei has been helping Hong Kong activists who have fled to Taiwan since the introduction of the national security law. The Lunar New Year is a time when families usually come together and celebrate, but the Hongkongers that Cindy meets are unable to return to their homeland. Instead, they find support and a sense of community at the church which offers a service in Cantonese. In addition to spiritual support, the church meets their medical, psychological and social needs.
12/05/23·27m 19s

Searching for my son

In the chaos following Turkey’s devastating earthquake in February, Omar was separated from his son Ahmed after both were pulled alive from the collapsed ruins of their home. Omar lost his first born and his wife but believes Ahmed could still be alive. Many children went missing in the aftermath of the earthquake. Some ended up in hospitals or childrens’ homes on the other side of the country and families have spent months trying to locate them. But for many of the estimated 3.5 million Syrian refugees, searching for lost loved ones is even harder - there are language barriers and a lack of money, or sometimes official I.D cards. Omar has enlisted the help of Nadine, a fashion designer before the quake, whose now trying to reunite Syrian families. She and her team find both success and heartbreak. Emily Wither follows Omar, a Syrian refugee, as he searches for his son across South East Turkey. Producer: Phoebe Keane Producers in Turkey: Zeynep Bilginsoy, Musab Subuh (Omar pastes a poster of his son on a lamppost near his destroyed home. It reads: ‘Missing’. Credit: Musab Subuh)
11/05/23·28m 6s

In the Studio: Kevin Kwan

In recent years, dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, has made Los Angeles his home. The city is rich with art, fashion and intriguing social structures, all of which are key sources of inspiration for Kevin’s novels. Los Angeles has become his living and breathing studio, and going out into the city is a huge part of his creative process. In the first of several ‘deep dives’ into the LA life that sustains Kevin creatively, we attend the opening of a new show (featuring the work of artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby) at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Gardens, out in Pasadena, where the old money families of LA live.
08/05/23·27m 54s

BBC OS Conversations: Escaping from Sudan

The fighting between Sudan’s military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces started around three weeks ago. Since then, the UN estimates that more than a 100,000 people have fled the country and more than a third of a million have been displaced within Sudan. Host James Reynolds hears from some of those who have been forced to flee their country.
06/05/23·24m 34s

Heart and Soul: Will the real Shaman stand up?

According to the national census, the number of British people who say they follow Shamanism as a religion has risen twelvefold in the space of 10 years. While the numbers are still low – at around 8,000 followers - the increase has put pressure on those who have followed the practice for years. The BBC’s Amber Haque visits a British shaman to find out what Shamanism is, what it means to her and her circle of believers and why they think it should be taken seriously.
05/05/23·27m 53s

Kenya's Free Money Experiment

Thousands of Kenyan villagers are being given free cash as part of a huge trial being run by an American non-profit, GiveDirectly. Why? Some aid organisations believe that simply giving people money is one of the most effective ways to tackle extreme poverty and boost development. After all, they argue, local people themselves know best how to use the funds to improve their lives. But does it work? Is it really a long term solution? In 2018, the BBC visited a Kenyan village whose residents received money at the start of the trial. Five years on, the BBC’s Mary Harper returns to see what’s changed. Photo: Woman frying fish in village in western Kenya (BBC) Reporter: Mary Harper Producer: Alex Last Studio Manager: Graham Puddifoot Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production Coordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross With special thanks to Fred Ooko
04/05/23·29m 12s

The making of King Charles

Charles III waited a very long time to become King. Since his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969, he filled his life with activity, pursuing deeply held passions and causes – on the environment, farming, architecture, charities to help young people and projects to improve understanding between religious groups. We speak to the people who know him best, to explain the ideas and values which motivated him for so many decades. We discover how his many eclectic projects are rooted in his spiritual beliefs about the essential harmony of the universe and his reverence for the natural world.
02/05/23·26m 29s

In the Studio: Tinuke Craig

The acclaimed British theatre director, Tinuke Craig embarks on her opera debut at the English National Opera with Blue, a tale of police violence in America and its impact on a New York family. The opera has been composed by the Tony award-winning Jeanine Tesori, with a libretto by Tazewell Thompson. Anna Bailey follows Tinuke and her operatic collaborators as she embarks on a challenging new chapter in her career.
01/05/23·26m 13s

The day I met the King

People from all over the globe remember their meetings with King Charles III over the years. They include Dr Joe McInnes who took the former Prince for a dive beneath the ice of the North West passage in 1975, holocaust survivor Lily Ebert, Joseph Hammond who met the King when he visited a military cemetery in Ghana and former pop singer and Spice Girl Mel B who remembers several hilarious encounters with the King including one involving the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.
30/04/23·50m 36s

BBC OS Conversations: Fentanyl in the United States

Fentanyl is a potentially deadly synthetic opioid. The other month, a drug enforcement official in the country described it as the single deadliest drug threat the US has encountered. It’s been around since the 1960s and small doses are used safely every day by medics for pain relief. But as an illegal drug, Fentanyl is blamed for more than 70,000 deaths in the US every year. We bring together two parents who lost children to the drug. George Gerchow in Colorado tells us that one of the hardest aspects is dealing with the stigma and lack of support from the community.
29/04/23·24m 37s

Heart and Soul: The Church's slave plantation, part two

Professor Robert Beckford explores the Christian understanding of reparations. He speaks to Christians in Barbados who say reparations from the Church are now both justified and necessary. But their perspective is only one side of the story. In England, representatives from the Church of England and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel articulate their understanding of reparations and why they believe it is unnecessary. Robert looks into Christian scripture to explore if there could be a theological case for the payment of reparations.
27/04/23·27m 55s

Laos: the most bombed country on earth

50 years after the last US bombs fell on Laos, they’re still killing and maiming. In an effort to stop the march of communism, between 1964 and 1973, America dropped over two million tonnes of ordnance on neutral Laos: on average, a planeload of bombs was released every eight minutes, 24 hours a day. This is more than was dropped on Germany and Japan in the entire Second World War. Laos, today a country of just 6 million people, remains the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita. Five decades after the war, these deadly items remain a persistent threat and daily reality for communities across Laos. More than 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO (unexploded ordnance, unexploded bombs, and explosive remnants of war) in Laos since the war ended in 1975, with people still killed and injured every year. Around half the victims are children. But UXO doesn’t just kill and maim, it renders agricultural land useless and prevents economic progress. Although Laos is rich in natural resources, its development has been crippled by the legacy of the war. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent travels to Laos to tell its story 50 years on. Producer John Murphy (Photo: Clearing unexploded bombs in northern Laos. Credit: MAG / Bart Verweij)
27/04/23·28m 7s

Miss Marple returns

Agatha Christie is the world's most translated author, with her work being available in over 100 languages. And one of her most beloved characters, Miss Marple, is about to be resurrected with the help of 12 contemporary authors. In The Studio talks to two of those writers: Dreda Say Mitchell who specialises in a different type of crime story, the gritty gangster genre, and Kate Mosse, who is known for her historical sagas. They reveal how they rose to the challenge of reinventing one of the most famous characters in 20th Century fiction.
25/04/23·27m 12s

After the earthquake: Turkey’s election

We travel to Turkey's Anatolian heartland to find out whether the region which helped propel President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to power in the early 2000s will do it again in May's crucial election, despite widespread disappointment with the government's preparation and response to February's deadly earthquake.
24/04/23·28m 31s

4. Murder in Mayfair: The home front

“He’s a coward, he’s not a man.” Martine’s mum passes judgement on Farouk. A final push for answers takes Nawal to Yemen and Norway. And questions of betrayal ring alarm bells in London.
23/04/23·35m 37s

3. Murder in Mayfair: The flight

“He won’t wake up...I think he’s dead.” What Farouk did in the hours after Martine died and the bridges he burned to get away. Nawal’s investigation reaches a critical point. Will Farouk keep talking?
23/04/23·27m 43s

2. Murder in Mayfair: Martine

Friends panic when "street-smart" Martine fails to come home. Her family scrambles to help as a surprise move on Facebook makes something “click” with police.
23/04/23·27m 11s

1. Murder in Mayfair: Finding Farouk

The hunt for the suspected killer of 23-year-old Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen, whose body was found buried under rubble in a London basement in 2008. She died after a night out with "billionaire playboy" Farouk Abdulhak, son of one of Yemen’s richest and most powerful men. Police found Martine’s remains in Farouk's apartment building. But Farouk had already fled. Fifteen years later, he’s still on the run. The BBC's Nawal Al-Maghafi was born in Yemen and has been on the case for more than a decade. This is the story of how she finally tracked down the elusive Farouk Abdulhak.
23/04/23·27m 10s

Caught in Sudan's conflict

To live in Sudan is to have experienced violence, protest, dictatorship, political instability and upheaval. But the scale of fighting during the last week has shocked many. Caught in the middle have been the people, as residential areas have been pummelled by missiles. Amid the crossfire, they have faced no power and no food and have had to decide whether to remain hiding in their homes or risk going outside. Three women from Khartoum - Dallia, Sara and Enass - share their personal situations and concerns with host James Reynolds.
21/04/23·23m 59s

Heart and Soul: The Church's slave plantation, part one

What are the consequences of the Church of England's historic slave plantations in Barbados today? Theologian Robert Beckford considers why and how the Church's missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, got involved in the slavery business. He travels to Barbados to hear from a range of voices who tell the story of how in 1710, the Church turned the Codrington Plantation into a missionary experiment. The original mission failed but later generations did eventually adopt the Anglican faith. However, spurred by the country becoming a republic, some are now questioning the Church's historic role in slavery.
20/04/23·27m 21s

Leaving Sri Lanka

Record numbers are fleeing the island in the wake of a brutal economic crisis – perhaps one in twenty five Sri Lankans left last year alone. Some 300,000 went for contracted positions, mostly in the Gulf. But hundreds of thousands of others took less official routes. Many of them get scammed, some even lose their lives, as illegal migrants in what looks like a web of corruption and organised crime. Ed Butler speaks to some of those who are involved in this industry, who’ve taken this perilous option, and asks why aren’t more Sri Lankans, and even the government, speaking out more loudly about what some see as a national tragedy? Produced and presented by Ed Butler Production coordinator Helena Warwick Cross Series editor Penny Murphy (Photo by Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images)
20/04/23·26m 28s

Introducing: Murder in Mayfair

Coming soon: The hunt for the suspected killer of 23-year-old Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen, whose body was found buried under rubble in a London basement in 2008. She died after a night out with "billionaire playboy" Farouk Abdulhak, son of one of Yemen’s richest and most powerful men. Police found Martine’s remains in Farouk's apartment building. But Farouk had already fled. Fifteen years later, he’s still on the run. The BBC's Nawal Al-Maghafi was born in Yemen and has been on the case for more than a decade. This is the story of how she finally tracked down the elusive Farouk Abdulhak. Murder in Mayfair is a new four-part mini-series from The Documentary, available on 24 April.
18/04/23·3m 48s

The hidden caste codes of Silicon Valley

Sam, Harsha and Siddhant are tech workers of Indian descent, who all say they have experienced discrimination in corporate America. They are not being singled out on the basis of race, gender, religion or nationality, but by an invisible factor; one they were born into, and one that others like them come to the US to try to escape. They say they have faced discrimination because of their caste.
18/04/23·27m 13s

In the Studio: Erica Whyman: Directing Hamnet

Maggie O’Farrell’s historical novel Hamnet was published in 2020 to great critical acclaim, winning the Women's Prize. It tells the story of a gifted herbalist, Agnes Hathaway, who is married to a young William Shakespeare. We follow her on her journey as they meet, marry, and later come to terms with the death of their 11-year-old son, Hamnet. Now, the Royal Shakespeare Company is putting Hamnet on stage for the first time in Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon. Presenter Dan Hardoon follows the RSC’s Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman throughout the rehearsal process.
17/04/23·27m 21s

The ghost ship

In the Persian gulf, a powerful storm appears to sink an oil tanker, prompting a dramatic Royal Navy rescue. But six weeks later, the same tanker causes a scandal when it drifts onto a luxury Bollywood beach in India - like a ghost. Environment journalists Dan Ashby and Lucy Taylor delve into the unsolved mystery, investigating allegations of murky goings-on.
15/04/23·49m 48s

BBC OS Conversations: Living with multiple sclerosis

A ground-breaking new medical trial has begun in the UK aimed at slowing the progress of multiple sclerosis. The Octopus trial is looking into whether existing drugs can be repurposed to help slow the progression of the condition. Alykhan, who was diagnosed with MS when he was still at school, is taking part in the study. He joins us in conversation with Professor Jeremy Chataway, from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, who is leading the trial.
15/04/23·24m 29s

Heart and Soul: Sikhism’s lost song

In the heyday of the Sikh Empire, Kirtan (Sikh hymns) were performed using stringed instruments such as the sarangi, rabab and taus. The rich, complex tones these instruments create are said to evoke a deeper connection to Waheguru (God). But in the late 19th Century, these traditional instruments were replaced by European imports like the harmonium. Now a new generation of diaspora Sikhs is painstakingly rebuilding that musical heritage - restoring scores and meeting up to teach and learn traditional instruments. Monika Plaha meets one these musical pioneers, Harjinder Singh Lallie, and finds out how his beliefs fuel his work and how his music shapes his faith.
14/04/23·26m 29s

Gran Chaco - Paraguay’s vanishing forest

The Gran Chaco Forest is Latin America’s second largest ecosystem. It is a mix of hot and arid scrublands, forests and wetlands, part of the River Plata basin, so large it extends into Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Large parts of the forests have already been cleared to make way for farms. Now a new highway being driven through it is heralding further change. The so called Bioceanic Corridor will transport the produce of cattle ranchers and soya-bean farmers in Brazil and Paraguay across to ports on the west coast. Members of some indigenous communities like the Ayoreo see it as a further threat to their way of life. The new road is being cautiously welcomed by some members of the Mennonite Community, a Christian religious group who came to the Gran Chaco 100 years ago via Prussia, Russia and Canada and bought land from the government to farm. Will the impact of the road on the indigenous and Mennonite communities - and the environment - be worth the economic benefits? Jane Chambers travels across the Gran Chaco for Assignment. Produced by Bob Howard. The Paraguay producer was Santi Carneri.
13/04/23·28m 26s

In the Studio: Telling the John Hume story

Beyond Belief: The Life and Mission of John Hume is a new musical drama about the Irish politician who was one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process. Marie-Louise Muir goes behind the scenes of the production, staged in Hume's home city of Derry, with its director, Kieran Griffiths. She follows his young company of actors rehearsing for a major production which will be streamed live globally on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the historic peace accord, the Good Friday Agreement.
12/04/23·27m 50s

The billion-dollar scam

Investigative reporter Simona Weinglass leads a BBC Eye investigation into a criminal network, believed to have scammed more than a billion dollars from victims across the globe. The organisation sponsored a top-tier football club to promote its online trading platform, promising investors the chance of astonishing returns. We hear from victims, undercover agents and police, in a bid to track down who is in charge.
12/04/23·27m 59s

Deep Waters: Container ships

Container ships are the monsters of the seas - the very biggest are almost half a kilometre long and piled high with up to 20,000 huge boxes. At any one time, there are tens of thousands of these floating cities on the move, many unable even to dock at local ports. It’s our relentless demand for more and cheaper stuff that drives the industry. We meet the British salvage man who’s making millions from the boxes that get left behind, lost or abandoned - yet another example of how invisible the world of shipping is, even though the whole planet depends on it. Image: Jake Slinn, founder of JS Global, at Felixstowe docks
10/04/23·27m 57s

Deep Waters: Sanctions and the new 'dark' fleet

Shipping has long been one of the most opaque of global industries. Now many operations in the oil sector, which accounts for nearly a third of all seaborne trade, have become still more secretive, following the West's imposition of sanctions on Russian oil. A new "dark fleet" of ageing tankers with obscure ownership, flying flags of convenience, has been formed to avoid the sanctions - and there has been a big increase in risky ship-to-ship transfers at sea, which make it easier to disguise the oil's origin. The Laconian Gulf in southern Greece is a major hub for such transfers, and locals now fear any accident could cause major environmental damage in an area which depends on tourism and fishing. Tim Whewell witnesses the operations close-up, and talks to campaigners who believe the influence of powerful shipowners makes local authorities turn a blind eye to possible dangers. Who is responsible for policing the operations of ships in international waters? And where is the oil going? The war in Ukraine has led to a major reshuffling of trade flows, as Asia becomes an ever bigger market for Russian crude. Presenter: Tim Whewell Producer: Monica Whitlock
10/04/23·27m 49s

Deep Waters: The hidden world of global shipping

Bulk carriers are the ships that keep the modern world going - like the MV Raeda and the MV Olivian Confidence carrying grain from Ukraine to Turkey, and flour to Afghanistan and Yemen. Zig zagging across the oceans for months at a time, bulk carriers keep us all going even in times of war and pandemic. "If it didn’t grow in your garden," says broker Aysu Gurgan, "a bulk carrier brought it to you." Steel, sand, coal, cement - the very fabric of the modern world - all of it reaches us on bulkers. Unseen by the very populations that rely on them, each bulker is also home to international crews who spend half their lives on board. Presenter: Tim Whewell Producer: Monica Whitlock
10/04/23·28m 6s

OS Conversations: Guns in America

Funerals have been taking place for victims of the latest mass shooting in the United States. Six people – including three children aged 9 – were killed in the attack at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. Official data suggests guns are the leading cause of death for American children and teens - even more than car accidents. Researchers have recorded more than 130 mass shootings across the US so far this year. Their data suggests incidents have gone up significantly in recent years. The term “mass shooting” is generally understood to be incidents in which four or more people have been injured or killed. Meanwhile, the debate about gun violence in the US continues to be highly polarised. In this edition, we bring together those directly affected, who share the impact it has had on their lives. Abede Dasilva and Max Schachter discuss dealing with the aftermath of a shooting. Abede’s brother Akilah was killed in 2018 at a Waffle House restaurant, also in Tennessee. Max’s son, Alex, was one of 17 victims murdered in the Parkland School shooting in Florida in the same year. We also talk to Jennifer Hubbard, whose six-year-old daughter Catherine was murdered by a lone gunman at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Two mothers also tell us how they talk to their children about gun violence, and students in Tennessee send us messages about their protests against gun violence.
07/04/23·24m 45s

Heart and Soul: Clergy in cartel land

Mexico has become the most dangerous country in the world to be a Catholic priest. In the past 15 years, 50 were killed in narco-related violence. And the young men who enter the priesthood in the region of western Mexico known as Tierra Caliente, meaning "hot land", are at particular risk. They will have to work in drug cartel-controlled communities, may have gang leaders or members in their congregations, and will struggle with the ethical and theological dilemmas of publicly condemning these men’s actions at the risk of being murdered for speaking out. Even baptisms or delivering communion or receiving donations can prove extremely threatening: to refuse them any of the most sacred rituals of the Church is to defy the cartels. And few live to tell the tale, having refused to bend to the cartels’ demands. The BBC’s Mexico correspondent, Will Grant, travels to Tierra Caliente to meet a group of seminarians. In recent years, their director was attacked and almost killed. Members of a drug cartel entered their seminary, dragged off one of their colleagues and murdered him in the surrounding countryside. And the grave to one of their instructors is nestled by the chapel. All reminders, if any were needed, that these young men are about to join the world’s most dangerous priesthood. How are they prepared? Do they appreciate just what they are letting themselves in for? And how will they tackle the thorny ethical and spiritual questions which lie ahead as priests?
06/04/23·27m 52s

Vienna: Getting housing right

Affordable housing is in widespread crisis. Many cities around the world have failed to build enough houses with good design and make living in them affordable – whether rented or bought. This effects millions, especially young people. One place which seems to have a far better record is Vienna. Rents are modest, the housing is high quality, there’s a good social mix with new estates designed with everyone in mind. So how has the City achieved this? And with pressures like a growing right to buy ethos, how sustainable all this in the face of future challenges? While the great Social Democratic tradition that Vienna’s housing embodies seems to have faded or disappeared across much of Europe, here it seems to have thrived. Is Vienna’s housing dream a one-off, or can it be a place everywhere else can learn from? Reporter: Chris Bowlby Producer: Jim Frank
06/04/23·27m 58s

In the Studio: Nikita Gill

The poet Nikita Gill has written several volumes of poetry, and enjoys engaging poetically with her audience using social media. Her work often explores Greek myths, and her latest project is a series of four books, each one focusing on a single goddess. For this episode of In the Studio, we join her as she starts with Hekate, often called the goddess of witchcraft, and about whom little is known, other than that she was brought up in the underworld by Styx. Nikita describes Hekate as a dark anti-feminine goddess and a protest against what is expected of women, which is what appealed to her. But how do you go about creating a life for someone who is so mysterious? And as Nikita will also be illustrating her work, how will she decide how to visually portray her? Follow Nikita across several months as she works towards completing her first draft of this exciting new work. Presented and produced by Rebecca Armstrong for the BBC World Service
03/04/23·27m 45s

Being gay in Africa

It’s illegal in around 30 countries in Africa to be in a same-sex relationship and recently there’s been political debate in places such as Uganda and Ghana around stricter laws. We’ve also reported on the BBC in the past few months about violence against LGBT people in Kenya and Egypt, for example. The proposed new law in Uganda is awaiting the president’s assent, and if approved, it may see people who identify as gay, lesbian or queer imprisoned for life. We’ve spent the past few weeks making contact with some of those who are affected.
01/04/23·24m 36s

Heart and Soul: Purity to nudity

Gwen was brought up as a strict evangelical Christian. She was taught that women needed to control the way they dressed and acted to control the behaviour of men. When she was sexually abused, she believed it was her fault. But when she first stepped into a nudist community, she felt free. She was naked, with other naked people, and her nakedness was not making other people molest her. She learnt that her body was not something she had to hide. The BBC’s Josie Le Vay visits Gwen at her home in a nudist community in Florida, USA.
31/03/23·26m 29s

Finland’s uneasy relationship with its neighbour

How has Finland survived so long as an independent European country, up close to Russia, its aggressive neighbour? Over the decades it’s learnt to live with both the Soviet Union and then post-communist Russia next door and to benefit from the cross-border trade it offered. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed attitudes in Finland, seen most clearly in its decision to join Nato. In this edition of Assignment, we report from the border towns of Lappeenranta and Imatra – which have gained economically from Russians crossing into Finland as tourists, for trade, to buy property and simply to go shopping. Now Russian tourist visas have been banned by the Finnish Government and the local mayor says the region is losing a million euros every day. The country’s army has male conscription, defence spending is at NATO levels and Finland’s cities have underground shelters to protect its population. Caroline Bayley looks at Finland’s relationship with Russia – past and present – and asks what’s next for these uneasy neighbours. Producer/presenter Caroline Bayley Editor Penny Murphy Studio Engineer Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinator Helena Warwick-Cross (Photo: Almost deserted border post on Finland’s border with Russia. Credit: Caroline Bayley)
30/03/23·28m 34s

Deep Waters: The hidden world of global shipping

Bulk carriers are the ships that keep the modern world going - like the MV Raeda and the MV Olivian Confidence carrying grain from Ukraine to Turkey, and flour to Afghanistan and Yemen. Zig zagging across the oceans for months at a time, bulk carriers keep us all going even in times of war and pandemic. ‘If it didn’t grow in your garden,’ says broker Aysu Gurgan, ‘A bulk carrier brought it to you.’ Steel, sand, coal, cement - the very fabric of the modern world - all of it reaches us on bulkers. Unseen by the very populations that rely on them, each bulker is also a home to international crews who spend half their lives on board.
28/03/23·26m 28s

Iraqis and the consequences of the Iraq War

In March 2003, the United States led an invasion of Iraq that would topple Saddam Hussein's regime, but would have far-reaching consequences for the next two decades. No-one knows exactly how many Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Estimates are all in the hundreds of thousands. The political instability that followed saw the rise of jihadist extremists including Islamic State. There was a civil war and the spread of violent sectarianism across the region. Host James Reynolds brings together Iraqis to share how trauma continues to impact their lives.
25/03/23·27m 1s

Introducing: Love, Janessa

All episodes of our catfishing podcast are now available. You meet someone online. It turns out many others think they have fallen for the same person. It’s the story of the scammers and the unwitting face of a digital con. With host, Hannah Ajala. Search for Love, Janessa wherever you get your podcasts.
24/03/23·2m 55s

My hijab or my sport

It took Salimata Sylla three hours to get to the away fixture she was due to play with her basketball team mates from the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers. But it was only a few minutes before the match started that she learned she was going to sit the game out on the bench. Despite playing for more than 10 years in the French Championship, the federation that controls her sport decided to apply the rule that forbids female basketball players from wearing the hijab. Reporter Claire Jones goes to Paris to meet Salimata to find out how she can resolve her wish to express her Muslim faith by wearing a hijab with her desire to play the sport she loves.
24/03/23·27m 27s

Killer drug: Fentanyl in the US

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is destroying lives all over the United States. Manufactured illegally and at a huge profit by drug cartels in Mexico, it’s smuggled across the border into southern California and Arizona. The director at one entry point on the border acknowledges that they’re looking for needles in a haystack. And she says that they drug organisations have more money than they do. In the second of a two-part series, Assignment crosses into the US from Mexico to run a rule over the devastation this lethal drug has left in its wake in San Diego County. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel (Photo: The wall between the US and Mexico from the Mexican side. The city of San Diego is in the distance. Credit: Tim Mansel).
23/03/23·28m 8s

Blind faith: Do genetic eye disease ‘treatments' work?

BBC journalist Ramadan Younes investigates the world of genetic eye disease ‘treatments’, where some practitioners claim to cure the incurable. Living with his own visual impairment, Ramadan sets out to explore how clinics around the world, from Sudan to Gaza and from Russia to the United States, target predominantly Arab patients by advertising, selling and conducting procedures that are at best ineffective and can at worst cause total blindness.
22/03/23·27m 23s

Can technology save democracy?

The storming of the Brazilian Parliament and Congress by the supporters of the former president Jair Bolsonaro came almost two years to the day that Donald Trump’s supporters did the same in the United States. And the two events shared another similarity; both sets of supporters were egged-on by social media posts, and mobilised by private messages on apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. They are examples of how technology is being used to erode democracy – but can it also be used to strengthen it?
21/03/23·27m 21s

A choice of horrors

In the aftermath of the disastrous war in Iraq, the lesson seemed clear: the West should never intervene in foreign conflicts. But then came the Syrian civil war, and the invasion of Ukraine, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. So 20 years on, Caroline Wyatt – who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia – takes us back to the choice of horrors the West faced in 2003, and examines how the legacy of that fateful decision shapes foreign policy today, for good or ill.
18/03/23·50m 25s


Everything Everywhere All at Once ensured it was a historic night at the Oscars. And in doing so it put a spotlight on Asian Americans. The film, which centres around a fictional family of Asian Americans, received seven awards with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian woman to win the best actress Oscar. Catherine Byaruhanga hears stories from Asian-Americans, including three actors who discuss attitudes and prejudice towards them in the film industry.
18/03/23·24m 11s

Killer drug: The Mexico connection

Fentanyl is deadly. Thousands of Americans die every year from a drug overdose – the majority of them after using a synthetic opioid like fentanyl. Fentanyl was developed as a legal, and effective, pain killer. Now, fuelled by insatiable US demand, it’s illicitly produced in makeshift laboratories in Mexico by organised crime groups. In the first of a two-part series, Assignment travels to the Mexican Pacific port of Manzanillo. This is one of the main entry points for the chemical ingredients required to make fentanyl. It’s a town where Mexico’s powerful cartels have fought for control, and where the mayor lives under armed guard after a failed assassination attempt. Although the primary destination of Mexican-made fentanyl is the US, Mexico too has a rising number of addicts – especially in Tijuana on the Mexico / US border. Presenter / producer: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla [Photo: The Navy is in charge of security at Mexico’s seaports in a bid to stop the chemicals used to make fentanyl coming in from Asia. Credit: Tim Mansel]
16/03/23·27m 20s

The boat smugglers

The recent rise in migrant boat crossings between France and the UK is being fuelled, in part, by more sophisticated methods gangs are using to source the boats. The criminal gangs now control the production of inflatables, making it possible to significantly increase profits. Sue Mitchell teams up with former British soldier and aid worker, Rob Lawrie, to investigate how boats used in migrant Chanel crossings are sourced and the huge profits being made.
15/03/23·27m 42s

Somebody is watching me

Since 2020, when the so-called Nth Room scandal revealed how women and children were lured and blackmailed to make explicit videos for distribution through chatrooms, the lucrative online sexual exploitation of women and children has intensified. Sojeong Lee investigates why women in South Korea are so especially vulnerable to online abuse and exploitation and why so little has been achieved by government and police. How have the country’s economic and social characteristics led to this hotbed of digital sex crime?
14/03/23·27m 47s

Life after the earthquakes

It is a month since earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria. Official figures suggest that more than 45,000 people were killed in Turkey; and more than 6,000 in Syria. In reality, the numbers are likely to be higher. Millions are without homes - and the search for proper shelter is difficult. Amid rain, snow and cold weather, many people have remained outdoors, too afraid to go into any buildings that are still standing. Host Catherine Byaruhanga brings together survivors and volunteers to share their stories and to hear what happens immediately after such a life changing event.
11/03/23·24m 22s

Ireland’s Urban Horses

Ireland’s housing estates continue to ring to the sound of horses with patches of grass used for grazing and garages as stables. Horses used to be an integral part of cities across Europe until the middle of the 20th century. But in Ireland, no matter how hard the authorities have tried to dissuade residents from keeping horses, the tradition survives. Although horses have long been associated with the travelling community, Irish people from all backgrounds have a passion for owning them. For those on lower incomes, that’s often in housing estates and even in city centres. Some horses can be bought for the price of a packet of cigarettes and although there are supposedly strict ownership rules, these are routinely flouted. The authorities are caught between trying to protect animal welfare and respecting a key part of Irish culture. For Assignment, Katie Flannery travels to Limerick and Dublin to hear about urban horses there. Produced by Bob Howard. (Photo by Bob Howard)
09/03/23·33m 15s

The long haul of long Covid

Three years after the official declaration of a pandemic, 65 million people - one in 10 who had Covid-19 - still have symptoms. Some are so ill they are yet to return to work. The Economist’s health editor, Natasha Loder, examines the science behind long Covid and hears about the challenges as researchers try to unravel the cause behind a condition associated with around 200 symptoms.
07/03/23·27m 49s


A wooden boat lies broken and wrecked off the coast of Italy after it hit rocks and sank. On board were around 200 people, mostly migrants from countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Many died. The boat had set sail from Turkey and was attempting to cross seas in rough weather on a journey described as the deadliest migration route on the planet. The disaster has again prompted debate about what is being done to address the issue. Hosts James Reynolds and Krupa Padhy hear stories of people who have made similar journeys.
04/03/23·24m 17s

Nigeria's battle against bandits

In the last few years, powerful criminal gangs have terrorised a swathe of north west and central Nigeria. From camps in the forest, gangs of bandits on motorbikes have attacked villages killing and kidnapping men, women and children. So how can Nigeria's new leader restore security? What does it say about the future of security in Africa's most populous nation? Alex Last has been to the north western city of Katsina to meet some of those battling the bandits. Photo: Some of the weapons used by vigilantes in Zamfara state, north west Nigeria, 2019 (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP via Getty Images) Reporter: Alex Last Producer: Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production assistant: Helena Warwick-Cross
02/03/23·26m 28s

Flying Seagulls: Child's play

The Flying Seagull Project travels the world with a simple goal: to enable and empower children in warzones and refugee camps to play. Theirs is a riproaring, irreverent, iridescent carnival that cuts through even the hoariest of cynics - and changes people's lives. From Glastonbury to a primary school in South London and on to a refugee camp in Bulgaria, reporter Georgia Moodie follows Ash Perrin, the founder of the Flying Seagulls as he gets kids from all walks of life to chuckle, yell and play.
28/02/23·27m 56s

No place like 'Nam

March 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American combat troops from Vietnam. Vietnamese journalist Nga Pham uncovers the surprising story of the US veterans who served in Vietnam during the 1960s and early '70s, and have since returned as retirees and decided to make the country their home. Can it just be the cheap housing, affordable healthcare and low cost of living? Or is it a way of healing from the psychological trauma of their experiences serving in the US military during the war in Vietnam?
25/02/23·51m 31s

Women and the war in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has led to tens of thousands of deaths. And it’s estimated around 8 million Ukrainians left the country to find sanctuary. James Reynolds meets mothers and their daughters who share their experiences of escaping the war and the challenges of making a new life for themselves in the UK. We also hear from three young Ukrainian women, currently living in London. They express the guilt they feel about leaving friends and family behind, while also offering observations on some quirks of British culture.
25/02/23·25m 0s

The Parallel Universe of Russia’s War

A year on from the invasion of Ukraine, many Russians now inhabit a parallel world that justifies the conflict. How have they been persuaded to support, or accept, a war against a country they had the closest of personal and historical ties with? Assignment talks to some of the persuaders – a celebrated war correspondent, a top talkshow host, a popular singer and poet, and a volunteer fighter – to understand how Russians’ understanding of the conflict has been forged. What are the memories and fears that have been invoked to convince many that it’s Russia, not Ukraine, that’s fighting for its survival? (Photo of Russian war reporter Alexander Kots)
23/02/23·26m 36s

Fishrot: Clear waters, murky dealings

Two countries a world apart are linked by a multi-million dollar corruption scandal, and it is all about fish. At one end, the southern African nation of Namibia where leading politicians and businessmen are facing trial on racketeering charges, accused of running an elaborate scheme that squandered valuable fish stocks, meant to help people out of poverty. On the other a powerful fishing company under scrutiny in Iceland, a country long credited with the image of transparency and honest dealing.
21/02/23·28m 27s

Nigeria elections

Ahead of the upcoming general election in Nigeria, Alan Kasujja hosts a special conversation from the commercial capital of Lagos. He sat down with around 20 young people to debate and talk about their lives in what many refer to as the “giant of Africa”. Writers, security guards, teachers, web designers and entrepreneurs are among those who join Alan to talk about issues including education, money, safety, corruption and the lack of women in the political landscape.
18/02/23·22m 59s

On the frontline of Brexit

No part of the United Kingdom has felt the impact of Brexit more strongly than Northern Ireland. Home to the country's only land border with the European Union, the province is the focus of passionate debate about Britain's future relationship with Europe. Three years on from Brexit, the temporary agreement, the so called “Protocol,” that was designed to ease the UK's exit from the EU but left Northern Ireland in legal and political limbo is coming to an end. And what might replace it is causing uncertainty and unease there. David Baker travels to Northern Ireland and assesses the impact of Brexit. He meets businesses that have benefited from the agreement and want it to stay and others who say it’s been damaging and feel their identities are threatened. Producer: Jim Frank (Photo by Stephen Barnes via Getty Images)
16/02/23·26m 44s

America's first black bank

The Freedman’s Bank was established in 1865 after the abolition of slavery and the Civil War. The Bank was designed to help newly freed African-Americans in their quest to become financially stable. At its peak, it stretched across huge swathes of America. But what began with huge promise ended in massive failure nine years later, leaving a legacy of distrust in its wake. Szu Ping Chan looks at the history and lessons from the collapse of America's first black bank.
14/02/23·28m 22s

World Wide Waves '23: The sounds of community radio

For World Radio Day, we celebrate four vibrant community radio stations on four continents. Northern Malawi’s Rumphi FM supports the Tumbuka tribe while giving young women a space to speak out against early marriage and for education. From Budapest, Radio Dikh broadcasts “about the Roma, but not just for the Roma,” presenting Romany culture in its own distinctive voice. In Nunavik, Northern Quebec, Inuit radio beams Inuktitut music and talk to 14 remote villages, helping to keep an ancient language and threatened tradition alive. And in Myanmar, brave journalists risk their lives to resist the military dictatorship with news and views sent out from portable transmitters, sometimes under fire.
11/02/23·50m 41s

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria

We have been hearing from people in Turkey and Syria since the earthquake struck the region on Monday. Three survivors tell us about their escape from shaking buildings onto bitterly cold streets, including Canan who was staying in a hotel in Gazientep: “We were in PJs,” she says. “We were barefoot and people were screaming and crying.” It’s an anxious and emotional time for relatives watching from abroad. Germany is home to the largest Turkish diaspora in the world and we bring together Aeyna and Hazal, as well as Khalil, who has close family in Aleppo in Syria.
11/02/23·24m 12s

The great German sausage crisis

In Germany in 2002 there were some 19,000 small, neighbourhood butchers’ shops. They made and sold, among other things, that “great emblem of Germany’s national diet” – sausages. At last count, in 2021, there were fewer than 11,000 shops left. The German butchers’ trade association says there are “massive problems” finding trained staff and young people who want to learn from the bottom up. In Lörrach, in the south-west of Germany, the Chamber of Handcraft, is now looking overseas in order to preserve local culinary traditions. A group of apprentices from India has just started a three-year training programme at the local college and various shops in the vicinity. The decline of the butchers’ shop – and the threat to the sausage – mirrors a problem in many branches across the whole of Germany; in social care, in bakeries, in the building trade: people at the top of an ageing population are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than those entering at the bottom. “The lack of skilled workers is becoming ever more palpable,” says the chamber of trade. They’ll be going back to India later this year to recruit for other industries. Producer/presenter: Tim Mansel
09/02/23·27m 0s

The travelling speech therapist

When speech disorders affect children, it is speech therapists who assist in helping them find their voice, but therapists are rare and it is thought they are largely absent across 75% of the world. Sean Allsop grew up needing speech therapy in the UK. He travels to Turks & Caicos, a place that has no therapists to help its population. He takes the trip with a travelling speech therapist, Mary Weinder who has been asked by the Turks & Caicos Government for help.
07/02/23·27m 52s

Living with power cuts

Around the world, millions of people live with daily electricity blackouts. In recent days in South Africa, protesters – angry that the electricity keeps going off – marched through Johannesburg and Cape Town. Three women in South Africa share their experiences of their daily struggles to get everything done before the power goes off. Two business owners, in Sri Lanka and Nigeria, come together to discuss the financial impact of power cuts.
04/02/23·23m 56s

Uruguay’s Cash Cow

Cattle are part of Uruguay’s DNA. There are around 4 cows to every one of their tiny 3.5 million population of people and beef is their main export. But how do they compete against their mighty, better known neighbours; Argentina and Brazil? In this week’s Assignment Jane Chambers travels to the country’s lush, green pastures to find out about how they keep their cash cow flourishing. She hears from cattle farmers and other people in the beef industry about how they’re carving out a niche for themselves and future proofing against the threats of climate change. Produced and presented by: Jane Chambers Country Producer: Lucinda Elliot Studio Mix: Rod Farquhar Production coordinator: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Series Editor: Penny Murphy
02/02/23·27m 23s

The Night Witches of World War Two

Orna Merchant learns how, during World War Two, a desperate Soviet Union created three all-female aerial combat units. The most celebrated of these was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Using Polikarpov Po-2 wooden biplanes, as the aviators approached their target they would cut their engines and glide in to drop their bombs. The eerie sight and sound of this – added to the discovery of them having all women crews - led German forces to nickname them ‘Nachthexen’ - the Night Witches.
31/01/23·27m 10s

A short history of sadness

How do humans cope with sadness? Is it something to be avoided at all costs or part of the human condition? Should we dwell on our sadness, or flee from it? Author Helen Russell explores humanity's history of gloom, and the cultural differences in our approach to tackling it. Helen goes to Lisbon to explore their relationship with melancholy, communicated through a uniquely mournful genre of music called Fado, and an untranslatable word "saudade". She learns about the service which sends a handsome man to wipe away tears in Japan, and hears about joy, sadness and mourning with a Ghanian poet.
28/01/23·48m 29s

Babies and families

Several countries are experiencing a fall in the number of babies being born and this has potentially serious consequences. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society. The problem is an increasingly elderly population and not enough younger people to keep the country ticking over. China is seeing record low birth rates and South Korea has the lowest rate of women having babies in the world. Youtubers Sarah and Kyuho in the South Korean capital Seoul, describe some of the pressures and reactions they experienced when they said they are not planning to have kids.
28/01/23·24m 26s

Iran Protests: Tales from the frontline

Why did people take to the streets, risking arrest and a barrage of bullets? After protests turned violent and hundreds of people were killed, four Iranians tell the story of why they risked their lives. What has been happening in Iran to drive them out onto the streets to face bullets? ‘Agrin’ tells Phoebe Keane she’s tired of being objectified as a woman, and having no faith that the authorities will take sexual assault seriously when the police themselves are accused of raping prisoners. Mahsoud tells how he was shot during a protest but feared going to the hospital in case the authorities put him in jail. When plain clothed police loitered outside his family home, he decided to leave Iran. Still bleeding and with a metal pellet lodged in his ear impairing his hearing, he finally made it across the border to Iraq. ‘Nazy’ tells of being arrested by the morality police while walking to work and being shoved in a van as the heels on her shoes were too high. She started to protest every day and now walks through the streets with her hair blowing in the wind, an act of defiance. ‘Farah’ remembers a time in Iran when women could dance and sing in public and protests because she wants her daughter to live a life without fear. Presenter: Phoebe Keane Producers: Ed Butler, Ali Hamedani, Khosro Isfahani and Taraneh Stone Series editor: Penny Murphy
26/01/23·26m 28s

Sierra Leone's children of war

In 2002 photojournalist Caroline Irby and former BBC reporter Tom McKinley arrived in Sierra Leone to cover the fallout from the country’s brutal conflict. They travelled with children caught up in the fighting; as they were reunited with their families. Now, just over two decades on, Caroline returns to West Africa to track them down.
24/01/23·28m 2s

The Black Book

As the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union swept over vast areas of Ukraine and Belorussia from the summer of 1941, over three million Jews were deliberately targeted for annihilation. Shot, hung, butchered, a million and a half Jewish souls were buried in vast pits in Babi Yar, Rumbula, Mariupol, Minsk, Kyiv and Riga. Many accounts began to flood into the Soviet Union where journalist and writer Ilya Ehrenburg began gathering testimonies of the mass murder. This became The Black Book, a chronicle of the Nazi extermination of Soviet Jews. Historian Catherine Merridale travels to Riga, Latvia and Yad Vashem, where the Black Book was smuggled, to uncover this complex story of loss, silence and rediscovery.
21/01/23·50m 28s

Yiddish glory: Jewish refugees in Central Asia

During World War Two, approximately 1.6 million Soviet, Polish and Romanian Jews survived by escaping to Soviet Central Asia and Siberia, avoiding imminent death in ghettos, firing squads and killing centres. Many of them wrote music about these horrors as the Holocaust unfolded. Singer Alice Zawadzski, whose own family found themselves on a similar journey to Central Asia, and historian Anna Shternshis of the University of Toronto, who led the project to bring these songs back to life, travel to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to retrace the journeys of those Jewish refugees who became music composers.
21/01/23·50m 35s

Afghan women

Since the Taliban returned to power some 18 months ago, women in Afghanistan have been removed from nearly all areas of public life. They are barred from secondary schools, universities and most workplaces and cannot even socialise in public parks. As Afghanistan faces a growing humanitarian crisis, we bring together three students in the country to share their experiences of life under Taliban rule. We catch up with three young women who used to compete in Afghanistan. Footballer, Najma, tells us that in the country many girls wish they had been born boys. We speak to two politicians who had fled the country when the Taliban returned to power.
21/01/23·24m 3s

A return to Paradise

In 2018 the town of Paradise in hills of northern California was wiped out by one of the worst wildfires in California's history. The disaster made headlines around the world - regarded as a symbol of the dangers posed by climate change. So what does the future hold for communities like Paradise in a region increasingly threatened by wildfire? Four years on, Alex Last traveled to Paradise to meet the survivors who are rebuilding their town. Photo: A home burns as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. (Josh Edelson /AFP via Getty Images) Reporter and producer: Alex Last Sound mix: Rod Farquar Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production coordinator: Iona Hammond
19/01/23·26m 27s

What do you think you are? Part two

There’s growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious but they possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. In the second part of this two-part series, Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals and the ethical implications this has on animal welfare and our relationship with animals.
17/01/23·29m 16s

The price of citizenship

What does it mean to be a citizen? Is it about belonging, or about convenience? Katy Long examines two trends which offer stark alternatives: countries which remove citizenship (or want to), and those which sell it. Sharing stories from Belarus, the Dominican Republic, Malta and Kuwait reveals how very differently different countries think about these questions, about identity, and about the powerful forces shaping our world and our lives, forces over which few of us have any power.
14/01/23·50m 10s

Covid in China

When it came to tackling Covid, China has been among the strictest on the planet. There have been almost three years of travel restrictions, testing and lockdowns. Host James Reynolds also chats with Yanni, Lex and David, who discuss what it has been like to live under China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy and how they have all recently had the disease, following a nationwide surge in cases. We also get a perspective on what’s been happening in China from two foreigners living in the county: Jonathan, a Canadian, and Lee, a South African, who tells us that she has felt unable to leave Beijing for the past three years.
14/01/23·24m 0s

Saving children from the mafia

Southern Italy is home to some of Europe's most powerful criminal organisations; the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra in Naples and the Ndrangheta based in Calabria. For many, crime is a family business. So a judge in Sicily has come up with a radical plan to prevent young people becoming the next generation of mobsters. He’s been taking children away from Mafia families. This controversial policy is now being considered by other countries around the world. Daniel Gordon travels to Sicily to meet those involved in the programme and find out whether it actually works. Photo: A 17 year-old girl, Letizia, supported by her uncle, addresses an anti-mafia meeting in the Sicilian town of Messina. Her mother is missing and is believed to have been killed by local gangsters. (Rocco Papandrea, Gazzetta del Sud.) Reporter: Daniel Gordon Producer: Alex Last Series Editor: Penny Murphy Sound engineer: Graham Puddifoot Production coordinator: Iona Hammond
12/01/23·26m 29s

What do you think you are?: Part one

There is growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious, but possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words, they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals of all sorts, from chimpanzees to birds, bees and cuttlefish.
10/01/23·26m 49s

Farewell to Pelé

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or ‘Pelé’ as he became known, is thought by most to have been the greatest footballer to grace this planet. He died on 29th December, aged 82. James Reynolds has been in Santos, Pelé’s adopted hometown. He was among the crowds on the streets at the funeral procession, as they celebrated this sporting legend’s life.
08/01/23·24m 17s

Kids who care

Oritsé Williams became a young carer aged 12, when his mother contracted multiple sclerosis and he had to take responsibility for looking after her and two younger siblings. During his teenage years, he had a dream: to become a singer and make plenty of money so that he could fund research to find a cure for his mum. At least part of that dream came true when Oritsé and his band, JLS, were runners-up in a national talent contest. But Oritsé never forgot his early years as a young, unpaid carer. He meets the next generation of kids who care – in the UK, Uganda and El Salvador. He learns about the challenges these children and teenagers face, but also hears stories of resilience and hope. Among the children are 13-year-old Amber, who looks after two sick and disabled parents; 15-year-old Jordan, whose care role ties him to the house almost completely; and 13-year-old Gloria from Uganda, who looks after four younger siblings all on her own.
03/01/23·24m 15s

Women pro surfers: Battling the waves

Patti Paniccia was a surfer back in the 1970s, determined to create a path to professional surfing for women, as well as men. Together with surf promoter, Fred Hemmings and surfer Randy Rarick, she founded IPS (International Professional Surfing), to create the very first men’s and women’s world tour in 1976. The women’s surf team – Sally Prange, Jericho Poppler, Rell Sunn, Becky Benson, Claudia Kravitz and Patti herself – were met with a barrage of ridicule and blatant sexism, but also had the time of their lives - from surfing the shark infested waters in South Africa, to drawing crowds of 20,000 Brazilians to the beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Together they opened the door for women's competitive professional surfing.
31/12/22·51m 1s

Hope for Alzheimers

Three people caring for loved ones with Alzheimers share their experiences and challenges.
31/12/22·24m 33s

Escape from the Taliban: Point of no return

Sana Safi returns to the story of two Afghan women judges who have had to go into hiding after the Taliban takeover - and are now preparing to be evacuated for a second time. Through encrypted networks and messages, Sana gets unprecedented access to the secretive operatives trying to get the women and their families out of the country. It is a race against time as they now journey to the point of no return.
29/12/22·28m 11s

Fighting 'fat-phobia' in Brazil

As in many countries, obesity in Brazil is a major issue with one in four Brazilians now classified as obese and more than half the population overweight. But rather than focusing just on trying to lower this rate by promoting exercise and healthier ways of eating, campaigners and some city councils are successfully implementing changes, which accept that high rates of obesity are probably here to stay and society should adapt to this. These changes include schools buying bigger chairs and desks, hospitals buying bigger beds and MRI machines and theatres offering wider seats. Brazilian lawyers are starting to make legal challenges, particularly against discrimination in the workplace. Women are holding plus sized beauty contests to celebrate their larger bodies. Schools are hosting discussion clubs where they talk about how body shapes are perceived by their peers and wider society. Even so, campaigners say there is a long way to go for bigger bodies to be culturally accepted in Brazil and overcoming what is known as “gordofobia” – belittling or discriminating against people who are larger than average. Camilla Mota travels to the south-eastern coastal city of Vitoria to meet a plus size influencer and a lawyer campaigning to stop discrimination and trying to make the city more tolerant. She then flies 1500km north to another port city, Recife, where some changes have now taken place. Is this transformation away from the stereo-typical “body beautiful” only skin deep or the shape of things to come across the western world? Presenter: Camilla Mota Producer: Bob Howard
29/12/22·26m 28s

Ukrainians at Christmas

Ukrainians at home and abroad reflect on the turmoil of the past year as they prepare to mark Christmas.
24/12/22·24m 5s

Spain's flamenco on the edge

To many, the passionate music and dance known as flamenco is an important marker of Spanish identity, and perhaps even synonymous with it. So much so, that Unesco has recognised the art form as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Yet its place within the country of its birth is both more complicated – and more precarious - than this might suggest. During the Covid lockdowns, a third of all flamenco venues closed down, and with many yet to reopen, training opportunities for new artists remain in short supply. The pandemic has also exacerbated the struggle of many singers and dancers to make ends meet. Meanwhile, to the outrage of purists, other practitioners see a future in fusing traditional flamenco with new, more commercially viable genres, such as pop and hip-hop. Still others see flamenco as a stereotype, and unhelpful to their country’s modern image. The BBC’s Madrid correspondent Guy Hedgecoe takes us on a colourful journey, reflecting on flamenco’s intriguing origins among the downtrodden folk culture of southern Spain, its difficult present, and its possibly uncertain future. Presenter: Guy Hedgecoe Producer: Mike Gallagher
22/12/22·26m 28s

Sweden's green power struggle

In Sweden’s far north, indigenous Sami people say their traditional culture and way of life is being threatened by the country’s drive to develop carbon-cutting industries. In the Arctic town of Jokkmokk, a controversial new iron-ore mine has been given conditional approval in a reindeer herding area. Supporters of the project argue it is needed to extract materials to build a new green infrastructure in Sweden, and to create new jobs. But the mine is opposed by many Sami, including artist and music producer Maxida Märak. The BBC's Maddy Savage hears both sides of the debate.
20/12/22·29m 18s

The World Service is 90

For 90 years the BBC World Service has been broadcasting in dozens of languages to audiences so huge they are counted in the tens of millions all over the globe. World Service began transmitting on 19 December 1932. It was called the BBC Empire Service, speaking in slow English via crackly short-wave radio to a now-vanished Empire which then ruled a fifth of the globe. The Second World War saw radio services expand massively, broadcasting in more than 40 languages to listeners hungry for truth and facts they could trust. In every crisis and conflict since, individual voices out of the air have offered news, but also drama, music, education and sometimes hope to their audiences. In a special 90th anniversary programme, the broadcaster Nick Rankin, who worked for more than 20 years at the BBC, digs into a treasure trove of sound archive and talks to journalists who made and still make the BBC World Service such a remarkable network.
19/12/22·49m 10s

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 is 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.
17/12/22·51m 13s

Striking workers

The global economy is shrinking but our costs are rising, and as people around the world find things harder, many are deciding to go on strike for better pay and conditions. Around the world, we are seeing the likes of teachers, nurses, postal and transport workers taking industrial action. We bring together some of those workers to hear about their jobs and why they are taking to the picket lines.
17/12/22·24m 46s

Hungary’s Power Dilemma

Paks, a small Hungarian town on the bank of the River Danube has prospered from its nuclear power station, built by the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s. Hungary has prospered too. Paks provides some 40 per cent of the country’s power requirements. But the four reactors are now approaching the end of their lives and are slated for retirement in 2032; so, in 2014 agreement was reached with Russia to build two more, with the help of a Russian loan worth several billion Euros, Russian engineers, and a small army of Ukrainian welders. But the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army in February 2022 has thrown these plans into disarray. Construction has begun, in the sense that bulldozers have been clearing the ground. But the project is already delayed, and there are those who believe that the new reactors will never be built. As Nick Thorpe discovers, people who thought they had a job for life in Paks are worried about their future and the future of a town whose lively shops and restaurants owe everything to the nuclear industry. Now the centre-piece of prime minister Viktor Orban’s energy empire, Paks may soon become the country’s rustbelt.
15/12/22·26m 29s

Asylums of Japan: Makiko's story

Journalist Makiko Segawa who had a terrifying experience when she was sent to a psychiatric hospital when she was a young woman meets other people who have been caught up in the country's controversial mental health system. She hears harrowing stories before challenging the authorities about what's being done to change methods and Japanese attitudes towards mental health.
12/12/22·28m 23s

Living in space

A long-held human ambition may soon become reality - human settlements on another planet, or in a floating space station. People could fulfil their hopes and dreams among the stars. David Baker has been discovering what those settlements in space will be like, who will be there and how they will be organised. He has been hearing from the people shaping human life out in the universe, about their extraordinary plans and ambitions.
10/12/22·51m 4s


Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and, in the last 15 years, the Caribbean nation has had outbreaks of cholera, a devastating earthquake and continual political upheaval. Last year, its president was assassinated - a crime for which no one has yet been put on trial, and since then violence in Haiti has escalated. According to human rights groups, armed gangs now control at least 60% of the capital, Port au Prince. In October, the UN reported 200 killings and 100 kidnappings. Host James Reynolds hears from Haitians who are dealing with the threats and dangers affecting them.
10/12/22·24m 27s

California's cannabis reparations

In California, cannabis is legal for recreational use and it’s created a multi-billion dollar industry. But who’s been reaping the rewards? For decades people from Black and Latino communities have been disproportionately arrested and imprisoned on cannabis drugs charges – and yet few appeared to benefit from the legal cannabis boom. So to make amends, California has been pioneering a policy to give those targeted in the war on drugs, a chance to share in the new cannabis industry. But is it working? Sharon Hemans has been to the city of Oakland to find out. Photo: Local entrepreneur Julian Nelson at this cannabis delivery store in Oakland. Presenter: Sharon Hemans Producer: Alex Last Sound mix by Neil Churchill Series editor: Penny Murphy Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond
08/12/22·26m 28s

India: Our trains, electric

The railways are incredibly important to life in India and have connected the country since the first line opened in 1863. But now, nearly 160 years later, the Indian rail network is about to take the next step in its existence - going electric. In 2017, national rail body Indian Railways announced that 100% of India's rail network would be electrified by the end of 2023 and then achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. With just over a year to go, Bhakti Jain finds out if India can meet its ambitious targets.
06/12/22·27m 14s

Being LGBT

Apart from football, the men’s World Cup in Qatar has also led to analysis and discussion around the country’s human rights, including its treatment towards LGBT people. Qatar is far from the only country where someone’s sexuality is considered an issue, so we decided to bring together members of the LGBT community from various countries - including Turkey, Russia, Jordan and the UK - to hear their experiences.
03/12/22·23m 44s

Cold-calling Siberia

Sasha Koltun volunteered to fight in Putin's war against Ukraine, though his mother Yelena begged him not to go. Four days later, he was dead, one of several dozen new recruits from across Russia who never even reached the battlefield. What happened to him - and will his mother, battling official indifference and obstruction, ever discover the truth? With the Kremlin currently restricting access to Russia for Western reporters, Tim Whewell picks up the phone to talk to her and other people in and around the city of Bratsk, in central Siberia, about how the war has affected them. Many are afraid to talk. But others describe their anxiety as they wave goodbye to their menfolk, their confused feelings about the war - a mixture of patriotism and doubt - and the chaotic organisation of the call up. Some recruits have had to buy their own uniform and equipment. Others have suffered as discipline breaks down at some training camps. Tim talks to a former policewoman determined to encourage support for the war, who makes stretchers for wounded Russian soldiers - and to a young woman who believes it was her boyfriend's duty to be a soldier. But Yelena Koltun - who lost her son Sasha - cannot understand what her country is fighting for. Presented and produced by Tim Whewell
01/12/22·27m 15s

Tribal justice

The past few years have been the most politically turbulent for the State of Oklahoma and its Native American, or Indian, population in over a century. A Supreme Court ruling, McGirt v Oklahoma, in July 2020, reaffirmed treaties that have been in place since the early 19th Century. These treaties decreed much of eastern Oklahoma as reservation land, still belonging to the Native American communities who were forcibly moved there in the 19th Century. However an inevitable legal backlash followed the McGirt decision.
29/11/22·27m 15s

The reluctant millionaires

Why would anyone want to pay more tax? Film-maker, activist and multi-millionaire Disney heiress Abigail Disney presents a very personal introduction to the millionaires campaigning against their own wealth. From Morehead, Kentucky to Davos, Switzerland, Washington DC to Orlando, Florida, Abigail tells the story of contemporary wealth inequality, focusing particularly on the United States. What harm is wealth inequality doing to society and democracy and what can be done about it?
26/11/22·50m 50s

Power cuts in Ukraine

Millions of people in Ukraine are having to live with cuts to their electricity, water and heating, as official reports estimate that Russian missile attacks have damaged or destroyed almost half of the country’s energy system. Temperatures are already hovering around freezing in much of the country, and forecasts predict a drop to -20C as winter sets in. As engineers try to restore power, one of the country's biggest energy companies has warned Ukraine could be dealing with blackouts until the end of March. We hear from Ukrainians about the impact of these power cuts on their lives and work.
26/11/22·24m 35s

Trouble in Taiwan?

China’s President Xi Jinping says that Taiwan‘s reunification with the mainland “must and will be fulfilled.” The view from democratic Taiwan is somewhat different. It’s a threat the islanders have been hearing ever since the 1949 Chinese Civil War, when the Government of the Republic of China was forced to relocate to Taiwan allowing the Chinese Communist Party to establish a new Chinese state: the People’s Republic of China. But some sense that the increased rhetoric from China in recent months poses a real and present danger. Taiwanese billionaire Robert Tsao has pledged millions of pounds to train three million ‘civilian warriors’ in three years to defend the island should it be required. But will it come to that? John Murphy is in Taiwan to talk to people there about what they think about the threat from China and whether they’d be prepared to fight to protect what they have. Presenter: John Murphy Producer: Ben Carter Local producer and translator: Joanne Kuo Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond Sound Engineer: James Beard Series Editor: Penny Murphy
24/11/22·26m 28s

Which country should I play for?

In the past couple of years, Fifa eased its rules on allowing players with mixed heritage the opportunity to represent a country, even if you have previously played on the international stage for a different one. But what goes into the tough decision of deciding who to represent? And how persuasive can some countries be? We explore the increasingly common issue of players having to decide who they really represent and why.
22/11/22·27m 46s

Qatar and the fall of Fifa

When Qatar was announced as the host of the men's World Cup in 2022, it sent shockwaves around the football world. The small, spectacularly wealthy country, with a tiny population, little existing infrastructure, massive concerns over human rights and labour rights, and summer temperatures of over 40 degrees, seemed an unlikely candidate. That they had secured the World Cup triggered immense controversy, and an immediate wave of speculation that this would be yet another Fifa scandal, with votes bought and sold. Alex Capstick, the BBC World Service's sport correspondent, follows this story since that fateful announcement.
19/11/22·50m 1s

The health wagon

The health wagon serves remote communities in the Appalachian mountains of south-west Virginia. It's the oldest mobile clinic in the USA, founded in 1980 by a catholic nun in the back of a VW Beetle. Today it is a thriving and innovative non-profit, with five mobile units and three stationary clinics. Nurse practitioners Dr Teresa Tyson and Dr Paula Hill Collins are at the helm. We join them and their team, providing no-cost medical, dental and vision care to one of the most vulnerable, medically underserved areas of the United States.
19/11/22·50m 48s

Qatar World Cup

It’s 12 years since Qatar was announced as the host country for the men’s World Cup football tournament. Awarding the event to Qatar was a controversial decision at the time and still is, on several levels. The country has strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and women's rights are the subject of ongoing debate. More recently, treatment of the 30,000 migrant labourers, who built many of the tournament's stadiums and infrastructure has been severely criticised. James Reynolds has been talking to fans around the globe, including gay rights activists, and hears from women living in Qatar, as the eyes of the world turn to their country.
19/11/22·24m 35s

China's accidental activists

A group of women are taking on China’s communist government after their husbands and fathers were jailed as dissidents. The women never wanted to be campaigners but felt compelled to help their loved ones. In China, the women endured detention, surveillance, social isolation and persecution. They’ve now fled to the United States, where they juggle jobs, bringing up children – and political campaigning. The BBC’s Asia-Pacific editor, Michael Bristow, hears their stories that reveal the dark side of China’s communist regime. Presenter: Michael Bristow Producer: Alex Last Photo: Shi Minglei now in the United States (BBC)
17/11/22·26m 28s

Black Roots: DeFord Bailey and country music in Nashville

Musician Rhiannon Giddens explores the home of country music in Nashville to see how black people shaped this genre. How black is Nashville and its music history? Rhiannon uncovers the story of one of the biggest stars of the early country era: the African American ‘Harmonica Wizard’ DeFord Bailey. He was one of the most beloved performers at the Grand Ole Opry and the first black star of the radio age.
16/11/22·28m 7s

Colombia's life-saving pop song

It is 2010 and Colombian Colonel Jose Espejo has a problem. Not only is the Farc increasing its kidnapping activity, targeting police and military hostages, but many of the soldiers already in captivity - some kept in barbed-wire cages and held isolation in for over a decade - are losing hope of ever being rescued. Colonel Espejo knew that in order for future missions to succeed, he’d need to warn the captives that help was coming so they could be ready to make a break for it when the army arrived. But how do you get a message across to military hostages without tipping off their captors and placing them in even greater danger? The unexpected solution - hide the message in a pop song with an interlude in morse code that the military hostages could decipher.
15/11/22·27m 52s

Living with climate change

While world leaders meet in Egypt at the COP27 climate conference, we bring people together to share how the world around them is changing. Three people in the Bahamas, US and UK discuss their experiences of extreme weather. Alexander tells us how he had to wear a respirator when he was driving a taxi in Portland, Oregon, because of the smoke from forest fires. Shavone shares her story of a dramatic escape with her children from a storm in the Bahamas and Lance in the UK explains why he still lives in a house that lost its kitchen to the waves. Tendi Sherpa, who has climbed Everest 14 times and Lalaina Ramaroson, a tour guide in Madagascar, discuss how their countries are changing and the impact of climate change on plants and animals.
12/11/22·24m 31s

Black Roots: Arnold Shultz and bluegrass in Kentucky

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens explores bluegrass music in Kentucky, the history of the banjo and the story of Arnold Shultz. For many listeners of bluegrass, the story of this music begins in December 1945, when ‘Father of Bluegrass’ Bill Monroe brought his band on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Yet, Bill Monroe always acknowledged the black fiddler and guitarist Arnold Shultz as one of his major influences. Rhiannon explores how African-American musicians like Shultz were often mentors to white country stars of the time.
09/11/22·27m 50s

The weather changers

For centuries we've made sacrifices, sent prayers to gods and summoned witches, in an attempt to bend the weather to our will. Science suggests now we might actually be able to do it. Weather modifiers are employed to make it rain, suppress hail and enhance snow packs. It is big business, from the UAE to Chile, Thailand to China, interest and investment is global. Kim Chakanetsa asks what the weather changers are actually doing, if it really works and if so, is it problem free?
08/11/22·27m 49s

Voting in the US

Americans are preparing to vote in their midterm elections. The rising cost of living, abortion, immigration, crime and gun rights are all issues that may affect decisions at the ballot box. We bring together two women from Massachusetts: Christine, a self-employed dog walker and Sheena, a single mother of four children aged three, five, seven and 13, who are struggling to afford essentials. In several states, the right to abortion will be on the ballot. We hear from two centres running clinics for women. We also get advice on how to ‘disagree well’ from couples where the partners have different political opinions.
05/11/22·23m 50s

America’s Dropbox Babies

Until Roe vs Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, sweeping away Americans’ constitutional right to abortion, no one gave much thought to Safe Haven laws. These allow a mother to give up her new-born baby for adoption, at a designated site, anonymously and without risk of prosecution. Safe Haven legislation first appeared in the US in 1999 in Texas, in response to a rise in the number of abandoned babies. Now it exists in every state. These laws were never intended as an alternative to abortion. But as the options for unhappily pregnant women diminish, some are anticipating an increase in the number of babies left by desperate mothers in hospitals and specially designed Baby Boxes at local fire stations. Ahead of the US midterm elections, and with the abortion debate still polarising the nation, Assignment reports from Arizona on America’s ‘dropbox babies’. Reporter: Linda Pressly Producer: Tim Mansel
03/11/22·27m 20s

Black Roots: Frank Johnson, Joe Thompson and the fiddle in North Carolina

Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens returns to her home state of North Carolina to explore the lives of two black fiddlers: Joe Thompson and Frank Johnson. Johnson was one of the first black celebrities in the southern states of the US. Born into slavery, he bought freedom for himself and his family on the back of his profits as a musician. More than 2,000 people processed through Wilmington, North Carolina for his funeral in 1871. Though he died before the start of the recording industry, his music was passed down through generations of black fiddlers in the region. The last of these fiddlers was Joe Thompson.
02/11/22·27m 31s

The crime that only women commit

Society drives people, particularly women, in every way to look beautiful. We see it on television, in the movies, and in magazines. The social pressure associated with physical appearance is typically much greater for girls and women than boys and men in almost every society. We tap into different areas of culture and society across the globe to get a diverse range of experience and opinion, and look at what drives this prejudice, and why.
01/11/22·27m 20s

The bleak reality behind the red light district

Amsterdam's red light district hides a secret world of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. People who know what really goes on share their stories.
29/10/22·51m 29s

The UK’s cost of living

Rishi Sunak begins his leadership in a time of crisis. He inherits an economy with inflation at more than 10 percent - its highest rate in 40 years - and rising food prices. During his first address as prime minister, Rishi Sunak warned there was no doubt the UK faced “a profound economic challenge.” James Reynolds speaks to several people struggling to survive. They share their tips for stretching every penny - from batch cooking to freezing bread and defrosting two slices at a time for sandwiches. We also hear from several single mothers who, despite having jobs, are all finding it increasingly difficult to afford everyday necessities.
29/10/22·24m 48s

Svalbard’s climate change fight

Svalbard is the fastest warming place on earth. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, it is home to the world’s northernmost settlement, Longyearbyen, which is estimated to be heating at six times the global average. People living here have a front row seat for the climate crisis - melting glaciers, rising sea levels, avalanches and landslides. Add to this an energy crisis in Europe fuelled by the war in Ukraine, which many experts believe is now undermining the fight against climate change. Nick Beake finds out what is being done to try to save Svalbard as we know it. Producer: Kate Vandy
27/10/22·26m 28s

The scramble for rare earths, part 2

Misha Glenny finds out whether the European Union can end its dependency on China for rare earths and critical raw materials and he discovers that Russia's interest in Ukraine might be partially motivated but the huge mineral deposits there.
26/10/22·28m 24s

Recaptive number 11,407

An astonishing series of documents in Sierra Leone named the Registers of Liberated Africans record details of Africans freed from slavery by the British Royal Navy in the 19th Century. There is one entry in the registers that simply says 'Recaptive Number 11,407, without name, deaf and dumb'. In this documentary mixing poetry and new historical research, award-winning deaf poet Raymond Antrobus goes on a personal journey to Sierra Leone to trace a piece of forgotten history and try to find out what became of this deaf man without a name.
25/10/22·27m 44s

Out of the shadows

Assassination, sabotage, cyberattacks - the undeclared war between Israel and Iran is one of the longest running conflicts in the region. As attempts to create a new deal to limit Iran's nuclear programme fail and Israel makes unprecedented alliances with its Arab neighbours, tensions are rising. Suzanne Kianpour talks to leading players in the region to find out how it all began and where it is heading.
22/10/22·50m 58s

Women in Iran

Sports climber Elnaz Rekabi has become the latest symbol of the anti-government protests, begun and led by women in Iran. She competed in the Asian Championships in South Korea with her hair uncovered, breaking Iran’s strict dress code requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf. Although Ms Rekabi later said her hijab had fallen off "inadvertently", the images had already gone viral. We hear from an Iranian female footballer who was in a similar position a few years ago and speak to a chess referee who took off her own headscarf during a tournament in 2020.
22/10/22·24m 57s

The Brain Drain

Paul Kenyon investigates the ‘brain drain’ of doctors from developing countries to work in the UK. The large scale recruitment of foreign doctors from nations with the greatest need to retain their medical personnel is increasing on a massive scale. What’s more, thousands of doctors are being targeted despite guidance which says recruitment from developing countries should not happen. It is though - because the UK trains too few doctors and nurses and needs these staff to plug the gaps. There are also big concerns about how many of the doctors flown into the UK are expected to work extremely long hours which they say is putting patient safety at risk.
20/10/22·27m 43s

The scramble for rare earths, part 1

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 two 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.
19/10/22·28m 16s

Ojousan power

In Japan the concept of yamato nadeshiko describes the classic ideal of Japanese women: a beautiful but modest female, dedicated to the wellbeing of her family and husband. She is assertive and smart, yet obedient, dependent, and bound to the domestic sphere. But times are changing. In recent years, campaigns such as #MeToo and #KuToo, which saw women petition against wearing high heels to work, have put Japan's gender inequality in the spotlight. Akiko Toya explores the change that is being created in Japan by women forging new partnerships in femtech, politics, sport and media.
18/10/22·28m 25s

Who is Xi Jinping?

Just over a decade ago, President Xi Jinping was a virtual unknown. Few would say that now. In ten years, he’s reworked the Chinese Communist party, the military and the government so that he’s firmly in control. He’s also vanquished all of his obvious rivals. And now, he’s about to extend his time in office. Some say Xi might stay in the top job indefinitely. So how did Xi Jinping do it? Celia Hatton, the BBC’s Asia Pacific editor, speaks to fellow China watchers to find out.
15/10/22·58m 13s

Russians going to war

As missile strikes by Russia have intensified across Ukraine, we bring together Russians to hear their thoughts on the war. President Putin last month also called for a boost to troop numbers through a ”partial mobilisation”, meaning the call up of 300,000 army reservists. Host James Reynolds hears how families are being torn apart due to opposing views on what is happening.
15/10/22·24m 15s

Bye-bye Baguette?

The bakers and farmers trying to wean Senegal off imported wheat. Trotting along on a horse and cart, over the bumpy red dirt roads, through the lush green fields of Senegal’s countryside, Oule carries sacks of cargo back to her village. She is the bread lady of Ndor Ndor and she’s selling French baguettes. As a former French colony, the baguette is such a staple of the Senegalese diet, that 8 million loaves are transported out to remote villages, roadside kiosks and high end city bakeries every morning. But wheat doesn’t grow in the West African country, so they are at the mercy of the global markets. Usually they import the majority of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but since the war, there have been immense pressures on availability and prices have been soaring. So much so, the government has stepped in to subsidise wheat to keep the cost of a baguette down. But the war has forced bakers to question whether there could be another way of feeding Senegal’s huge appetite for bread. Tim Whewell meets the bakers experimenting with local grains, like sorghum, millet and fonio, that can grow in Senegal’s climate. But can they convince their customers to change their tastes and say bye-bye baguette? Produced by Phoebe Keane Field producer: Ndeye Borso Tall Additional Research: Azil Momar Lo and Nicolas Negoce Production coordinator: Iona Hammond Editor: Penny Murphy
13/10/22·27m 47s

Father figures

The fathers of Michael Brown and Terence Crutcher, as well as George Floyd's uncle, reflect on the moment that forever altered their families’ lives following the killing of their loved ones by police officers in the US. Poet and songwriter Cornelius Eady navigates sobering and moving first hand accounts of what it means to raise a black man in America today. He learns how three father figures have coped in the face of harrowing loss.
11/10/22·27m 47s

The bread line

From the fields of Ukraine to a bakery in Beirut, we find out what it costs to produce a global staple - bread.
08/10/22·50m 58s

Indonesia stadium disaster

Indonesia continues to search for answers and comfort after more than 130 fans died at a football match. There appears to have been a deadly combination at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java, of over-crowding, tear gas being fired by police and blocked exits during the ensuing panic. The president of Fifa, the game’s world governing body, called it a “dark day” for football. Host James Reynolds has spent the past week hearing from survivors, who describe how they feel lucky to be alive and now want nothing more to do with football. He also brings together two Indonesian sports broadcasters for their assessment of what went wrong.
08/10/22·24m 28s

Leicester: Behind the Divide

Leicester is one of the most diverse cities in England – often presented as a shining example multi-cultural Britain. But tensions between some factions have been brewing in the city for months and boiled over recently when there were violent clashes which led to dozens of arrests. Assignment investigates why sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities that once lived together in harmony are now at odds. Reporter: Datshiane Navanayagam Producer: Hayley Mortimer
06/10/22·26m 28s

Peace and justice: Sexual violence in the DRC

More than a decade after the UN raised the alarm on the scale of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sexual violence remains a persistent issue. Congolese journalist Ruth Omar investigates the complex issues that continue to feed the problem, and meets local activists fighting for change.
04/10/22·28m 0s

Protests in Iran

The world has witnessed extraordinary protests across Iran during the past fortnight. It followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She was arrested and detained after allegedly breaking rules over covering her hair. She collapsed and fell into a coma at a detention centre, and died three days later in hospital. Her arrest was by the so-called Morality Police: a special police unit, tasked with ensuring the respect of Islamic morals and enforcing a specific dress code. Iranian women - and some men - share their stories. Tara, Sara and Ali are protesting on the streets of Iran, despite knowing the danger that places them in.
01/10/22·24m 27s

Argentina: Life with hyperinflation

Inflation in Argentina is racing towards 100%. In a country where prices are constantly on the move, it’s hard to navigate daily life as salaries slump and the cost-of-living soars. But, after decades of lurching from one economic crisis to another, Argentines have developed their own techniques for dealing with soaring inflation. In this week’s Assignment, Jane Chambers travels to the capital Buenos Aires to find out how people from all walks of life are coping. People in places like Diego Maradona’s hometown have to queue for food parcels to get by. The dollar is increasingly being used as the alternative economy and an outspoken Presidential Candidate has come up with a strategy to deal with the billions of dollars owed to the International Monetary Fund. Presenter/Producer Jane Chambers with help from Buenos Aires based journalists Lucinda Elliott and Isobel McGrigor Studio Manager: Neil Churchill & Rod Farquhar Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond Editor: Penny Murphy Photo Credit: Lucinda Elliot
29/09/22·27m 13s

Going for gold In Ghana

Ghana is Africa's leading producer of gold. The majority of Ghana's gold mining operation is legally undertaken by national and global mining corporations but it is estimated that in recent years as much as 35% is produced by small scale miners, much of it illegally. This practice, known as galamsey, is a danger to the miners and the environment around them and it is estimated that up to 60% of Ghanaian bodies of water are polluted as a result. But when job opportunities are not as available as precious minerals, what options do locals really have?
27/09/22·28m 1s

The future of hip-hop: Atlanta

Cakes Da Killa is in Atlanta, the epicentre of hip-hop and home of trap music. The success of southern queer artists like Lil Nas X and Saucy Santana has brought more diversity into the genre, but boundaries and prejudice are still strong. Despite differences in their backgrounds, lives and music, the performers Cakes speaks to are driven by a common goal – to be creative on their own terms without bowing down to pressure from labels and the industry to conform. Will they succeed to build a more inclusive hip-hop for the future? Featuring artists Latto, Omeretta, Ripparachie and Jamee Cornelia.
24/09/22·50m 58s

Money in Lebanon

All banks in Lebanon have been shut indefinitely. They say it is for safety reasons following a string of raids by customers demanding access to their own money. In one incident, a woman armed with a toy gun staged a bank hold-up to pay family medical bills. Although the authorities have condemned the raids, they have drawn widespread public support. Since the 2019 collapse of Lebanon's financial system, 80% of the population is struggling for money. There are water shortages and frequent power cuts. We speak to Ghida who backs the bank raids because, she says, people are desperate. We hear from Elize, a cancer patient who shares her experiences of trying to get the drugs she needs to stay alive. Her doctor, professor Fadi Nasr, reminds us how hospitals in Lebanon used to be the best in the Middle East but they have now run out of basic supplies.
24/09/22·24m 26s

A ‘Me Too’ Moment for Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Jews?

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is struggling to come to terms with high-profile sex abuse scandals. In the past year, two of its leading lights were accused of taking advantage of their status to sexually assault vulnerable women, men, and children. What has added to the shock is how, after one of the alleged attackers committed suicide, religious leaders in this insular, devout community defended him and even blamed his victims for causing his death by speaking out. The response sparked anger and triggered an unprecedented wave of activism to raise awareness of hidden sex abuse within the ultra-Orthodox world. Some are describing it as a “me-too” moment. The BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Yolande Knell hears from survivors of sexual assault and the campaigners within the ultra-Orthodox community working towards lasting change. Presenter: Yolande Knell Producers: Gabrielle Weiniger and Phoebe Keane Editor: Penny Murphy Photo: A child sex abuse survivor prays at the grave of his alleged abuser)
22/09/22·27m 44s

Finding home in Uganda

In August 1972, Idi Amin publicly condemned Ugandan Asians as ‘the enemy’, enforcing a brutal policy that ordered them to leave the country within 90 days. It is estimated between 60-70,000 South Asians left Uganda in fear for their lives. On the 50th anniversary of the expulsion, BBC reporter Reha Kansara follows her mum and aunt as they return to Uganda together for the first time.
20/09/22·28m 1s

The future of hip-hop: New York

Homophobia and misogyny are ingrained in hip-hop. But a new generation of women and queer artists are determined to challenge the status quo. Cakes Da Killa is an openly gay rapper who has been recording for more than a decade. In this two-part series he talks to female stars like number one artist Latto, and queer rappers like Ripparachie to find out how far they have come, the issues they still face and where they are going next.
17/09/22·51m 6s

The Queen

The Queen is lying in state in Westminster Hall in the UK Parliament. Tens of thousands of people have been queuing to pay their final respects. The line has stretched several kilometres along the River Thames. We talk to some of the mourners who have been waiting overnight, sometimes in the rain, to have the opportunity to view the late monarch’s coffin. We hear from three people who have met the Queen during her 70 years on the throne.
17/09/22·24m 37s

Kentucky flooding

Historic levels of flooding in eastern Kentucky in August caused 37 deaths. The State’s governor described it as the worst natural crisis Kentucky has seen. River levels on the North Fork Kentucky River in Whitesburg reached 21ft (6.4m) compared with the previous record of 14ft (4.2m). The floods have tested the resilience of the people in the former coal-mining region of Appalachia. In towns like Whitesburg, where 56-year-old Val Horn runs a community kitchen - huge numbers of people have lost their homes and Val’s kitchen has been preparing 1500 meals a day.
13/09/22·38m 8s

Britain's cost of living

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has set out a plan to help with people’s soaring energy bills, food and petrol prices. And then there is the challenge of strikes over pay and a record number of people waiting for treatment by the country’s national health service. Host James Reynolds brings together two public sector workers – Kailee, a care home nurse in Lincoln and Alice, a music teacher in Hertfordshire. Kailee says she can no longer always afford treats for her children and drives slower to save a little money on fuel. Alice, meanwhile, seeks discounts and has begun teaching privately to help make ends meet. James also hears the conversations in the city of Derby – once the heart of the industrial revolution but now facing harsh economic challenges. A hairdresser, ice cream maker and striking postal worker share their experiences of tightening budgets. And three small business owners – who run a shop, a pub and a restaurant – discuss the prospect of fewer customers.
10/09/22·24m 29s

The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives

The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community--even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells. The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it's changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run. Produced by David Goren. Photo credit (Michael Starghill)
07/09/22·27m 53s

Samburu: The fight against child marriage

Samburu county, in northern Kenya, is one of many places where it is normal for girls as young as 11 to be married, often to men more than three times their age. These marriages are additionally traumatic because the child brides are forced to undergo female genital mutilation the day before the wedding. For this documentary Lisa-Marie Misztak meets Josephine Kulea, a remarkable Samburu woman on a quest to stop these practices deeply embedded in her culture. Lisa-Marie also meets the girls Josephine has taken under her wing, who are now rediscovering childhood and getting an education.
06/09/22·27m 53s

The floods in Pakistan

It has been called "a monsoon on steroids" by one United Nations chief after record-breaking rainfall and floods destroyed over a million homes in Pakistan leaving many homeless. Buildings, crops and vital infrastructure have been damaged, destroyed or submerged in water affecting about 33 million Pakistanis. Nauroz Jamali helped start a group to support those in the flooded villages. Abraham Buriro is also a volunteer and host James Reynolds hears what the situation is like for them and where they need the most help.
03/09/22·23m 45s

Global Britain after Boris Johnson

As Boris Johnson prepares to stand down as UK Prime Minister, the BBC’s Ritula Shah asks what his premiership has meant for Britain’s standing in the world. In just three years in office he was a key player in world events – Brexit, the COP 26 climate summit, the war in Ukraine. He championed an idea of ‘Global Britain’ – what did that mean and how will his colourful and controversial leadership be judged in countries around the world?
03/09/22·27m 53s

What next for School no 20?

Max, Alyona, Serhiy, Oleg, Alina and Vladyslav are leaving school this year - six 17 year olds full of dreams. Serhiy plans an epic bike ride; Max pours his heart into music - and they’ve all turned up for the prom that marks their passage into adulthood. But their school, School no. 20 in Chernihiv, has been shelled badly by the Russian army, and the school leavers face a future with none of the old certainties. In the early morning of February 24th, ’My mother came in and said that the war had begun… it was unreal,’ Alyona says ‘I just went back to bed thinking it was cool that I didn't have to go to school and could sleep in. And then, when I finally realised… it was as if someone took the ground from under your feet, and now you’re kind of weightless.’ Alina tells us of the weeks she spent in the cellar, sleeping on a shelf meant for jam and trying to revise by candle light. When the fighting died down, she made her way across her bombed city to charge her phone at a special park bench fitted with solar panels. All six have found themselves changed forever by the last few months. They are thinking deeply about what will happen next. Vlad is still planning to study IT, but who knows? ‘If my country needs me, then so be it. I’ll serve in the army.’ Yet despite it all, they are teenagers still. Toffee popcorn, model dragons, and dresses all feature in a documentary full of life. The teenagers plan to stay in touch with one another in the years to come, even if their lives are scattered. And Assignment plans to stay in touch with them too. Alyona reaches out in this first episode to other teens in Ukraine and the wider world. ‘I want to say to all the people who are safe - don’t feel bad about it. It’s fine that you can eat, or smile, or just go for a walk and enjoy your life in peace. You must live your life!’ With special thanks to Vladyslav Savenok and the staff and pupils at School no. 20, Chernihiv. Presenter: Olga Betko Producer: Monica Whitlock Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Managers: James Beard and Graham Puddifoot Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman (Image: Leavers from School no 20, Chernihiv, Ukraine. Credit: Vladyslav Savenok)
01/09/22·26m 29s

What are we searching for? Part 2

By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.
30/08/22·28m 0s

Ukrainians six months on since the start of war

August 24 is always a significant date for Ukraine, as it marks official independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year, however, it also marked six months since Russia invaded the country. Russian officials initially predicted a short campaign but the fighting shows no sign of ending soon. The human cost has been immense – thousands of lives have been lost on both sides. Three women share what it is like to have family members involved directly in the war. We also hear messages from a Ukrainian military sniper, a 20-year-old volunteer military interpreter and a former US marine who is now one of thousands of volunteer fighters in the country. Meanwhile, a Russian woman in Riga describes the impact of the war on her family and a Russian man living in Moscow is calling for truce.
27/08/22·24m 27s

Lacrosse: Reclaiming the Creator’s game

Why are Native Americans striving to ‘reclaim’ the game of lacrosse? Lacrosse may have the reputation as a white elitist sport, played in private schools. In fact, it was originally a Native American game, practiced across North America before European colonisers arrived. As white settlers pushed westwards, taking land and resources, they also took lacrosse as their own. They stopped Native Americans from playing it, alongside prohibiting other spiritual and cultural practices. But now a Native American grassroots movement is aiming to 'reclaim' what they call "the Creator's game". In doing so they want to promote recognition for their peoples and nations. Rhodri Davies travels to Minnesota, in the American Midwest, to talk to Native Americans about how lacrosse is integral to their identity. Producer: John Murphy Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman (Image: A game of traditional lacrosse begins with sticks raised and a shout to the Creator. Credit: Rhodri Davies/BBC)
25/08/22·26m 28s

What are we searching for? Part 1

What are people looking for online within the world’s major war zones? By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.
23/08/22·24m 23s

How things are done in Odesa

Odesa, legendary Black Sea port city and vital geo-strategic nexus of global trade, is living through Russia's war against Ukraine. Always fiercely independent, both from Moscow and Kiev, its legendary past has given the city a reputation of possibility and promise. A quarter of a million people have left Odesa. Its beloved holiday beaches are closed and mined, yet life has gradually returned to its performance spaces: concerts, opera, spoken word. Recordings made since the first days of the war interweave with the fabulously rich cultural history of the city. Founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great as part of her expanding empire of Novo Rossiya, Odesa began as a dusty boom town of enormous opportunity and possibility that connected the chill of Imperial Russia to the warmth of the wider world. In some ways nothing has changed. A port city possessed of a unique argot - 'Odesski Iazyk' (a fusion of Yiddish and Russian); eternal optimism; a wicked sense of humour; more violinists than you can shake a bow at; poets and writers galore; and a gallery of rogues, real and imagined. Perhaps its most beloved literary son is Isaac Babel. Raised in the Moldovanka- still a place of liminal existence, his Odessa Tales of gangster anti-heroes like Benya Krik are forever interwoven with how Odesites and the wider world imagine the city - beautiful and bad! It is of course only partially true. Film-maker Sergei Eisenstein's Battle Ship Potemkin also put the city on the world map and the first film studios in Russia sprang up there. with its ready supply of sunlight. From foundational boom town days onwards its streets and people could make you rich, or ruin you. In the crumbling days of the Soviet empire it was a place to dream of escape to a world beyond. Babel and Eisenstein are just two among many who, since the 19th Century have helped created the myth of Old Odessa -poets and writers, musicians and comedians who flourished in what was a largely Jewish city until 1941 and the Nazi invasion of Russia. Legendary violinists ever since David Oistrakh are forged there at the Stolyarsky School, now closed due to war. Musician Alec Koypt, who grew up in the mean streets of Molodvanka, shipping proprietor Roman Morgenshtern, journalist Vlad Davidson, translator Boris Dralyuk, poets Boris and Lyudmila Kershonsky and others are our contemporary guides as the voices of the past bring forth their very Odesan genius.
20/08/22·51m 21s

OS Conversations: One year of the Taliban

In August 2021, the Taliban entered the capital Kabul, unchallenged, to take control of Afghanistan, 20 years after the Americans toppled them from power. The country was turned upside down. One year on, the list of challenges is long, including the millions who are facing hunger amid a dire economic and humanitarian situation. As well as warning about malnutrition, the United Nations has urged the world not to forget the plight of the country's women and girls. Three Afghans still living in the country discuss the changes to their lives with host Anna Foster. Two are young women and they reveal the severe restrictions to their rights, education, freedom and choice of clothes. Tens of thousands also fled the country last August, and we bring together Afghans who escaped and are now living in Poland, Germany and the United States. Although grateful for their safety, the emotion and pain remains at having often left loved ones behind. “I miss my home. I miss my mother. I miss my room. I miss my bed,” says Laleh in Berlin. “I miss everything about my country.”
20/08/22·24m 45s

Moldova - East or West?

Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic of Moldova has recently been awarded EU candidate status. In an echo of what happened in Ukraine, Moldova lost a chunk of its eastern territory to separatists in a short war 30 years ago. The separatists were backed by elements of the Russian army. Since then Transnistria has remained a post-Soviet “frozen conflict.” In recent months almost 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Moldova – the highest per capita influx to a neighbouring country. Up to 90,000 have remained in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. The republic’s president has warned that President Putin has his sights set on her country. Tessa Dunlop travels to Moldova to hear what Moldovans think about the war in Ukraine and their country’s future. Produced by John Murphy (Image: A Russian armoured vehicle at the border crossing with the breakaway enclave of Transnistria in the village of Firladeni, Republic of Moldova. Credit: BBC/John Murphy)
18/08/22·26m 28s

Afghan Stars now

A year on from the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15th August 2021, Sahar Zand talks to some of the Afghans who featured in her 2019 World Service programme Afghan Stars, which told the story of a ground-breaking TV music talent show in Afghanistan, which was won for the first time by a female singer. The Taliban had singled out the programme for special criticism, as it both promoted music, which their spokesman considered ‘haram’ (forbidden), and because it promoted the voices of women, which, he had said, should not be heard in public. The current situations of the musicians and media personalities whom Sahar has traced are a mirror of what Afghans have experienced in the past twelve months.
16/08/22·28m 20s

Bonus podcast: The Bomb

The man who stole the atomic bomb. Klaus Fuchs is the spy who changed history - why did he give the blueprint to the Soviets? This is season 2, episode 1: A grave matter. Search for The Bomb wherever you get your podcasts.
13/08/22·21m 35s

The Engineers: The future of cars

From the fuel that powers them to the drivers who drive them, engineers are innovating every aspect of the automobile, including solar-powered vehicles, full automation, clean fuel cars and electrification. Three engineers at the forefront of reimagining the car are on a panel hosted by Kevin Fong answering questions from an audience at the Science Museum in London, and on video link across five continents worldwide.
13/08/22·50m 24s

OS Conversations: Drought

We're seeing drought all around the world. Without significant rainfall, lakes and rivers have been drying-up, pastures are becoming dusty deserts and crops are failing to grow. As well as the devastating effect on nature, drought has an economic and human cost - particularly in the poorest parts of the world. The United Nations warns that millions are at risk of severe hunger, in particular in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. We hear from two families in Kenya who are struggling with rising food prices as their own crops fail. Michael tells us about the impact on his mother, who has a small farm, and Odongo worries about the health effects of the drought on the people living in Nairobi. France is experiencing its worst drought since records began. We bring together two French wine growers who are desperate for rain as their crops are suffering. They warn it could be a “huge problem”. Meanwhile, in Iraq, drought continues to be a concern, as temperatures increase. Two Iraqis tell us how they are trying to cope.
13/08/22·24m 44s

After the ‘narco president’: Rebuilding hope in Honduras

When the president stands accused of drug trafficking, what hope is there? From 2014, for eight years Juan Orlando Hernandez ruled Honduras like his personal fiefdom. A Central American strongman comparable with some of the worst from decades past, under his presidency Honduras began a rapid descent into a so-called “narco-state”. The allegations against his government soon started to mount up: human rights violations, corruption and impunity; accusations of torture and extrajudicial killings by the police and military. And at its heart, the claim by US prosecutors of a multi-million dollar drug smuggling ring, overseen from the presidential palace itself. Just weeks after he left power in January 2022, Juan Orlando Hernandez was arrested and extradited to the US to face drug trafficking charges. American prosecutors allege he used his security forces to protect some drugs shipments and eliminate competitors. Will Grant, the BBC’s Central America Correspondent, finds out what life was like under the disgraced president and meets some people trying to instil a little hope in a nation which hasn’t had any for a long time. He meets Norma, the mother of Keyla Martinez, who was killed in a police cell. Initially, the police said she had killed herself but hospital reports later proved this wasn’t the case. Now, can Norma Martinez’s campaign for justice bring a sense of hope to those who don’t trust the authorities and have endured years of rampant corruption and police impunity? Producer: Phoebe Keane Fixer in Honduras: Renato Lacayo
10/08/22·28m 6s

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.
09/08/22·28m 13s

Women's football

Women’s football is on an incredible high around the world after a month of five international tournaments with record breaking crowds. Those tournaments have delivered new champions, new interest and new hope. The new champions are Papua New Guinea, South Africa and England. Perhaps more predictably there have also been trophies for the USA and Brazil. The success has created a discussion about how this is a significant moment in the development of the game. Stacey Copeland who was in England Under-18s, former England defender Fern Whelan and BBC World Service Digital and Sport Editor, Anna Doble discuss how Euro 2022 can change the course of women’s sports.
06/08/22·24m 58s

Ukraine: Collaboration and Resistance

Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive to retake Kherson, the largest city captured by Russia in this year's invasion. But the occupiers are redoubling their efforts to integrate the city and surrounding region into Russia - and they need the help of local collaborators. A few Ukrainians are eagerly serving the invaders. But many key workers - teachers, doctors and other state employees - are forced into a cruel choice. They must agree to work according to Russian rules, betraying their country - or else lose their jobs. Tim Whewell reports on life behind Russian lines in Kherson - and talks to some of those who've thrown in their lot with the occupiers, including the eccentric former journalist and fish inspector who's now deputy head of the region's Russian backed administration.
04/08/22·28m 3s

My granny the slave

Writer Claire Hynes goes on a personal journey to uncover the story of an Antiguan foremother, who is thought to be one of the first women to flee a slave plantation in the Caribbean island of Antigua. Claire grew up learning a 200 year-old story passed down through generations about her enslaved ancestor known as Missy Williams. As a young woman Missy risked her life to escape the physical and sexual brutality of plantation life, hiding out in a cave. Inspired by her courage and intelligence, Claire travels to the island of Antigua to find out about Missy’s life, the extreme challenges she faced and how she managed to survive.
03/08/22·28m 31s

Fighting wildfires

Parts of the world, such as Europe, have experienced record temperatures and, amid the heat, wildfires are burning. In the United States, there are several fires across large parts of the country. We bring together three specialist wildland firefighters to share what it’s like to do one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Whitney Lindsay, in Texas, became a firefighter four years ago as part of a special program involving military veterans. Jonathon Golden in Utah retired in 2019 after firefighting for 12 years. Chris Ashby in Oregon is both a firefighter and a crew boss. They discuss with host James Reynolds the impact of climate change, the rewards and the strains of the profession.
30/07/22·23m 57s

The return of the tigers

Tigers are making a remarkable comeback in Nepal. The small Himalayan nation is on track to become the first country to double its wild tiger population in the last decade. A new census will be released on International Tiger Day (29th of July). The recovery is the result of tough anti-poaching measures that have involved the military and the local community. Other iconic species including rhinos and elephant populations have also increased. But this has come at a cost, there has been an increase in tiger attacks on humans. Rebecca Henschke travels to Bardia national park, to find out what’s behind the conservation success and what it means for the community living with the Tigers. (Photo Credit: Deepak Rajbanshi) Presented by Rebecca Henschke Produced by Kevin Kim and Rajan Parajuli, with the BBC Nepali team Studio mix by Neil Churchill Production coordinators Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond Editor Penny Murphy
28/07/22·26m 28s

Birmingham’s grassroots heroes

The 2022 Commonwealth Games is being hosted by the UK’s central city of Birmingham - ethnically diverse and where the age profile is younger compared to other British cities. It is home to many people with familial links to commonwealth member countries such as India and the Caribbean. As Birmingham welcomes 4,500 athletes from around the world, Nina Robinson talks to the city’s ‘Hometown Heroes’ - locals who have been recognised for their contribution to sport.
26/07/22·27m 17s

Extreme heat

As temperature records are broken around the world. People around world share with host James Reynolds how to negotiate the warm weather and how the heat is affecting their lives. “It’s 37 degrees here right now,” says Allison in Doha, Qatar, “but we’re at 59% humidity so it’s feeling like 52 degrees outside. If you can imagine just stepping outside into a sauna, that’s basically what it’s like.” Allison discusses her experiences with Julia in Brittany, France, and Alia, a doctor in Lahore, Pakistan.
23/07/22·24m 18s

Shanghai lockdown

After two months of a gruelling strict lockdown, Shanghai has emerged a changed city, some residents say. During the 65 toughest days, some were reduced to begging for food and pleading for access to their young children from whom they’d been separated. The regime wasn’t just brutal, some claim, it was largely fruitless, as the omicron strain of Covid continues to spread now. What’s more the economic fallout for China’s commercial capital, and key supply chains across the country and internationally, are only gradually becoming apparent. What’s the legacy of Shanghai’s zero-Covid experiment? Producer and Presenter Ed Butler Studio mix by Neil Churchill Production coordinators Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Editor Penny Murphy
21/07/22·26m 29s

Nursing matters

In Zambia, at the Lusaka College of Nursing and Midwifery, college head Dr Priscar Sakala-Mukonka is training the next generation of nurses in their new Critical Care department. Once qualified, her students will join a health care system that is critically short-supplied and short-staffed - not due not to a lack of new nurses, but due to a shortage of paid positions. Despite decades of investment, there is still only 13 nurses per 10,000 people in Zambia, compared to 175 in Switzerland. Many qualified nurses are officially unemployed, and those with jobs do the work of many. Feeling demoralized and undervalued, many have left to pursue nursing careers overseas. What can be done to reverse this trend?
19/07/22·27m 52s

Sri Lanka crisis

In a week where protestors stormed the residences of its leaders, forcing the president to resign, Sri Lanka continues to face its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. There have been months of shortages - from fuel and cooking gas to food and medicines. We hear from three doctors in the capital Colombo about running out of essentials such as HIV testing kits. Host James Reynolds also hears from two Sri Lankans about coping among constant shortages.
16/07/22·23m 47s

The man who came back from the dead

The incredibly story of Ivan Skyba, the sole survivor of one of the worst atrocities of the war in Ukraine. In March 2022, Russian troops shot dead eight unarmed men in a mass execution in the town of Bucha, outside Kiev. But incredibly, one man who the Russians thought they’d killed , managed to survive the massacre. The BBC’s special correspondent Fergal Keane traveled to Ukraine to uncover what happened and meet Ivan Skyba, the man who came back from the dead. Photo: Ivan Skyba who survived the massacre at 144 Yablunska Street in Bucha, Ukraine (BBC) Reporter: Fergal Keane Producers: Orsi Szoboszlay and Alex Last Fixers: Sofiia Kochmar-Tymoshenko, Viacheslav Shramovych, Rostyslav Kubik Series Editor: Penny Murphy Studio Mix: Graham Puddifoot and Neil Churchill Production Coordinators: Gemma Ashman and Iona Hammond
14/07/22·26m 27s

Shrimps, saris and guns

Deep in the jungles of Bangladesh, a small group of women secretly practise army-style drills. This small team, made exclusively of female village residents, are fighting a global economic force - the world’s insatiable appetite for shrimp. The BBC's Faarea Masud investigates as the demand for shrimp is destroying the land the women have farmed for centuries, and they are willing to do everything they can to protect it from the illegal intensive farming which renders their farmland rapidly unusable. With allegations of payments made to corrupt officials to turn a blind eye, and with little financial clout themselves, the women have taken matters into their own hands in the battle with the global shrimp industry.
12/07/22·27m 20s

Boris Johnson

Less than three years after winning a landslide victory, the UK’s Conservative party Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned. It follows a series of political scandals, election defeats and his own party’s loss of trust and confidence in his leadership. During his time in office, Johnson had to deal with a number of unexpected global situations: a pandemic, the economic fallout of war in Ukraine and the ongoing cost of living crisis. But it was questions about his character that brought him down and scandals such as ‘Partygate’ where he attended group gatherings at 10 Downing Street, during lockdowns. Two journalists in Belgium and France discuss Boris Johnson’s reputation abroad and the reaction of European leaders with host James Reynolds.
09/07/22·24m 23s
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