Witness History

Witness History

By BBC World Service

History as told by the people who were there.

Episodes

The Whisky War: Denmark v Canada

In 1984, a diplomatic dispute broke out between Canada and Denmark over the ownership of a tiny island in the Arctic.The fight for Hans Island off the coast of Greenland became known as the Whisky War. Both sides would leave a bottle of alcohol for the enemies after raising their national flag. What could be the friendliest territorial dispute in history came to an end in 2022, with the agreement held up as an example of how diplomacy should work.Janice Fryett hears from Tom Hoyem and Alan Kessel, politicians on either side of the bloodless war.A Made in Manchester Production for the BBC World Service. (Photo: Tom Hoyem with a Danish flag on Hans Island. Credit: Niels Henriksen)
01/03/24·9m 0s

The discovery of the Lord of Sipan in Peru

In 1987, Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva received a call from the police urging him to look at ancient artefacts confiscated from looters.The seized objects were so precious that Walter decided to set up camp in Sipan, the site where they were found. There, he dug and researched what turned out to be the richest tomb found intact in the Americas: the resting place of an ancient ruler, the Lord of Sipan.Walter tells Stefania Gozzer about the challenges and threats he and his team faced to preserve the grave.The music from this programme was composed by Daniel Hernández Díaz and performed by Jarana & Son.(Photo: Walter beside the discovery. Credit: Walter Alva)
29/02/24·8m 59s

The lost Czech scrolls

On 7 February 1964, an unusual delivery was made to a synagogue in London.More than 1,500 Torah scrolls, lost since the end of World War Two, were arriving from Czechoslovakia.The sacred Jewish texts had belonged to communities destroyed by the Nazis.Alex Strangwayes-Booth talks to 91-year-old Philippa Bernard about the emotional charge of that day.A CTVC production for the BBC World Service.(Photo: Philippa beside the scrolls in Westminster Synagogue. Credit: BBC)
28/02/24·9m 10s

Crimea's Soviet holiday camp

Artek, on the shores of the Black Sea in Crimea, was a hugely popular Soviet holiday camp.Maria Kim Espeland was one of the thousands of children who visited every year.In 2014, she told Lucy Burns about life in the camp in the 1980s.(Photo: A group of children attending Artek. Credit: Irina Vlasova)
27/02/24·9m 2s

Russia annexes Crimea

In 2014, Russia annexed the strategic Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, a move seen by Kyiv and many other countries as illegal.The crisis it caused was so acute the world seemed on the brink of a new cold war.In 2022, one Crimean woman told Louise Hidalgo what it was like to live through. (Photo: A soldier outside the Crimean parliament in 2014. Credit: Getty Images)
26/02/24·9m 0s

Whistler: Creating one of the world’s biggest ski resorts

In 2003, Whistler Blackcomb won its bid to host the Winter Olympic Games for the first time. It was sixth time lucky for the Canadian ski resort which had been opened to the public in 1966. The mountain – which is named after the high-pitched whistle of the native marmot – has been through a lot of iterations and one man has been there to see nearly all of them.Hugh Smythe, known as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Whistler, has been sharing his memories of the mountain with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Whistler mountain. Credit: Getty Images)
23/02/24·9m 0s

Columbus Lighthouse

In 1992, Columbus Lighthouse opened in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. It was designed to house the ashes of explorer, Christopher Columbus. The huge memorial is built in the form of a horizontal cross and has 157 searchlight beams that when turned on project a gigantic cross into the sky. The light is so powerful it can be seen from over 300km away in Puerto Rico. Tour guide and historian, Samuel Bisono tells Gill Kearsley about the struggle to get the monument built.(Photo: Columbus Lighthouse. Credit: Gill Kearsley)
22/02/24·10m 8s

Trans murder in Honduras

In June 2009, transgender sex worker and activist Vicky Hernandez was murdered in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.The killers were never identified or punished, but in 2021 the Inter-American Human Rights Court found the Honduran state responsible for the crime. It ordered the government to enact new laws to prevent discrimination and violence against LGBT people.Mike Lanchin hears from Claudia Spelman, a trans activist and friend of Vicky, and the American human rights lawyer Angelita Baeyens.A CTVC production for the BBC World Service.(Photo: A protestor holds a sign saying “Late Justice is not Justice”. Credit: Wendell Escoto/AFP/Getty Images)
21/02/24·9m 7s

Icelandic women's strike

In October 1975, 90% of women in Iceland took part in a nationwide protest over inequality.Factories and banks were forced to close and men were left holding the children as 25,000 women took to the streets.In 2015, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, later Iceland's first female president, told Kirstie Brewer about the impact of that day.(Photo: Women take to the streets. Credit: The Icelandic Women's History Archives)
20/02/24·9m 11s

The Soviet scientist who made two-headed dogs

In the 1950s, Soviet scientist Dr Vladimir Demikhov shocks the world with his two-headed dog experiments.He grafts the head and paws of one dog onto the body of another. One of his creations lives for 29 days.He wants to prove the possibilities of transplant surgery, which was a new field of medicine at the time. Consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, Igor Konstantinov, tells Vicky Farncombe about the "difficult emotions" he experiences when he looks at photos of the creatures.This programme includes a description of one of the experiments which some listeners may find upsetting.(Photo: Vladimir Demikhov. Credit: Getty Images)
19/02/24·8m 56s

Supermalt: The malt drink created after the Nigerian civil war

In 1972, a food supplement used by soldiers during the Nigerian civil war was turned into a popular malt drink by a brewery in the Danish town of Faxe.It was called Supermalt and it became so popular that the Nigerian government decided to ban all imports of malt into the country. Peter Rasmussen created the drink and he has been sharing his memories with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Supermalt. Credit: Royal Unibrew Ltd)
16/02/24·9m 52s

The small Irish town known as ‘Little Brazil’

Gort in the west of Ireland is known by the nickname ‘Little Brazil’ because it’s home to so many Brazilians.They first came to Ireland in the late 1990s to work in the town’s meat factory.Lucimeire Trindade was just 24-years-old when she and three friends arrived in the town, unable to speak a word of English or Irish.Nearly 25 years later, Lucimeire considers Gort her true home.She tells Vicky Farncombe how being in Ireland changed her outlook on life.“I learned that a woman can have their own life, especially going to the pub alone without their husbands!”(Photo: Traditional Brazilian carnival dancers strut their stuff in Gort. Credit: John Kelly, Clare Champion)
15/02/24·10m 8s

The Juliet letters

The Juliet Club is in Verona, Italy, a place known throughout the world as being the city of love. The club has been replying to mail addressed to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet since the early 1990s. The story of the Juliet letters started in the 1930s when the guardian of what is known as Juliet’s tomb began gathering the first letters people left at the grave and answering them. The task was taken on by the Juliet Club which was founded by Giulio Tamassia in 1972. His daughter, Giovanna, tells Gill Kearsley that thousands of love letters from around the world are each given a personal response.(Photo: Letters to the Juliet Club. Credit: Leonello Bertolucci/Getty Images)
14/02/24·9m 36s

Patty Hearst: Rebel heiress

When wealthy newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by far-left militants in February 1974, America saw her as a victim.But two months later, she announced she had decided to join the group. Soon, she was accompanying it on an attempted bank robbery.In 2010, Louise Hidalgo spoke to Carol Pogash, a journalist who followed the story.(Photo: Patty being led to her trial. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
13/02/24·10m 50s

The WW2 escape line that fooled the Nazis

In 1940 a daring rescue operation began to help Allied servicemen escape from Nazi-occupied France.French resistance fighter Roland Lepers was among those who guided stranded Allied soldiers and airmen to neutral Spain during World War Two. The 1,000 km route became known as the Pat O’Leary Escape Line - or the Pat Line. It’s estimated 7,000 Allied personnel escaped through this route and similar escape lines, thanks to a network of people who clothed, fed and hid them. Peter Janes was one of those British servicemen.Roland’s daughter Christine and Peter’s son Keith, speak to Jane Wilkinson about their fathers’ adventures.(Photo: German-controlled checkpoint in France, 1940. Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
12/02/24·9m 17s

The Battle of Versailles: Catwalk clash of American and French fashion

In 1973, a fashion show was held in France which became known as the Battle of Versailles, a duel between designs from modern America and the capital of couture, Paris. Five American designers, including Oscar de la Renta and Halston, were invited to show their work alongside five of France’s biggest names, including Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy. The aim was to raise money to help restore Versailles, a 17th Century palace built by King Louis XIV, but the media billed it as a competition between the two countries.By the end, the Americans were declared the winners. The show also highlighted their industry’s racial diversity on an international stage, with 10 women of colour modelling work by US designers. Bethann Hardison, one of the models, talks to Jane Wilkinson about the lasting impact of the astonishing show.(Photo: Bethann Hardison at Versailles in 1973. Credit: Jean-Luce Hure/Bridgeman Images)
09/02/24·10m 13s

How Rosa Parks took a stand against racism

Rosa Parks was brought up in Alabama during the Jim Crow era, when state laws enforced segregation in practically all aspects of daily life.Public schools, water fountains, trains and buses all had to have separate facilities for white people and black people.As a passionate civil rights activist, Rosa was determined to change this.In December 1955, she was travelling home from the department store where she worked as a seamstress.When a white passenger boarded the bus, Rosa was told to give up her seat.Her refusal to do so and subsequent arrest sparked a bus boycott in the city of Montgomery, led by Dr Martin Luther King.Using BBC interviews with Rosa and Dr King, Vicky Farncombe tells how Rosa’s story changed civil rights history and led to the end of segregation.This programme includes outdated and offensive language.(Photo: Rosa Parks sitting on a bus. Credit: Getty Images)
08/02/24·9m 12s

Lucha Reyes: Peruvian music star

Lucha Reyes was one of Peru’s greatest singers. She was born into poverty in 1936 and fought terrible health problems and racism throughout her life. But it didn’t stop her becoming a star of Peruvian Creole music - a fusion of waltzes, Andean and Afro-Peruvian styles. In the early 1970s she recorded hits including Regresa and Tu Voz. One of the few black Peruvian celebrities of her era, she was a trailblazer for black women in the country. Polo Bances played the saxophone in her band, accompanying her on many of her greatest records. He celebrates her life with Ben Henderson.(Photo: Lucha Reyes. Credit: Javier Ponce Gambirazio)
07/02/24·10m 0s

How a young mother was saved from death by stoning

In March 2002, a young Nigerian Muslim woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and conceiving a child out of wedlock. Amina Lawal’s case attracted huge international attention and highlighted divisions between the Christian and Muslim regions in the country. Hauwa Ibrahim, one of the first female lawyers from northern Nigeria, defended Amina and helped her secure an acquittal. The case would have very personal consequences for Hauwa who went on to adopt Amina’s daughter. She tells Vicky Farncombe how the ground-breaking case also changed attitudes in Nigeria towards defendants from poor, rural communities.(Photo: Hauwa Ibrahim (left) with Amina Lawal, Credit: Getty Images)
06/02/24·10m 0s

Queen of the 'fro

In May 1986, 16-year-old Charlotte Mensah went to work in the UK’s first luxury Afro-Caribbean hair salon, Splinters.In London’s glamorous Mayfair, Splinters had earned a world-class reputation and hosted the likes of Diana Ross.Charlotte says it looked more like a five-star hotel than a salon and that its owner, Winston Isaacs expected no less than perfection from all his staff.Now a giant of the hair care industry in her own right, Charlotte has become known as the 'Queen of the 'fro'.She tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty about her roots and how training at the legendary Splinters changed her life. This programme includes an account of racial bullying. (Photo: Young Charlotte in the salon. Credit: Charlotte Mensah)
05/02/24·9m 54s

First internet cafe

The first commercial internet cafe opened in London on 1 September 1994. Eva Pascoe, from Poland, is one of the founders of Cyberia. She claims that Kylie Minogue was amongst the famous visitors and learnt how to use the internet at the cafe.Eva tells Gill Kearsley the story of how cakes, computers and Kylie came together to make this new venture a success.(Photo: Surfers at the Cyberia cafe. Credit: Mathieu Polak/Sygma via Getty Images)
01/02/24·10m 10s

The Arctic’s doomsday seed vault

In January 2008, seeds began arriving at the world's first global seed vault, buried deep in a mountain on an Arctic island, 1,000km north of the Norwegian coast.The vault was built to ensure the survival of the world's food supply and agricultural history in the event of a global catastrophe.In 2019, Louise Hidalgo spoke to the man whose idea it was, Dr Cary Fowler.(Photo: Journalists and cameramen outside the entrance of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2008. Credit: Hakon Mosvold Larsen/AFP/Getty Images)
31/01/24·9m 0s

Brazil's Landless Workers Movement

In 1980, poor rural workers set up camp on land owned by the rich at Encruzilhada Natalino in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil's government sent in the army to evict them and violent clashes followed. It was a formative moment in the history of one of Latin America's biggest social movements, Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST). Maria Salete Campigotto was a teacher living in the camp with her husband and young son. She speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Brazil's Landless Workers Movement meeting. Credit: Patrick Siccoli/Getty Images)
30/01/24·9m 6s

Silenced by the Vatican

In September 1984, the Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff was summoned to Rome, facing accusations that his writing and teachings were "dangerous to the faith".He is a leading proponent of liberation theology, which says the Church should push for social equality. Leonardo was called to appear before the Roman Catholic Church’s highest tribunal.A year later, he was banned from writing, teaching or speaking publicly. Now in his late 80s and no longer a priest, he tells Mike Lanchin about that turbulent time. A CTVC production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Leonardo Boff preaching outside a church to followers of Liberation Theology. Credit: Bernard Bisson/Sygma/Getty Images)
29/01/24·8m 58s

Jack Strong aka Ryszard Kukliński: Cold War traitor or hero?

During the 1970s, the US and Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War. The US, along with other Western countries, was a member of Nato, while the Soviet Union joined forces with central and eastern European countries in the Warsaw Pact. After becoming frustrated with the way the Soviets controlled his country, Ryszard Kukliński, a Polish colonel, wrote to the US Embassy in Bonn, West Germany. For the next 10 years, he would feed the CIA tens of thousands of pages of classified military secrets.Aris Pappas, a CIA agent who analysed Ryszard's intel, speaks to George Crafer about his memories of this forgotten hero. (Photo: Jack Strong aka Ryszard Kukliński. Credit: AP)
26/01/24·9m 31s

The Hungarian footballer executed for love

The Magnificent Magyars were Hungary’s golden football team of the 1950s.But behind their shine lay a dark secret.In 1951, defender Sándor Szűcs was executed for trying to defect from the communist regime.The married centre-back had wanted to leave Hungary with his lover, singer Erzsi Kovács, who was also married.The pair had been told to end their illicit relationship or face imprisonment.They were arrested near the border after being set up by a double agent.This programme has been made by Vicky Farncombe, using an interview Erzsi gave in 2011 to Hungarian journalist Endre Kadarkai on the Arckép programme, on Zuglo TV.(Photo: Sándor Szűcs. Credit: Arcanum/Nemzeti Sport)
25/01/24·9m 0s

Wang Jingwei: China’s traitor or protector?

In 1937, Japan invaded China committing atrocities including the Nanjing Massacre. Wang Jingwei was a Chinese national hero and second-in-command of China’s ruling Nationalist Party. He wanted to negotiate with Japan but his colleagues wouldn’t listen. So he defected, and in 1940 he agreed to lead a Japanese-controlled puppet government in Nanjing. Many Chinese have hated him ever since – his name is synonymous with the word ‘Hanjian’, a traitor to China. But Pan Chia-sheng’s memories of living under Wang Jingwei’s government tell a very different story. He speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Wang Jingwei. Credit: Wang Wenxing via Wang Jingwei Irrevocable Trust)
24/01/24·9m 47s

Axis Sally: World War II traitor who broadcast for the Nazis

In 1949, Mildred Gillars – otherwise known as Axis Sally – became the first woman in American history to be convicted of treason.The former Broadway showgirl broadcast antisemitic Nazi propaganda on German State Radio during World War Two.Her weekly shows were heard by thousands of American servicemen who gave her the nickname Axis Sally. After her capture, she denied being a traitor, but a jury in Washington convicted her of treason, and she served 12 years in prison. Jane Wilkinson has been looking through the BBC archives to uncover her story.(Photo: Mildred Gillars. Credit: Bettmann, Getty Images)
23/01/24·9m 22s

Vidkun Quisling: Norway’s traitor

In December 1939, fascist Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling travelled to Berlin from Oslo for a secret meeting with Adolf Hitler. Quisling suggested to Hitler that the British were planning to move into Norway for their own strategic needs. Norway hadn’t been a concern for the Nazis but the meeting alarmed Hitler and within months Germany started its invasion of Norway. From that moment, Quisling was consigned into history as a traitor. So much so that in the time since, his name has become a byword for traitor in numerous languages. Matt Pintus hears from Norwegian journalist, Trude Lorentzen, who decided to study Quisling’s life after stumbling across his suitcase in an online auction. As part of her voyage of discovery, Trude interviewed Quisling’s Jewish neighbour Leif Grusd who was forced to flee to Sweden when the Nazis took over Norway. Leif Grusd's interview was translated from the NRK podcast "Quislings koffert" - Quisling's suitcase - released in 2021. It was made by production company Svarttrost for NRK. (Photo: Vidkun Quisling and Adolf Hitler. Credit: Getty Images)
22/01/24·10m 27s

Jamuna Tudu: The real life 'Lady Tarzan'

In the early 2000s, a woman called Jamuna Tudu set out on a mission to protect her home state of Jharkhand's forests from India's so-called timber mafia. She inspired thousands of people to care for their natural environment and established an army of women to fight back against the illegal cutting down of trees.Her conservation efforts have led to the country's media dubbing her 'Lady Tarzan', and she is now known across India for her bravery.She speaks to George Crafer about her run-ins with the mafia and her hero status.(Photo: Jamuna Tudu amongst the trees she loves. Credit: Jamuna Tudu)
19/01/24·9m 8s

Ibadan Zoo

British zoologist Bob Golding turned the University of Ibadan's zoo into one of Nigeria's biggest tourist attractions in the 1970s.The zoo was famous for two gorillas he rescued from traffickers. And Bob's animal kingdom even had its own TV show.His wife, Peaches Golding, tells Ben Henderson how he did it. (Photo: Bob Golding. Credit: bobgolding.co.uk)
18/01/24·9m 3s

Tortured in Iran's Evin Prison

In June 2009, millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest against what they considered a rigged presidential election.The hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won 62% of the vote. All three defeated candidates disputed the results.The protests gave rise to the 'Green Movement', named after its signature colour, which opposed Ahmadinejad.Journalist Maziar Bahari was accused of being a Western spy and spent 118 days being interrogated in Iran's Evin Prison. He tells Dan Hardoon about the torture he endured.(Photo: Maziar Bahari in 2015. Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
17/01/24·8m 59s

The Green March: Moroccans take over the Sahara

On 6 November 1975, tens of thousands of Moroccans poured into Spanish Sahara in a bid to claim it for their own.They danced, waved flags and played music as they faced off, unarmed, against gun-carrying Spanish soldiers.The so-called Green March led to a diplomatic victory for Morocco's King Hassan, but sparked a guerrilla war and decades of instability.In 2013, TV cameraman Seddik Maaninou and North Africa expert Francis Gillies told Simon Watts about that momentous protest.(Photo: Protestors on the Green March. Credit: Jacques Haillot/Apis/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images)
16/01/24·9m 10s

The hunger-striking Bolivian president

In Bolivia, on 25 October 1984, President Hernán Siles Zuazo announced he was going on hunger strike. He was trying to stop the booming cocaine industry in his country. It was the second time he had taken the job of president and he had been on hunger strike several times before. His daughter Marcela Siles, tells Laura Jones about her father.(Photo: President Zuazo. Credit: Getty Images)
15/01/24·9m 7s

Gürtel scandal: Spain's Watergate

For two years, José Luis Peñas risked his life making secret recordings that revealed one of Spain's biggest corruption scandals.It forced the ruling party from power and brought down Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2018.José Luis Peñas speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Mariano Rajoy (right) moments after resigning. Credit: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Pool via Getty Images)
12/01/24·8m 58s

The first World Laughter Day

On the 11 January 1998 in Mumbai, India, the first World Laughter Day took place.It was the idea of Dr Madan Kataria, a medical doctor who wanted to test the theory that laughter is the best medicine.He tells Gill Kearsley how this unusual event started. (Photo: World Laughter Day in Mumbai in 2016. Credit: Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
11/01/24·9m 12s

Russian ballerina defects to the West

In 1970, Natalia Makarova became the first female ballet star to defect to the West from Russia. The dancer claimed asylum during a UK tour, nine years after another Russian dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, had defected. Natalia later joined the American Ballet Theatre in New York. She wouldn’t return to her home country for almost 20 years. Jane Wilkinson has been looking through the archive to discover the reasons behind her defection.(Photo: Natalia Makarova in New York, 1980. Credit: Brownie Harris/Corbis via Getty Images)
10/01/24·9m 12s

The mystery of France's lost king

The fate of Louis-Charles, son of the last king of France, was for years shrouded in rumour.The little boy was said to have died in prison in 1795. But for years, rumours spread that he had been swapped with an imposter.It wasn't until a team of scientists took DNA samples from the heart of the imprisoned boy in 2000 that the mystery could be laid to rest.In 2021, Prof Jean Jacques Cassiman and historian Deborah Cadbury told Claire Bowes about the extraordinary tale.(Photo: Drawing of Louis-Charles being separated from his mother Marie Antoinette in 1793. Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
09/01/24·8m 58s

The world’s first lesbian couple to get married

On 1 April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage.Four couples were chosen to take part in a collective wedding at midnight which was broadcast on TV.Hélène Faasen and Anne-Marie Thus tell Dan Hardoon about the wedding they thought they'd never have. (Photo: The four happy couples cut the cake. Credit: Marcel Antonisse/ANP/AFP/Getty Images)
08/01/24·9m 0s

What the 1989 solar storm did to Quebec

On 13 March 1989, the Canadian province of Quebec suffered a nine-hour electricity blackout. Much of the state's infrastructure was damaged, but the power companies couldn't find any obvious cause. Physicist Aja Hruska was one of the only people in the country that knew the answer to Quebec's problem. A solar flare ejected by the sun had hit the earth's magnetic field, creating electrical havoc.And the damage could have been avoided if her warnings had been properly acknowledged. Aja shares her memories of that day with Eva Runciman.(Photo: A solar flare erupts from the sun. Credit: Photo 12/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
05/01/24·10m 17s

The Hindenburg airship disaster

The Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built and the pride of Nazi Germany.In May 1937, it flew over the Atlantic from Frankfurt, in Germany, to New Jersey, in the United States.During its mooring at Lakehurst Naval Air Station it burst into flames, killing 35 of the 97 passengers and crew.Radio reporter Herb Morrison watched the horror unfold and his eyewitness account became one of the most famous moments in journalism history.Vicky Farncombe presents this episode.(Photo: The Hindenburg airship disaster. Credit: Sam Shere/Getty Images)
04/01/24·9m 55s

The invention of the wingsuit

The wingsuit is the ultimate in extreme sports clothing. The aerodynamic outfit allows base jumpers and skydivers to free-fall for longer before opening a parachute.The road to creating it was littered with casualties, but in 1999 skydivers Jari Kuosma and Robert Pecnik developed the first commercial wingsuits.In 2019, Jari told Jonathan Coates how exciting, but also how dangerous they can be.(Photo: Jari in his wingsuit. Credit: BBC)
03/01/24·9m 2s

Discovery of the hole in the earth’s ozone

In 1985, British scientists made what would turn out to be one of the most important environmental discoveries of the 20th century - finding a hole in the earth’s ozone layer.The British Antarctic Survey, based in Cambridge, had been monitoring ozone levels for more than 30 years using the Dobson Ozone Spectrophotometer.But it was only when they compared previously uncharted figures from the 1980s with the previous decade that they made the shocking finding, as Jonathan Shanklin, the man who compiled the data, told Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Ozone hole in September 2006. Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
02/01/24·9m 13s

Earth: A pale blue dot in the universe

In February 1990, Nasa space probe Voyager took a famous photo of Earth as it left the Solar System.Seen from six billion kilometres away, our planet appears as a mere dot lit up by the sun, giving a sense of humanity's small place in the universe.In 2020, Darryl Morris spoke to Nasa planetary scientist Candice Hansen, who worked on the Voyager programme. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Earth - a pale blue dot. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech)
01/01/24·9m 13s

Ken Hom's 'Chinese Cookery'

In 1982, after a two-year global search, the BBC auditioned Ken Hom to be the star of a new Chinese cookery TV series.In the show, called Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery, he introduced viewers to dishes like dim sum and spicy braised aubergine. He also gave advice on choosing and using a wok.He tells Josephine McDermott about his sudden rise to celebrity and how he brought Chinese dishes to new audiences. (Photo: Ken Hom. Credit: Chris Ridley/Radio Times/Getty Images)
29/12/23·11m 1s

The disputed history of pad Thai

It’s one of the most popular dishes in South East Asian cooking and for many it’s seen as Thailand’s national dish. However, the origins of pad Thai are disputed. Some believe it was created and taken to the country centuries ago by Chinese immigrants. Others believe it was invented during the rule of military dictator, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, as a way of cementing Thai nationalism in the 1940s. Thai food writer Chawadee Nualkhair dissects all the theories with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Pad Thai. Credit: Getty Images)
28/12/23·9m 1s

Flavr Savr tomato: The world's first genetically-engineered food

In 1994, biotech company Calgene brought the world's first genetically-modified food to supermarket shelves.The Flavr Savr tomato kept fresh for 30 days and could be shipped long distances without going off.Yet the world was wary of this new food, and it took 10 years and $100m of investment to get it to market.In 2017, the firm's then-CEO Roger Salquist told Claire Bowes about his mission to revolutionise the world's food.(Photo: Roger Salquist with a crop of Flavr Savrs. Credit: Richard Gilmore)
27/12/23·9m 9s

Kiwi: How New Zealand hijacked China's fruit

The kiwi fruit is synonymous with New Zealand in the minds of most European and American shoppers.But the hairy fruit actually comes from China and was once known as the Chinese gooseberry. So how did New Zealand hijack a Chinese fruit and turn it into their biggest horticultural export? Former fruit exporter Don Turner tells Vicky Farncombe how his family named the kiwi fruit in the 1950s and created a global industry.
26/12/23·9m 2s

Inventing Nutella

In 1946, Italian confectioner Pietro Ferrero set out to bring chocolate to the masses. His recipe evolved over the years to become a world-famous product.Thomas Chatenier from the manufacturer tells Uma Doraiswamy how the chocolate and hazelnut formula spread across the globe.(Photo: The famous spread. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)
25/12/23·8m 58s

'The bad boy of Welsh politics'

In the 1960s, the singer Dafydd Iwan started campaigning for the Welsh language to gain official status in Wales. For years, Dafydd received little support. In January 1969 he decided to up the pressure, defacing a police station sign written in English with paint. He ended up in prison, but soon young people across the country were picking up paint pots and taking up the cause. Today, the Welsh language is found in schools, on documents and on police station signs. Dafydd tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty about his activism and singing.(Photo: Dafydd after his release from Cardiff prison. Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
22/12/23·9m 52s

Al Jazeera Three: Imprisoned in Egypt

In 2014 three journalists were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt.Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed became known as the Al Jazeera Three.The jail terms handed out to them led to an international outcry as protesters called for press freedom.Peter Greste tells his compelling story to Gill Kearsley.(Photo: Peter Greste inside the defendants’ cage. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)
21/12/23·9m 12s

The mysterious death of Pablo Neruda

In late 1973, Chile was in turmoil. General Augusto Pinochet had led a military coup deposing the socialist president Salvador Allende who was now dead.The army was rounding up leftists; torturing, imprisoning and killing them.In the capital Santiago, the country’s best-known poet Pablo Neruda was lying in a hospital bed. He was 69 and had cancer.As a prominent member of the Communist Party his life was in danger. He had to get out.With him was his driver and personal assistant Manuel Araya who spoke to Gideon Long.(Photo : The poet in 1963. Credit: Angelo Cozzi/Mondadori/Getty Images)
20/12/23·9m 20s

The assassination of King Faisal

On 25 March 1975, Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal was murdered, shot by his nephew as he bent to kiss him as a greeting.The king’s oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani was standing beside him when the gun went off.In 2017, Ahmed’s daughter, Dr Mai Yamani, told Louise Hidalgo of her father’s pain at witnessing the death.(Photo: King Faisal in 1967. Credit: Pierre Manevy/Getty Images)
19/12/23·8m 59s

Tsunami devastates Samoa

On 29 September 2009, a devastating tsunami hit Samoa, killing 149 people and leaving a trail of destruction. For Lumepa Hald it was a terrifying day which resulted in a tragic loss. She tells her story to Gill Kearsley.(Photo: The devastation in Samoa after the tsunami in 2009. Credit: Phil Walter/Getty Images)
18/12/23·9m 2s

The funeral of Nelson Mandela

On 15 December 2013, South Africa held the funeral of Nelson Mandela who led the struggle in defeating apartheid and became the country’s first black president. His ancestral home in the village of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape hosted 60 world leaders including four United States presidents and two UN secretary generals. It was the first state funeral held by the country.Nelson Mandela’s eldest child Dr Makaziwe Mandela tells Josephine McDermott how it took eight years to plan and why it makes her proud to remember that day.(Photo: Candles are lit under a portrait of Nelson Mandela at his funeral service. Credit: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)
15/12/23·15m 32s

Vatican citizen Emanuela Orlandi disappears

In 1983, the disappearance of a teenage girl who was a citizen of Vatican City led to a scandal.When Pope John Paul II made a public appeal to the people holding Emanuela Orlandi captive, the world took notice and her case was treated as a suspected kidnapping.Forty years on, the reason she vanished is still unclear.Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, speaks to Daniel Gordon about his life-long mission to find out what really happened to his sister.(Photo: A protester holds a photo of Emanuela. Credit: Stefano Montesi/Corbis/Getty Images)
14/12/23·9m 2s

Anna Akhmatova: The poet who defied a regime

The great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova lived through some of the darkest chapters of Soviet history, but never stopped writing even though the communist regime repeatedly tried to silence her. One of Anna's most famous poems, Requiem, is about her son's arrest and the Stalinist terror.In 2022, art historian Era Korobova told Tatyana Movshevich about the poet's tumultuous relationship with her son.(Photo: Anna Akhmatova (second from right, at a Soviet writers' conference in 1965. Credit: Getty Images)
13/12/23·9m 11s

Yeltsin speaks at the reburial of the Romanovs

In 1998, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin shocked the nation with a last-minute decision to speak at the reburial of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, 80 years after their murder.“We must end an age of blood and violence in Russia,” he said, as he called for the country to face up to the crimes of its communist past.Lilia Dubovaya, a reporter for the state news service, told Robert Nicholson about the emotional weight of the day. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Image: President Yeltsin at the reburial of Tsar Nicholas II. Credit: Reuters)
12/12/23·9m 15s

Murder of the Romanovs

As civil war raged in Russia, on 17 July 1918, the imprisoned royal family were told they were to be taken to a place of refuge.But the move was a trick and half an hour later Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and his children lay dead, gunned down and bayonetted.In 2018, his great niece Olga Romanov told Olga Smirnova about that night, and the family’s reburial 80 years later.(Photo: The room where the Romanovs were murdered. Credit: Getty Images)
11/12/23·8m 57s

The release of DOOM

In December 1993, the release of a new video game captivated gamers around the world. It was called DOOM. Set on a Martian military base overrun by zombified soldiers and demons, DOOM saw players take control of a nameless soldier called ‘The DOOM guy’ as he fights the demonic enemies to stop them taking over Earth. The game was released at a time when violence in video games was big news and a topic of discussion in the United States Senate. Kurt Brookes speaks to John Romero, one of the game’s developers, and remembers the release of what went on to become one of the most influential games ever. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service. (Photo: John Romero. Credit: Made in Manchester)
08/12/23·9m 57s

‘The disappeared’ of Argentina

Between 1976 and 1983 in Argentina, the military ruled the country. Thousands of mainly young, left-wing Argentinians went missing. Known as 'the disappeared', they were taken to detention centres, such as Escuela Superior de Mecanica de la Armada, known as ESMA in the capital, Buenos Aires. Around 5,000 prisoners passed through its gates. Most were killed. As well as the murders and torture, hundreds of babies were taken from pregnant prisoners and given away to military personnel and families who supported the government. In December 1983 the Argentinian president Raul Alfonsin signed a decree putting the military junta responsible on trial. In 2010, Candice Piete spoke to one of the survivors, Miriam Lewin. (Photo: ESMA. Credit: Reuters)
07/12/23·8m 57s

A Greek coup: The day the colonels took power

On 21 April 1967, a group of right-wing army officers seized power in Greece to prevent the election of a social democratic government led by veteran politician George Papandreou. The dictatorship, backed by the United States, lasted for seven years. Thousands of people were imprisoned, exiled and tortured. The grandson of that politician, also called George, was 14 at the time. He went on to be elected as Greece’s prime minister in 2009. In February 2012, George Papandreou Junior spoke to Maria Margaronis about the night when tanks rolled through Athens and soldiers came to arrest his father. Archive audio is used by permission of ERT, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation.Archival audio used by permission of ERT, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation.(Photo: The younger George Papandreou in 2011. Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
06/12/23·8m 59s

Thousands of Danish brains in plastic buckets

In 1945, two Danish scientists opened an institute to study mental illnesses. In the four decades until it closed, almost 10,000 brains were collected from dead psychiatric patients and stored in plastic buckets. However, they were removed during autopsies without seeking permission from relatives. Following much debate in the 1990s, it was decided they should be used for research. Now based in the University of Southern Denmark, the collection is believed to be the world’s largest brain bank. Scientists hope it can help our understanding of mental illness and brain disease. Adrienne Murray speaks to pathologist and caretaker of the brains, Martin Wirenfeldt Nielsen. (Photo: Brains stored in plastic buckets at the University of Southern Denmark. Credit: BBC)
05/12/23·9m 10s

La Haine: The film that shocked France

In 1993, film director Mathieu Kassovitz started work on what would become a cult cinema classic, La Haine.La Haine would follow three friends from a poor immigrant neighbourhood in the Paris suburbs 24 hours after a riot. The film was released in 1995 to huge critical acclaim and Mathieu won best director at the Cannes Film Festival. It was heavily critical of policing in France and it caught the attention of high profile politicians in the country, including then Prime Minister, Alain Juppé.Thirty years on, Mathieu has been sharing his memories of that time with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Vincent Cassel "Vinz" in La Haine. Credit: Studio Canal+)
04/12/23·9m 0s

World's first solar-heated home

In December 1948, a family of Hungarian refugees moved into the world's first home to be heated entirely by solar power.What made the Dover Sun House, in Massachusetts, United States, even more special was that it had been created by three women at a time when men dominated the fields of science and engineering.Heiress Amelia Peabody funded it, architect Eleanor Raymond designed it and biophysicist Maria Telkes created the heating system. Andrew Nemethy, who grew up in the house, tells Vicky Farncombe how it felt to live in an "elongated cheese wedge".This programme has been updated since its original broadcast. It was edited on 6 December 2023.(Photo: The Dover Sun House. Credit: Getty Images)
01/12/23·10m 8s

Tanzania adopts Swahili to unite the country

After Tanzania, then called Tanganyika, became independent from Britain in 1961, the country's leader, Julius Nyerere, made Swahili the national language to unite its people.Walter Bgoya tells Ben Henderson about his conversations with Nyerere and how the policy changed Tanzania.(Photo: Julius Nyerere. Credit: Keystone via Getty Images)
30/11/23·10m 2s

Cameroon’s mysterious lake deaths

On 21 August 1986, hundreds of villagers in a remote part of Cameroon mysteriously died overnight, along with 3,500 livestock.In the weeks-long investigation that followed, scientists tried to work out what had happened. How had hundreds died, but hundreds of others survived?In 2011, scientists Peter Baxter and George Kling told Tim Mansel how they cracked the case.(Photo: Dead cattle by the shore of Lake Nyos, Cameroon. Credit: Eric Bouvet/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)
29/11/23·8m 58s

The bird that defied extinction

In 1969, a Peruvian farmer called Gustavo Del Solar received an unusual assignment - finding a bird called the white-winged guan that had been regarded as extinct for a century.After years of searching, he found the bird deep in Peru’s wilderness in 1977. He then made it his life’s mission to save the species, setting up a zoo in his family home.Thanks to Gustavo's discovery, the Peruvian government protected the white-winged guan and its population continued to grow. His son, Rafael Del Solar, tells Ben Henderson about his dad's love for the 'chicken-sized' birds.(Photo: Gustavo Del Solar with a white-winged guan. Credit: Rafael Del Solar/El Comercio)
28/11/23·9m 57s

Cabbage Patch Kids

In 1983, all hell broke loose when a new toy hit stores in the United States. Cabbage Patch Kids were so popular that people were getting injured when they tried to buy them. But Martha Nelson Thomas, whose original design she said inspired the dolls, received little credit.She watched on as sales of the toys generated hundreds of millions of dollars.Martha’s close friend, Meredith Ludwig, told Madeleine Drury the story of how the strange-looking dolls became such a sensation.This programme has been updated since it was first broadcast.(Photo: Martha Nelson Thomas with her doll babies. Credit: Guy Mendes)
27/11/23·9m 6s

The Mumbai attacks

On 26 November 2008, 10 gunmen from the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba carried out coordinated attacks on Mumbai's busiest hotspots including the Taj and Oberoi hotels, a train station, hospital, and Jewish community centre. One hundred and sixty-six people were murdered in the attacks, which lasted for three days. The city was locked down as police searched for the gunmen. Only one, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was captured alive by police. He was sentenced to death and executed in 2012. Dan Hardoon speaks to Devika Rotawan and Arun Jadhav, who came face to face with the militants. (Photo: Buildings under attack. Credit:Getty Images)
24/11/23·8m 59s

The Paris heatwave

In August 2003 Europe was hit by the hottest heatwave for hundreds of years. Tens of thousands of people died. Not built to withstand two weeks of extreme heat, Paris turned into a death trap for its most vulnerable citizens. The temperature reached 40C. Many elderly people died in their apartments alone. The government was criticised for its handling of the crisis. The head of the national health authority resigned shortly after the end of the heatwave. Emergency doctor, Patrick Pelloux, who was working at St Antoine Hospital in Paris, tells George Crafer what he encountered.(Photo: Paris looking hot. Credit: Getty Images)
23/11/23·9m 52s

Kennedy’s nail-biter election victory

On 22 November 1963, United States President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.Lucy Williamson looks back to 8 November 1960, when Richard Nixon and JFK went toe to toe at the polls in a battle to become the next president. The narrow success made Kennedy the youngest man ever elected to the role.Close aide and speechwriter Ted Sorensen was with the politician on the night of the election. This programme was first broadcast in 2010.(Photo: US President-elect John F Kennedy shortly after his election in 1960. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
22/11/23·9m 14s

The invention of bubble tea

In 1987, a tea shop in Taiwan named Chun Shui Tang began selling pearl milk tea, or bubble tea, as it’s often called. It would revolutionise the tea-drinking world. Ben Henderson speaks to Liu Han-Chieh, the shop owner, and Lin Xiuhu, who first added the drink’s signature tapioca balls.(Photo: Bubble tea. Credit: Chun Shui Tang)
21/11/23·10m 4s

The independence of Zambia

In 1964, Zambia became a republic. It was the ninth African state to leave British colonial rule.Simon Kapwepwe was one of the leaders in the fight for independence, along with his childhood friend Kenneth Kaunda, who became President in 1964.Simon’s daughter, Mulenga Kapwepwe, speaks to Laura Jones about her father’s role in naming the country and her memories of that time.(Photo: Sign welcoming people to Zambia in 1965. Credit: Lambert/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
20/11/23·10m 1s

Discovering the ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion

In 2000, the pioneering underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio made one of the greatest ever submerged discoveries.He found evidence that the remains he had found off the coast of Egypt were from Thonis-Heracleion, an ancient Egyptian port lost without trace.Before the foundation of Alexandria, it had flourished at the mouth of the Nile between the 6th to 2nd centuries BC, a city twice the size of Pompeii.He tells Josephine McDermott about the incredible artefacts he has found including the moment he realised he was at the foot of a five-metre tall statue of a pharaoh.(Photo: The pharaoh statue discovered off the coast of Egypt. Credit: Christoph Gerigk, Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation)
17/11/23·10m 1s

The Bolivian Water War

The Bolivian Water War was a series of protests that took place in the city of Cochabamba in 2000 against the privatisation of water. People objected to the increase in water rates and idea that the government was “leasing the rain”.In April 2000, President Hugo Banzer declared a "state of siege" meaning curfews were imposed and protest leaders could be arrested without warrant.During a violent clash between demonstrators and the military, teenager Victor Hugo was shot dead by an army captain.Union official Oscar Olivera tells Vicky Farncombe how Hugo’s death motivated the protesters and brought about an end to the privatisation.(Photo: Demonstrators wave the Bolivian flag as they participate in a strike against water utility rate increases. Credit: Reuters)
16/11/23·9m 9s

Rosalind Franklin: DNA pioneer

In 1951, Rosalind Franklin began one of the key scientific investigations of the century. The young British scientist produced an X-ray photograph that helped show the structure of DNA, the molecule that holds the genetic code that underpins all life. The discovery was integral to the transformation of modern medicine and has been described as one of the greatest scientific achievements ever. Farhana Haider spoke to Rosalind's younger sister, Jenifer Glynn, in 2017. (Photo: Dr Rosalind Franklin. Credit: Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images)
15/11/23·9m 11s

Eyjafjallajökull: The volcano that stopped a continent

In 2010, a previously little-known Icelandic volcano erupted twice, sending a huge plume of volcanic ash all over Europe. The ash cloud grounded flights for days, causing disruption for millions of passengers. Reena Stanton-Sharma talks to Icelandic geophysicist and Eyjafjallajökull-watcher, Sigrun Hreinsdottir. This programme was first broadcast in 2022. (Photo: The awesome power of Eyjafjallajökull. Credit: Getty Images)
14/11/23·9m 8s

The invention of the EpiPen

In the 1970s, engineer Sheldon Kaplan and his colleagues were tasked with creating an auto-injector pen to be used by US soldiers needing a nerve agent antidote.The Pentagon called it the ComboPen but, in 1987, it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the EpiPen, for patients with allergies.The device is carried by millions of people all over the world as it can quickly and easily deliver a shot of adrenaline to anyone at risk of death from anaphylactic shock.Sheldon Kaplan died in 2009 and was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2016.Sheldon’s son Michael Kaplan and colleague Michael Mesa tell Vicky Farncombe the story behind the pen.
13/11/23·10m 6s

The hippo and the tortoise

Following the devastating tsunami of 2004, a baby hippo named Owen was rescued from the sea off the coast of Kenya.He was taken to Haller Park in Mombasa, home of a 130-year-old giant tortoise called Mzee.Owen and Mzee formed an unusual friendship and their story gained worldwide fame.Dr Paula Kahumbu tells their story to Gill Kearsley. (Photo: Owen and Mzee. Credit: Peter Greste/AFP/Getty Images)
10/11/23·9m 21s

Destruction of Mostar Bridge

On 9 November 1993, one of Bosnia's most famous landmarks, the historic bridge in Mostar, was destroyed by Croat guns during the Bosnian war. Built by the Ottomans in the 16th Century, the bridge was a symbol of Bosnia's multicultural past. In 2014, Louise Hidalgo spoke to Eldin Palata, who filmed the destruction of the bridge, and Mirsad Behram, a local journalist.(Photo: A temporary bridge where Mostar's historic bridge previously stood. Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Liaison via Getty Images)
09/11/23·9m 8s

The Pakistani teens who became disco superstars

In the 1980s, a brother and sister from Pakistan topped the charts in countries all over the world with their dancefloor filler, Disco Deewane.Nazia and Zoheb Hassan were the first teenagers ever to make a hit record in India.Zoheb tells Vicky Farncombe about their rise to fame.(Photo: Nazia and Zoheb Hassan. Credit: BBC)
08/11/23·10m 4s

Debbie McGee in Iran

In 1978, British showbusiness star, Debbie McGee was a dancer with the Iranian National Ballet Company.Debbie was living in the capital, Tehran, at the start of the Iranian revolution. She tells Gill Kearsley the story of how she dealt with the unrest and escaped the country.Debbie, who went on to marry British magician Paul Daniels, said: "I would never have met my late husband if that hadn't happened... so I've got the ayatollah to thank for that."(Photo: Debbie McGee in 2018. Credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Old Vic Theatre)
07/11/23·10m 10s

Ycuá Bolaños supermarket fire

In August 2004, more than 300 people died when a supermarket caught fire in Paraguay's capital, Asunción.It is seen as the country's worst peacetime disaster.Tatiana Gabaglio escaped the fire. She speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Mourners gathering after the Ycuá Bolaños fire. Credit: Norberto Duarte/AFP via Getty Images)
06/11/23·9m 58s

Freddie Mercury 'marries' Jane Seymour

On 5 November, 1985 some of the world's top designers and music stars joined together in a special event at London’s Royal Albert Hall to raise money for drought-hit Ethiopia.The rock star Freddie Mercury and the actress Jane Seymour were chosen to model the bridal collection of David and Elizabeth Emanuel.Jane Seymour tells Josephine McDermott what it was like to play the role of Freddie Mercury's bride for a fashion spectacular.(Photo: Jane Seymour and Freddie Mercury at Fashion Aid. Credit: Getty Images)
03/11/23·11m 34s

Che Guevara’s daughter: A Cuban doctor in Angola

In 1986 Dr Aleida Guevara, the daughter of revolutionary icon Che Guevara, went to Angola to work as a paediatrician.Dr Aleida was one of a number of medics Fidel Castro’s Cuban government sent to their fellow communist country in southern Africa as it emerged from Portuguese colonialism into civil war.Marcia Veiga hears how Dr Aleida treated children with cholera in a hospital in the Angolan capital Luanda.Dr Aleida also reveals how, during downtime from working as Cuba’s minister of industries, her tired father played with her by carrying her on his back as if he were a horse.The music for this programme is from Dadifox and Receba.(Photo: Dr Aleida Guevara with a patient at Luanda’s Josina Machel Hospital. Credit: Dr Aleida Guevara)
02/11/23·9m 53s

Inventing the black box

On 23 March 1962, a prototype of the first cockpit flight recorder, the black box, was tested in Australia. In the early 1950s, fuel scientist David Warren, who worked in the Australian government’s aeronautical research laboratories, attended a talk about the reasons for a recent plane crash. David thought that if only he could speak to a survivor, he’d have a much better idea of what caused the crash and could prevent future ones. This led him to develop a recorder that would collect vital information of the last few hours before a plane goes down. Today the modern equivalent of the black box is compulsory equipment on passenger planes all over the world. In 2015, David’s children, Jenny and Peter Warren, and a former colleague, Bill Schofield, spoke with Catherine Davis about how his idea changed air travel forever. (Photo: The flight data recorder known as a black box used in aircraft. Credit: Getty Images)
01/11/23·10m 18s

The discovery of the HIV virus

In 1983, scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris became the first to identify the HIV virus. It was a vital step in fighting one of the worst epidemics in modern history, AIDS.The Pasteur had been asked to investigate after reports of a mystery disease that was spreading rapidly, particularly among the gay community.Two weeks later, scientist Françoise Barré-Sinoussi detected the virus while working on a biopsy sample in the laboratory. She and the team leader, Luc Montagnier were later awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.But the discovery could easily have been missed, as she tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: French virologists Jean-Claude Chermann, Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier. Credit: Michel Philippot/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
31/10/23·10m 10s

The billion dollar bid to stop oil drilling in the Amazon

In 2010, a $3.6billion fund was launched to stop oil drilling in the most biodiverse place on the planet: the Yasuni national park in Ecuador.The Yasuni covers 10,000 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest and is home to thousands of species of plants and animals but underneath the soil lies another important resource - 20% of Ecuador’s oil reserves. It was feared that any drilling would cause pollution, deforestation and soil erosion so in a pioneering deal – known as the Yasuni ITT iniatitive - rich nations were asked to pay Ecuador not to remove the oil. Chief negotiator Ivonne A-Baki was put in charge of raising funds from around the globe but securing money was not an easy task, as she tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: A brown woolly monkey in the Yasuni National Park. Credit: Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP via Getty Images)
30/10/23·10m 8s

Turkey: Gezi Park protests

In 2013, environmental protests in Gezi Park, Istanbul led to civil unrest across Turkey.For one protestor, a post he made on social media led to a dramatic outcome.Memet Ali Alabora, was an activist and a famous actor in Turkey. He tells his story to Gill Kearsley.(Photo: Protestors construct a barricade in Istanbul. Credit: Ayman Oghanna/Getty Images)
27/10/23·9m 11s

'The streets of Harare were littered with money'

In November 2008, Johns Hopkins University calculated Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation rate as 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000% – one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in history.Professor Gift Mugano was a government economist at the time.He tells Vicky Farncombe what it was like to live through those times when wages were worthless and there was no food to buy in the shops.“It was a very painful period. It is a year which one would not want to remember,” he said.(Photo: Harare shoppers in an almost empty supermaket. Credit: Desmond Kwande/AFP via Getty Images)
26/10/23·9m 59s

The 1993 MAD hijack

On 25 October1993, a Nigerian Airways flight from Lagos to Abuja was hijacked by four teenagers calling themselves the Movement for the Advancement of Democracy (MAD). They demanded the removal of the military-backed government, who had annulled the results of that year's election. The plane was forced to land in Niger and later stormed after a protracted hostage crisis.Obed Taseobi was a passenger on the flight. He tells his story to Jill Achineku.A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Picture: Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. Credit: Getty Images)
25/10/23·9m 14s

The 1980 Turkey coup

On 12 September 1980, the army took control in Turkey. It was not the first time they had done so. It was the third coup d'état in the history of the Republic of Turkey, the previous having been in 1960 and 1971. The coup followed growing street fighting between left and right-wing groups. Politicians were arrested and parliament, political parties and trade unions were dissolved. Following the coup at least 50 people were executed and around half a million were detained. Many were tortured and hundreds died in custody. In 2011 Jonathan Head spoke to Vice Admiral Isik Biren, who was an official in the defence ministry, and a former student activist, Murat Celikkan, about their different memories of that time. (Photo: Portraits of people killed or tortured during the coup displayed in a courthouse in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Credit: Adem Atlan/ Getty Images)
24/10/23·9m 1s

The first Bosphorus Bridge

In 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge was completed connecting Europe and Asia.The suspension bridge was the first of three spanning the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey. Wayne Wright speaks to Harvey Binnie who was an important member of the design team. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service. (Photo: The Bosphorus Bridge. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
23/10/23·9m 1s

Osmondmania

On 21 October 1973, American heartthrobs The Osmonds were met by hysterical crowds when their plane landed at London's Heathrow Airport. A surge by some of the 10,000 fans caused a viewing balcony to collapse. Eighteen people were injured. Four fans were treated in hospital. The term "Osmondmania" was used across the newspapers.Donny Osmond shares his memories of it with Josephine McDermott.(Photo: Fans wait for The Osmonds on the viewing balcony at Heathrow Airport before the collapse)
20/10/23·9m 4s

Launching Lagos Fashion Week

In 2011, models, stylists and fashionistas gathered for Lagos Fashion Week’s debut which would put Nigerian style on the global map. Omoyemi Akerele founded the event which helped to launch the careers of designers internationally. The annual event has become a major fashion occasion attracting Africa's biggest celebs and collections are sent around the world. Omoyemi Akerele speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma.(Photo: A model prepares backstage at Lagos Fashion Week in 2013. Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson)
19/10/23·10m 1s

Mexico’s murdered women

In 1993 young women began disappearing in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez. Hundreds were reported to have been kidnapped and killed. Some of the first victims weren’t discovered until nearly 10 years later. In 2013, Mike Lanchin spoke to Oscar Maynez, a forensic scientist who used to work in the city and to Paula Flores, the mother of one of the murdered girls.(Photo: Wooden crosses in a Mexican wasteland. Credit: Jorge Uzon/Getty Images)
18/10/23·8m 49s

Rana Plaza building collapse

In April 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, collapsed. More than 1,000 people died and many others were injured. The building contained five garment factories which manufactured clothes for well-known international brands. It was the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh's history. Parul Akhter, a sewing machinist who survived the collapse, talks to Dan Hardoon. (Photo: An injured victim of the Rana Plaza disaster at the site. Credit: Getty Images)
17/10/23·9m 13s

Cambodian peace walk

In 1992, the first peace walk was held in Cambodia aimed at uniting a country torn apart by years of conflict. Buddhist monks, Cambodian refugees and aid workers set out on the 415 km journey which became known as the Dhammayietra – or the pilgrimage of truth.The hope was to reunite Cambodian refugees who had fled into Thailand during Pol Pot’s brutal Marxist rule, with those people still living within Cambodia.Distrust and fear had built up on both sides but that began to melt away during the 30-day trek, as organiser Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Dhammayietra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Credit: Romeo Gacad/AFP via Getty Images)
16/10/23·10m 5s

Surviving an acid attack and changing the law

In 2013, India's Supreme Court made a landmark ruling aimed at transforming the lives of acid attack survivors.It followed a campaign led by Laxmi Agarwal, who at the age of 15 was burned by acid thrown over her body. The attack changed Laxmi’s life and scarred her face. In 2006, she took legal action demanding a ban on the sale of acid and more help for survivors. But it took seven years of campaigning before the court made a ruling, as Laxmi tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Laxmi Agarwal. Credit: Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
13/10/23·10m 9s

Kwame Nkrumah: Ousted from power

In February 1966, Kwame Nkrumah, one of Africa's most famous leaders, was ousted from power in Ghana.While he was out of the country, the Ghanaian military and police seized power in a coup. Ghanaian film maker Chris Hesse worked closely with Nkrumah and was with him at the time. In 2021, Chris spoke to Alex Last about his memories of the coup and his friendship with the man who led Ghana to independence.(Photo: Kwame Nkrumah after Ghana's independence from Britain. Credit: Bettman, Getty Images)
12/10/23·10m 13s

Theodosia Okoh: Designer of Ghana’s flag

In March 1957, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence and a new flag was unveiled marking a fresh start for the former British colony known as the Gold Coast. The woman behind the design was Theodosia Okoh, an artist and former teacher who won a government competition for a new emblem which would signify the end of British rule.Her flag had red, gold and green horizontal stripes with a black star in the centre and it replaced the symbol of an elephant encircled in front of a palm tree below the Union Jack.Theodosia’s son Kwasi Okoh was a young boy at the time of independence, he speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma about the inspiration behind his mother's creation.(Photo: Ghanaian football fans with the flag at the 2006 World Cup. Credit Joerg Koch/DDP/AFP via Getty Images)
11/10/23·10m 3s

The 84-year-old primary school pupil

In 2004, Kimani Maruge became the oldest man to start primary school when he enrolled at the Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Kenya. The 84-year-old student was a former soldier who had fought against colonial rule in the Mau Mau independence movement. He missed out on school as a child so when the Kenyan government scrapped all fees for state primary education, he saw his chance to finally learn to read and write. Kimani's former teacher Jane Obinchu tells Vicky Farncombe how his story inspired people all over the world.(Photo: Kimani Maruge attends class at Kapkenduiywo Primary School in Kenya. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)
10/10/23·10m 6s

Yinka Shonibare: Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

On 24 May 2010, artist Yinka Shonibare unveiled Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, on the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.The piece was the world’s largest ship in a bottle, but it wasn’t just any vessel.It was a replica of HMS Victory, commanded by Admiral Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar, except Yinka had made an eye-catching change. The ship’s plain sails had been replaced with colourful Dutch wax sails. Dutch wax is a fabric typically sold in West Africa.Yinka’s work captivated crowds and left people wondering what it meant.“Some people were like ‘oh great we are celebrating Britishness. Fantastic’, and then some other groups said ‘Oh this is a critique of Britain. Fantastic’. I love it when the work does that!”, says Yinka. He tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty how his artwork was created and what it means to him.
09/10/23·9m 56s

Protectors of the Amazon

In 2003, an oil company entered the indigenous Sarayaku community’s territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon in search of oil. Neither the government nor the firm had consulted the community beforehand.The locals responded by filing a lawsuit against the company. The ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights would go onto become an important case for indigenous communities all over the world. Former Sarayaku president Jose Gualing and community leader Ena Santi recall the landmark case.A Munck Studios production for BBC World Service presented by Isak Rautio.(Photo: Ecuadorian rainforest. Credit: Fabio Cuttica/Reuters)
06/10/23·9m 3s

The Amoco Cadiz oil spill

In 1978, the Amoco Cadiz tanker ran aground off the coast of France.The supertanker split, releasing more than 220,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. It was the largest oil spill caused by a tanker at the time. Marguerite Lamour is the former secretary to Alphonse Arzel, the mayor of Ploudalmézeau in Brittany. He played a crucial role in the region's campaign for compensation. Marguerite shares her experiences in this programme presented by Esther Egbeyemi. (Photo: The Amoco Cadiz shipwreck. Credit: Pierre Vauthey/Getty Images)
05/10/23·9m 53s

Nigeria strikes oil

In 1956 commercial quantities of oil were discovered in the Nigerian village Oloibiri.It marked the start of a huge oil industry for Nigeria but came at a cost for villages in the Niger Delta.Chief Sunday Inengite was 19-years-old when prospectors first came to his village in search of crude oil.In 2018 he spoke to Alex Last about the impact of the discovery.(Photo: An oil worker at an oil well in Nigeria. Credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
04/10/23·8m 28s

The oilfield that changed Kazakhstan

In the wake of the USSR breaking up, Kazakhstan was wrestling with the challenges of independence; hyperinflation, the economy collapsing and food shortages.But three-and-a-half kilometres underground on the north-east shore of the Caspian Sea, a giant financial opportunity was lying dormant – The Tengiz Oil Field. Less than two years after gaining sovereignty, the government signed the “deal of the century”. The state partnered with American company Chevron and started drilling to access the estimated 25 billion barrels of oil in the ground.Tengiz is the sixth largest oilfield in the world, and its resources would change Kazakhstan from a fledgling state, to one of the largest oil producers in the world.Johnny I’Anson speaks to Bruce Pannier, a news correspondent in Central Asia for over 30 years, who saw first-hand the chaos of independence and the growth of wealth in the country.(Picture: Tengiz Oil Field. Credit: Getty Images)
03/10/23·9m 40s

The oil crisis of 1973

In October 1973, Arab nations protested the American support of Israel in its war against Egypt and Syria by slashing oil production, causing prices to sky rocket.Dr Fadhil Chalabi was deputy secretary general of Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). In 2014 he spoke to Alex Last about the embargo. (Picture: Empty gas pump in 1973. Credit:Getty Images)
02/10/23·8m 57s

The first cat cafe

The world's first cat cafe opened in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. It started with just five street cats.For the first few months they hardly had any visitors. Then a film crew made a TV programme about the cafe, and it eventually became a global tourist destination. Cat cafes have become a worldwide phenomenon.Tracy Chang, founder and owner, tells her story to Gill Kearsley.(Photo: Inside the first cat cafe. Credit: Tracy Chang)
29/09/23·10m 10s

The Lampedusa shipwreck tragedy

On 3 October 2013, a fishing boat taking more than 500 migrants from Libya sank 800 metres off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island.It was one of the worst migrant shipwrecks on the Mediterranean Sea. As it happened so close to the shore, hundreds of dead bodies were recovered and their coffins were put on show for the world to see.The tragedy led to a joint European effort to tackle the migrant crisis, but the numbers embarking on the journey, and dying, continued to rise.One of the survivors, Ambesager Araya, and the man who rescued him, Vito Fiorino, speak with George Crafer.(Photo: Vito Fiorino and Ambesager Araya. Credit: Vito Fiorino)
28/09/23·9m 35s

Kassandra: The peacekeeping telenovela in Bosnia

In the early 1990s, the soap opera or telenovela craze was sweeping the world. One of the most popular was Kassandra made in Venezuela, about a girl switched at birth and raised in a travelling circus. The show was broadcast all over the world, including Bosnia. In 1997, ravaged by war, people found escape in the make-believe world of Kassandra. When supporters of Washington-backed president Billiana Plavšić took over a local TV station and turned the show off, there was outrage. The United States State Department was so worried that the loss of Kassandra could hurt Plavšić's popularity and even undermine her government, they hatched a plan to get it back on the air. Johnny I’Anson speaks to the star of Kassandra, Coraima Torres, along with Tony Paez who distributed the show across the world.(Photo: Coraima Torres and Osvaldo Ríos. Credit: Circulo Rojo)
27/09/23·10m 8s

Concorde's first flight

On 26 September 1973, Concorde, the supersonic passenger aircraft, made her first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. The droopy-nosed plane took to the skies for the first time four years earlier. Some campaigners believed that the speed of the aircraft might damage buildings.In 2012 André Turcat, the French pilot of Concorde's first flight, spoke to Mike Lanchin.(Photo: Concorde. Credit: Getty Images)
26/09/23·8m 57s

Vietnam War: Stopping nuclear disaster

In 1975, during the final days of the Vietnam War, most of the world was unaware that the North Vietnamese were advancing a new breed of nuclear reactor, gifted to the South by the United States government.Not only was it technology the North's Russian allies did not yet have, it was also a source of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.As a last resort, the US discussed bombing the facility, risking nuclear fallout, rather than risk the technology falling into Soviet hands.To avoid humanitarian and environmental disaster, a physicist from Idaho in the US, called Wally Hendrickson, volunteered to be dropped into the front line to remove the fuel rods from the reactor.He speaks to Ramita Navai. A Two Degrees West production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Dalat nuclear institute. Credit: Diane Selwyn)
25/09/23·12m 0s

The year of the vuvuzela

The vuvuzela was notorious during the 2010 football World Cup.It became the subject of debate when it was labelled as 'the world's most annoying instrument'. Freddie 'Saddam' Maake claims to have invented the horn.He became known as 'Mr Vuvuzela'. He tells Gill Kearsley his story.(Photo: Football fans play vuvuzelas during a World Cup match in 2010. Credit: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images)
22/09/23·10m 14s

Kenya: Nairobi shopping mall attack

In 2013, gunmen from a Somali Islamist group known as Al-Shabab attacked a shopping centre in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. They took hundreds of people hostage during the siege which lasted four days. More than 60 people were killed, with many more injured. In 2021, Rebecca Kesby spoke to Daniel Ouma who was a paramedic on duty at the time.(Photo: A Kenyan police officer deployed near the Westgate mall. Credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
21/09/23·8m 59s

The first person inside the 'Gates of Hell'

In November 2013 George Kourounis arrived in the Turkmenistan desert.He was determined to become the first person to enter the Darvaza Crater.The crater is a burning natural gas field that has been on fire for at least 50 years and has become known as the 'Gates of Hell.'On 6 November, George put on a giant silver aluminium suit and began his descent into the crater.He says he felt like a giant baked potato!George shares memories of the adventure with Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty.(Photo: George Kourounis in the Darvaza Crater. Credit: George Kourounis)
20/09/23·9m 58s

Fighting for legal abortion in Italy

In 1978, campaigners won their long fight to legalise abortion in Italy. Emma Bonino and other members of the Radical Party went on hunger strike and were even jailed, after helping women access illegal abortions across the country. But they faced fierce opposition in the Catholic country, as the church was heavily integrated into Italian politics.Emma Bonino was so passionate about the cause that it led her to become a politician. She speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma about her role in the campaign. (Photo: Emma Bonino in 1976. Credit: Vittoriano Rastelli/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
19/09/23·9m 1s

Nazi eugenics

In July 1933, the new German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, passed 'The Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases'.It required the sterilisation of Germans with physical and mental disabilities. Helga Gross was one of those sterilised.Ben Henderson uncovers archive interviews from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, recorded in 2003.(Photo: Helga Gross as a child. Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
18/09/23·10m 1s

The Ramallah concert

In August 2005, an unusual orchestra performed an extraordinary concert in the city of Ramallah.The West-Eastern Divan orchestra was founded in 1999 by Israeli conductor, Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian literary critic and philosopher, Edward Said.Their belief was that music has the power to bring people together.Violinists, Tyme Khelefi and Daniel Cohen tell their stories to Gill Kearsley.(Photo: The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Credit: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images)
15/09/23·10m 6s

The siege at the Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is on the site believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.But in 2002, it was at the centre of one of the most dramatic sieges of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.For almost six weeks, Palestinian gunmen and civilians were holed up in the church.In 2015 Louise Hidalgo spoke to Father Amjad Sabbara, a Franciscan friar who lived in the compound, and to Carolyn Cole, an American photojournalist who managed to get inside the church in the last days of the siege.(Photo: Journalists stand behind barricades guarded by Israeli soldiers metres away from where Palestinians are holed up in the Church of the Nativity. Credit: Gali Tibbon/ AFP via Getty Images)
14/09/23·9m 55s

Ariel Sharon visits al-Aqsa

Rioting broke out in 2000 after the Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon made a controversial visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city.In 2012, Mike Lanchin spoke to an Israeli and a Palestinian who were there that day.(Photo: Ariel Sharon is flanked by security guards as he leaves the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Credit: AWAD AWAD/AFP via Getty Images)
13/09/23·10m 3s

Camp David Summit: How Middle East peace talks failed

In 2000, President Bill Clinton led a major effort to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The two sides were brought together at the leafy presidential retreat in Maryland. The Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, failed to reach any agreement and the summit ended in failure. In 2017, Farhana Haider spoke to senior American diplomatic interpreter and policy adviser, Gamal Helal, who attended the Camp David summit.(Photo: US President Bill Clinton with Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, at Camp David. Credit: Getty Images)
12/09/23·9m 55s

Oslo Peace Accords: The secret talks behind Middle East deal

In September 1993, a peace agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinians after months of secret negotiations.The historic handshake between Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin took place on the lawn of the White House.Mona Juul and her husband were part of the team that planned and orchestrated top-secret meetings that culminated in the signing of the Oslo Accords.She spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2010.(Photo: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signs the historic Oslo Accords looked on by (from left) Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, unidentified aide, US President Bill Clinton and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Credit: J David Ake/AFP via Getty Images)
11/09/23·9m 56s

Victor Jara: killed in Chile's coup

On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet deposed Chile's President Salvador Allende in a military coup.Thousands of people were tortured and killed in the months after the coup, including the folk singer Victor Jara. His widow, Joan Jara, spoke to Gideon Long in 2013.(Photo: Victor Jara. Credit: Gems/Redferns via Getty Images)
08/09/23·9m 7s

Organising Chile's 1973 military coup

On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet deposed Chile's democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, in a violent military coup.Hermógenes Pérez de Arce was a politician and helped organise the coup. He speaks to Jane Chambers.(Photo: Hermógenes Pérez de Arce. Credit: sourced)
07/09/23·10m 5s

Murder of Swedish politician Anna Lindh

In 2003, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death in a department store in the middle of Stockholm. The 46-year-old member of the ruling Social Democratic party, was tipped as successor to Swedish Prime Minister Göran Person, and an important international career was likely around the corner. Her murder caused national trauma in Sweden. Her press secretary and best friend, Eva Franchell, witnessed the murder. She speaks to Marie Fjellborg.An SMT production for BBC World Service, produced by Anna Iverson.(Photo: Anna Lindh in 2001. Credit: Getty Images)
06/09/23·9m 12s

Bi Kidude: Zanzibar's 'golden grandmother of music'

In the 1980s, Bi Kidude burst onto the international music scene, when she was in her 70s. She was one of the first women from Zanzibar to sing in public without wearing the veil, in the traditional Muslim country. She was born Fatuma binti Baraka, known as Bi Kidude or "little madame" in Swahili, and fondly referred to as the "golden grandmother of music". Maryam Hamdani was one of her oldest friends and helped launch Bi Kidude's career globally. Maryam spoke to Reena Stanton-Sharma about the charismatic musician who died in 2013.(Photo: Bi Kidude at the Sauti za Busara Music Festival. Credit: Mwanzo Millinga/AFP via Getty Images)
05/09/23·10m 1s

Arctic 30: Russian arrest of Greenpeace campaigners

On 14 September 2013, the Arctic Sunrise - a ship belonging to the environmental group Greenpeace - embarked on an Arctic expedition.Its aim was to disrupt the first day of drilling on a newly built oil rig. This would be the first to drill for Arctic oil - something that had only been made possible in recent years by melting ice in the region.Frank Hewetson, a Greenpeace campaigner, was on board. He tells the story of the protest and arrest of 30 people by the Russian authorities.A Falling Tree production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Sign asking for Frank Hewetson's release. Credit: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis via Getty Images)
04/09/23·9m 3s

Leaving China to study after the Cultural Revolution

Launched in 1966 by Communist leader Mao Zedong, the Cultural Revolution plunged China into a decade of chaos. The education of millions of young people was disrupted and China was cut off from the rest of the world. When students first started venturing out, it was still a country feeling the after effects of the Cultural Revolution. Farhana Haider spoke to writer Zha Jianying in 2021. She was one of the first batch of Chinese students to arrive in the USA in the early 1980s.(Photo: Zha Jianying. Credit: Simon Song/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)
01/09/23·10m 36s

Saving Guadalupe from goats

In 2000, an expedition to the Mexican island of Guadalupe launched a fight to save its ecosystem from being eaten by goats.Russian whalers had introduced the goats to the island in the 19th Century and the population exploded as they ate their way through Guadalupe’s plants, shrubs and trees.Several species of birds were already extinct when a group of scientists, from the San Diego Natural History Museum, visited to inspect the damage.Their expedition would begin the campaign to save the island’s wildlife from extinction, as Professor Exequiel Ezcurra tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Goats on Guadalupe Island. Credit: Northern Light Productions)
31/08/23·10m 9s

Egypt's Rabaa massacre

On 14 August 2013, Egypt's army killed hundreds of protestors in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. They were protesting against a military coup that had taken place a month earlier, in which the democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted.Sameh Elbarky was in the square that day. He speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: A poster of Egypt's ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, among debris in Rabaa Square. Credit: NurPhoto/Corbis via Getty Images)
30/08/23·10m 3s

North and South Korean leaders meet for the first time in decades

In June 2000, a historic meeting took place between South Korean president Kim Dae-jung and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il.This was the first inter-Korean summit since the Korean War, almost 50 years earlier.Professor Chung-in Moon from South Korea was a special delegate at the summit. He told Gill Kearsley about his experience in North Korea.(Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. Credit: Newsmakers)
29/08/23·10m 11s

The Bristol bus boycott

Sixty years ago, there was a boycott of local bus services in the English city of Bristol. The bus company had specified that it did not want to employ black bus drivers. The boycott ended on 28 August 1963 and the campaign helped to bring about Britain's first laws against racial discrimination.In 2013, Louise Hidalgo heard from Paul Stephenson and Roy Hackett, who died in 2022.This programme contains some racist language, used at the time.(Photo: Bus on Park Street in Bristol in the early 1960s. Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
28/08/23·9m 58s

Women invade Dublin's male-only swimming spot

The Forty Foot is a famous sea swimming spot in Ireland’s capital city of Dublin. For hundreds of years, only men had the privilege of bathing in its deep, icy waters – naked if they chose. That was until one day in the summer of 1974, when a group of women decided to plot an invasion. At a time when Irish women couldn’t even access contraception, why did this group of hardy feminists decide to fight this particular battle for equality? Rosie Blunt speaks to poet, writer, women’s rights activist, and swimmer Mary Dorcey.(Photo: Woman diving at the Forty Foot in 2019. Credit: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
25/08/23·10m 6s

Celtic Tiger: Ireland's 'ghost estates'

In 2006, Michele Burke and her fiancé William were looking forward to moving into their dream home in the picturesque town of Killaloe, in Ireland. But when Ireland's economic boom - known as the Celtic Tiger - ended and the global financial crisis of 2008 hit, construction on Michele and William's new house abruptly stopped. The couple were stuck paying a mortgage on a home they couldn't move into. They were not the only ones struggling. During the recession, there were more than 1,000 abandoned 'ghost estates' in Ireland. Michele tells Vicky Farncombe about her eight-year fight to move into her house.(Photo: Michele Burke outside her abandoned home in Killaloe in 2013. Credit: BBC)
24/08/23·10m 9s

The first Rose of Tralee

In 1959, Tralee, in Ireland, hosted a festival to promote the town and build Irish connections around the world. It became known as the Rose of Tralee and is now one of Ireland’s oldest and largest festivals, as well as one of the most watched TV programmes. Last year, more than 30 international ‘roses’ or contestants took part, including representatives from Toronto, Sydney and Dubai. Rachel Naylor speaks to the first woman to be crowned the Rose of Tralee, an unofficial ambassador of Ireland, Alice O’Sullivan, from Dublin.(Photo: Alice O'Sullivan at the Rose of Tralee in 1959. Credit: George Doyle, Paudi Cronin (Neustock Media). From Kerry County Museum’s photo library, created with support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through their 2020 Audience Engagement Fund)
23/08/23·9m 0s

How electricity came to rural Ireland

In May 1948, Canon John Hayes flicked a switch and brought electricity to the parish of Bansha, in Ireland. The village was the first in County Tipperary to be connected to the grid, under the Rural Electrification Scheme. The ambitious programme ran from 1946 to 1964 and saw 300,000 homes powered up. Vicky Farncombe produced this episode of Witness History using archives from Irish electricity board, the ESB.(Photo: Erecting electricity poles in rural Ireland. Credit: ESB Archives)
22/08/23·10m 4s

Easter Rising in Ireland

At Easter 1916, a small army of Irish rebels attempted to start a revolution against British rule.They held out for more than a week against a massive British military response.Simon Watts brings together eye-witness accounts of the Easter Rising.(Photo: Irish rebels lying in wait on a roof getting ready to fire during the Easter Rising. Credit: Mondadori via Getty Images)
21/08/23·10m 19s

The Wizard of Oz: The stolen ruby slippers

The ruby slippers from the 1939 movie 'The Wizard of Oz' are some of the most treasured film memorabilia of all time. There are thought to be four pairs from the film that have survived. This is the story of the slippers that were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, USA in 2005. John Kelsch is one of the people who started the museum. He tells Gill Kearsley the story of the stolen slippers.(Photo: Publicity still from 'The Wizard of Oz', Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
18/08/23·11m 2s

Judy Garland: The final shows

Judy Garland ended her long and glitzy stage and screen career at a London theatre club in January 1969. She was booked for five weeks of nightly shows at the 'Talk of the Town', but by that time, the former child star of the 'Wizard of Oz' was struggling with a drug and drink addiction. In 2019, Mike Lanchin heard the memories of Rosalyn Wilder, then a young production assistant, whose job was to try to get Judy Garland on stage each night.(Photo: Judy Garland performing in one of her final shows. Credit: Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
17/08/23·9m 58s

Returning Benin Bronzes

In 2004, a chance encounter in Nigeria led to the return of two of the country’s ancient artworks, the looted Benin Bronzes.The treasures were among thousands stolen from Benin City by the British Army in 1897, and acquired by museums around the world.More than a century later, Tim Awoyemi and Steve Dunstone were on a charity trip when they were approached by campaigners demanding the bronzes return. The two men vowed to help, but it took them 10 years before they were able to fulfil that promise, as Tim Awoyemi tells Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Benin Bronzes, Nigeria, 2014. Credit: Kelvin Ikpea/AFP via Getty Images)
16/08/23·10m 8s

Iran: How the prime minister was overthrown in 1953

The coup of 1953 changed the course of Iranian history. The USA - with British help - overthrew a nationalist prime minister and installed the Shah in power. In 2010, Alan Johnston heard archive recordings of the CIA officer who played a part and spoke to Hedayat Matine-Daftary, the grandson of Mohammed Mossadeq, the deposed prime minister.(Photo: crowds of people protest against the Iran coup in 1953. Credit: Getty Images)
15/08/23·9m 0s

The boy who discovered a new species of human ancestor

On 15 August 2008, nine-year-old Matt Berger tripped over a fossil that would lead to one of the most important discoveries in the history of human evolution.The young adventurer had been exploring the Cradle of Humankind, in South Africa, with his father Lee, a paleoanthropologist."I didn't really know what was happening. I was just there for fun. But my dad was so excited. So obviously that made me excited too," said Matt.The fossil turned out to be from a new species of hominid called Australopithecus sediba.Matt speaks to Vicky Farncombe about his memories of the day.(Photo: Matt Berger, son of Prof Lee Berger, found the fossil of a new hominid species that lived 1.95 million years ago. Credit: Foto24/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
14/08/23·10m 7s

Jean-Michel Basquiat bursts onto the New York art scene

In the early 1980s, the young black graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat took the New York art world by storm. Soon, his paintings were selling for huge sums of money, but he would die before the decade was out on the 12th August 1988.Tom Esslemont hears from Patti Astor who knew him in his heyday. This programme was first broadcast in 2014.(Photo: Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1985 Credit: Getty Images)
11/08/23·10m 57s

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's diamonds scandal

In 1979, French journalist Claude Angeli and his colleagues discovered Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the French President, received gifts of diamonds worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the grisly and deposed former Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Republic. The scandal damaged Giscard d’Estaing’s reputation and contributed to him losing the French Presidential election in 1981. Ben Henderson speaks to Claude Angeli.(Photo: Giscard d'Estaing and Bokassa in 1975. Credit: William Karel/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
10/08/23·10m 5s

Sarajevo’s haven of peace

After the collapse of former Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serb forces laid siege to the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, in 1992. More than a quarter of a million people lived under almost constant bombardment and sniper fire for more than four years. Over 10,000 were killed. Hunger and destitution took hold quickly. So, a small Jewish charity stepped in to provide essential food and medicine and evacuate elderly people and children from all sides of the conflict. In peace time, Sarajevo’s Jewish community had maintained good relations with Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats. This enabled them to provide a haven of peace for everyone. In this episode, Jacky Rowland hears from Jakob Finci, who was the vice president of the Jewish community at the time. Part of their motivation, he says, was that many Jews in Sarajevo had been sheltered by Bosnian Muslims during the Nazi occupation in the 1940s. This is a CTVC production for the BBC World Service.(Photo: members of the Jewish community being evacuated by bus to Croatia in 1993. Credit: Getty Images)
09/08/23·9m 56s

The Great Train Robbery

On 8 August 1963, a gang of thieves held up a British Royal Mail train on its journey from Glasgow to London. They stole more than £2 million. It was the biggest ever raid on a British train.Most of the robbers ended up behind bars, but most of the money has never been recovered.The robbery still occupies a unique place in the history of British crime. In 2012 Chloe Hadjimatheou spoke to Reginald Abbiss who was a young BBC journalist who covered the story.(Photo: The train involved in the robbery. Credit: Getty Images)
08/08/23·10m 10s

Brownie Wise: The creator of Tupperware parties

In the 1950s, self-made businesswoman Brownie Wise transformed the fortunes of Tupperware by inspiring thousands of housewives to sell it at parties.Her methods for motivating staff included selling the dress off her back and holding annual parties at the company's headquarters.But as she became a star - appearing on magazine covers and chat shows - Brownie's relationship with her boss, Earl Tupper, soured.Author Bob Kealing speaks to Vicky Farncombe about Brownie's rise and fall from grace.(Photo: Brownie Wise tosses a bowl filled with water at a Tupperware party. Credit: Getty Images)
07/08/23·9m 12s

Dinosaur in court

In 2012 a dinosaur skeleton became the subject of both a restraining order and a court case.Mongolian palaeontologist, Dr Bolortsetseg Minjin helped stop the dinosaur falling into the hands of a private buyer after spotting a photo of the skeleton on TV in the United States.The case became known as United States v One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton.She told Gill Kearsley her extraordinary story.(Photo: The 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar on display in Ulan Bator. Credit: Byambasuren Byamba-Ochir/AFP via Getty Images)
04/08/23·10m 0s

Treehouse on the Berlin Wall

In the 1980s, a Turkish worker in Germany, Osman Kahlin, provoked controversy when he turned a patch of disputed land against the Berlin Wall into a makeshift farm. The land was owned by East Germany, but lay on the Western side of the wall due to a quirk in the wall's hurried construction. Kahlin fought a running battle with both East and West German police to keep hold of the land, and kitted it out with a fully functioning treehouse that became a local symbol of resistance to authority. Alex Eccleston speaks to Osman's son, Mehmet. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Osman's treehouse. Credit: Schlemmer/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
03/08/23·9m 12s

Birth of a new language

In the early 1980s deaf children in Nicaragua invented a completely new sign language of their own.It was a remarkable achievement, which allowed experts a unique insight into how human communication develops.In 2020, Mike Lanchin spoke to an American linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, who documented this process.(Photo: Sign language class in Nicaragua. Credit: INTI OCON/AFP via Getty Images)
02/08/23·10m 3s

First dinosaur eggs identified in India

In 1982, nests of dinosaur eggs were identified for the first time in India. They were found in Jabalpur, on a historic fossil site and former British military cantonment. The eggs were from Titanosaurs, living at the end of the Cretaceous Period.Palaeontologist Professor Ashok Sahni made the discovery, he’s been speaking to Laura Jones.(Photo: Ashok Sahni at home with fossilised dinosaur eggs. Credit: BBC)
01/08/23·10m 4s

José Mujica: Prison break to president

In the 1960s and '70s, José Mujica was a leading member of a notorious left-wing militant group in Uruguay called the Tupamaros. He survived multiple bullet wounds, torture, and executed a daring prison escape. After years held in solitary confinement, Mujica was released from prison in 1985 and entered politics. He became Uruguay’s president in 2009. He speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: José Mujica at home in Montevideo. Credit: Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images)
31/07/23·8m 58s

Mr Bigg's: The birth of Nigeria's iconic takeaway

It’s been 50 years since a popular Nigerian fast food chain which later became known as Mr Bigg's was first launched. The restaurants began as coffee shops in department stores in the 1960s and were later rebranded in 1986. Mr Bigg's currently has more than 170 locations in 40 cities around Nigeria, and there were also restaurants in other African nations at one time. Justice Baidoo spoke to Emmanuel Osugo, one of the pioneers of the chain. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service. (Photo: A Mr Bigg's restaurant. Credit: Adebola Familusi)
28/07/23·9m 1s

The 1960 coup against Haile Selassie

In December 1960, there was an attempt to dethrone the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and replace him with his son. While the emperor was out of the country, the crown prince was taken to the headquarters of the military unit, the Imperial Bodyguard. The conspirators, led by the troops' commander and his brother, also took top government officials hostage. In 2015, Alex Last spoke to Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate, the grandnephew of Haile Selassie, about the failed coup.(Photo: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. Credit: Terry Fincher via Getty Images)
27/07/23·9m 0s

The Pope’s controversial Nicaragua visit

In 1983 Pope John Paul II visited Nicaragua as part of an eight-day tour of Central America. His trip came at a time of heightened tensions between the ruling Sandinista revolutionaries and the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy. The Pope, a staunch anti-communist, condemned members of the Nicaraguan clergy serving in the left-wing government and was heckled by Sandinista supporters during a large open-air mass in the capital, Managua. Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of Nicaraguan Carlos Pensque, who turned out to protest as the Pope passed by, and of former US Catholic News Service reporter, Nancy Frazier O’Brien, who covered the papal visit. A CTVC production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Pope John Paul II. Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images)
26/07/23·8m 58s

Brain: The first personal computer virus

'Welcome to the dungeon' was the message that flashed up on computer screens in 1986.This was thought to be the first virus for personal computers and became known as 'Brain'.'Brain' spread around the world and became infamous when it was featured in newspapers and magazines. Amjad Farooq Alvi tells Gill Kearsley how he and his brother, Basit, came to develop this accidental virus from their shop in Lahore, Pakistan.(Photo: The 'Brain' computer virus. Credit: Amjad and Basit Alvi)
25/07/23·10m 7s

Escaping the Nazis in Greece

The Greek city of Thessaloniki, or Salonica, was once known as the Jerusalem of the Balkans.It was previously home to a large and thriving Sephardi Jewish population whose ancestors had been expelled from Spain in 1492. However, the Nazi occupation of Greece from 1941 to 1944 almost completely wiped out that culture and community.More than 90% of the approximately 50,000 Jews living in Salonica in 1943 were deported to Auschwitz and killed. Yeti Mitrani was a young teenager at the time.She speaks to Maria Margaronis about her family's escape and her childhood.(Photo: Yeti as a child. Credit: Doris Mitrani)
24/07/23·8m 58s

The US singer who became the Soviet Union’s Red Elvis

In 1966, at the height of the Cold War, American singer Dean Reed became the first western rock and roll star to tour the Soviet Union. His visit was such a success that over the next two decades Dean became known as ‘Red Elvis’. His concerts behind the Iron Curtain were sell-outs and he was mobbed by fans. But when he wanted to return home to the United States, the reaction he faced was very different, as Dean’s daughter Ramona told Jane Wilkinson. (Photo: Dean Reed in East Berlin, 1976. Credit: Getty Images)
21/07/23·10m 13s

The birth of Barbie

The first Barbie doll was sold in 1959. It took Ruth Handler, who created it, years to convince her male colleagues that it would sell.The plastic creation sold 350,000 in the first year and went on to take the world by storm selling millions. It’s now been turned into a live action film starring Margot Robbie which hits the cinemas on Thursday 20 July. Ruth and husband Elliot Handler spoke to the BBC’s Alan Dein in a 1990s documentary which Claire Bowes used to make this programme first broadcast in 2014.(Photo: A Barbie doll from 2009. Credit: Victor Chavez/WireImage via Getty Images)
20/07/23·10m 5s

Japan surrenders in China

In the autumn of 1945, World War II surrender ceremonies took place across the Japanese Empire. The one in China was held at the Forbidden City in Beijing bringing an end to eight years of occupation. Thousands of people watched the incredible moment Japanese generals handed over their swords. The United States, China, Russia and the United Kingdom were all represented.John Stanfield, now 103, is the last surviving British person who was there. He recalls to Josephine McDermott how he signed the surrender declaration documents on behalf of the British.(Photo: Crowds gather in the Forbidden City to watch the Japanese surrender. Credit: John Stanfield, Bristol University's Historical Photographs of China)
19/07/23·10m 4s

The ‘Barricades’ of Latvia

In January 1991, more than half a million people protested in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. They wanted to stop Soviet troops taking over important landmarks, so they built barricades and camped out on the streets. Vents Krauklis was among the demonstrators. He’s been speaking to Laura Jones.(Photo: People filling the streets of Riga during the Barricades. Credit: 1991 Barricades Museum, Riga/Ilgvars Gradovskis)
18/07/23·10m 20s

Tamoxifen: Breast cancer ‘wonder drug’

The story of how tamoxifen went from a failed contraceptive pill, to being used to prevent and treat breast cancer around the world. It was the first ever targeted cancer drug. Laura Jones speaks to Professor V. Craig Jordan, who helped bring it to the world’s attention in the 1970s.
17/07/23·11m 14s

Creating the first emoji

In 1999, Japanese software developer Shigetaka Kurita created the first emoji. The umbrella was one of 176 original images, featuring weather, transport signs, numbers and emotions.He was inspired after noticing the popularity of a pager, aimed at teenagers, that used a heart symbol. The idea took off.Today, more than 10 billion emoji are sent by people across the world every day.Shigetaka told Jane Wilkinson of his pride in the creation.(Photo: Umbrella emoji, 1999. Credit: Copyrighted by NTT DOCOMO)
14/07/23·9m 12s

When disposable nappies were invented

In 1947, after the birth of her third child, Valerie Hunter Gordon, from Surrey, in England, decided she was sick of the drudgery of cloth nappies. She came up with a solution – a reusable outer garment, initially made out of parachute material, with a disposable, biodegradable pad inside. She named it the Paddi and once her friends saw it, they all wanted one, so she went into business. Rachel Naylor speaks to Nigel Hunter Gordon, Valerie’s son, who modelled them as a baby in the first adverts.(Photo: Nigel's younger sister Frances Hunter Gordon wearing one of the mums nappies. Credit. Frances Ross)
13/07/23·10m 3s

Inventing Rubik’s Cube

In 1974, a Hungarian architect, Ernő Rubik invented his very popular puzzle. Nearly 50 years later, more than 450 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold worldwide. In 2015, Ernő told Dina Newman how he came up with the idea and how it became a global phenomenon.(Photo: Rubik's Cube. Credit: BBC)
11/07/23·10m 17s

Invention of the ballpoint pen

In 1938, László Bíró, a Hungarian journalist, invented the ballpoint pen, because he was sick of smudging the ink from his fountain pen.Inspired by the rollers of the printing press at his newspaper, he came up with the idea for a small ball at the end of the pen, which would stop ink from leaking. Thanks to a chance meeting with the Argentine president Agustín Justo, László was invited to Argentina to manufacture his pen. They soon took off and now around 15 million of them are sold every day around the world. Rachel Naylor speaks to László’s daughter, Mariana Bíró.(Photo: Ballpoint pens. Credit: Bernard Annebicque/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
10/07/23·9m 11s

A right royal night out

The tale of an extraordinary night at a legendary British gay pub.Princess Diana, disguised as a man, along with star broadcaster Kenny Everett and Queen singer Freddie Mercury enjoyed a drink in London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern one night at the height of their fame in 1988. The veracity of the event has been questioned but Cleo Rocos, who co-starred with Kenny in his hit TV show, described the celebrity night out in her in her book The Power of Positive Drinking.Cleo tells her story to Alex Collins.(Photo: Kenny Everett and Cleo Rocos. Credit: Tom Wargacki/WireImage via Getty Images)
07/07/23·9m 0s

When tourism came to the Maldives

In 1972 the first tourists arrived in the Maldives.They stayed in humble lodgings in three houses, looked after by young Maldivians including Ahmed Naseem, Mohamed Umar Maniku and their friends.Perfect for sunbathing, swimming and fishing. Tourists loved it. Italian travel agent George Corbin promised to bring more travellers if they had a place to stay. On 3 October 1972, the first hotel resort called Kurumba opened, changing the islands forever. Now, more than 1.5 million visitors enjoy the Maldives every year.Ahmed Naseem, one of the pioneers of the industry, shares his memories with Nikola Bartosova.(Photo: Kurumba in the 1970s. Credit: Kurumba)
06/07/23·10m 7s

The National Health Service begins

On 5 July 1948, the UK’s National Health Service began as part of a series of reforms with the aim of supporting and protecting Britain's citizens from the “cradle to the grave”.The architect of the NHS was the health minister in the post-war Labour party government, Aneurin Bevan. The care was to be free for all and paid for by taxation. The birth of the NHS was not without controversy, the British Medical Association worried that doctors would be turned into civil servants.On the same day that the NHS was born, John Marks qualified as a doctor.Dr Marks spoke to Louise Hidalgo about the early days of the NHS in this programme first broadcast in 2009.(Photo: Prime Minister Aneurin Bevan meets staff at Park Hospital, Manchester on the opening day of the NHS Credit: Trafford Healthcare NHS/PA Wire)
05/07/23·9m 51s

Longest-serving democratically elected communist government

In 1977 what was to become the world’s longest-serving democratically elected communist government came to power in eastern India.Poverty and absolute rule by the central government led to West Bengal embracing a different political ideology to the rest of the country. Their rule lasted until 2011 when they were voted out. Communist Party of India (Marxist) official Mohammad Salim shares his memories of when his party came to power with Rumella Dasgupta.(Photo: Mohammed Salim. Credit: Biswarup Ganguly/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
04/07/23·10m 2s

The trial of John Demjanjuk

In 1986 a car factory worker from the United States was accused of being ‘Ivan the Terrible’, a notorious concentration camp guard at Treblinka during the Holocaust.John Demjanjuk was extradited from the United States to Israel. His trial became one of the most high profile cases in Israel’s history. He was convicted, then later acquitted and then re-convicted in a German court for having worked in a different camp, Sobibor. Lawyers for the defence, Yoram Sheftel, and prosecution, Eli Gabay, in the Israeli trial tell Dan Hardoon about the process of trying Demjanjuk, and the impact it made on their country’s society. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service. (Photo: John Demjanjuk in the Supreme Court of Israel. Credit: David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
03/07/23·8m 55s

I made Lady Gaga's meat dress

On 12 September 2010 Lady Gaga, won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year. She accepted the award in a dress made entirely out of beef. 13 years later Franc Fernandez, the man behind the meat dress, speaks to Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty about his memories of designing the fleshy frock. He says, pulling apart the flesh and stitching it back together, had "serial killer vibes"!(Photo: Lady Gaga in the meat dress. Credit: Getty Images)
30/06/23·10m 6s

The 'graveyard' for communist statues

The Hungarian city of Budapest's communist statue 'graveyard' opened on 29 June 1993. Statues representing communism were not destroyed, instead they were relocated to a specially designed park on the outskirts of the city.Laura Jones has been speaking to Judit Holp, who runs Memento Park.This programme has been updated since the original broadcast. In the original version, we said Budapest is in Eastern Europe. We should have said that it is in Central Europe.(Photo: Republic of Councils Monument in Memento Park Credit: Getty Images)
29/06/23·10m 14s

Sampoong department store disaster

On 29 June 1995, the Sampoong Department Store in Seoul, South Korea, collapsed due to structural failures.The disaster killed 502 people and injured more than 900. It provoked national outrage as the building's construction was riddled with corruption and malpractice.Sun Minh Lee was working at the shop that day. She speaks to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Sampoong Department Store after the collapse. Credit: Choo Youn-Kong/AFP/Getty Images)
28/06/23·9m 3s

First reports of Ebola

In 1976 in a small Belgian missionary hospital in a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then known as Zaire, people were dying from an unknown disease which caused a high temperature and vomiting. It was the first documented outbreak of Ebola the virus.About 300 people died. Dr Jean Jacques Mueyembe and Dr David Heymann worked to bring the outbreak under control. Claire Bowes spoke to them in this programme first broadcast in 2009.(Photo: Residents who were being examined during the Ebola outbreak in Zaire in 1976. Credit: Public domain/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
27/06/23·10m 30s

JFK’s Ich Bin Ein Berliner speech

United States President John F Kennedy gave a speech in Berlin at the height of the Cold War on 26 June 1963.It galvanised the world in support of West Berliners who had been isolated by the construction of the Berlin Wall. Tom Wills speaks to Gisela Morel-Tiemann, who attended the speech as a student. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Photo: John F Kennedy making his speech in Berlin. Credit: Lehnartz/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
26/06/23·10m 11s

My dad played golf on the moon

Alan Shepard played golf on the moon in 1971.He became the first and only person to enjoy the sport on the lunar surface.The astronaut golfer’s daughter Laura Shepard Churchley was inspired by her father’s big journeys and later travelled to space herself, although she didn’t pack golf clubs.Tricia Penrose hears Laura’s recollections of life with her father and his unique sporting space trip. A Moon Road production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Alan Shepard on the moon. Credit: NASA)
23/06/23·9m 58s

The Empire Windrush arrives

The Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in England on 22 June 1948 with 802 people on board from the Caribbean.The former passenger liner's arrival on that misty June day is now regarded as the symbolic starting point of a wave of Caribbean migration between 1948 and 1971 known as the "Windrush generation".Sam King was one of the passengers. He describes to Alan Johnston the conditions on board and the concerns people had about finding jobs in England. In this programme first broadcast in 2011, Sam also talks about what life was like in their adopted country once they arrived.(Photo: Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948. Credit: Daily Herald Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)
22/06/23·8m 58s

Anti-gay police raid at Tasty nightclub

In the early hours of 7 August 1994, police raided Tasty, a gay nightclub in downtown Melbourne, Australia. On the hunt for drugs they strip-searched more than 450 people in a raid that lasted hours. Many people felt what happened was homophobic and that the police had abused their powers. Some of those searched took legal action. Damages were awarded and years later Victoria Police gave a formal apology. Gary Singer who was in Tasty when the raid happened and was the organiser of the class-action lawsuit tells Alex Collins about how his night out on the town went from joy to despair once the police entered the club.(Photo: People being searched by police in Tasty)
21/06/23·9m 3s

The Somali pilot ordered to bomb his own country

At the end of May 1988, rebels from the Somali National Movement launched a series of lightning attacks on cities in northern Somalia - the area that today is the self-declared republic of Somaliland. The rebels were fighting against the military dictatorship of President Siad Barre. By the start of June, they had taken control of most of Hargeisa, the biggest city in the north. Government forces fell back to Hargeisa airport and other areas on the outskirts and were ordered to begin the indiscriminate bombardment of the city. At the time Ahmed Mohamed Hassan was a fighter pilot in the Somali air force. He now faced a choice: join other pilots in bombing the city or refuse and face the prospect of being shot. He’s been talking to Rob Walker. (Photo: Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in 2023. Credit: Ahmed Mohamed Hassan)
20/06/23·12m 17s

Uprising in East Germany

East German workers went on strike in protest at Soviet rule on 16 June 1953.Demonstrations spread throughout the country but were soon crushed by communist troops. Martial law followed. In 2011, Nina Robinson spoke to Helmut Strecker who was a 21-year-old student and the son of communist party supporters. Helmut was on the streets of East Berlin trying to persuade marchers to go home.(Photo: East Germany demonstrators march through Brandenburg Gate. Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images)
19/06/23·8m 53s

Ming Smith makes history at MoMA

In 1979, The Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) purchased photographs from an African-American woman for the first time in its history. Ming Smith was famous for capturing her subjects with slow shutter speeds and using oil paints to layer colour onto her black and white photos.She worked as a model in New York in the 1970s, while pursuing her passion for photography and was friends with Grace Jones.Ming took a powerful image of Grace performing at the iconic Studio 54 nightclub in 1978 after meeting her at an audition. Ming was also a backing dancer in Tina Turner’s music video for What’s Love Got to Do with It, where she captured Tina glancing away from the camera, in front of Brooklyn Bridge wearing a leather skirt, denim jacket and patent stilettos with huge spiky hair. Ming speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma about graduating with a degree in microbiology, modelling and struggling to make a living, and then becoming a famous photographer with a retrospective at MoMA in 2023. (Photo: Tina Turner, What’s Love Got to Do with It. Credit: Ming Smith)
16/06/23·10m 2s

Sir Don McCullin’s photo of a US marine

In 1968, British photographer Sir Don McCullin travelled to Vietnam for his second ever war assignment. His graphic photographs of the fighting made his reputation and influenced public opinion in the West.Sir Don produced some of his most powerful work during the visit including 'Shell-Shocked US Marine, The Battle of Hue'.The photograph shows an American soldier, gripping his rifle whilst the carnage of one of the war’s most intense battle surrounds him.Speaking to Louise Hidalgo in 2012, Sir Don describes how he took several frames of this man and how the soldier didn’t blink once. (Photo: Sir Don McCullin in front of his photographs including 'Shell-Shocked US Marine, The Battle of Hue'. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images)
15/06/23·9m 54s

Malick Sidibé: Mali’s star photographer

The Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé, is one of Africa’s most celebrated artists. His most famous photographs show black and white scenes of young people partying in the capital Bamako in the joyful, confident era after Mali’s independence from France in 1960. In the 1990s, a chance encounter with a French curator brought Sidibé’s work international acclaim. The wider world had been used to seeing a narrow range of images from Africa, so when Sidibé’s work went on show in Western galleries, audiences were stunned by the exuberant world they revealed. In 2022, Manthia Diawara, the Malian filmmaker and professor at New York University, who knew Malick when he was a roving nightlife photographer spoke, to Viv Jones.(Photo: Danser le Twist, 1963 by Malick Sidibé. Credit: Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris)
14/06/23·8m 58s

A Great Day in Harlem: The story behind the iconic jazz photo

It's 65 years since aspiring photographer Art Kane persuaded 58 of the biggest names in jazz, including Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to line up for a photo outside a townhouse in Harlem.The resulting photo officially called Harlem 58 became known as 'A Great Day in Harlem' and appeared in Esquire magazine's Golden Age of Jazz edition. But making it wasn't easy. Jonathan Kane, Art Kane's son, tells Vicky Farncombe the obstacles his late father had to overcome to create the iconic image.(Photo: Harlem 58. Credit: Art Kane)
13/06/23·10m 15s

Lee Miller in Hitler's bath

Vogue's war correspondent Lee Miller found herself in Adolf Hitler's Munich apartment when the news broke that he was dead.Earlier that day, she and fellow photographer David Scherman had witnessed the harrowing scenes at the liberated Dachau concentration camp. Lee Miller's son and biographer, Antony Penrose, explains to Josephine McDermott the significance of the photograph taken in the final days of World War II in Europe.(Photo: Lee Miller in Hitler's bathtub. Credit: David E. Scherman © Courtesy Lee Miller Archives)
12/06/23·9m 58s

1955 Le Mans disaster

On 11 June 1955, more than 80 people were killed and 100 injured at the Le Mans 24-hour race.A car driven by Pierre Levegh crashed into the crowd of around 300,000 causing the deaths. John Fitch was an American racing driver on the Mercedes team at the centre of the tragedy.After the crash, racing was banned in several countries. John Fitch spoke to Claire Bowes in 2010.(Photo: Crash at Le Mans. Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)
09/06/23·9m 2s

Last communist march before Hitler

On 25 January 1933 the last legal communist march was held in Berlin.Just a few days later Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.Soon the Communist Party was banned and the Nazi grip on power was complete.Eric Hobsbawm was a schoolboy communist at the time. He spoke to Andrew Whitehead in 2012.(Photo: Communist rally 1932. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
08/06/23·8m 55s

Facial reconstruction: From mummy to murder

In 1975, British forensic artist Richard Neave used a pile of modelling clay, two prosthetic eyes and a woman’s wig to reconstruct the face of an Egyptian mummy. It was to be the start of a 40-year career recreating the faces of the dead using the pioneering ‘Manchester technique’ that he invented. And as his reputation spread worldwide, the police came calling. They needed Richard’s skills to help catch a killer, as he told Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Richard Neave in 2012. Credit: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)
06/06/23·9m 17s

Inuit children taken from families

In the early 1960s, the Canadian government launched an experimental programme to take academically promising Inuit children from their homes to be educated in Canada’s cities. The aim was to produce administrators who could spearhead development in the north of the country, but the project came at a great cost for the children and their families. Adamie Kalingo, born and raised in Nunavik, Northern Quebec, speaks to Maria Margaronis about being taken away at the age of 12 in 1964, his years living with a white family in Ottawa, and his eventual return.(Photo: Adamie Kalingo in 1963. Credit: Maureen Bus)
05/06/23·9m 4s

The first Indian woman to conquer Everest

As a child, Bachendri Pal never dreamt of conquering mountains but a chance meeting with a climber changed all that.She applied for a mountaineering course and was chosen to be part of India’s first mixed-gender team to climb Mount Everest. On the journey, she faced icy winds, freezing temperatures and an avalanche that destroyed the camp.But finally, on 23 May 1984, Bachendri became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Everest. It was an achievement that changed her life, as she told Jane Wilkinson.(Photo: Bachendri Pal, pictured on right, on Everest 1984. Credit: Sonam Paljor)
02/06/23·9m 13s

Tragedy on Everest

Michael Groom is one of the survivors of a tragic climbing expedition to Mount Everest in Nepal. In 2010, Jonny Hogg spoke to Michael Groom about the moments that went badly wrong when a storm struck the world's highest mountain on 10 May 1996.(Photo: Michael Groom on Everest in 1993. Credit: Guy Cotter)
01/06/23·10m 5s

Mallory’s body discovered on Everest

In 1999 the body of the legendary British mountaineer, George Mallory, was found on Mount Everest. Mallory disappeared on the mountain in 1924 together with his fellow climber Andrew Irvine.In 2016, Farhana Haider spoke to Jochen Hemmleb, one of the original members of the team that discovered George Mallory's remains.(Photo: George Mallory in 1909. Credit: AFP via Getty Images)
31/05/23·10m 6s

Tenzing Norgay conquers Everest

Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had tried to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, six times before his successful climb with Edmund Hillary in 1953. His son, Jamling Norgay, spoke to Louise Clarke about the spiritual importance of the mountain for his father, and how Tenzing Norgay saved Hillary’s life when he fell down a crevasse on the mountain. (Photo: Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. Credit: BBC)
30/05/23·10m 19s

Edmund Hillary conquers Everest

On 29 May 1953 Edmund Hillary, climbing with sherpa Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to reach the summit of Everest.The two men instantly became famous all over the world. Edmund Hillary’s son, Peter Hillary, tells Louise Clarke about his father's heroic climb. (Photo: Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. Credit: BBC)
29/05/23·10m 13s

The deadliest glacial avalanche in the world

On 31 May 1970, the Huascarán avalanche, caused by the Ancash earthquake, destroyed the town of Yungay, in Peru.Only 400 people, out of a population of 18,000, survived. A clown, named Cucharita, saved approximately 300 children, who were at a circus performance, by leading them to higher ground. Rachel Naylor speaks to his son, Christian Peña. (Photo: Statue of Christ at the cemetery overlooking Yungay, after the avalanche. Credit: Science Photo Library)
26/05/23·10m 11s

Trying to unite Africa

On 25 May 1963, leaders of 32 newly-independent African nations came together for the first time in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.At stake was the dream of a united Africa. In 2013, Alex Last spoke to Dr Bereket Habte Selassie who took part in that first gathering.(Photo: Haile Selassie, centre, and Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah, left, during the formation of the Organisation of African Unity. Credit: STR/AFP via Getty Images)
25/05/23·8m 59s

Chasing the world’s biggest tornado

On 31 May 2013, a huge tornado hit an area close to El Reno in the US state of Oklahoma.It was the widest tornado ever recorded and produced extreme winds of more than 400 kilometres an hour.Eight people were killed, including three storm chasers. One of the people tracking the storm was Emily Sutton, a meteorologist with KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.She’s a member of the station’s storm chasing team and was caught in the tornado. She tells Rob Walker about the impact that day had on her and other storm chasers.Archive: KFOR-TV/Nextstar Media Group(Photo: Cars damaged by the El Reno tornado. Credit: Joe Raedle via Getty Images)
24/05/23·9m 19s

Fikret Alić

In August 1992, a shocking photograph of a starving, emaciated man behind a barbed wire fence of a Bosnian concentration camp stunned the world. The picture, taken from an ITN TV report was of Bosniak Muslim Fikret Alić. Reporter Ed Vulliamy was there when the photograph was taken. Ed reunites with Fikret and hears how the picture, which was published around the world, eventually helped Fikret flee to safety. This programme contains descriptions of sexual violence.It was produced by Anna Miles. (Photo: Fikret Alic in a Bosnian refugee camp. Credit: ITN/Shutterstock)
23/05/23·8m 58s

The sergeants' coup in Suriname

In 1980, a group of 16 army sergeants, led by Dési Bouterse, seized power in the small South American country of Suriname, overthrowing the government in a swift and violent coup d’état. The coup came just five years after the country was granted independence from the Netherlands. The country’s first president, Johan Ferrier, was forced to leave Suriname after the coup. Rosemarijn Hoefte, professor of the history of Suriname at the University of Amsterdam, and Johan Ferrier's daughter, Cynthia, have been sharing their memories of that time with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Johan Ferrier. Credit: Alamy)
22/05/23·8m 58s

Pippi Longstocking

In Stockholm in 1941, Astrid Lindgren made up a story for her seven-year-old daughter, Karin, about a young girl who lived alone and had super-human strength. Karin named her Pippi Långstrump, or Pippi Longstocking in English. Four years later, Astrid submitted her story into a competition and it won. Her book, Pippi Långstrump, was published and became an overnight success. It’s now been translated into more than 70 languages, as well as being made into more than 40 TV series and films. Rachel Naylor speaks to Astrid’s daughter, Karin Nyman.(Photo: Astrid Lindgren. Credit: Getty Images)
19/05/23·9m 1s

Creating New Zealand's national walking trail

In 2011 a 3,000 km long walking trail was opened in New Zealand. Geoff Chapple had spent years lobbying for the creation of Te Araroa. He’d written articles in newspapers and tested out routes in the country's rugged landscape. The process of exploring where it could go sometimes put him in danger as he tells Alex Collins.(Photo: Geoff wading in the Waipapa River in the far north of New Zealand while on the Te Araroa trail. Credit: Amos Chapple)
18/05/23·8m 58s

The Dambusters

In the early hours of 17 May 1943 a bold World War II attack destroyed two dams in the Ruhr Valley in Germany's industrial heartland, causing 1,600 casualties and catastrophic flooding which hampered the German war effort.The dams were highly protected but 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force had a new weapon – the bouncing bomb. Invented by Barnes Wallis, the weapon was designed to skip over the dams' defences and explode against the sides. The Dambusters mission was a huge propaganda success for Britain and later inspired a famous film.In 2013, Simon Watts spoke to George "Johnny" Johnson, the last survivor of the Dambusters squadron.(Photo: Squadron Leader George "Johnny" Johnson. Credit: Leon Neal via Getty Images)
17/05/23·10m 28s

German child evacuees of World War Two

Beginning in 1940 thousands of German children were evacuated to camps in the countryside to avoid the bombs of World War Two.These camps were seen as safe places where they could continue their education but also where Nazi beliefs could be taught. Alex Collins has listened to archive recordings from "Haus der Geschichte der Bundersrepublik Deutschland" in Bonn one of Germany's national history museums and hears the stories of former camp residents Gunter Stoppa and Klaus Reimer.You may find some of the contents distressing. (Photo: German children being evacuated to Prussia. Credit: Getty Images)
16/05/23·9m 10s

Singapore executes Filipina maid

In 1995, the execution of Flor Contemplacion caused protests, a government resignation and a diplomatic crisis between the Philippines and Singapore. Flor, who worked in Singapore, was convicted of killing another domestic helper, Delia Maga, and the four-year-old boy Delia looked after, Nicholas Huang. While Singapore stood by the conviction, millions of Filipinos believed Flor was innocent and had been let down by their government as an overseas worker.Flor’s daughter Russel Contemplacion, who was 17 at the time, and Flor's lawyer Edre Olalia give Josephine McDermott their account.(Photo: The coffin of Flor Contemplacion is carried to church prior to her funeral. Credit: Getty Images)
15/05/23·9m 55s

World War II victory in North Africa

Peter Royle, 103, endured a month of solid fighting in the hills outside of Tunis in 1943. Eventually the Allies prevailed and took more than 250,000 German and Italian prisoners of war. They declared victory in Tunisia on 13 May. Peter came close to dying many times. He recalls how he once hummed God Save the King to prevent himself being shot by friendly fire. He was under the command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, fresh from victory in the North African desert, and recalls him being inspirational to the troops.This episode is presented by Josephine McDermott. Ahead of the 80th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2025, the BBC is trying to gather as many first-hand accounts from surviving veterans as possible, to preserve for future generations. Working with a number of partners, including the Normandy Memorial Trust and the Royal British Legion, the BBC has spoken to many men and women who served during the war. We are calling the collection World War Two: We were there.(Photo: Peter Royle in battle kit in 1941. Credit: Peter Royle's family)
12/05/23·11m 32s

Warsaw Ghetto uprising

In May 1943, the uprising in the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw in Poland came to an end. The Germans had crushed the uprising and deported surviving ghetto residents to concentration camps.Simha "Kazik" Rotem was one of the Jewish fighters who survived to tell his story.He spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2010.(Photo: Warsaw Ghetto. Credit: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
11/05/23·9m 15s

The last commercial flight out of Kai Tak

In 1998, one of Hong Kong’s best known landmarks, Kai Tak airport, closed after 73 years. Kai Tak, which was built between the mountains and the city, was world-famous for its unique landing approach that became known as 'the Kai Tak heart attack’. Captain Kim Sharman was the pilot of the last commercial flight out of Kai Tak.During his career he landed at the airport more than 1,000 times. Twenty-five years on he shares his memories with Gill Kearsley.(Photo: Boeing 747 landing at Kai Tak Airport. Credit: Russ Schleipman via Getty Images)
10/05/23·9m 1s

The sinking of the SS Tilawa: the ‘Indian Titanic’

On 23 November 1942, in the middle of the Second World War, a ship called the SS Tilawa was carrying more than 950 passengers and crew from India to East Africa when it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes. Two hundred and eighty people died. The ship became known as the 'Indian Titanic'. Ben Henderson speaks to the last two known survivors, Arvind Jani and Tej Prakash Mangat.(Photo: Arvind Jhani and Tej Prakash Mangat. Credit: their families)
09/05/23·9m 0s

United States bomb the Chinese embassy in Belgrade

In 1999, NATO carried out a bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. On 7 May, five American bombs hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three people and damaging relations between China and the West. Ben Henderson speaks to Hong Shen, a Chinese businessman, who was one of the first on the scene.(Photo: Protesters hold pictures of Chinese journalists killed in the embassy bombing. Credit: Stephen Shaver/AFP via Getty Images)
08/05/23·9m 10s

The removal of Scotland's Stone of Destiny

On Christmas Eve 1950, four young Scottish students took the 'Stone of Destiny' from Westminster Abbey in London.The symbolic stone had been taken from Scotland to England centuries earlier and had sat beneath the Coronation Chair in the abbey ever since. In 2018, Anya Dorodeyko spoke to the late Ian Hamilton who took part in the daring escapade in order to draw attention to demands for Scottish home rule.(Photo: Ian Hamilton. Credit: BBC)
05/05/23·9m 2s

Last King of Bulgaria

In June 2001, more than half a century after being driven into exile by communists, Bulgaria’s former King Simeon II made a dramatic comeback by winning the country’s parliamentary election. In 2018, Farhana Haider spoke to Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha about his remarkable journey from child king to prime minister.(Photo: Former King Simeon II of Bulgaria. Credit: Luc Castel/Getty Images)
04/05/23·8m 52s

The 'execution' of Oliver Cromwell

In 1661 in England, following the restoration of the monarchy, the body of Oliver Cromwell was dug up for ritual execution. Cromwell had overthrown King Charles I and ruled as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.In 2014, Vincent Dowd spoke to civil war historian Charles Spencer.(Photo: The death mask of Oliver Cromwell. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
03/05/23·8m 52s

Jean-Bédel Bokassa's coronation

Jean-Bédel Bokassa crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Republic in a lavish ceremony on 4 December 1977.He'd already been president for several years since taking power in a military coup - but he wanted more. In 2018, Janet Ball spoke to his son Jean-Charles Bokassa.(Photo: Jean-Bédel Bokassa at his coronation. Credit: Pierre Guillaud / AFP via Getty Images)
02/05/23·8m 51s

The king under the car park

In 2012, archaeologists from the University of Leicester discovered the lost grave of King Richard III under a car park in Leicester in the English East Midlands. Richard was the King of England more than 500 years ago and for centuries was portrayed as one of the great villains of English history.He was killed in 1485 leading his army in battle against a rival claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor. After the battle, King Richard III's corpse was stripped naked and paraded around before being hastily buried in a church within a friary in Leicester.In 2020, Alex Last spoke to Dr Richard Buckley who led the archaeological team that dug up the remains.(Photo: Remains of King Richard III. Credit: BBC)
01/05/23·8m 51s

The fight to televise the Queen's Coronation

Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953 was a watershed moment for television as millions watched the ceremony live.But it nearly never happened as the UK Government initially refused to allow TV cameras inside Westminster Abbey.The late Peter Dimmock, the BBC’s former head of outside broadcasts, looks back on the challenges the corporation faced.Former maid of honour Lady Jane Rayne Lacey also shares her memories of the day with Vicky Farncombe, including the part that felt “too sacred” to televise.(Photo: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: Getty Images)
28/04/23·9m 4s

The Met Gala goes global

The Met Gala takes place annually on the first Monday in May. In 1995, Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour chaired the huge fashion celebration for the first time that takes place at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Anna changed the date of the celebrity bash from December to May and is the driving force that transformed the event from a society dinner to the star-studded affair labelled “fashion’s biggest night”. The shindig has been attended by stars including Rihanna, Beyoncé and Madonna. Fashion podcaster and former Vogue International editor Suzy Menkes tells Alex Collins about her memories of the gala as it became a global sensation.(Photo: Rihanna at the 2015 Met Gala wearing a dress designed by Guo Pei. Credit: Getty Images)
27/04/23·10m 55s

Guatemala's outspoken bishop

On 26 April 1998 leading human rights campaigner, Bishop Juan Gerardi, was attacked and killed in his home, just two days after presenting the conclusions of a major investigation into abuses committed during Guatemala’s civil war. Bishop Gerardi’s report blamed the country’s military and paramilitary forces for the deaths of most of the 50,000 civilians killed during the conflict. Ronalth Ochaeta, who worked alongside Bishop Gerardi, tells Mike Lanchin about the murdered bishop’s life-long quest for justice.A CTVC production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Bishop Juan Gerardi. Credit: ODHAG)
26/04/23·9m 2s

Discovering the secrets of DNA

James Watson and Francis Crick first published their discoveries about the structure of DNA on 25 April 1953.Their findings were to revolutionise our understanding of life. We hear archive recordings of their memories, 70 years on.This programme, presented by Louise Hidalgo, was first broadcast in 2010.(Photo: James Watson and Francis Crick. Credit: Getty Images)
25/04/23·9m 4s

Althea McNish: 'I designed fabrics for the Queen'

In 1966, the artist Althea McNish designed fabrics for the Queen's tour of the West Indies when she visited Trinidad and Tobago.Althea, who was born in Trinidad and moved to England in 1950, had her vibrant designs turned into the Queen's dresses and they were even used for curtains and cushions for the royal residence.Rose Sinclair, a lecturer in textile design at Goldsmiths, University of London, speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma.(Photo: Althea McNish. Credit: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
24/04/23·9m 0s

The Russian man who pretended to be a dog

In 1994, Russian conceptual artist Oleg Kulik posed naked, pretending to be a guard dog, attacking passers by in Moscow. He was protesting conditions in post-Soviet Russia. He claimed Russians had lost their ability to relate to each other, and were reduced to living like animals. In this programme, first broadcast in 2014, Dina Newman speaks to Kulik about his protest performance, which made him famous around the world.(Photo: Oleg Kulik dressed as dog on car bonnet. Credit: Oleg Kulik)
21/04/23·9m 40s

Smoky the World War II dog hero

In 1944, Bill Wynne who was serving with the U.S. Army during World War II, adopted a tiny Yorkshire terrier called Smoky. When Bill caught dengue fever and was sent to hospital, his friends brought Smoky to see him. Soon the nurses were taking Smoky to visit other patients who had been wounded in the Biak Island invasion. She had a powerful healing effect on the soldiers and is believed to be one of the world’s first therapy dogs. Reena Stanton-Sharma talks to Bill's friend Adrian Brigham about Smoky, her role in World War II, and her TV career.Archive: University of Tennessee, PDSA, WCPN.(Photo: Bill Wynne and Smoky (centre) at the Vaughan General Hospital, in Illinois. Credit: Smoky War Dog, LLC)
20/04/23·9m 55s

Roselle the 9/11 guide dog

After the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, a New York guide dog called Roselle was hailed as a hero for helping her owner safely down 78 flights of stairs and away from the Twin Towers before they collapsed. In this programme, first broadcast in 2017, Simon Watts speaks to Roselle's owner, Michael Hingson.(Photo: Roselle and Michael Hingson, right, meeting a 9/11 rescue team. Credit: Getty Images)
19/04/23·9m 38s

The world's first labradoodle

In 1989, Australian dog breeder Wally Conron was tasked with finding a suitable dog for a blind woman in Hawaii whose husband was allergic to pet hair. By breeding together a poodle and a Labrador, he inadvertently created the world’s first ever labradoodle. More than three decades on, Wally believes he created Frankenstein’s monster. He has been sharing his memories of Sultan the labradoodle with George Crafer.(Photo: Wally Conron with Sultan the first ever labradoodle. Credit: Getty Images)
18/04/23·9m 44s

The first dog in space

Laika the Russian stray was the first dog to orbit the Earth. She was sent into space on a flight in 1957 which had been timed to mark the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. She died after orbiting Earth four times. Professor Victor Yazdovsky's father was in charge of the dogs in the Russian space programme. In 2017, Professor Yazdovsky spoke to Olga Smirnova about playing with Laika, before her flight, when he was just nine-years-old.(Photo: Laika. Credit: Getty Images.)
17/04/23·9m 44s

Richard Dimbleby describes Belsen

The BBC’s Richard Dimbleby was the first reporter to enter the liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. His report describing the unimaginable horror he found was for many listeners around the world the first time they had heard the truth of what it was like to have endured life and death under the Nazis. An estimated 70,000 people died in the camp. The broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby reflects on the impact of the report on his father and why the BBC was reluctant to broadcast it at first. Produced by Josephine McDermott.This programme contains distressing details.(Photo: Prisoners at Belsen. Credit: Getty Images)
14/04/23·21m 11s

I led the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers

On 15 April 2013, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon and killed three people.After the attack they disappeared, only to resurface three days later in the quiet city of Watertown, Massachusetts.The local police force were dispatched to catch the terrorists. An eight-minute gun fight followed, and pressure cooker bombs were hurled down the street at officers. Watertown’s chief of police, Edward Deveau, was in charge of detaining the brothers. Ten years later, he speaks to Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty. (Picture: Chief of police Edward Deveau. Credit: Getty Images)
13/04/23·8m 58s

Mass grave at Sernyky

In 1990, archaeologist Richard Wright flew half way around the world to unearth a mass grave in Sernyky, Ukraine as part of an Australian Nazi war crimes investigation. The site contained more than 500 bodies of Jewish people who had been killed in a mass execution.Richard's findings were used in the war crimes trial of Ivan Polyukhovich. He had fled to Australia after World War Two. Decades later Richard recounts his experience to Alex Collins.This programme contains destressing details. (Photo: Mass grave in Sernyky. Credit: Sydney Jewish Museum)
12/04/23·9m 0s

The universal recycling symbol

In 1970, American architecture student Gary Anderson won a competition, to mark the first Earth Day on 22 April, to design a logo for recycled paper products.His design of three arrows in a triangle shape remains in the public domain and is now used to mean recycling around the world. He spoke to Rachel Naylor.(Photo: Rubbish for recycling on a doorstep for collection. Credit: Getty Images)
11/04/23·8m 59s

Emperor Tewodros II

Emperor Tewodros II is one of the towering figures of modern Ethiopian history. He tried to unify and modernise Ethiopia but his reign was also marked by brutality.He faced a rising tide of rebellion inside the country and then in 1868 a British military expedition marched into the Ethiopian highlands. Its aim was to free British diplomatic envoys the Emperor had imprisoned.Tewodros II made a last stand at Magdala, his mountain top fortress.In 2016, Rob Walker spoke to historian Philip Marsden.(Picture: Tewodros II. Credit: Getty Images)
10/04/23·9m 0s

The Good Friday Agreement referendum

On 22 May 1998, a referendum was held in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland asking voters if they supported the Good Friday Agreement.In both, the majority of the electorate voted in favour of adopting the peace deal. Rachel Naylor speaks to Jane Morrice, from the Yes campaign, and Lee Reynolds, from the No campaign.(Photo: A poster in Belfast ahead of the referendum. Credit: Gerry Penny via Getty Images)
07/04/23·9m 5s

Beto Perez: 'I created Zumba by accident'

In 2001, Colombian born choreographer Beto Perez created Zumba, a fitness craze which would go on to become a global phenomenon. The aerobic workout was inspired by Latin dance moves including Merengue and Salsa, and it was all created by accident. Now classes are held in 185 countries from Indonesia to Iceland, and 15 million people take part each week according to the company. Beto Perez shares his story with Reena Stanton-Sharma.(Photo: Beto Perez by Daniel Perez Garcia-Santos. Credit: Getty Images)
06/04/23·9m 4s

Awaji Kannon: One of the world's tallest statues

In 1982, a Japanese businessman unveiled one of the tallest statues in the world called the World Peace Giant Kannon in Awaji Island, Japan. At 100 metres tall, the statue was visible from all across the island. Despite healthy visitor numbers when it first opened, the statue fell into disrepair and locals believed it was haunted. Emily Finch speaks to local resident Yusuke Natsukawa about the impact of the statue on the island, and Goro Otsubo who visited the statue in 2002. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Picture: Awaji Kannon. Credit: Shutterstock)
05/04/23·9m 1s

Pan-European picnic

In 1989, a picnic was held on the border between Austria and Hungary, as a demonstration for peace and European integration. It prefigured the end of the Cold War and the Soviet Union and finished with hundreds of East Germans escaping to the West through the Iron Curtain. In 2011, Rob Walker spoke to one of the organisers, Walburga Habsburg Douglas.(Picture: A leaflet from the Pan European picnic. Credit: Getty Images)
04/04/23·8m 57s

Escaping national service in Eritrea

In 2002, the Eritrean government extended its programme of compulsory national service to make it open-ended. Instead of serving 18 months as the government had originally decreed, most students finishing secondary school would be conscripted and forced to remain in government service indefinitely - either serving in the army or in civilian jobs. The Eritrean government said conscription was necessary because the recently ended war with neighbouring Ethiopia could break out again. But the prospect of working for the state for an indefinite period, without a proper salary, prompted many young Eritreans to begin trying to escape to neighbouring countries and to Europe. Over the past 20 years hundreds of thousands have left. It’s an exodus that continues to this day. Rob Walker speaks to Semhar Ghebreslassie who began her national service working as a teacher in 2008. This programme contains descriptions of sexual violence. (Picture: Eritrean migrants. Credit: Getty Images)
03/04/23·26m 9s

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time, the best-selling book written by the renowned theoretical physicist Prof Stephen Hawking, was published in March 1988.In this programme first broadcast in 2018, Louise Hidalgo talks about physics, existence and the universe that made the book so popular. The editor who published it, Peter Guzzardi, is her guest. (Picture: Prof Stephen Hawking. Credit: Getty Images)
31/03/23·9m 2s

The first photo sent from a phone

On 11 June 1997, French software engineer Philippe Kahn shared the first ever photo from a mobile phone. It was of his newborn daughter, Sophie. He created a prototype of a camera phone by connecting his digital camera to his flip phone and his laptop. He speaks to Rachel Naylor.(Photo: Baby Sophie. Credit: Philippe Kahn)
30/03/23·8m 59s

Godfather of manicures

In November 1975, Vietnamese Navy commander Minh Nguyen, left behind his macho military life and retrained as a manicurist. He migrated from Vietnam to the United States during the fall of Saigon. He went on to open a beauty school in Little Saigon, California and encouraged thousands of Vietnamese refugees to become nail technicians. Today, more than 40,000 students have graduated from Minh’s beauty schools and they have helped establish Vietnamese-Americans as the mainstay of the nail salon industry. Minh’s wife Kien talks to Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty. (Photo: Minh Nguyen. Credit: Minh Nguyen)
29/03/23·8m 58s

How Bengaluru became India’s Silicon Valley

The city of Bengaluru in southern India, previously called Bangalore, is renowned for its huge technology companies and buzzy start-up culture. But, 50 years ago it was a technological backwater. Entrepreneurs like Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, which is one of India’s biggest tech companies, were right at the heart of the city’s remarkable transformation into India’s Silicon Valley. He tells his story to Ben Henderson.(Photo: Narayana Murthy and Infosys colleagues in 2004. Credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
28/03/23·9m 3s

The windmill that revolutionised wind power

In 1978, with energy prices rocketing due to the oil crisis, a group of volunteers in Denmark took matters into their own hands and built a wind turbine to power the town's school. They called it Tvindkraft and its design revolutionised the wind industry. Rachel Naylor speaks to Britta Jensen, a teacher from the school, who worked on the turbine.(Photo: Tvindkraft. Credit: Tvindkraft)
27/03/23·9m 5s

Keiko: Freeing 'Free Willy'

In 1998, Keiko became the first ever killer whale to be released back into the wild after a life of captivity.Keiko shot to fame as the star of the 1993 Hollywood blockbuster, Free Willy.A multimillion dollar campaign to free Keiko began following the success of the movie and he was flown back to his native country, Iceland. Dave Phillips was in charge of making it all happen. He has been sharing his memories with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Keiko in Iceland. Credit: Getty Images)
24/03/23·9m 55s

The man who lived in an airport

In 1988, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, from Iran, flew into Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris intending to transfer onto a flight to London. But he wasn’t allowed to board, as he didn’t have a passport. Caught in diplomatic limbo, he ended up staying at the airport for 18 years. Rachel Naylor speaks to his biographer, Andrew Donkin, who spent nearly three weeks with him at his ‘home’, in the departures lounge of Terminal 1.(Photo: Mehran Karimi Nasseri on his red bench at the airport in 2004. Credit: Eric Fougere via Getty Images)
23/03/23·9m 2s

DDLJ: India’s longest running movie

In 1995, Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released to critical acclaim. It premiered at the Maratha Mandir cinema in Mumbai. It's been screened there every day since then for the past 27 years, stopping only briefly because of the Covid pandemic, and has become the longest-running film in Indian cinema history. Actress Kajol starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan; following its release, they became superstars overnight. Kajol, who played Simran in the film, spoke to Reena Stanton-Sharma about her memories of shooting the iconic movie.(Photo: Kajol (r) in Hindi film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Credit: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images)
22/03/23·9m 6s

Alcatraz: The strangest escape

In June 1962 three prisoners escaped from the maximum security US jail on the island of Alcatraz.They achieved this using a homemade raft, papier-mâché and... spoons.In 2013, Ashley Byrne spoke to Jolene Babyak who was living on the island at the time.A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service. (Picture: Alcatraz. Credit: Getty Images)
21/03/23·9m 9s

Kieu Chinh: A real Hollywood story

In 1974, legendary Vietnamese actress Kieu Chinh found herself on a farm in Canada cleaning up after chicken.She had narrowly escaped the fall of Saigon and a jail sentence in Singapore but Kieu was determined to get back to doing what she loved... making movies.How would she do it? Well, it involved Hollywood stars Burt Reynolds, William Holden and Tippi Hedren!Kieu tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty of her cinematic survival.(Picture: Kieu Chinh and Tippi Hedren. Credit: Getty Images)
20/03/23·8m 58s

Iraq War: US security guards killed my son

It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War.On 16 September 2007, private security guards employed by the American firm Blackwater opened fire on civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed, and another 20 injured. The Blackwater guards, who were escorting a convoy from the American embassy, claimed that they had come under attack from insurgents, but eye-witnesses and Iraqi officials quickly dismissed that version of events.Mohammed Kinani's nine year old son, Ali, was one of the victims.In this programme, first broadcast in 2020, Mohammed shares his story with Mike Lanchin.(Photo: An Iraqi looks at a burnt car on the site where Blackwater guards opened fire on civilians in Baghdad. Credit: Ali Yussef/AFP via Getty Images)
17/03/23·10m 9s

Iraq War: The capture of Saddam Hussein

It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War.On 13 December 2003 the deposed president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was captured by US forces.Muwafaq al Rubaie was asked to help to identify the former dictator, face-to-face.In this programme, first broadcast in 2012, he shares his memories of that time with Louise Hidalgo. (Picture: Saddam Hussein shortly after being captured. Credit: Getty Images)
16/03/23·10m 11s

Iraq War: 'Most wanted' playing cards

It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War.In April 2003, the US military unveiled a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of Saddam Hussein's government.The cards were first revealed to the world by Brigadier General Vincent K Brooks at a press conference on 11 April 2003. He has been sharing his memories of that time with Matt Pintus.(Picture: Vincent K Brooks holds up the 'most wanted' playing cards. Credit: Getty Images)
15/03/23·10m 31s

Iraq War: Refugees escaping

It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War.Millions of citizens attempted to flee the country after America and its allies invaded in March 2003.One of those people was Baghdad resident, Yasir Dhannoon. He has been sharing his story with Matt Pintus. (Photo: Refugees fleeing from the fighting zone around Baghdad in 2003. Credit: Getty Images)
14/03/23·10m 29s

Iraq War: The beginning

It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War. In March 2003, the United States launched its invasion, dropping bombs on Iraq's capital Baghdad.For Iraqis it marked the beginning of three weeks of helplessness as the US and its allies overwhelmed Saddam Hussein's forces. In this programme, first broadcast in 2012, Robin Lustig speaks to Lubna Naji who was a schoolgirl in Baghdad when the war broke out.(Photo: Bombs fall on Baghdad. Credit: Getty Images)
13/03/23·10m 12s

From girl to goddess to financial analyst

In 2000, when Chanira Bajrycharya was just five years old, she was chosen to be a Kumari - a child goddess in Nepal.For the next 10 years, she remained inside her Kumari house, receiving worshippers and giving blessings. She tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty about being a living deity, and how her life changed after losing her status as a goddess aged 15.Chanira now works for a mortgage broker in Kathmandu.(Picture: Chanira Bajrycharya whilst Kumari. Credit: Chanira Bajrycharya)
10/03/23·8m 58s

Monica McWilliams’ role in the Northern Ireland peace process

Monica McWilliams played one of the most pivotal roles in the Northern Ireland peace process. She spent two years at the negotiating table which finally resulted in the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998. That made her a joint signatory to an international peace accord – something that very few women in the world manage to be. She speaks to Alys Harte about the representation of women in the historic retelling of Northern Ireland’s peace process and why women are so often written out of the history they make.(Picture: Monica McWilliams. Credit: Getty Images)
09/03/23·10m 13s

First all-women peacekeeping unit

In 2007, the UN deployed its first all-female contingent of peacekeepers in Liberia in West Africa. The country was still recovering from its long civil war when the Indian policewomen arrived.In this programme first broadcast in 2019, Jill McGivering hears from Seema Dhundia of India’s Central Reserve Police Force who led the unit.(Photo: Seema Dhundia. Credit: Getty Images)
08/03/23·8m 54s

Mexico's first female presidential hopeful

In 1982, human rights campaigner Rosario Ibarra became the first woman and first political outsider to stand for president in Mexico.Her presidential bid was a direct challenge to the country’s long-established male-dominated political system. Ibarra’s motivation to stand was both political and highly personal. She wanted to draw attention to the country’s “disappeared” political prisoners, among them her own son. Mike Lanchin has been hearing about Rosario Ibarra from her eldest daughter, Rosario Piedra. This is a CTVC production for BBC World Service.(Picture: Rosario Ibarra campaigning. Credit: The Rosario family)
07/03/23·8m 58s

Octavia E. Butler: Visionary black sci-fi writer

In 1995, Octavia E Butler became the first author to receive a MacArthur “genius” award for science fiction writing. From a young age she dreamed of writing books, but faced many challenges, including poverty, sexism and racism in the publishing industry. She died aged 58 in 2006. Alex Collins speaks to her friend and fellow author Nisi Shawl.(Photo: Octavia E. Butler. Credit: Getty Images)
06/03/23·8m 58s

Zoran Djindjic: The murder of Serbia's prime minister

Zoran Djindjic, the prime minister of Serbia, was assassinated on 12 March 2003. He was murdered by an associate of former president, Slobodan Milosevic.Gordana Matkovic served in Djindjic's cabinet. Two decades on from the murder, she shares her memories of that time with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Zoran Djindjic poster held up during remembrance gathering. Credit: Getty Images)
03/03/23·10m 16s

The museum at the end of the world

In 1992, the late zoologist Nigel Bonner opened one of the world's most remote museums, the South Georgia Whaling Museum, on South Georgia, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic. Despite its isolated location, 1,400km east of the Falkland Islands, it remains open today and gets around 15,000 visitors a year. Rachel Naylor speaks to Jan Cheek, a friend of the founder and former trustee of the museum.(Photo: South Georgia Museum. Credit: Richard Hall for SGHT)
02/03/23·9m 3s

Grenada's underwater sculpture park

In 2004 Jason deCaires Taylor started building the world's first underwater gallery.He wanted to attract divers away from fragile coral reefs, so he submerged life-sized, human cement models in the Caribbean Sea.Within a few days the art was covered in purple and blue sponges, orange fire coral and green algae... and was even home to a few octopuses.Nineteen years later, Jason tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty about his memories of building the park. Archive Credit: Grenada Broadcasting Network.(Photo: ‘Viscissitudes’ - A sculpture installed in Grenada. Credit: Jason deCaires Taylor)
01/03/23·8m 59s

Pink Triangles: Gay men in Nazi concentration camps

In 2009, Rudolf Brazda, one of the last known survivors of the Pink Triangles, returned to the former site of Buchenwald concentration camp where he’d been imprisoned during World War Two, for being gay in Nazi Germany. In never previously broadcast recordings, taped by Jean-Luc Schwab, who wrote Rudolf’s biography, we hear Rudolf’s reaction to returning as a 95-year-old man. Jean-Luc Schwab who became friends with Rudolf in the last few years of his life, speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma.This programme contains distressing details. (Photo: Rudolf Brazda. Credit: Frederick Florin/ Getty Images)
28/02/23·8m 59s

Wounded Knee siege

Fifty years ago, indigenous American activists staged a historic protest against the US authorities.A siege began which lasted for two months and resulted in the violent deaths of two tribal members and the injuring of a US marshal.In 2011 Russell Means, the former national director of the ‘American Indian Movement', spoke to the programme. (Photo: Russell Means in 1973. Credit: Getty Images)
27/02/23·9m 1s

When the Queen 'jumped out of a helicopter'

How did an estimated 900 million people come to witness Her Majesty the Queen apparently parachuting from a helicopter with James Bond?Frank Cottrell-Boyce who wrote the scene for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games explains how it came about.Josephine McDermott hears how corgis, a clothes line and the Queen’s dresser all played important parts. (Photo: The moment the Queen and James Bond appeared to jump out of a helicopter above the Olympic Stadium in London. Credit: Getty Images)
24/02/23·10m 55s

Families interned in WW2 China

Despite facing malnutrition, starvation and disease, Christopher John Huckstep's father set up a school in the Japanese internment camp where his family was sent in 1943.Herbert Huckstep ensured the 350 children of Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre were taught a wide range of subjects using brown paper bags to write on. The school was called Lunghwa Academy and it had its own badge, motto and certificates. A syllabus was followed, exams were taken and there were even evening classes for adults. The Japanese set up more than 20 internment camps in China and Hong Kong holding an estimated 14,000 people, but it is not believed that such a sophisticated schooling system was established elsewhere. In spite of the many hardships, educational standards were kept so high that qualifications taken in the camp were later recognised by the Cambridge exam board when the exam scripts were taken to England after the war. Christopher John Huckstep shares his memories with Josephine McDermott.(Photo: Christopher John Huckstep and other children at Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre, Shanghai, in 1945. Credit: Oscar Seepol. Image courtesy of Susannah Stapleton and Special Collections, University of Bristol Library)
23/02/23·10m 53s

The invention of Semtex

In 1958, Stanislav Brebera invented Semtex. It was a malleable, odourless and stable plastic explosive which became the choice weapon for those seeking to spread terror.In 2018, Maria Jestafjeva spoke to Mirisov Brebera, the brother of the chemist who created it.(Photo: Semtex. Credit: Getty Images)
22/02/23·8m 57s

Seggae riots in Mauritius

Mauritian musician Kaya, who pioneered a new genre called seggae, fusing reggae and sega, died in police custody on 21 February 1999.His death sparked three days of rioting. People believed Kaya had been beaten to death.Veronique Topize, Kaya's widow demanded an independent autopsy and President Cassam Uteem travelled into the heart of the disorder to appeal directly to the rioters to put down their weapons and go home.Veronique Topize and Cassam Uteem shared their memories with Reena Stanton-Sharma.(Photo: Painting of Kaya (left). Credit: BBC)
21/02/23·9m 4s

Battle for the capital: Bonn v Berlin

In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Germany had to decide which city would be the new capital. The contenders were the West German city of Bonn and the East German city of Berlin and the two fought it out in a ferocious political battle that would help define the country.Ilona Toller hears from Bonn citizen Jürgen Nimptsch, who would later become the mayor of the city and Wolfgang Schäuble who fought on the side of Berlin.(Photo: Bundestag 2023. Credit: Getty Images)
20/02/23·9m 14s

First winter ascent of Everest

On 17 February 1980, the first people climbed Everest in winter.John Beauchamp hears from Leszek Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki from Poland who were the men who did it.It was at the height of the Cold War, when Poland was behind the Iron Curtain. The two climbers decided that they had to show the world that their country was still capable of doing extraordinary things.Despite a lack of money and equipment and using whatever they could lay their hands on – including welding goggles – they made it to the top of the world’s tallest mountain.A Free Range and Overcoat Media co-production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Leszek Cichy (left) Krzysztof Wielicki (right). Credit: Krzysztof Wielicki)
17/02/23·8m 59s

Discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb

On 16 February 1923, the sealed burial chamber of ancient Egypt’s most famous pharaoh Tutankhamun was opened for the first time. Mike Gallagher takes us back to the Valley of the Kings and the discovery of the ancient Egyptian ruler king’s resting place in 1922 by the English archaeologist Howard Carter. This programme was first broadcast in 2010.(Photo:The opening of Tutankhamun's tomb. Credit: Getty Images)
16/02/23·9m 2s

'I developed Pokémon'

On 27 February 1996, gamers were first introduced to characters Pikachu, Eevee, and Charmander when the first Pokémon games were released in Japan. Known as Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green, the games were released simultaneously on the Nintendo Game Boy hand-held console.In a matter of years the franchise would make the leap from an ageing games console to television animation and beyond, making it a worldwide pop culture powerhouse.Kurt Brookes speaks to game developer Akihito Tomisawa about the development, release, and success of the game series.A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Pikachu. Credit: Made in Manchester)
15/02/23·9m 2s

First Danish queen for 600 years

In January 1972, King Frederick IX of Denmark died after a short illness at the age of 72. He was succeeded by his daughter Margrethe who became the first Queen of Denmark in 600 years.Watching her proclamation as Margrethe II of Denmark in the room next to the balcony of the Christiansborg Palace was the country’s former Foreign and Defence Minister Kjeld Olesen.He’s been remembering that day with Ashley Byrne at his home in Copenhagen. A Made in Manchester Production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Margrethe II of Denmark in 1970. Credit: Getty Images)
14/02/23·9m 0s

'Hot Autumn': When Italy’s workers revolted

In 1969 and 1970, thousands of workers in Italy went on strike, protesting against low pay and poor working conditions. It became known as the ‘Hot Autumn’.Renzo Baricelli represented tyre workers at the Pirelli rubber factory in Milan, one of the main centres of protest.He tells Vicky Farncombe how he had to step in when angry workers with hammers were threatening to smash up the factory.(Photo: Workers protesting in Milan during the 'Hot Autumn'. Credit: Getty Images)
13/02/23·10m 50s

'I told the world Pope Benedict XVI was resigning'

On 11 February 2013, Benedict XVI shocked the world by becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to quit. All other popes in the modern era had held the position from election until death. He said he was resigning because of old age. Little known journalist Giovanna Chirri got the world exclusive on the story. She shares her memories of that time with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Getty Images)
10/02/23·10m 39s

The Pope and Jews

In April 1986, Pope John Paul II made a historic visit to a Rome synagogue.It was aimed at healing centuries of deep wounds between Jews and Catholics.Giacomo Saban, who welcomed the pontiff to the synagogue, tells his story to Alan Johnston.This programme was first broadcast in 2014.(Photo: Pope John Paul II at the synagogue. Credit: Getty Images)
09/02/23·8m 55s

Pope John Paul I’s sudden death

Cardinal Albino Luciani became Pope John Paul I on 26 August 1978. He died unexpectedly 33 days later.He was discovered in the early morning lying on his bed, a collection of sermons in his hand. He was considered an excellent communicator, and his warm personality earned him the nickname of "the smiling Pope". But his death shook the Catholic Church. Rebecca Kesby spoke to Cardinal Beniamino Stella who knew him well. This programme was first broadcast in 2017.(Photo: Pope John Paul I. Credit: Getty Images)
08/02/23·9m 5s

Reforming the Catholic Church with Vatican II

In January 1959, Pope John XXIII announced a council of all the world's Catholic bishops and cardinals in Rome. It led to sweeping reforms, including allowing Mass to be said in languages other than Latin and an attempt to build relationships with other denominations and faiths. But not everyone was happy with the changes. Monsignor John Strynkowski was a student priest in Rome at the time and told Rebecca Kesby about the excitement and controversy surrounding the council that became known as Vatican II.This programme was first broadcast in 2019.(Photo: Pope John XXIII. Credit: Getty Images)
07/02/23·9m 3s

How a Pope is chosen

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005. He was elected after four ballots of the papal conclave. The late Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor took part and told Rebecca Kesby the story of how the new leader of the Catholic Church was chosen by 115 cardinals. This programme was first broadcast in 2013. (Photo: Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Getty Images)
06/02/23·8m 39s

The first black music station in Europe

In 1981, Rita Marley’s brother Leroy Anderson aka Lepke launched the Dread Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), Europe’s first dedicated black music station.Frustrated by the lack of airtime for reggae music in the UK, Lepke setup a mast in his back garden and began to broadcast to a small area of West London every Sunday afternoon. DBC soon expanded to cover all styles of black music and with its unmistakable logo featuring a dread with headphones and a spliff became a trailblazer for the future of black British radio in the UK.Neil Meads speaks to former DBC station manager Michael Williams about the early days of the station, and DJ Carmella Jervier explains how inspiring it was to finally hear black female DJs on the radio.(Photo: Dread Broadcasting Corporation. Credit: BBC)
03/02/23·9m 3s

The assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye

In July 1993, Melchior Ndadaye became Burundi’s first democratically elected president.He was also the first president to come from the country’s Hutu majority.For decades up to that point, Burundi had been ruled by a small group of individuals drawn from the among the Tutsi minority. President Ndadaye had come to power promising a new vision for Burundi. But within months he was murdered by soldiers. Rob Walker hears from Jean-Marie Ngendahayo who was Minister of Communications in President Ndadaye’s government. (Photo: A relative of Melchior Ndadaye holding a photo of him at his funeral. Credit: Getty Images)
02/02/23·13m 19s

Columbia space shuttle disaster

The US space shuttle Columbia broke up on its way back to Earth on 1 February 2003. It had been in use since 1981. Iain Mackness spoke to Admiral Hal Gehman who was given the job of finding out what went wrong. The admiral’s report led to the ending of the American space shuttle programme in 2011.A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service first broadcast in 2019.(Photo: Space shuttle Columbia. Credit: Getty Images)
01/02/23·8m 59s

Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce'

30 years ago this month, Czechoslovakia split into the separate states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was a rare instance of a state separating without a single life being lost. Thanks to this it became known as the ‘Velvet Divorce’. Rather than putting it to a vote, the country and its assets were divided behind closed doors by the Czech and Slovak leaders, Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar, who became the Prime Ministers of their newly independent states. Ben Henderson speaks to both of them about their memories from the time.(Photo: Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar negotiate the split. Credit: Zehl Igor/ČTK)
31/01/23·9m 56s

Palestine Post bombing

Mordechai Chertoff was the foreign editor on the Palestine Post (precursor to the Jerusalem Post) when it was bombed on 1 February 1948. He tells Lucy Williamson how, despite the attack, the newspaper still came out the next morning. This programme was first broadcast in 2010. (Photo: Palestine Post bombing. Credit: Getty Images)
30/01/23·8m 43s

Invention of the MP3

Professor Karlheinz Brandenburg from Germany spent more than a decade developing MP3 technology, which was developed to convert audio into digital form.He had been working on it since 1982.It compressed music into a file size that made it easier to transmit, leading to the first MP3 players and fast music sharing.Laura Jones has been speaking to Professor Brandenburg.(Photo: Karlheinz Brandenburg wearing headphones, with his team. Credit: Fraunhofer IIC)
27/01/23·10m 30s

Albert Pierrepoint: Britain's executioner

Using archive recordings, Alex Last tells the story of Britain's most famous hangman. During the 1940s and 1950s, Albert Pierrepoint was responsible for the execution of some of Britain's most notorious murderers and was sent to Germany to hang more than 200 Nazi war criminals after World War Two. He said he was always determined to treat prisoners with dignity and respect whatever their crime. This programme was first broadcast in 2015.(Photo: Albert Pierrepoint. Credit: Getty Images)
26/01/23·8m 58s

Smolensk air disaster

In 2010, a plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczyński, crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk, killing everyone on board. It was one of the most tragic moments in modern Polish history. The country’s minister of foreign affairs, Radoslaw Sikorski was one of the first people to hear about it. He’s been sharing his memories of the disaster with Matt Pintus.(Photo: Smolensk air crash wreckage. Credit: Getty Images)
25/01/23·9m 0s

Japanese death row guard

Yoshikuni Noguchi spent time as a guard in one of the prisons in Japan that would carry out the death penalty, and witnessed the hanging of a condemned prisoner in 1971, before going on to become a lawyer. He describes in detail what he saw. Yoshikuni began speaking out to cast light on the reality of what death row inmates go through, as Japan continues to resist the calls to ban the practice, which is no longer in use in most countries. He tells his story to Dan Hardoon. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service. (Photo: Yoshikunu Noguchi. Credit: Alamy)
24/01/23·8m 57s

When Britain tried to censor the Troubles in Northern Ireland

Frontman of punk-rock band The Undertones, Paul McLoone, recalls the “weird, slightly funny, slightly sad, slightly surreal” time he was the voice of IRA commander-turned-politician, Martin McGuinness.It was during the so called ‘broadcasting ban’ in the UK which came into force in 1988. It saw organisations believed to support terrorism forbidden from directly broadcasting on radio or television.Paul tells Alys Harte how the legislation led to extra work for him. (Photo: Paul McLoone during a performance. Credit: Getty Images)
23/01/23·9m 0s

Swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy

In 2009, hundreds of teenagers’ lives were changed forever, when a vaccine designed to protect them against swine flu appeared to trigger a sleep disorder. It affected people in various countries including Sweden.Maddy Savage speaks to Christopher Tyvi from Stockholm, who is one of those who experienced problems. A Bespoken Media production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Swine flu vaccine. Credit: Getty Images)
20/01/23·9m 6s

France's nuclear tests in Algeria

Between 1960 and 1966, France carried out 17 nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara. High levels of radioactivity, and a failure to safely dispose of nuclear waste, have left a dangerous legacy. Dan Hardoon speaks to Abdelkrim Touhami, who was just a teenager when the French authorities announced a nuclear test near his home. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service. (Photo: Dummies at the nuclear testing site in the Algerian Sahara. Credit: Getty Images)
19/01/23·8m 59s

Kosovo’s house schools

In 1990s Kosovo, a generation of Albanians received their education crammed into thousands of private homes. When Slobodan Milosevic’s Serb nationalist regime forcibly evicted them from schools and universities, Kosovan Albanians responded with improvised house schools in their apartments, attics and cellars. The spontaneous reaction to their ethnic exclusion quickly evolved into a nationwide education system that would endure for the best part of a decade. Linda Gusia, a pupil in the house schools, and university professor Drita Halimi speak to Jack Butcher. A Whistledown production for BBC World Service.(Photo: A Kosovan house school. Credit: Shyqeri Obërtinca)
18/01/23·9m 4s

Europe's horse meat scandal

In 2013, horse meat was discovered in Irish beef burgers. The scandal snowballed and within six weeks horse meat was found in beef products in more than a dozen European countries. The story revealed how complex and unregulated Europe’s meat industry was, making it a target for fraudsters. Ben Henderson speaks to Alan Reilly, former Chief Executive of the Irish Food Safety Authority, who uncovered the scandal.(Photo: Meat inspection in a French supermarket. Credit: Sebastien Bozon via Getty Images)
17/01/23·9m 2s

Miracle on the Hudson

On 15 January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River in New York, after geese struck both its engines shortly after take off.All 155 people on board survived.Rachel Naylor speaks to Dave Sanderson, the last passenger to be rescued.(Photo: Passengers and crew aboard US Airways Flight 1549 await rescue. Credit: AP)
16/01/23·9m 3s

World’s first tidal power station

The world’s first tidal power station is on the estuary of the River Rance in France. It was opened in 1966 by President Charles de Gaulle and has been capturing the natural power of the oceans’ tides and turning it into electricity ever since. Alex Collins hears how the project to build it was a cause for national pride and how the facility is now a tourist attraction, as he speaks to Brittany historian Marc Bonnel.(Photo: La Rance tidal power station. Credit: Getty Images)
13/01/23·8m 59s

Galápagos Islands’ sea cucumber dispute

A boom in demand for sea cucumbers in Asia in the 1990s set off a confrontation between fishermen and conservationists in the waters off the Galápagos Islands, where the protein-rich ocean creature was found in abundance. The high price being paid for the sea cucumbers led to a gold rush on the South American archipelago, a chain of 21 islands home to many unique species. In 2020, Mike Lanchin spoke to a Galapagos fisherman Marcos Escaraby and conservationist Alan Tye, who found themselves on opposite sides of the dispute.(Picture: Sea cucumber. Credit: Getty Images)
12/01/23·8m 38s

Paul Robeson and the transatlantic phone line

In September 1956, a telephone cable called TAT-1 was laid under the Atlantic Ocean, making high-quality transatlantic phone calls possible for the first time. Eight months later in May 1957, 1,000 people squeezed into St Pancras Town Hall in London for the world’s first transatlantic concert. The person performing, Paul Robeson, was a globally renowned singer, but he’d been banned from travelling outside the USA. So, he made use of the new transatlantic telephone line to perform to his fans in the UK. Ben Henderson speaks to John Liffen, who curated an exhibition on TAT-1 and the concert at the Science Museum in London.(Photo: Engineers build repeaters used in TAT-1. Credit: Russell Knight/BIPs via Getty Images)
11/01/23·8m 58s

Dutch North Sea flood

In 1953, a winter storm combined with high tides breached sea defences in the Netherlands, more than 1,800 people drowned.Ria Geluk, remembers the once-in-a-lifetime flood.In this programme first broadcast in 2011, Ria tells Trish Flanaghan what happened when water overwhelmed the farm she lived on.(Photo: A man walking a flooded street. Credit: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images. )
10/01/23·8m 59s

Plastics in oceans

In 1971, marine biologist Edward Carpenter made a shocking discovery finding small bits of plastics floating thousands of miles of the east coast of America in the Atlantic Ocean. More than 50 years later he tells the story of how he had to fight hard to get the scientific world to take notice of his discovery. He also tells Alex Collins about when plastics in oceans went viral.(Photo: Plastic floating in water. Credit: Getty Images)
09/01/23·8m 58s

Pussy Riot’s cathedral protest

In February 2012, Diana Burkot and other members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot protested inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour against the church and its support for Russian president Vladimir Putin. Some members were arrested and put on a trial which made the news inside Russia and around the world. Diana kept her participation in the protest secret and avoided going to prison. She shares her memories with Alex Collins.(Photo: Diana Burkot on stage. Credit: Getty Images)
06/01/23·8m 57s

The man Pinochet wanted dead

After the 1973 military coup in Chile, Miguel Enriquez led resistance against the dictatorship. The secret police were ordered to track him down and assassinate him. His wife Carmen Castillo remembers the day in October 1974 when she was six months pregnant and the military finally caught up with one of Chile’s most wanted men. Carmen tells her story to Jane Chambers.(Picture: Admiral Toribio Merino, General Augusto Pinochet and Air Force General Leigh in 1973. Credit: Getty Images)
05/01/23·9m 2s

When America banned silicone breast implants

On 6 January 1992, the US Government ordered a suspension of all procedures involving silicone breast implants. More than 2,000 women had complained of poor health and pain after receiving implants. Among the issues were ruptures of the implants, connective tissue diseases, and even fears of a possible link with cancer. The story raised concerns around the world.Iain Mackness talks to plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso about the time the US banned silicone filled breast implants.A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service.(Photo: Silicone breast implant. Credit: Getty Images)
04/01/23·8m 58s
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