The Call

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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0101The Siege2009072720100111

In 1980, police negotiator Max Vernon spent five days taking brief telephone calls from the leader of the terrorists who had taken 26 people hostage inside the Iranian Embassy in London.

The siege ended when the SAS stormed the building, as Max listened on the other end of the line.

Police negotiator Max Vernon, who was involved in the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.

0101The Siege2009072720100111

0101The Siege2009072720100111

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

In 1980, police negotiator Max Vernon spent five days taking brief telephone calls from the leader of the terrorists who had taken 26 people hostage inside the Iranian Embassy in London. The siege ended when the SAS stormed the building, as Max listened on the other end of the line.

0102The Adoption2009080320100112

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

After months of form-filling bureaucracy and disappointment, educationalist Fiona Byerley made a late-night call to a Thai orphanage and was told that a baby girl was waiting to be collected.

Educationalist Fiona Byerley's late-night call to a Thai orphanage.

0103The Abduction2009081020100113

0103The Abduction2009081020100113

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

In March 1999, Martin Friend was on a gorilla trek in Uganda when he was taken hostage and killed by Hutu rebels on the run from neighbouring Rwanda. His parents, Ron and Pauline Friend, have built a school in the region in memory of him.

0103The Abduction *2009081020100113

In March 1999, Martin Friend was on a gorilla trek in Uganda when he was taken hostage and killed by Hutu rebels on the run from neighbouring Rwanda.

His parents, Ron and Pauline Friend, have built a school in the region in memory of him.

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

Ron and Pauline Friend built a school in Uganda in memory of their murdered son, Martin.

0104The Transplant2009081720100114

0104The Transplant2009081720100114

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

Tony Roth suffered his first heart attack when he was in his early 30s. Within six months he had a triple bypass operation, but two more heart attacks and more bypass surgery followed. In failing heath, he was forced to give up work, and waited for the call to tell him that a donor heart was available.

0104The Transplant *2009081720100114

Tony Roth suffered his first heart attack when he was in his early 30s.

Within six months he had a triple bypass operation, but two more heart attacks and more bypass surgery followed.

In failing heath, he was forced to give up work, and waited for the call to tell him that a donor heart was available.

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

Tony Roth had to wait for a call telling him that he could have a heart transplant.

0105 LASTThe Win2009082420100115

0105 LASTThe Win2009082420100115

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

Some people cry, some feel sick, some throw a 24-hour party, and some are millionaires already. Winning the lottery can be a traumatic event, but what is it like for the operators on the other end of the line?

0105 LASTThe Win2009082420100115

Some people cry, some feel sick, some throw a 24-hour party, and some are millionaires already.

Winning the lottery can be a traumatic event, but what is it like for the operators on the other end of the line?

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls.

What is it like for the telephone operators who break the good news to lottery winners?

0201Concorde2011020120111003

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made life-changing phone calls.

In the first programme in the series he meets Alice Brooking, who was on the phone to her sister Nathalie in London when an Air France Concorde crashed into her Paris hotel.

It was the 25th July 2000 and Alice Brooking was in the Hotelissimo in Gonesse, near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. A language student working through her holidays as a tour guide, Alice was waiting for a party of young musicians to arrive from England. Torn between having a nap, having a shower and calling her sister for a chat, she picked up the phone to London. Half way through the conversation there was loud bang and the phone went dead. She went to the door of her room, to be met by searing heat and a wall of flame.

"I ran barefoot across the fields, because I'd left my shoes in my room, then tried calling the attention of the car drivers....If I'd chosen to take a shower or a nap I'd be dead."".

It was the 25th July 2000 and Alice Brooking was in the Hotelissimo in Gonesse, near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

A language student working through her holidays as a tour guide, Alice was waiting for a party of young musicians to arrive from England.

Torn between having a nap, having a shower and calling her sister for a chat, she picked up the phone to London.

Half way through the conversation there was loud bang and the phone went dead.

She went to the door of her room, to be met by searing heat and a wall of flame.

"I ran barefoot across the fields, because I'd left my shoes in my room, then tried calling the attention of the car drivers - If I'd chosen to take a shower or a nap I'd be dead."".

Dominic Arkwright meets a woman who survived when Concorde crashed into her Paris hotel.

020220110208
02022011020820111004

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made or received life-changing phone calls.

Alex Evans was shopping in an Aberystwyth DIY store with his mum when he took a call from his friend Mark Corbett. Mark said he was on board a ship in the Caribbean and that it was sinking. The radio wasn't working and the only number he could remember was his best friend's.

Alex grabbed a till receipt, borrowed a pen from his mum, and started to take down the details. Both are volunteers for the RNLI, but when Alex heard the name of the vessel in distress there was a moment of hesitation.

"When he said the yacht was called Titanic, I did have to ask if this was a wind-up. But there was real panic in his voice, so I knew it was the real thing.".

Alex Evans was shopping in an Aberystwyth DIY store with his mum when he took a call from his friend Mark Corbett.

Mark said he was on board a ship in the Caribbean and that it was sinking.

The radio wasn't working and the only number he could remember was his best friend's.

Alex grabbed a till receipt, borrowed a pen from his mum, and started to take down the details.

Both are volunteers for the RNLI, but when Alex heard the name of the vessel in distress there was a moment of hesitation.

"When he said the yacht was called Titanic, I did have to ask if this was a wind-up.

But there was real panic in his voice, so I knew it was the real thing.".

Dominic Arkwright meets a man who took a distress call from a ship called Titanic.

0203Answerphone Messages20110215
0203Answerphone Messages2011021520111005

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made or received life-changing phone calls.

When he bought a brand new ansaphone machine back in 1985, Mark Craig decided not to re-cycle his tapes but to keep them all in a box. Twenty years later he opened the box and started to listen back to the audio diary of his life that he had inadvertently created.

"I went to a remote house in Devon and spent days just listening to voices from my past. It was like therapy. It was their lives, but it was the story of my life as well."

Carefully selecting messages to create a short film, Mark ended up with both a very personal story and a tale of "everyman", growing through reckless youth, loss, birth and eventually, wisdom.

When he bought a brand new ansaphone machine back in 1985, Mark Craig decided not to re-cycle his tapes but to keep them all in a box.

Twenty years later he opened the box and started to listen back to the audio diary of his life that he had inadvertently created.

"I went to a remote house in Devon and spent days just listening to voices from my past.

It was like therapy.

It was their lives, but it was the story of my life as well."

Carefully selecting messages to create a short film, Mark ended up with both a very personal story and a tale of "everyman", growing through reckless youth, loss, birth and eventually, wisdom.

Dominic Arkwright meets a man who's saved his answer phone messages for the last 20 years.

The 33 by Jonathan Franklin

In 2010, the world turned towards Chile when the collapse of a copper mine left 33 men to survive underground for almost 3 months, the longest time in history.

Journalists flocked to the San Jose mine and the family's settlement 'Camp Hope' to follow the rescue mission, to see if the impossible could be achieved.

In this insightful and gripping account, Jonathan Franklin reveals what life was really like for the 33 men underground and how complex the rescue mission actually was.

A story of courage and camaraderie, it reveals the toll on minds and bodies trapped almost half a mile beneath the surface of the earth.

Jonathan Franklin is an award-winning journalist published in 30 languages around the world.

He regularly reports for The Guardian, Washington Post, Dagbladet, Der Spiegel, Jerusalem Post, Sydney Morning Herald and Rolling Stone magazine, among many others.

He was one of the only journalists to have security access to the heart of the rescue team.

Read by Trevor White

Abridged by Richard Hamilton

Produced by Lucy Collingwood.

0204The Samaritans20110222
0204The Samaritans2011022220111006

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made life-changing phone calls.

Following a failed suicide attempt, Duncan Irvine made a phone call to the Samaritans that saved his life.

In the 1970's Duncan lived in a small village in the Scottish borders with his mother, who was suffering from mental health problems.

"She started hearing voices, and told me that the TV was talking to her. She would write down strange things like car numbers and putting them in my pocket. I got no help from our local doctor and I thought not helping her was my fault."

Duncan was also struggling with the realisation that he was gay.

"I felt guilty and ashamed about it all, and was afraid of speaking to anyone. I was depressed but no-one used that word then. Depressed was how you felt when Rangers lost at Ibrox."

One day at work, the pressure overwhelmed him and he tried to cut his wrists. When that didn't work, he thought about throwing himself into the sea. As he walked the streets of Edinburgh, he saw a poster for the Samaritans and decided to give them a call.

"Everything had been going round in my head and it seemed so big I couldn't cope with it....Talking through it made me realise maybe there are some things I can do about this a little bit at a time."

Duncan now runs a pub in London and volunteers for the Samaritans.

"She started hearing voices, and told me that the TV was talking to her.

She would write down strange things like car numbers and putting them in my pocket.

I got no help from our local doctor and I thought not helping her was my fault."

"I felt guilty and ashamed about it all, and was afraid of speaking to anyone.

I was depressed but no-one used that word then.

Depressed was how you felt when Rangers lost at Ibrox."

One day at work, the pressure overwhelmed him and he tried to cut his wrists.

When that didn't work, he thought about throwing himself into the sea.

As he walked the streets of Edinburgh, he saw a poster for the Samaritans and decided to give them a call.

"Everything had been going round in my head and it seemed so big I couldn't cope with it....Talking through it made me realise maybe there are some things I can do about this a little bit at a time."

Dominic Arkwright meets a man whose life was transformed by a call to the Samaritans.

0205Forensics20110301

0205Forensics20110301

Dominic Arkwright talks to Professor Peter French of York University about the art and science of forensic acoustics, including speaker profiling, voice line-ups, and sound enhancement.

Developments in new technology mean that sound recordings can be examined and prepared for use in extortion, blackmail and murder trials. Also, the proliferation of digital recordings in all walks of life mean that copies of recordings for evidential purposes can now be taken from mobile telephones, voicemail services, digital dictaphones, digital answer phones and other devices. So just how much information can be extracted from a phone call, and how much of ourselves do we reveal in conversation?

0205Forensics20110301

Dominic Arkwright talks to Professor Peter French of York University about the art and science of forensic acoustics, including speaker profiling, voice line-ups, and sound enhancement.

Developments in new technology mean that sound recordings can be examined and prepared for use in extortion, blackmail and murder trials. Also, the proliferation of digital recordings in all walks of life mean that copies of recordings for evidential purposes can now be taken from mobile telephones, voicemail services, digital dictaphones, digital answer phones and other devices. So just how much information can be extracted from a phone call, and how much of ourselves do we reveal in conversation?

0205 LASTForensics2011030120111007

Dominic Arkwright talks to Professor Peter French of York University about the art and science of forensic acoustics, including speaker profiling, voice line-ups, and sound enhancement.

Developments in new technology mean that sound recordings can be examined and prepared for use in extortion, blackmail and murder trials.

Also, the proliferation of digital recordings in all walks of life mean that copies of recordings for evidential purposes can now be taken from mobile telephones, voicemail services, digital dictaphones, digital answer phones and other devices.

So just how much information can be extracted from a phone call, and how much of ourselves do we reveal in conversation?

Dominic Arkwright talks to Professor Peter French about the science of forensic acoustics.

030120130204

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made life-changing phone calls. Today he talks to John Gillatt, who set off for a gentle stroll in the Malaysian jungle, and got lost for five days.

John was visiting Malaysia on business, and took some time out to go for a stroll. But when he lost his way, he tried in vain to find the path back to the hotel. With just a few biscuits to sustain him, John fought his way through the jungle and tried to find some high ground to make a call home. As the days went by, his hopes began to fade, but back in Bolton, his wife Noelene was busy trying to organise a rescue.

030220130205

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made and received life-changing phone calls. Today he talks to counsellors at Childline in Birmingham about the thousands of calls they receive every year from distressed and vulnerable children. The operators, who all work voluntarily, discuss the highs and lows of their work, and acknowledge the strength and bravery of the young people who pick up the phone to ask for help.

0303Adoption2013020620130806

Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have made and received life-changing phone calls.

Today he meets John Askey, the Northamptonshire man who received a phone calls from a sister he didn't know existed. For Rita Holford of Stoke-on-Trent, speaking to John was the end of a long search to find her lost siblings.

John and Rita talk to Dominic about the search for the whole truth of their family background, and what it's been like getting to know their long-lost brothers and sisters.

John and Rita talk to Dominic about the search for the whole truth of their family background, and what it's been like getting to.

030420130207

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made and received life-changing phone calls.

Dominic talks to dancer Rose Metcalf, who escaped from the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia, and made an emotional call home to her parents in the UK. The message got as far as her father's ansaphone at the family home in Dorset, but her mother was travelling back from a holiday abroad, and saw the news breaking on a television screen in a London hotel lobby.

Rose, her Mum Carolyn and her Dad Philip, talk to Dominic about the missed call, and the hours of not knowing exactly what had happened to Rose.

0305 LAST2013020820130813

Dominic Arkwright meets people who have made and received life-changing phone calls.

Dominic talks to Emma Cashen, the young mum who gave birth on her bathroom floor, whilst her mother Tina took directions from a 999 operator over the phone. Dominic visits Emma, Tina and baby Ruby at home in Suffolk, and listens to the dramatic 999 recording of Ruby's birth.