Documentary, The [world Service]

Episodes

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2009123020100102 (WS)
20100103 (WS)

We delve into Tulsa's tough underworld in the company of two police officers who have d...

We delve into Tulsa's tough underworld in the company of two police officers who have developed dazzling talents as storytellers

2010010120100102 (WS)
20100103 (WS)

How a very special school in Finland is helping visually impaired children.

It's well known that the blind learn to use sound to avoid obstacles - to create a map of their world.

At Jyväskylä School for the Visually Impaired in the Finnish countryside, they teach children this art to a much greater degree: the walls in the corridors are covered with all sorts of noisy objects.

They even have a 'sound room' - every surface covered in things that make stimulating noises - all set against the interesting Finnish soundscape of snow crunching as the children build the confidence to start exploring the world for themselves.

The school's aim is to avoid a total reliance on high tech and expensive navigational aids, by honing the children's natural abilities which most of us possess, but which we don't use to their full potential.

At the same time they are very up to date with an increasing selection of technology available to the blind. Some of the children are highly computer savvy, and they make full use of developments like the internet, GPS, and even the laser cane.

The Jyväskylä school is a specially-designed environment full of dedicated, passionate and highly-trained staff. But some of the staff feel that the environment is sometimes too safe - and neither fully prepares the students for life after the school nor encourages some of them to want to learn and develop essential skills.

Outi Lappaleinen has been at the school for more than 20 years, inventing and building many of the innovative devices, such as the wooden echoboards the children use to navigate around the playground - and the flourescent yellow canes (easier to see against the snow than a white cane) which are bent like skis so that they don't get stuck in the snow as the children push them along.

2010010620100107 (WS)
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20100110 (WS)

Rob Walker tells the story of how 'Angolagate', one of the biggest arms deal scandals o...

Rob Walker tells the story of how 'Angolagate', one of the biggest arms deal scandals of modern times, unfolded.

2010011120100112 (WS)
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Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers an...

Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers and their groundbreaking exploits.

2010011820100119 (WS)
20100123 (WS)
20100124 (WS)
20100125 (WS)

Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers an...

Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers and their groundbreaking exploits.

2010012520100126 (WS)
20100130 (WS)
20100131 (WS)
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Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers an...

Prof Jim Al-Khalili, brings alive the stories of the great forgotten Arabic thinkers and their groundbreaking exploits.

2010042820100501 (WS)

Apostle Asafo guides us around his remarkable workshops in Accra, where teenagers can learn trades. Is it really sustainable?

2011041220110413

To celebrate the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton, we take a look back through the archive of Royal Weddings.

2011041220110417

To celebrate the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton, we take a look back through the archive of Royal Weddings.

To celebrate the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton, we take a look back thro.

2011041920110420

Restrictions on commercial fishing in Europe were put in place to aid sustainability, b.

Restrictions on commercial fishing in Europe were put in place to aid sustainability, but are they still appropriate?

2011041920110424

Restrictions on commercial fishing in Europe were put in place to aid sustainability, b.

20110524

The BBC investigates the skyrocketing prices of the worlds basic goods.

20110726
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James Reynolds profiles Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, one of the count.

James Reynolds profiles Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, one of the country's least scrutinised politicians.

20110809

Gordon Corera tells the story of how the Americans hunted their most wanted man, from A.

Gordon Corera tells the story of how the Americans hunted their most wanted man, from Afghan caves to Abbottabad in Pakistan.

2011112220111123

Martin Wolf examines how the world has changed since the beginning of the financial cri.

Martin Wolf examines how the world has changed since the beginning of the financial crisis four years ago.

2012013120120201
20120204 (WS)

Is outsourcing pregnancy to India exploitative or mutually beneficial? We follow the lives of two women involved for 9 months.

20120327

In Turkey every man is conscripted for military service, except homosexuals who are exe.

In Turkey every man is conscripted for military service, except homosexuals who are exempt. Emre Azizlerli reports.

20120915

Bashar al-Assad took over as President of Syria after his father - known to Syrians as the immortal one - died of a heart attack in 2000.

The Assad's have been in control of Syria for the last 42 years, since Bashar's father Hafez took over in a coup - which he referred to as a "Corrective Movement".

How has this family survived in power so long? And why has Bashar al-Assad been so determined to hold onto power while other states have seen their leaders swept away by the Arab Spring?

Owen Bennett Jones examines the nature of the House of Assad and its grip over Syria. He traces the story of the Assads from the Baathist coup in 1963 to the present day.

(Image: President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisa posing for a family picture with his children (L to R) Maher, Bashar, Bassel (Circa 1990). Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

2012120820121209 (WS)

As Australia approaches the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in 2015, Sharon Mascall...

As Australia approaches the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in 2015, Sharon Mascall asks how true is the Anzac Legend?

20130526

Michael Robinson highlights the hidden benefits aggressive tax avoidance can have for l...

Michael Robinson highlights the hidden benefits aggressive tax avoidance can have for large multinational companies.

20130714

Many people in Kenya go to court with no lawyer, leading to much injustice. Now priso.

Many people in Kenya go to court with no lawyer, leading to much injustice. Now prisoners are acting as lawyers themselves.

2013072020130721 (WS)

To celebrate architect Richard Rogers 80th birthday, he discusses his vision for the future of our cities with Razia Iqbal.

20130721

Gordon Corera reveals the alarming extent to which cyberspace is now being used to stea.

Gordon Corera reveals the alarming extent to which cyberspace is now being used to steal, to spy and to wage war.

20130811

As Tel Aviv celebrates gay pride, Tim Samuels is there to learn how the city rebranded.

As Tel Aviv celebrates gay pride, Tim Samuels is there to learn how the city rebranded itself as the world's number 1 gay city.

2013092820130929 (WS)

The BBC’s Anne Soy in Nairobi recounts the days of terror for those caught up in attack...

The BBC’s Anne Soy in Nairobi recounts the days of terror for those caught up in attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Shopping Mall.

2013100820131009 (WS)

Russian photojournalist Vlad Sokhin examines the high level of violence against women i...

Russian photojournalist Vlad Sokhin examines the high level of violence against women in Papau New Guinea.

2013113020131201 (WS)

Shopping malls have become a permanent feature of modern cities. Mall culture is explored in Brazil, Nigeria and the USA.

2013122120131222 (WS)

Will the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi showcase a resurgent Russia or hide real problem...

Will the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi showcase a resurgent Russia or hide real problems within? Lucy Ash investigates.

20140107

In September 2012, a man was found dead in a London street. Rob Walker follows the poli.

In September 2012, a man was found dead in a London street. Rob Walker follows the police investigation into who he was.

20140205

Robin Lustig heads to Russia to investigate claims of corruption in the build up to the...

Robin Lustig heads to Russia to investigate claims of corruption in the build up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

2014020820140209 (WS)

The mp3 player at war. What role does music play in the lives of soldiers today?

20140219

Ghanaian music journalist Afua Hirsch marks the 30th anniversary of Def Jam - the world...

Ghanaian music journalist Afua Hirsch marks the 30th anniversary of Def Jam - the world’s first hip hop record label.

2014031120140315 (WS)

Jessie Levene looks at the rise of China's magazine culture, its link to consumerism, a...

Jessie Levene looks at the rise of China's magazine culture, its link to consumerism, and the changing face of Chinese fashion.

20140318

Shilpa Kannan investigates corruption in the Indian media, and asks if “paid media” thr...

Shilpa Kannan investigates corruption in the Indian media, and asks if “paid media” threatens democracy and press freedom.

20140326

Peter Bowes tells the story of television made in the USA by tribal people, for tribal...

Peter Bowes tells the story of television made in the USA by tribal people, for tribal people.

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Gordon Corera explores the history of the war between governments and geeks to control...

Gordon Corera explores the history of the war between governments and geeks to control computer cryptography.

2014040520140406 (WS)

Mark Doyle tells the story of one of the unsung heroes of Rwanda’s genocide, Mbaye Diag...

Mark Doyle tells the story of one of the unsung heroes of Rwanda’s genocide, Mbaye Diagne, a Senegalese UN peacekeeper.

2014040820140409 (WS)

Kat Arney meets volunteers trying to change the world with maps - they use their free t...

Kat Arney meets volunteers trying to change the world with maps - they use their free time to map the world's unmapped places.

2014041220140413 (WS)

Black history expert Professor Jim Walvin tells the story of the city of Manchester’s p...

Black history expert Professor Jim Walvin tells the story of the city of Manchester’s profound effect on the world.

2014061020140614 (WS)

Edward Stourton examines Vladimir Putin’s strategic vision for Eastern Europe, followin...

Edward Stourton examines Vladimir Putin’s strategic vision for Eastern Europe, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

2014061420140615 (WS)

On the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Heather Jones challenges the familiar...

On the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Heather Jones challenges the familiar image of a war centred on Northern Europe

2014061820140619 (WS)
20140621 (WS)

As many wealthy Russians settle in London, Olga Betko finds out why it has become the f...

As many wealthy Russians settle in London, Olga Betko finds out why it has become the favourite destination of Russia's elite.

2014062820140629 (WS)
20140630 (WS)

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Jonathan Agnew looks back at the rebel cricket tours to South Africa that defied the sp...

Jonathan Agnew looks back at the rebel cricket tours to South Africa that defied the sporting boycott of the Apartheid era.

2014071520140716 (WS)

Can Glaswegian native charm be given a polish in time for the Commonwealth Games? And s...

Can Glaswegian native charm be given a polish in time for the Commonwealth Games? And should it be? Aasmah Mir reports.

2014071620140717 (WS)
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Neil Kanwal traces Kenyan Asian migration to Britain, including his father's family, ac...

Neil Kanwal traces Kenyan Asian migration to Britain, including his father's family, across 3 continents and 3 generations.

2014081920140820 (WS)

Mark Mardell considers John Steinbeck's novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, and the relevance...

Mark Mardell considers John Steinbeck's novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, and the relevance of the book's themes in modern America.

2014090320140904 (WS)
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Mark Coles meets the crate diggers devoted to giving Africa's obscure musical gems a ne...

Mark Coles meets the crate diggers devoted to giving Africa's obscure musical gems a new lease of life.

2014093020141001 (WS)

The Persian Underground: Behzad Bolour talks to Iranian exiles to see how musicians bre...

The Persian Underground: Behzad Bolour talks to Iranian exiles to see how musicians break the restrictions on music in Iran.

2014100820141009 (WS)
20141011 (WS)

Kate Brian investigates why there is an increasing demand for Danish sperm donors, prod...

Kate Brian investigates why there is an increasing demand for Danish sperm donors, producing thousands of babies worldwide.

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India is falling in love with Western classical music, and Zareer Masani looks at the c...

India is falling in love with Western classical music, and Zareer Masani looks at the controversy this is causing in the country

20141104

Andriy Kravets goes on the campaign trail with Mustafa Nayyem, an Afghan refugee now st.

Andriy Kravets goes on the campaign trail with Mustafa Nayyem, an Afghan refugee now standing for Ukriane's new parliament.

20141105

Through the eyes of children caught up in Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Bobby.

Through the eyes of children caught up in Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Bobby Friction explores its implications today.

02/08/201120110807

James Reynolds profiles Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, one of the count.

09/08/201120110810

Gordon Corera tells the story of how the Americans hunted their most wanted man, from A.

19/04/201120110423
19/09/2015 Gmt2015091920150920 (WS)

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

24/05/201120110525
25/08/2015 Gmt2015082520150829 (WS)

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

26/07/201120110727
26/07/201120110730
27/03/201220120328

In Turkey every man is conscripted for military service, except homosexuals who are exe.

27/03/201220120331
A Cold War Dance20151216

How dance during the Cold War was was designed to challenge America's military image.

Dancers and crew of the Martha Graham Dance Company bring to life their US State Department sponsored tour of South East Asia in 1974.

A ‘soft power’ dance during the Cold War, the tour was designed to refute the image of Americans as military and materialistic. It was the tail end of the war in Vietnam and after Watergate. The dancers were asked to dance and deport themselves as ambassadors for another kind of America. They left for Taiwan the month Nixon left the White House.

They danced with Imelda Marcos in Manila and curtseyed to the King of Thailand in Bangkok, saw off the Bolshoi ballet in Jakarta and bats and salamanders in Rangoon. They tell of how they were transformed by their experience, but were their audiences?

Saigon was the dancers’ last stop – just six months before the US evacuation. Could Modern Dance really compensate for the USA’s military presence in South Vietnam?

Dancers with the Martha Graham Dance Company perform a scene from 'Diversions of Angels', 2007. Credit: Timothy A Cleary/AFP/Getty Images)

A Day In The Life Of An Immigration Lawyer2014081220140813 (WS)

Harjap Singh Bhangal gives advice to migrants seeking visas to work and live in Britain

Every day, from his offices in London, Birmingham and the Punjab, Harjap Singh Bhangal gives advice to migrants who are seeking visas to live and work in the UK. Harjap often advises people from India or Pakistan who have previously applied for visas, but failed many times. Some have visited other lawyers and received incorrect advice for a large fee, while others have entered the UK legally but, due to changes in circumstances, now find themselves without a long-term visa and nowhere to go.

Presenter Nihal Arthanayake spends time in Harjap’s Southall office in London where he meets three immigrants with contrasting stories. Nihal hears from one man who left India for Moscow before walking across Europe to be smuggled into the UK in a van. A woman discusses how she was invited into Britain to work as a nurse, but spent many years on several short-term visas. Finally, another woman explains how she lost her right to stay at the age of 18 having been brought to the UK as a young child by a parent.

Nihal also hears about the many other stories Harjap encounters in his job; from the fake marriage industry – including same-sex fake marriage scams – to ‘paid babies’.

Nihal Arthanayake visits a UK immigration lawyer who gives advice to migrants seeking v...

Nihal Arthanayake visits a UK immigration lawyer who gives advice to migrants seeking visas to work and live in Britain.

A Global Queen20160420

To salute the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, David Cannadine, eminent professor of History at Princeton University explores the worldwide role and significance of the British monarchy.

Starting with the Queen’s accession in 1952, he looks at Her Majesty’s many world tours to her dominions and former colonies across her reign on the British throne, and assesses her role as Head of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

However, 240 years ago, another long-reigning British monarch, George III, was having severe problems with his own world role, as sovereign of the 13 British colonies in America. They were up in arms about new taxes being imposed by the British government and the mood in the rebellious provinces was revolutionary.

David also explores his own archive of memorabilia, preserved in his Princeton home and study, of another British monarch, Queen Victoria. Victoria RI as she was proclaimed – Victoria Regina et Imperatrix (Queen and Empress) – ruled India in pomp and splendour, and in 1897 celebrated her own Diamond Jubilee in the presence of colonial representatives from all over the British Empire.

With the assistance of Princeton British colonial history specialists Martha Groppo and Adrian Young, David Cannadiine examines the very different world roles of these three very long-lived British sovereigns.

(Photo: Queen Elizabeth II after attending the Easter Mattins service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

Marking the Queen’s 90th birthday, David Cannadine assesses the British monarchy’s role

A Greek Drama20151220

This summer, as Greece and its creditors argued over the terms of a bailout, the fate of nations – and perhaps the whole European project – was held in the hands of just a few people. They met behind closed doors. There, in secrecy, they took each other, and all of us, to the very edge of the abyss.

This original drama, tells the inside story of those extraordinary months.

The astonishing inside story of the final days and hours of the Greek bailout deal.

A Home In Space20151213

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti – back on Earth after 200 days in space – tells the full story of the International Space Station.

The International Space Station, in orbit 400 km above our planet, has been continuously occupied for 15 of its 17 years in orbit. Astronauts can perform science experiments in European and Japanese laboratories, operate a Canadian robotic arm, exercise on an American treadmill and eat dinner at a Russian table. It is a place where, every day, Russia and America work together as allies.

Samantha Cristoforetti, from Italy, made the International Space Station her home between November 2014 and June 2015. In A Home in Space, she examines this international collaboration – its history, politics, tragedies and compromises – using original interviews, archive material and first-hand accounts from those who helped negotiate, build and inhabit the Space Station.

We also hear about the vision for the vast space ship, around the size of a football pitch, which is slated to be abandoned in 2024. Cristoforetti explores the possibilities of a replacement, private space stations, a Moon base or missions to Mars.

Hear from European, US and Russian astronauts as well as key figures involved in the construction of the Space Station, space historians and scientists.

A Boffin Media production for BBC World Service. Airing as part of Space Week on the BBC World Service.Image: Samantha Cristoforetti at Star City near Moscow during her training. Credit: /AFP/Getty Images

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is back on Earth after 200 days in space.

A New Ear On The Universe2015092620150927 (WS)
20150930 (WS)

Visions of the universe exert an eerie silence. But as Aleem Maqbool reveals in A New Ear on the Universe all this is set to change. Physicists are racing to develop a cosmic hearing aid which will bring us the Universe’s equivalent of sound - gravitational waves

It’s the largest lab on the surface of the planet - located in the Columbia Basin region of southeastern Washington. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, with its giant laser beam arms totalling 5 miles across the remote Hanford desert, is seeking to detect gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of space-time. First predicted by Einstein in his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves are produced by exotic events involving coalescing black holes, neutron stars and objects perhaps not yet discovered and even the remnants of gravitational radiation created by the birth of the universe. The giant lab is atmospherically set adjacent to a former nuclear reactor whose village workers have long disappeared, to be replaced by a new community of scientists.

Aleem Maqbool journeys to Hanford home to the remote LIGO observatory as, following a major upgrade, the detector completes the final trial runs as it prepares to go live. He examines the science of gravitational waves, and how it’s both an eye and an ear on the motion of distant objects. He scrutinises its cutting edge technology of almost unimaginable sensitivity to enable detection of some of the universe’s most dramatic events. And he examines the passion and the motivation of individuals who have worked for nearly three decades on a single science experiment, engaging in the stories of those who invented a whole new branch of physics in order to prove the last piece of Einstein's theory of general relativity, and to “hear? the universe in a whole new way.

With its laser beam tubes the observatory will be chasing a signal from deep space as small as a thousandth the diameter of a proton What will we expect to hear? The death cries of a supernovae? The mating calls of merging black holes?

(Photo credit: Advanced Ligo)

The hunt for gravitational waves from space as the LIGO observatory prepares to go live.

A Profile Of Aung San Suu Kyi20151110

With her party now in power in Myanmar, what does the future hold?

Known by many in her country as 'The Lady', Aung San Suu Kyi has become one of the world's most famous female politicians. And yet she has never exercised any power in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, until now.

Aung San Suu Kyi's political career, which began dramatically with the failed uprising of 1988, has been shaped by the memory of her father, General Aung San, who is regarded as the founder of modern Burma. Her life has been marked by loss: her father was assassinated when she was two, her older brother died six years later and her British husband, Michael Aris, died when she was under house arrest. How has Aung San Suu Kyi remained committed to her struggle to bring democracy to the country?

Presenter: Mark Coles

Producers: Peter Snowdon and Katie Inman

Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition politician, chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, arrives at the polling station to cast vote on November 8, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)

A Song For Syria2016122520161228 (WS)

Since war broke out in Syria over a million people have sought refuge in Lebanon - a small country of just over 4 million people. The reporter Lina Sinjab left her home in Damascus in 2013 to live in Beirut, and for her, as for so many Syrians, the poignant music of home has become a crucial source of comfort and resilience. As the war drags on, music and songs provide a strong link to the past and hope for the future.

Lina joins refugee musicians across Lebanon and hears how their music is one of the few things they were able to bring with them. In the Bekaa Valley, close to the border with Syria, she meets an oud player, a percussionist and a piper who arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their precious instruments. And she visits a refugee youth choir who have found new joy and hope by singing with others who have been uprooted from their homes.

In Beirut, the Oumi ensemble use music as a counter to religious extremism, taking their inspiration from the peace-loving Sufi poet Mansur Al-Hallaj. The arrival of Syrian musicians has also had a big impact on the cultural scene in Lebanon, and Lina discovers how this has inspired bands and artists in the capital.

Image: Ahmad Turkmany who plays the Mizmar, Credit: Just Radio Ltd

How music has become a crucial source of comfort and resilience for refugees in Lebanon

Lina Sinjab reveals how music is vital to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

A Swedish Tale2016032220160326 (WS)

Sweden received more asylum seekers per capita than any other country last year. But an open borders policy was slowly rowed back as accommodation started to run out and the authorities struggled to cope with the arrival of so many newcomers. It is not just cities like Stockholm and Malmo that have seen an influx of newcomers.

Ånge is a community of 9,000 people in the north of Sweden which is now home to 1,000 asylum seekers. An hour's drive away from the nearest big city, it is a place of picturesque natural beauty, but where in winter the sun sets as early as 2.30 in the afternoon and temperatures can plunge to as low as -30C. Keith Moore spends time in the community with locals and asylum seekers as they get used to the each other and to their new lives.

(Photo: Refugee women take pictures by the sea in Kladesholmen, Sweden, 2016. Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)

How the northern Swedish town of Ånge is learning to live with 1,000 asylum seekers

A Tale Of Two Theatres2014073020140731 (WS)
20140802 (WS)

Istanbul-born former DJ, Mehmet Ergen became the toast of London's theatre scene by creating venues- and careers- from scratch. In 2000 he transformed a derelict clothing factory in Dalston into a destination venue. Not content to run 'a powerhouse of new work' in his adopted city, he later opened its opposite number back in his hometown.

Tensions have been rising in Turkey between artists and politicians ever since the prime minister's daughter was mocked on stage, allegedly for wearing a headscarf to the Ankara State Theatre in 2011. In 2012, a performance of Chilean play Secret Obscenities was censored by Istanbul's Mayor Kadir Topbas. Prime Minister Erdogan then threatened to withdraw subsidies of up to 140 million Turkish Lira from approximately 50 venues, employing roughly 1500 actors, directors and technicians. Although wholesale privatisation has yet to be enacted, theatre companies openly opposed to Government tactics during 2013's Gezi Park protests promptly had their funding withdrawn.

Entrepreneurial expat Mehmet Ergen acts as our guide to this politically charged arts scene, as he negotiates national and cultural borders to stage work that is as unpretentious as it is provocative.

(Photo: Theatre actors and staff protest in front of the Culture and Tourism Ministry in Ankara. Placard reads: 'We will not allow places of art be closed!' Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

A guide through the politically charged arts scene of Turkey

A Tempest In Rio2016071920160723 (WS)

Shakespeare's plays appeal to Brazilians for their mix of sex, politics and intrigue

On the eve of the Olympics, Shakespeare’s mix of sex, politics and intrigue plays out in Rio. 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, his plays have come to Brazil and are being played to packed houses in front of enthralled audiences who respond instinctively to their passionate mix of political corruption, violence, sex, death and the supernatural.

This summer, a unique collaboration between international directors, academics and Brazilian actors has brought one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, The Tempest – in which he writes about the ‘brave new world’ of the Americas – to Rio de Janeiro.

This programme hears from Suellen Carvalho, who will play Miranda in The Tempest. High in the hills overlooking Copacabana she explains how she turned her back on the drug gangs to take up Shakespearean acting. Her brother was killed in gang warfare and so her family has suffered from the violence that plagues the city of Rio. It was Shakespeare that helped her escape. “I thought the language of Shakespeare was very difficult at first?, she says, “But when I heard Shakespeare being spoken by black actors from the favelas (shanty towns) of Rio then it’s another language. I thought, I can do that too.?

For Suellen it has been an extraordinary journey. As a black actress she had no hope of playing the part that she saw as exclusively for white performers. “When I was told I would play Miranda I was amazed! Black actors in Brazil are normally given the roles of the house servant, prostitute or drug dealer.?

Presented by Professor Jerry Brotton, Queen Mary College, University of London

Image: Suellen Carvalho, Credit: Mark Rickards

Across Jamaica's Gay Divide2013110920131110 (WS)

Psychologist Dr Keon West assesses the campaigns for and against homosexuality in Jamaica

The social psychologist Dr Keon West returns to his native Jamaica to assess the state of the country’s gay rights and anti-homosexuality movements. Gay rights activists made the first legal challenge in Jamaica's history earlier this year, appealing for the so-called ‘buggery law’ to be re-assessed. The law, which is a colonial legacy prohibiting certain sexual acts, is the focus of much controversy in Jamaica and at its heart is the question of whether or not homosexuality is culturally or even morally acceptable.

From a group of activists standing silently promoting gay tolerance, to a march that calls for sexual purity, including maintaining of the Buggery Law, West speaks to both sides, asking if attitudes are now inexorably changing. The Christian tradition of Jamaica is central to this debate, where Biblical interpretation underpins many of the arguments against homosexual behaviour.

With contributions from the pastor Reverend Lenworth Anglin, the prominent Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson and Rastafarian poet Mutabaruka, West considers what it is like to be a gay person in Jamaica from day-to-day, when many consider this ‘lifestyle’ to be un-Jamaican by its very nature.

(Photo: The riverside bar where Jamaican teenager Dwayne Jones attended a dance party and was murdered by a mob. Credit: Associated Press)

Across Jamaica's Gay Divide - Part One2013110920131110 (WS)

Psychologist Dr Keon West assesses the campaigns for and against homosexuality in Jamaica

Social psychologist Dr. Keon West assesses the state of his native Jamaica's gay rights...

Social psychologist Dr. Keon West assesses the state of his native Jamaica's gay rights and anti-homosexuality movements.

Adelia Prado - Voice Of Brazil20160810

Poet Adélia Prado has shunned the spotlight since her discovery in 1976 – then a 40-year-old mother of five. Her literary career was launched by Brazil's foremost modern poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, with the announcement that St Francis was dictating verses to a housewife in the backwaters of the interior state of Minas Gerais.

She writes about the transcendent in ordinary life, of how the human experience is both mystical and carnal. Now aged 80, her sensual, devout, sometimes provocative poetry is read and admired around the world.

In the company of her long-time translator and fellow poet Ellen Doré Watson, Adélia Prado invites us into her home to talk about her life and work.

Picture: Adelia Prado, Credit: Eve Streeter

Her sensual, devout, sometimes provocative poetry is read and admired around the world

Afghanistan Death Lists2014080620140809 (WS)

David Loyn investigates how a lost document is helping Afghanistan come to terms with its painful past.

It revolves around the lesser-known moment when Afghanistan began to fall apart - 1978, a year before the Soviet invasion. It's lesser-known, partly because the world wasn't really paying attention but also because evidence of state murder and disappearance was covered up after the so-called Saur Revolution.

But now, a war crimes trial in the Netherlands has unearthed a list of 5,000 prisoners detained, tortured and killed by the radical communist regime in 1978 - 79. This "Death List" has fewer than half the total number of people unaccounted for during that period but it has finally given some families of the disappeared confirmation of the fate of their loved ones, and allowed them to mourn. The reverberations of this are being felt strongly in Afghanistan.

Image: Kabul citizens reading newspapers during the period of the communist regime. Credit: Getty

A list of people killed by the authorities in Afghanistan has been unearthed

African Books To Inspire20161102

Which African books deserve a wider audience?

A panel of writers talk to Audrey Brown about the African books which have had the biggest impact on them, their writing and the wider world. What makes a great book? Which African books deserve a wider audience? What is the power of reading to influence both the personal and the political?

On the panel are black British rapper-poet Akala; Abdilatif Abdalla, the Kenyan poet and activist; Nigerian novelist Sarah Ladipo Manyika; and Yewande Omotoso, South African poet and academic.

(Photo: Clockwise from top left - Akala, Yewande Omotoso, Abdilatif Abdalla and Sarah Ladipo Manyika. All images courtesy of the Royal African Society)

African Perspective: Living On Death2012070320120704

Two mortuary attendants in Zambia discuss their work and the stigma they must deal with.

They are some of Zambia’s most courageous workers, quietly getting on with their job - a job which is shunned by most of their compatriots.

Meet Mwanza and Kapemba, two mortuary attendants working in Lusaka.

In this programme, they reveal what their work entails, but also what it feels like to deal with the stigma they face. In Zambia, strong cultural beliefs mean that they are feared and avoided by family members and neighbours.

(Image: A funeral in Lusaka, Africa)

Africans In The Holy Land2014041920140420 (WS)

Paul Bakibinga travels to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to explore the lives and experiences of people from three different African communities.

Mahmoud Salamat takes Paul around the narrow alleyways of the old city of Jerusalem to the hidden African quarter and introduces a small but close-knit community, who are descendants of Muslim pilgrims or soldiers who came to the Holy Land during the time of the British Mandate.

Paul also explores the experiences of different Ethiopian Jews who have returned to their ancient homeland, including rising star musician Ester Rada.

And he spends time in South Tel Aviv, where the bulk of African asylum-seekers live – stuck in a legal limbo amid growing hostility from politicians and local residents. The state cannot deport them – but neither will it grant them refugee status.

Picture: A 'Kess', a leader of the Ethiopian Jewish community, Credit: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

Paul Bakibinga travels to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to explore the lives and experiences o...

Paul Bakibinga travels to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to explore the lives and experiences of people from three different communities

Ageing And Caring20131013

As the global population ages is it time for a re-think about how we view old people?

We are all getting older and the United Nations predicts that by 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more old people alive than young. So how are people in the 21st century experiencing old age? As the global population ages, is it time for a radical re-think about how we view old people? Ruth Brook is a psychotherapist, she is about to retire and she is in her 80s. In this programme “Ageing and Caring”, Ruth shares her thoughts on four very different stories of growing older and on how the world cares about ageing.

As the global population ages, is it time for a radical re-think about how we view old.

As the global population ages, is it time for a radical re-think about how we view old people?

Ahmadinejad: The Populist And The Pariah2013060420130605 (WS)
20130609 (WS)

The rise - and legacy - of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Devil or Popular Hero? As President Ahmadinejad steps down, we assess his legacy. Since his election in 2005, Mr Ahmadinejad has challenged his country’s Supreme Leader and goaded the United States. He has become perhaps the most well-known Iranian politician since the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini. This documentary looks at the rise of Ahmadinejad and explains how this provincial politician with a PhD in traffic management came to take on his country’s ruling clerics.

(Image: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

All That Stands In The Way - The Debate2014052420140525 (WS)

Gender inequality, sexism and balancing traditional attitudes with modern ambitions

Ros Atkins brings three teenage girls from ‘All that Stands in The Way’ together in New York City with two other girls, for a unique debate on gender inequality. The group, which includes girls from London, Lesotho and Iceland meet media star Tina Brown and delegates at the Women in the World summit, for a conversation ranging from everyday sexism to the problems of balancing traditional attitudes with modern ambitions.

All That Stands In The Way - The Girls2014052020140521 (WS)
20140524 (WS)

The four teenage girls from the BBC World Service programme All That Stands In The Way, meet for the very first time. Lulu from London, Shoeshoe from Lesotho, Vigdis from Iceland and Mira from Jordan discuss their reaction to seeing each other’s lives and experiences depicted on the BBC. What has made them question their choices and freedoms and how do they see gender equality as they stand on the threshold of adulthood?

(Photo: From top-left clockwise, Shoeshoe from Lesotho, Vigdis from Iceland and Mira from Jordan and Lulu from London)

Four teenage girls, who featured in the BBC World Service programme "All that Stands in...

Four teenage girls, who featured in the BBC World Service programme "All that Stands in the Way", meet for the first time.

All That Stands In The Way - The Parents2014052120140522 (WS)
20140524 (WS)

The parents of four teenage girls in the BBC World Service programme All That Stands In The Way, meet and talk for the first time. What did they think of the freedoms and limits to each girl’s life and has the documentary made them reconsider their views on trust, discipline, relationships and fashion. As their children reach adulthood and independence what do they think of gender equality and their daughter’s chance in the modern world?

The parents of the four teenage girls from the BBC's "All That Stands in the Way" meet...

The parents of the four teenage girls from the BBC's "All That Stands in the Way" meet and discuss their daughters' experiences.

Amerasians - Children Of The Dust20150819

Trista Goldberg looks at the story of Vietnamese Amerasians - children fathered by Amer.

The unique story of Vietnamese Amerasians is shaped by hardship, rejection and courage. Born of relationships between Vietnamese women and American servicemen during the Vietnam War, many were simply abandoned and left to fend for themselves when the conflict ended by mothers fearful of retaliation from a victorious Communist government. A great number were lost to illness and malnutrition in those challenging post-war years and those who survived were widely ostracized by a society still coming to terms with the war.

Trista Goldberg was one of a minority who managed to escape the country as a baby and was raised by an adopted family in the U.S. In both America and Vietnam she discovers how Amerasians have survived in the forty years since the end of the war.

(Photo Credit:Trista Goldberg)

America's Independent Voters2016062820160702 (WS)
20160703 (WS)

What motivates Ohio's volatile 'independent' voters who are not Democrats or Republicans?

America is in the middle of its most volatile presidential election season in half a century. The traditional political parties are being shaken to the core by voters who are not necessarily Democrats or Republicans, so called 'independent' voters. So far independents have led to the polarising figure of Donald Trump gaining the Republican nomination and the unlikely figure of Bernie Sanders leading a serious challenge to the Democrats', HIllary Clinton.

What might the independents do next?

Michael Goldfarb travels to the key state of Ohio - a state that has voted for every presidential winner over the last 50 years - to meet with independent voters. He explores the anger that is motivating independents this year. He places their views in the deeper historical context of changes in American society - changes that have hit Ohio hard.

(Photo: Voters go to the polls for the Ohio primary at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer March 15, 2016 in Cincinnati. Credit: ohn Sommers II/Getty Images)

An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth20140101

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in Space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, been confronted by a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and became a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie's Space Oddity in space.

The secret to Chris Hadfield's success and survival is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA - prepare for the worst, and enjoy every moment of it.

Read by Garrick Hagon.

An Eton Experience20160309

Each year some of the poorest pupils in the country enter the hallowed corridors of Eton on full scholarships. Penny Marshall meets some of those applying for places and follows them and those they inspire as they prepare for exams that could change the course of their lives.

Andrew Isama reflects on the move from one of Liverpool’s toughest comprehensives to the cobbled square, 15th century chapel and Olympic rowing lake at Eton. He says that preconceptions about the school get turned on their head when scholarship pupils like him arrive. Far from being with boys who eat pate and listen to classical music he was surprised to find out just how normal his fellow pupils were: “People had the same interests as me.?

The Headmaster at Eton, Simon Henderson, wants more bursaries for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, so that anyone with the necessary talent can be financially supported at the £35,000-a-year school. Penny joins him and some of the pupils to find out what they hope to gain from the experience. The transition can be a difficult one and some struggle with the move to an institution which has educated 19 British prime ministers, including the present incumbent.

But Andrew Isama believes that the influx of scholarship pupils like him also helps those who have come from privileged backgrounds - “A lot of them have never been exposed to anything else. They want to be successful but to do that they have to know how to get on with a range of people.?

(Photo: Scholars at Eton College have lunch in their house dining room. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Image)

Each year some of the poorest pupils in Britain enter Eton school on full scholarships

An Interview With Edward Snowden20151010

After three months Peter Taylor managed to secure an interview with Edward Snowden, the US national security whistle blower. He was eventually told to send an SMS with the number of his Moscow hotel room and wait for a knock on the door. The knock, to his relief, came on time. Snowden was offered asylum in Russia two years ago. He says he has been in negotiation with the American authorities and is prepared to go to jail, but expresses no regret for revealing to journalists details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence and their British counterparts. He denies that he is a traitor and asks who has caused more damage – himself or those conducting what he says were unlawful programs. The US Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Snowden, accusing him of espionage and theft of government property.

(Photo: Edward Snowden. Credit: Reuters)

Argentina’s Playlist For Freedom2014092320140924 (WS)

Natalio Cosoy of BBC Mundo, reports on his 30-something generation growing up in the shadow of the violence of military rule in the 1970s and 1980s. He talks to musicians, friends and the half-brothers whose left-wing militant parents were killed by the military. It is a story of survival and the music that helped them and the country forge a new Argentine identity.

Argentina’s Rock and Roll: Natalio Cosoy reports on his generation growing up in the sh...

Argentina’s Rock and Roll: Natalio Cosoy reports on his generation growing up in the shadow of military rule.

At The End Of Death Row2014072220140723 (WS)

Following recent botched executions, what is the future of the death penalty in the US?

Following recent botched executions in several states, Rajini Vaidyanathan asks whether the future of the death penalty in the US is itself now in question. She travels to Tennessee to investigate how the case of one death row inmate started a legal process which has created a severe shortage of drugs for lethal injections – making the death penalty more difficult, expensive and legally complex to carry out across the country.

What might come next if the drug shortage becomes worse? Tennessee state legislators recently passed a bill replacing lethal injection with the electric chair if drugs cannot be found, while other states have moved to hide their suppliers and diversify their supplies.

Rajini also speaks to death penalty supporters, and a new breed of opponents, about how they are trying to change the political debate around the death penalty. Is it possible that the United States could give up on the death penalty?

(Photo: The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Credit: AP)

Atlantic Crossing2014083020140831 (WS)

Air traffic controllers have guided trans-Atlantic flights since 1919

When Christine Finn's in-flight entertainment was accidentally tuned to cockpit radio on a transatlantic flight, the voice of air traffic control as they reached Irish airspace seemed to be welcoming her as well as the pilot.

As a creative archaeologist, she wanted to unravel the connections between those who fly the Atlantic and those who guide them safely over, especially when she discovered that datalink - effectively text messaging - is increasingly being used, so that voice communication is on the wane.

Listening to archive of transatlantic flights from the first by Alcock and Brown in 1919, Christine discovered that the west coast of Ireland looms large in the history. She visited Shannon airport in County Clare, scene of many departures and reunions and - in the 1950s and 1960s - before the advent of the jet engine, a stop-over for most of the popular icons of the day as their planes re-fuelled after the 3000 mile flight. Every US president since JFK has visited Shannon and many of its classic stars from Marilyn Monroe to Fred Astaire.

And at the North Atlantic Communications Centre in nearby Ballygirreen, Christine met the faces behind the voices she heard coming out of the dark on her own Atlantic Crossing.

Picture: Shannon Airport, 1950. Credit: Clarke/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Bangalore's New Beat2014053120140601 (WS)

How young India is expressing itself in the rise in independent music and festivals

Bobby Friction traces how young people in India are expressing themselves through music and the massive rise in independent music and festivals. Recorded on location at NH7 in Bangalore, India’s Glastonbury.

Indian culture is changing rapidly and with the rise of a young middle class population who are having a new voice, disposable income and want a say in their futures, changes in music culture are reflecting this. They are moving away from their parents’ perspective - a culture where Bollywood music dominates. They are moving away too from Western dominated music to create something fresh. India has seen a massive rise in home grown rock, indie, electronica and even reggae, fusing Indian music with Western influences. We ask if these changes have caused tensions between the generations.

British DJ Bobby Friction, who regularly plays at India’s clubs and at festivals speaks to musicians, music producers, festival goers and organisers, to find out how the youth movement is reflecting cultural changes in India. With the narrative of Bangalore’s NH7 Festival as the back-drop, Bobby sees a buoyant and confident new sector of India’s youth who are expressing themselves as independent global citizens.

Interviews include NH7 founders Vijay Nair and Stephen Budd (the man behind Africa Express) who wanted to alter the idea of only having the likes of Sting and Simply Red visiting India. We also speak to Indian superstar Kailash Kher, Indian electronica band Shaa’ir and Func and music producer Miti Adhikari.

Picture: Bobby Friction at NH7

Bank Account Bans2015081120150815 (WS)

Why has one of the world’s largest banks, HSBC, closed the accounts of a number of British Muslim individuals and charities? The account holders were told only that the bank did not have the "risk appetite? to handle their money.

Could the mysterious closure of these accounts have anything to do with the links some of their holders have to the Muslim Brotherhood movement or to charities working in Gaza? Did any government influence the bank’s decision?

Journalist Peter Oborne knows some of the account holders affected. In this programme he investigates why the HSBC decided it no longer wanted them as customers.

(Image: Peter Oborne)

Why did HSBC close the accounts of a number of British Muslim individuals and charities?

Batman And Ethan2016031520160316 (WS)
20160319 (WS)

The 10-year-old blind boy and gifted musician, learning echolocation from Daniel Kish

Ethan was born blind. He is now a 10-year-old boy who collects sounds on his 51 dictaphones, composes music, and performs on stage in concerts. Until now he has been home-schooled, but last year he was offered a place at St Mary's Music School in Scotland - one of the best in the country. The problem is he struggles to get around.

This is where Batman comes in. His real name is Daniel Kish and like Ethan he is blind. He is a master of echolocation. He makes clicking noises - like a bat - to build a picture of the world around him. Neuroscientists have done experiments on him and found that he has managed to activate the visual part of his brain. He has taught people all over the world to "see through sound" and he is so good at it that he goes hiking, cycling and rock-climbing.

"Batman" (Daniel) comes to Scotland to spend 10 days with Ethan, to teach him echolocation and help him prepare for his new school. The BBC's Helena Merriman follows Ethan's progress as he learns from Daniel Kish. Listeners are introduced to the principles of echolocation, they follow Ethan practising at home, on the train and at his new school. They are brought into Ethan's world, through music composed specially by Ethan, and they are with him on his birthday, on long walks in the Scottish hills, right through to his experience at school.

We follow Ethan up to his final day of term to find out how he has done, and see how he copes with his biggest challenge yet - playing an accordion solo with the orchestra at the school concert.

*This programme was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4*

(Photo: Ethan (left) and (right) Daniel Kish)

Bbc School Report: Destination Hamburg20160310

Hamburg now has 39,000 refugees living in and around the city. The city's government expects that figure to double by the end of this year. The influx of people is the topic of conversation in the city, and one which is followed by all ages. Each year the BBC recruits young people to tell the stories of interest to their community. This year we have a special documentary made by the students of Helene-Lange Gymnasium, a bi-lingual secondary school, in Hamburg. They chose to investigate how Migration was changing their home town. For BBC News School Report, School Reporter Cathleen, who is 15, takes us on a tour of her city to meet politicians, townspeople and the new migrants as they make Hamburg home.

(Photo: Christoph Barthe, AfD Chairman in Eimsbuettel, Hamburg with his students and two school reporters from Helene-Lange Gymnasium. Credit: BBC)

Betty In The Sky With A Suitcase2013101520131016 (WS)
20131019 (WS)
20131020 (WS)

Insight into the airline industry with air hostess Betty Thesky

“Anything that can happen on earth, at some point happens in the sky.”

Betty Thesky (not her real name) has worked as a flight attendant for the past 25 years. It was always her dream job, as the ‘golden ticket’ of free flight allowed her to escape her humble beginnings in Pennsylvania and see the world in style. She’s lost count of the number of countries she’s visited, but she’s lost none of the wide-eyed wonder that originally fuelled her desire to travel.

An average day at work can see her meeting and greeting nearly 1,000 people, all travelling for different reasons, and all with different needs, wants and personalities. On the whole, she finds people a delight – but despairs when someone will interrupt an on-board medical emergency to ask her for a diet coke or an extra pat of butter.

But what’s it really like to travel so far, so often? Does the glamour of Paris fade after your 20th visit? How do you spend your leisure time in Dublin when you only have five hours free? Can you really get to know a place when you’re picked up from the airport, ferried to an anonymous hotel, and then whisked back to the airport the next morning?

Betty’s industry has changed too. Flight attendants are trained more in sales now than in service. Passengers, in turn, have become somewhat immune to the ‘miracle’ of flight – and act and dress accordingly. Betty misses the ‘golden era’ of airline travel, when becoming a stewardess was a true aspiration.

Yet despite the often mundane routine, and in spite of everything the passengers throw at her, Betty insists that she never entirely feels at home unless she’s 35,000 feet in the air.

In “Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase”, we join Betty as she travels to London, Brussels and Barcelona.

Air hostess Betty Thesky shares the weird, wonderful, and wacky things that happen on a...

Air hostess Betty Thesky shares the weird, wonderful, and wacky things that happen on a plane at 35,000 feet.

Beyond Binary2016042420160427 (WS)
20160428 (WS)

Stories from people who identify as ‘non-binary’ – not male, not female

In communities around the globe, non-binary people are rejecting the categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’, and attempting to redefine gender identity. Queer, gender-queer, gender-fluid, gender-variant, third gender – these are all terms non-binary people use to describe themselves.

In Beyond Binary, for the Identity Season on the BBC World Service, Linda Pressly hears stories from activists who are part of this contemporary movement, and from those simply trying to live free from the constraints of the expectations of gender. And she travels to Thailand and Canada to find out more about gender non-conformers in ancient cultures.

Beyond The Pitch20170107

Farayi Mungazi hears dramatic, funny and poignant tales exploring how Africa’s football and politics are bedfellows.

Black Lives Matter: The Story Of A Slogan2016013120160203 (WS)

Can the Black Lives Matter movement change America?

Can the Black Lives Matter movement change America? It has become a familiar pattern over the last 18 months, in cities across the United States. An African-American is killed by police. News crews descend on the city. Protests break out - occasionally leading to arrests, or riots. And online, one phrase trends - 'Black Lives Matter'.

The slogan was coined after a jury acquitted a Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, of the murder of black teenager Treyvon Martin. It was a polarising decision, and young activists were so upset about the verdict that their heartfelt Facebook posts and tweets became the basis of a grassroots movement. But it was events in Ferguson, Missouri which turned those words into a worldwide rallying cry.

Activists poured in to protest the shooting death of Mike Brown. The events of one day in August 2014 are among the most disputed in recent American history. A federal investigation found no grounds to press charges against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, but many people refuse to accept its conclusions, and a separate report did find systemic abuse of the civil rights of black people by local police. Mike Brown’s father tells us he’s heartened by the reaction to his son’s death hopeful that his son’s death will lead to change in America.

Although the protests in Ferguson led to violence - both police and protesters point the finger at the other side for causing it - it also thrust the slogan 'Black Lives Matter' into the spotlight. Activists returned to their home towns with a renewed sense of purpose. The movement has picked up steam with every report of a police shooting, or death in police custody, and many are trying to broaden the agenda to include education, economics, and politics – all of which, they say, are affected by the lingering effects of slavery and racism in America today.

It’s often been controversial – many are opposed to the movement, and they have their own hash tags: 'All Lives Matter' and the pro-police 'BlueLivesMatter'. Some law enforcement officials blame the movement for what’s called the “Ferguson effect? – where cops are holding back for fear of being accused of being racist. They say it’s hurting their ability to fight crime.

Within the movement itself, there are broad areas of consensus but also disagreements about tactics and goals. Some believe in working within the political system – raising money, meeting with police and politicians and devoting energy to conventional politics. Others believe the activism should stay staunchly outside the system, and concentrate on community organising, confrontational protest and civil disobedience.

Mukul Devichand and Mike Wendling have been traveling around the United States, talking to Black Lives Matter activists, the parents of young black men shot by police, civil rights elders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and police officials. In an election year that will be crucial to the country’s future, can Black Lives Matter change America?

(Photo: People march at a Black Lives Matter protest on Black Friday in Seattle, Washington, 2015. Credit: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images)

Black, White And Beethoven20160615

Why is the UK's classical music scene so resolutely white, and how might it evolve?

Britain's music scene today is a rich, multi-cultural feast that draws on talent from all corners of society. Unless, that is, your passion is classical music. In Britain, and across Europe, performers, composers, teachers and institutions remain resolutely, predominantly white.

Why should this be, and is this a concern? Many believe steps to redress this imbalance are now long overdue, and that urgent action is required. But what should these actions be, and would they be successful?

Chi-chi Nwanoku and members of her Chineke! Orchestra, Europe's first professional Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra, talk about their lives in classical music. We also hear from other Black classical musicians about the circumstances of their work.

Joseph Harker explores these issues - taking stock of where we are, and exploring some ideas that could help classical music to engage and reflect the full diversity of contemporary society.

(Photo: Members of the BBC Symphony Chorus perform during the last night of the Proms at The Royal Albert Hall, 12 Sept 2015. Credit: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

Bob Dylan - In So Many Words2016121120161214 (WS)

The lyrics of the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize winner

Marco Werman explores what makes the lyrics of Bob Dylan worthy of a Nobel Prize?

In typical mercurial fashion, Bob Dylan has turned down the offer to go to Sweden this week to pick up his Nobel Prize for Literature. Instead a speech he has written will be read out and Patti Smith will perform in his stead.

Marco Werman speaks to people who know Dylan, have worked with him and to those who have simply observed his topsy-turvy career to find out why the musician’s lyrics have such resonance.

Why has Dylan become the first songwriter to win such a prestigious award?

Writers deconstruct the verse of some of the most famous songs that have become worldwide soundtracks and discuss whether Dylan is a poet following the grand tradition.

Contributors include Pulitzer Prize winning poet and literature professor Rae Armantrout, Richard Thomas, Classics professor at Harvard University, the Lebanese American novelist Rabih Alemeddine, and Dylan authors Howard Sounes and Sid Griffin.

(Photo: US legend Bob Dylan performs on stage at a music festival in Carhaix-Plouguer, western France. Credit Getty Images)

Bombay Jazz2014070920140710 (WS)
20140712 (WS)

Sarfraz Manzoor explores a fascinating period of music history in India when American violinist Leon Abbey brought his jazz band to Bombay in the 1930's, leaving behind an incredible legacy.

The early years of jazz calls to mind places such as New Orleans, Chicago and Paris. What is often overlooked is that the Indian city of Bombay, now Mumbai, had its very own thriving jazz scene in the 1930's that lasted three decades.

Manzoor charts the extraordinary story of jazz in India when some of the world's most accomplished musicians including Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong brought their talents to the east and mixed with performers such as Chic Chocolate, Micky Correa, Teddy Weatherford and Frank Fernand - all regarded in India today as jazz legends. This cultural exchange produced music that wove threads into Bombay's story. These threads would later become inextricably a part of the city's own definitive creation - Bollywood, and its music in particular.

Manzoor travels to Mumbai to visit Naresh Fernandes author of the critically acclaimed book The Taj Mahal Foxtrot. He meets with musicians and singers, the widow of Micky Correa and the daughters of Chic Chocolate and explores the development of jazz with saxophonist Braz Gonsalves, the first man to play Be-Bop in India. His journey ends in Goa, now regarded as the new 'jazz capital of India' by music promoter Colin D'Cruz.

(Photo: Leon Abbey and his band. From Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay's Jazz Age, courtesy of Roli Books)

Sarfraz Manzoor explores a fascinating period of music history, when a thriving jazz sc...

Sarfraz Manzoor explores a fascinating period of music history, when a thriving jazz scene grew in Bombay in the 1930s.

Boy For Rent2014011120140112 (WS)

Exploring the surprisingly professional world of male sex workers in London.

Prostitution is regarded as the world’s oldest profession – one that has traditionally been the domain of women. Today, it is common to also find men selling sexual services - particularly gay men - and rather than a job they have been forced into, for many it is viewed as a legitimate career choice.

As both a leading financial centre and tourist destination, London is seen by many male escorts as the number one place to ply their trade. BBC reporter Mobeen Azhar meets up with men from countries such as Brazil, France and Australia, who have come to the city to cash-in on the high demand for their services.

He discovers a surprisingly professional world where escorts, as they prefer to be known, talk about their ‘brand’ and their role as ‘service providers’ - business savvy which can earn them thousands of dollars a week. He also meets men who use their services, asking why in an age where sex is seemingly so freely available, do they feel the need to pay for it?

While the internet has modernised the old ‘rent boy’ scene where young men would solicit on the streets - making the job significantly safer - escorts still face risks such as sexually transmitted diseases, violent clients and the potential battle with personal demons over what their job entails. The programme also speaks to men who are caught in a cycle of selling sex to fund their drug addiction - an addiction which began in order to cope with the self-loathing which came from selling sex for a living.

However, sexual health charities explain how these negative experiences are not typical for most of the male sex workers in London – the majority are in control, calling the shots, and selling sex out of personal choice. But while many of these young men are content with their career – proud, even - is society ready to accept them? Or will the stigma of selling sex for a living still remain for years to come?

Reporter: Mobeen Azhar

Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith

Brazil: Confronting The Past20140325

Fifty years after the coup, Brazil is dealing with the legacy of its long dictatorship.

Singer and reporter Monica Vasconcelos returns to her native Brazil as the country faces up to its dark past, fifty years after the military coup and ensuing dictatorship. Her journey was prompted by the novel 'K' by Brazilian writer Bernardo Kucinski. The book is about the disappearance of his late sister who was tortured and killed by the dictatorship. And what about Monica's own family's past? For the first time, she now asks her father questions about the years of repression. But why is he still afraid, even now?

Monica also meets some of the people who are now tackling the legacy of the dictatorship. People like the psychoanalyst who runs therapy sessions for victims of torture; the head of the Sao Paulo Truth Commission; a member of a group of activists who go and 'out' former agents of the repression, by telling their neighbours about their past.

Thanks to an amnesty law from 1979, no one has gone to prison for the human rights abuses committed during the dark years. And not everyone thinks the dictatorship was wrong. Monica goes and meets a Brigadier General who defends the coup as a legitimate way to stop Communism during the Cold War. Killings and torture were necessary methods to "eliminate the enemy" and win this war, he says.

Presenter: Monica Vasconcelos

Producer: Arlene Gregorius

The book 'K' by Bernardo Kucinski is published in English by the Latin America Bureau, translated by Sue Branford.

The song 'Aparecida', composed by Ivan Lins with lyrics by Mauricio Tapajos, is performed by Monica Vasconcelos. Guitar by Swami Jr. Translation of the lyrics by David Treece.

Other music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, performed by pianist Clelia Iruzun.

Brexit By Interrail20161112

What deal will the EU offer Britain as it departs?

What kind of deal will the EU offer Britain as it departs? Politics professor Anand Menon investigates by hitting the rail tracks to visit four European nations facing elections over the next year. He followed the Interrail route - the discount train ticket allowing young people unlimited train travel across the continent for a set period.

While British ministers squabble over what they want for a post-Brexit UK, little attention is paid to the other 27 countries in the negotiations. Each can veto any long-term deal between Britain and the European Union. And each, critically, has its own politics to worry about.

Professor Menon visits the Netherlands, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, all countries where politicians will face their electorates. What forces will decide their political survival? And how will those forces shape the EU's future relationship with the UK?

(Photo: Anand Menon on his Interrail trip across Europe. Credit: BBC)

Burn Slush! The Reindeer Grand Prix2016122020161225 (WS)

Competitive reindeer-racing is a popular sport across the Arctic Circle. In Finland, the season runs from November to April and good jockeys are local celebrities. They need strong biceps and serious guts: strapped onto cross-country skis they're hauled behind reindeer at up to 60km/hour. Meanwhile, the animals are trained to peak fitness. Owners give their reindeer massages and whisper last minute instructions in their ears.

Cathy FitzGerald travels to the snowy north of Finland to find out more about the sport. She visits the little town of Inari, where the cappuccinos come with tiny antlers sketched in the foam and the local bar (PaPaNa, ‘The Reindeer Dropping’) serves pizza topped with bear salami. Each year, the top 24 fastest reindeer compete here to be crowned: The Reindeer King. They fly around a two-kilometre race track carved on the surface of icy Lake Inari to the cheers of hundreds of spectators.

There’s a social side to the competition, of course: a winter village grows up around the track, where herders can browse for cow-bells, snow-mobiles and fox-fur hats. And at night, there’s dancing under the northern lights at Hotel Kultahovi, where Eero Magga croons his big hit, ‘Poromiehen Suudelma’ – ‘The Reindeer Herder’s Kiss’ – to an appreciative reindeer-racing crowd.

Picture: Competitors and their reindeer set off across the snow, Credit: Kirsten Foster

Candela: The Lives Of Cuban Women20161123

Five ordinary Cuban women on their lives, their passions and their struggles

From a Bolero concert to a cancer ward, and from the apartment of a guy who helps Cubans get foreign visas to an Afro-Cuban Santeria ceremony, reporter Deepa Fernandes finds out how ordinary Cuban women have lived, loved and invented their way through dwindling resources and political isolation.

Two decades ago reporter Deepa Fernandes spent a year in Havana. What she learned by living amongst Cubans ended up in an hour-long radio documentary for ABC Radio National. It was the stories of diverse Cuban women that delved deep into the life and culture of a largely unknown people.

Twenty years later Deepa Fernandes want back to find the women, and see how they, and Cuba, have progressed. Five of the women in the original documentary tell a rich and vibrant story of Cuba today, Cuba yesterday, and looks ahead to Cuba’s future.

(Photo: Norma Guillard)

Cassandro - Queen Of Lucha Libre2016020920160213 (WS)

Mexican wrestler Cassandro performs in drag and is challenging ideas of masculinity

Cassandro is no ordinary Mexican wrestler. He is an exotico - or drag queen - who wears long Liberace gowns, sequins and flamboyant make-up. Over an extraordinary 27-year-career, Cassandro has won two championship belts and pioneered the idea that a Mexican wrestler can be openly gay. At home, in the training ring, and backstage before his big fight, Cassandro takes us into a spectacular world of lucha libre and shines a fascinating light on Mexican culture and ideas about masculinity.

(Photo: Wrestler Cassandro wears a flamboyant dress. Credit: Arturo Lopez)

Ceo Guru20130421

Chief executives talk about values, dreams and how to lead their companies to success

With China now becoming the world's second biggest economy, it increasingly looks as if Asia will be the place which will provide much of the impetus for global growth for many years to come. But as the centre of economic gravity begins to move from West to East, what impact will there be on the world of business? What new challenges will companies face? And how can business leaders ensure that they steer their enterprises in the right direction?

Steve Tappin is an author and management expert who coaches the chief executives of many huge businesses from China, Europe and other places around the world. In the BBC World Service documentary CEO Guru, Steve Tappin talks to a range of top chief executives about their values, their dreams and how they hope to lead their companies to success in the 21st century.

Contributors include Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the vast computer company Lenovo, and Sir Martin Sorrell of global advertising giant WPP.

(Image: Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the vast computer company Lenovo, Credit: AFP/Getty)

Steve Tappin talks to chief executives about their values, dreams and their future success

With China now becoming the world's second biggest economy it increasingly looks as if Asia will be the place which will provide much of the impetus for global growth for many years to come. As the centre of economic gravity begins to move from West to East, Steve Tappin examines the possible impacts on the world of business. He will look at the new challenges business leaders will face and how they can ensure that they steer their enterprises in the right direction.

Change In America2016110520161106 (WS)

How has the US changed since 2008? As the world chews its nails, waiting to see how the US election story ends, Lizzie O’Leary tries to do something a little different: looking at data to figure out how America is different now, in November 2016, from the country which elected its first black president eight years ago. Lizzie – from the US radio show Marketplace – is joined in New York City by the political analyst Amy Holmes, demographer Bill Frey and the journalist Meghan McArdle. She’s also armed with audiographs, illustrating some surprising data in sound.

Producer: Ben Crighton

Audiographs producer: Neal Razzell

Editor: Richard Knight

(Photo: Girl with Flag, Credit: ThinkStock)

How has the US changed since 2008?

Producers: Ben Crighton

Chasing West Africa's Pirates2014111520141116 (WS)

The highly complex world of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

There are now more pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea than off the coast of Somalia - once considered the global 'piracy hotspot'. The BBC’s Mary Harper travels to Lagos, one of the busiest ports in Africa, to explore what is a highly complex world of piracy.

She tells for the first time the story of seafarers who have been caught up in violent and highly-organised attacks, speaks to former militants who themselves committed acts of piracy and who are now controversially being employed, at a high cost, to tackle piracy and examines the economic cost to communities who depend on maritime trade.

(Photo: Oil tankers wait to go into Lagos harbour. Credit: Penny Dale)

Chemsex2016032020160323 (WS)

The new sub-culture of sex and drugs that is growing amongst gay communities

A hedonistic party lifestyle is a cliché perhaps unfairly associated with the gay community for decades but in recent years a new, extreme sub-culture of sex and drugs has become a way of life for a growing minority of gay men.

The so-called chemsex scene involves an unholy trinity of drugs – Mephedrone, GHB/GBL and Crystal Meth – and together they can keep men awake for days. While ecstasy and cocaine have been used by clubbers for decades, these relatively new drugs are taken to enhance one thing in particular - sex.

Mobeen Azar travels to San Francisco - one of the first cities to see the ‘party and play’ scene emerge - and London, where chemsex is a relatively new phenomenon. He speaks frankly to men involved in the lifestyle, from young club kids to middle-aged professionals.

While chemsex drugs may enable men to push their sexual boundaries, they also lower inhibition and unprotected sex is common, making men vulnerable to life-changing infections such as HIV, Hepatitis and Syphilis. So how do you protect men who are unwilling to use condoms?

The programme investigates a new treatment which prevents the transmission of HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – or Prep – has proven highly effective yet controversial, with critics claiming it will encourage condom-less sex.

Chemsex is complex and not all men are victims. For some, ‘chems’ provide instant pleasure without boundaries. For others, they are a convenient escape from the reality of a world in which they feel rejected.

(Photo: A man holds a brown bottle)

City Of The Future20170103

Dealing with immigration, an exploding population, and a divide between rich and poor

How does Houston, Texas, a massive city, deal with the pressures of immigration, an exploding youth population and a widening divide between rich and poor? The answer could be critical to the future success of the US. Sociologists who have studied the city for decades believe that many US metropolitan areas could look like Houston in 30 years' time. Since the election of Donald Trump, these issues have become even more critical.

Catherine Carr travels to Texas to see how the city’s authorities and inhabitants are coping with the radical changes to Houston’s demographics and meets the pioneers attempting to intentionally build bridges across city divides.

(Photo: Houston's buildings. Credit: Getty Images)

Clearing The Air2014091020140911 (WS)
20140913 (WS)

The impact of smoke-free laws - on health and society - in Europe over the last decade

Ten years ago, Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. The air cleared in Ireland's bars, restaurants and other buildings - and there was hardly any backlash. The pub-loving nation became the model for a global health revolution. In the decade since, countries across the world have passed smoke-free laws of their own.

Denis Murray looks at the impact of this type of anti-smoking legislation across Europe - and considers the future of tobacco.

Denis's journey begins in Dublin, where he recalls how radical a move the smoking ban was at the time. His old haunt, Mulligan's bar, used to be memorable for its blue, reeking fug. And the success of the ban in Ireland made international news - leading other countries to follow suit.

So Denis travels to two very contrasting cities to compare attitudes to smoking ten years on.

The Czech Republic has the most liberal smoking laws in the European Union. In Prague, going to a bar can feel like stepping back in time - many of them permit smoking.

France, so long synonymous with romantic movies featuring characters speaking to each other through clouds of smoke, has followed Ireland's lead and banned smoking in public places. Paris is a city with a fascinating relationship with tobacco - where the debate is often about philosophy as much as science.

In a journey across three countries, with a cast list of doctors, politicians and businesspeople - with the odd musician and philosopher thrown in - Clearing the Air poses and answers many questions about the effect which smoke-free laws are having on health and society.

Picture: A sign on bar door reads 'No Smoking' Dublin, Ireland, 2004, Credit: Fran Veale/Getty Images

Colombia's Lost Children2014080520140806 (WS)

The ex-guerrilla fighters in Colombia looking for the children they had to give up

In Colombia’s decades-long Marxist guerrilla war, thousands of rebel fighters have been female. But what happens when a woman gives birth in the jungle? Having babies is against guerrilla rules, and many of those who got pregnant were forced to have abortions. But those who managed to conceal their pregnancies for long enough were able to give birth.

And then they were forced to give their babies up.

Now, many of these rebel mothers have demobilised, or deserted as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) would see it. And they’re trying everything to find the children they had to give up.

The BBC World Service’s Margarita Rodriguez, herself Colombian and pregnant with her first child, returns to her native country to meet some of these former fighters who are desperately looking for their children, and witnesses a reunion.

Court In The Centre2016073120160803 (WS)
20160804 (WS)

Jeffrey Rosen explores how the US Supreme Court, once derided as the third branch of government, has become the busiest and most powerful institution in American politics, and how that makes the court’s current vacancy a particularly valuable prize in this presidential year.

With the justices’ black robes, sober judgements and air of mystique, people often imagine that the Court acts as a kind of impartial arbiter in the America body politic. But that has rarely been true, and in recent decades the Court has become a battleground for some of the most contentious issues in American society, from abortion and contraception to civil and voting rights, affirmative action and immigration reform.

As the current session comes to an end, Jeffrey will hear from some of those whose lives are affected by decisions and from interest groups explaining their tactics. He will hear from the partisan activists who carefully groom lawyers from their side, from White House insiders who vet them, and members of the Senate who must confirm them. And he will reveal how the current dysfunction elsewhere in Washington is pushing the Court to take on even more contentious cases.

Supreme Court appointments rarely feature in presidential elections, but that may be different in 2016, and Jeffrey will explore the dangers to the Court in appearing to be just another part of the political process, and show how hard the justices themselves work to avoid that impression.

(Photo: People wait in line to enter the US Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, 2016. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

How did the US Supreme Court become the most powerful institution of American politics?

Damming Afghanistan: Lost Stories From Helmand2014080920140810 (WS)

An epic tale of dreams, grit and folly half a century in the making, Monica Whitlock tells the story of the Helmand valley dam complex, the biggest engineering project in Afghanistan.

The project, still unfinished, began more than 50 years ago when American engineers first arrived in Helmand. They brought their families, drive-in movies and even Santa Claus. Afghans and foreigners rubbed shoulders without a thought. Lashkar Gah became a model town with electric lights and the first school in the country in which boys and girls studied together. As Afghanistan experimented with modernity and technology, a great future seemed in touching distance.

But then came the Soviet invasion. The engineers fled; the optimistic schoolchildren turned into refugees. The Americans in their turn bombed the dam in 2001; paying millions once again to reconstruct it and fit a hydropower turbine, transported across the desert by the British army in one of the most famous operations of the current Afghan war.

Monica Whitlock tells the unexpected story of the Helmand valley dam complex - the bigg...

Monica Whitlock tells the unexpected story of the Helmand valley dam complex - the biggest engineering project in Afghanistan.

David Bowie - The Music And The Legacy2016011620160117 (WS)

David Bowie's lasting impact on music, fashion, teenage culture and attitudes to gender.

Behzad Bolour considers the music and influence of the British singer who died of cancer on 10 January 2016. We hear Bowie’s music, from people who helped him make it and from the man himself. The programme assesses the lasting impact on music, fashion, teenage culture and on attitudes to gender, of the boy from south London.

Image: David Bowie performing in London UK, 1976 Credit: BBC

Default World2016040220160403 (WS)

The technology of the internet is changing our lives irrevocably. But machines are made by man, and the model of life, these modems, smart phones, connected homes, virtual reality and predictive algorithms fit the imagined way of living. How are the ethics, philosophy and lifestyles of the internet pioneers determining the way we all live? Do we have any choice but to live the way they live, or rage against what? The machine? David Baker travels to Silicon Valley to find out what shapes those who are shaping the way we live.

(Photo: Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)

How the ethics, philosophies and lifestyles of the tech elite influence the way we live

Defining The Decade: Mission Accomplished2010010420100105 (WS)
20100109 (WS)
20100110 (WS)
20100111 (WS)

After 9/11, the new global world order and China's economic rise.

Who would have thought, when the Millennium dawned, that it would end with both British and American troops dying in Afghanistan.

Would you have believed that millions would be communicating and doing business over the world wide web? And would you have agreed that climate change was a greater threat than terrorism?

This has been a decade when history has been on fast forward. Now, as we near the end of the decade, Edward Stourton looks at the big picture, charting the revolutions in science, technology and politics.

What are the underlying themes of the past ten years and what does it all add up to?

The decade began with China being awarded the Olympics in 2001, then two months later came 9/11.

President Bush turned from being a daddy’s boy to America’s Commander in Chief, heading a global coalition dedicated to fighting terror.

There would be a new world order, but not in the way many had imagined - defined as much by China and its rise, as it is by America and its struggles.

Edward Stourton speaks to Francis Fukuyama; former Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage; Robert Kagan, and Professor Timothy Garton-Ash.

Defining The Decade: The Heat Is On2009122820100102 (WS)
20100103 (WS)
20100104 (WS)

Edward Stourton explores how, in the past 10 years, the world woke up to climate change.

Who would have thought, when the Millennium dawned, that it would end with both British and American troops dying in Afghanistan.

Would you have believed that millions would be communicating and doing business over the world wide web? And would you have agreed that climate change was a greater threat than terrorism?

This has been a decade when history has been on fast forward. Now, as we near the end of the decade, Edward Stourton looks at the big picture, charting the revolutions in science, technology and politics.

What are the underlying themes of the past ten years and what does it all add up to?

In 2000 the world’s leaders did not seem to be troubled by the notion of global warming.

Alarm bells were beginning to ring amongst the scientific community, but there were others who dismissed the threat as fanciful and scorned any idea that any changes in the climate could be man-made.

By the middle of the decade that began to change - report after report seemed to confirm that the world was heating up and went on to predict that it would get much worse.

Edward Stourton speaks to Dr David King; former IPCC Chairman Bob Watson, and environmental campaigner Bill McKibben.

Delivering The King's Speech2014090220140903 (WS)

George VI's speech declaring war on Germany in 1939 and its broadcast around the world

Marking the 75th anniversary of King George VI’s declaration of war against Germany, Louise Minchin hears the untold story of the King’s Speech and discovers how it reached the entire world.

Inspired by the discovery of the original pressing of the speech in the EMI Archives – bound in goatskin leather and signed by the King himself – Louise uncovers how the King’s words reached the furthest corners of the British Empire. Starting with the fascinating history of royalty releasing records, and incorporating rare material from the EMI archives, the documentary explores how the British Empire was united by vinyl.

Louise examines the recording of the speech – not from the point of view covered in the 2010 Oscar-winning film, but from the perspective of the EMI employees who have located previously unpublished letters and production notes from the original sessions.

Delivering the King’s Speech delves into the earliest days of the BBC Empire Service – later to become the BBC World Service – to find out how the King’s message was sent across the globe and how it enabled the Empire Service to win the fight against the anti-British propaganda broadcast by the Germans.

A TBI Media Production for BBC World Service.

Dickens And India - Mutual Friends2012020720120208
20120211 (WS)

Writer Ayeesha Menon explores India's love affair with Charles Dickens.

To celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens' birth, Indian born writer Ayeesha Menon explores India's love affair with Dickens.

India loves Dickens because contemporary India feels Dickens was writing about them.

His themes resonate deeply with Indians: the importance of the extended family, familial bonds, the rich-poor divide, child labour, domestic violence, social injustice, the class system, and the plight of the deprived and displaced.

Ayeesha has recently adapted Martin Chuzzlewit for radio, setting it in India.

Does The House Always Win?20151209

In-game betting is becoming hugely popular but does it threaten the integrity of sport?

Betting on the outcome of sporting fixtures is so last century. Now you can take a punt on practically anything that happens within a game – from who will win the first set in tennis to who will score the first goal in a football match. The world of in-game betting, where gamblers test their skill and luck almost as the action happens, is growing as the lucrative new frontier for the betting world - and is particularly popular in the huge Asian market.

With events unfolding so quickly, time is everything. But because the television pictures are always a few seconds behind the real-time action, punters at live events will have an advantage over those watching at home or in a betting shop.

Simon Cox looks at how some exploit the TV delay either by betting online directly from the event or by sending in scouts with hidden devices to feed the information about what is happening ahead of the official television pictures. He speaks to the first person to be arrested whilst court-siding in Australia and accused of trying to corrupt a betting outcome.

So what lengths are people prepared to go to gain those crucial seconds that give them an advantage? And what evidence is there that in-game betting poses a threat to the integrity of some our most popular sports?

(Photo: A punter fills out a sports betting slip. Credit: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump: The People's Billionaire2016031220160316 (WS)

Donald Trump - billionaire, celebrity and now politician. Justin Webb tells his story

Before he announced he would run to become the Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump was already known around the world. He had amassed a fortune through his real estate company and his career in reality TV which had made him famous. But what about his politics?

The BBC’s former North America Editor Justin Webb has been to New York to explore Donald Trump’s political roots. How does an Ivy League educated billionaire manage to appeal to people from across the political spectrum? Justin hears from Mr Trump’s friends and former colleagues including the woman who built Trump Tower.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, 2016. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Drugs And The Dentist20161011

The dentists in the US fixing the teeth of drug addicts to help fix their lives

Drugs like crystal meth and opiates wreck the teeth as well as the mind. In America, more than just about any country, good teeth are a sign of success and so dentists like Dr Bob Carter are helping fix addicts’ teeth. They are also bringing together other health professionals. Despite the Affordable Health Act the different social and health agencies can be very disjointed.

The dentist's surgery is a safe place where a person is not found wanting for the choices they have made in life. It is a neutral arena where the only judgements being made are about their teeth and how to heal them. And it can be the first step for them to get back on course.

As Dr Bob Carter says "I have met many, many meth addicts. To tell you the truth I was surprised by them. They are not bad people, they are not criminals, they are just normal people who made a decision that was not good for them. Once they went down that road...well it was hard, very hard for them to get off. Some of them didn't make it. It is my job to make them better."

(Photo: Standardised patient actor Alex Jones)

Dust Bowl Ballads2016070520160709 (WS)

A fierce drought in Oklahoma’s ‘No Man’s Land’ stirs up dust storms, memories and myths

A fierce drought in Oklahoma’s ‘No Man’s Land’ – a region that was the heart of the 1930s Dust Bowl – stirs up dust storms, memories and myths. In this parched terrain of ghost towns and abandoned ranches, the wells are running dry, but the stories continue to flow.

Around ‘the Liars’ table’ at a roadside diner in the small prairie town of Boise City, old timers and young farmers share tales of dust storms past and present, trying to outdo each other in the retelling of local legends. Voices of Dust Bowl survivors entwine with stories of today’s drought. Stories blow out like drifts of sand, embellished with fine layers of imaginative silt.

Storytelling spins out of the landscape itself. Boise City was founded on a fiction by fraudsters who enticed people to buy plots of land in a town that did not exist. Expecting elegant, tree-lined streets and fountains, the newcomers found nothing but dirt. And when they ploughed it up, the dirt soon turned to dust.

Millard Fowler (who has sadly died since being recorded) was 102 years old, and remembers the ‘Dirty Thirties’, when relentless winds scooped up the topsoil and rolled it through the town in billowing black clouds, turning day to night.

Many families packed up and left, but those who stayed have a deep attachment to the land. The stories that echo through it today “may not all be straight down the bean line,? but they offer a subtle architecture of hope and survival.

(Photo: Joe Dixon, rancher and windmill engineer. Credit: Cicely Fell)

Ebola Voices2016072420160727 (WS)
20160728 (WS)

The Sierra Leonean children expressing their views via an Ebola lifeline radio project

Radio producer Penny Boreham and Sierra Leonean storyteller, Usifu Jalloh, travel from the UK to Kailahun district, the remote eastern area of Sierra Leone bordering Guinea and Liberia, to meet the children they have been working with remotely in a radio project but as yet never met.

This is the area where Ebola first took hold in the country, and the radio project, initiated by the international child-rights agency, Child to Child, has been a lifeline allowing children to communicate health messages and support each other throughout the crisis and in its aftermath.

Usifu Jalloh is greeted as a popular hero; his stories have encouraged a renaissance of storytelling in the region. Children, speaking out about the issues that matter to them, have had huge impact in the community.

However, amid the joy of the meeting, Penny and Usifu grow more aware of the difficulties the children face. There are the problems directly resulting from the epidemic; orphans have been abandoned and stigmatised, families have been torn apart. There are the pre-existing problems exacerbated by the crisis - a huge increase in teenage pregnancies and escalating sexual violence.

Children complain that the porous nature of the border, which allowed both Ebola, and before that the long and bloody civil war, to enter the country, now allows sexual predators to escape justice. Penny and Usifu discover the radio project provides a window into these profound issues affecting children, whilst allowing children’s views to be taken seriously for the first time.

(Photo: A child under quarantine sits outside a care centre in Lokomasama, 2014. Credit: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt’s Challenge € Far From Cairo2013052120130522 (WS)
20130526 (WS)

What impact has the revolution had on rural life outside of Cairo?

Our view of Egypt has been focussed on the capital. Yet much of the population still live in rural areas, with ways of life that have changed little for decades. Shaimaa Khalil accompanies a young revolutionary back to his home town in Upper Egypt to hear about discrimination, poverty, the role of religion and of women and asks whether the revolution is likely to change anything so far from Cairo. Episode 5/6.

(Image: A boy sitting cross-legged on a wall reading. BBC Copyright )

Egypt’s Challenge € Free To Speak2013043020130505 (WS)

Shaimaa Khalil listens to the new voices of the Egyptian revolution.

Episode 2/6.

Shaimaa Khalil examines the challenges facing her country two years after the Egyptian revolution. Under former President Mubarak there was a strong tradition of diverse but restricted media in Egypt. Post revolution, the restrictions have been lifted, allowing new voices to be heard from across the political spectrum.

Political satirist Bassem Youssef invites Shaimaa to watch his hugely popular TV show where he cracks jokes about Egyptian politicians and even targets it’s President, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. She also visits a hardline Salafi TV station where the output is very different and where any criticism of religion or religious leaders is considered unacceptable. All challenges for Egypt’s new democracy.

(Image of political satirist Bassem Youssef’s show in the Cairo Cinema Radio Theatre. BBC Copyright)

Egypt’s Challenge € Free To Speak - Part Two2013043020130501 (WS)

Shaimaa Khalil listens to the new voices of the Egyptian revolution.

Shaimaa Khalil examines the challenges facing her country two years after the Egyptian revolution. Under former President Mubarak there was a strong tradition of diverse but restricted media in Egypt. Post revolution, the restrictions have been lifted, allowing new voices to be heard from across the political spectrum.

Political satirist Bassem Youssef invites Shaimaa to watch his hugely popular TV show where he cracks jokes about Egyptian politicians and even targets it’s President, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. She also visits a hardline Salafi TV station where the output is very different and where any criticism of religion or religious leaders is considered unacceptable. All challenges for Egypt’s new democracy.

(Image of political satirist Bassem Youssef’s show in the Cairo Cinema Radio Theatre. BBC Copyright)

Egypt’s Challenge € Making A Living2013050720130508 (WS)
20130512 (WS)

Shaimaa Khalil examines the state of Egypt’s economy two years on from its revolution.

Episode 3/6.

President Mubarak’s crony capitalism was one of the driving forces of the revolution – but, inequality, corruption and bureaucracy appear to have continued unhindered. While the economy was already in the doldrums, since the revolution things have become markedly worse.

In the third programme in this series, Egypt’s Challenge, Shaimaa Khalil examines the state of Egypt’s economy two years after its revolution. Then people were calling for bread, freedom and social justice – have those demands been met? Shaimaa discovers that insecurity on the streets and political instability have frightened off investors. She also looks at how the unofficial , illegal economy has so far prevented complete economic collapse and, with the help of economists, looks at the mysterious role played by the military in Egypt’s economy.

Produced by John Murphy.

(Image of a textile mill in Mahalla, one of Egypt’s most famous exports Egyptian Cotton. BBC Copyright.)

Egypt’s Challenge € Men In Uniform2013051420130515 (WS)
20130519 (WS)

Can Egypt’s police force rebuild its reputation and will the army stay out of politics?

The army has long been the dominant force in Egyptian society, while the police have ruled the streets with a rod of iron. For now the military has relinquished its hold on politics and the police officers have retreated to their barracks.

With special access to Egypt’s Police Academy, which is training up a new generation of officers, Shaimaa Khalil asks if the police can rebuild their tarnished image and re-instil badly needed security to the streets. She also asks if the military men will remain out of politics, despite the chaos in the country.

Produced by John Murphy.

(Image of police recruits being put through training. BBC Copyright)

As Egypt struggles with its new democracy, Shaimaa Khalil examines the dramatic changes...

As Egypt struggles with its new democracy, Shaimaa Khalil examines the dramatic changes and challenges facing Egyptian society.

Egypt’s Challenge € The Next Generation2013052820130529 (WS)
20130602 (WS)

With half of Egypt’s population under 25 Shaimaa asks what the future holds for them?

Episode 6/6.

Egypt has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations; already 90-million strong, it’s growing by over a million each year and around half of that population is under the age of 25.

It was Egypt’s youth who were at the forefront of the revolutionary protests in Tahrir Square in 2011. They were demanding an end to corruption, cronyism, poverty and to social injustice. Two years on has the revolution delivered for them? In this final programme in the series, Egypt’s Challenge, Shaimaa Khalil talks to young people in Cairo and Alexandria and finds a generation caught between hope and despair.

Producer: Daniel Tetlow

(Image: Skate Impact on the steps of Saad Zaghlool Square in downtown Alexandria. BBC Copyright)

As Egypt struggles with its new democracy, Shaimaa Khalil examines the dramatic changes...

As Egypt struggles with its new democracy, Shaimaa Khalil examines the dramatic changes and challenges facing Egyptian society.

Egypt's Challenge - Part One2013042320130428 (WS)

How has Alexandria changed since the revolution of 2011?

After decades of stifling stasis, Egypt is in flux. The political system has gone through total upheaval following the overthrow of President Mubarak and Egypt is struggling to understand its new democracy. Shaimaa Khalil assesses the underlying challenges facing her native land in a major series for the BBC World Service.

In the introductory programme, Shaimaa returns to her hometown, Alexandria, to see how it has changed since the revolution of 2011. She visits old haunts and talks to family, friends and people on the streets to gauge their feelings on a range of political, economic and social issues. In the city they call the mermaid of the Mediterranean she finds a new sense of empowerment but also a distrust of the newfound voice of political Islam and an overwhelming sense of personal insecurity.

Image: The Alexandria skyline

Eleanor Roosevelt2015100620151010 (WS)

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who first took the ambiguous position of First Lady and turned it into an institution within the American political system.

Despite being born into New York aristocracy, she had an unhappy childhood – and was both painfully shy and prone to bouts of depression. History, though, forced Eleanor to change.

In 1921, when Franklin Roosevelt was struck down by a polio attack he began to rely on his wife's campaigning verve more than ever. Eleanor was even coached in public speaking by her husband's aides. Marriage itself also played its part in shaping her. FDR’s infidelity meant their partnership became more of a political one than an intimate one. Instead, Eleanor found solace in close relationships with other strong women and in her role as an inveterate campaigner for causes such as minorities, refugees and women’s rights.

By the time she became America's First Lady in 1933, she had developed her own distinctive style - holding press conferences for female journalists and writing a regular syndicated newspaper column. Even after her husband's death, she continued her own career as a champion for the United Nations – crucially helping to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Naomi Grimley tells the story of how Eleanor transformed the place of women in American politics. She looks at how life’s disappointments shaped Mrs. Roosevelt and how she learnt to cope with the scrutiny and fascination of the mass media.

(Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt on the BBC, 1942)

How Eleanor Roosevelt helped shape the role of First Lady

Eng12g Drowning City (the Doc) 12013022620130227 (WS)

Isabel Hilton looks at the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy in New York. As sea levels...

Isabel Hilton looks at the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy in New York. As sea levels rise, how can coastal cities can prepare?

Eng13g Gene Doping (doc) 120140114

Tim Franks investigates what could be the future of cheating in sport – altering our ge...

Tim Franks investigates what could be the future of cheating in sport – altering our genes.

Europe Moves East2013010820130109 (WS)
20130113 (WS)

Forty years ago, the EU was a small and loose association of nations on the western edge of the continent. Germany was still divided, with its capital in the sleepy town of Bonn near the Belgian border. France - with its long-standing commitment to the sovereignty of nation states - was the driving force of the European project.

But the last decade has seen a profound and irreversible shift. Europe's centre of gravity has moved dramatically east. After reunification in 1990, a much more powerful Germany has emerged.

The countries of the old Eastern bloc look to Berlin for leadership. Their experience of Soviet occupation and communist dictatorship has committed them to building a much stronger and more tightly integrated Europe, one that will help secure their young and still vulnerable democracies.

"I want the European Union to become a superpower," the Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tells the programme. This changing dynamic is the subtle, hidden undertow to the continuing tensions over the Euro.

Power in Europe has shifted, from the old and familiar Paris-Bonn relationship to the new and much more dynamic Berlin-Warsaw. This is the new Europe. It is one in which France - once the unchallenged leading voice - is increasingly marginalised.

(Image: An EU flag as seen through the branches of some trees, Credit: Getty Images)

The EU's power dynamic has shifted from France and Germany to Germany and Poland. How?

Europe's Terror Networks20160406

The so-called Islamic State has brought terror to the streets of Paris and Brussels, killing hundreds of civilians and wounding many more. But how does the organisation operate in Europe? And who has masterminded the deadly attacks?

Award winning journalist Peter Taylor has been given access to secret intelligence documents that reveal how IS has carried out its attacks in Europe. Peter shows how IS operatives are supported by a sophisticated logistics network that supplies them with weapons and ammunition. And he also details how multiple intelligence failures led to the murder of 130 people in Paris.

The mastermind of the attacks in the French capital was a man called Abdelhamid Abaaoud. During the course of the programme Peter Taylor unveils how this man recruited and trained radicalised young men to carry out attacks. And he also details how the western intelligence services were engaged in a desperate race to stop Abaaoud from bringing terror to streets of Europe.

Presenter: Peter Taylor

Producer: David Rhodes

Image: A memorial outside the French Consulate in Los Angeles one day after the Paris terrorist attacks. Credit: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

How the so-called Islamic State operates in Europe.

Feeding The World2013081320130818 (WS)

Can Obama's international aid reforms of sending money rather than grain be implemented?

Since the end of World War II, America's Food for Peace programme has shipped American-grown food in sacks across the world to feed the world's starving people. Virtually all experts agree it is an inefficient way to send aid, and the EU stopped doing it decades ago. Former head of USAID Andrew Natsios says 'I've watched people die in front of me waiting for food to arrive.'

Now President Obama wants to reform the system to send more of emergency aid as money, and to buy food locally. But there is opposition to his plans for change and it looks likely the reforms will go nowhere.

BBC international development correspondent David Loyn travels to Afghanistan and meets farmers who say they stopped growing wheat and changed to opium poppies when American wheat flooded the local market during a time of plenty. And he travels to Kenya to look at pioneering efforts to deliver aid in a way that helps the local economy and puts power back in the hands of the poor.

(Picture: A farmer holds some grain and pulses. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Follow That Tractor2016061220160615 (WS)
20160616 (WS)

Susie Emmett hears stories at the world’s biggest monthly second-hand tractor auction.

Each month in a flat piece of English Fenland a site the size of 40 football pitches hosts the biggest second hand farm machinery auction in the world. It is both uniquely British and international – buyers from four continents arrive by truck, taxi, or hire car with their tractor shopping lists and hopes. Presenter Susie Emmett meets some of the remarkable people in this extraordinary supply chain that deal and distribute these mighty tools and spare parts from field to field.

On auction day there is anticipation before the bidding begins and high hopes of bidders – whether Portuguese first timer or Sri Lankan old hands – once the eight simultaneous auctions are underway. Amongst more than 2500 gleaming or rusty lots in lines, Susie hears how a group of Kenyans are building farming community fortunes with the tractors they buy. Somalis talk about the power of tractors to rebuild a nation. A Sri Lankan explains his favourite tractor of all and why he bought an incredible 86 of them on one auction day.

Bidding over, Susie learns about the bang-crash logistics that start the tractors’ next journey. She meets the much-respected tractor dismantler whose job it is to cram as many tractors into a shipping container as he can. Susie also hears tips on how to be a better bidder, why old machinery is better than new and reflections on how the rise and ebb of conflict affects the tractor trade.

(Photo: A trusty Massey Ferguson awaits a buyer. Credit: Susie Emmett/Green Shoots Productions)

Food For Peace2013081320130814 (WS)

David Loyn looks at America's "Food for Peace" programme, its effects in Afghanistan, and a new way of delivering aid in Kenya.

Forgetting Igbo2016042620160430 (WS)

Nkem Ifejika examines the fall of Igbo, one of West Africa’s most widely spoken languages

Nkem Ifejika cannot speak Igbo, the language of his forefathers. Nkem is British of Nigerian descent and comes from one of Nigeria's biggest ethnic groups the Igbo. He is one of the millions of Nigerians, who live in the diaspora - almost 200,000 of them living here in Britain. Nkem wants to know why he was never taught Igbo as a child and why the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, has warned that Igbo faces extinction in the next 50 years.

Nkem travels to the Igbo heartland in the south-east of Nigeria to explore the demise of a once proud language. He discovers that recent history has had profound effects on Igbo culture and identity. He discovers too that some Igbos are seeking to reassert their language and culture. Part of this is a resurgence of Igbo identity under a new 'Biafran' movement. Is this likely to find traction or will it ignite painful divisions from the past and lead to renewed tensions across Nigeria.

(Photo: A young boy in Nigeria)

Found In Translation2016030820160312 (WS)

Sixty-five-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa survived the 2011 Tsunami by riding the tin roof of a destroyed home. He spent two days alone and adrift at sea on his makeshift raft before rescue. Shortly afterwards he met Miwako Ozawa, a young Japanese translator hired by a journalist to interview him. Five years on, Hiromitsu’s remarkable story of survival and renewal is told through the two halves of their unlikely friendship.

(Photo: Hiromitsu Shinkawa as crew members of Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) sail to rescue him on 13 March 2011. Credit: JIJI Press/AFP/Getty Images

How a young Japanese translator Miwako Ozawa met tsunami survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa

Freedom Songs2014091620140917 (WS)

I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free became an anthem for the American Civil Rights

Immortalised by Nina Simone, I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free, was recorded in the early 60s by Jazz pianist Billy Taylor for his young daughter. Candace Piette talks to Kim Taylor Thomson, to Nina Simone’s guitarist and to poets and writers and singers about what the song meant when it was first written and what resonance it has now in contemporary America.

(Photo: American jazz pianist Billy Taylor performs at the Peacock Alley night club, St. Louis, Missouri, 1974. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Game Changer: 20 Years Of The Premier League2012090420120905 (WS)

Clubs or corporations? Jim White reports on the Premier League's first 20 years.

Big business or community concern, club or corporation?

Journalist Jim White reports on the first 20 years of England's Premier League when it has established itself as the most marketable and valuable domestic football competition in the world.

But with new overseas players, managers and owners, has the sport become divorced from the communities it came from?

Or is it accurately reflecting modern Britain?

(Image: The Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy following the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium on 13 May 2012 in Manchester, England. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Gene Doping2014011420140118 (WS)
20140119 (WS)

Could altering our genes become the future of cheating in sport?

It has taken scientists almost 50 years to cure rare diseases through gene therapy. The risks are still great but the field is developing fast, bringing hope to those with untreatable conditions. Now there are growing concerns that athletes will abuse this pioneering technology. Tim Franks speaks to David Epstein, an American journalist and sports enthusiast, who has been investigating the issue of gene doping. David reveals how athletes have 'inundated' researchers with requests to improve their abilities through genetic manipulation.

Tim also speaks to French geneticist Philippe Moullier, who was left in shock after a group of former Tour de France cyclists visited his lab. They wanted to learn whether the technology he developed to cure children with a rare muscle disease could be used to enhance sporting performance. Although the World Anti-Doping Agency banned the practice in 2003 there is still no test which can detect gene doping. Athletes do not have to look hard if they want to experiment. Moullier tells Tim how it’s possible to buy genes on the internet and grow them at home. Tim Franks finds out just how easy it is.

(Photo: A genetic researcher carries blood samples to have their DNA tested at his Laboratory in the Lebanese-American University. Credit: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

God's Trombone: Remembering King's Dream20130901

Luther King stepped to the podium in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Around 10 minutes into his speech, King sounded as though he were wrapping up when Mahalia Jackson, the gospel singer and King's friend, shouted: "Tell them about the dream Martin". He ignored her at first. Then she shouted again. He put the text to the left of the lectern, grabbed the podium and - after a pause more pregnant than most - started to riff.

King's adviser Clarence Jones turned to the person next to him and said: "Those people don't know it, but they're about to go to church."

It's 50 years since Martin Luther King gave the speech that stands as one of the world's favourite addresses delivered by one of its most beloved figures. But "I have a dream" wasn't in the text of the speech and its mainstream popularity only grew after King was assassinated.

Gary Younge looks behind the scenes of the speech and explores what made it both timely and timeless. Why do we remember it? How do we remember it? Does the way we remember it say as much about us today as it does about those events 50 years ago?

We'll hear from King's colleagues and friends including his speechwriter Clarence Jones; and King's aide, former Mayor of Atlanta and later US ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young.

We explore how King was influenced by African-American preachers: he was firmly rooted in a tradition of orators described by influential Harlem Renaissance poet and intellectual James Weldon Johnson as "God's Trombones".

The speeches and images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been licensed by Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. (IPM) manager for the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. This license is in no way an endorsement of the views, policies, opinions, statements, and actions of the featured participants.

Hanging Around2015102120151025 (WS)

Investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Held Hostage In Syria2016061120160612 (WS)

Speaking together for the first time, four European hostages of so-called Islamic State talk to Lyse Doucet about their period of incarceration between March 2013 and June 2014. Aid worker Federico Motka, journalists Didier Francois and Daniel Rye, and blogger Pierre Torres were all held for between 10 and 14 months each.

They all found their own way of coping with the situation. Federico Motka lowered his gaze and raised his guard to avoid his captors' efforts to demean him. Didier Francois pushed back and stared them straight in the eye. Daniel Rye, an elite gymnast, did the splits to convince them he was not a spy, and Pierre Torres took beatings, but satisfaction, from ignoring their orders.

This is their first reunion since they were freed, at different times, two years ago, and is a celebration of friendship forged in the most threatening of circumstances. They talk about the months without sunlight, weeks chained together, days upon days of beatings. There was little food, and so much longing for clean clothes, a proper toilet, and most of all, freedom.

(Photo: Left to right - Pierre Torres, Federico Motka, Didier Francois, Daniel Rye Ottosen. Credit: Giles Duley)

Four European hostages held by Islamic State talk about their months of incarceration

Home Away From Home2013070920130710 (WS)
20130714 (WS)

The stories of the Somali community whose families have lived in Wales since 1890

At the end of the 19th Century working on the steam ships of the British Empire was an attractive career choice for seamen from Somaliland. Many came to Cardiff and found work in the docks heaving the coal that powered those ships. They first settled in Butetown in 1890.

A vibrant community grew - centred on the docks and the mosque. But the last coal was shipped out in the 1960s. Cardiff docks are not what they were. Butetown has been redeveloped and work is scarce.

The older generation of Somalis has, in recent years, been joined by new immigrants, refugees from their war-torn homeland. Their experiences and expectations are very different, as the production De Gabay recently made clear. This was a day-long, dramatic festival with National Theatre Wales, in which young poets from the Somali community performed all around Butetown.

Urban historian Mike Berlin, meets Somalis whose families have lived in Butetown for a century and more recent arrivals tell their stories, too.

(Picture: Dockside cranes, Cardiff, 1907, Credit: Getty Images)

Homer, Hagrid And The Incredible Hulk2015121220151216 (WS)

How fictional universes, from Star Wars to Harry Potter took over global culture

Ben Hammersley meets creators and fans to investigate how extended fictional universes, from Star Wars and Harry Potter to Game of Thrones, took over global culture. He examines the huge financial success of the world’s biggest franchises, and argues that their stories – the identity of Luke Skywalker’s father, for example – have become common cultural touchstones around the world.

To understand how these expansive fictional universes are created and maintained, Ben visits professor Dumbledore's office to talk to Stuart Craig, production designer on the Harry Potter films. He goes to Los Angeles to meet Lauren Faust, creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And, he travels to San Diego Comic Con where he discusses a number of different universes with Marc Zicree, writer on numerous film and TV series, including Star Trek.

Ben also speaks to authors Robin Hobb and Warren Ellis, and to Axel Alonso and Ryan Penagos from Marvel. He hears from numerous fans, including Game of Thrones super-fans Linda Antonsson and Elio Garcia about the joys of fandom.

(Photo: A group of costumed fans attend Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center 2015. Credit: Getty Images)

How To Win A Us Election2016111220161115 (WS)
20161120 (WS)

After one of the most extraordinary and unpredictable US Presidential election campaigns, Americans have voted for their next President, choosing Donald Trump to take his place in the White House.

Before the first Presidential debate, polls indicated that the candidates were neck and neck. Then the momentum of the campaign changed, with Donald Trump rocked by the leaked tape of his lewd comments and repudiation by some Republicans. Following an astonishing second debate, Trump fought to keep his campaign on the road, returning to the tactics which had originally secured his nomination, firing up his core support with anti-Washington rhetoric and increasingly bitter attacks on Hillary Clinton. For Hillary Clinton lingering doubts remained in voters’ minds about her trustworthiness, clouding her bid to become the first woman president.

With the result still resonating, Katty Kay takes a post-election view from the perspective of the winning side. She hears why Trump supporters in the key swing state of Pennsylvania were so motivated to vote for Trump and explores the key moments and turning points from the campaigns.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump celebrates winning the South Carolina primary, 2016. Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

A post-election view of the US presidential race from the perspective of the winning side

I Don't Remember The War2014072620140727 (WS)

Six young writers explore a great grandparent's involvement in World War One

The BBC World Service gives voice to the most talented young writers - under 35 - to explore a great grandparent or grandparent's involvement in World War One. This centenary offers a chance to reflect on the gulf that separates young people from the war. Each writer attempts to bridge the gap, to question what the values and sacrifices of the war mean today.

British writer Ned Beauman has just published his third novel, Glow. The Teleportation Accident was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. He is included in the Granta list of 20 best young writers.

Ceridwen Dovey is a South African writer living in Australia. Blood Kin was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.

Irish writer Rob Doyle lives in County Wexford. His first novel, Here Are the Young Men has recently been published to great acclaim.

Chibundu Onuzo is Nigeria's youngest and most talented writer; now 22, she published The Spider King's Daughter when she was just 19.

Prajwal Parajuly grew up in the Sikkim region of north-east India. He recently published his first novel, The Gurkha's Daughter to great acclaim.

Clemens Setz' (Austria) latest novel Indigo was recently published to great acclaim. He received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2011 and the Literature Prize of the City of Bremen 2010 and in 2009 was shortlisted for the German Book Prize for his novel Die Frequenzen.

Introduced by the BBC's Special Correspondent, Allan Little.

(Photo: British artillery men in action with a big gun during the opening of the Battle of the Somme, 01/01/1916. Credit: PA)

I Have A Dream20130828

Martin Luther King’s 'I Have a Dream' speech is one of the most powerful and passionate political statements of the 20th century.

This unique tribute programme from BBC Radio, which seeks to commemorate Dr King’s legacy through his words, will be broadcast to a global audience. Global figures celebrate Dr King’s legacy by reading sections of the speech which resonate with their own experiences and aspirations.

Iceland Rescue20161108

Life as a volunteer out on call with Ice-SAR: Iceland’s search and rescue workers

A family stranded in a snowfield. A woman with vertigo on a mountain. A hiker falling in lava. These are just some of the jobs for Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg (Ice-SAR): the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

Ice-SAR is an elite national emergency militia with a gallant reputation in Iceland. In place of an army, its skilled volunteers, all unpaid, are expertly trained, well equipped, self-financed and self-sufficient. They perform rescues by sea, land and air and contend with earthquakes, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, storms and the island’s brutal, unpredictable weather.

Paul Smith ventures to Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic Highlands during peak tourist season. With two million people expected to visit Iceland this year, how is its rescue volunteers responding to the enormous strain on their services on an increasingly popular island?

(Photo: Volunteers of the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue)

Paul Smith ventures out on call in the highlands with Ice-SAR: Iceland’s search and rescue volunteers.

Idrissa Camara2014052820140529 (WS)
20140531 (WS)

Idrissa Camara cuts a distinctive figure as he walks his young child to her Welsh-speaking school in suburban Cardiff. Originally from Guinea, Idrissa moved to the city four years ago and now lists Welsh next to Susu, Malinke and Wolof among his languages.

Idrissa is a virtuoso dancer and choreographer and since arriving in Wales has been working to establish his own dance company, Ballet Nimba. He recently received a bursary to travel back to his native Guinea in order to formally study and document the evolution of dance, music and storytelling there - research which will feed into the next Ballet Nimba production.

In this programme, we follow the progress of this new work interwoven with snapshots from Idrissa's life in Cardiff and his life in Guinea, and the tension between the two.

(Photo: Dancers perform during the draw ceremony for the African Nations football Cup (CAN 2012), in Malabo, October, 2011. Credit: Voishmel/AFP/Getty Images)

A portrait of dancer and choreographer Idrissa Camara, as he returns to his native Guin...

A portrait of dancer and choreographer Idrissa Camara, as he returns to his native Guinea from his new home in Wales.

In Perfect Harmony2013121420131215 (WS)

Harmony singing throughout the world – how does it differ from place to place?

A programme celebrating our collective love of singing in harmony, looking at when and why we do it, what it means to us musically and emotionally, and how different countries sing harmony differently.

Since time began, man has sung and soon another man added a harmony part – for companionship, for sharing, for support, for humour, for joy, for cleverness and for lovely, satisfying sounds. This programme investigates the different types of harmony singing throughout the world – how does it differ from place to place, what is it for? We hear from harmony singers from around the world.

Harmony has been a natural part of singing – from classical chorale singing to pop music, via doo-wop, barbershop quartets, African choral music, gospel, opera, rock, rap, and even death metal. The first thing a baby does is make vocal sounds to ‘harmonise’ with its mother. All types of music use it – usually in 3rds or 6ths around the melody to make the melody sweeter in Western cultures. Far Eastern Harmonies are different technically – traditionally harmony has been missing, but there are examples of overtone singing where the singer makes more than one note at the same time. There is something human in the ability to complement each other vocally – immensely satisfying and beautiful. It’s also a simple expression of companionship without a need for instruments.

We hear about the African village that hunts using harmony singing to guide them as a team – if they can’t sing, they won’t eat. We hear about an Armenian composer who was driven mad when trying to compose a piece for 8-part harmony and we speak to Wendy Wilson (daughter of Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys) about how she grew up singing harmony with her mother and sister, and how she carries on the legacy of her father today with her band Wilson Phillips. We also hear from music therapists working with terminally ill children who can no longer speak, but can sing, and also someone who works with patients with chronic lung disease where singing in harmony improves their quality of life. From South African choir leaders working with disaffected youth to Orkney women trying to keep traditional songs alive, via Abba, St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, Queen, the mash-ups being created with UK school children and Fleet Foxes, the world of harmony is here.

The programme is produced by Laura Parfitt and brought together musically by composer and radio sound designer Chris O’Shaughnessy.

In Perfect Harmony20131225

A programme celebrating our collective love of singing in harmony, looking at when and why we do it, what it means to us musically and emotionally, and how different countries sing harmony differently.

Since time began, man has sung and soon another man added a harmony part – for companionship, for sharing, for support, for humour, for joy, for cleverness and for lovely, satisfying sounds. This programme investigates the different types of harmony singing throughout the world – how does it differ from place to place, what is it for? We hear from harmony singers from around the world.

Harmony has been a natural part of singing – from classical chorale singing to pop music, via doo-wop, barbershop quartets, African choral music, gospel, opera, rock, rap, and even death metal. The first thing a baby does is make vocal sounds to ‘harmonise’ with its mother. All types of music use it – usually in 3rds or 6ths around the melody to make the melody sweeter in Western cultures. Far Eastern Harmonies are different technically – traditionally harmony has been missing, but there are examples of overtone singing where the singer makes more than one note at the same time. There is something human in the ability to complement each other vocally – immensely satisfying and beautiful. It’s also a simple expression of companionship without a need for instruments.

We hear about the African village that hunts using harmony singing to guide them as a team – if they can’t sing, they won’t eat. We hear about an Armenian composer who was driven mad when trying to compose a piece for eight-part harmony and we speak to Wendy Wilson (daughter of Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys) about how she grew up singing harmony with her mother and sister, and how she carries on the legacy of her father today with her band Wilson Phillips. We also hear from music therapists working with terminally ill children who can no longer speak, but can sing, and also someone who works with patients with chronic lung disease where singing in harmony improves their quality of life. From South African choir leaders working with disaffected youth to Orkney women trying to keep traditional songs alive, via Abba, St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, Queen, the mash-ups being created with UK school children and Fleet Foxes, the world of harmony is here.

The programme is produced by Laura Parfitt and brought together musically by composer and radio sound designer Chris O’Shaughnessy.

In Search Of Vadim Kozin2015122720151230 (WS)
20160117 (WS)
20160120 (WS)

Marc Almond travels to Moscow in search of the marvelous Russian tenor Vadim Kozin, tango-singer and superstar. The darling of the Soviet Union, Kozin melted hearts by the tens of millions in the 1940s, playing to packed concert halls and rallying Red Army troops in World War 2.

Kozin made dozens of hit records and lived the high-life of a celebrity in the most rarified circles around Stalin. But he vanished one day in 1944 when the secret police arrested him and sent him to the GULAG for homosexuality. His records were pulled from the shops, his voice from the radio. The public thought him dead, but Kozin would spend the next 50 years in Siberia, still singing and performing in the strange looking-glass world of internal exile.

(Photo: Marc Almond performs on stage at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire. Credit: C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images)

Marc Almond goes in search of a Russian superstar who vanished in Siberia

India's Forgotten War2014102520141029 (WS)

In the Indian capital Delhi stands India Gate, the largest memorial to the war for which 1.5 million Indian men were recruited. But Anita Rani discovers that World War One is something of a forgotten memory today, seen as part of its colonial history, and she sets out to uncover some of the forgotten stories.

We meet relatives of the men who travelled from the rural villages in Punjab - including what is now Pakistan - to fight thousands of miles away from home for a cause they knew little about. Anita's parents are from this region, and she finds out what drove them to fight for the British Empire on the Western Front, Africa and in what is now Iraq. She explores how the women who were left in the villages managed to cope with their rural lives without their men, and uncovers folk songs they composed at the time which reveal their suffering.

Not all those who took part in the war were soldiers, and Anita also reveals lost stories from the Labour Corps - the hundreds of thousands of men who worked behind the scenes on the front, in a non-combatant role. They did everything from digging and clearing tranches and latrines, to cooking and boot mending. And we hear about the remarkable actions of a Bengali doctor who risked his life to save others on the battlefield.

We also reveal some of the forgotten story of the home front, in cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Karachi, where military hospitals were set up to treat the wounded, and much production of food and munitions for the war effort fell to Indian workers.

Not everyone agreed with the involvement in this colonial war though, and we also look at how some deserted, or protested as part of the burgeoning independence movement.

Inside The Fed20131231

America's central bank - the US Federal Reserve - is 100 years old. Listen to its story

The US Federal Reserve – America's central bank – is 100 years old. Simon Jack tells the surprising story of an institution which despite crashes and crises is a cornerstone of the global economy. With rare access to the Federal Reserve itself Simon talks to some of those who have been intimately involved with it over the decades. He discovers some unlikely tales in the Fed's struggle to maintain its independence and he finds out what things were really like there during the worst of the financial crisis in 2008.

Picture: Seal of the US Federal Reserve, Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Interview With One Of Iran's Vice Presidents, Masoumeh Ebtekar20150819

Masoumeh Ebtekar discusses Iran's place in the world.

Kim Ghattas interviews one of Iran's vice presidents, Masoumeh Ebtekar, about Iran's place in the world now that Iran has signed the nuclear deal with six world powers.

Tehran is a modern city of 12 million people, a study in contrast between bazaars and shopping malls, between hardline clerics and millennial hipsters. Masoumeh Ebtekar first became famous in 1979 as the spokesperson for the students holding the hostages at the American Embassy. 36 years later Iran has signed a nuclear deal with six world powers but really it’s all about Iran and the United States. How does she feel about the relationship between the two countries?

Iraq’s Kurds: From Flight To Freedom2016052220160525 (WS)
20160526 (WS)

Twenty-five years ago, thousands of Iraqi Kurds lost their lives as they fled the forces of Saddam Hussein into the Zagros and Taurus mountains of northern Iraq, towards Iran and Turkey. Massively outgunned, many were killed by the helicopter gunship fire and tanks at the command of Saddam’s well trained and brutal troops. Virtually the entire Kurdish population trekked up into the mountains through freezing rain and snow, where many perished before a safe haven was established under western air protection.

The mass flight of the Kurds was yet another stage in the turbulent history of a people who have faced a constant struggle to establish their place in the world. BBC Middle East correspondent Jim Muir was there, and revisits the exodus with recordings he made then which have never been heard before.

(Photo: Jim Muir with Jalal Talibani and Masoud Barzarni, leaders of the 1991 Kurdish uprising)

The flight of the Iraqi Kurds from Saddam’s forces twenty-five years ago

Island Of Love2016091320160917 (WS)

Why are Middle Easterners heading to Cyprus to tie the knot?

Every year, Cyprus carries out thousands of weddings for couples from across the Middle East. The Mediterranean island promotes itself as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, but its popularity as a wedding destination is much more prosaic - it offers civil marriages.

Across the Arab world and Israel this concept is virtually non-existent; only religious weddings are allowed. In Lebanon, a tiny country with 18 different sects, many fall in love with someone from a different religion. The story of Abdul Kader and Rachel is typical – he is Muslim and she is Christian. Neither wants to convert. We meet them as they tie the knot alone at Larnaca townhall.

Another Lebanese couple, Georges and Melissa, could easily marry in church, but are part of a growing trend opting for a simple, secular ceremony.

Along the coast in Pathos, Israelis, Raz and Or, have also chosen to exchange their vows in a civil service by the sea. Their supportive families have joined them here. But other Israelis have been forced to come to Cyprus because they cannot wed legally at home. We meet a bride who is one of over 360,000 Russian-Israelis whose Jewish identity is not recognised by the strict rules of the chief rabbinate.

With marriage tourism booming, specialist florists, event planners and photographers help to make wedding days extra special. Many Middle Easterners hope for reforms back home that will allow civil weddings. In the meantime, they head to the Island of Love.

(Photo: Raz and Or exchange vows by the sea supported by friends)

Isolation2013092920131229 (WS)

Humans are social creatures, so how do we cope in situations of isolation - bereft of human contact - or in situations where we are confined in the company of just a few individuals for long periods of time?

Anahi Aradas explores the effects of isolation and confinement in a tiny community in the Antarctic, speaks to former astronauts in the US and visits a Swedish prison, where inmates are encouraged to practise yoga to help them cope.

King George Island lies just off the Antarctic mainland is home to scientific research stations belonging to a range of countries. A posting here is a matter of choice, and not many bring their families with them. But helicopter pilot Fernando Fontt and his wife Carolina have opted for two years in this tiny settlement, along with their one-year-old son, Fernandito.

Astronaut Al Worden represents the Apollo generation, and is one of only 24 human beings to have travelled to the Moon. His solo three-day orbit of the Moon earned him the accolade of 'most isolated human being' from the Guinness Book of World Records. Michael Lopez Alegria made four journeys to space and spent 215 consecutive days on the International Space Station. And Diego Urbina, of the Mars generation, spent 520 days in a hangar in Moscow, simulating the return journey to the Red Planet. All speak about their experience of isolation and confinement, the pleasure and the pain.

Anahi also meets Annika, a woman serving a 20-month sentence in a Swedish women’s prison in Ystad. Like all other inmates, she is locked in her cell every evening for 12 hours. She welcomes the solitude and keeps herself in mental balance by meditating. In Ystad prison the staff conduct yoga lessons for inmates.

How do people cope with isolation and confinement? Anahi Aradas explores the issue in A.

How do people cope with isolation and confinement? Anahi Aradas explores the issue in Antarctica, in space and in prison.

Jfk: Dallas Remembers2013111620131117 (WS)

Five people who witnessed an aspect of the death of John F Kennedy share their stories

On 22 November 1963, President John F Kennedy was campaigning in Texas. That morning, Air Force One touched down at Dallas Love Field Airport. The president and first lady waved to jubilant crowds that watched the motorcade move through downtown Dallas.

As the presidential limousine passed through Dealey Plaza, Kennedy was shot in the head by an assassin’s bullet. Within a half hour, 75 million Americans had heard the news. President Kennedy was declared dead at 1pm, Dallas time.

Over three days, three murders rocked the city of Dallas. After President Kennedy, police officer JD Tippit was shot and killed by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was later fatally shot on live television.

Sue MacGregor brings together five people who were intimately connected to the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination: Clint Hill, the former Secret Service agent who frantically climbed up the back of the presidential limousine as the shots rang out; Gayle Newman, who stood with her young family in Dealey Plaza and became one of the closest eyewitnesses; Hugh Aynesworth, then of the Dallas Morning News who reported the events in November 1963, Kenneth Salyer, who was part of the medical team at Parkland Hospital, desperately trying to revive the president; and James Leavelle, retired Dallas homicide detective who was famously handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby.

Picture: John F Kennedy, Credit: Getty Images

Sue MacGregor brings together five people intimately connected to the assassination of...

Sue MacGregor brings together five people intimately connected to the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas.

Ko Un: The People's Poet Of Korea20140121

What can Ko Un's poetry tell us about modern South Korea?

In South Korea, former Zen monk Ko Un is revered as a pro-democracy activist and the people’s poet. To mark his 80th birthday, Mike Greenwood explores his prolific output, in particular his epic masterwork, Ten Thousand Lives (Maninbo), in which he puts into poems the faces and lives of all the people he has known or known of. Conceived when he was imprisoned in the 1980s for rebelling against the military dictatorships then controlling South Korea, Maninbo has been published in 30 volumes in Korean. Now, for the first time, the first 10 volumes have been translated into English.

We use readings from this treasure box of poems to provide a unique window on to modern Korea, with contributions from Andrew Motion and Ko Un himself, three-times Nobel Prize for Literature runner up. “Poetry” he says, “is the music of history.”

Ko Un has given us special access to his home near Seoul where, in a series of intimate interviews, he shares his story.

Born into a peasant family in 1933, Ko Un began writing poems from an early age. Traumatised by the horrors of the Korean war, he became a monk. After leaving the Buddhist community in 1962, another lost decade of despair followed, including problems with alcohol and multiple suicide attempts. After a profound political awakening in 1972, he joined in vigorous opposition to the military regime and in the struggle for human rights. He was detained, tortured, and imprisoned repeatedly and for long periods. Finally set free in 1980, Ko Un married, moved to the countryside, fathered a daughter, and entered a period of stability and happiness, though it would be more than a decade before he was granted a passport.

(Picture: Ko Un, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Mike Greenwood reports on how the poetry of Korea’s national poet, Ko Un, weaves a gran...

Mike Greenwood reports on how the poetry of Korea’s national poet, Ko Un, weaves a grand mosaic of Korean history and society.

Law Behind Bars2014051020140511 (WS)

Most people who face criminal charges in Kenya go to court without a lawyer. By the Kenyan judiciary’s own admission, this leads to a great deal of injustice. This programme meets an impressive group of prisoners who are acting as lawyers on behalf of themselves and their fellow inmates. Mostly by discovering flaws in the original cases, they are managing to get large numbers of convictions overturned at appeal.

According to one Kenyan lawyer, these prisoner paralegals are much more effective than many of the professionals: after all, they have all the time, and the ultimate motivation of winning freedom.

(Picture: Inmate paralegals meet to discuss a case, Credit: BBC)

Leaving The Fold2016090620160910 (WS)

What does it take for someone to turn their back on their religious upbringing? What effect does that decision ultimately have on them and those around them? We explore the personal journeys of three people who walked away from their faiths and redefined their morality in a world without God.

A young ex-Muslim, a middle-aged ex-Hindu, and an ex-born-again-Christian, each recount what their lives were like growing up in devout religious families and what spurred them on to renounce their faith. The programme traces the moments that defined their journeys.

What did removing the hijab in public for the first time represent for the ex-Muslim? How did a religiously motivated bomb attack in India affect the ex-Hindu’s understanding of his faith? How did the ex-born-again-Christian learn to live in a world without morals and rules defined by God?

(Photo: Atheists and those who oppose religion in government gather for a rally. Credit: Brendan Smalowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Three personal testimonies exploring the journey from religious faith to atheism

Life Under Glass20160817

The premature babies in incubators on display in an amusement park before World War II

At Coney Island amusement park between 1903 and 1943 there was an extraordinary exhibit: tiny, premature babies. 'Dr Martin Couney's infant incubator’ facility was staffed by nurses in starched white uniforms and if you paid a quarter, you could see the babies in their incubators.

Journalist Claire Prentice has been following the story and tracked down some of those babies, now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, who were put in the show. She discovers how Dr Couney brought the incubator to prominence in the USA through World's Fairs and amusement parks, and explores how a man who was shunned by the medical establishment changed attitudes to premature babies and saved countless lives.

Image: Coney Island amusement park in 1904, Credit: Getty Images

Linard's Travels20141029

An insight into the life of Linard Davies, a baggage attendant at San Francisco airport

Deep and distinguished, yet rugged and wise, Linard Davies serves the next customer wanting their bag wrapped in cling film at the Airport Travel Agency in San Francisco. Linard deals with the packages that the airlines won't and swears by his motto, 'We don't say no'.

Perhaps it's this can-do attitude that has earned him a reputation for dealing with urns. 'We must have had over a 100 urns'. A traffic cop stored his father's ashes with Linard while putting on a function at his house. He would occasionally pop in and ask, 'How's my dad doing?'. Linard would reply, 'He's doing great, he ain't bothering nobody!'

A Korean girl flying to Atlanta left the ashes of her mother with Linard, never to be picked up. He now considers the deceased his business partner, talking to her on long night shifts. Yet he does feel a little responsible for 'Grandma' as he calls her, as he accidentally broke the urn and the ashes scattered onto the floor. So Grandma is now forever in San Francisco Airport.

The Airport Travel Agency deals with all kinds of artefacts, from a set of house keys to a bass violin, kayak, or extra-large dog kennel (minus the dog). The unofficial historian of the Airport Travel Agency, Carol, gives us a run down of the strangest items - clown shoes, 10-foot tall carved wooden doors from Bali and a set of fresh moose antlers, to name just a few.

(Photo: Travelers gather their luggage at San Francisco International Airport. Credit: Getty Images)

Linda For Congress20160203

What does it take to run for office in today’s USA?

The road to the White House requires stamina and plenty of money. Economist and US Citizen, Linda Yueh, makes a hypothetical run for Congress in the 5th district of Virgina, to find out why it costs so much money to run for office and the increasing importance of the internet in a campaign. On the way she gathers a campaign team, meets her voters and learns about the importance of pizza in politics.

Lines In The Sand20131224

The emerging Jihadi challenge across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa

Are a series of separate conflicts across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa part of a wider Jihadi challenge? With the the fall of Gaddafi in Libya, vast stockpiles of unguarded weapons were suddenly available. In January 2013, armed extremists in Mali crossed a line in the sand by advancing south, only to provoke a French military riposte. The Islamists were dispersed - but they were far from beaten. Across the edge of the Sahara, a large number of other violent, Islamist-related incidents followed or came into focus. One of the leading militants in Mali - Mochtar Bel Mochtar - audaciously attacked a BP oil installation in southern Algeria. Jihadis attacked a uranium mine and a military barracks in Mali’s neighbour, Niger. Suicide bombers began operating in both countries for the first time. And the conflict in Northern Nigeria intensified. The Boko Haram group, which has reported links to the Mali insurgents, occupied significant parts of the most populous country in the region. The lines in the Saharan sand are much broader than we thought - and they are shifting.

The BBC’s International Development Correspodnent Mark Doyle gives listeners an aural picture of this new battleground, and investigates what the fighting is really about. He asks if there are direct links - or co-ordination - between the various Islamist groups and how worried the rest of the world should be.

Mark Doyle investigates the growing Jihadist threat across the African Sahel.

Looping Swans20160824

When tanks rolled into Moscow on 19 August 1991 during a dramatic anti-Perestroika coup by Soviet hardliners, the USSR’s state-controlled airwaves offered a curious response - a continuous loop of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Ballet, of all things, served as balm for the revolution underway.

Yet most Soviets were not fooled. A series of deaths by recent Soviet premiers – all greeted by broadcasts of the regime’s beloved ‘Swans’ on television – had taught Russians to view Tchaikovsky’s classic as far more than art. It was a harbinger for political wrangling deep inside the Kremlin. Amid the dancing and pirouettes on a grainy screen, Russians saw hidden choreography affecting their lives and country. Tchaikovsky's swans had become canaries in the coal mine, sparking mass protests that brought an end to the Soviet empire.

We trace the strange and elaborate pas de deux between Tchaikovsky’s ballet classic and the Russian psyche – revealing how a work, considered a flop upon its premiere, emerged as a powerful instrument of Soviet propaganda, and later – a soundtrack that failed to disguise impending political turmoil.

A mosaic of Russian voices recall their impressions of the swans through a richly layered tale of 'looped reporting' and encounters, rare archive audio, contemporary interviews and digital mash-ups, to chronicle how Swan Lake has shaped the history of modern Russia and – even now – emerged as a powerful political 'meme' in the Putin era. With Swan Lake loops by Rombix.

(Photo: Ballerinas dancing in front of an image of a human eye)

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and its relationship with the Russian psyche and politics

Losing My Sight And Learning To Swim2016101620161020 (WS)

Monica Vasconcelos learns to negotiate the world as her sense of sight diminishes

Singer and broadcaster Mônica Vasconcelos is slowly losing her sight. Originally from Brazil, she now lives in London, a busy city she finds harder and harder to negotiate safely. As her vision gradually fades, she goes in search of people who may show her new possibilities – new ways of being. They are, among others; her brother, who lives with the same eye condition, and who expertly masters the use of a white cane to navigate the city; her godson, Tiago, who takes her hand in the warm waves on the beaches of Brazil, and - in one of the last interviews he gave before his death - the writer and thinker Dr Oliver Sacks.

Oliver Sacks was a neurologist who changed the way many people think about so called 'disabilities', and who Monica met in his New York flat. To her surprise, they found themselves discussing ways of approaching the onset of blindness not only with insight, but also with humour - especially at one magical moment when Sacks shared his own collection of canes with her. The canes, he explained, were acquired to help him get around the city, as his own sight fades. Swimming, he tells Monica, is the one place he feels free and in his own skin - try and find your own version of swimming he advises her.

On the streets of London, we hear Mônica negotiating the busy streets as she heads to meet her brother, who takes her out for her first lesson in using a white cane.

She also hears from academic and professor Georgina Kleege, who has explored the relationship between blindness and social inclusion.

In the studio with pianist and long term music partner Steve Lodder, we hear Mônica’s unique and transporting voice, working on her new song - a rare chance to hear how music can grow as a collaboration between two talented musicians.

(Photo: Mônica Vasconcelos. Credit: Aro Ribeiro)

Losing My Sight And Learning To Swim2016122420161225 (WS)

Singer and broadcaster Mônica Vasconcelos is slowly losing her sight. Originally from Brazil, she now lives in London, a busy city she finds harder and harder to negotiate safely. As her vision gradually fades, she goes in search of people who may show her new possibilities – new ways of being. They are, among others; her brother, who lives with the same eye condition, and who expertly masters the use of a white cane to navigate the city; her godson, Tiago, who takes her hand in the warm waves on the beaches of Brazil, and - in one of the last interviews he gave before his death - the writer and thinker Dr Oliver Sacks.

Oliver Sacks was a neurologist who changed the way many people think about so called 'disabilities', and who Monica met in his New York flat. To her surprise, they found themselves discussing ways of approaching the onset of blindness not only with insight, but also with humour - especially at one magical moment when Sacks shared his own collection of canes with her. The canes, he explained, were acquired to help him get around the city, as his own sight fades. Swimming, he tells Monica, is the one place he feels free and in his own skin - try and find your own version of swimming he advises her.

On the streets of London, we hear Mônica negotiating the busy streets as she heads to meet her brother, who takes her out for her first lesson in using a white cane.

She also hears from academic and professor Georgina Kleege, who has explored the relationship between blindness and social inclusion.

In the studio with pianist and long term music partner Steve Lodder, we hear Mônica’s unique and transporting voice, working on her new song - a rare chance to hear how music can grow as a collaboration between two talented musicians.

(Photo: Mônica Vasconcelos. Credit: Aro Ribeiro)

Lost Children Of The Holocaust2015050620150822 (WS)
20150823 (WS)
20150826 (WS)

The search for a group of child holocaust-survivors

Following the end of the World War Two, the BBC began a series of special radio appeals on behalf of a group of children who had survived the Holocaust but were now stranded as orphans in post-war Europe. A recording of one of these moving broadcasts still exists in the BBC archives. Seventy years on, Alex Last set out to find out what had happened to the 12 children named in this recording. They had been in many camps, including Auschwitz, Muhldorf, Kauferng, Theresienstadt, Belsen, and Dachau, and the modern-day search took him to Germany, Israel and the United States.

Five of the Holocaust survivors are still alive today, and four of them were well enough to speak to Alex, who was able to piece together their stories of courage and humanity.

(Photo: A group of unidentified children photographed just after liberation by the Soviet Red Army from Oswiecim or Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, 27 January, 1945. Credit: AP/CAF pap)

Lynn Hill - 21st Century War Poet2016031520160316 (WS)

US Air Force veteran and poet Lynn Hill opens up the alien soul of 21st Century warfare

In recent years, the US Air Force has been training more drone operators than aircraft pilots. World Service gets inside the mind of poet Lynn Hill, Air Force veteran and former drone operator whose poetry opens up the alien soul of 21st Century warfare.

Lynn Hill was an active participant in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She played a pivotal role in operations, but has not set foot in either country. She spent much of her military career flying Predator drones, gathering intelligence and firing missiles remotely some 12,000 miles away - from a central station in Las Vegas. During her lunch break she would nip out for a sandwich, then return to fight in Afghanistan. At the end of the day, she would get into her car and go home.

Her brilliant poetry talks of the difficult task of separating her real life from her war life. About hate and insanity, violence and nihilism. About dreams and being involved in war via a screen. About seeing yourself in the third person. About some of the very serious problems faced by her 21st Century war colleagues - divorce, alcohol, psychiatric illness, crises of identity.

This is another world - a world drowning in radio chatter and computer noises, a hermetically-sealed dome of virtual warfare. The sound of Hill's spare, personal, razor-sharp poetry illustrates life for her and other young women who have played this uniquely modern combat role.

(Photo: Lynn Hill, war poet)

Macau: Monte Carlo Of The Orient2015101420151017 (WS)
20151018 (WS)

In under a decade, Macau leapfrogged Las Vegas to become the world's most lucrative gambling centre. But after a decade of unparalleled growth Macau now faces both an economic downturn and a crackdown from mainland China, where gambling is banned. How will this impact on its residents?

So what does the future hold for the next generation of aircraft hangar-size casinos opening this year? As other territories attempt to tap into the lucrative market of outbound Chinese tourists, Claire Bolderson explores what Macau must do to keep both its VIP and mass-market visitors satisfied.

(Photo: Gambling machines inside a casino in Macau. Credit: AFP)

How Macau overtook Las Vegas to become the gambling capital of the world

Malala's Story2013101220131013 (WS)

An exclusive interview with the Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai

The dramatic, disturbing and inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai has drawn the attention of the world. Now, she talks about her life in her own words, in an exclusive interview with Mishal Husain. Malala was an ordinary schoolgirl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley who achieved prominence by blogging for the BBC during the Taliban takeover of her home region. She wrote about how the Taliban had banned her and other girls in Swat from attending school. After the Taliban were forced out, she became an internationally known campaigner for the right of all girls to an education.

In October 2012, the Taliban took revenge, sending a gunman to kill her. He shot her in the head and shoulder, leaving her on the point of death. There was a massive wave of sympathy and support from across the globe and Malala was airlifted to the English city of Birmingham for medical treatment. This will be her first full interview since the attack, in which she will talk about her life, her fight and her dreams.

Picture: Malala Yousafzai, Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

And exclusive interview with the Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai

Manto: Uncovering Pakistan20160622

The legacy of Sa'adat Manto, who confronted social taboos in Indio-Pakistani society

Sa’adat Hassan Manto was a writer who confronted social taboos in Indio-Pakistani society. Even though he died only aged 42 in 1955, an alcoholic and penniless, his work still speaks to 21st Century Pakistan.

As a film and radio script writer, a journalist and most significantly as short story writer in Urdu, Manto chronicled the chaos that prevailed in the run up to, during and after the Partition of India in 1947. Manto was tried for obscenity six times - three times in British India and three times in Pakistan, but he was never convicted.

Often compared with DH Lawrence, Manto (much like Lawrence) wrote about topics considered to be social taboos in Indio-Pakistani society. With stories such as Atishparay (Nuggets of Fire), Bu (Odour), Thanda Gosht (Cold Meat) and Shikari Auratein (Women of Prey), he portrayed the darkness of the human psyche and the collective madness of the social and political changes around him.

With the help of Manto's three daughters, Nusrat, Nighat and Nuzhat, as well as writers and scholars like Ayesha Jalal, Suniya Qureshi, Preti Taneja and Mohammed Hanif, presenter Sarfraz Mansoor tells Manto’s story and assesses his legacy.

(Photo: Pakistani Muslims break their fast at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad on June 2016. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Media And The Middle East2014092720140928 (WS)

The rockets and missiles fly, from Israel into Gaza, from Gaza into Israel. It is the latest iteration of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours, which has flared since the very founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Accompanying the conflict has been an unprecedented level of media coverage. And almost nothing is uncontested. Every sentence, every word of a news report is parsed for signs of bias by individuals and organisations dedicated to ensuring a fair deal for their point of view. Coverage is measured in minutes and seconds of airtime. Media organisations stand accused, by both sides, of prejudice, systemic bias and deliberate distortion.

Why does this particular conflict, above all others, attract the attention it does? And why does it create such strong emotion, even among those with no connection to the region? John Lloyd, a contributing editor at the Financial Times, examines the evolution of coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, from the founding of Israel to the present day.

With contributions from journalists and those who monitor them, Lloyd asks why there is such focus both on the conflict itself and on those who report it. He traces the way reporting has developed from the early television age, through the introduction of 24-hour news channels to the inception of social media. And he examines the challenges of reporting fairly and accurately on a conflict in which every assertion is contested.

Why the Arab-Israeli conflict attracts so much media attention and why it is so contested

Mighty Real: Sylvester James20160706

The tale of gay black diva Sylvester James, famed for his disco hit Mighty Real

David McAlmont travels to San Francisco to tell the glittering and sad tale of gay black diva Sylvester James, famed for his disco hit Mighty Real. Sylvester's short life says much about U.S. civil rights movements, the politics of the American music business and the devastating effects of Aids. David talks to Sylvester's sister, friends and fellow performers, and visits the San Francisco Opera House, where Sylvester recorded his renowned live album Living Proof.

(Photo: Sylvester James. Credit: Fantasy Records Archives)

Minecraft: More Than A Game2015111120151114 (WS)

Why are children hooked on Minecraft? Does it stimulate creativity or disengage them?

To the adult onlooker, Minecraft might seem to be a low-resolution digital version of Lego, albeit one where you never run out of blocks and they never topple over. Yet it is very different. You can walk among your own creations, play online with other people who are in the same world, and battle monsters when they come out after dark.

But many parents worry that their children find the Minecraft universe so rewarding that they are losing interest in the real world, in face-to-face contact, or in non-screen-based play. Even when not playing the game themselves, millions of children enjoy watching other people playing, in YouTube videos.

And, there is a darker side to Minecraft - one in which children are "griefed" by having their digital property vandalised or stolen, and older teenagers go online specifically to bully younger children and post the resulting videos. Minecraft seems to be inducting children into a world with property but no policemen.

But the things children are building in Minecraft are extraordinary, and their commitment to understanding the game and mastering its technicalities is impressive. Rather than having a moral panic about it, maybe we should be harnessing children's enthusiasm and taking Minecraft into schools, as some educationalists propose?

(Photo: Minecraft Game Cover for XBox. Credit: Getty Images)

Missing The World Cup2016071220160716 (WS)

Ghana's World Cup boycott of 1966 was a protest at the number of places at the World Cup given by FIFA to Africa. It is a story of politics, decolonisation and pan-Africanism.

African champions in 1963 and 1965, and Olympic quarter-finalists in 1964, Ghana would have been the favourites to qualify for England – but the team, nicknamed the Black Stars, never got their chance. Missing the World Cup meets two players who regret their World Cup absence to this day – Osei Kofi and former team-mate Kofi Pare – and those close to the key agitators of the boycott, with another Ghanaian, Ohene Djan, eloquently leading the protest alongside the remarkable Ethiopian Yidnekatchew Tessema, a onetime Confederation of African Football president who was also a star player, coach and administrator.

Image: The Jules Rimet World Cup trophy, Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Ghana's boycott of 1966 was a protest at the number of places given by FIFA to Africa

Misunderstanding Japan2015102420151025 (WS)
20151028 (WS)

What impact have western media representations had on our view of Japan and its people?

What images come into your head when you think of Japan?

Dr Christopher Harding explores how Western media representations of Japan, from the very first Victorian travellers through to Alan Whicker and Clive James, have revisited the same themes.

Often portrayed as workaholics driven by a group mentality, with submissive women and bizarre crazes, Dr Harding asks whether many of these stereotypes have led to the country being misunderstood by people in the West.

Have the Japanese had a role in perpetuating some of these stereotypes in an effort to set themselves apart?

What do our images, feelings, fears and fantasies about Japan tell us about ourselves?

Producer: Keith Moore

Modern Love2016021420160217 (WS)

How are dating apps changing the way people find love around the world?

How are dating apps changing the way people find love around the world? In New York, it's been called the dating apocalypse. The birth of the dating app has left people with so many options, they can't - or don't want to - settle on just one.

In Delhi, young people can be disowned or worse by their families if they refuse to marry someone of their parents' choosing. But a growing number of urbanites are now using apps to flirt with the distinctly un-Indian concept of dating.

In Nairobi, where gay sex can get you a 14-year prison sentence, apps are allowing men to meet other men away from public places. But the anonymity that brings a sense of security can also bring danger.

In Modern Love, Simon Maybin spends time with daters in all three cities, trying to understand how this new technology is changing the way people find romance across the world.

More Than One Kind Of Love2015102020151024 (WS)

Twenty-five years after independence, Audrey Brown travels to Namibia to explore the kind of lives lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual people are carving out in a society where homosexuality is not forbidden but where widespread social disapproval makes it difficult for them to live as fully free human beings.

Audrey spends time with Zoe, a young lesbian who had a child in order to hide her sexuality. She travels with Linda, to learn how activists are drawing on Namibia's history of fighting against oppression under apartheid South Africa to reach out to communities who reject them. And she meets Deyonce, a transwoman who refuses to compromise who she is, despite hostility from her own family.

Homosexuality in Namibia and the LGBT community's fight for social acceptance

Music That Unites Us2016050120160504 (WS)
20160505 (WS)

The music of the world that unites fans - even across borders that divide old enemies

In the Indian Punjab, two young teenage girls are singing ancient poetry written by a Muslim Sufi saint buried over the border in Pakistan. Meanwhile, across the barbed wire in Pakistan, the female folk singer Bali Jatti, whose music is inspired by Indian culture, is performing to a rapturous crowd of Pakistani men. This is not the only example of split-identity music which unites fans across borders that divide old enemies. Asad Ali Chaudhry also explores Cypriot folk music shared by Greeks and Turks, and how a Russian folk metal band came to have a strong Finnish influence.

(Photo: A street music group in the old part of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, 2013. Credit: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

My Family’s Fight For Civil Rights2014070220140703 (WS)
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Baroness Oona King discovers her American family’s role in the fight for equality

Baroness Oona King, the former British Labour MP, has an American side to her family that played a variety of key roles in the Civil Rights Movement. Her grandfather and uncles worked with Martin Luther King in The Albany Movement, a campaign of mass protests that tried to desegregate their home town in Georgia. Oona travelled to Albany to speak to members of the movement on the 50th anniversary of the passing of The Civil Rights Act, the legislation which forced the Southern States to give African Americans the equality which was their right under the Constitution.

Oona discovers that the violence meted out to black protesters by the authorities affected her family directly. Her uncle CB King, the first black lawyer in the town, was beaten up by a local Sherriff for asking to see his client in the cells. And her Aunt Marion lost her baby after she was beaten up by the police.

She speaks to Pastor Boyd, of the Shiloh Baptist Church, who is now in his mid 80s and bravely allowed protesters to meet at his church; Charles Sherrod, of the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee, who brought the campaign for voting rights and desegregation to Albany; John Perdew, who came from Harvard to help the fight and was arrested on trumped up charges and faced the death sentence for protesting; Chief Judge Herbert Phipps of the Atlanta Court of Appeals, and Chevene King, the lawyer son of CB King, who is now fighting racial injustice in Georgia.

(Photo: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People march in front of the Dinkler Plaza Hotel in Atlanta on 11 Nov 1961. Credit: Associated Press)

My Head20150923

Every year around a quarter of a million people suffer traumatic brain injury in the UK. James Piercy is one of those. On 30 January 2011, a nail pierced the tyre of the car he was travelling in. The car left the road and hit a tree. This is his story of recovery and what he learned about this common condition along the way.

He meets the policeman who held his head and kept him breathing, the air ambulance team who rushed him to hospital and the surgeon who drilled a hole in his skull in the middle of the night. James also takes a journey through our current understanding of the brain, and how studying injuries like his are helping to shape the modern, very different, explanations of how our brains work.

(Photo: A boy suffering from head trauma gets his head bandaged. Credit: Thinkstock)

A true story of brain injury, recovery and discovery

My Iranian Daughter2016061420160618 (WS)

In Iran, It is not just former President Ahmadinejad who slams homosexuals, many people also deny homosexuality or know very little about it. So how does one family cope when they realise their daughter is gay?

This is not the usual story of mistreating gay people in countries like Iran. It is not about rejection, nor brutality, towards a young girl. This is about the collective struggle of a supportive and close-knit family – who are trying to find a solution for this "crisis", each in their own way. Denial, anger, disappointment and silence are some of the reactions to the undeniable fact that she is gay. After the reluctant acceptance, they are looking for a way out. But what role will religion, culture and family affections play in this struggle within the boundaries of home?

Leyla Khodabakhshi will take you through this family journey to show the suffering of both sides – for the daughter and the rest of the family.

(Photo: Two Iranian Lesbians mark the International Day Against Homophobia in Iran. Credit: JoopeA)

An Iranian family struggles to deal with the unspoken fact that their daughter is gay

My Mother's Sari2015123020160102 (WS)
20160103 (WS)

The history of the sari and how items of clothing can symbolise loss, love and nostalgia

Shahidha traces the story of the sari, explores how it feels to wear one and asks what it meant for women like her mother. She talks with a range of women, including broadcaster Mishal Husain and writer Monica Ali about their experiences. And she explores the powerful, painful, sometimes complicated relationships between mother and daughters, and discovers the unexpected ways in which clothing can be imprinted with feelings of nostalgia, love and loss, whichever background we come from.

(Photo: Indian ladies standing in a line wearing saris. Credit: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar's Bright Young Stars2015102720151031 (WS)

How youth radio is helping to shape Myanmar's shift from military rule

Forty-five percent of the population of Myanmar is 25 or under. This gives young adults a key role in the country’s first open election in 25 years, to be held on 8 November. Nomia Iqbal spends time with producers at youth radio programme Lin Lat Kyair Sin (or Bright Young Stars). Their team are running an unprecedented Youth Question Time event, putting Myanmar's young people face-to-face with politicians. It is an important chapter in the country’s continuing shift from military rule to full democracy.

(Photo: Presenter Nomia Iqbal)

Naija Desires20161207

As part of the 100 Women season, Naija Desires breaks a taboo by exploring sex and female sexuality in conservative Nigeria.

Naija Sexual Desires20161207

Breaking taboos by exploring sex and female sexuality in conservative Nigeria

Bola Mosuro explores attitudes towards sex and sexuality in her country of origin, Nigeria. Talking openly about sex, desire and pleasure is still mostly a no-go area - especially if you are a woman. Today, however, women are breaking through religious and cultural barriers to claim equality in the bedroom.

Bola travels to Lagos to talk to men and women of different generations and backgrounds about what they want out of their sexual relationships, and what they have grown up expecting and been told. She explores society's attitudes towards intimacy, sexual fulfilment, lust and love - in and outside marriage. And, she spends time with the woman who set up Nigeria's first online sex-aids shop - despite the death threats.

(Photo: Young African woman on a bed. Credit: Thinkstock)

Native American News2014082620140827 (WS)

TV made in the US by tribal people and watched - at its height - by 50 million people

Peter Bowes tells the story of news television made by Native American tribes.

Lita Sheldon of the Tulalip Tribe in Washington State grew up in an age when Tonto – sidekick to The Lone Ranger – was the only Native American she had seen on television. News bulletins about Native Americans were endlessly negative, alcohol-related or concerning ‘trouble on the reservations’. Traditional communication – the languages, longhouses and potlatches – had long been brutally abolished, but Lita had an idea of how to change things. It was time, she thought, for tribal people to make their own news and get it on the national networks. It was from this initial idea that Northwest Indian News (NWIN) began, covering everything from whaling rituals to canoe journeys and watched, at its height, by 50 million people.

Peter Bowes hears from some of the founders of NWIN. He learns how the money from reservation casinos helped fund the first forays into television news production and helped change viewers’ perception of Native American life. Peter talks to Chenoa Egawa, a member of the Swan Tribe, about being recruited as a TV presenter and follows Mark Anderson, cameraman and Cowlitz tribal member, who is covering a story at the Lummi Nation Longhouse whilst paying respect to the Elders.

Peter also hears of plans for a new indigenous programme, ‘Native Heartbeat’, and meets the tribal filmmakers of tomorrow.

Picture: TV presenter Chenoa Egawa

New Year, New Burma20130915

At the Burmese water festival, people poke fun, but will the government listen to them?

Next Stop - Mariachi Plaza20160525

Like day labourers working in construction, the mariachis of Boyle Heights, East LA, hang around on Mariachi Plaza to pick up work. You will see them most days in their dark suits, embroidered jackets, and silver buttons running up the sides of their pants.

The life of a ‘street’ mariachi is pretty unpredictable. In the past, people used to drive, or walk up, to hire them. Now bookings often come over the phone. Boyle Heights is changing. Rents are rising and, especially since the arrival of the Metro Station, developers are moving in. It is hard to know how much this will affect the work of the mariachi.

Writer Evangeline Ordaz was born a block from Mariachi Plaza and worked for years as a legal aid attorney in the neighbourhood. She talks to musicians and residents at neighbourhood celebrations for Santa Cecilia – the adopted patron saint of the mariachi – and spends a night in the Latino suburbs of Los Angeles with the mariachis of Boyle Heights, East LA.

(Photo: Children wearing mariachi suits with guitars, take part in the Santa Cecilia procession)

A night out in the Latino suburbs of Los Angeles, with the mariachis of Boyle Heights

Nigeria's Working Children2014040120140402 (WS)

The Nigerian boys who have to work to support their families, at high cost to themselves

Fifteen million children have to work to earn a living in Nigeria, according to International Labour Organisation figures. Mustapha Mohammed of the BBC's Hausa service goes to meet three of them in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. One of the boys is 12 years old and has to sell sachet water at a busy road junction after school every day. He often does not get a meal in between.

Another boy is 14, and can't go to school at all, even though he would love to. He has to work full-time in a factory to support his family, so that at least his younger siblings can go to school. Mustapha takes the 14-year old to meet another boy, who also worked in a factory until recently. But an incident with a machine ended with him having to have his left hand amputated. Now he cannot even do chores at home anymore, let alone work to support his family.

How do these children see their lives? And how do their parents or guardians feel about relying on income from under-age boys?

Presenter: Mustapha Mohammed

Photo Credit: Seyllou/AFP/Getty - the boy in this photo does not appear in the programme

Nightingales Of India2013072320130724 (WS)
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20131008 (WS)
20131009 (WS)
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Sisters Lata and Asha have forged Bollywood singing careers spanning more than six decades

Known as the 'Nightingales of India', Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have forged Bollywood singing careers spanning more than six decades. The sisters are from a humble background that parallels the story of Bollywood and of India itself.

One or the other of them is rarely out of the record books as the most recorded artist in the world. The sisters were born into a theatrical family. Lata and the older of the two, talks about her childhood and career for the programme. She was left, at the age of 13, to support the whole family. After much hardship she got her big break and, just as the Hindi film industry was taking off at the end of the 1930s, a star was born. Now in her 80s, despite her fame and fortune, she leads a quiet, simple life and remains unmarried.

Her younger sister Asha, also in her 80s, was far from shy and retiring. Teenage elopement, affairs and divorce make her the dangerous half of the duo. She too made it to the top.

Everyone who is anyone in Bollywood has worked with or is familiar with the sisters' work.

Picture: Lata Mangeshkar (right) and her sister Asha Bhosle (left), Credit: Strdel/AFP/Getty Images

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown presents the remarkable story of two sisters revered by Bollywood...

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown presents the remarkable story of two sisters revered by Bollywood fans, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

No Destination2014071220140713 (WS)

Satish Kumar relives his 8000 mile walk for world peace, from New Delhi to Washington DC

Fifty years ago, at the height of the Cold War and at the time of increasing tensions between East and West, Satish Kumar hit headlines around the world when he walked 8000 miles from New Delhi to Moscow, then on to Paris, London and Washington DC delivering packets of 'peace tea' to the leaders of the world's four nuclear powers.

Satish Kumar relives his extraordinary journey - made without any money - that took him from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi to the grave of John F Kennedy. Along the way, he was thrown into jail and faced a loaded gun - as well as meeting some of the most remarkable people of the 20th Century.

In 1973 he settled in England, and became editor of Resurgence magazine, becoming the guiding light behind a number of ecological, spiritual and educational ventures.

Poet Lemn Sissay reads extracts from No Destination: Autobiography of a Pilgrim by Satish Kumar. He describes it as "One of the few life-changing books I have ever read".

Presenter: Satish Kumar

Producer: Shelley Williams for Reel Soul Movies

Photo: Satish Kumar (right) and colleague, EP Menon in England, 1963, courtesy of Peace News

Notes From Kampala2013121420131215 (WS)
20131217 (WS)

The Ugandan classical music school where no one with ability is turned away

‘Because of singing, I am living’. Kampala Music School began life in 2001 in the basement of the YMCA giving music lessons to a handful of pupils. Twelve years later, it has moved into its own new premises and has become the international centre of musical excellence in Uganda – and taught music to more than 2,000 pupils. Some former students have gone on to study at international music schools and are now forging their own careers as fully fledged classical musicians.

This year sees a new director of music, Kiggundu Frederick Musoke – himself a former star pupil. Sarah Taylor meets the staff and pupils of KMS to hear about this centre of musical excellence. KMS has become a lifeline to many where music can be enjoyed alongside friendship, where many pupils come from the backdrop of a fairly bleak existence And no one is turned away through lack of ability to pay.

Not only do pupils leave with a life skill but many go on to become music teachers in international schools throughout East Africa. Such is the pupils ability and enthusiasm, the Associated Board of Music, now send an examiner for an entire week to cope with the volume of students taking grades 1 – 8 on their instruments.

O' Say Can You See?20141119

How Francis Scott Key came to write The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem

The Star-Spangled Banner is embedded in American national identity and yet it only became the official national anthem in 1931. Erica Wagner returns to its origins, almost exactly two centuries ago at the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, a decisive moment in the Second War of American Independence, to find out how Francis Scott Key came to write these lyrics about the American flag. She speaks to the acclaimed American poet Mary Jo Salter about the merit of the lyrics, and to the musicologist David Hildebrand about how the music changed over time to become the anthem we know today.

Central to the appeal of The Star-Spangled Banner is the reverence – what some term the religiosity - which the United States has for its flag. Through insights from Annin Flagmakers, the oldest surviving flagmaking company founded in 1847, and Marc Leepson, author of biographies of both Francis Scott Key and the American flag, Erica unpicks this unique relationship - something she is always aware of whenever she returns to the United States - and examines the positive and negative responses to the anthem.

With music by Whitney Houston, Beyonce Knowles and, of course, Jimi Hendrix.

(Photo: Department of Homeland Security employees stand for the singing of the national anthem. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obama's World2016070920160710 (WS)
20160713 (WS)
20160714 (WS)

When Barack Obama was sworn into office in January 2009 he had already gained millions of fans around the world thanks to his promise to change the way America behaved abroad. His foreign policy objectives were clear. He would reset relations with Russia, extend a hand of friendship to the Muslim world, bring Iran in from the cold and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He promised action on nuclear arms and climate change. Many people in many time-zones who tuned in to watch Obama’s inauguration felt like change was coming.

Eight years on, how has Obama shaped the world? Nahal Toosi, foreign affairs correspondent for Washington-based news outlet Politico, talks to people in the countries most affected by Obama’s decisions. She finds out how lives have changed, from the people living through drone warfare in Pakistan to the residents of Cuba who witnessed Obama’s historic visit. She hears from those inside Obama’s foreign policy machine on why and how key decisions on Egypt, Syria and Ukraine were taken. And she asks how the world will look back on Obama’s time in office.

(Photo: President Barack Obama speaks at an event to recognise emerging global entrepreneurs at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington DC. Credit: Getty Images)

As Barack Obama prepares to leave office, Nahal Toosi examines his foreign policy

Oklahoma City After The Bomb2016103020161102 (WS)

How Oklahoma City transformed itself after the devastating bomb in 1995

In April 1995 a devastating bomb ripped through the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and 168 people died and many more were injured. Numerous investigations tracked what happened before the bombing. Now Emma Barnett travels to Oklahoma City to find out what happened afterwards.

Speaking to survivors and to those left behind, to first responders and state officials, Emma hears stories of resilience, defiance and success against the odds. She finds something more than that, too. Visiting the Oklahoma City memorial, she hears about the ‘Oklahoma Standard’, a phrase coined to describe how thousands of individuals, from a city and state built on notions of ‘rugged individualism’, came together to support those who suffered, and those who came to help.

And she hears how the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ helped give the city an identity it had previously lacked, providing a platform to transform the city both psychologically and physically.

Emma hears another side to this story, too. The money donated after the bombing was used to cover healthcare, education and counselling costs. But then, after the families who suffered in the 9/11 attacks in New York City received millions of dollars of compensation, those in Oklahoma City began to feel that they had been left to fend for themselves.

(Photo: Ellajean Thompson mourns at the chair that represents her aunt Laura Jane Garrison, 11 June 2001, Oklahoma National Memorial. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Online Shopping, Indian Style2015122220151226 (WS)

Shopping in India is traditionally an intensely hands-on experience - no vegetable or item of clothing is bought without thorough inspection, discussion and haggling. But millions of Indians are now embracing the new online shopping opportunities. While few people own credit cards or computers, reliable internet access remains patchy and delivery of the last mile is rife with problems, e-commerce companies are innovating hard to meet India’s very particular challenges. In a country of 1.2 billion people, the prize is huge.

At the frontline of this online shopping revolution is a new breed of smart motorbike couriers with their giant delivery sacks who can be seen criss-crossing Indian cities daily. In the run-up to this year’s Indian festival of Diwali when e-commerce companies are drawing record numbers of shoppers online with seasonal sales and massive discounts, Mukti Jain Campion spends a day with one such courier in Bangalore, meeting customers on their doorsteps to discover what Indians are buying and why.

She also talks to Amit Agarwal who launched Amazon India two years ago and says India is already predicted to become the second biggest Amazon market in the world, as cheaper, faster mobile data allows more Indians to purchase on their smartphones. And she travels beyond the city limits to discover an innovative approach to bring online shopping to less tech-savvy consumers in the villages and small towns where the majority of Indians still live.

(Photo: An Indian woman registers on the e-commerce website Snapdeal. Credit: Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)

How Indians are embracing the online shopping revolution

Open Eye: Crying Meri2014072620140727 (WS)

How men are getting way with murder and violence against women in Papua New Guinea

***WARNING: This programme includes graphic descriptions of sexual violence***

'A humanitarian crisis', that's how the medical charity Medicins Sans Frontiers describes the levels of violence against women they are dealing with in Papua New Guinea - levels they say they usually only witness in war-zones. It is a shocking and under-reported situation that the Russian photojournalist Vlad Sokhin has been documenting for the last three years.

Sokhin takes us on a journey from the remote PNG highlands to the capital Port Moresby. Along the way, he hears the untold stories of women subjected to some of the most extreme violence perpetrated anywhere on earth, including the brutal torture of women accused of witchcraft. Sokhin is given rare access to Haus Ruth, one of only a handful of women's refuges in PNG, as well as also hearing from women risking their lives by taking a stand against the violence.

Perhaps most distubingly Sokhin talks to men who are quite open about having taken part in gang rapes and murders - exposing a criminal justice sytem that is failing women at the most basic level. It is a sobering but unforgettable journey that brings Vlad face-to-face with the truth that in Papua New Guinea men can and do get away with murder.

Orania2014100720141008 (WS)
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20141012 (WS)

Marking 20 years after the end of apartheid, BBC reporter Stanley Kwenda travels to Orania in South Africa to find out why Afrikaners in this remote town choose to live apart from other communities.

Stanley hears how Orania started life as a government construction camp for people working on a dam nearby. It was bought in 1991 by a group of Afrikaners who believed they were marginalised in post-apartheid South Africa and wanted their homeland to preserve their culture. However, Orania has close links to the family of Hendrik Verwoerd – the man who introduced apartheid – and, as a consequence, the town is now seen by many as a final outpost of apartheid.

Stanley Kwenda talks to some of Orania’s residents, including Carel Boshoff – the son of Orania’s founder – who claims that the community is simply looking after its people and interests. As a black Zimbabwean, Stanley explores whether the people of Orania are clinging to a racist past – or whether it is a close-knit community that just happens to be white.

(Photo: Orania town's logo of a boy rolling up his sleeves flanked by statues of apartheid heroes displayed above the town of Orania, South Africa. Credit: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty years after the end of apartheid, Stanley Kwenda visits Orania in South Africa t...

Twenty years after the end of apartheid, Stanley Kwenda visits Orania in South Africa to explore why it's a whites-only town.

Our Missing Girls2014051420140515 (WS)
20140517 (WS)

What does the story of Nigeria's missing girls mean for the government - and Boko Haram?

Finding Nigeria's missing girls has become a global cause with a massive online campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Presidents and prime ministers have joined parents in calling for their release. In Our Missing Girls Nkem Ifejika tells the dramatic story of their disappearance and examines what it means for the government of Africa's most populous nation and its nemesis, Boko Haram.

(Photo: A woman holds a sign that says 'Bring Back Our Girls', Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Mehmet Ergen, Artistic Director of London’s Arcola Theatre, returns to his homeland to...

Mehmet Ergen, Artistic Director of London’s Arcola Theatre, returns to his homeland to lift the curtain on Turkish theatre.

Philip Glass: Taxi Driver2015110420151107 (WS)
20151108 (WS)

The Philip Glass Ensemble formed in 1968 and performed in lofts, museums, art galleries and, eventually, concert halls. Two of Glass's early pieces - the long form Music In Twelve Parts and the opera Einstein on the Beach - secured his reputation as a leading voice in new music.

But America's soon-to-be most successful contemporary composer continued to earn a living by driving a taxi until he was 42. "I would show up around 3pm to get a car and hopefully be out driving by 4. I wanted to get back to the garage by 1 or 2am before the bars closed, as that wasn't a good time to be driving. I'd come home and write music until 6 in the morning."

Glass's new musical language - consisting of driving rhythms, gradually evolving repetitive patterns and amplified voice, organs and saxophones - reflected the urgency of the city surrounding him. New York, on the brink of financial collapse, was crime-ridden and perilous. Driving a cab offered more than a window on this gritty, late night world. Almost every other month, according to Glass, a driver colleague was murdered. Glass escaped altercations with gangs and robbers in his cab.

(Photo: Composer Philip Glass, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Musician Philip Glass revisits his life in '70s New York as a taxi driver and composer

Poems From Syria2015102820151031 (WS)
20151101 (WS)

The emotions and humanity of the Syrian people as seen through the eyes of its poets

During the conflict in Syria, it seems incredible that there are still writers expressing their experiences through poetry. News journalist Mike Embley meets and speaks to Syrian poets, writers and academics about how their work has reflected the emotions and humanity in a seemingly impossible situation.

Some are in exile while others spend their time helping writers still in Syria to translate their poems and share them with a wider world. There are many who are writing to make sense of the trauma suffered by every Syrian and there are those who have found themselves unable to write.

It contains poems by Mohja Kahf, Ghada al-Atrash, Najat Abdul Samad, Ghias al-Jundi, Ibrahim al-Qashoush, Golan Haji and Aicha Arnaout - along with interviews with writers Ghada al-Atrash, Ghias al-Jundi, Golan Haji, Aicha Arnaout and Dr Atef Alshaer.

Readings by Frank Stirling and Eve Matheson.

(Photo: A Syrian man rides a bicycle amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of Damascus. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Poetry Idol2014082720140828 (WS)
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Poetry has always had an essential role to play in Arab literature, and the tradition is thriving in unexpected ways. Shahidha Bari travels to Abu Dhabi to join the audience of 'Million's Poet', a massive televised competition to find the best poet in the Middle East.

Every year this huge contest takes place under the spotlight of the television cameras in Abu Dhabi. Million's Poet is broadcast live across the Middle East and has a huge following, with judges and viewers both having the chance to vote for their favourite poet. There's plenty at stake, as the top prize is an eye-watering five million United Arab Emirate dirhams, a figure getting close to one million pounds.

So how did this TV contest get started, and why do people tune in to hear poets reading their work? It's not the sort of show that would be likely to take off in the West. Shahidha Bari talks to judges, competitors, and the audience to find out the secret of Million Poet's success.

Poetry, she finds, has a particular role in the Middle East as a valued artform in a changing world: an outlet for expression for anyone from the ruler to the doorman, all of whom are free to enter Million's Poet.

Picture: Presenter Shahidha Bari on the set of Million's Poet

Shahidha Bari travels to Abu Dhabi to see 'Million's Poet', a televised competition to...

Shahidha Bari travels to Abu Dhabi to see 'Million's Poet', a televised competition to find the best poet in the Middle East.

Politics At The Polling Station20141028

How changes in voting laws are affecting demoracy in the US

Over the last two decades the controversy over voting rights in the US has become increasingly bitter and polarised along party lines. This process has intensified since 2013 when the Supreme Court overturned important parts of the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina is one key location for these crucially important disputes. It has seen one of the furthest-reaching packages of voting reform of any state and is now in the midst of one of the closest election campaigns this year.

Rajini Vaidyanathan travels across Carolina and hears from those who argue that a concerted campaign is under way to deprive liberal-leaning groups access to the ballot. And she speaks to those responsible for the legislation who insist that they are trying to stop voter fraud and ensure the sanctity of the ballot.

Rajini looks at a number of states where political control has alternated over the last 20 years, and voting law with it, as Democrats pass laws which make it easier to vote – typically benefiting groups which vote for them – and Republicans often do the opposite. She asks what this is doing to American democracy.

(Photo: Voting in North Carolina, Credit: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Pomp And Matrimony20110417

To celebrate the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton, we look back through the archive of British Royal weddings.

From the news coverage of the 1923 wedding of the future King George VI to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, to the moment Lady Diana Spencer stepped out of the glass coach in *that* dress, we look back to the glamour, the gossip, the spectacle and the romance.

A look back through the archive of British Royal weddings

Poor Reporting2012112020121121 (WS)

What does it take to get people in the rich world engaged in the issue of global poverty?

What does it take to get people in the rich world engaged in the issue of global poverty? How can you avoid cliché, sentimentality and callousness? What stops people turning off? Nick Fraser, editor of the BBC’s TV documentary series Storyville, reflects on the difficulties of selling a series on poverty.

Fraser goes to New York to meet an extreme example of his audience, circulating among some of the wealthiest people on the planet, as they meet to discuss the war on want and attempt to address the world’s ills.

Is poverty something the global rich care about or will watching a tear-jerking documentary simply salve their conscience as they plan their next holiday? And what part should the media play: reporting on things as they are or campaigning for how they should be?

(Image: A woman with a baby on her back and a child to her side, Credit: Getty Images)

Preparing For Disaster2014041520140416 (WS)
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Lu Olkowski reports from New York about the growing 'prepper' movement in the city. Preppers are people who are fearful of the future and who are preparing for the next disaster. The city has already experienced natural calamities such as Hurricane Sandy and has suffered devastating terrorist attacks.

Preppers, who operate as individuals or in small organised groups, are convinced another disaster will strike the city soon and refuse to believe that the government will do enough to protect them. They train in self-defence and plan ways to escape the city in the event of emergency. They store food and water in their houses and have 'bug out' bags ready at a moments notice if they have to flee.

Lu Olkowski talks to a number of New York preppers and listens to their concerns and plans for the future. She finds out what they are particularly worried about – everything from a nuclear explosion to economic collapse and another major storm. She hears about their plans of escape and the variety of objects they have secured for their survival – everything from decades' worth of dried food to hoards of silver coins for possible barter after the natural order breaks down. She watches on as they prepare their defence.

Are these people simply paranoid and easily influenced by the wild imaginings of Hollywood disaster films? Or do they have genuine concerns that all of us who live in cities should take heed of?

(Photo: Jay Blevins walks to his backyard with a bug out bag, a quick grab bag with about 40lb of survival gear, including a Katana sword. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP/Getty Images)

Meet the 'Preppers', people who are fearful of the future and preparing for disaster

Protectionism In The Usa20160727

Why is protectionism from both left and right so potent in US politics?

Edward Stourton examines America's long history of resistance to free trade, and asks why it has again become such a potent political force. Donald Trump's most consistent policy has been opposition to free trade agreements, which he sees as unfair, particularly with China. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been equally opposed, if for different reasons, while Hillary Clinton has had to tack away from her previous support for free trade pacts.

Edward looks back to debates from the 19th Century to the 1990s to shed new light on these forces. And, he travels to a Pennsylvania steel making town threatened by Chinese competition to ask whether the protectionist impulse is a natural reaction to globalisation's wrenching changes.

(Photo: A banner hanging from the outside tof he New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 2008. Credit: Stand Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Raising The Dead2016012720160130 (WS)

Music teacher Francesco Lotoro resurrects the music of Holocaust victims

For the past few decades music teacher and pianist Francesco Lotoro has been collecting music written in concentration camps from World War Two.

Francesco's life is entirely given over to recovering the creations of composers and performers, many of them Jewish, who died in the camps. A massive amount of music was written in camps. Classical music by established composers, but also songs, symphonies, sonatas, operas, lullabies, jazz riffs often scribbled on old sacks, toilet paper or scratched into mess tins.

Francesco has discovered works by important composers as Hans Krasa, the Czech creator of the masterpiece 'Brundibar', aswell as Viktor Ullman and Gideon Klein - all killed by the Nazis in 1944, but writing music until the very end.

Composer Adam Gorb is head of composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Working closely with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Adam travels to Italy to meet Francesco and together they pick through his 8000 piece archive, much of which has never been heard before.

In this special documentary, broadcast on Holocaust Memorial Day, Adam Gorb returns to Britain with a piece of unfinished music written by Viktor Ullman before his death. This piece will be performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time.

(Photo: Holocaust survivor Anita Lasuer holds up a portrait of herself playing the cello taken in Berlin before WW2. She survived Aucshwitz, in part, because she is a talented cellist and playing in the camp orchestra. Credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Rebel Song Journey2016051720160521 (WS)

One man’s struggle to keep singing despite losing everything in the Sri Lankan civil war

On the last days of the civil war in Sri Lanka, in 2009, surviving in a bunker with what was left of his family, the only thing Santhan wanted to do was to sing. He lost his son and daughter in a shell attack. The other son was arrested. All was lost including his music. Santhan’s music was completely erased.

After the defeat of the Tamil rebels, no one dared to hum a tune of one of his songs, even privately. He was the voice of the rebellion. Tapes of his songs were buried under the blood soaked red sand of the backyards or discreetly burnt in small bonfires. He had lost all the glory, mansion with ten rooms, all his instruments, his dignity was lost the day they lined up all the men at the refugee camp, naked in front of their elders and younger relatives.

Then they asked him to sing again. He kept on singing - like a nightingale with broken wings. The winners of the war gave him different lyrics, some other tunes and different heroes to sing about. He sang whatever was given to him. “In the end, I am a singer!? he convinced himself.

Was it the only sane thing to do in the days of the apocalypse? For survival and to keep singing, he began to sing devotional songs in Hindu temples and pop songs in children’s birthday parties. In the chaotic post war atmosphere of uncertainty and loss, he found solace in alcohol.

Priyath Liyanage tells Santhan's story - a story of the music that was lost and the tragic consequences of war.

(Photo: Santhan (left) and his wife)

Red Lights And Red Lines2016011020160113 (WS)

Do different prostitution laws in Europe help sex trafficking to flourish?

Despite both liberal and conservative reforms in different countries being hailed as the answer to stamping it out, Europe seems to be losing the battle against sex trafficking. Why do these countries, which work successfully together against other crimes, struggle to combat sexual exploitation and forced prostitution?

Is it because there is no uniform policy to deal with prostitution? Made up of different faiths, traditions and cultures, Europe has a variety of attitudes to sex work. In some countries in Eastern Europe it is completely forbidden and punishable with a prison sentence. In other countries like the UK it is legal in private between consenting adults but brothels and soliciting for sex are illegal. In Germany and Switzerland prostitution is legal and regulated.

Are the different approaches creating an eco-system in which abuse can flourish with traffickers working the systems to their advantage, slipping through the net and escaping prosecution? Annalisa Piras speaks to sex workers and others involved in the industry across Europe, from politicians and from those tasked with implementing the different laws. Do Europe’s politicians and law enforcers have what it takes to really beat the traffickers?

(Photo: Prostitutes wait for clients in a street of the French city of Nice. Credit: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images )

Rhymes, Revolution And Resistance20150902

In 2011 many people in the Middle East took to the streets to demand change. Revolution was in the air, and like many revolutions, there was a soundtrack.

Hip hop, since its inception has been seen by many as the musical voice of modern revolutions. In the Middle East, Arab hip hop became a voice of protest as young Arabic people took to the mic and used this vocal art form as a way of expressing their discontent with incumbent governments.

Four years since the start of the revolution, which became known in the West as the Arab Spring, music journalist Jackson Allers talks to MC Amin from Egypt, Malikah from Lebanon and Al Sayyed Darwish from Syria. They are all rappers who dared to speak up in a region where freedom of expression can come at a heavy price. Jackson also discusses the political tensions which have divided a once united hip hop movement.

(Photo: Music journalist Jackson Allers talks to rapper Lynn Fattouh, aka Malikah)

Arabic hip hop artists explore the effect of politically charged words on the Arab Spring

Riding The Graphene Wave20131231

A super-strong and super-conductive wonder material, what can graphene do?

Gerry Northam looks at its move from the lab to the commercial world. Construction work is underway to build a world-class laboratory at Manchester University - at the cost of £61 million - but the National Graphene Institute aims to be the world's leading centre of graphene research and commercialisation.

Graphene is super-strong and super-conductive – it's often called a 'wonder material' and it was invented in Manchester by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, who won a Nobel prize for their work. The city takes great pride in the discovery, seeing a direct line of descent from its legacy of industrial invention and has awarded the two scientists the freedom of the city in recognition of their work.

In Riding the Graphene Wave, Gerry Northam finds out how the the UK is competing in the global market as Korea, China and the USA pour money into the patenting and commercialisation of Manchester's magic material. What will it take for graphene to move out of the laboratory and into the commercial world?

Investors are running the numbers to work out which applications are most ready for go-to-market products, and which countries are making fastest progress in finding ways to manufacturer graphene. Can graphene to give the UK a significant role in 21st century global economy?

Picture: Graphene sheet, Credit: Science Photo Library

Roma: A Decade On2015101020151011 (WS)

Has the 'Decade of the Roma Inclusion' succeeded?

Delia Radu reflects on the 'Decade of the Roma Inclusion'. In 2005 a plan was launched to improve education, health, housing and jobs for the Roma – Europe’s poorest minority. But did it succeed? Ten years later Delia Radu travelled across Eastern Europe to find the Roma she spoke to when the plan was launched. Delia wanted to ask the people who the plan was supposed to help - if it delivered its promises and if anything changed.

(Photo: A Roma woman serves supper in her kitchen)

Rouhani’s First 100 Days20131108

Is Iran at a turning point following the election of the new President, Hassan Rouhani? Within days of coming to power, he promised a new approach to domestic and international affairs - a new policy of openness on the country’s nuclear programme, to release political prisoners, get economic sanctions lifted and pursue a less confrontational policy with the West.

For some it was a welcome new dawn. For others, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – out to deceive the West until Iran becomes too powerful to stop.

Pooneh Ghoddoosi of the BBC’s Persian TV service looks back at President Rouhani’s first 100 days in office. She brings together a select group of Iran watchers to ask whether things in their country are genuinely changing.

(Photo: Hassan Rouhani. Credit: Ta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

How much change has Iranian President Hassan Rouhani achieved in 100 days?

Searching For Tobias2016111520161120 (WS)
20161224 (WS)

In 2008 Chloe Hadjimatheou was covering Barack Obama's first election campaign when she came across a 15-year-old black boy in a Mississippi trailer park. Back then the young Tobias was full of potential and had big dreams of becoming a policeman. Eight years later, Chloe goes in search of him to find what became of him. Did Tobias ever fulfil his wishes and has he prospered in Obama's America?

(Photo: An image of Tobias next to an image of President Obama)

Secret Lives2016041620160417 (WS)
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20160421 (WS)

What do our secrets tell us about who we are? And what happens when we reveal them?

Emily Thomas explores what our secrets tell us about who we are, and what happens when we reveal them. Now that it is easy to go online and tell strangers anything anonymously, are we more or less likely to confide in the people around us? Emily explores the link between identity and secret-keeping and asks how much of our identity is what we keep hidden.

A Kenyan woman tells us why her secret pulled her away from the people she loved, and an American man tells us about how he feared he would be ‘hunted down’ if he revealed his.

Dr Michael Slepian from Columbia University explains how keeping secrets can be harmful to our health and can alter the way we see the world around us.

Confiding might be good for us, but is sharing a secret ultimately a selfish act? Emily hears the huge secret a daughter kept from her mother, and talks to a couple who shared the burden of a husband’s secret for more than a decade. Plus, a sex worker explains why she went public with her secret – and why she found it terrifying.

This programme is part of the BBC World Service's Identity season.

Producer: Smita Patel

(Photo: Man holds his index finger against his lips. Credit: Shutterstock)

Securing The Games20120723

Gordon Corera talks to the people ensuring the safety of the Olympic Games.

BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera talks to the people behind the largest security operation in peacetime, designed to ensure the Olympic Games go ahead without interruption.

This is the first time the games have been held in a 'high threat' environment, presenting unprecedented challenges to the police and intelligence services.

The cost of security is in the region of one billion pounds, covering the police, the army and private security contractors.

As well as the threat of a so-called spectacular attack linked to either al-Qaeda or dissident Irish groups, there are also concerns over public protest, serious organised crime and hoaxes.

There will be 10,000 police officers on duty at the Games, in addition to 10,000 on duty for the rest of London.

A further 13,000 private security officers will also be deployed.

Security checks are going to be as stringent as those at airports: every bag will be X-rayed and there will be a ban on umbrellas, horns, whistles, drums and any other device which might be considered disruptive.

The police, the army and the security services have been carrying out high-profile exercises over the months leading up to the games, acting out scenarios on the London Underground and preparing for operations over London's skies.

The greatest fear is another event like Munich in 1972, when members of the Palestinian group Black September killed nine Israeli athletes.

Recent events have also highlighted the threat of civil disobedience and lone protestors, determined to disrupt individual events.

The main Olympic site in Stratford is problematic in itself: intelligence sources say that if you were to ask MI5 to draw a heat map of terrorist suspects one of the hottest patches would be around the East London area - right by the Olympic site.

The BBC's Security Correspondent Gordon Corera draws on exclusive access and interviews with those charged with making sure the games run smoothly.

Producer: Mark Savage

(Image: A security guard stands out side the Olympic Stadium at Olympic Park in Stratford, London, England. Credit: Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Shea Gold2016052420160528 (WS)

The plight of rural women making shea butter in Ghana’s northern regions

Journalist and BBC Focus on Africa presenter Akwasi Sarpong heads to Ghana to hear the stories of rural women at the bottom of the pyramid of a multi-million dollar confectionery, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industry relying on shea butter from Africa.

Shea butter has become a preferred commodity for makers of skin products because of its natural healing properties and by confectioners as a cocoa butter substitute. But while we slap on body creams, bathe with soaps and enjoy sweets with shea butter extracts, how many of us know where the butter comes from and what life is like for the women who make it for income to support their families?

From the Sahel regions of West Africa where shea butter is produced commercially (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali) to East Africa (Uganda and South Sudan), the United Nations Development Programme estimates that an average of three million women work directly, or indirectly, with shea butter. Exports account for 90 million to 200 million dollars a year. Demand comes not only from major corporations but also from entrepreneurs in the value and distribution chain.

Over a week, Akwasi meets a group of mostly widows in remote villages of Ghana’s arid and poor Savannah regions who risk snake bites to collect shea nuts in the wild, manually crush and process its fruit into butter over hot open fires in a harsh dry and extremely hot climate. Some are coping with abusive husbands with drink problems, striving to pass on the tradition to daughters keen to migrate to the country’s south for menial jobs, and why they are banking on making shea butter to change their fortunes.

(Photo: Ghanaian women sort out the bad shea butter nuts from the good nuts)

Something Old, Something New20160217

What happens when your Dad's an African-American soul star and your Mum's a music-loving girl from a Sheffield council estate in the north of England? Are your roots on the terraces at a Sheffield United Football match, or in the stylings of a Spike Lee film? For writer and photographer Johny Pitts, whose parents met in the heyday of Northern Soul on the dance floor of the legendary King Mojo club, how he navigates his black roots has always been an issue.

Not being directly connected to the Caribbean or West African diaspora culture, all he was told at school was that his ancestors were slaves. In this programme, Johny heads off to the USA, to trace his father's musical migration and to tell an alternative story of Black British identity. From Pittsmore in Sheffield, to Bedford Stuyvesant in New York, and all the way down to South Carolina where his grandmother picked cotton, Johny Pitts makes a journey of self-discovery.

On the way, he meets author Caryl Phillips, a half sister he never knew, and historian Bernard Powers. He visits the Concorde Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, and the Bush River Missionary Baptist Church, in Newberry, South Carolina. He tracks down a whole host of long-lost cousins, and talks to Pulitzer winning writer Isabel Wilkerson.

Johny Pitts' journey shines a light on the shadows of his ancestry, revealing stories and culture that bring a new understanding of his own mixed race identity and history.

Image: Johny Pitts Credit: Crown Talent and Media

Johny Pitts' dad is an African-American star and his mum's from the north of England.

Space Wars2015121920151220 (WS)

We may think war in space is a scenario dreamed up by Hollywood film-makers. But Chris Bowlby discovers how the world’s top military minds now believe future wars will be fought both on Earth - and above it. Satellite communications have become key to military action. We reveal how secret plans and weapon designs focus more and more on how to attack – or defend – crucial ‘space assets’. Rising powers such as China and India are taking this very seriously, while the US is pouring money into its new space strategy.

Since the launch of the first satellites, the military have had their eyes on dominating space. We hear of extraordinary plans to arm space stations and experiments with detonating weapons high above Earth. Until now, though, all-out conflict up there has been prevented. But for how long? Space matters hugely to all our lives, in ways few realise. We reveal how much is at stake in a new age of tension - at the highest level.

*** In relation to the creation of the International Space Station mentioned in this programme, we would like to make clear that while this project was heavily dependent on US funding and Russian engineering in its initial stages, it also had involvement from the European Space Agency and a number of other countries. There are five funding partners in the ISS partnership, USA, Russia, ESA, Canada and Japan. ***

(Photo: Nasa space shuttle Atlantis in Earth orbit, 2011. Credit: Nasa)

Why war in space is not just Hollywood fantasy, but a fast-approaching threat

Studio In The Sand2013032620130327 (WS)
20130331 (WS)

Foreign correspondent and music journalist Robin Denselow travels to the refugee camps of the Saharawi people in Algeria, who were displaced from Western Sahara following land dispute war with Morocco.

The Saharawi have been living in the camps for 20 years, with their young people knowing nothing except life in the camps, where there is little chance of employment or escape. The music of the Saharawi is not as well known as that of neighbouring Mali, but is a powerful expression of their culture, and their desire to return home to the land from which they were displaced, a land whose landscapes and animals many younger Saharawi have never seen and can only dream about in the lyrics and chords of their music. The Saharawi are Muslim, but unlike other parts of the region, here the women play lead role in politics and music. The Saharawi camps form a state-within-a-state, and their government, the Polisario, has set up Ministries in the camps themselves.

Robin speaks to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture in the camps about the forgotten struggle of the Saharawi whose plight has vanished off the international agenda, and about the role that their music can play to carry the story of their struggle, as well as the haunting energy of their music, to an international audience. Sandblast is a charity run by Danielle Smith with a group of British sound engineers who are setting up recording studios within the refugee camps in order to train musicians in how to produce recorded music which can then be exported to an audience which would otherwise never get to hear its very particular note. Robin follows this initiative as the first trainees learn the ropes in the studio in the sand, speaking to trainers and new recruits and hearing electrifying first concert.

(Image: A man walks across a desert, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Robin Denselow hears the music of Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria, and efforts to bri...

Robin Denselow hears the music of Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria, and efforts to bring their plight to the world’s attention.

Sugar Daddy, Sugar Baby2015090120150905 (WS)

Young British women students dating rich older men via websites. Who's exploiting who?

Wanted: Rich man to give poor student better life. Must provide cash allowance, luxury holidays and designer goods in return for…..?

Emma Jane Kirby meets the young British women funding themselves through university by dating rich older men via websites. And asks - who is exploiting who?

She meets those who sees sugar dating as the perfect transactional relationship in which both parties get exactly what they want including those at some of England's top Russell Group Universities. People like the student who had two sugar daddies at University so that she could fully concentrate on her studies and achieve a First Class degree. Her Mum didn't just know about it, she approved, calling it a " great, great solution" to the family's financial problems.

And we meet Sugar Daddies, to get their point of view:

" I pay my current sugar baby £2,000 a month plus £1,000 shopping allowance. Do I want sex as part of my arrangement? Yes, of course....Expectations go both ways."

Producer: Jim Frank

(Image: actors representing a sugar baby and a sugar daddy)

Swimming With Piranhas2012082820120829 (WS)

Mike Greenwood reports from Paraguay on the battle for one of the last wildernesses.

Mike Greenwood journeys into one of the world's final frontiers, the Chaco in Paraguay, to uncover how environmental groups, ranchers and missionaries are battling for the soul of one of the last wildernesses.

The Chaco is now being deforested and turned into cattle pasture at a rate equivalent to 2,500 football pitches every day.

Against the backdrop of the impeachment of President Lugo, Mike meets German-speaking Mennonites thriving in the Chaco, environmental campaigners, indigenous people fighting to survive in their ancestral land and pro-development ranchers who argue conservation is a luxury Paraguay cannot afford.

The Chaco is a meeting point for several major habitats, including lowland rainforest, grassland, wetlands, dry and humid forest ecosystems.

It is also one of the last places on earth where un-contacted peoples live.

Some scientists believe these lesser-known habitats are more threatened than rainforest regions such as the Amazon.

Paraguay's Chaco grasslands are particularly at risk because they easily convert to cattle pasture.

This is the closest most of us will get to the 'wild west'.

A 21st Century frontier country in which a battle for the socio-economic and spiritual soul of a hitherto little explored region is being fought.

(Image: Piranha fish)

Swinging Addis2014050720140508 (WS)
20140510 (WS)

In the 1960s and early '70s, unknown to most of the outside world, Addis Ababa's nightlife was electrified by a blend of traditional folk music, jazz, swing, rhythm and blues. Clubs were full, dance floors packed with young people moved by the music of a new generation of Ethiopian pop stars who were inspired by Elvis and James Brown, but gave their sound a unique twist.

"There is Swinging Addis just like there is Swinging London, bell-bottom trousers, mini skirts..."

In Addis Ababa, Courtney Pine meets some of the veterans of the Swinging Addis golden age of Ethiopian jazz, including Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete - the 'Ethiopian Elvis'. These Ethiopian heroes, now in their 70s, are like the Buena Vista Social Club stars of their country.

Courtney speaks to the legendary Ethiopian music producer Amha Eshete, while his guide on his musical journey of discovery is Francis Falceto, the French music producer who 'rediscovered' these artists and brought their music to the West, and has now compiled 30 albums in the Ethiopiques series. Courtney finds Addis Ababa is still swinging, and meets one of the new generation of Ethiopian jazz musicians who are picking up the beat, the young pianist Samuel Yirga, to jam Ethiopian style.

The story began in 1896, following Ethiopia's victory against the invading Italians at the Battle of Adwa, when the Russian tsar Nicolas II sent Emperor Menelik 40 brass instruments. Brass became the imperial music – and that influence planted a seed.

Then, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1924, the prince who would become Emperor Haile Selassie, met a marching band of young Armenians orphaned in the recent Ottoman massacres. He shipped the 'Arba Lijoch' ('Forty Kids') back to Addis Ababa and installed them as the imperial band. The emperor's new big band ensembles proved to be incubators for the stars of a new sound craved by a young generation demanding musical – as well as social and political - change.

In 1969, a 26-year-old music producer called Amha Eshete defied an imperial decree giving the state a monopoly over the reproduction of music to release Ethiopia's first-ever independent record with Alemayehu Eshete. When the pair played it on a loudspeaker from Amha's music shop, the young people dancing in the street stopped the traffic. The rest was history.

Picture: Courtney Pine, Credit: BBCPicture: Courtney Pine, Credit: BBC

Courtney Pine travels to Ethiopia to discover the vibrant music scene of the 1960s

Syria: The Road To Justice2012072520120726 (WS)

The mass killings of civilians in Houla immediately led to calls for the ICC to investigate and for those responsible to be held to account. But in cases like this, how likely is it that international justice will eventually be done?

Currently all three possible avenues for an ICC investigation appear closed: The Syrian government will not voluntarily refer itself to the Court. The Court has no jurisdiction to commence an investigation on its own initiative because Syria is not a party to ICC. And the final avenue – for the Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC – is also closed because Russia and China oppose it.

So what hope is there of justice in the future?

As a new Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda begins her term, we review the state of the court, ask whether current flaws can be overcome, and look at prospects for future international justice in situations like Houla.

The mass killings in Houla led to international outcry but what hope is there for justice?

Syrian Voices2016062620160629 (WS)
20160630 (WS)

Personal reflections of those who have survived, or are surviving, the conflict in Syria

Five years ago, protests in Syria as part of the Arab Spring, were put down with violence by the Syrian Government. The mass protests quickly became an armed rebellion, with increasing sectarian involvement. As the conflict escalated, other countries became involved with Russia commencing air strikes in September 2015, and areas of the country becoming strongholds of so-called Islamic State militants.

The Syrian conflict has changed people's lives irrevocably and, in this programme, we allow people to reflect on the situation in which they find themselves.

We hear from Sam, who has stayed in his home city of Deraa and believes the government is doing its best to support the Syrian people. He studies English Literature, even though many of his teachers, and his fellow students, have left the country. He finds solace in his books, reading Hamlet and writing poetry. At night, he often listens to music to drown out the sounds of warfare around him.

Alia lives in a rural area which is in the hands of rebel forces. Her son joined up to fight the regime, but was killed. His body was brought back to the village. "Even though he had died twelve hours earlier, he was still bleeding," she says, "that is how I know he was a martyr."

Khadija Kamara came to Britain to escape civil war in Sierra Leone. Her son Ibrahim was just a week old when she had to flee from her village as the bullets flew around her. In 2014, without her knowledge, he travelled to Syria and joined an Islamic terrorist group. A few months later he became the first British jihadi to be killed in Syria when a US drone strike targeted the house where he was staying.

(Photo: Fighters from the Free Syrian Army sit in front of detroyed buildings as they prepare to break the fast during Ramadan, 2016. Credit: Sameer al-Doumy/AFP)

Ted Cruz - Republican20160319

Senator Ted Cruz is probably the only man left who could thwart Donald Trump’s attempt to become the Republican candidate for president of the United States. Yet four years ago, he was virtually unknown. Mark Coles profiles the God-fearing, constitution-loving lawyer, speaking to friends, critics and former colleagues to find out what has fuelled his meteoric rise.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz. Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Image)

Tehrangeles2012112720121128 (WS)

The largest Iranian community outside Iran can be found in LA. What's its story?

The largest Iranian community outside Iran can be found in the heart of LA. What is that diaspora's story?

Iranian stand-up comedian and actor Maz Jobrani begins his journey on Westwood Boulevard, a street lined with Iranian stores, restaurants, beauty salons, cafes and businesses, where everyone speaks Farsi and all the shop signs are in Persian.

People such as bookshop owner Bijan Khalili tell the story of how and why the LA community became such a draw for hundreds of thousands of Iranians, which now comprise 22% of the population of 'Tehrangeles'.

How, against the backdrop of 32 years of hostility between America and Iran since the 1979 US hostage crisis, have they succeeded in making their mark?

(Image: A street sign that says 'Persian Square', Credit: Getty Images)

Terror And Technology: The Unabomber2016052920160601 (WS)
20160602 (WS)

Twenty years ago the FBI ended their longest-running domestic terrorism investigation with the arrest of the Unabomber, a notorious serial killer obsessed with technology. This is the story of a devastating fraternal dilemma, a 17-year manhunt, and a controversial media decision to publish propaganda, faced with the threat of violence.

Between 1978 - 1995, Theodore Kaczynski lived in a remote cabin in rural Montana, from where he planned the downfall of industrial society. A brilliant academic, Kaczynski was motivated by a desire to punish anyone connected with technology – from a senior geneticist to a junior computer salesman. Kaczynski made 16 bombs that killed three people and injured 23, some to a life-altering degree.

Then, controversially, America’s two most prestigious newspapers, on the advice of the FBI, agreed to publish his 35,000-word manifesto – triggering a debate about media ethics that persists to this day. The gamble paid off in a most unexpected way.

Two decades on, as we continue to debate the relationship between technology and security, Benjamin Ramm revisits the extraordinary story of the Unabomber.

Benjamin meets some of the key figures in the hunt for one of America’s most wanted - those he hurt, those who knew him, and those who tried to capture him. He asks what role the media played in this story and what the FBI learnt about tracking this ‘lone wolf’ bomber. And, alongside media reports of his crimes, we hear some of the words of the Unabomber himself, through excerpts from his extensive notes and writings.

(Photo: Theodore Kaczynski, (R-top), the convicted killer known as the Unabomber, is escorted by US Marshalls outside the Sacramento County Federal Court. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AFP/Getty Images)

How a reclusive maths prodigy terrorised America and how the media amplified his cause

The Accrington Pals20160629

The towns of east Lancashire in North-West England were among the worst hit by the massive loss of life on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago.

The Mayor of Accrington, a small textile town, had volunteered to form a battalion of 1,000 local men to help England’s war effort in 1914. Men from neighbouring Burnley and Chorley completed the new battalion, which became known as the Accrington Pals because friends, neighbours and workmates had all joined up to fight together. The Pals were soon a familiar sight as they marched and trained around their home district.

The BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet tells the story of the Accrington Pals, who joined the so-called ‘Big Push’ against the German front line at the Battle of the Somme. On July the first they marched into a hail of German machine gun fire. An allied artillery bombardment was meant to have destroyed all resistance. But the Germans were well armed and well dug-in. In less than 30 minutes more than 580 of the 720 Accrington Pals were killed, injured or missing in action.

Lyse Doucet explores the pride and sadness of local people as they prepare to mark the centenary of the day that nearly wiped out the Accrington Pals and she reflects on modern attitudes to war and remembrance.

(Photo: William Henry Parkinson, Accrington Pal who was killed on 1 July 1916. Credit: Gilbert Parkinson)

The Battle of the Somme and a wartime tragedy that struck Northern England 100 years ago

The Afro-mexicans2016041020160413 (WS)
20160414 (WS)

Mexico’s black communities feel ignored and are using culture to fight for recognition.

Many black people in Mexico’s remote Costa Chica area near the Pacific ocean feel ignored and neglected by the state. A lot of Mexicans don’t even know the Afro-Mexicans exist. Outside their towns, they often get stopped by police who don’t believe they can be Mexican. Some have even been deported, despite having Mexican ID papers.

So who are the black Mexicans? Lucy Duran meets members of this ethnic community that is struggling for identity and recognition. They use their culture, such as the characteristic Dance of the Devils or Chilena music, to assert their identity and fight for their rights.

Activists want the state to accept Black people as a separate ethnic minority, distinct from indigenous people, but with the same rights. It is not only about being able to hold your head high. It’s also about money. Those fighting for official recognition say that they’re not eligible for the special kind of financial support that similarly isolated indigenous communities get. They blame their poverty on this lack of funding.

Dr Lucy Duran meets black Mexicans ranging from a cowboy to a singer-songwriter and explores how they identify themselves, why even those who do not obviously look as though they are of African descent describe themselves as black, and why their identity has become a political issue.

Consultant and translator: Dr Sergio Navarrete Pellicer

(Photo: Paula Maximiana Laredo Herrera and Tulia Serrano Arellanes, council workers in Santiago Llano Grande, a black town in the Costa Chica area of Oaxaca state, Mexico)

The Aid Audit2015092220150926 (WS)

Fifteen years ago, German journalist, Ulli Schauen helped compile a book of the top 500 global aid programmes, as chosen by an International jury at the Expo 2000 in Hanover. They ranged from schools for Maasai nomads to support for organic farming to training for volunteer sexual health workers.

The question is did they succeed or fail? Ulli travels to Kenya to see how the projects in that country fared.

In the week in which countries of the UN meet in Paris to discuss the next set of Sustainable Development Goals, Ulli sets out to find if Aid really does make a difference.

(Photo: Ladies of the ISOLO women’s self help group Matinyani weaving baskets. Credit: Ulli Schauen)

Does Aid Work? Ulli Schauen visits several projects in Kenya to assess their efficacy

The Battle For Egypt20120229

A year after President Mubarak of Egypt was brought down by 18 days of street protest, the army, then hailed as heroes for defending the revolution, are now seen by many as villains.

Despite almost daily street protests calling on them to step down, the generals are still running the country.

They say they'll handover power once a new president has been elected in the summer.

When they do hand over it will be to a government that's likely to be dominated by Islamists, who won around 70% of the seats in parliament in recent elections.

The young activists who drove the revolution find themselves on the political fringes, with only a handful of seats in parliament and lacking a unified organisation.

Magdi Abdelhadi - who reported from Cairo during the final tumultuous days of President Mubarak's 30-year rule - returns to assess who's winning the struggle in a three-way battle for power in Egypt between the army, the Islamists and the revolutionaries.

Interviewees include: Shady El Ghazaly Harb, one of the revolutionaries; Mohamed Ghozlan, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood; former military intelligence officer General Sameh Seif Al-Yazal; historian Khamal Famy; Julie Hughes of the National Democratic Institute.

The producer is Tim Mansel.

(Image: Magdi Abdelhadi in Egypt)

A year after the fall of President Mubarak of Egypt, what happened to the revolution?

The Battle For The Art Of Detroit20151007

Should the city that owes $18 billion sell its art collection?

Detroit, once a symbol of American industrial might, has famously filed for bankruptcy, becoming the biggest US city to go broke. In its heyday during the first half of the 20th Century, it saw the birth of the American car industry boost its fortunes and give it a nickname - Motor City.

During the second half of the 20th Century, it was music, specifically Motown, that carried Detroit's name around the world. But even as the hits were pouring out of the Motown label's headquarters, Detroit was a city in trouble. The car industry that had brought it wealth was now contracting and thousands of manufacturing jobs were disappearing.

Despite many years of financial difficulty, Detroit still had one remaining jewel in its crown - the Detroit Institute of Arts. Its collection was world famous - the first Van Gogh to be owned by an American arts museum, dazzling works by Matisse and Rembrandt, a distinguished selection of German Expressionist paintings, along with African Art, Native American Art, and art from Asia and the Islamic world.

But should a city owing $18 billion, much of it attributed to unfunded pension obligations, sell its prestigious art collection? This question has been asked within and outside the city. And, it is a question that resonates worldwide as financially strapped arts institutions struggle to pay their bills. Presenter Alvin Hall visits Detroit to find out if, in the words of a famous advert for the DIA 'You Gotta Have Art', is still relevant even when you are broke.

(Photo: Works of art at the Detroit Institute of Arts are shown July 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Credit: Getty Images)

The Battle For The Us Constitution20160803

Why are some fighting to have the 14th Amendment of the US constitution repealed?

How has an Amendment passed just after the US Civil War become the battleground on which modern America's most ferocious issues are fought out? Adam Smith, historian of 19th Century America, travels to Washington DC and North Carolina to find out.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution declares that anyone born on US soil "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" is an American citizen. It was intended to give freed slaves guaranteed citizenship in the wake of the 1861-65 Civil War. But today, it also means the children of illegal immigrants to the US automatically become American citizens. This places it right at the heart of the huge controversy over immigration that has raged through the presidential election and is why Donald Trump wants to abolish the Amendment altogether. Ted Cruz and other leading Republicans have expressed similar views.

Adam talks to a senior Republican Congressman, Steve King, who wants instead to radically reform the interpretation of the Amendment - so that it no longer gives the children of undocumented migrants the right to a US passport.

As America approaches a seismic presidential vote in November, the fate of the Fourteenth Amendment hangs in the balance. Whoever wins will very likely get to appoint enough new Supreme Court justices to give the court a decisive majority - either conservative or liberal. And, even if the Fourteenth Amendment survives, its meaning may be so radically reinterpreted that the current state of play on all these issues is upended for years.

(Photo: A man with an American Flag tied around his eyes and holding a copy of the US Constitution. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Bin Laden Tapes2015081820150822 (WS)

In early 2002, following the fall of the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden's abandoned compound in the Afghan city of Kandahar was ransacked. Among the finds was a collection of more than 1500 audio cassettes featuring sermons, speeches, songs and candid recordings of Arab-Afghan fighters, recorded between the 1960s up until the 9/11 attacks. The collection served as an audio library for those who gathered under Bin Laden's roof between 1997 and 2001 – a key era in Al Qaeda's development and growth.

BBC Security correspondent Gordon Corera speaks to Prof Flagg Miller from the University of California-Davis, who has spent more than a decade translating and analysing the tapes.Through painstaking detective work Prof Miller has sought to understand what the tapes say about the evolution of Bin Laden, presenting his findings in the book 'The Audacious Ascetic: What the Bin Laden Tapes Reveal about Al-Qaeda'. The collection features over 200 speakers, with around 20 tapes featuring Bin Laden himself – among them some rarely-heard speeches.

While the cassette tape is undoubtedly an instrument for proselytising and propaganda, this collection reveals that the people making the recordings seemed to find extraordinary pleasure in capturing the ordinary sounds of life – conversations over breakfast; sounds from the battlefield; wedding celebrations and militants singing Islamic anthems.

As diverse as the recordings in the collection are, they offer exceptional insight into Bin Laden's broad intellectual interests in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Presenter: Gordon Corera

Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith

(Photo: A cassette tape found in Osama Bin Laden's former compound. Credit: Flagg Miller)

Exploring the audio archive found in Osama Bin Laden's compound in Afghanistan.

The Black Liberace2014091720140918 (WS)
20140920 (WS)

The legacy of the great New Orleans piano player James Booker - aka the Black Liberace

New Orleans pianist Dr John once called Booker "the best black, gay, junkie piano player New Orleans has ever produced", but he remains little remembered outside his home city. Classically trained in piano and a child prodigy, Booker had his first hit record as a teenager, toured with the likes of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and played on sessions with Fats Domino and Little Richard. But it was as a solo performer that he really came into his own.

When record producer Joe Boyd met Booker at a session in the 1970s he recognised his technical virtuosity and potential to captivate an audience. He asked Booker if he'd like to record an album on his own, without a band. The pianist was cautious, but eventually agreed to record Junco Partner on one condition - he had a candelabra on the piano. The reason, he said, "cos I'm the Black Liberace baby!"

Liberace may have been one of his idols, but Booker's styles were wide and varied. He not only mastered but also transformed the New Orleans piano style mixing Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff with jazz, blues, stride, gospel and boogie-woogie. He played like he had four hands and made the piano sound like a whole band. But, gay at a time when homosexuality was a huge taboo and black in a divided America, Booker died alone, aged 43, after a life of drug and alcohol abuse.

Featuring interviews with Dr John who was taught by Booker, and New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint, as well as Booker's manager John Parsons and producer Scott Billington.

The Body On The Moor20160713

Who was the man who died from a rare kind of poisoning in a remote area of the UK?

On 12 December 2015, a man’s body was found by a moorland track on Saddleworth Moor in northern England. He had nothing on him showing his identity. No-one knew who he was. And he had died from a rare kind of poisoning.

Who is this man? Where did he come from? Why has nobody reported him missing?

Their biggest lead was brought to the mortuary within the body itself. It was inside his left leg. And it’s a clue which took the inquiry to Pakistan. Police believe he took his own life but did he travel nearly 4000 miles to die in this particular place?

Image: Saddleworth Moor, Credit: Shutterstock

The Bucket List2013101420131019 (WS)

What cancer-fighting BBC correspondent Helen Fawkes wants to do before she dies

Ten years ago, faced with ovarian cancer, Helen Fawkes wrote a list. Having beaten the cancer she set about ticking things off her list and became a BBC foreign correspondent. In late 2012 she was told the cancer was back and it was incurable.

Helen now has a new 'list for living' or a bucket list: 50 things that she wants to see or do before she dies. In this documentary for BBC World Service Helen explores why she wrote her list, through conversations with spiritual advisors, therapists and other bucket-listers.

In some parts of the world, people would never consider writing such a thing. Helen talks to Dr Rajagopal who works with the dying in Kerala, India, and Amos Yeung, a young artist in Hong Kong. Amos created a public art project which encouraged people to complete the following sentence, 'While I'm living I want to...'. Why was it not called 'Before I die I want to...' as other similar projects have?

Bronnie Ware is a nurse from Australia who wrote a book: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. She tells Helen what the patients she had worked with wished they had done differently. If a bucket list is merely a list of experiences and places to visit, are we missing something obvious?

Susan Spencer-Wendel, Mum of three, was diagnosed with incurable ALS, a muscle-wasting disease in her early 40s. She decided to spend her last year of health, living with joy. Together with her husband John, they share what they learnt from the trips and experiences she undertook.

Helen doesn't like the term bucket list; hers is a 'list for living. By sharing her list and asking others about theirs, Helen considers what people want to grab from life when faced with death.

Cancer-fighting BBC foreign correspondent Helen Fawkes shares her list of things she wa...

Cancer-fighting BBC foreign correspondent Helen Fawkes shares her list of things she wants to do before she dies.

The Congress And The Commander In Chief20130907

As the US Congress prepares to vote on whether to take military action against Syria, the BBC World Service explores how the US has taken similar decisions in the past – and how that might shape the decisions of the present. Claire Bolderson delves into the history of tension over the issue between the White House and Capitol Hill.

The US Constitution deliberately split responsibility, making the President the Commander-in-Chief, while giving Congress the power to declare war. The strain peaked during the Vietnam War, leading to Congress passing the War Powers Act, which was meant to restrain presidential action. But often the executive has simply ignored the legislature, arguing that action was necessary on the grounds of immediate self-defence.

Now President Obama seems to be setting a precedent by asking Congress to debate and vote in advance of action. How will this action be judged against 200 years of America deciding between peace and war?

Picture: Storm clouds fill the sky over the US Capitol Building, Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Debates Dissected20161023

After three US Presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Gary O'Donoghue asks: What have we learned?

The Easter Rising 19162016032720160330 (WS)
20160331 (WS)

In 1916 the United Kingdom came under attack from within. Irish nationalist rebels, allied with Germany, seized control of Dublin to proclaim an Irish Republic. Their first victim was an Irishman. Their action - violent, daring, impossibly romantic - would change the majority of Irish public opinion radically towards demands for full independence and push Northern Ireland's Unionists further towards partition. This was Britain's war within the war. One hundred years on, historian Heather Jones reassesses the armed struggle that came to be known as The Easter Rising.

(Photo: Irish Volunteers barricade Townsend Street, Dublin, to slow down the advance of troops, during the Easter Rising. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How six days of armed struggle in 1916 changed Irish and British history

The Father Of English Football20131126

How decisions noted by Ebenezer Morley in 1863 allowed football to become so successful

A historic series of meetings happened in London 150 years ago which led to the modern game of football. This was a time when each English football team played by different rules, and the aim of the meetings was to create a standard code. The first, on 6 October 1863, founded the Football Association, and over the course of six dramatic meetings between October and December the rules were simplified, allowing today’s game to develop. Any football team from anywhere in the world now plays by the same rulebook. The prime mover was Ebenezer Morley, and Hardeep Singh Kohli traces the story of the man who became known as the father of English football. At each meeting Ebenezer Morley noted down the decisions and arguments in a notebook, and this Minute Book is now considered one of the most historic documents of the game, valued at £2.5 million.

The arguments were often heated, and ended with a breakaway group dissenting and eventually forming themselves into the Rugby Union. Hardeep talks to Jane Clayton, of the International Football Institute, and visits the FA’s headquarters at Wembley, meeting the FA’s historian David Barber. He talks to David Elleray, Chairman of the FA’s Referees Committee, who is convinced that the decisions taken in 1863 allowed football to become the most successful of international sports, affecting millions of lives. The arguments that led to the modern game are brought to life through dramatised scenes, showing that Ebenezer Morley, thanks to his determination and enthusiasm, turned the original violent and unruly game into the game we know today.

Picture: The Football Association's 1863 minute book (Philip Toscano/PA Wire)

The Force Of Google20160831

Google dominates internet searching. Rory Cellan-Jones asks if it is too powerful

Google dominates internet searching across most parts of the globe. The algorithm which produces its search results is highly secret and always changing, but is crucial in influencing the information we all obtain, the viewpoints we read, the people we find out about, and the products we buy.

It dominates the market because it's so effective. Rivals find it difficult to compete. But however good the algorithm, however carefully crafted to give us what Google thinks we actually want, is it really healthy for one search engine, and one company, to have so much impact? Rory Cellan-Jones explores Google's uniquely powerful role at the centre of today's information society.

(Photo: Actress Yara Shahidi onstage during 'Cracking the Code: Diversity, Hollywood and STEM', Google Headquarters, 2015, California. Credit: Mike Windle/Getty Images)

The Forgotten Black Cowboys2013040920130410 (WS)
20130414 (WS)

How did America's black cowboys get airbrushed out of movies and history books?

Sarfraz Manzoor tells the story of the African American cowboys. How did they get airbr...

Sarfraz Manzoor tells the story of the African American cowboys. How did they get airbrushed out of movies and history books?

The Forgotten Girls Of Dhaka2016042720160809 (WS)
20160813 (WS)

Farhana Haider enters the world of Duaripara slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh to meet a group of teenage girls who were married and then abandoned by their husbands before they even reached the age of 16. While in the globalized world of opportunity, many of us are discovering and shaping our identities through new possibilities, others less fortunate are having their identities shaped by circumstances out of their control.

Are the identities of these girls now fixed for the rest of their lives? What chances do they have to define who are they are? How does the tight-knit slum community hinder or help shape the girls' futures?

For the BBC World Service Identity season, Farhana hears them give intimate insights into who they are and what they think the future holds.

Producer: Hana Walker-Brown

(Photo of Sharmin in Duaripara slum, Dhaka)

Can girls living in a slum in Bangladesh shape their own identities?

The Forgotten Prisoners Of Apartheid2016092720161001 (WS)

Audrey Brown investigates why 21 years after the end of apartheid there are still people in jail for fighting to bring it down.

The French Culture War20161116

Nick Fraser explores the culture war between the defenders of secularism and a new generation of Muslims in France.

The Future Of 3d Printing20150826

It is hard to escape the explosion of 3D printing stories in the media. Every day, it seems, the latest developments in 3D printing are thrust in front of our eyes and ears. 3D printing is at the cusp of an electronic and technological revolution - a revolution the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago. The indications are that it could soon be possible for 3D printers to manufacture any object from any material, including living cells.

Presenter Howard Stableford investigates a specific aspect and whether this development in 3D printing can bring real benefit to the natural world.

Along the way Howard discovers a 3D printed reef structure and scientific applications. With species extinction in the natural world a reality Howard then asks the bigger question - are we near the point when we could reproduce a living species?

An Orwellian thought maybe, but is it unreasonable to think that 3D printing might one day bring the dodo back from the dead.

(Photo: 3D Printer being constructed. Credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Could recent developments in 3D printing benefit the natural world?

The Future Of Women's Football2014090920140910 (WS)
20140913 (WS)
20140914 (WS)

Could women's football provide a new, more sustainable model to the men's game?

Women's football is one of the world's fastest growing sports, with over 30 million women participating worldwide.

Yvonne Macken reports on the struggle to establish the women’s game and explores what it is about football that can have men and women love it with an equal intensity and, seemingly to some, irrational passion.

With the men's elite game under increased global scrutiny, Yvonne Macken assesses whether women's football could be a lifeline. She hears the experiences of young women from Trinidad and Tobago, Iceland, Brazil, Japan, the UK, the USA and Africa. Dr Samie - an affiliate scholar from the Centre for Sport, Peace and Society - also highlights the interest and challenges for women playing in the Middle East. Meanwhile, sports historian Dr Jean Williams reveals football's ancient roots, and financial analyst Steve Clapham challenges the lack of disclosure in the age of global branded leagues. Has commercialisation taken the league too far from its own grassroots and can you mix profit with passion?

With football organisations globally evolving a sustainable business model for the women's game, and with the 2015 World Cup in their sights, Yvonne asks what strategies will allow young girls the option to choose football as a viable career just like the boys.

Picture: Netherlands' players acknowledge fans at the end of qualifying football match, Credit: Getty Images

The Ghostly Voices Of World War One2014110920151225 (WS)
20151226 (WS)

Resurrecting the voices of ordinary soldiers from the British Empire who fought in WW1

Hidden away in the backrooms at Humbolt University and the Ethnological Museum in Berlin are some of the most remarkable sound recordings ever made. They date back to World War One and capture the voices of some of the ordinary men who fought in ‘the war to end all wars’. They were recorded by German academics who realised they didn’t have to go abroad to research the world’s many different languages. Instead, they were able to focus on captured soldiers from the furthest reaches of the British Empire, who were being held at prisoner of war camps all over Germany. Among them were a group of Hindus, Sikhs and Indian soldiers imprisoned at camps on the outskirts of Berlin. They performed poems, songs and stories which were recorded using Thomas Eddison’s latest invention.

How these men lived out the rest of their lives has been cloaked in obscurity. On a quest to discover what happened to them and how they died, and armed with the recordings, Priyath Liyanage travels from Germany across the world to some of the villages in northern India where these men lived. It proves to be an emotional journey, resurrecting memories which had long been forgotten. These old soldiers may be long gone but their voices live on.

(Photo: Digital composite of injured Indian soldiers of the British Army at the Brighton Pavilion, converted into a military hospital around 1915. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The Girls Britain Betrayed2014090720140908 (WS)

The independent inquiry, by Professor Alexis Jay, found that at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the northern English town of Rotherham by gangs of men who were predominantly of Pakistani origin between 1997 and 2013. Her report said that girls as young as 11 were raped by "large numbers of male perpetrators". It spoke of the "collective failures" of political, police and social care leadership over the first 12 years the inquiry covered.

The sexual abuse of children is a global concern, but the Rotherham story also contains elements about race, culture, secrecy, policing and public scrutiny and other issues that add to its importance as a story.

How did police, press, politicians and professional agencies fail address the issue, and why was it such a struggle for victims to be heard?

The Great Space Hunt2014062520140626 (WS)
20140628 (WS)

Last year, an asteroid with the explosive power of 40 nuclear bombs exploded in the sky over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. No one saw it coming, because it was one of the smaller asteroids, and it was approaching from the wrong direction. Luckily, it exploded high up in the atmosphere, and the only injuries were from the flying glass of thousands of broken windows. If it had exploded lower down, it could have been a different story.

Subsequent research suggested that there are 10 times more asteroids out there like the Chelyabinsk one than we previously thought. Hardly any of them have been found. NASA is trying to find all the big asteroids that could potentially wipe out life on Earth, and is making good progress, but the smaller ones are virtually unknown.

So what is Britain doing about the asteroid threat? At the top of a hill in mid-Wales is an observatory called Spaceguard UK. It’s run by a retired army major called Jay Tate. Despite being officially designated as the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre, it gets no state funding and subsists only from Mr Tate’s pension, and the sales of keyrings and pencils in the gift shop. Mr Tate is one of an army of amateur astronomers who scans the skies looking for asteroids that might come close to Earth. The safety of the Earth is in these amateurs' hands, he says.

One of the most prolific asteroid observers in the world is Peter Birtwhistle, who operates from a hut in his Berkshire garden. He spends over 100 nights a year looking for asteroids, often barely sleeping. When he finds one, he sends his observations to the Minor Planets Centre at Harvard, which logs known asteroids. Despite this, only two incoming asteroids have ever been detected before they arrived. One exploded over the Sudanese desert in 2008; the world got a few hours’ warning because Gareth Williams at the Minor Planets Centre was woken in the night by his dog needing to go outside, and he happened to check his computer.

Jolyon Jenkins speaks to the unsung army of people who are trying to keep us safe from the threat from outer space, and asks whether it’s right that we depend so much on enthusiasts.

Picture: At its peak, 144,000 meteors per hour fell during The Leonids shower of 1966, Credit: Nasa/Getty Images

Jolyon Jenkins speaks to the unsung enthusiasts on a mission to protect us from asteroi...

Jolyon Jenkins speaks to the unsung enthusiasts on a mission to protect us from asteroids that may hit the Earth.

The Hackers2013010120130102 (WS)

Who are hacktivists and what motivates them?

Governments do it, companies do it, criminals do it. But in recent years some of the highest profile computer hacks have come from so-called hacktivist groups. Each week hackers target a new organisation or government website. Many of these hacker activists claim to belong to the amorphous group known as Anonymous or an off-shoot of it. Their aim? To wrest control of the internet from states and big corporations and give it back to the people. Or simply to have fun.

The FBI, the Metropolitan police, the US Senate, Sony, PayPal and Visa have been some of the highest profile victims of the hackers. More often than not the attacks come in the form of DOS, or denial of service, attacks - effectively flooding websites with requests so that they crash. In some cases the hackers have managed to steal personal and financial records from the organisations and then post them online. Sometimes the reason given by the hackers for these attacks is as a response to official actions taken against Wikileaks or attempts by the authorities to close down certain websites, such as free music download sites.

The FBI and police have had some success in tracking down some of the hackers - many of them just teenagers.

In "The Hackers" Simon Cox delves into the strange world of hacktivism, as he tracks down some of these hackers and speaks to those trying to catch them.

(Image: Hands on a keyboard, Credit: Getty Images)

The Halabja Project2012120420121205 (WS)

The scientific investigation into the chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town Halabja.

In March 1988, Saddam Hussein unleashed the full cruelty of chemical weapons, attacking the rebellious Kurdish town of Halabja. It is estimated that the mustard gas and other chemicals killed at least 5000 civilians. They were hastily buried in mass graves, unidentified and unidentifiable, because of the continued risk of poisoning. There are still traces of mustard gas remaining in cellars in the town, making them inaccessible to this day.

Now a British company is to start a four-year project to excavate Halabja, carrying out DNA tests on those who died in 1988 to identify the remains, find out exactly what killed them and to make the cellars safe. Veteran BBC correspondent John Simpson, who reported from Halabja in 1988, returns with the company to hear their plans and to find out why this is still so necessary in this poisoned town.

Their DNA tests may reveal whether indeed the precursor chemicals for the mustard gas used in 1988 was, as is believed, manufactured by a German company. Saddam Hussein's mustard gas was unique, with a particular binding chemical agent not used anywhere else. No proper tests have been carried out until now to identify the particular gas used in the attack.

John will report on the science of the DNA and chemical/biological gas tests, investigates the role of Germany in providing the chemicals, and centrally hears the heart-wrenching stories of survivors wanting to locate the bodies of their relatives, a quarter of a century on.

The History Of Rhythm2016111320161116 (WS)

Acclaimed percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie explores the evolution of musical rhythm

Acclaimed percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has a lifelong passion for understanding how we are impacted by rhythm. She explores the evolution of musical rhythm over several millennia through different cultures, demonstrating how migration has impacted many different styles of music across generations and regions, and how the resulting fusions gave rise to new rhythms in contemporary music.

With contributions from leading ethnomusicologists, percussionists, composers, scientists and musicians from around the world, Evelyn will explain how the first percussion instruments, which were simply a human body and the elements of surrounding environment, extended to include the first drums which were hollowed out wooden logs with a piece of animal skin placed over the top. Over thousands of years the drums that evolved – and the music created on them – has incorporated and reflected the merging and transformation of cultures, resulting in polyrhythms that have re-shaped previously standard music forms.

Evelyn will provide examples of how specific instruments that provide rhythm in modern music have evolved, such as the snare drum, one of the driving forces of rock n roll, which was originally the central focus of military signalling pioneered by the Turkish armies of the 14th Century. Out of that military tradition the snare found its way into the classical symphony orchestra and then in to popular music, providing a rhythm that reflects our heartbeat – the foundation for all human rhythm.

(Photo: Dame Evelyn Glennie performs at the Piazza outside New Broadcasting House, as part of BBC Freedom Live Day 2014)

The Kampala Dream House20151223

The children's home in Kampala where every child is given a chance of a musical future

Amidst the slums of Kampala, MLISADA (Music, life skills and arts for destitution alleviation) is a success story. It is a children's home set up and run by former street kids who learned to play brass instruments. Twelve years on, it cares for 90 children, teaches them music and acrobatics and they are safe from the perils of street life. Former pupils like euphonium player, Franke, have gone on to be teachers within the wider school communities of Kampala.

It is supported by keen brass players from around the world – including BA pilot and trumpet player, Jim Trott who took star trumpet players Alison Balsom and Guy Barker out there last January to run music workshops with the pupils. Sarah talks to Alison about how her involvement with the work of Brass for Africa has influenced her approach to performing on concert platforms around the world.

Most importantly, if you get to live in the Dream House, as it is known by the kids, you have got a chance of a future. A future where you can learn to be a teacher, or simply access a better school and then go on to get a better job because you have got the bedrock of living at MLISADA.

The Left To Die Boat2012102720121028 (WS)

The tragic story of African migrants who fled fighting in Libya on an inflatable boat.

In March last year, 72 African migrants were forced onto an inflatable boat by Libyan soldiers in Tripoli. They were desperate to escape the fighting in Libya and hoping for a new life in Europe. Their boat headed for the small Italian island of Lampedusa, only 18 hours away across the Mediterranean.

There was a Nato naval blockade of Libya at the time and the area was full of military ships and aircraft. Yet, despite a number of sightings, the boat was never rescued.

Fifteen days later it washed up back on Libya's coast with only 11 survivors on board – two more died soon after.

In this documentary the survivors tell their story to producer Sharon Davis and she investigates how it was that these people were left to die in a boat in one of the most heavily-monitored seas on earth.

The tragic story of migrants who fled fighting in Libya by taking a boat across the Mediterranean, hoping to reach Italy.

The Life Of President Fidel Castro20161126

Cuba's iconic leader has died - we look back over his life.

The Listening Project In Lebanon2016010620160109 (WS)
20160110 (WS)

Life as a refugee who has fled the war in Syria to make a new life in Lebanon

Fi Glover introduces seven conversations recorded in Beirut between refugees who have fled the war in Syria to make a new life for themselves in Lebanon or elsewhere. All the conversations except one, were recorded in Arabic and have been translated into English, the words spoken by actors Sirine Saba, Paul Chahidi, Suzanna Nour, Mariam Haque, Nadia Albina, Farshid Rokey and Evie Killip. Conor Garrett, of BBC Radio Ulster, recorded the conversations which were sourced and facilitated by Oxfam in Beirut.

(Photo: Ahmad (L) and Safa)

The Lost Legacy Of Little Miss Cornshucks2014092420140925 (WS)
20140927 (WS)

In the late 1930s a young Mildred Cummings from Dayton, Ohio is barefoot, standing in the spotlight on stage, wearing that same old shabby dress and a broken straw hat. This is Little Miss Cornshucks and she has the audience in the palm of her hand, a unique act and larger than life personality. By the 1940's she made top-billing at nightclubs across America, performing heartbreaking ballads. But who remembers her now?

Author and poet Salena Godden travels to downtown Chicago in search of the missing legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks, the best blues singer you never heard. She meets unofficial biographer Barry Mazor, who spent years tracing her tale. Ninety-eight-year-old former dancer Lester Goodman remembers the 'black and tan' nightspots that Cornshucks commanded, now long gone. And, taking a road trip on Route 65 to Indianapolis, Salena visits the home of Mildred's family, her daughter Francey and grand-daughter Tonya, filled with pictures, music and memories.

Why did this unique voice, that could so easily lift or reduce an audience to laughter and tears, die in complete obscurity, with her influence unmarked and unrecognised?

The song 'Try A Little Tenderness' became a powerhouse hit for both Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Salena invites us to take a moment to listen back to the inimitable Little Miss Cornshucks earlier version, to make the case for a lost legend of blues.

(Photo: Mildred Cummings aka Little Miss Cornshucks, courtesy of Cornshuck's family)

The story of the unique 1940's singer Little Miss Cornshucks and her lost legacy

The Man Who Went Looking For Freedom20140511

In 1983, Ion Bugan made a personal demonstration against the system in Romania in the midst of food shortages, electricity rationing, and surveillance of ordinary people by the secret police. He was jailed immediately. From then, until the day they left for America six years later, his family were followed by secret police wherever they went. Their friends and relatives were intimidated and interrogated.

Now, almost a quarter of a century after they left, the Bugans return to Romania for the first time to retrace Ion’s steps: the jails he was held in, the Securitate HQ where the thousands of files about them are kept, and finally back to their home village.

Presented by Carmen Bugan. Produced by Monica Whitlock.

(Photo: Ion Bugan. By kind permission of Catalin Bugan)

The story of Ion Bugan, who was arrested after demonstrating against the Romanian communist regime under Nicolae Ceausescu.

The Mechanic And The Mission2016021620160220 (WS)

The ex-mechanic in Benin whose mission is to help people with mental health problems.

Gregoire is an ex garage mechanic whose mission in life is to help people in Benin, West Africa, with mental health problems who may otherwise be chained up in the spare room. With family approval he takes patients to his treatment centres, he cuts off their chains allowing them space and giving them help.

Gregoire's story and the attitudes that coalesce around it unfold against a backdrop of traditional healers, Western trained psychiatrists, ethnopsychiatry, Evangelical missionary work, Western attitudes to Africa and African attitudes to the West, and government ministries for whom mental health is a low and cash strapped priority.

For the BBC World Service reporter Laeila Adjovi enters the invisible world of spirits that really does exist in an animist society where 80% of people use traditional healers to cure their ills. Illness here has meaning and the causes are interrogated as well as the symptoms when, for instance, someone believes they have been cursed if they have offended someone or someone is envious of their wealth.

A recent winner of the ‘African of the Year’ award, Gregoire is one of the protagonists in a multi-layered narrative that is not just a simple story of rescue by ‘proper’ psychiatry from Voodoo religion. Benin offers lessons to teach all sides of the arguments.

Image: A market in Cotonou, Benin. Credit: Erick-Christian Ahounou/AFP/Getty Images

The New Face Of Development2016012420160127 (WS)

Can the new Sustainable Development Goals really eradicate poverty by 2030?

As the Sustainable Development Goals replace the Millennium Development Goals in January, Mike Wooldridge asks what are the realistic prospects for eradicating poverty by 2030? Can such strategies really "leave no one behind"?

Looking at what might lie ahead over the next 15 years, as well as drawing on his own extensive experiences of reporting development issues over the last 50 years, Mike asks what difference, if any, the new SDGs will make in day-to-day development strategies? Is traditional “aid? still relevant today? How far can new development partnerships go in achieving the ambition of ending poverty once and for all, or is "development" becoming something of a toxic term, with neo-liberalism and globalisation making some people much better off but leaving many more people (and the environment) worse off? And what do the poor themselves think about all of this - do grandiose global goals have any impact at all on the way they live?

(Photo: Mekaru and his family still migrated over 1,000km each year to work in the brick kilns of Andra Pradesh. Credit: Ruth Evans)

The Orchestra Di Piazza Vittorio2016010520160109 (WS)

Under Silvio Berlusconi the arts in Rome suffered. Add widespread racism to an escalating immigration problem, and the chances of thriving as immigrant and artist in Italy are slim. So when a multi-ethnic orchestra sprang into being in 2002 it hit the headlines. This is the extraordinary story of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

Conductor Mario Tronco arrived in Rome from Sicily in 2002 and was immediately fascinated by the multi-ethnic Piazza Vittorio in the heart of the historical Esquiline district. Fascinated by the sounds and languages that, like music, rise through the courtyards outside his windows he dreamed of having an orchestra which would bring together all these sounds.

Amanda Hargreaves hears the story of how he scoured the streets of the city searching for musicians born somewhere abroad and brought to Rome by destiny. He succeeded in banding together 20 members, each one unique in origin, instrument and musical experience. Their first concert revealed their extraordinary energy and creativity in reinventing music from all over the world. Thirteen years on from their first performance we hear the stories of individual musicians with insights into life as an immigrant in Italy.

Today the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio is a shining example of what can be produced by a group of hugely disparate people who have learned to work and live together and most importantly to pool their talent to create something exciting and new.

In addition to the performances and voices of the members of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio interviewed for the programme we also hear vocal performances by Mama Marjias (in the role of Carmen), Evandro Dos Ries (Don José), Houcine Ataa (Escamillo), and Elsa Birgò (Micaela).

(Photo: Raul Scebba, Argentine percussionist, courtesy of Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio)

The multi-ethnic orchestra in Rome that is a beacon of hope amid an immigration crisis

The Paralympic Overachievers? The Ukraine Story20161224

Mani Djzami visits Kiev to ask why Ukraine has punched above its weight at every Paralympics since Athens in 2004

The Path To English2013012920130130 (WS)
20130202 (WS)

Bobby Friction talks to adults who are learning English from scratch in the UK. Many of them are immigrants or refugees from different communities and countries who arrive with little English and quickly have to adapt.

How do they feel living in a country where they were unable to communicate? How did they deal with everyday situations like getting on a bus, shopping, going to a school or visiting a doctor? And how did they learn English - both formally and informally? We find a network of unofficial 'translators' in operation helping people get by. We speak to people who have been here for over 40 years as well as those who have recently arrived.

What English course provisions are there for people eager to enhance their language skills? We discover the challenges in funding English courses. And how is the necessity of learning English for the citizenship test changing the experience of people arriving in the UK?

Bobby visits the Sparkhill Adult Education Centre in Birmingham and speaks to teachers and pupils learning English through ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). He also discovers a community on the Soho Road in Birmingham which exists perfectly happily, running businesses and contributing to society while speaking very little English.

We visit the Chinese community of Manchester where the women in particular struggle with communication. We also meet a group of Eastern European supermarket distribution workers in Hertfordshire who are being taught English by their employer.

(Image: A picture of a face with labels to aid the learning of English, Credit: AFP/Getty)

Bobby Friction meets adult immigrants and refugees in Britain, who are learning English...

Bobby Friction meets adult immigrants and refugees in Britain, who are learning English from scratch and have to adapt quickly.

The Pink Panthers20131027

The inside story of the world’s most successful gang of jewel thieves

Documentary maker Havana Marking gains extraordinary access to the inner workings of an international criminal group made up of 200 people, who came together out of the chaos and criminality of the Balkan Wars. Nicknamed The Pink Panthers, they are a gang that steals jewels from high end stores all over the world. Their hallmarks are intensive planning and extraordinary speed.

Havana speaks to 'Leila', who would pose as a rich customer to gain access to jewellery shops before the raids. “I was extremely good looking,” she says. Her looks meant she easily got a job in one target shop and gained key information.

Her story is contrasted with that of 'Mike', an expert safe cracker. “Everybody has their specific job to do, understand?” he says, describing how the group became bigger and more ambitious. And, Havana speaks to the police forces who are now working together with increasing effectiveness to foil the Panthers’ crime spree.

The story of the world’s most successful jewel thieves, The Pink Panthers, told in thei...

The story of the world’s most successful jewel thieves, The Pink Panthers, told in their own words.

The Polygon People2016121820161221 (WS)

The story and legacy of the vast Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, The Polygon

Between 1949 and 1989 the Soviet Union tested 456 nuclear bombs in Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. The area the size of Belgium became known as the Polygon and when Kazakhstan became independent – 25 years ago this week - it inherited the world’s fourth biggest nuclear arsenal. The BBC’s Rustam Qobil visits the Polygon to piece together its remarkable story.

From the early days of the nuclear arms race with the USA, Russians used this vast space in Kazakhstan to test atomic bombs firstly in the open air and later underground in tunnels.

Local people in remote villages witnessed the open air explosions, coming out of their houses to admire the spectacle of a giant mushroom cloud on the steppe. Third and fourth generations are still suffering from the radiation their grandparents were exposed to.

When the Soviet Union collapsed the Russians pulled out of the Polygon leaving a dangerous amount of nuclear materials behind, unguarded. During the poverty stricken 1990s people entered the Polygon scavenging leftover copper cable. There was a real fear that the nuclear material left behind by the Soviets – amounting to dozens of bombs with the power that wiped out Nagasaki – might fall into the hands of terrorists. At the time the Semipalatinsk site posed the biggest nuclear threat around the world. For 17 years a mission led by American, Kazakh and Russian scientists quietly made the site safe again.

Rustam talks to the scientists involved in this crucial operation. He travels to ground zero where the first Russian bomb was detonated and meets the sole survivor of a Soviet experiment deliberately exposing villagers to radiation. He hears the powerful life story of Karipbek Kuyukov, an artist and activist born without arms to parents who watched the mushroom cloud in the 1950s and who wants to be the last victim of nuclear testing. He also speaks to President Nazarbayev in this anniversary year about the lessons the world can learn from Kazakhstan’s painful experience.

(Photo: Kazakh artist Karipbek Kuyukov. Credit: Kelvin Brown)

Rustam Qobilov examines the story and legacy of the vast Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, The Polygon.

The Pop Star And The Prophet2015101320151017 (WS)
20151018 (WS)

Sam York meets Jacques Attali, who predicted the music industry’s crisis back in 1976.

Nearly 40 years ago, French polymath Jacques Attali wrote a book called Noise which predicted a "crisis of proliferation" for recorded music – in which its value would plummet. As music sales went into free-fall at the turn of the century, his prediction seemed eerily resonant to up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sam York. Now struggling to earn a living as a musician, York visits Attali to help get an insight into his own future, and learns that music itself may hold clues to what is about to happen in the wider world.

Along the way, York meets Al Doyle from Hot Chip and folk singer Frank Turner, who reveal that - despite being relatively well known - they still find it difficult to earn a living from their "stardom". Doyle says he struggled to afford a one-bedroom flat in London. It is a world away from the rock-and-roll lifestyle we might think successful musicians enjoy.

(Photo: Sam York in studio)

The Rape Of Berlin2015050220150916 (WS)

As Europe was being liberated from Fascism at the end of World War Two, one of the most infamous incidents of mass rape in history was underway. Lucy Ash investigates a story that slipped under the official radar.

Winston Churchill spoke for many when he saluted the Soviet army as heroes. Yet the widespread sexual violence – in part, revenge for the devastating Nazi invasion of the USSR – went unacknowledged. Some estimate there were 100,000 rapes in Berlin alone but, although no secret, social stigma, political repression, guilt and fear of revisionism ensured that for decades the subject was untouchable in Germany. Today it is still an explosive topic – virtually taboo in Putin's Russia. Renewed East-West divisions over the conflict in Ukraine are exposing to what extent the 'Great Patriotic War', as Russians call it, is unfinished business.

Lucy travels first to Moscow and then to Berlin to meet a veteran and a rape survivor. She discovers letters, abortion records and two remarkably candid diaries from spring 1945: one by a young Red Army officer, and the other by a female German journalist, which caused outrage when it was first published in German in 1959, but rocketed to the bestseller lists in 2003.

As well as German rape victims there were also the Soviet, Polish and Jewish women who had just been freed from Nazi camps. Sexual violence was committed in different ways on all sides, by the Wehrmacht, the Red Army and the Western Allies. And, that sexual encounters ranged from the most brutal gang rape to prostitution to romances across enemy lines.

Producer: Dorothy Feaver

Image Credit: Photo correspondent Timofey Melnik/German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst

The Red Cross Crisis20130922

The Red Cross turns 150 this year, but is their humanitarian role still relevant?

The Redeemers - The Dentist's Story20161011

Dentists in the USA fix the teeth of drug addicts to help fix their lives.

The Rhetoric Of Cancer2013111920131123 (WS)
20131124 (WS)

When Andrew Graystone was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, he soon realised that the language commonly employed to approach this disease revolves around military metaphors. He writes: "The language of war dominates cancer discourse, so whether we want to fight or not, people with cancer are conscripted into a battle against the self. Our bodies made into war zones, with cancer as the enemy, medical professionals as infallible heroes, and treatments of search-and-destroy by any means possible."

In an attempt to find language which feels more appropriate for him, Andrew visits the Christie Hospital in Manchester to meet Macmillan consultant in palliative care and oncology Dr Wendy Makin. They discuss the language that clinicians choose and the words that patients bring to the consulting room themselves. Also to Natasha Hill, director of brand and strategic marketing at Cancer Research UK about the rhetoric employed in advertising campaigns. He discusses the language employed at research level with Michael Overduin, professor at the School of Cancer Sciences at Birmingham University. Andrew also meets with Jim Cotter, a priest and writer who has leukaemia. And he shares his findings with theologian Dr Paula Gooder who has a special interest in contemporary beliefs about our relationships with our bodies, illness and death.

Andrew says: "If I battle my cancer I’m putting myself in conflict against myself whereas St Francis of Assisi – who had long-term illness himself – is said to have spoken about viewing his as a 'sister illness' and to have embraced it like a family member. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to have cancer, but I warn you that when I die, if any one says that I have lost my battle against cancer, I will personally come back and haunt them.

Andrew Graystone is director of Church and Media Network as well as a prolific writer and presenter for BBC radio.

Are military metaphors such as 'battling' always appropriate when it comes to cancer?

The Salon2016040920160410 (WS)

Intimate conversations between hairdressers and their clients around the world.

Everything is up for discussion in the salon, where intimate and frank conversations take place between a woman and her hairstylist. Whether you view a haircut as a luxury or a necessity, a hair salon is at the frontline of how we think about female identity. Six journalists from around the world pay visits to salons across the world, from Tokyo to Johannesburg to Beirut and back. We’ll hear how women view issues of race, class, wealth, sexuality and beauty through the hair on their heads. Step inside the salon, where every haircut tells a story.

Image: CeCe gets her hair washed by hairstylist Pearl in Pearl’s London Salon Credit: Neil Meads

The School To Prison Pipeline20120410

How the heavy hand of the law in some US schools is criminalising the very young.

Hundreds of schools across America have their own police forces.

Armed officers patrol corridors and playgrounds to keep order and protect teachers from the violent behaviour of some children.

But there's increasing evidence that their presence is being used to deal with minor misdemeanours in the classroom.

In the past these would have been dealt with by a telling off from the teacher; nowadays it can mean arrest and a criminal record for children as young as twelve years old.

Nina Robinson reports from Texas on how the heavy hand of the law in some US schools in criminalising the very young.

The School To Prison Pipeline20120411

How the heavy hand of the law in some US schools is criminalising the very young.

The School To Prison Pipeline20120414
The Secret History Of Bossa Nova20131112

The musical and political story of bossa nova, the first modern music of Brazil

Forget its low-key, supper club reputation, bossa nova was tied to a political revolution and driven by a sharp and very modern aesthetic. It was born in Rio in the late 1950s as a new music that marked the dawn of a new Brazil - an urban, modernising society, leaving behind its colonial past, open to the future and looking out at the world.

Fusing gorgeous melodies with a harmonic language inspired by the French impressionist composers (bossa writers like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Marcus Valle studied Debussy and Ravel closely) and a cosmopolitan sensibility, bossa nova became the music of choice for a smart, young, urban Brazilian middle class, who were flooding into the cities as the Brazilian economy boomed.

By the mid 1960s it became hugely influential in America and around the world. But just as bossa became global and The Girl from Ipanema reached the top of the American charts, the scene was shaken to its core in Brazil, with the deposal of the left-wing civilian government by a military coup, backed by the United States. At first censorship was light but by 1968 the junta had drifted into open repression and many musicians were arrested or exiled. Bossa nova - its serenity and preoccupation with sun, the sea and love - suddenly seemed out of touch with these darker times.

Presenter Monica Vasconcelos, herself a bossa singer, travels to Rio to meet musicians that were part of the original bossa scene - Joyce and Marcus Valle, Eumir Deodato and music writer Ruy Castro.

Picture: Rio beach in the 1950s, Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Singer Monica Vasconcelos tells the musical and political story of bossa nova, the first modern music of Brazil.

The Secret History Of Yoga20160720

Like millions of people, Mukti Jain Campion attends regular yoga classes and enjoys its many physical and mental benefits while believing it to be the “timeless Indian discipline? so often described in yoga books.

But recent research challenges this common assumption. Could modern yoga classes, as now taught all around the world, actually be the product of 19th Century Scandinavian gymnastics as much as ancient Indian philosophy?

Startled by this possibility, Mukti sets out to explore the roots of modern yoga practice and uncovers an extraordinary multicultural history in which early 20th Century European ideas of health, fitness and the cult of the Body Beautiful became intertwined with Indian nationalism and the revival of Indian interest in its own traditions of physical culture. Out of this heady mix emerged a new generation of yoga innovators who transformed an obsolete and frowned-upon practice of Indian holy men into something that would appeal to masses of ordinary people.

Contributors include Dr Mark Singleton, author of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice; Dr Jim Mallinson, a Yoga historian from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London; Dr Manmath Gharote, director of the Lonavla Yoga Institute in India; and Dr Suzanne Newcombe from The London School of Economics, who has studied the development of yoga in Britain.

Readers: Tim Pigott-Smith and Denise Stephenson.

(Photo: Woman sitting in a lotus pose. Credit: Thinkstock)

Is modern yoga a product of Scandinavian gymnastics as much as ancient Indian philosophy?

The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu2014050320140504 (WS)

A turning point that lost France Indochina and won Vietnam for Ho Chi Minh

After the humiliations of World War II, France was insistent on reasserting itself as a world power. In their Vietnamese colony the nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh were just as determined to gain independence.

The showdown to a seven-year guerrilla war came in 1954 at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Survivors, politicians and historians explain how the horrors of a 56-day siege ended with the French garrison being virtually wiped out. In Paris desperate politicians even considered using American atomic weapons to try to save Dien Bien Phu.

Julian Jackson, professor of Modern French History recounts how French soldiers lost an empire in the mountains of Vietnam and how 60 years later the defeat still resonates in contemporary France. For the other European powers it marked the beginning of the end for their colonies in Africa and the Far East. Dien Bien Phu was the first time an indigenous force had defeated a modern well-equipped army. The lessons were not lost on rebels from Kenya to Malaya.

It also had profound implications for the onset of the Cold War. In Washington the battle led to President Eisenhower's first articulation of the domino theory about the possible expansion of Communism. For Moscow and Beijing, Dien Bien Phu represented a great leap forward. For the US the political vacuum left by the French abandonment of Indochina was to lead to their own ten-year war in Vietnam.

Picture: Captured French soldiers escorted by Vietnamese soldiers, walking to a prisoner camp in Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Credit:AFP/Getty

The Singing Fish Of Batticaloa2014100120141002 (WS)
20141004 (WS)

Since the 18th Century, Tamil fishermen have claimed to navigate by the mysterious music of the singing fish of the Batticaloa lagoon in eastern Sri Lanka. The fishermen's ancient name for the creature is Oorie Coolooroo Cradoo (crying shells); scientists believe that the underwater choristers are some kind of fish. But, after 30 years of civil war and the ravages of the tsunami, does any evidence of this strange nocturnal chorus remain?

Restrictions and curfews made it impossible to visit the lagoon at night and locals, suffering the loss and deprivation of a bitter conflict, had other priorities. The people of Batticaloa became disconnected from this ancient cultural symbol. Very few have heard the aquatic music, and many believe it's a myth.

But for Father Lorio, a Jesuit priest present at one of the earliest recordings of the phenomenon made using a homemade hyrdophone in the 1950s, the singing fish are the soundtrack to 60 years of profound turmoil and change he has witnessed in the region. And, for Prince Casinader, a Tamil journalist in his eighties, there is the belief that they could bring a sense of community and hope to his hometown.

Now a group of young Tamil scientists have joined the effort to rediscover this lost symbol. Guided by local fishermen, they embark on an unusual odyssey into the muddy lagoon to capture a new recording and establish if this elusive watery wonder has survived to enchant another generation with its song.

(Photo: A Sri Lankan fisherman throws his net into a lagoon off Batticaloa. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Fishermen, scientists, a journalist and a Jesuit priest embark on an unusual odyssey to...

Fishermen, scientists, a journalist and a Jesuit priest embark on an unusual odyssey to find Sri Lanka's elusive watery wonder.

The Songs Of Comrade Time20111225

Monica Whitlock goes in search of The Children's Choir of the USSR.

The Children's Choir of the USSR sang to their leaders, they sang to their people, and through their songs projected a bright, happy dream of the Soviet Union to the furthest reaches of the Red Empire.

Beautiful children and beautiful voices singing sad Russian songs, Soviet fairy tales of progress and hope, and ballads of loss and love from the Great Patriotic War.

They could be heard and seen at great state occasions or providing the soundtrack for numerous Soviet cartoons.

In doing so, their music shaped an entire generation's childhood - all under the direction of the forceful Victor Popov.

Then, in 1991, the world they had sung about ceased to exist and the Soviet Union passed into memory.

The Sprung Floor20160518

The dancer, Dane Hurst, has bought a former Rambert Company dance floor (deep, protective, roll out vinyl) to take back to his home in South Africa, for under-privileged kids to dance on.

Modern Dance is like a magic carpet. It transported young Dane out of the volatility, violence and poverty of his childhood in segregated Port Elizabeth, to life as a Rambert student and dancer in London. He believes it can transport other young people.

Buying the floor was the start of a larger dream that Dane calls the Moving Assembly Project (MAP). Dane plans in the next few years to construct a prototype dance space out of shipping containers in Port Elizabeth, SA and to install the floor in it - to give dance training to thousands of underprivileged children, to transport them for a moment out of their frustrations and grief.

(Photo: Dane Hurst demonstrates a dance movement to children. Credit: Karl Schoemaker)

Dancer Dane Hurst on his dream to teach modern dance to under-privileged kids in SA

The Story Of The Bamboo Club2016112020161123 (WS)

How the Bamboo Club in Bristol, England, became a lifeline for a victimised community

The Bamboo club was built for the people of St Pauls, in Bristol, England - the people who were victimised or not welcome elsewhere because of the colour of their skin. We hear from dozens of people who were members, musicians, or simply occasional visitors. They all share the same idea that there were two themes running through the club – community and music.

We hear from those who set up the first black cricket team in Bristol, about the first meetings of the famous St Pauls Festival, and how the music was used for charity events to support local causes – regardless of colour. But it was the music that made this club so unique. There are memories from those who sat and spoke with a young Bob Marley, the sisters who grew up with Desmond Dekker, who then find him singing on the Bamboo stage the week he was UK number one, plus those who graced the stage themselves, including the last act to play the Bamboo before it (and all their kit) went up in flames.

(Photo: The front of The Bamboo Club, in St Pauls, Bristol, England. Credit: Tony Bullimore/Bristol Records Office/BBC Bristol)

Remembering the Bamboo Club, a legendary music venue in Bristol, England, that was a lifeline for a victimised community.

The Story Of The Bamboo Club20170101

How the Bamboo Club in Bristol, England, became a lifeline for a victimised community

The Bamboo club was built for the people of St Pauls, in Bristol, England - the people who were victimised or not welcome elsewhere because of the colour of their skin. We hear from dozens of people who were members, musicians, or simply occasional visitors. They all share the same idea that there were two themes running through the club – community and music.

We hear from those who set up the first black cricket team in Bristol, about the first meetings of the famous St Pauls Festival, and how the music was used for charity events to support local causes – regardless of colour. But it was the music that made this club so unique. There are memories from those who sat and spoke with a young Bob Marley, the sisters who grew up with Desmond Dekker, who then find him singing on the Bamboo stage the week he was UK number one, plus those who graced the stage themselves, including the last act to play the Bamboo before it (and all their kit) went up in flames.

Photo: The front of The Bamboo Club, in St Pauls, Bristol, England. Credit: Tony Bullimore/Bristol Records Office/BBC Bristol

The Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden20110814

BBC Security correspondent Gordon Corera tells the untold tale of how the Americans hunted their most wanted man - from the caves of Tora Bora in Afghanistan through to his stronghold in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

It proved to be a cat and mouse game between the world's greatest superpower and a relatively small group of militants who showed themselves capable of outwitting the latest technology with barely more than simple cunning and a Kalashnikov.

US Special forces appear to have had Osama Bin Laden within their grasp but then the trail went cold despite a $25m ransom on his head.

Bounty hunters believed they could succeed where the American military failed but fared no better.

Then one of Bin Laden's followers made a fatal mistake - which led the way to Bin Laden's death.

Gordon Corera investigates, with contributions from members of the CIA who followed Bin Laden into the mountains, FBI agents who worked on a legal case, and from General Richard Myers, the former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gordon Corera tells the story of the search for the world's most wanted terrorist

The Swedish Ambassador's Guide To Eurovision2016051120160512 (WS)
20160514 (WS)

The Eurovision Song Contest is the most watched entertainment show on the planet with 200 million people tuning in to see singers compete under their national flags. It is a glittering, showbiz spectacle. But backstage, it is as much about politics as pop.

Ahead of this year’s competition in Stockholm, the Swedish Ambassador to London, Nicola Clase, explains why diplomats take it seriously.

The Eurovision Song Contest offers a platform where countries can send coded, and not-so-coded, messages to each other through their songs and through their votes. This year all eyes are on Russia and Ukraine who are engaged in an ongoing conflict off-stage. Recent audiences have booed the Russian contributions, but President Putin is determined to win. Nicola finds out why.

The competition does not just reflect politics, it can affect them too. A Portuguese songwriter recalls how his 1974 entry launched a revolution that deposed a dictator. A former Swedish diplomat in Norway explains why he got into trouble when his country neglected to give its neighbour any points.

In Sarajevo, Nicola hears why newly-independent Bosnia sent a delegation to the contest while the city was under siege. Performers dodged snipers and walked across mountains for several days just to get a chance to sing on the Eurovision stage.

Far from being just a bit of fluff, the 60-year-old song contest offers a surprising way to understand Europe’s recent history and shifting allegiances. Its soft power is proving attractive to non-Europeans too. Australia is participating for a second year; China and Korea are interested too. The Ambassador offers a unique insight into why foreign-policy makers would do well to put on their dancing shoes and join the party.

(Photo: Swedish Ambassador to London, Nicola Clase. Credit: Kieron Humphrey)

Ahead of the world’s biggest song contest, a diplomat explains why pop is a secret weapon

The Taboo Of Feminism20161130

As part of 100 Women, Katy Watson travels to Los Angeles and asks why feminism is still regarded by many as a word to avoid.

The Truth About Pope Francis2013041320130414 (WS)

Mark Dowd is in Buenos Aires to find out about Pope Francis’ past, speaking to colleagu...

Mark Dowd is in Buenos Aires to find out about Pope Francis’ past, speaking to colleagues, friends and his sister about him.

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth2013080620130807 (WS)
20130811 (WS)

How Dick Tracy and Wonder Woman have starring roles in the latest lie detecting technology

Dr Geoff Bunn investigates the latest lie-detecting technology with the help of Steven Rose, Emeritus professor of Neuroscience at the Open University, and Geraint Rees, director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He discovers that the early history of the lie detector features a psychologist, William Marston, who went on to create the comic book character Wonder Woman, and an amateur magician, Leonarde Keeler, who was an inspiration for the comic strip hero, Dick Tracy.

He explores the history of the American obsession with lie detection, aided by Ken Alder, professor of History at North Western University, and Garyn Roberts, biographer of Chester Gould - who created Dick Tracy. He also hears from Bruce Burgess, founder of Polygraphs UK.

Dr Bunn is a senior lecturer in psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the author of The Truth Machine: A Social History of the Lie Detector.

(Image: Pulse meters on a man's fingers used for a lie detector or polygraph test. Credit: Science Photo LIbrary)

Dr Geoff Bunn investigates the latest lie detecting technology, and discovers Dick Tracy and Wonder Woman have starring roles.

The War Over Syria20120403

Barbara Plett investigates how the fighting in Syria might reshape the Middle East.

The conflict in Syria is transfixing the Middle East.

But it is transforming it too.

Barbara Plett, the BBC's UN Correspondent, returns to the Middle East to examine how the future of the Assads could also shape the future of the region.

She charts the influence of neighbouring states over the conflict in Syria - with the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and newly assertive Qatar - supporting the rebels.

Turkey, which is fast becoming a regional player, is on this side too, and could become the main conduit for military or logistical support.

Meanwhile Iran and its allied Lebanese force, Hezbollah, is firmly behind The Syrian regime.

And there's likely to be an increasing role for the new Arab democracies.

Barbara investigates how the fighting in Syria might reshape the Middle East.

The War Over Syria20120404

Barbara Plett investigates how the fighting in Syria might reshape the Middle East.

The War Over Syria20120407
The War Widows Of Afghanistan2014072320140724 (WS)
20140726 (WS)

British and Afghan women share their stories of being widowed by the same war

As the deadline for Nato troop withdrawal from Afghanistan approaches, Zarghuna Kargar hears the stories of two British and two Afghan women widowed by the 13-year-war.

Lisa and Jacqui live in Britain, Tajbibe and Marzia live in Afghanistan. Their lives are very different but they have one thing in common - they were all widowed by the same war. Their husbands were among the estimated 13000 Afghan soldiers and 453 British soldiers who have died in the war against the Taliban which began in 2001 and which draws to an official close with the withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan this year.

Zarghuna Kargar hears how the lives of all four women changed the moment they received the news of their husbands' sudden deaths, how they have coped in the aftermath and what they feel about war today.

Picture: Jacqui (left) and Tajbibi (right)

The Year Everything Changed20161227

How the way the world is shaped and reported on changed fundamentally in 2016

This was the year of 'post-truth' politics, fake news and when some of the foundations of how global politics and trade are determined have been questioned. In many ways this has been a year when the silent majority has become vocal, and when old certainties have been questioned. This has also been a year when the internet has proved to be about something much more than about educating and connecting – and as a result has it made us not just less informed, but dangerously ill-informed and disconnected?

Reporting from mainland Europe, the UK and the United States, the BBC’s Allan Little examines what really happened in the last 12 months and asks, what next?

(Photo: A computer keyboard, glowing red, Credit: Getty Images)

The Year Of Migration2015122620151227 (WS)

This year, the number of migrants reaching Europe has reached unprecedented levels. It is a crisis with roots in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, seeing people heading to European shores. Paul Adams takes a look back at some of the key moments of 2015. Produced by Nina Robinson

The key moments that shaped the migrant numbers reaching Europe at unprecedented levels

They Call Us Viet Kieu20160928

Anna Nguyen journeys to Vietnam to rediscover the war-torn country her parents fled in 1975.

Time Noodles20150916

The ancient Japanese art of sit-down comedy, known as Rakugo

In the West we are used to stand-up comics but in Japan they have sit-down comedy. Chie Kobayashi introduces the ancient story-telling art of Rakugo which dates back to the 18th Century and has changed little over the centuries. The comedian sits on his knees wearing traditional Kimono and performs entertaining dialogues between characters, taking on the different voices, expressions and mannerisms. Time Noodles is the title of a classic Rakugo tale based on two noodle-shop owners and their customers.

The style, structure and rich tradition of Rakugo has been handed down from generation to generation and from master to student – known as Deshi. Traditionally there were no female Rakugo-ka (performers) but now, thanks to Kimie Oshima that is changing fast. She is determined to translate and export this ancient art of laughter to English speaking audiences and poke fun at the stereotypical image of the humourless Japanese. English language Rakugo is inevitably different from the original, she says, but her ultimate goal is to make Rakugo as internationally popular as an art form as sushi is in global cuisine. Will she succeed? Or, is too much simply lost in translation?

(Photo: Sanyuutei Ryuraku, Rakugo performer)

Tito's Tourist Crisis20161213

Tito worked as an entertainer in Egypt’s hotels. All gone. Now, his livelihood wrecked, he takes us on a personal and moving exploration of his country’s tourist crisis. He introduces us to life inside the tourist resorts that have no tourists, and to the people whose lives have changed forever:

Tito is 30. He has worked as an entertainer in Egypt’s illustrious hotel scene all his working life. He sings, he dances, he is a comedian and he has entertained thousands of western tourists over his 15-year career. Those tourists aren’t there anymore, neither is the work and neither are most of the hotels Tito has worked in.

The historic but violent Egyptian revolution, the bombing of a Russian plane in Egypt, the stabbing of British tourists in Hurgada and most recently the downing of another passenger plane, have left Egypt’s tourist industry beleaguered. What was once a thriving fifteen billion dollar trade in 2010 is now struggling to achieve half that in 2016. But behind the economics are real human stories of despair including Tito’s himself.

Tito was an entertainer in Egypt's hotels - now all gone. His livelihood wrecked, he explores his country's tourist crisis.

A challenging journey into the current Egyptian tourist crisis

Trading Hair20160413

Why women in India shave their natural hair and why South African women want to buy it

Thousands of tons of hair are sold in India every year with hundreds of women queuing up at the Hindu temple in Tirumala to have their locks cut off by the temple barbers. Having your hair cut or head shaved is considered auspicious and the clippings then become a major source of income both for the temple and the global hair industry. The global business is lucrative and growing rapidly, with South Africa emerging as a key market.

Justine Lang embarks on a journey of discovery to find out why women in India sacrifice their natural hair and why an increasing number of South African women want to buy it.

Airing as part of the BBC’s Identity season.

(Photo: Gopi from Chennai wants to offer up her hair to the Hindu god Vishnu in the hope he will answer her prayers)

Treating The Sex Offender2016061920160622 (WS)
20160623 (WS)

The film-maker Rex Bloomstein, who pioneered a British prison television documentary, gains unprecedented access to the largest sex offender prison in Europe, HMP Whatton in the UK. Since the revelations surrounding high profile figures in the UK entertainment industry, there are more sex offenders in English and Welsh prisons than ever before, around 11600 out of a total population of 86000.

HMP Whatton, with its capacity of 841 prisoners, is a specialist treatment centre for sex offenders – 70% of whom have committed offences against children, the rest against adults. Bloomstein explore the methods used to get prisoners to confront their offending behaviour and to prepare them to go back out into the world. Their re-offending rate, 6%, is surprisingly low compared to 50% for the general prison population.

Bloomstein then travels to the Netherlands to examine how it manages men who have not committed contact sex offences, that is the downloading of child pornography, in the community. He gains access to the clients and staff at the clinics of de Waag, the oldest and largest centre for outpatient psychiatry in the country. He discovers that the Dutch police often refer men who they arrest in possession of child porn straight to de Waag before they go on to trial.

Bloomstein also hears about the work of the helpline Stop it Now!, which through its publicity campaign, aims to encourage men with a sexual interest in children to come forward for treatment before they commit an offence.

(Photo: Indian police officers escort Ravinder Kumar, who is accused of murdering and sexual assaulting a six-year-old girl, 2015. Credit: Sajjad HussainAFP/Getty Images)

Film-maker Rex Bloomstein investigates how sex offenders are treated and rehabilitated

Tropicalia - Revolution In Sound20160210

Tropicalia was a musical revolution in Brazil. Singer and journalist Monica Vasconcelos meets the key artists and contemporary champions of Tropicalia - from Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil to Marcos Valle and Talking Heads' David Byrne - and explores its enduring musical and political force.

Burning brightly for only few years in the late 1960s, and politically inspired by the uprisings in Paris in May 1968, the Tropicalia movement electrified Brazilian music, combining the sophistication of bossa nova, samba and baiao with psychedelia, new Beatles-inspired electric sounds and orchestral experimentation. It was a deliberately subversive mix that provoked the country’s military regime and led to the exile and imprisonment of some of Brazil’s star musicians.

Tropicalia brought a new wave of liberation and energy into Brazilian music. Earlier in the decade, bossa nova had captured a mood of national optimism but, as the 1960s wore on, the national mood darkened. The military junta, in power since 1964, was drifting into open repression - the arts would be censored, musicians targeted, imprisoned and exiled. A new, more combative approach was called for.

Based around a core group of musicians – Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, the group Os Mutantes, singer Gal Costa and Tom Ze - Tropicallia was a mash up of styles which drew on the country's deep roots but pushed the sound elsewhere, radically. Harvesting influences from inside and outside Brazil, drawing especially on Western rock, classical orchestration and electronic effects, Tropicalia parodied, mixed and sampled global styles.

(Photo: Mural commemorating Gilberto Gil, one of the leading musicians of the Tropicalia movement, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The enduring force of the Tropicalia movement which electrified Brazilian music

Tunisia On The Fault Line20150812

The gun attack on the beach resort of Sousse that killed 38 tourists, deterred many holiday-makers from travelling to Tunisia. But not journalist, Frances Stonor Saunders. She packed her bags, no flak jacket in sight, and set off for an all-inclusive package deal to Hammamet, a nearby seaside resort. What did she find? As well as deserted beaches and eerily empty hotels, Frances has a chance meeting with a man who helped foil a previous terror attack on a popular tourist site; and she finds out why Tunisians are refusing to go to local hotels, despite desperate pleas from hotel owners.

Deserted beaches and empty hotels: a package holiday after the terror attack in Sousse.

Ukraine: Back From The War2016062120160625 (WS)

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, huge numbers of men have been conscripted into service on the frontline. Many are now returning home to a civilian society which has little understanding of their experiences or how the fighting has changed them.

Reporter David Stern follows of a group of Ukrainian veterans as they attempt to adjust to life after the war fare. He is with Sasha, a young recruit posted to the frontline, as he experiences an emotional reunion with his family after his demobilisation. But questions remain about his ability to cope away from his unit, and the psychological impact of the fighting.

As Europe’s only active conflict in a generation enters its third year, the programme will explore the unique pressures and dilemmas that a huge cross-section of Ukrainian men is facing after demobilisation.

How a generation of Ukrainian combat veterans are coping with life after the frontline

Upsetting The Apple Cart: The Genius Of Steve Jobs20111115

Mark Gregory examines the legacy of Steve Jobs.

Did he invent a new way of doing business?

A US President wouldn't normally give a statement on the death of a businessman.

But then Steve Jobs was no ordinary businessman.

He built a company that is now one of the largest in the world, and persuaded people not only to buy his products, but to love them.

What then is Jobs' legacy?

How will he be compared to the great American entrepreneurs of the past, such as Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie?

Did he invent a new way of running an organisation?

Or was he really just an old-style businessman disguised in a turtle-neck sweater.

Mark Gregory reports.

(Image: A woman holds an apple with a heart and the name of Steve Jobs written on it.

Credit: Reuters)

Upsetting The Apple Cart: The Genius Of Steve Jobs20111116

Mark Gregory examines the legacy of Steve Jobs.

Did he invent a new way of doing business?

Voices From The Ghetto20121229

Wall In The Head2015092920151003 (WS)

October 3rd 2015 marks twenty five years of reunification between East and West Germany after the Berlin wall fell in November 1989.

By the time this happened, two opposing political systems had been in existence in Germany for nearly forty-five years. The wall had become not only a physical iron curtain that separated two very different societies, but also in many ways a psychological boundary.

The physical wall no longer exists but a generation later do Germans still speak of the "Mauer im Kopf", or “Wall in the Head?; a catchphrase that refers to the invisible cultural and mental divide between Easterners and Westerners?

And how much have stereotypes persisted? East Germans sometimes refer to Westerners as “Besser-Wessies? or arrogant know-it-alls, while West Germans, in turn, roll their eyes about the “Jammer Ossies? or whining Easterners.

German comedian Henning Wehn travels to Germany to examine exactly what social and political differences remain between East and West Germans and how united the county now feels.

He meets the man who invented the “Maeur im Kopf? expression, fellow West German comedian Christian Schulte-Loh and takes a trip to Eisenhuttenstadt on the Polish border to find out how a typical socialist city in the East has fared. And by speaking to historians and sociologists, Henning explores how successful reunification has been and whether the “Mauer im Kopf? can ever be broken down completely.

(Photo: A hand pushes through a hole in the former Berlin Wall. Credit: Getty Images)

Comedian Henning Wehn investigates the invisible barrier that still divides Germany

War, Lies And Audiotape2014082320140824 (WS)

Did President Johnson take his country to war with Vietnam on a lie, or was he misled?

The war between the United States and Vietnam cost over 1 million Vietnamese and 58,000 American lives. It left one country physically devastated and the other socially splintered. It began, President Lyndon Johnson told the world, with an "unprovoked attack" on American ships on the night of August 4, 1964.

What we know today is that the incident that was reported to have taken place in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam that night didn't ever happen. Yet three days later it was cited as the justification for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution: it authorised "the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The Gulf of Tonkin was the crucial turning point: in 1960 there were 900 American troops in Vietnam; by the end of 1965 there were nearly 200,000. Did President Johnson take his country to war on a lie, or was he misled?

Fifty years on, journalist and historian DD Guttenplan explores these dramatic events through archive recordings and new interviews with the key players, bringing all the evidence together for the first time. A fascinating archive of taped White House phone calls transports us back to that day: we'll listen in on President Johnson as he discusses the situation with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and hear the situation unfold through conversations between key military personnel.

Daniel Ellsberg remembers being in the Pentagon receiving reports of the incident on the day, and Jim Stockdale tells us his father's story: he was flying above the USS Maddox when the attack supposedly happened. We'll also hear from journalist Leslie Gelb and historians Frances Fitzgerald and Fred Logevall.

Picture: President Lyndon Johnson, Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

We Real Cool: The Poetry Of Gwendolyn Brooks20150930

Gwendolyn Brooks was an African American poet whose imagination, conscience and passion for words made her the first black poet to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. Narrated by her daughter Nora Brooks Blakely, this is a portrait of her life through the voices of friends and fellow poets - including Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti and Sharon Olds.

Gwendolyn Brooks published her first poem at 13 years old and by the time she was 16, she was publishing in local newspapers serving Chicago's black population. Her poems are portraits of the ordinary people she observed from day to day. She moulded them into memorable characters like Annie Allen, Rudolph Reed and Satin Legs Smith. Her deepest compassion though was for young people, particularly struggling youth. Her most famous poem, We Real Cool, is about children skipping school. It is still spoken aloud today by school children who learn it by heart.

Brooks believed she had a social and political role as a poet and became one of the most visible articulators of the 'black aesthetic' as the Black Arts Movement took off in the late 1960s. She always claimed her greatest achievement was teaching people that poetry is not a formal activity but an art form within the reach of everybody.

(Photo: Gwendolyn Brooks celebrating her 50th birthday at home, 1967. Credit: Getty Images)

A portrait of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first black poet to win the Pulitzer Prize 1950

What Should We Teach Our Kids?2016032920160402 (WS)

What will the world economy look like 30 years from now? And, how should we be preparing British schoolchildren today to find employment in it? Robert Peston travels to three cutting edge schools that claim to provide the way forwards for secondary education.

Should the focus be on languages and cultural knowledge for an increasingly globalised world? Should we be striving to create more of the engineers and programmers that so many employers are crying out for? Or, with the unstoppable march of the robots gobbling up ever more human jobs, should we be preparing kids with the social skills to be future entrepreneurs, employing their own personal fleets of automatons? Or, is a traditional academic education the answer.

Robert Peston poses these questions to a host of educators, analysts and business.

(Photo: A pupil uses a laptop computer during a English lesson. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

How should we be preparing British schoolchildren today to find employment in the future?

Wheel And Come Again: 50 Years Of Jamaican Music2012081820120819 (WS)

Jamaica, the loudest island on the planet, has also produced some of the most daring and innovative music.

It's now 50 years on from Jamaica's independence from Britain and the Afro-Saxons have become Afrocentric.

In Wheel and Come Again, Colin Grant looks at the cycles of Jamaican music that have emerged from the dirt poverty of its ghettoes and the mystical beauty of its hinterland.

Colin charts the evolution of music from the gentle caricature of the Calypsonian-inflected island in the sun to the sexually-charged Dancehall; dropping in on its redemptive golden period along the way.

Finally, Colin shows the power and polarity of Jamaican music: the tension between Bob Marley's One Love and Peter Tosh's rejection of peace because "peace is the diploma you get in the cemetery".

(Image: Colin Grant and Bunny Wailer. Photo by Jasmine Grant)

Colin Grant looks at the cycles of Jamaican music in Wheel and Come Again.

Who Are You Again?20161026

Mary Ann Sieghart isn't rude, she just can't identify people by their faces.

Who's Left Holding The Baby2013122520131228 (WS)
20131229 (WS)

Community childcare or boarding kindergartens? Childcare options in Fiji and China

Like many working mums, Australian broadcaster, Madeleine Morris finds it tough balancing the demands of her job with a desire to be the best possible parent. She takes her daughter, Scarlett, on a journey to find out if there is a better way. In Fiji she finds a whole community getting involved, whilst in China she hears from the parents who leave children as young as three in boarding kindergartens.

Will Carlos Acosta Get To The Pointe2014030820140309 (WS)

Ballet star Carlos Acosta takes on saving an abandoned ballet school in Cuba

A decision by his father to send him to ballet school changed the direction of Carlos Acosta’s life.

Thanks to Fidel Castro’s belief that art should be accessible to all Cubans he received free ballet tuition. It shaped his character, and secured his future. Now he wants to give something back to his country by saving an abandoned ballet school in Havana. Vittorio Garatti’s School of Ballet is an extraordinary labyrinth of corridors, graceful arches and majestic brick and terracotta domes, and has been described as one of the most remarkable buildings of the 20th Century.

But the ballet star’s attempts to restore the building have stirred Latin passions and protest.

In, Will Carlos Acosta Get to the Pointe, Acosta travels back to his native Cuba with producer, Cecile Wright, to report on his bid to save the school, and in exploring the importance of music and dance to Cuba’s national identity, he examines what the fate of the ballet school symbolises about the country’s artistic legacy.

(Photo: Cuban dancer from the UK's Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta, performs at Garcia Lorca theatre in Havana, 2009. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Women Farmers: A Day In The Life Of Polly Apio20131021

In Uganda men own the land but women work in the fields to provide food for the family

Polly Apio is a smallholder farmer in rural Uganda. Almost as soon as she gets up in the morning she starts work and she doesn’t stop until it’s time to go to bed again.

Polly’s life is typical of most women in Uganda, where men own and control the land, but women who toil in the fields to provide the food to feed their families.

Women produce over 50% of all food grown worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, they grow around 90% of the food, yet little global investment is being made to support women farmers. With the help of the charity, Action Aid, Polly has been learning how best to farm her land. It provides training, and advice on things like crop rotation, the best crops to grow in the climate and soil, and money management. In turn, she passes on the training to other women.

Women’s access to land ownership, financial services, education, healthcare and human rights is the key to assuring food security for all, and emboldened by the support of the charity Polly is trying to set up a women’s co-operative to help and support women secure their rights.

Cecile Wright went to Uganda to experience a day in the life of Polly Apio, and to explore the efforts and determination of women in Uganda to take control of their lives.

Women Of Terror20150909

Women have proven to be some of the most ruthlessly effective of terrorists. Bridget Kendall investigates their motivation and their impact.

From Russia's 19th Century Nihilists to contemporary Sri Lanka and Palestine, women have played central roles in terrorist organisations. Attacks planned or executed by women attract attention and inspire fear in a way that male terrorists can only dream of.

Why are we still shocked by female terrorists? Why are they so effective? How can women be dissuaded from joining terrorist organisations? BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall investigates the motives that drive women to kill and considers the response of the media and the public to those who have planted bombs, hijacked planes and killed innocents in their quest for political change.

(Photo: Zohra Drif, militant FLN, was captured together with Saadi Yacef, military leader of the FLN networks of the autonomous zone of Algiers, 24 Sept, 1957. Credit: AFP)

Why women have proven to be some of the most ruthlessly effective terrorists

Women On The Front Line2013102220131023 (WS)
20131027 (WS)

Hear from female soldiers about life for women on the military frontline

Emma Barnett hears from female soldiers in the Canadian and South African armies about life for women on the military frontline.

In early 2013, the United States Secretary of Defence announced that US armed forces would soon open positions to women in ground close combat units - units designed to engage with the enemy.

But in many armies those roles have been open to women for years. In this programme, Emma meets Brenda Hawke, a soldier who has served 16 years in the Canadian infantry, and Ashley Colette, an officer who received one of Canada's highest awards for her leadership of a combat unit in Afghanistan. And she speaks to women from the South African Army who have also served on the front line.

Emma examines which countries in the world do allow women to serve, and contrasts the experiences of these three women to present a picture of life for women on the military front line.

Picture: Ashley Colette on deployment in Afghanistan

Women With The Right Stuff2016071720160720 (WS)
20160721 (WS)

The first footsteps on the Moon were one giant step for 'man', but from the early days of aeronautics women have also been involved in space travel. In Women with the Right Stuff, presenter, pilot and aspiring astronaut Wally Funk pays tribute to the pioneers, meets some of those involved within today’s space industry, and hears from the woman who might be among the crew for the first human mission to Mars.

Wally has first hand experience of the early days of space travel in America. She undertook secret tests to become an astronaut in 1961 and, along with 12 other female pilots, passed the extremely tough physical tests to become an unofficial member of the ‘Mercury 13’ – the women who, given a chance, could have gone into space before Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova made history.

Wally hears from astronauts Jessica Meir, Helen Sharman, Eileen Collins and Samantha Cristoforetti; mission control flight director Mary Lawrence; space historian David J Shayler; and shares her 1961 astronaut medical tests with NASA flight surgeon Shannan Moynihan.

Over 50 years after those tests, Wally is still flying (she takes her producer above Dallas in a Cessna) but she is yet to get into space. However Wally is on the waiting list for one of the first commercial space tourism flights and is prepared to make history as yet another woman with the right stuff.

(Photo: A Wally Funk playing card, Wally was one of the original Mercury 13, Credit: Boffin Media)

Aviator and aspiring astronaut Wally Funk meets the pioneering women of space travel

Yellow Cab Blues2014070820140709 (WS)
20140713 (WS)

Meet New York's rookie cabbies - fledgling taxi-drivers trying to earn a living in the most stressful city in the world. Most are immigrants, already grappling with the challenges of a new language and a new culture. Now they have to deal with long hours, short fares, and grumpy passengers in the back. Will they make it?

The new drivers come from all over the world. Not long ago they were leading very different lives in Dhaka, Islamabad or Accra, dreaming of a new life in the US. Now they are in an airless basement below a Tibetan restaurant in Queens learning how to avoid traffic tickets and charm passengers into better tips.

And it is tips they need. Most New York cab-drivers lease rather than own a car. Every morning they pick it up and pay a few hundred dollars for the privilege. They work twelve-hour shifts, seven-days a week driving round and round waiting for a hail. On a bad day they wind up with less money than they started.

In this honest, funny feature, Cathy FitzGerald travels to New York to hear how the taxi immigrants make sense of their new lives. How do they square religious beliefs with passengers wanting to have sex or do drugs during the ride? And how do they stay calm when the guy in the back picks a fight?

(Photo: Sherrin lost and found her cab. Credit: Matt Thompson)

Cathy Fitzgerald hears honest and funny stories of how immigrants master the art of dri...

Cathy Fitzgerald hears honest and funny stories of how immigrants master the art of driving a taxi in New York City.

Yemen’s Swap Marriages2014072920140730 (WS)

Yemen’s sibling ‘swap’ marriages, where if one couple divorces, the other has to do too

‘I’ll marry your sister if you marry mine. And if you divorce my sister, I’ll divorce yours.’ That is Yemen’s ‘Shegar’, or swap marriage, an agreement between two men to marry each other’s sisters, thereby removing the need for expensive dowry payments. But the agreement also entails that if one marriage fails, the other couple must separate as well, even if they are happy.

BBC Arabic’s Mai Noman returns to her native Yemen and hears the stories of two women who have loved and lost because of Shegar.

Nadia lives in the village of ‘Sawan’ on the outskirts of the capital Sana’a with her family. She was married off at the age of 22 and has three children. Nadia had to pay a high emotional price because of her family’s decision to marry her off in the Shegar tradition. She was forced to divorce and now she and her mother have to live with the stigma that brings.

Nora and her brother Waleed had little say in marrying their cousins through Shegar. But what happens when one sibling’s happiness depends on ending the marriage of the other? Could you choose your sibling’s happiness over your own? Stay in an unhappy marriage so your sibling can stay in a happy one?

Mai asks why an old tradition that forces you to love only to force you to part, is still practised in Yemen. What do the religious authorities think of it? And is it tied to Islam?

In Yemen, the heart of Arabia, ancient traditions and values have kept the fabric of society unchanged. They helped preserve Yemen’s unique charm and character, but also imprisoned Yemen’s people in the past. Shegar marriage is one such tradition. It helps poorer families to marry, but at what price?

(Photo: A Yemeni groom is surrounded by relatives during his wedding in the old city of Sanaa. Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images)

Young, Clever And Libyan2015122920160102 (WS)

Two years after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, twenty three of Libya’s finest science and technology graduates spent a year at Cambridge University in England. The plan was that these young people would acquire the skills to rebuild their country. The project was organised by Tatweer, a new Libyan research and development company. Their aim was that when the graduates returned to Libya they would set up a technology park in the city of Benghazi which would be at the forefront of scientific research – not just for Libya but for the whole region.

This is the story of the graduates’ year in Cambridge and how the reality on the ground back home raised big questions about whether their dream can ever be realised. When they go back, they return to a Libya engulfed in civil war.

(Photo: Children visiting Libya's Red Castle and National Museum in Tripoli. Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Libya's top technology graduates head to Cambridge to learn skills to rebuild Libya

Yusra: Swim For Your Life20160918

Yusra Mardini went from swimming to survive as a refugee to swimming in the Rio Olympics

It is a story which has made news around the world - the teenage Syrian refugee who swam to survive, and was then selected to compete in the pool for the refugee team at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Thanks to a partnership with Czech Radio, the BBC has unique access to her journey, as she travelled on foot to the Hungarian border, eventually making her way to Germany, and beginning a new life in Berlin. We also follow her training, her selection for the Games, and her experiences in Rio.

Yusra Mardini made a dramatic escape from her homeland. She and her sister jumped into the water to swim alongside an overcrowded boat as it threatened to sink in the sea between Turkey and Greece. Yusra was a junior international swimmer in Syria, and on arrival in Berlin, she has trained hard at a swimming club, finally winning selection for the Olympic Games in Rio in the newly-formed refugee team.

Yusra's story has captured the imagination of the world's media. Reporter/presenter Magdalena Sodomkova travelled with Yusra, her sister and other refugees as they approached the Hungarian border - long before there were any thoughts of the Olympics - and has remained close to her ever since, recording with her during her training in Berlin, and joining her in Rio, for the Olympic Games.

(Photo: Yusra Mardini of Syria during a training session at the Wasserfreunde Spandau, Berlin, 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

01Alive In Chernobyl2011042620110427

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone".

01Alive In Chernobyl20110430
01Alive In Chernobyl20110501
01Alive In Chernobyl20110730

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone".

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have ret.

01Alive In Chernobyl20110731

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have ret.

01Alive In Chernobyl20110801

On the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history, Olga Betko travelled to Chernobyl - in her native Ukraine - to find the people who are living in the "dead zone".

In the last week of April 1986, when the nuclear reactor exploded, showering deadly radiation over the surrounding area, thousands of power station workers and their families were evacuated.

Later, other local residents who also lived nearby, were also evacuated.

By then many had been contaminated.

Life in the cities did not suit this group of people with its strong and ancient ties to the land.

Many suffered from depression and also prejudice, having fled the contaminated area.

Over the years a number of small groups of elderly rural people have defied the radiation and returned to live in their abandoned villages and are working the land they love.

Olga Betko, visited these tiny remote communities to see how they are surviving against the odds and how, in isolation, they are trying to recover a poisoned homeland.

Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone"

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone".

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have ret.

01America's Own Extremists20110628

Jonny Dymond looks at America's new internal threats, from Islamic extremists and right.

Jonny Dymond looks at America's new internal threats, from Islamic extremists and right-wing militias.

01Atomic States20110712

Richard Black explores how the atomic energy industry has developed, and the future for.

Richard Black explores how the atomic energy industry has developed, and the future for the world's nuclear nations.

01Atomic States20110713

Richard Black explores how the atomic energy industry has developed, and the future for.

01Controlling People20110927

The story of modern population control, and why it didn't work.

Matthew Connelly on a c.

Matthew Connelly on a campaign that began with the best ideals.

01Controlling People20110928

The world's population is due to reach seven billion people this year, and by around 2050 it could grow by yet another two billion.

At the same time, the number of children born to each woman is in many parts of the world, falling rapidly; some countries are failing to replace their current numbers and are starting to shrink.

Demographers, environmentalists and others fear unsustainable pressure on resources on one hand and ageing populations, labour shortages and economic collapse on the other.

So why is the world's population out of control?

This series aims to provide some answers by examining the history, and future, of attempts to manipulate fertility.

Our host is the historian, Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University, New York, who travels to India - one of the key battlegrounds in what was described as a war on population growth - waged by demographers and international development experts, and fought enthusiastically by the country's own political elite.

Using India as an exemplar, Professor Connelly documents a global campaign that began with the best humanitarian ideals, but which led to authoritarian control over some of the world's poorest citizens.

He uncovers a story of tragic mistakes and sometimes terrible human rights abuses, and shows how we will be living with the consequences for decades to come.

Matthew Connelly examines India's tragic history to control its population

The story of modern population control, and why it didn't work.

Matthew Connelly on a c.

01Danger In The Download20120501

Ed Butler assesses the ever-increasing threats from hackers and cyber weapons, and what.

Ed Butler assesses the ever-increasing threats from hackers and cyber weapons, and what can be done to protect internet users.

01Danger In The Download20120502

Ed Butler assesses the ever-increasing threats from hackers and cyber weapons, and what.

01Embracing The Dragon2011061420110615

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity?

Who'd want to be Taiwan?

An island of 23 million people right next to China, which sees it as a renegade province of its own, insisting that other countries do not recognise its government, and reserving the right to retake it - by military means if necessary.

For the last three years Taiwan's response to these tensions has been mainly conciliatory - under the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, economic and cultural links with the Chinese mainland have flourished for the very first time, and the idea of formal independence has become more taboo than ever.

Yet polls suggest that increasing numbers of Taiwanese see themselves as separate from mainlanders, and many fear that closer ties will lead to reunification by stealth.

With Ma's presidential term now drawing to a close, this series considers the achievements and criticisms of his China policy and asks what Taiwan’s future options might be.

Along the way, we learn about the emerging Taiwanese identity, how Taiwanese and Chinese people get on face to face, and what Taiwan’s experiences tell us about Beijing's wider foreign policy.

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity, or hand Beijing control o.

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity, or hand Beijing control over what it sees as a renegade province?

01English In The East20120214

English has been the dominant global language but is it the language of the future in Asia

English has been the dominant global language for a century, but is it the language of the future in rising South East Asia?

In the first of two documentary programmes Jennifer Pak visits Malaysia and Singapore, two countries where colonial ties to the English language are loosening.

In Malaysia a renewed emphasis on Malay in schools and in culture is controversial with many parent groups anxious for their children's economic future and those concerned at losing a language that unites across ethnic backgrounds.

In Singapore we hear how Mandarin is becoming increasingly important together with the street 'Singlish'.

01English In The East20120215

English has been the dominant global language but is it the language of the future in Asia

01English In The East20120218
01Europe's Choice20120306

Allan Little gets the inside story on the roots of the Euro crisis speaking to politici.

Allan Little gets the inside story on the roots of the Euro crisis speaking to politicians, diplomats and technocrats involved.

01Europe's Choice20120307

Allan Little gets the inside story on the roots of the Euro crisis speaking to politici.

01Europe's Choice20120310

Allan Little gets the inside story on the roots of the Euro crisis speaking to politicians, diplomats and technocrats involved.

Allan Little gets the inside story on the roots of the Euro crisis speaking to politici.

01For King Or Country20110403

Arguing the case for and against monarchy as a form of government.

The first of two programmes looks at Sweden.

The first of two pro.

01Nigerian Crossroads20120417

Can this huge, complicated country become the pioneer for Africa? Mark Doyle investigates.

Can this huge, complicated country become the pioneer for Africa?

Nigeria is at a crossroads. One way leads to chaos, the other to a decent, modern state.

This year the Nigerian economy may overtake that of South Africa in size, and the country may then assume the real mantle of 'Giant of Africa' that it has grandiosely claimed for some time now - on size of its population alone.

In terms of foreign policy it's not so fanciful.

For many years Nigeria has been the benevolent 'Big Brother' of smaller states such as Liberia and Sierra Leone.

But Nigeria has major internal problems - Boko Haram is but the latest and most serious.

Widespread and endemic corruption continues to plague politics at all levels.

It's not partition yet. Nigeria's oil money may yet be the glue to hold its disparate interest groups together.

Mark Doyle investigates why Nigeria, with so much potential, is forever 'on the brink' internally?

01Nigerian Crossroads20120418

Can this huge, complicated country become the pioneer for Africa?

Nigeria is at a crossroads. One way leads to chaos, the other to a decent, modern state.

This year the Nigerian economy may overtake that of South Africa in size, and the country may then assume the real mantle of 'Giant of Africa' that it has grandiosely claimed for some time now - on size of its population alone.

In terms of foreign policy it's not so fanciful.

For many years Nigeria has been the benevolent 'Big Brother' of smaller states such as Liberia and Sierra Leone.

But Nigeria has major internal problems - Boko Haram is but the latest and most serious.

Widespread and endemic corruption continues to plague politics at all levels.

It's not partition yet. Nigeria's oil money may yet be the glue to hold its disparate interest groups together.

Mark Doyle investigates why Nigeria, with so much potential, is forever 'on the brink' internally?

Can this huge, complicated country become the pioneer for Africa? Mark Doyle investigates.

01Nigerian Crossroads20120421

Can this huge, complicated country become the pioneer for Africa? Mark Doyle investigates.

01Out In The World20111129

Richard Coles confronts accusations that the West is attempting to force gay rights on.

Richard Coles confronts accusations that the West is attempting to force gay rights on Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

01Out In The World20111130

Richard Coles confronts accusations that the West is attempting to force gay rights on.

01Radical Economics20111126

Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a me.

Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a mere failure of policy?

01Radical Economics20111128

Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a me.

01Sporting Chances In South Sudan20120103

Farayi Mungazi looks at the close links between sport and national identity.

The close links between sport and national idenity are all too evident in many countries today.

Democrats and demagogues alike have at times used sport to plunder and unite their people.

In Sporting Chances, Farayi Mungazi explores the power of basketball to create a national identity in newly independent South Sudan, as well as give its people a sense of dignity and pride.

01Sporting Chances In South Sudan20120104

Farayi Mungazi looks at the close links between sport and national identity.

01Sporting Chances In South Sudan20120107
01The British Establishment: Who For?2011102220111023

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, in an emergency debate in Parliament following this summer's riots, revived a line from his general election campaign.

"Britain is broken", he said.

In this two-part series, the award-winning American broadcaster and author Michael Goldfarb challenges the assertion with a question: Is Britain really broken? If it is, then it is broken at the top.

From the City, to the police, to the press, to Parliament, and in cultural institutions including the nation's universities and even the BBC, a narrow elite, drawn from the least-diverse backgrounds, make the rules, socialise, and define what is and is not permissible among the nation's leaders.

The phone hacking scandal, described as the 'thuggish collusion between the media, the police and politicians', is just the latest example of the British Establishment being caught out.

The credit crunch, the ensuing outrage over executive pay as well as the MPs' expenses scandal, have all shown them to be tone-deaf to popular concerns.

Why does Britain's narrow and elite establishment keep stumbling from crisis to crisis?

01The Dark Side Of Diplomacy20111101

Lyse Doucet asks diplomats, politicians and activists how we should engage with brutal.

Lyse Doucet asks diplomats, politicians and activists how we should engage with brutal regimes.

01The Dark Side Of Diplomacy20111102

Lyse Doucet asks diplomats, politicians and activists how we should engage with brutal.

01The Future Of Amnesty International20110913

Fergal Keane tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founding and di.

Fergal Keane tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founding and discusses its future on the world stage.

01The Future Of Amnesty International20110914

Fergal Keane tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founding and di.

01The Future Of Amnesty International20110918

Matthew Bannister tells the story of Amnesty International at 50, and discusses its future on the world stage.

He examines the position it currently holds in the field of global human rights, and assesses the international influence its many campaigns, and both Nobel and UN prizes, have brought it.

In part one, Matthew asks how Amnesty has succeeded since its creation 50 years ago, and examines how the organisation was born and what it originally set out to achieve.

He talks to early volunteers and researchers to discover how Amnesty set out to be a pioneer, both in the field of human rights, and in the methods it has developed as a charitable campaigner on a global stage.

Matthew Bannister tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founded

01The New Establishment2011101820111019

Michael Goldfarb looks at why Britain's narrow and elite establishment keeps stumbling.

Michael Goldfarb looks at why Britain's narrow and elite establishment keeps stumbling from crisis to crisis.

01The Secret War On Terror20110830

Peter Taylor reveals the inside story of the intelligence war which has been fought aga.

Peter Taylor reveals the inside story of the intelligence war which has been fought against al-Qaeda over the last decade.

01The Secret War On Terror20110831

Peter Taylor reveals the inside story of the intelligence war which has been fought aga.

01The Secret War On Terror20110904

reveals the astonishing inside story of the intelligence war which has been fought against al-Qaeda over the last decade since 9/11.

With unparalleled access to Western intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and with exclusive interviews with those who have been at the sharp end of fighting the terrorists – from the CIA and the FBI to MI5 – Peter Taylor asks whether the West is winning and whether we are any safer from attack.

Is the West winning the war on terror and are we any safer from attacks?

01The Truth About Ngo's20111213

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of t.

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of transparency in Haiti, Malawi and India.

01The Truth About Ngo's20111214

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of t.

01The Truth About Ngo's20111220

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of t.

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of transparency in Haiti, Malawi and India.

01The Truth About Ngo's20111221

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of t.

01The Truth About Ngo's20111225

Allan Little investigates allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of transparency. This has been the decade of the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organsiations).

Their numbers, influence and range of activities have grown enormously. Many are now multi-million pound organisations.

While many NGOs conduct themselves well, there are increasing worries about the accountability of NGOs and the extent to which the work they do is appropriate in the host countries.

In this series Allan Little looks at the work of NGOs in Haiti, Malawi and India, to consider some key concerns: why, for example, does there seem to be so little co-ordination between NGOs in a place like Haiti?

Why, despite the vast effort and resources that flowed after the earthquake two years ago, are people still living in tents without basic amenities?

In Malawi we look at the political influence wielded by NGOs. Is their job really to behave as the de facto opposition to the government?

Should their role include an ambition to change people’s ideas on issues such as women’s rights and gay marriage?

Are NGOs causing a ‘brain drain’ in countries such as Malawi, by attracting well-educated young people with the high salaries they can afford to pay?

And in India we look at transparency and corruption and at who really benefits from the work of NGOs.

Many people think that NGOs and the way they are set up, funded and made accountable for their work, is now overdue for reform. We consider what a better future might mean for NGOs.

A look at allegations of NGO inefficiency, political bias and lack of transparency

01The Wealth Gap20120117

The gap between the super-rich and the rest has grown sharply around the world. Michael.

The gap between the super-rich and the rest has grown sharply around the world. Michael Robinson examines its effects on London

01The Wealth Gap20120118

The gap between the super-rich and the rest has grown sharply around the world. Michael.

01The Wealth Gap20120121
01Wars Of Diplomacy20110510

Two conflicts, one United Nations, two different responses.

Claire Bolderson examines t.

Claire Bolderson examines the crises in the Ivory Coast and Libya.

01Wars Of Diplomacy20110511

Two conflicts, one United Nations, two different responses.

Claire Bolderson examines t.

01Wars Of Diplomacy20110514
01Wars Of Diplomacy20110515
02Bubble Trouble?20110531
02Bubble Trouble?20110601
02Bubble Trouble?20110605

Across the world the cost of basic commodities is soaring.

Endless demand from China is blamed for the record price of copper; flood, fire and drought for boosting the cost of food; and political tension in the Middle East for the sharply-rising price of oil.

But are such fundamental forces the whole story?

Michael Robinson asks whether investors and speculators are making prices more volatile and examines the role of the giant traders, banks and companies which now increasingly dominate the world's commodity markets.

Episode Two

Michael goes deep into the argument about supply and demand of a single commodity - copper.

Michael Robinson investigates the skyrocketing prices of the world's basic goods

The BBC investigates the skyrocketing prices of the worlds basic goods.

02Controlling People20111004

The story of modern population control, and why it didn't work

The world’s population is due to reach seven billion people this year, and by around 2050 it could grow by yet another two billion.

At the same time, the number of children born to each woman is – in many parts of the world – falling rapidly; some countries are failing to replace their current numbers and are starting to shrink.

Demographers, environmentalists and others fear unsustainable pressure on resources on one hand and ageing populations, labour shortages and economic collapse on the other.

So why is the world’s population out of control?

This series aims to provide some answers by examining the history, and future, of attempts to manipulate fertility.

Our host is the historian, Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University, New York, who travels to India - one of the key battlegrounds in what was described as a war on population growth, waged by demographers and international development experts, and fought enthusiastically by the country’s own political elite.

Using India as an exemplar, Professor Connelly documents a global campaign that began with the best humanitarian ideals, but which led to authoritarian control over some of the world’s poorest citizens.

He uncovers a story of tragic mistakes and sometimes terrible human rights abuses, and shows how we will be living with the consequences for decades to come.

02Controlling People20111005

The story of modern population control, and why it didn't work

02Controlling People20111008

The world's population is due to reach seven billion people this year, and by around 2050 it could grow by yet another two billion.

At the same time, the number of children born to each woman is in many parts of the world, falling rapidly; some countries are failing to replace their current numbers and are starting to shrink.

Demographers, environmentalists and others fear unsustainable pressure on resources on one hand and ageing populations, labour shortages and economic collapse on the other.

So why is the world's population out of control?

This series aims to provide some answers by examining the history, and future, of attempts to manipulate fertility.

Our host is the historian, Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University, New York, who travels to India - one of the key battlegrounds in what was described as a war on population growth - waged by demographers and international development experts, and fought enthusiastically by the country's own political elite.

Using India as an exemplar, Professor Connelly documents a global campaign that began with the best humanitarian ideals, but which led to authoritarian control over some of the world's poorest citizens.

He uncovers a story of tragic mistakes and sometimes terrible human rights abuses, and shows how we will be living with the consequences for decades to come.

Matthew Connelly examines India's mass sterilisation campaign to control its population.

02Controlling People20111009

Matthew Connelly examines India's mass sterilisation campaign to control its population.

02Danger In The Download20120508
02Danger In The Download20120509
02Danger In The Download20120512
02Europe's Choice, Breaking The Pact20120313

Allan looks at the failure to enforce the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Allan Little looks at the key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis.

In this episode he focuses on the first years of the last decade.

"The Stability and Growth Pact": the mechanism with the most boring name and yet the most crucial of purposes - to keep the Euro in check.

Its low inflation, low debt criteria had been arrived upon as a means to trying to ensure a German-style fiscal probity amongst the 12 countries that had joined the Euro by 2001 - many more than many privately thought suitable for entry.

But there was no external enforcement mechanism for the rules - the Commission could recommend action but couldn't compel it.

In effect, when countries contravened, it was up to ministers of member states to police the pact.

When Germany - one of the European superpowers - broke the rules in 2003 under the strains of paying for re-unification, it was not penalised.

Why? Did this send a fatal message to countries like Greece and Italy that they too could bend the rules without consequence?

02Europe's Choice, Breaking The Pact20120314

Allan looks at the failure to enforce the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

02Europe's Choice, Breaking The Pact20120317

Allan Little looks at the key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis.

In this episode he focuses on the first years of the last decade.

"The Stability and Growth Pact": the mechanism with the most boring name and yet the most crucial of purposes - to keep the Euro in check.

Its low inflation, low debt criteria had been arrived upon as a means to trying to ensure a German-style fiscal probity amongst the 12 countries that had joined the Euro by 2001 - many more than many privately thought suitable for entry.

But there was no external enforcement mechanism for the rules - the Commission could recommend action but couldn't compel it.

In effect, when countries contravened, it was up to ministers of member states to police the pact.

When Germany - one of the European superpowers - broke the rules in 2003 under the strains of paying for re-unification, it was not penalised.

Why? Did this send a fatal message to countries like Greece and Italy that they too could bend the rules without consequence?

(Image: A person holding a one euro coin and a Greek one drachma coin in front of a Greek national flag. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

Allan Little looks at the failure to enforce the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Allan looks at the failure to enforce the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110503

Olga Betko returns to Chernobyl, on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster

On the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant, presenter Olga Betko travels to Chernobyl - in her native Ukraine - to find the people who are living in what is known as the "dead zone".

In the last week of April 1986, when the nuclear reactor exploded, many power station workers and their families were evacuated.

It was not until a week later that many local rural families and farmers who also lived in the 'Exclusion Zone', were also evacuated to cities.

This documentary follows the stories of a number of small groups of elderly rural people who have defied the radiation and returned from the cities to live in their abandoned villages, once again working the land they love.

Olga Betko visits these tiny remote communities to see how they are surviving in isolation and also looks at how people there are recovering a poisoned homeland.

Bill Law travels to Egypt to revisit five women that he met 3 years ago, to tell the st.

Bill Law travels to Egypt to revisit five women that he met 3 years ago, to tell the story of the revolution through their eye

02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110504

Olga Betko returns to Chernobyl, on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster

02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110508
02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110806

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have ret.

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone".

02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110807
02 LASTAlive In Chernobyl20110808

On the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history, Olga Betko travelled to Chernobyl - in her native Ukraine - to find the people who are living in the "dead zone".

In the last week of April 1986, when the nuclear reactor exploded, showering deadly radiation over the surrounding area, thousands of power station workers and their families were evacuated.

Later, other local residents who also lived nearby, were also evacuated.

By then many had been contaminated.

Life in the cities did not suit this group of people with its strong and ancient ties to the land.

Many suffered from depression and also prejudice, having fled the contaminated area.

Over the years a number of small groups of elderly rural people have ignored the radiation and returned to live in their abandoned villages and are working the land they love.

Olga Betko, visited these tiny remote communities to see how they are surviving against the odds and how, in isolation, they are trying to recover a poisoned homeland.

Olga Betko finds people who have returned to live in a nuclear "dead zone"

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Olga Betko finds people who have ret.

02 LASTAmerica's Own Extremists20110705

Why the next big challenge to US security could come from within the country

Jonny Dymond looks at America's new internal threats, from Islamic extremists and right-wing militias.

America devotes vast resources to countering external threats, and the past decade's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have focused attention abroad.

However, there are signs that the next big challenge to US security could come from within the country.

Episode Two

America is facing a resurgent threat from violent right-wing groups.

The militia movement - a loose collection of groups united by their opposition to the federal government - lost steam 15 years ago after its adherents killed 168 people in Oklahoma City.

But now an emboldened right-wing has given the movement new life.

Jonny goes inside the militia renewal.

02 LASTAmerica's Own Extremists20110709

Why the next big challenge to US security could come from within the country

02 LASTAtomic States20110719

Richard Black explores the history and likely future of the nuclear energy industry

BBC Environment Correspondent Richard Black explores the history and likely future of the nuclear energy industry.

02 LASTAtomic States20110720

Richard Black explores the history and likely future of the nuclear energy industry

02 LASTAtomic States20110723
02 LASTAtomic States20110724
02 LASTEmbracing The Dragon2011062120110622

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity, or hand Beijing control o.

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity, or hand Beijing control over what it sees as a renegade province?

02 LASTEmbracing The Dragon20110625

Will Taiwan's new rapprochement with China bring opportunity, or hand Beijing control o.

02 LASTEnglish In The East20120221

English has been the dominant global language but is it the language of the future in Asia

Jennifer Pak visits Hanoi in Vietnam to look at how life is changing in the city as more people are adopting the English language.

Hanoi's Lenin Park under the former Soviet-style command economy, people gathered to exercise while Russian songs played on municipal speakers.

Today young people in Vietnam dance to western pop music, many describing the lyrics as the language of freedom.

However, there is a new culture associated with the English language which is challenging the deferential social model in Vietnam.

Jennifer meets staff from a local company who are having difficulty adjusting to some aspects of English culture and also meets the famous Vietnamese singer My Linh, who says whilst she didn't express herself in her youth, her children's generation talk openly about their thoughts and feelings.

They still don't talk to the older generation however, so she adds them on Facebook to see how they really think.

02 LASTEnglish In The East20120222
02 LASTFor King Or Country?20110405

Meet the ardent monarchists who prefer the crown to the US constitution

Aristotle stated that monarchy is the only form of government in which power is exercised for the good of all, but nearly 2,500 years later, does the institution remain preferable to an elected head of state?

In this two-part documentary, an ardent monarchist and committed republican examine the case for and against monarchy as a form of government.

Arguing the case for and against monarchy as a form of government.

The second of two pr.

The second of two programmes looks at the USA.

02 LASTFor King Or Country?20110406

Meet the ardent monarchists who prefer the crown to the US constitution

Arguing the case for and against monarchy as a form of government.

The second of two pr.

02 LASTFor King Or Country?20110409
02 LASTFor King Or Country?20110410

Meet the ardent monarchists who prefer the crown to the US constitution

Arguing the case for and against monarchy as a form of government.

The second of two pr.

02 LASTNigerian Crossroads20120424

Nigeria is at a crossroads between chaos and a modern state. Can it become the pioneer.

Nigeria is at a crossroads between chaos and a modern state. Can it become the pioneer for Africa? Mark Doyle investigates.

02 LASTNigerian Crossroads20120425

Nigeria is at a crossroads between chaos and a modern state. Can it become the pioneer.

02 LASTOut In The World20111206
02 LASTOut In The World20111207
02 LASTRadical Economics20111203

The role of credit in the build up to the global financial crisis is well known - but what has our reliance on credit been doing to the wider economy and to human behaviour?

The expansion of consumer credit has been encouraged by social democratic as well as centre right governments.

But some on the left believe that the growth of the financial sector has given birth to a novel form of capitalism and with that a new kind of worker exploitation.

Paul Mason meets the economists of "financialisation" who believe that credit has become the defining relationship between workers and employers, citizens and public services.

Paul Mason is the author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed.

(Image: Generic Visa Mastercard credit cards with identification numbers obscured.

Credit: Getty)

Paul Mason asks whether the expansion of credit created a new form of worker exploitation.

02 LASTSporting Chances In South Sudan20120110

Farayi Mungazi looks at the close links between sport and national identity in South Su.

Farayi Mungazi looks at the close links between sport and national identity in South Sudan and Australia.

02 LASTSporting Chances In South Sudan20120111

Farayi Mungazi looks at the close links between sport and national identity in South Su.

02 LASTSporting Chances In South Sudan20120114
02 LASTThe British Establishment: Who For?2011102520111026
02 LASTThe British Establishment: Who For?20111029
02 LASTThe Dark Side Of Diplomacy20111108
02 LASTThe Dark Side Of Diplomacy20111109
02 LASTThe Dark Side Of Diplomacy20111112
02 LASTThe Future Of Amnesty International20110920

Matthew Bannister tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founded

Matthew Bannister tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founding and discusses its future on the world stage.

02 LASTThe Future Of Amnesty International20110921

Matthew Bannister tells the story of Amnesty International 50 years after it founded

02 LASTThe Future Of Amnesty International20110924
02 LASTThe Future Of Amnesty International20110925
02 LASTThe Secret War On Terror2011090620110907
02 LASTThe Truth About Ngo's, India20111227

A look at transparency and corruption in India. Who really benefits from the work of NGOs?

This has been the decade of the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations).

Their numbers, influence and range of activities have grown enormously.

Many are now multi-million pound organisations. While many NGOs conduct themselves well, there are increasing worries about the accountability of NGOs and the extent to which the work they do is appropriate in the host countries.

Allan Little looks at the work of NGOs in Malawi, India and Haiti, to consider some key concerns.

In India we look at transparency and corruption and at who really benefits from the work of NGOs.

Many people think that NGOs and the way they are set up, funded and made accountable for their work are now overdue for reform.

We consider what a better future might mean for NGOs.

02 LASTThe Truth About Ngo's, India20111228

A look at transparency and corruption in India. Who really benefits from the work of NGOs?

02 LASTThe Wealth Gap2012012420120128
02 LASTWars Of Diplomacy20110517
02 LASTWars Of Diplomacy20110518
02 LASTWars Of Diplomacy20110522
03 LASTBubble Trouble?20110607

Michael Robinson investigates the skyrocketing prices of the world's basic goods

Across the world the cost of basic commodities is soaring.

Endless demand from China is blamed for the record price of copper; flood, fire and drought for boosting the cost of food; and political tension in the Middle East for the sharply-rising price of oil.

But are such fundamental forces the whole story?

Michael Robinson asks whether investors and speculators are making prices more volatile and examines the role of the giant traders, banks and companies which now increasingly dominate the world's commodity markets.

Episode Three

Michael hears from key politicians, regulators and lobbyists about the drive to legislate against in what some call 'excessive speculation.'

03 LASTBubble Trouble?20110608

Michael Robinson investigates the skyrocketing prices of the world's basic goods

03 LASTBubble Trouble?20110611
03 LASTBubble Trouble?20110612
03 LASTControlling People20111011

The story of modern population control, and why it didn't work

The world's population is due to reach seven billion people this year, and by around 2050 it could grow by yet another two billion.

At the same time, the number of children born to each woman is in many parts of the world, falling rapidly; some countries are failing to replace their current numbers and are starting to shrink.

Demographers, environmentalists and others fear unsustainable pressure on resources on one hand and ageing populations, labour shortages and economic collapse on the other.

So why is the world's population out of control?

This series aims to provide some answers by examining the history, and future, of attempts to manipulate fertility.

Our host is the historian, Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University, New York, who travels to India - one of the key battlegrounds in what was described as a war on population growth - waged by demographers and international development experts, and fought enthusiastically by the country's own political elite.

Using India as an exemplar, Professor Connelly documents a global campaign that began with the best humanitarian ideals, but which led to authoritarian control over some of the world's poorest citizens.

He uncovers a story of tragic mistakes and sometimes terrible human rights abuses, and shows how we will be living with the consequences for decades to come.

03 LASTControlling People20111012
03 LASTControlling People20111016

The world's population is due to reach seven billion people this year, and by around 2050 it could grow by yet another two billion.

At the same time, the number of children born to each woman is in many parts of the world, falling rapidly; some countries are failing to replace their current numbers and are starting to shrink.

Demographers, environmentalists and others fear unsustainable pressure on resources on one hand and ageing populations, labour shortages and economic collapse on the other.

So why is the world's population out of control?

This series aims to provide some answers by examining the history, and future, of attempts to manipulate fertility.

Our host is the historian, Professor Matthew Connelly of Columbia University, New York, who travels to India - one of the key battlegrounds in what was described as a war on population growth - waged by demographers and international development experts, and fought enthusiastically by the country's own political elite.

Using India as an exemplar, Professor Connelly documents a global campaign that began with the best humanitarian ideals, but which led to authoritarian control over some of the world's poorest citizens.

He uncovers a story of tragic mistakes and sometimes terrible human rights abuses, and shows how we will be living with the consequences for decades to come.

Matthew Connelly looks at the consequences of India's methods to control its population.

03 LASTEurope's Choice, Deeper Not Wider20120320

Allan examines new resentments and divisions within the EU exposed by the crisis.

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis, focusing on the events of the last 18 months.

The latest crisis has exposed new resentments and divisions within the EU.

Countries like Greece and Italy have had both prime ministers and austerity measures imposed upon them by an executive in Brussels that voters did not directly elect.

Other member states like Finland, who survived its own period of recession and austerity in 1991 without being bailed out by the EU, are seeing the rise of nationalist movements which are resisting the increased control in Brussels.

There is a belief amongst some of them that this crisis was engineered as a means of deepening the grip of the European institutions.

Opinion polls in Turkey show the lowest support for EU membership ever.

Even Germany - one of Europe's greatest advocates and beneficiaries - is expanding its exports to non-traditional markets like China.

What will the EU look like in 10 years time?

03 LASTEurope's Choice, Deeper Not Wider20120321

Allan examines new resentments and divisions within the EU exposed by the crisis.

03 LASTEurope's Choice, Deeper Not Wider20120324

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis, focusing on the events of the last 18 months.

The latest crisis has exposed new resentments and divisions within the EU.

Countries like Greece and Italy have had both prime ministers and austerity measures imposed upon them by an executive in Brussels that voters did not directly elect.

Other member states like Finland, who survived its own period of recession and austerity in 1991 without being bailed out by the EU, are seeing the rise of nationalist movements which are resisting the increased control in Brussels.

There is a belief amongst some of them that this crisis was engineered as a means of deepening the grip of the European institutions.

Opinion polls in Turkey show the lowest support for EU membership ever.

Even Germany - one of Europe's greatest advocates and beneficiaries - is expanding its exports to non-traditional markets like China.

What will the EU look like in 10 years time?

Allan examines new resentments and divisions within the EU exposed by the crisis.