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Seriously...

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

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  • 01.07.2022
    27 MB
    28:25
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    The Virtual World of Sex Education

    In today’s ever-evolving digital world, social media can sometimes feel like a frightening place. But is it all bad? As our online and offline lives are becoming increasingly blurred perhaps it is time we looked at the ways social media can be used for good?Ruby Rare is a sex educator and author who has delivered relationships and sex education workshops to all ages up and down the country.Ruby speaks to a group of teens about the ways they use social media to fill the gaps left by their formal sex education, and parents about their concerns around young people learning about sex and relationships online. We hear from a number of ‘sexperts’ who address some of the dangers of young people not accessing good sex education and professionals who are using online platforms to provide comprehensive and inclusive sex education for the 21st century.With contributions from:Ben Hurst from Beyond Equality, Professor Jessica Ringrose, Eliza Bell from Brook, Genevieve Collister Brown, Dr Tanaya Narendra, Sophia Smith-Galer and Melissa Pintor Carnagey from Sex Positive Families.Presenter: Ruby Rare Producer: Anna de Wolff Evans Sound Design: David ThomasA Pier production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 28.06.2022
    27 MB
    28:35
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    Ukraine’s Nuclear Gamble

    It was a night of intense negotiation which would change the world order as Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons.Clive Myrie examines what was at stake in Budapest in 1994, how the deal was finally reached and how it went on to shape the world we face today.Three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-biggest nuclear power on the planet. Thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to denuclearise.As Ukraine fights for its continued independence and the world hopes to stave off a catastrophic acceleration of nuclear weapons activity, Clive finds out how that agreement was negotiated and interpreted – and what it says about the situation we find ourselves in today.He talks to negotiators and others with an interest in those important diplomatic discussions 28 years ago.Producer: Ashley Byrne A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 24.06.2022
    54 MB
    56:41
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    Ziggy Stardust at 50

    June 1972 saw the release of David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars which propelled the South London singer to stardom.Bowie’s creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona was more than just a whimsical costume change, the whole concept had a meticulously planned gestation period and evolved many facets of his creativity.In a Melody Maker interview in January 1972, a few months before the album’s release, Bowie openly discussed his bisexuality. Back then, it was a radical and potentially career harming gesture, but it became a defining moment for many gay people around the world.In this Archive on 4, Tris Penna, who worked alongside Bowie at EMI Records, assesses the origins of the album, artists Michael Weller and George Underwood discuss their schooldays and early friendship with Bowie, and Ziggy Stardust co-producer Ken Scott recalls the studio experience.“Young dude” Wendy Kirby, record plugger Anya Wilson, and former music exec Laurence Myers remember their time with “Ziggy” and singer Marc Almond talks movingly about the profound impact of Ziggy on his life.Singer and actor Toyah Wilcox talks about the creative inspiration Bowie has had for her since the age of 12, and brings the reviews of the time alive.The programme also includes rare archive material including a lost Bowie interview (as Ziggy) recorded in the Top of the Pops dressing room, a 1972 press conference, and insightful reflections from former band members Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder.We also hear studio outtakes – as well as a lost BBC session version of the title song.Producers: Tris Penna and Sue Clark Executive Producer: David Prest A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

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  • 21.06.2022
    27 MB
    28:44
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    The Hidden History of the Front Door

    Join Rachel Hurdley as she opens the front door to step into a story of security, sociability, style and even the supernatural. The front door may seem to be just a simple way of coming in and out of a house, but it almost always reveals more about the householder than they might expect. The style of door, its colour, the letter box, doorbell, even perhaps the house name, are all chosen to present an image to the outside world. In this programme, Rachel reveals how to interpret a front door and how developments in their design and use over the centuries reflect social changes. Rachel starts at Chepstow Castle, where she admires what’s thought to be the oldest castle door in Europe and finds out why it was built to provide a strong deterrent to intruders; at the moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton she discovers how Medieval and Tudor home owners used their doors to ward off evil spirits; in Bath she goes back to the time of Jane Austen to hear about the social etiquette of paying a visit; moving forward to the 19th century she learns why the Victorians loved to put a house name on their front door; and finally she visits the Becontree Estate in East London and sees how the building boom of the 1920s and 30s meant many families had their own front door for the first time. Interviewees: * Sonia Solicari, Director of The Museum of the Home https://www.museumofthehome.org.uk/ * Jonathan Glancey, Architectural Writer and Historian * Will Davies, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Cadw, spoke at Chepstow Castle https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/chepstow-castle * James Wright, Buildings Archaeologist, spoke at Baddesley Clinton https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/baddesley-clinton * Elaine Chalus, Professor of British History at the University of Liverpool, spoke at No. 1 Royal Crescent https://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/ * Laura Wright, Professor of English Language at the University of Cambridge and author of ‘Sunnyside: A History of British House Names’ * Bill Jennings, former resident and Housing Manager, spoke on the Becontree Estate Presenter: Rachel Hurdley Producer: Louise Adamson Executive Producer: Samir ShahShah A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 17.06.2022
    27 MB
    29:03
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    Clipped Wings

    After a frightening incident of sexual assault while birding, BBC Springwatch naturalist Lucy Lapwing visits four women to try to rekindle her passion for being alone in nature. Birdwatching has always been joyous for Lucy. Her pockets are always stuffed with nature's treasures, such as acorns, feathers, and owl pellets. However, there’s now one extra item she always keeps reassuringly within reach. While she was birdwatching alone, a man exposed himself to her and videoed her reaction, so now Lucy always carries an anti-assault Defence Spray. The incident has left her wary and anxious. She puts her back to a tree when looking through binoculars. She no longer talks to male fellow birders, actively avoiding them from a distance. She is "so angry" that she feels unsafe in nature - a place she had hitherto regarded as unquestionably "her realm". In Clipped Wings, Lucy ventures outdoors with four women whose hobbies and pursuits regularly take them alone into nature: mountain biking, backpacking, running and birding. Lucy talks to former professional mountain biker and Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner Lee Craigie, Ali Ogden, who runs backpacking events across the Scottish Highlands, long-distance runner Catriona Bruce, and ecologist and birdwatcher Sorrel Lyall. What abuse or dangers have they encountered in pursuit of their passion? How do they mitigate risks? How would they like men to behave when encountering a lone woman in nature? And what advice, support, or solidarity can these four supportive peers offer, to help Lucy assuage her fears and get her love of birdwatching back on track? Producer: Jac Phillimore Sound Design: Joel Cox A Bespoken Media production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 14.06.2022
    27 MB
    28:50
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    The Truth About Tourette’s

    Aidy Smith has Tourette Syndrome - commonly thought of as a swearing disorder. But in reality, 90% of people with Tourette’s don't swear. Over the decades, popular culture has built up a skewed picture of Tourette Syndrome. Documentaries have focused on those with extreme symptoms and Coprolalia. Hollywood movies have used it as a means of manufacturing cheap laughs. Comedians have used it as a punchline. In this programme, Aidy meets people with incredible talents and successful careers who have overcome the struggles and the stigma. People like Pete Bennet, who rose to fame in 2006 after winning the seventh series of the Channel 4 reality show Big Brother, and Dr Wilson Tsai, a thoracic surgeon in the US who hopes to inspire others by sharing how martial arts and practicing medicine gave him confidence and a sense of worth. A Rosa production for BBC Radio 4 BBC Action Line support: Tourettes Action provides confidential and impartial support to adults and children living with Tourette Syndrome. Live chat available www.tourettes-action.org.uk The Brain Charity provides help and support to people with conditions affecting the brain, spine and nervous system, including Tourette’s syndrome. Phone: 0800 008 6417 https://www.thebraincharity.org.uk/ Information from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tourettes-syndrome/

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  • 10.06.2022
    27 MB
    28:46
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    The Little Black Book

    Growing up in New York in the 1980s, Laurence Legall was more than aware of the dangers of walking down the street. It didn't take much for a young black man to be stopped and searched by the city police - and if you made a wrong move, you could end up dead. In this programme, from his home in Brooklyn where he has lived for much of his life, Laurence tells the story of the small but vitally important book created by his mom to help young black men stay safe on the streets of NYC. It all began one day in 1985 when he went to buy some shoes with friends. They were robbed by a group of young men. Seeing a police car, they flagged them down but the NYPD didn't take their complaint seriously. When he got home, his mom was furious. But rather than just accept it, she decided do something about it. And she was no stranger to 'doing something about it'. Back in 1957, Carol Taylor fought discrimination on the airlines to become the first black flight attendant in the United States. A few years later, she took her place on the podium at the March on Washington in 1963 with other civil rights campaigners. And then years later, she wanted to make a stand for her son and all other young black men. Laurence's experience had been the last straw and, that evening, Carol sat down and wrote a list of survival rules for not just her son but for all black men to follow in the event of being stopped by the police. She called it The Little Black Book. This programme charts the story of that book, its important list of 30 rules and how it continues to be relevant nearly 40 years after its first publication. Producer: Caroline Heywood Executive Producer: Ashley Byrne A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4 Picture: Courtesy of Laurence Legall

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  • 07.06.2022
    27 MB
    28:57
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    London on the Line

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

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  • 03.06.2022
    27 MB
    29:07
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    The Dancer and Her Shoe Maker

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

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  • 27.05.2022
    28 MB
    29:22
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    Bound to the Mast

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

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  • 20.05.2022
    14 MB
    14:59
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    5. The Future Will Be Synthesised

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

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  • 20.05.2022
    14 MB
    15:21
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    4. The Future will be Synthesised

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

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  • 20.05.2022
    15 MB
    15:57
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    3. The Future will be Synthesised

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

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  • 20.05.2022
    14 MB
    14:51
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    2. The Future Will Be Synthesised

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

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  • 20.05.2022
    14 MB
    15:11
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    1. The Future Will Be Synthesised

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

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  • 15.04.2022
    28 MB
    29:55
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    The P Word

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

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  • 12.04.2022
    28 MB
    29:41
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    Am I That Guy?

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

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  • 01.04.2022
    27 MB
    29:05
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    The Witches' Pardon

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

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  • 29.03.2022
    55 MB
    58:06
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    Sir Alex Ferguson: Made in Govan

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

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  • 25.03.2022
    27 MB
    28:55
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    Cold as a Mountain Top

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

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  • 11.03.2022
    27 MB
    28:59
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    Women in Stitches: The Making of the Bayeux Tapestry

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

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  • 03.03.2022
    14 MB
    15:07
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    5. The Lowball Tapes – Hunting the Truth

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

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  • 03.03.2022
    15 MB
    15:39
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    4. The Lowball Tapes – The Overseers

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

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  • 03.03.2022
    15 MB
    16:11
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    3. The Lowball Tapes – The Whistleblower

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

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  • 03.03.2022
    14 MB
    15:13
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    2. The Low Ball Tapes - The Trails

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

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  • 03.03.2022
    14 MB
    15:20
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    1. The Low Ball Tapes - Arrested

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

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  • 25.02.2022
    27 MB
    28:43
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    Art Came in the Night

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

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  • 22.02.2022
    28 MB
    29:26
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    A Recipe for Love

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

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  • 14.02.2022
    14 MB
    15:07
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    Episode 5

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

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  • 14.02.2022
    13 MB
    14:30
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    Episode 4

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

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  • 14.02.2022
    15 MB
    15:51
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    Episode 3

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

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  • 14.02.2022
    14 MB
    15:08
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    Episode 2

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

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  • 14.02.2022
    14 MB
    14:47
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    Episode 1

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

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  • 01.02.2022
    56 MB
    59:10
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    Paris-Zurich-Trieste: Joyce l'European

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

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  • 28.01.2022
    28 MB
    30:11
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    Room 5 - Episode 1

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

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  • 25.01.2022
    55 MB
    57:58
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    Bloody Sunday: 50 Years On

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

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  • 18.01.2022
    27 MB
    29:08
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    Night Watch

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

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  • 14.01.2022
    27 MB
    29:01
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    The Lullaby Project

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

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  • 28.12.2021
    36 MB
    38:25
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    A Family of Strangers

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

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  • 24.12.2021
    27 MB
    28:49
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    The Army Girls

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

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  • 14.12.2021
    36 MB
    37:43
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    A Line in the Water

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

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  • 07.12.2021
    36 MB
    38:03
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    The River Man

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

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  • 03.12.2021
    27 MB
    29:04
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    Will-of-the-Dump

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

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  • 26.11.2021
    28 MB
    29:14
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    Could I Regenerate My Farm To Save The Planet?

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

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  • 19.11.2021
    55 MB
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    Jan Morris: Writing a Life

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

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  • 12.11.2021
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    How America Learned to Laugh Again

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

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  • 02.11.2021
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    The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 5 - The Sceptics

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

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  • 02.11.2021
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    15:21
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    The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 4 - Dark Money

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

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  • 02.11.2021
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    The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 3 - The Russia Mystery

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

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  • 02.11.2021
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    The Hack That Changed the World: Ep 2 - On the Trail

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

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