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Outlook

Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

Alle Folgen

  • 21.10.2021
    19 MB
    39:49
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    The secret that nearly destroyed our marriage

    For nearly 30 years Bobby and Cheryl Love lived a very ordinary married life together in New York. They raised four children, worked hard, attended church…but Cheryl could never shake the feeling that Bobby was hiding something from her. It was in 2015 that she finally found out the truth, when armed police burst through the door of their apartment one morning. Bobby and Cheryl tell Jo Fidgen what the secret did to their marriage.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Rebecca VincentPicture: Bobby and Cheryl Love Credit: Brandon Stanton

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  • 20.10.2021
    19 MB
    40:00
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    The locked-in boy and the brain experiment

    Erik Ramsey was seriously injured in a car crash when he was 16 years old. He became locked-in and lost all voluntary muscle function except for the ability to move his eyes up and down. His father Eddie, desperate to help his son communicate, reached out to neurologist and neuroscientist Dr Phil Kennedy. Phil was known for his pioneering work helping paralysed patients communicate again. His method was to implant electrodes in their brains that would transmit their thoughts to a computer. He started working with Erik and Eddie but eventually, in order to advance his research, Phil decided to experiment by implanting the same electrodes into his own, healthy brain. It was a drastic and controversial step - if the surgery on Phil's brain went wrong, he risked losing his ability to speak. Phil, Eddie and Erik are featured in the documentary, The Father of the Cyborgs. And Phil has written a book called Unlocking Erik.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Maryam MarufPicture: Phil Kennedy before his brain implant surgery Credit: Paul Powton

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  • 19.10.2021
    11 MB
    23:31
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    The spy who pretended to be homeless

    Tom Marcus - not his real name - was a spy; an undercover agent for the British security agency, MI5. For several months, he pretended to be a homeless man living on the streets of London. He went to great lengths to blend in, and it was all worth it when he ended up preventing two coaches full of school children from being blown up. He gave this interview in January 2017.Tom Marcus has written a book about his experiences, it's called I Spy: My Life in M15.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Katy TakatsukiPicture: A homeless man in the streets of London Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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  • 18.10.2021
    19 MB
    40:02
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    ‘Born lucky’: Escaping the Khmer Rouge

    According to Cambodian folklore, Sieu Do was born with a ‘cloak of good fortune’. His family believed it helped them to survive under the brutal regime in the late 1970s. Sieu was a teenager who could speak seven languages. This made him a target for the Khmer Rouge, who wanted to exterminate the educated classes. But those language skills would save his life when he found work as a physician’s assistant treating thousands of refugees alongside international aid agencies.Presenter: Jo Fidgen Producer: Mariana Des ForgesImage: Composite of Sieu Do images Credit: Courtesy of Sieu Do

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  • 16.10.2021
    12 MB
    26:28
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    The uncomfortable truth hidden in my DNA

    Hiram Johnson is a former policeman who decided to use his investigative skills on his own family. He grew up knowing nothing about this father’s ancestry. In his quest for answers, he uncovered a murder case and an incarceration in the notorious Parchman Farm prison that would change the course of his family’s future. Hiram's written a book about his journey called: Reason to Fight: A Search for Truth. This interview was first broadcast on 5th December 2019.Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Maryam MarufPicture: Hiram Johnson holding a photo of his father Credit: Courtesy of Hiram Johnson

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  • 14.10.2021
    11 MB
    23:37
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    The man who (re)painted the Mona Lisa

    When some film producers asked artist Adebanji Alade if he'd like to take up a challenge to repaint Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in just a month, he thought it sounded like a bad idea - but he said yes anyway, despite the fact the original (which Adebanji had never seen) took four years to paint.He tells Emily Webb about his belief in saying yes, his life as a "compulsive sketcher", and the family tragedy that made him determined never to run away from problems.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Laura ThomasPicture: Adebanji Alade and his Mona Lisa Credit: Emily Webb for Outlook

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  • 12.10.2021
    14 MB
    29:19
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    Agent Orange: A Vietnamese grandmother's last battle

    When Tran To Nga was growing up in Vietnam during the 1950s, she had a close relationship with her mother - an important figure in the resistance movement against the regime of South Vietnam. During the Vietnam war, mother and daughter grew even closer, both fighting for the resistance in the depths of the jungle. It was at this time that Nga was sprayed with Agent Orange - a toxic defoliant used by the US military to strip away the leafy canopy of the trees and expose their enemies hiding beneath it. Two years later, her first daughter was born with severe health issues and died, and Nga is battling serious illnesses herself, which she believes are a result of her contact with Agent Orange. She tells Emily Webb about her fight to get compensation for the survivors of Agent Orange, and about her decades-long search for her mother who disappeared in 1966. Nga's story is featured in a documentary called The People vs Agent Orange.The interpreter was Véronique Bernard.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: June ChristiePicture: Tran To Nga Credit: Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images

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  • 11.10.2021
    18 MB
    38:09
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    The Somali prisoner, the secret language and the life-saving book

    Mohamed Barud was losing hope in a Somali prison, when an inmate in a neighbouring cell devised a secret language and tapped out the Russian novel Anna Karenina through his wall... for Mohamed, the book was transformative. He tells his story to Emily Webb.Mohamed wrote a book about his experience called The Mourning Tree.If you're affected by issues raised in the programme, you can find information about support available at bbc.co.uk/actionline or befrienders.orgGet in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Emily WebbPicture: Mohamed Barud and a copy of Anna Karenina Credit: Mohamed Barud, JannHuizenga via Getty Images

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  • 09.10.2021
    15 MB
    31:37
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    The inside story of a Muslim drag queen

    Amrou al-Kadhi - who goes by the pronoun ‘they’ - was raised Muslim, but even as a kid Amrou was different. They had no interest in playing with boys their age, and instead loved dressing up with their mother. Amrou grappled with issues of gender identity and sexuality for years. It was not until they picked up drag as a student at Cambridge University that they were able to find solace and belonging. Amrou has written a book called Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen. Amrou spoke to Outlook’s Jo Fidgen. This interview was first broadcast 5th November 2019.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Laura ThomasPicture: Amrou Al-Kadhi as Glamrou Credit: Harry Carr

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  • 08.10.2021
    20 MB
    43:33
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    "The camera was my shield" - a refugee films his journey

    Hassan Akkad was an amateur filmmaker forced to flee Syria, having been detained twice by regime forces. His destination was the UK, and on the way he used his camera to document the toughest chapters. In the Calais migrant camp, he met two documentary-makers who would use his footage in a high-profile film, kickstarting Hassan's career in documentary filmmaking.Hassan spoke to Sahar Zand.Picture: Hassan Akkad Credit: Hassan Akkad

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  • 05.10.2021
    14 MB
    30:50
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    My teacher became my torturer

    Mirsad Solakovic grew up in a Bosnian Muslim family during the 1980s, in a country where people from a range of different ethnic groups and religions lived side by side. This harmony was shattered for Mirsad at the age of 13, when his Serbian teacher turned up at school one day in military uniform and pointed a gun at him. As war descended on his town, he and his family were rounded up and Mirsad was singled out and tortured by that very same teacher. They were then sent to a concentration camp on the school grounds as part of a wave of ethnic cleansing. They escaped to England as refugees, but Mirsad was by now experiencing severe PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He found it hard to adjust, suffered bullying and wouldn't speak, until two of his new teachers asked if he would talk about his life in the school assembly. It would be a life-changing moment for Mirsad. He’s written a book about his experiences called The Boy Who Said Nothing.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Edgar MaddicottPicture: Mirsad Solakovic (left) with his family Credit: Mirsad Solakovic

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  • 04.10.2021
    16 MB
    34:57
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    The immigration lawyer who hid her undocumented past

    Qian Julie Wang arrived in the United States from China at the age of 7. Her family didn’t have permission to be in the country and so she always told people she’d been born there. But after fulfilling her ambition to become a lawyer, her secret became harder to bear. She was often working on immigration and deportation cases, and found it painful and conflicting to make judgements when she’d been in a similar situation. She then faced an agonising dilemma: to keep her secret or come clean. She knew that either decision could potentially mean the end of her career. Beautiful Country is by Qian Julie Wang.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Katy TakatsukiPicture: Qian Julie Wang Credit: Ryan Muir

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  • 02.10.2021
    12 MB
    26:28
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    Addicted to my son's addiction

    When US journalist David Sheff realised that his beloved teenage son Nic was addicted to the highly-dangerous drug crystal meth, he tried to do everything to help him. Could this family break free from the destructive cycle of addiction? (This podcast was first released on 6th January 2019 and since then Nic has celebrated his 11-year anniversary of sobriety.)Presenter: Saskia Edwards Producer: Maryam MarufImage: Nic and David Sheff Credit: Bas BogaertsGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 30.09.2021
    14 MB
    30:57
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    A footballing legend's gambling secret

    Footballer Peter Shilton stood in goal for England 125 times and faced Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal - but off the pitch he battled a secret gambling addiction for 45 years. Then a chance meeting in a hotel lift with the woman who'd become his wife changed everything.

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  • 29.09.2021
    8 MB
    18:11
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    I went backpacking and became an accidental celebrity

    After Daniel Tyler dropped out of school and fell in with the wrong crowd, he decided to go backpacking to escape it all. The Englishman ended up on a tiny Malaysian island and was living a relaxed life until he was secretly filmed speaking fluently in the local dialect. The video went viral and as a result Daniel would end up finding a new name, a new religion and a new course in life.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Kevin PonniahPicture: Daniel Tyler with his wife and son Credit: Daniel Tyler

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  • 28.09.2021
    17 MB
    35:43
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    The secret mission to rescue women kidnapped by IS

    For five years, a young Yazidi woman called Leila was held captive by the Islamic State group. She ended up in Al-Hol, a large and volatile internment camp in northern Syria holding thousands of IS supporters. But unknown to Leila, a group of Yazidi volunteers – some who had escaped IS – had returned to the camp as infiltrators, determined to rescue her and other enslaved women. Among them was the Kurdish filmmaker Hogir Hirori, who went along undercover with his camera to document the mission.With thanks to Hanna Valenta for the translation.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Maryam MarufPicture: Women in a niqab in Al-Hol camp Credit: Courtesy of Hogir Hirori

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  • 27.09.2021
    10 MB
    22:53
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    Finding healing in the sea that took my family

    Geraldine Mullan lived with her husband John and their two children Tomás and Amelia in a town on the beautiful Irish coastline of County Donegal – a salty inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. They all loved the water, which during lockdown became a welcome escape for the whole family. But in August 2020, the car they were travelling in plunged into the sea during a dreadful storm – in a split second Geraldine lost her husband and both of her children. She tells Jo Fidgen how she found the strength to get back into the water two months after it stole the people she loved most in the world, and why she feels closer to them when she's swimming. Geraldine has opened a centre for her local community called the Mullan Hope Centre, in memory of her family.If you've been affected by any of subjects in this programme you can find support and additional information below:BBC Action Line: https://www.bbc.co.uk/actionline/Befrienders Worldwide: https://www.befrienders.org/Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: June ChristiePicture: Geraldine Mullan in the sea Credit: David Conachy

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  • 25.09.2021
    12 MB
    26:28
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    The heavy metal boys from the dump

    Cambodia's biggest rubbish dump was home to thousands of children, picking through rubbish to sell. From this bleak wasteland emerged a band, Doch Chkae - young musicians who grew up in extreme poverty, turning their anger into heavy metal music. Harry Graham speaks to two of the band members, Sok Vichey and Ouch Theara. We also hear from one of the charity workers who spotted their talent for metal music, Timon Seibel, from Moms Against Poverty. This podcast was first released on 23rd November 2019.Presenter: Harry Graham Producer: Deiniol BuxtonPicture: Doch Chkae Credit: Florian GleichGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 23.09.2021
    19 MB
    41:15
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    The sinking of a pirate radio ship

    Nick Richards was a DJ for Radio Caroline, an unlicensed offshore radio station operating off the coast of the UK. This was the late 1970s, and millions of people were tuning in, but there were problems with the ship. Because of its illegal status, it couldn’t go to shore for repairs, and it was rotting below the waterline. The DJs did their best to keep the ship afloat, until they faced one storm too many. Nick spoke to Outlook’s Harry Graham.Get in touch: [email protected]: Harry Graham Producer: Harry GrahamImage: The pirate radio ship Mi Amigo, home to Radio Caroline Credit: Getty Images/Evening Standard

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  • 22.09.2021
    19 MB
    40:02
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    I hit puberty, then burned down my family home

    When Nikki Owen was 18, she set fire to the family home while her mother was still inside. Her mother escaped but Nikki found herself in court, accused of intending to kill her.This was the culmination of years of self-loathing, self-harm and suicide attempts that, Nikki says, turned her into a monster. In her younger years, Nikki had worked as a child model; she was shy and well-behaved and couldn't understand why her personality had transformed so quickly and so severely. It wasn’t until she was facing up to 15 years in prison that, thanks to her family's persistence, she was diagnosed with severe premenstrual syndrome, or PMS as it’s more commonly known. Nikki was then able to use this diagnosis in her defence in court.Nikki’s case made legal history in England as the first time in which premenstrual syndrome was used as a mitigating factor in a criminal case. Since then a plea of PMS has been used in court in cases of murder, infanticide, manslaughter and many other crimes.For Nikki it meant she was given a second chance at life and one she has used to help other people by setting up her own organisation, the Healing Hub through which she supports people to deal with stress and anxiety.If you've been affected by any of subjects in this programme you can find support and additional information below:BBC Action Line: https://www.bbc.co.uk/actionline/Befrienders Worldwide: https://www.befrienders.org/The International Association for Premenstrual Disorders: https://iapmd.org/National Association for Premenstrual Syndromes https://www.pms.org.ukGet in touch: [email protected]: Modelling headshot of Nikki Owen in 1975 Credit: Courtesy of Nikki Owen

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  • 20.09.2021
    19 MB
    39:36
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    I stole a safe, and faced the dilemma of my life

    Matthew Hahn used to burgle houses in the San Francisco Bay Area to pay for a drug habit. One fateful night in 2005 he stole a safe from someone’s home, hoping that its contents would fund his next high. But he was horrified to discover that the safe contained evidence of a very young girl being sexually abused. Matthew felt he had to do something to help the child, but due to his past criminal record he knew he faced life in prison if he admitted to stealing the safe. His decision would have profound consequences for both himself and the girl’s abuser.This programme contains details that some listeners may find distressing.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Rebecca VincentPicture: Matthew Hahn Credit: Courtesy of Matthew Hahn

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  • 18.09.2021
    12 MB
    26:28
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    The first beauty queen in a free South Africa

    Basetsana Kumalo is easily one of South Africa’s most recognisable celebrity figures. She shot to fame as Miss South Africa in 1994, just months after Nelson Mandela was elected president. Basetsana was the first black contestant to win the contest in the country's new "freedom era" and, by default, became the face of South Africa’s new democracy. After this Basetsana hosted one of the country's top lifestyle programmes and today she's a successful media entrepreneur. Her book is called: Bassie, My Journey of Hope. This podcast was first released on 11th January 2020.Presenter: Andile Masuku Producer: Deiniol BuxtonPicture: Basetsana Kumalo at the SA Style Awards in Johannesburg. Credit: Gallo Images / ContributorGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 16.09.2021
    19 MB
    40:49
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    The epic road trip that taught me how to live again

    After graduating from university, Suleika Jaouad had moved to Paris, found love and was starting to pursue her dream of becoming a foreign correspondent. But a leukaemia diagnosis at 22 put an end to all of this. She returned to the US and began life-saving treatment that would take an enormous toll. Determined to try and regain some sense of control, she began writing about her experience and eventually landed a regular column with the New York Times called "Life, Interrupted". Her words moved many readers, who inundated her with letters about their own experiences of disease and lives changed in an instant. After three gruelling years in and out of hospital, Suleika was better but realised that having survived she now needed to learn how to live again. She went on a 100-day road trip around the country to meet some of her readers in the hope that they could help her find her place in the world.Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Kevin PonniahPicture: Suleika Jaouad (Courtesy Suleika Jaouad)Get in touch: [email protected]

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  • 14.09.2021
    18 MB
    38:17
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    Why this Covid doctor hid his homeless past

    Emmanuel Taban spent his childhood as a witness to the violent civil war in Sudan. He grew up in what is now South Sudan but, by the time he was a teenager, he'd spent time in prison – falsely accused of being a rebel spy – and had then left his home. He ended up travelling across Africa, mainly on foot, sleeping on the streets and relying on the kindness of strangers for food. Eventually he reached South Africa where he finally was able to go to school and get a scholarship to study medicine. He became a well-known lung specialist whose work into Covid treatments would save many lives. All this time, his family had no idea where he was and many years later, when they were finally reunited, they couldn't believe how a boy from Juba had become a well-regarded doctor with his own medical practice. For a long time, Emmanuel hid what he'd endured to fulfill his ambitions - his new life was very different to the one he'd left behind. But now he was proud of all he'd achieved and was ready to reveal the truth about his journey. His book is called The Boy Who Never Gave Up.Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Katy TakatsukiPicture: Dr Emmanuel Taban Credit: Darrel FraserGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 13.09.2021
    16 MB
    35:21
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    The murder case that started a cyber sleuth revolution

    For decades, no one knew who ‘Tent Girl’ was – a female corpse found in the woods, wrapped in a tent canvas. That was until Todd Matthews, whose father in law discovered the body, became consumed by the mystery. By day he was a factory worker, and by night he became an amateur detective – using the internet to find the unidentified woman’s family. Eventually, Todd would be known as the ‘first cyber sleuth’ and his important research would change how missing persons cases are dealt with around the world.Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Sophie EastaughPicture: Composite of the grave of 'Tent Girl' and Todd Matthews (saved in Outlook Online) Credit: Ashley Simpson White and Todd MatthewsGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 11.09.2021
    12 MB
    26:29
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    The secretaries who inspired the hit movie 9 to 5

    Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 has long been an anthem for working women around the world. She wrote it on the set of a movie - the hit 80s comedy 9 to 5 starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and of course Dolly Parton. It's a film about three secretaries who decide to take revenge on their misogynist boss. The film was inspired by the stories of real secretaries who became so exasperated by how they were being treated by their managers they decided to fight back. They formed an organisation called 9to5 and Karen Nussbaum was one of its founders. This programme was originally broadcast on the 9th of December 2020.Any comments please email us on [email protected]: Saskia Edwards Producer: Fiona WoodsPicture: 9 to 5 film Credit: ShutterstockClips used: 9 to 5 [Dolly Parton, RCA Nashville] 9 to 5 [IPC Films, Colin Higgins] Barbarella [Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica, Roger Vadim] Private Secretary [Jack Chertok Television Productions] Bad bosses contest [Phil Donahue Show, Multimedia Entertainment] Coffee protest news clip [CBS]

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  • 09.09.2021
    10 MB
    22:49
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    Escaping after an IS massacre

    Ali Hussein Kadhim was a new Iraqi army recruit when the Islamic State group first emerged. As the militants approached, he and thousand of other unarmed cadets fled their base in Tikrit, but they were captured and taken for execution. Miraculously, Ali survived, but he was left stuck in enemy territory and needed help. Ali spoke to Outlook's Mobeen Azhar, and his story contains strong descriptions of violence.Photo: Ali Hussein Kadhim, taken from the documentary Once Upon a Time in Iraq Credit: BBCGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 08.09.2021
    17 MB
    36:03
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    I ran away from slavery; now I help others escape

    Analiza Guevarra made the painful decision to leave her family behind in the Philippines in order to find work abroad. She felt she had little choice: the family was in debt, and despite working several jobs, she and her husband couldn't make ends meet. She believed she would work abroad for a couple of years, secure the family's future, and return home. But it's been six years since she's seen her children. She tells Mobeen Azhar how she was abused by her employer, and made the brave decision to escape. She now helps other women to get away from abusive employers - but doesn't know when she will be able to return home.Get in touch: [email protected]: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Laura ThomasPicture: Analiza Guevarra Credit: Courtesy of Analiza Guevarra

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  • 07.09.2021
    19 MB
    40:28
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    The schoolgirl fraudster who found redemption in ballroom

    Shannon Balenciaga was a fashion-obsessed teen who found herself in prison after cooking up a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. Living behind bars at such a young age, she thought her life was over. But then she discovered ballroom, an underground scene that first emerged in New York City when gay and trans people of colour, fed up of being marginalised in pageants, created their own. They formed alternative families, or ‘houses,’ and competed against each other in balls. Now, as head of the House of Balenciaga, Shannon is a legend in ballroom culture where she mentors a new generation of performers.Get in touch: [email protected]: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Maryam MarufPicture: Shannon Balenciaga Credit: Carieo Crenshaw

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  • 06.09.2021
    11 MB
    23:42
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    'If you cut out part of my brain am I still Jody?'

    Jody grew up with many anxieties, especially around death. His father and brother both died while he was still in his teens. Years later he started to have seizures. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and doctors decided the best course of action for him was brain surgery. It cured his seizures but had some other surprising side effects too. Jody's relationship with fear had changed. He's become more outgoing, talkative and able to live his life with more freedom.*Please note this programme includes repetitive percussive music which in very rare cases can be a trigger for epileptic seizures.*Get in touch: [email protected]: Mobeen Azhar Producer: Andrea KennedyPicture: Jody Smith Credit: Courtesy of Jody Smith

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  • 04.09.2021
    13 MB
    27:22
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    Disco and drama: The story of Ride On Time

    Daniele Davoli was a DJ playing the clubs of Italy when he produced a song with his band Black Box that would define 1980s house music. Ride On Time became a smash hit in the UK, with its driving beat, catchy piano riff and powerful sample from American soul singer Loleatta Holloway. But that sample would land the band in a whole lot of trouble, especially after they hired a French model to mime along at their live gigs. When word got out, fans were furious. A longer version of this programme was originally broadcast on the 7th of September 2020.Get in touch: [email protected]: Harry Graham Producer: Deiniol BuxtonPicture: Black Box performs Ride On Time on Top of the Pops Credit: BBC

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  • 02.09.2021
    11 MB
    22:58
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    Helping refugees saved my life

    Kon Karapanagiotidis has always felt like an outsider. Growing up as the child of poor Greek migrants in rural Australia, he was bullied and subjected to racist taunts that left deep scars. But as a teenager he discovered a book by Dr Martin Luther King that changed his life. Spurred by the words he read, he decided to try and help others to heal himself. He volunteered at charities every day of the week - working at a homeless shelter one day and a suicide helpline the next. In his late twenties, he started a little food bank for asylum seekers and refugees living in Melbourne. The organisation grew in response to huge demand and eventually became a lifeline for thousands of people. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is now one of Australia's largest and best-known charities helping refugees and after 20 years Kon remains its outspoken leader.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Kevin PonniahPicture: Kon Karapanagiotidis Credit: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

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  • 01.09.2021
    9 MB
    19:23
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    From Gaza to NASA: A Space Odyssey

    Engineer Loay Elbasyouni was part of the team that created an innovative type of helicopter that flew over the surface of Mars in April 2021. The helicopter, named Ingenuity, performed the first ever controlled flight by an aircraft on another planet. But Loay grew up a long way from NASA and the US. He is from the Gaza Strip, part of the Palestinian Territories, and lived through the first Intifada as a child. He tells Emily Webb about the many obstacles he had to overcome to be part of that historic moment in space exploration.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Rebecca VincentPicture: Loay Elbasyouni with a test model of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter Credit: Erric Wright

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  • 30.08.2021
    19 MB
    40:24
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    From rehab to ten thousand reservations - the many lives of chef, Erin French

    A decade ago Erin French's life was in tatters. She was in rehab having lost her restaurant, her home and even custody of her son. Today, she runs one of the hardest to book restaurants in the US. She opens up to Emily Webb about her remarkable turnaround.Erin has written a book about her journey, it's called Finding Freedom in The Lost Kitchen.If you have been affected by the issues raised in this programme and would like to access help, support is available internationally at https://www.befrienders.org and in the UK at https://www.bbc.co.uk/actionline.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Fiona WoodsPicture: Erin French Credit: Stacey Cramp

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  • 26.08.2021
    19 MB
    40:24
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    We left as kayakers and came back as dissidents

    In the late 1970s, a bunch of fun-loving young Polish guys fed up with living under communism built themselves some kayaks and set off on an adventure. Despite their initial lack of experience, equipment or money, Andrzej Pietowski, Jacek Bogucki and their friends became the first to paddle one of the world's deepest river canyons - the Colca in southern Peru. They were about to return to Poland as heroes when the military imposed a crackdown on the burgeoning Solidarity movement, leaving the kayakers in a risky position. Andrzej and Jacek tell Jo Fidgen their extraordinary story, which is featured in the upcoming documentary Godspeed, Los Polacos!Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Sophie EastaughPicture: The kayakers Credit: Canoandes Inc

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  • 25.08.2021
    18 MB
    37:43
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    The secret link between two gymnasts

    Dominique Moceanu was part of the so-called Magnificent Seven, the USA women's gymnastics team who took gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. But she had a rough time, and was speaking out during the recent Tokyo Games when the brilliant American gymnast Simone Biles shared that she was struggling with her mental health. Dominique was just 14 when she went to the Olympics and made headlines across the world. Watching her from afar was Jennifer Bricker, a little girl in Illinois who was born without legs and was also a professional acrobat. She would watch Dominique on TV and idolised her. Years later Jennifer made an extraordinary discovery that would change both their lives. They told their story to Matthew Bannister.This interview was first broadcast in December 2016.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Andrea KennedyPicture: Jennifer Bricker (left) and Dominique Moceanu Credit: Courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (L), Mike Powell via Getty Images (R)

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  • 24.08.2021
    11 MB
    22:56
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    Undercover in a nursing home at the age of 83

    After his wife died, 83-year-old Sergio Chamy was feeling lost and alone, so when he spotted a job advert in a newspaper looking for gentlemen in their 70s to 90s, he answered it. He was more than a little surprised when he found out what the job actually involved: going undercover at a nursing home for the elderly in his native Chile. What he discovered there has inspired a national conversation in Chile about the loneliness and sadness often experienced by the elderly. Sergio's time undercover at the home in 2017 was filmed and released as a documentary called The Mole Agent which was nominated for an Oscar this year - Sergio and his daughter Dalal attended the ceremony in Los Angeles. Outlook's Jane Chambers has been speaking to both of them.Film clips from The Mole Agent came courtesy of Micromundo Productions.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jane Chambers Producer: June ChristiePicture: Sergio Chamy, undercover agent Credit: Micromundo

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  • 23.08.2021
    11 MB
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    The joy of skiing blind

    Mike Brace lost his sight after a childhood accident - but he adapted fast and soon discovered the freedom and excitement he craved in the sport of blind skiing. Having represented Great Britain at the first Paralympics - he's since dedicated his life to getting young disabled people into sport. He spoke to Outlook's Jo Fidgen.Get in touch: [email protected]: Mike Brace Credit: Mike BracePresenter: Jo Fidgen Producer: Troy Holmes

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  • 21.08.2021
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    The painful secret I hid from my twin

    When Alex Lewis was 18 he had an accident that caused him to lose his memory. The only person he could remember was Marcus, his identical twin brother. He became the person Alex most relied upon to rebuild his life and memories. But as it turned out, not everything Marcus told him was true.This programme contains themes of child sexual abuse which may be difficult and triggering to hear.Their story features in a documentary called Tell Me Who I Am which is available on Netflix.This interview was first broadcast in October 2019.Presenter: Andrea Kennedy Producer: Tom Harding AssinderPhoto: Alex and Marcus Lewis Credit: Alex and Marcus Lewis

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  • 18.08.2021
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    36:50
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    Danny Trejo: The ex-con who cracked Hollywood

    Die, go insane or go to jail: these were the options Danny Trejo saw for himself as a young man growing up in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Pacoima. Under the wing of his career-criminal uncle, Danny became addicted to heroin and spent most of his twenties in and out of high-security prisons across California.A decade after being released from prison for the last time and whilst working as a drug counsellor he had a chance encounter that set him on a path to the highly-successful Hollywood movie career he now has.Danny Trejo has over 400 on-screen credits, the record for the most on-screen deaths and has starred alongside some of the biggest actors in the business. He still lives in Pacoima and now gives back to the community he once terrorised.He's written a book about his life and career called Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Thomas Harding AssinderPicture: Danny Trejo in 2006 Credit: Estevan Oriol/Getty Images

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  • 17.08.2021
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    Josephine Baker: My mother, the superstar singer and spy - Part 2

    When Jari Hannu Bouillon was growing up, his mother was one of the most famous women in the world. Josephine Baker had shot to fame in the 1920s in Paris as a dancer, singer and actress. She also worked as a spy during the Second World War and was a fierce civil rights activist. By the 1950s she was living in a 15th-century castle in France with her 12 adopted children. They were from all over the world and meant to be a symbol of racial harmony and 'true brotherhood'. But, eventually, Josephine Baker couldn't sustain her expenses and she was evicted from the chateau. Luckily a friend, Princess Grace of Monaco, helped her find a new place to live. Jari didn't stay there for long. When Josephine found out he was gay, she held a family vote and it was decided that he should be sent to Argentina to live with his father. Jari was able to reconcile with his mother before her death in 1975. Many years later he was contacted by a journalist who said his Finnish birth family was looking for him.Professor Matthew Pratt Guterl wrote a book called Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe about the family. He was interested in the story because he is an academic who teaches Africana Studies and American Studies, but also because he has a personal connection to the story. Matthew grew up in a large multiracial adoptive family too.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Saskia EdwardsPicture: Josephine Baker with some of her adopted children in France in the 1950s, including Jari (front row, second from right) Credit: A. Schorr/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

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  • 16.08.2021
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    Josephine Baker: My mother, the superstar singer and spy - Part 1

    In the 1920s a young dancer from the US took Paris by storm. Her name was Josephine Baker and she was known for her risqué performances, most famously when she danced while wearing a skirt made of bananas. She became a singer, actress and a superstar. As a black woman born in the early 20th century in the United States, Josephine lived through racial segregation. France allowed her more opportunities and freedoms, so Josephine took French citizenship. Her allegiance to her new country was so strong she even worked as a spy during the Second World War for the French Resistance. Throughout her life she fought for civil rights, insisting on performing to integrated audiences, protesting against venues with racist policies and speaking at the historic March on Washington. By the 1950s she had taken on another role: as a mother. Josephine Baker adopted 12 children from around the world. Jari Hannu Bouillon was born in Finland, but grew up with his adoptive siblings in the French countryside in Josephine's 15th-century castle. He had extraordinary experiences as a child: meeting presidents, royalty and revolutionaries. He tells Outlook what it was like to be the son of a megastar.Professor Matthew Pratt Guterl's book is called Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emily Webb Producer: Saskia EdwardsPicture: Singer Josephine Baker with her husband Joe Bouillon and some of their adopted children, including Jari (third from right) Credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

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  • 14.08.2021
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    The mountain between us

    In the 1990s, Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker were earning reputations as some of the best mountain climbers in the world. Jenni, Alex's wife, was a constant support. But after a fateful expedition on a mountain in Tibet, these three lives would become connected in a way they couldn't even imagine. This story was first broadcast on 5th May 2018.A new documentary about the family's story, directed by Alex's son Max Lowe, is called Torn.Get in touch: [email protected]: Saskia Edwards Producer: Katy DavisPhoto: Ice climber scales a glacier Credit: Sandra Behne / Bongarts / Getty Images

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  • 12.08.2021
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    I found the Titanic during a top-secret Cold War mission

    For more than 70 years oceanographers and scientists searched for the wreckage of the most famous ship in recent history - the Titanic. Then in 1985 Robert Ballard was on a classified US Navy mission to locate sunken nuclear submarines in the North Atlantic when he made the discovery of a lifetime. But finding the Titanic is just one of Robert’s many astonishing deep-sea expeditions; his discoveries have rewritten the book of life itself. He tells Outlook’s Clayton Conn how he believes his dyslexia gives him an edge to find the things others can’t on the ocean floor.His memoir is called Into the Deep.Get in touch: [email protected]: Emory Kristof/National Geographic Image Collection, Robert Ballard and Martin Bowen/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Gabriel Scarlett/National Geographic Image Collection, Rob Lyall/National Geographic Image CollectionPresenter: Clayton Conn Producer: Clayton Conn and Mariana Des Forges

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  • 11.08.2021
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    The improbable rise of Europe’s 'Tofu King'

    When Bernard Drosihn was growing up in 1970s Germany he rebelled against the predominantly meat-heavy diet. These were the days when no one around him had even heard of vegetarianism. He later spent time in New York where he came across tofu - a bean curd block - and a product that wasn't available in Germany. So he and some other young hippies decided to produce their own, setting up a tofu collective. Bernard tells Jo Fidgen that the local authorities saw them as dangerous radicals, and the so-called ‘meat police’ raided their premises and even threw them in jail for a few nights. Undeterred, Bernard went on to become one of Europe’s biggest producers of tofu.Presenter: Jo Fidgen Producer: Kevin PonniahPicture: Bernd Drosihn in his tofu factory Credit: Marcus Simaitis, laif, Camera PressGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 10.08.2021
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    I changed my name to change my life

    James Plummer Jr grew up navigating poverty and instability; his dad was a drug dealer and he moved around a lot, changing schools, houses and states multiple times. One day, when he was nine years old, he was reading an encyclopedia and got to 'E'. He discovered Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and a lifelong passion began – one that was to lead him out of poverty. James really understood physics. He started to win at state science fairs and after college was admitted to the elite physics course at Stanford University. But James had a secret: he was hooked on crack cocaine. He also knew he had to change and conquer his addiction if he was to fulfil his academic ambitions. It took a confession to a special person in his life, someone he admired and respected, to turn his life around. And with his new identity came a carefully chosen new name: Hakeem Muata Oluseyi.A Quantum Life is by Hakeem Oluseyi and Joshua Horwitz.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: Katy TakatsukiPicture: Hakeem Oluseyi Credit: Freddie Claire

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  • 09.08.2021
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    Tarantulas, Gandalf and my dying brother's bucket list

    Royd Tolkien is the great-grandson of JRR Tolkien - writer of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Growing up, Royd and his younger brother Mike were very close, but also very different - Mike was the adrenaline junkie who loved skydiving and bungee jumping, whereas Royd liked nothing better than a cup of tea in the garden. But that would all change after Mike died of Motor Neurone Disease in 2015. He left a bucket list of 50 daring tasks for Royd to complete after his death, and completing them gave Royd a reason to carry on. Royd has written a book about his experience called There's a Hole in my Bucket: A Journey of Two Brothers. He's also made a documentary, There's a Hole in my Bucket, which will be released later this year.Get in touch: [email protected]: Jo Fidgen Producer: June ChristiePicture: Royd Tolkien taking on the bucket list Credit: Royd Tolkien Productions

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  • 05.08.2021
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    I saw a smile on the suicide bomber's face

    In August 2006, 17-year-old Qusay Hussein was playing a game of volleyball with his brothers and friends in his home country Iraq. As they were playing a man drove a truck onto the local sports pitch, directly towards Qusay. It got so close he could see exactly what the driver was wearing and the smile on his face.The truck came within a metre of Qusay before the driver detonated a devastating explosion killing 16 people and injuring 56 others. Qusay was severely wounded, blinded and given 30 minutes to live but somehow he survived. There are descriptions which you might find upsetting.Qusay now lives in Austin, Texas where he works as a mentor for students across the American state and is studying towards a PHD.Picture: Qusay Hussein Credit: Qusay HusseinGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 04.08.2021
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    The criminal double life of a stage actor

    Jack Charles is a venerated Aboriginal Australian actor, but at one point addiction led him to a life of crime. For years, after curtain fell, he'd slip away to burgle houses. He spoke to Outlook's Datshiane Navanayagam.Photo: Jack Charles Credit: Getty Images/Don ArnoldGet in touch: [email protected]

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  • 03.08.2021
    11 MB
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    The Omani football nerd who went from player to pundit

    Rumaitha Al Busaidi is credited with being the first female football analyst in the Arab world, but she started as a footballer in the first national women's team of Oman. When their funding was cut, the team refused to give up and took to the radio where Rumaitha confronted callers who told her women didn't have a place in football. Determined to prove them wrong, she turned that experience into a career as a commentator and after a bet with her grandfather Rumaitha's persistence even led her to trek across the South Pole.Picture: Rumaitha Al Busaidi Credit: Courtesy of Rumaitha Al BusaidiPresenter: Datshiane Navanayagam Producer: Troy Holmes and Sarah KendalGet in touch: [email protected]

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