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Seriously…

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, introduced by Rhianna Dhillon.

Alle Folgen

  • 07.07.2020
    28 MB
    29:10
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    Your Call Is Important to Us

    Nearly two million people are now known to have applied for Universal Credit since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. For many of them it’s their first time, and is in sharp contrast to how they expected their lives to be. To make a claim, many start off by calling the Universal Credit Hotline, a process that can take hours. Once they start their claim it's likely they'll need to wait five weeks for their first payment. As they wait, in isolation in their homes, we discover more about their lives and follow them on their benefits journey. What led them to this point, how are their personal lives affected and how do they feel? We'll be with them for the ups and the downs. We'll meet Caroline, who works in HR and is battling illness while making a claim, Dan who plays the saxophone and has moved back home to his mum's house because he couldn't afford to live in London and Matt the warehouse worker whose health means he is shielding on his own in a flat with just the birds for company. Plus, we'll have a statement from the Department for Work and Pensions on how they've responded to this extraordinary moment in welfare.

    Produced and presented by Jess Quayle. Technical Production by Mike Smith.

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  • 03.07.2020
    27 MB
    28:56
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    Mapping the Future

    Author Jerry Brotton navigates the transformation from paper to digital mapping, from print to pixels, asks what is being gained and lost and in whose interests the evolution serves.

    The world is changing faster than ever before and, to understand it, we are using maps more than at any time in our history. As the paper map gradually disappears, its replacement - online geospatial mapping applications - are at the forefront of our everyday lives and they're doing far more than just getting us from A to B.

    Maps no longer represent reality, virtual mapping techniques are now making reality. Space and geography, rather than time and history, have become the dominant model of interpreting our interconnected global world. From tracking pandemics and visualising capital flows to how we manage Big Data or our online searches to find the nearest takeaway, maps are now key to how we process and organise modern life.

    Jerry Brotton explores the quiet digital revolution that has happened over the last 25 years and which changed maps forever. He meets a new breed of mapmaker, no longer cartographers but ‘geospatial technicians’ who work for multinational corporations like Google and Apple. Nearly half of all online searches contain a geographical element, leading companies like Google to build mapping applications that now reach billions of users. Today, we use maps based on our online searches without thinking. And yet online maps are not peer-reviewed. Traditional cartographers argue they are an extension of the global organisations whose commercial interests they serve. Are we in danger of surrendering our cartographic reality to multinational corporations? And are we being mapped in turn by the new technology?

    Jerry discovers the world of ‘counter-mapping’ - mapping activists using open access data and guerrilla cartography, pushing back and offering different ways of applying maps to address some of our more pressing political and environmental problems.

    Contributors include Google spatial technologist Ed Parsons, author Shoshana Zuboff, AI and map specialist Simon Greenman, former head of maps at the British Library Peter Barber, Bloomberg MapLab editor Laura Bliss, Ordnance Survey's Chief Geospatial Officer David Henderson, co-founder of the Counter Cartographies Collective Craig Dalton and map-making artist Stephen Walter.

    Presenter: Jerry Brotton Producer: Simon Hollis A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 30.06.2020
    27 MB
    28:42
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    On the Menu

    Shark, bear and crocodile attacks tend to make the headlines but humans fall prey to a much wider variety of predators every year, from big cats and snakes, to wolves, hyenas and even eagles that’ve been known to snatch the odd child. The details can be grim and gory as many predators have developed specific techniques for hunting us humans down. But it was always so, as biologist Professor Adam Hart discovers. Archaeological evidence suggests early hominins in Africa were more hunted than hunter, spending much of their lives scavenging for food and fending off attacks from the likes of sabre-tooth-cats and giant hyenas. Much more recently, legends abound about some of the more infamous serial killers of the animal kingdom, such as the 'man-eaters' of Tsavo and Njombe - the latter, a pride of about 15 lions in Tanzania who, it is claimed were responsible for an astonishing 1500 deaths between 1932 and 1947.

    Today, estimates and sources vary but most suggest carnivorous predators are responsible for hundreds if not thousands of human deaths every year. But how much of this is active predation and how much is mistaken identity or sheer bad luck? Adam speaks to experts in human-wildlife conflict dedicated to reducing attacks on both humans and predators in Africa and India, where the tensions between protecting agricultural interests and preserving predator habitats are most problematic. He discovers the grim reality for many poor rural populations dealing with the sharp end of living in close proximity to large carnivores and discusses the potential solutions for driving down attacks on both humans and predators that are caught up in the struggle for survival. Closer to home, Adam meets a wolf-tracker, who helps to monitor wild wolf populations that have spread up through Italy and France, attacking livestock with increasing confidence. Could humans be on the menu next? Producer: Rami Tzabar

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  • 26.06.2020
    27 MB
    28:29
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    Stretch and Listen!

    Derrick Evans, aka Mr Motivator, tells the global story of fitness on the radio, and hears how audio exercise can be just as sweaty as its video counterpart.

    It’s not just lockdown that has us jumping around our living rooms, and it’s not just YouTube, TV and Zoom classes that bring us lycra-clad fitness instructors shouting out the moves. For almost a century, instructional radio broadcasts designed to keep us flexing, stretching and kicking have captivated a dedicated listenership.

    The UK’s father of TV fitness, Derrick Evans, leads us around the world of radio exercise – from the USA to Japan, via BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – and discovers how some broadcasts have been shaped by the tides of history and politics.

    The story starts with the Daily Dozen, a craze that swept across America’s airwaves in the 1920s. It had listeners jumping, clapping, squatting - and sending in more fan mail than for any other show. When a group of visiting businesspeople heard it, they took the idea back to Japan, where it was adapted to help keep the military fit. It found its way onto public radio - rajio taisō (radio calisthenics), as it became known, still attracts 10 million daily listeners.

    Back home, Derrick recalls Laugh and Grow Fit, a 1930s attempt to get British listeners moving in the mornings, and he meets the people behind current programmes and podcasts such as 10 Today and Radio 1’s Workout Anthems.

    Presenter: Derrick Evans Producers: Claire Crofton and Steve Urquhart A Boom Shakalaka production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 23.06.2020
    55 MB
    57:43
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    Girl Power RIP

    Journalist and author Ella Whelan asks if contemporary feminism has lost its way. Is it in fact... dead?

    Maybe feminism used to be a dirty word, but now it’s on the lips of politicians, actors or almost any public figure male or female as a must-have badge of credibility. Ella doesn't use the label feminist to describe herself, but she still believes passionately that women’s freedom in all its potential has yet to be achieved.

    In Girl Power RIP, she looks back over the battles women have fought for greater equality and pinpoints where she feels it went wrong. Weaving through the big wins and debates for women over the past 50 years - from abortion rights, contraception and equal pay to anti-porn, No More Page 3 and #metoo - she looks at where we are now and questions whether the current discussion around women’s rights and women’s freedom is helpful or even healthy.

    Speaking with feminist journalist Julie Bindel, women’s activists Sophie Walker and Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, and academics Joanna Williams and Zoe Strimpel, Ella asks if feminism is still relevant or whether the fight for women's liberation has ended up spawning a culture of victimhood that's damaging women.

    Producer: Phillipa Geering Executive Producers: Max O'Brien and Sean Glynn A Novel production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 19.06.2020
    28 MB
    29:13
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    The New Tech Cold War

    Gordon Corera asks if the West is losing the technological race with China. Why did the decision to let the Chinese company Huawei build the UK’s 5G telecoms network turn into one of the most difficult and consequential national security decisions of recent times? A decision which risks undermining the normally close special relationship between the US and UK? The answer is because it cuts to the heart of the greatest fear in Washington – that China is already ahead in the global competition to develop the most advanced technology. Some people ask how we have got to a position where the West needs to even consider using Chinese tech. The answer may be because they failed to think strategically about protecting or nurturing their own technology industry over the last two decades. A free-market system has faced off against a Chinese model in which there is a clear, long-term industrial strategy to dominate certain sectors of technology, including telecoms, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. This is a rare issue where the US national security community – the so-called ‘Deep State’ – is in close alignment with President Trump. Now the US and UK, among others, are scrambling to try to develop strategies to respond and to avoid dependence on China. But – asks BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera – is it already too late?

    Producer: Ben Crighton

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  • 16.06.2020
    28 MB
    29:11
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    Art of Now: Hearing Architecture

    What does it mean to design buildings without sight and could blindness actually make someone a better architect?

    Most people are used to experiencing architecture visually, but what happens when we start thinking about other properties of buildings, streets and cities? How do our buildings feel, how do they sound and why does it matter?

    Blind architect Chris Downey tells the extraordinary story of his rehabilitation from his total mid career sight loss to an acclaimed practice as a multisensory designer of interiors and urban space.

    Visiting buildings including San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which he both received support from and co-designed after his sight loss, Chris explores his personal design philosophy. In this radically inclusive approach to architecture, sound and touch, air flow and temperature all play their part.

    He explains why buildings which empathise with their inhabitants, considerate acoustics and design which reaches out a hand to its users should be the future. He also explores how the principles of Universal Design and the concept of delight can help create buildings and public spaces which can make us all healthier, happier and saner - whether we’ve found our disability or not.

    Recorded on location in the Bay Area, California, we also hear from University of California, Berkley Professor of Architecture Professor Luisa Caldas, Los Angeles based sound artist and sculptor Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon and Shane Myrbeck, sound artist and acoustician at engineering firm Arup’s San Francisco Sound Lab.

    Produced by Michael Umney A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 12.06.2020
    27 MB
    29:02
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    Life, Uncertainty and VAR

    When football introduced the Video Assistant Referee, better known as VAR, fans thought it would cut out bad refereeing decisions but, as we limp toward some conclusion of this Covid-19 interrupted season, many now want to see the pitch referee back in charge. In 'Life, Uncertainty and VAR', the writer, blogger and journalist Tom Chivers argues that as in football, so in life and society; promises to eliminate uncertainty are liable to end in disappointment. Worse, the better we get at revealing truth, for example weather forecasts, the more furious we become about the sliver of unknown which remains. So, what to do about uncertainty - reject it or live with it? This programme began with a Twitter thread from a West Ham fan, Daisy Chistodoulou, at the London stadium where play was on hold waiting for the VAR to declare if a goal had been scored. Daisy Chistodoulou's day job is measuring attainment in education. In her experience the tools we use to measure progress can become ends in themselves. As with VAR, the question is when does measurement conflict with meaning - it was a great goal; what has a big toe, forensically snapped breaking a line a minute before, halfway up the pitch, got to do with it? And if you can't tell what just happened, how are we meant to cope with figuring out what might? How are we to act when, as with the Covid-19 crisis, we have a paucity of data that changes rapidly? In search of answers as to how we should cope with uncertainty, Tom speaks to a man whose life's work has being trying to help people understand the risks we face in everyday life , Professor David Spiegelhalter - author of the Art Of Statistics and to Jennifer Rodgers of the medical statistics consultancy Phastar, who interprets data from pharmaceutical trials. We hear from Michael Blastland, journalist and author of The Hidden Half: How The World Conceals Its Secrets, a book about how we don't know half of what we think we do but still manage to struggle on; and finally, Michael Story, a man so good at predicting the future he runs a consultancy called Maybe!

    Presenter Tom Chivers Producer Kevin Mousley

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  • 10.06.2020
    9 MB
    09:31
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    Introducing You'll Do

    Comedians and real-life couple Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth bring highlights from their podcast that asks what makes relationships work. Forget the idealised romance of Hollywood movies, relationships are complex and unpredictable. And someone they're just really, really hard. You'll Do celebrates the nitty gritty, the ups and the downs, and the peculiarities of building a life with other people. Subscribe now and discover how the likes of Nish Kumar, Deborah Frances-White, Joe Lycett and Jayde Adams continue to say yeah... you'll do. A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

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  • 05.06.2020
    54 MB
    56:53
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    The Wellness Phenomenon

    Today there's a booming wellness industry, including luxury spas and hotels as well as personal trainers and supplements, claimed to be worth over $4 trillion a year. Online at least, self-care seems to revolve around buying stuff – luxury oils, face creams, scented candles, face rollers, bath bombs, silk pillows, cleansing soaps and stress-relieving teas. Or we can cherish ourselves by paying someone else for a service, from a yoga session to a delivery of artisan chocolates.

    With the help of the archives Claudia Hammond explores where the idea of wellness came from. She discovers its roots in the WHO's definition of health and in the counter culture of California in the 1960s, when the residents of Marin County took to hot tubs and peacock feathers. Claudia looks at the thorny relationship between wellness and medicine and those who look after or study our health. There's a Wellness Newsletter that has been produced in Berkeley since 1984 that weighs up the scientific evidence for and against new treatments, and many doctors offer complementary therapies alongside conventional medicine. Yet there is no published research to support the benefits associated with some wellness products.

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  • 26.05.2020
    27 MB
    28:34
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    The Global Ventilator Race

    The coronavirus outbreak revealed an international shortage of ventilators. Across the world, govenrments scrambled to acquire new ones, not just from traditional manufacturers, but from anyone who though they could design a simple yet functional device. As a result, hundreds of teams and individuals have risen to the challenge, including university students and hobbyists. Jolyon Jenkins set out to design and build a ventilator himself, drawing on the wealth of shared informationi and designs that have emerged in the last few weeks. He soon discovers that it's harder than it looks.

    Much publicity has gone to organisations that have produced ventilators that are not up to standard. And as knowledge of the disease has progressed, it's become clear that coronavirus patients need very careful and specialised forms of ventilation if it's not to do more harm than good. So are non-specialists capable of producing machines that will actually benefit patients?

    Presenter/producer: Jolyon Jenkins

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  • 12.05.2020
    27 MB
    28:46
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    Art of Now: Raw Meat

    Susan Bright gets bloody and fleshy with sculptors, performance artists and filmmakers who use animal parts as their raw material.

    Images of meat in still life paintings have been a staple in art for centuries, but why are artists now incorporating animal flesh, offal and skin into their work. What draws them to this macabre material and what does it enable them to say?

    Photographer Pinar Yolacan makes meat dresses for her models, frills from raw chicken, bodices from placenta and sleeves from tripe. Riffling through butchers stocks, she makes the perfect outfit for her models, designing and moulding it to them like a second skin.

    In a high-vaulted church, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva hangs gigantic curtains of white pigs fat that look like long sheets of lace. Walking down through them, they rustle and reek as you feel encased inside an animal’s stomach.

    Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr sculpt with live tissue making a semi-living leather jacket, growing wings from pigs and hosting a dinner party with lab grown meat. While Marianna Simnett violently slices open a cow’s udder reorganising our thinking about the body and gender. And with a cast of 100 performers, Hermann Nitsch's theatrical performances involve climbing inside carcasses, bathing in blood and having sex with offal.

    Their work is shocking, disturbing and fun, making us face our responsibility to animals, each other and the planet and giving us a language to talk about the challenges ahead.

    We lick our lips and feed on their creativity.

    Producer: Sarah Bowen

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  • 05.05.2020
    41 MB
    43:27
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    The Virus Hunters

    Tracking the virus hunters who race to understand and extinguish new pathogens. Sars Cov 2 is the virus responsible for the pandemic of 2020. But there are millions of other viruses living around the world, any one of which could mutate and infect us at any time. Scientists are in a never-ending race to identify these viruses and contain their dangerous effects. Oxford Professor Trudie Lang, director of the Global Health Network, hears from some of the virus hunters who work against the clock to research and combat these threats. Fighting epidemics requires effort from across the scientific spectrum. What we learn from the outbreak of Covid-19 will be crucial beyond understanding this coronavirus, but also when the next Virus X comes - and it will come.

    Producer: Sandra Kanthal

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  • 24.04.2020
    27 MB
    28:40
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    How to Cure Viral Misinformation

    The World Health Organisation calls it an “infodemic” – a flood of information about the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the good advice and the measured uncertainty, there’s a ton of false claims, conspiracy theories and health tips which are just plain wrong. We’ve been working to fight the tide of bad info, and in this programme BBC Trending reporters Marianna Spring and Mike Wendling trace the story of one specific viral post. It's a list of supposed facts about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself. Some of the tips are true, some are false but relatively harmless, and some are potentially dangerous. Who’s behind the post – and how did it spread? Here’s our list of seven key tips on how to stop viral misinformation:

    1. Stop and think
    2. Check your source
    3. Ask yourself, could it be a fake?
    4. If you’re unsure whether it’s true … don’t share.
    5. Check each fact, individually.
    6. Beware emotional posts.
    7. Think about biases

    Presenters: Marianna Spring and Mike Wendling

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  • 21.04.2020
    55 MB
    57:41
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    The Phoney War

    Edward Stourton tells the story of the BBC in the ”phoney war” of 1939-1940 and the period’s strange echoes of Covid-19 today. When war was declared in September 1939, everyone in Britain expected a catastrophic bombing campaign. Theatres and cinemas were closed and children were evacuated to the countryside. What followed instead was a hiatus when tensions remained high but the bombs did not fall. How does the experience of the Home Front at the start of the Second World War echo the Covid-19 crisis and what did it mean for the evolution of the BBC? The corporation’s initial response became known as the "Bore War". The BBC was berated for broadcasting dreary music and endless, highly repetitive news bulletins. It then changed tack to find a more popular voice, in tune with the needs of its audience. How did it become a trusted source of news in the face of wartime censorship? What did it do to cheer up the nation and enliven public service messages about health and education?

    Contributors: Peter Busch, Senior Lecturer, King's College, London Martin Gorsky, Professor of the History of Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Sian Nicholas, Reader in History, Aberystwyth University Lucy Noakes, Professor of History, University of Essex Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History, University of Westminster

    Producer: Sheila Cook Researcher: Diane Richardson Editor: Hugh Levinson

    With thanks to BBC History https://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/100-voices/ww2

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  • 10.04.2020
    27 MB
    28:30
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    The Art of Raising a Child

    To survive and thrive in an uncertain world, our children need to be creative and resilient. But how do you build these things? What does it take to make creativity a life skill and where might such a skill take a child in later life? These are the questions at the heart of an ambitious new project underway in Leicester on behalf of the Arts Council. It's called Talent 25 and will track hundreds of babies and their families from birth to their twenty fifth birthdays. Academics from De Montfort University will chart how various creative activities affect the children's income, well-being and abilities in later life. Lindsey Chapman meets parents and babies from some of Leicester's most diverse and economically challenged areas. They talk about how to play without toys, how to encourage children to amuse themselves creatively and how their parenting has already changed in year one.

    Producer: Olive Clancy

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  • 03.04.2020
    27 MB
    28:38
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    The Science of Dad

    Whilst most men become fathers, and men make up roughly half the parental population, the vast majority of scientific research has focused on the mother.

    But studies have started to reveal the impact of fatherhood on both dads themselves and on their children. We're seeing how fathers play a crucial role in children's behaviour, happiness, and even cognitive skills.

    Oscar Duke, a doctor, new dad and author of How To Be A Dad, discovers how pregnancy, birth and childcare affect the father, bringing about profound physiological and hormonal changes. Only 5% of mammal fathers invest in their offspring, and human males have evolved to undergo key changes when their children are born.

    Involved fathers can expect their levels of the 'love hormone' oxytocin to rise, nature's way of helping parents bond with their children. At birth, a dad's testosterone levels dramatically fall, increasing affection and responsiveness, and discouraging polygamy.

    With more fathers taking on a hands-on role in bringing up their children, how can these new discoveries about the science of dad help support them, and inform social and healthcare policies?

    Presented by Dr Oscar Duke and produced by Melanie Brown and Cathy Edwards

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  • 01.04.2020
    13 MB
    14:24
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    The Californian Century: A Twist of Fate

    Stanley Tucci continues his history of California with the story of Silicon Valley's troubled founder, William Shockley.

    Shockley was the man who first brought silicon to Silicon Valley in the 1950s. He was an undoubted genius. But he was also a hideous boss and an irredeemable racist.

    California wants to dazzle you with its endless sunshine and visions of the future – but that’s just a mirage. Stanley Tucci plays a hard-boiled screenwriter uncovering the full, sordid truth. He knows exactly where all the bodies are buried.

    Academic consultant: Dr Ian Scott, University of Manchester

    Written and produced by Laurence Grissell

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  • 31.03.2020
    27 MB
    28:15
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    The Ugly Truth

    The value society places on physical appearance has never quite made sense to blind presenter Lyndall Bywater and yet she's intrigued to discover why it matters so much to those of us in the sighted world. How much of an advantage is it to be beautiful? And what is physical beauty anyway? We've heard about the gender bias, the age bias, and the racial bias but few people talk about the beauty bias and yet it's one of the very first judgements we make when we meet someone. In this programme Lyndall explores this invisible force that controls how we behave - and reveals that when it comes to physical beauty, we all unconsciously discriminate.

    Producer: Sarah Shebbeare Researcher: Robbie Wojciechowski

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  • 13.03.2020
    27 MB
    28:47
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    Good Vibrations

    With an imminent book deadline, a tax return to complete and a hectic family life revolving around two young children, comedian and actor Isy Suttie is feeling stressed. Neither meditation nor massage has helped her relax, so she decides to explore sound therapy. Practitioners believe sound and music can be used to improve our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

    Isy meets Lyz Cooper, principal of the British Academy Of Sound Therapy and experiences treatments involving gongs and Himalayan singing bowls. She also attempts to chill out by listening to“the most relaxing piece of music in the world”. It’s a track called Weightless by Manchester band Marconi Union, one of whose members, Richard Talbot, explains why it’s so soothing.

    Next Isy tries on some wearable tech that pumps vibrations directly into the body. It’s called vibroacoustic therapy and she likens it to “having a friendly, vibrating creature on my back.”

    But the real mood-lifter is when she sits in as 85-year-old Gina, who has dementia, enjoys some music therapy. What might seem, on the face of it, to be a simple singalong to some old favourites has a remarkable effect on Gina - and on Isy too.

    A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 06.03.2020
    27 MB
    28:16
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    Ok, Boomer!

    In 2019, New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick shut down a heckler in parliament with the response, "OK Boomer". The phrase has become a battle cry for younger generations, used to mock outdated attitudes or old-fashioned ways of thinking.

    In the meantime, Millennials (the stand-in term for all young people) are often labelled as lazy, self-obsessed “snowflakes” destroying everything from free speech to fabric softener.

    The gap between young and old has never seemed wider.

    Millennials, born before the turn of the millennium, face economic anxiety with increasingly high living costs, precarious employment prospects, and the growing threat of climate crisis. Boomers, born in the post-war baby boom, are sick of being blamed for society’s problems. Generation X is somewhere in the middle, often forgotten, and Generation Z, raised on social media, is just coming to the fore.

    Historian Rhys Jones is a millennial, but he has no interest in boomer-bashing. He wants to know if today’s generational animosity is a unique phenomenon, or a time-honoured tradition. He goes in search of other occasions in history where the generations have risen up against each other - from ancient Greece, rich with stories of sons killing their fathers, via the Victorian times when Darwinism drew a stark line between the generations, to the 1960s when young Boomers famously contested the norms of their predecessors.

    The young and old have always been at odds, but what are the factors that turn generational strife into open conflict – and, sometimes, transformative social change? And what clues can the past provide about what might happen next?

    Presented by Rhys Jones Produced by Georgia Mills A Somethin’ Else production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 03.03.2020
    27 MB
    28:31
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    Lift Going Up

    The lift comes to life and tells the story of how the elevator changed the way we live.

    Emma Clarke plays the voice of the lift in this cultural history of the elevator. As we step inside, the doors close and the lift starts to speak, telling us its story.

    Before the lift, the top floor was the least desired and most unhealthy place to live. The lift changed all that and made the penthouse glamorous and desirable. The lift made life immeasurably easier but it also brought many anxieties - about safety and the strange, forced intimacy of the lift car. It's also been a source of inspiration for writers - from 19th century German literature right through to Hollywood.

    And now the lift is about to undergo a radical shift - as engineers develop a lift with no limits on how high it can go.

    Step inside, relax, and allow the lift to tell you its story.

    Producer: Laurence Grissell

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  • 25.02.2020
    28 MB
    29:24
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    A Sense of Direction

    Many animals can navigate by sensing the earth's magnetic field. Not humans, though. But might we have evolved the sense but forgotten how to access it? 40 years ago a British zoologist thought he had demonstrated a homing ability in humans. But his results failed to replicate in America and the research was largely discredited. But new evidence suggests that our brains can in fact detect changes in the magnetic field and may even be able to use it to navigate. Jolyon Jenkins investigates, and talks to a Pacific traditional seafarer who has learned to navigate vast distances across the ocean with no instruments, and who describes how, when all else fails, he has been able to access what he calls "the magic". Is the magic still there for all of us, just waiting to be rediscovered?

    Producer: Jolyon Jenkins

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  • 18.02.2020
    27 MB
    28:49
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    The Inside Story of Election 19

    What lies behind Boris Johnson's overwhelming election victory? In this programme, Anne McElvoy talks to the key figures across the political spectrum about how the 2019 general election was fought and lost.

    To what extent was this a 'Brexit election' and how did the Conservative Party reach out to voters in places that it had not won for decades and in some cases generations? Why did the Opposition Parties agree to holding the election in the first place? What led to Labour's worst defeat since 1935 and why did Jeremy Corbyn's campaign fail to make the impact he had made in 2017? Why did the Liberal Democrats struggle to make the breakthrough that they had hoped for and what difference did the Brexit Party's decision to stand down in Conservative held seats make to the result.

    Producer: Peter Snowdon

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  • 11.02.2020
    26 MB
    27:44
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    My Name Is... Immie

    "When I was in primary school, I remember being asked to draw our house. I drew our temporary accommodation, which back then was just an ordinary house. And I think about children living in these office blocks - what would they draw?"

    When Immie was growing up, she lived in emergency and then temporary accommodation with her mum and three sisters. Temporary can be permanent for many people, but today she feels much more secure. Then one day something odd happened. She was on the bus, on the to deck, looking into the first floor of an ugly office block on the side of the busy A12 in north east London. She could see it had been converted, and there were people living up and down all seven floors. In tiny flats. Some of them were much smaller than the government's minimum space standard.

    Immie wanted to know how this was possible.

    We often hear that there is a national housing crisis, but don't always understand what that means. Immie, who is just 22, has made over 80 freedom of information requests to find out how many people are being temporarily housed in office blocks. She discovers that it is perfectly legal to do this - developers can bypass normal planning regulations thanks to Permitted Development Rights or PDR. She meets an architect and a council leader who both say it's wrong, though their reasons are not the same. Features interviews with architect Julia Park of Leviit Bernstein; and Joseph Ejiofor, the head of Haringey Council ... plus some dramatic location recordings too.

    The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde

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  • 07.02.2020
    27 MB
    28:31
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    Code Red

    Eddie was set to become another statistic, another teenager killed by rising levels of knife crime.

    But Eddie’s life was saved by the new field of trauma science. It is revolutionising the way people are treated after shootings, traffic accidents or any injury that causes catastrophic bleeding.

    The doctors that pioneered the work call it Code Red. Your chances of surviving major bleeding are now higher than ever before.

    So what changed? Quite simply trauma medicine has been turned on its head. Before 2007, doctors would have treated Eddie’s catastrophic bleeding by trying to replace the fluid leaking out of his stab wounds. Salty water, called saline, and just one component of our blood – the oxygen carrying red blood cells – would be put back into Eddie’s body - in what's called a massive transfusion.

    It seemed like a good idea. Keep the blood pressure up, keep oxygen moving round the body and keep the patient alive. But that’s not what happened - around half of people died on the operating table. The principles were wrong. They were damaging the body’s natural way of stemming blood loss – clotting.

    It was around 2003 that the ideas behind the Code Red protocol started to take shape. The poster child of the new field of trauma science was revealing the vital role of clotting. Karim Brohi, Professor of Trauma Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, discovered that major trauma could disrupt the blood’s ability to clot within minutes of the injury, and patients affected were more likely to die. What's more, saline was diluting the blood and making the bleeding worse.

    Over a decade ago, the Royal London Hospital decided to do something radical. It introduced Code Red, also known as damage control resuscitation, and shifted the focus from blood pressure to blood clotting - get blood products into patients to get on top of any abnormalities there first.

    Making that happen took a huge culture shift. This is not a normal research environment. There’s no time to ponder, patients are hovering between life and death; and every second counts. But now the innovation has been accepted across the NHS, and recent research reveals a massive drop in the death rate of patients with catastrophic bleeding.

    Producer: Beth Eastwood

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  • 31.01.2020
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    Art of Now: Filth

    In the hands of artists, smog, landfill and sewage become beautiful, witty and challenging statements.

    As the scale of pollution intensifies, Emma meets the artists who are finding original and compelling ways to make us understand and feel the crisis of filth.

    Zack Denfeld and Cat Kramer harvest air pollution in cities around the world, whipping up egg whites on street corners. They bake them into meringues and hand them out to the public who can’t help but react to eating the city’s pollutants.

    Mexican collective Tres guide Emma through their studio, piled high with collected rubbish: they’ve filled a gallery with 300,000 stinking cigarette butts, taken over the streets to preserve fossilized chewing gum and crawled for months on Australian beaches filtering through marine plastic.

    Nut Brother has courted controversy with his performance of dragging 10,000 bottles of polluted water from Shaanxi to Beijing while John Sabraw wades through Ohio’s filthy streams, capturing iron oxide from unsealed mines and turning sludge into glorious paints.

    Emma delves through rails of Kasia Molga’s costumes which glow red in response to carbon, she listens to an orchestra of Lucy Sabin’s breath and takes us down under the River Thames to meet her collaborator Lee Berwick: they're working on an installation about underwater sound pollution, experimenting with sounds in the Greenwich foot tunnel for an installation opening in March.

    These provocative and entertaining artists discuss the relationship between art and activism, taking us beyond the facts and figures to face head on and experience the contamination we are inflicting on the planet.

    Producer: Sarah Bowen

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  • 28.01.2020
    27 MB
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    The Remarkable Resistance of Lilo

    In the heart of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, members of the Resistance worked tirelessly and at great risk to themselves to help those whose lives were threatened. Amongst them was Elisabeth Charlotte Gloeden – known as Liselotte or “Lilo” – who, along with her husband Erich, hid Jews in their home in Berlin, before arranging safe passage for them out of Germany.

    Both Lilo and Erich had Jewish fathers. Hers was a prominent skin specialist and he was hounded from his job by the Nazis. Lilo’s Jewish heritage led to her being driven from the legal profession at the outbreak of war in 1939.

    The couple’s efforts went undetected until 1944 when they took in General Fritz Lindemann, who was being hunted by the Gestapo for being part of the plot to assassinate Hitler. They stood trial in November 1944 before one of Germany’s most feared judges, Roland Freisler.

    This programme tells the remarkable story of the couple and of others who hid and were hidden in Nazi Berlin.

    Presenter: Fergal Keane Producer; Alice Doyard Editor: Andrew Smith

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  • 21.01.2020
    27 MB
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    The People's Pyramid

    The KLF aka The Jams aka The Timelords aka The K Foundation aka K2 Plant Hire aka The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu... it's complicated.

    Whatever name or weird mythology they happened to be operating under at the time, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty managed to top the UK pop charts in the early nineties with songs about love and ice-cream vans - often with plastic horns strapped to their heads. Then they turned their backs on the music industry, deleted their entire back catalogue and cremated £1 million of their own earnings on a remote Scottish island. Scroll forward 23 years and Drummond and Cauty re-emerge to announce they're building a pyramid in Liverpool out of bricks containing the cremated remains of just under 35,000 people.

    As more bricks are added to The People's Pyramid at the 2019 Toxteth Day of the Dead, Conor Garrett tries to work out what's going on...

    Produced and presented by Conor Garrett.

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  • 17.01.2020
    27 MB
    28:39
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    The Last Exposure

    Photographer Garry Fabian-Miller has spent much of the last 30 years either in his dark room, or out walking on Dartmoor. That is about to end.

    Fabian-Miller began his career in the 1960’s but quickly tired of the typical black and white verite’ style that was then so much in vogue.

    Rejecting both the city streets, black and white film, and eventually the camera itself - his camera-less photography gives his work an utterly unique and other worldly quality - light pulses from deep yellow circles; the flicker of a naked flame peers through a slashed curtain of deep blue. His inspiration the moors he walks twice daily, passing through his eyes, his imagination and onto the photosensitive paper.

    The result is a body of work which plays with light and dark, exposure and developing – producing an acclaimed body of work recognised by both buyers and museums as like no other - collectors range from Sir Elton John to the V & A.

    But the onslaught of digital has signalled to him that things are changing – both the resources, and the techniques he has developed over time, are threatened, and with the near disappearance of dark rooms, he feels it time to make his last print and close his dark room for ever.

    His photographs are unconventional, dazzling, and use techniques honed over decades. He abandoned using cameras long ago, opting instead to use techniques based on early 19th century prints - long exposures, tone, and images funneled into shapes made by the sun. Always dazzlingly coloured, he uses a developing substance which is no longer in production.

    Occasionally he gets a phone call from a dealer in London…. “Garry, I’ve just been offered 11 litres of CibaChrome, you want it?

    We join him as he uses up the very last of the chemistry which enable him to use the techniques he has spent a lifetime perfecting, before his dark room is closed forever. Reflecting a change out of his studio and in the world - in 2007 there were 204 professional dark rooms in London, by 2010 there were 8. We hear his story of printing - a physical, technical skill, as well as a dangerous and smelly one. We envisage the end of the analogue era of photography, and celebrate the alchemical eclipse.

    Curator of photography from the V&A Martin Barnes salutes his work, and how it harks back to the very start of photography, just as this chapter is coming to an end.

    From the spooky mists of Hound Tor to making pictures in the dark, Fabian-Miller takes us one step closer to the end of an era.

    Producer: Sara Jane Hall

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  • 14.01.2020
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    The Diagnosis

    For most of her life, Janice Wilson suffered from strange and terrifying attacks at night. She would wake up, suddenly, feeling as though she was being choked or strangled. The next day, there would be blood on her pillow. Sometimes she’d have up to 50 of these attacks a night. It left her terrified and exhausted. For years, doctors put it down to psychological problems due to a trauma in her past. Then she met a doctor who found the astonishing, true cause. In “The Diagnosis”, Janice and the doctor who diagnosed her come together in a studio, to tell this remarkable story.

    The programme is presented and produced by Helena Merriman, who was inspired to tell other people’s stories of diagnosis after receiving her own surprise diagnosis a few years ago.

    Editor: Emma Rippon

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  • 03.01.2020
    27 MB
    28:21
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    A Small Matter of Hope

    Life is getting better. Child mortality rates have tumbled worldwide, more girls are in education, malaria is in decline and hunger is a thing of the past for most of us. So why don't we believe it? Why are so many of us convinced that we're heading for hell in a handcart?

    It's a question that really bothers the editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson. Is it the fault of journalists like him, peddling conflict and disaster rather than tales of human progress? Or are we all born with a negativity bias? Do we seek out stories of death and danger just as our ancestors listened out for sabre-toothed tigers padding ever closer to our cave?

    In search of answers Fraser meets some of the best-selling thinkers on human happiness- Harvard psychology professor, Steven Pinker, author of Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig and co-author of Factfulness, Anna Rosling Ronnlund.

    Armed with the combined intellectual heft of these purveyors of positivity Fraser returns to his Whitehall office to persuade his cynical staff that the world is crying out for a new Spectator with a positive spin.

    Producer: Alasdair Cross

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  • 17.12.2019
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    A Guide to Disagreeing Better

    Why do we hold our opponents in contempt? Former politician Douglas Alexander believes that disagreement is good, it's how the best arguments get refined. But, today, public discourse has become so ill-tempered, snide and lacking in respect that we are no longer engaged in a battle of ideas but a slanging match. He talks to people with personal tales about how we might all raise our game and disagree better, among them a relationship counsellor, an ex-soldier, a peace broker and a foster mother. Their tips? Civility is not enough. And knowledge is essential, as well as radical honesty, fierce intimacy and openness. So, dial down the rhetoric, rein in the insults - they will persuade no-one that your opinion is worth listening to - and pay attention.

    Producer: Rosamund Jones

    Researchers: Kirsteen Knight and Gabriela Jones

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  • 22.11.2019
    27 MB
    28:24
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    Hurting

    Sally Marlow talks to some of the men and women who have self-harmed, and the experts who treat them, to find out what is driving so many people to self-harm.

    Clinical guidelines define self-harm as any act of self-poisoning or self-injury carried out by a person irrespective of their motivation. However, research reveals a worrying association between self-harm and the risk of suicide.

    While rates of self-harm are particularly high among teenage girls, the true picture is far more nuanced. Rates have gone up in all age groups and both genders and, more recently, in groups such as middle-aged men.

    So what is driving so many people to hurt themselves, and what can be done to help them? The media is quick to point the finger at social media, but Sally discovers that the reasons behind this question are as varied and complex as the people who do it.

    Producer: Beth Eastwood

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  • 15.11.2019
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    Art of Now: Playing Well - Frightened Rabbit

    In the first of the three-part series "Playing Well" Chris Hawkins has an intimate conversation with the band mates of Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in May 2018.

    In conversation with Scott's brother Grant, drummer in Frightened Rabbit, and guitarist Andy Monaghan, Chris discovers more about the anxious child who reframed his family nickname as a band name - and how he channeled a rare lyrical talent, determination and energy into the creation of one of Scotland's most important and influential rock bands.

    Charting the rise of the band and Scott's intense, occasionally hilarious approach to live performance, Grant frankly addresses the pressures his brother faced - and the structural pressures faced by anyone in the music industry. Charting the exhausting aftermath of suicide, Grant talks about defining Scott as a songwriter, in the hope that the existence of works which appear to presage his death don't create a misleading impression of Scott's life.

    It's a moving portrait of a fascinating artist, and an attempt to reclaim Scott's musical legacy from the inaccurate assumption that the combination of musical celebrity and mental illness can only end in tragedy.

    Details of organisations offering information and support with mental health are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 155 998.

    Presented by Chris Hawkins Produced by Kevin Core

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  • 12.11.2019
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    29:46
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    The 21st Century Curriculum

    As a teenager, the writer Varaidzo lost interest in school. She investigates the so-called "educational dip" and talks to teenagers about ways they think the school curriculum might be made more appealing and useful to them in later life. She also meets Lord Baker, the minister responsible for setting up the national curriculum more than thirty years ago; and she talks to futurists and those researching the future of work, to find out what they think the students of today should be learning.

    Producer: Ellie Richold

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  • 08.11.2019
    27 MB
    28:57
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    Welcome Money

    Between the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the policy's hastily enforced end on 29 December 1989, East German citizens claimed an estimated four billion Deutschmarks in so-called ‘Begrüßungsgeld’ or ‘welcome money’ from the West German authorities.

    Tens of thousands stood in line at banks and town halls up and down West Germany, waiting to collect their state-sanctioned gift of 100DM (around €80 today). For most East Germans, shortages of basic goods were a fact of daily life and luxuries were all but non-existent, this modest windfall represented the first true spending money that they had ever possessed, and in spending it they would have their first encounters with modern-day capitalism and consumerism. In this programme, journalist and teutonophile Malcolm Jack heads to Berlin to find out what East Germans bought with their Begrüßungsgeld and, 30 years on, what became of those purchases.

    In Berlin, Malcolm meets Jens ‘Tasso’ Muller from Saxony, who, on his first trip west, travelled with friends to Kreuzberg in Berlin. It was the first time he had ever seen graffiti tags, on every corner in every place. Having never seen graffiti tags before, he worked out it must be done with a marker so that was the first thing he bought. As it cost an exorbitant 11DM, he just bought one, but it would be the first of many. Today Jens is better known by the alias 'Tasso' and his tag is recognised all over the world - as a professional graffiti artist he has visited 31 different countries and counting; all thanks to one black ink Edding marker, igniting a passion for street art he didn't even know existed.

    Amongst other East Germans and East Berliners, Malcolm meets fashion designer and former international model Grit Seymour. Grit’s welcome money was spent on fresh exotic fruit and a copy of Italian Vogue which was previously inaccessible to her in the GDR. Malcolm also visits a former Stasi prison with tour guide and former inmate Peter Kreup, whose welcome money provided a sense of power and freedom that he had previously been denied after spending 10 months incarcerated by the regime. Performance artist and lecturer Else Gabriel shares her unorthodox approach to the welcome money, and the bounty it brought her which she still keeps in her studio. Nicole Hartmann was just 11 years old when the wall fell, and remembers the feeling of solidarity that she felt when her East German village banded together to look after the people in the streams of cars, all travelling to Berlin to collect their Begrüßungsgeld. We also hear from Professor of German History at University College, London about the reasons for the introduction of the welcome money itself, and its impact on the process of reunification.

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  • 05.11.2019
    36 MB
    37:44
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    Into the Manosphere

    Young men are facing a crisis of masculinity. To deal with it, they have options - the manosphere, a mainly online world where the challenges facing 21st century men are exclusively the fault of women, or the anti-manosphere.

    Philip Tanzer is a Men Rights Activist (or MRA) and manosphere convert who lives in Scotland. He’s already a keyboard warrior, fighting the ‘feminist establishment’ from the highlands of Scotland and giving motivational talks to the young men who come to his salon and art gallery. He allows producers to follow him as he attends the International Conference on Men’s Issues in Chicago where many of the main leaders and thinkers that together form the nebulous community congregate, including a British MP, far-right YouTubers and a surprising number of women. Along the way, he gives a unique insight into the individual stories behind the growing group of men in the UK and US who find their tribe in the online forums dedicated to reversing the feminist agenda.

    He also meets and debates with men and women who believe the manosphere is a dangerous and misogynist place and looks at alternative ways to address the growing levels of mental ill health and suicide in young men – could drumming around a campfire be a better way for men to connect?

    Produced by Lucy Proctor and Alvaro Alvarez

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  • 29.10.2019
    27 MB
    28:48
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    The Hand Detectives

    “At the end of the day, with DNA, we have difficulty in the forensic arena of separating identical twins, we can do it with a hand no problem at all.” - Professor Dame Sue Black

    In 2006 the Metropolitan Police came to Professor Sue Black with an image. An infrared snapshot of a man’s arm, taken from a computer camera in the middle of the night. They wanted to know if she, as one of the world’s most respected forensic anatomists, could find any details that could match the limb in the picture, to a potential child abuse suspect.

    That case sparked the development of a new kind of forensic science - Hand Identification. A science that in the past 13 years has aided in securing convictions in some of the most high profile child abuse cases in the UK.

    In this programme we explore how Sue and her teams in Dundee and Lancaster University have developed the science of Hand Identification, how it can be used in conjunction with digital forensic techniques to identify offenders, and how by creating a library of hands, Artificial Intelligence can be developed to quickly and accurately assess hands and link child abuse cases around the globe - protecting not just children, but the investigators who put their own mental health at risk as they work to protect the most vulnerable.

    Produced by Elizabeth Ann Duffy Illustration by Seonaid MacKay

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  • 25.10.2019
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    28:38
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    Middlesbrough, Money and Me

    Steph McGovern returns to her home town of Middlesbrough to ask why we aren’t better equipped to deal with the practical maths that we need to work out phone contracts, energy tariffs and any number of other challenges thrown at us in everyday life. She argues that too much emphasis is put on abstract maths in the school curriculum, and visits a Teesside primary school that is bucking the trend by emphasising practical maths to see what difference it is making. Steph meets university maths lecturer Sven Ake Wegner and hears about his struggles with cucumbers and tax returns, as well as the crucial relationship between theoretical and applied maths. Finally Steph attends the finals of a young enterprise competition to talk with teams of schoolchildren learning about profit, loss and percentages through running their own businesses. Along the way Steph sets a series of puzzles to test the listener’s own ability to make the numbers add up.

    Producer: Geoff Bird

    ANSWERS: 1/ It's cheaper to pay off the card in equal amounts for 12 months than pay the transfer fee. 2/ Shorts were £5.25 3/ Less than £100.00

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  • 18.10.2019
    27 MB
    28:44
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    Make Me a Programme

    Can a robot host a radio show? Georgia Lewis-Anderson is a conversation designer for voice technology, writing answers to the more human questions that people ask voice assistants like 'what's your favourite food', 'will you marry me' or 'what's the meaning of life'.

    As voice assistants become better and better talkers, Georgia is doing an experiment to test whether she can push their chit chat to the limit by making a LoveBot driven by AI that can host a relationship advice radio phone-in.

    Building the bot, she unravels how our conversations with computers work, explores ethical concerns, and shines a light on the ways more and more of us are looking to machines to help with our emotions.

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  • 15.10.2019
    27 MB
    28:51
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    Russell Kane's Right to Buy

    The comedian Russell Kane traces his success back to the day his Dad bought his council house in Enfield in the 80s. Now, in 2019, he wrestles with the impact of the Thatcher policy which allowed that to happen – Right to Buy.

    Russell’s family lived in an end of terrace, which meant a bigger garden, and the potential for an extension. His Dad built pillars onto the entrance of the house and, in his most audacious of moves, hand-dug a 21-foot swimming pool.

    The house became known as “The Castle” to their disgruntled neighbours, and Russell started to feel different. He felt he could strive for more and he thinks it was the trigger for the events which led him to university, and beyond.

    In all the debate about housing and the Right to Buy policy, Russell thinks that the social impact on families like his has been forgotten. But he also feels like the drawbridge was pulled up behind him – as if his family’s luck was potentially to the detriment of others. The social housing in Enfield was depleted, and his community divided between those with the extensions and the fancy entrances, and those without. Here, he tries to reconcile his feelings about a policy which changed the lives of working class communities across Britain – for better, or for worse?

    Featuring the architect of Right to Buy – Lord Heseltine, sociologist Lisa McKenzie, and Russell’s mum Julie.

    Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston.

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  • 11.10.2019
    41 MB
    42:48
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    The Corrections: The Carbonara Case

    The Corrections re-visits four news stories which left the public with an incomplete picture of what really happened.

    In August 2017, The Times published a piece with the headline ‘Christian child forced into Muslim foster care’. The story was front-page news the next day as well - and the next – but was it right?

    Produced and presented by Jo Fidgen and Chloe Hadjimatheou

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  • 08.10.2019
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    28:47
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    Shappi Khorsandi Gets Organised

    Shappi Khorsandi’s life is disorganised. A single mother of two and a stand-up comedian and writer, Shappi is busy. She doesn’t know what money is coming into or out of her account, her love of charity shopping is getting out of control, her prized family photographs are shoved in a box in the back of the wardrobe and the clutter is overwhelming. She's tried the famous Marie Kondo method of tidying up, but it hasn't helped a bit. She hates being disorganised. She wants to do something about it!

    Should Shappi just learn to embrace the chaos? Or can professional help put her life in order?

    Produced by Amy Wheel for BBC Cymru Wales

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  • 04.10.2019
    27 MB
    29:00
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    Generation Z and the Art of Self-Maintenance

    Generation Z is self-taught. No-one any older really gets that. The children born around the turn of the millennium came into a digital world and had to find out for themselves how to navigate it. Sure, we all live it now - but we weren't formed by it. We came to digital from the safety of adulthood. In this programme, six wise school-leavers take us on their digital journey in their home town of Huddersfield.

    Simone has lived there her whole life and is about to leave for university. But before she goes, she's joined by a group of her friends who take us around Huddersfield and back through their digital adolescence. They tell us their stories of self-education, from friendship to flirting, memes to messaging, and talk about the lessons that they had to learn.

    Presenter: Simone Dawes Producer: Camellia Sinclair

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  • 27.09.2019
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    29:23
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    The Ballad of the Fix

    The story of Scotland's deadly drug crisis narrated by the voice of the narcotic itself. Scotland has the highest rate of reported drug deaths in the European Union. There has been a rapid rise of cheap, imported synthetic drugs - especially Etizolam, an illegal tablet similar to Valium but with an unpredictable potency often many times higher. But why do so many people, especially young men, feel drawn towards this dangerous self-medication? Scottish poet Niall Campbell explores the lives and deaths of a small number of drug users and of their families in Dundee. Using original music by Jon Nicholls and found sound, Niall’s poem weaves through first-hand accounts of the addictive process to create an elegy to the lost and those they leave behind. The Ballad of the Fix is a companion piece to The Ballad of the Blade (2018) in which Momtaza Mehri listened to the voices of young people involved in knife crime. Producers: Monica Whitlock and Liza Greig If you’ve been affected by addiction, help and support is available. https://www.bbc.co.uk/actionline/

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  • 20.09.2019
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    28:44
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    The Sound Odyssey: Loyle Carner in Guyana

    Gemma Cairney brings together artists from two different countries to combine their talents to make a new piece of music.

    In this episode Gemma invites 24-year-old London rapper Loyle Carner to Guyana, South America to join flautist and composer Keith Waithe, a leading figurehead and champion of Guyanese culture. Loyle aka Benjamin Coyle-Larner was raised in Croydon South London by his Scottish mother and stepfather. His biological father is of Guyanese descent, but he has never visited the country.

    Loyle earned a Mercury Prize nomination for his debut album Yesterday’s Gone in 2017. His second album Not Waving, But Drowning was released earlier this year exploring everything from his ADHD and the pains of moving away from home, to his mixed race heritage. His other passion is food and he launched the Chilli Con Carner cookery school for kids growing up, as he had, with ADHD.

    Loyle will be immersed in the culture, food and music of Georgetown, working with Keith and other traditional Guyanese musicians to learn about the roots of Guyanese music and explore his black identity and create a brand new track together .

    Presented by Gemma Cairney Produced by Jax Coombes A BBC 6 Music Production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 17.09.2019
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    Going to the Gay Bar

    LGBTQ+ venues are closing across the UK.

    Research from the UCL Urban Laboratory indicates that, since 2006, the number of venues in London has fallen from 125 to 53 - with some still at risk of closure. Conversely, there's been a 144% increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, with one in five experiencing a hate crime this year.

    Performance artist and writer Travis Alabanza asks if the venues have served the purpose they were originally built for or if now, more than ever, LGBTQ+ people need these spaces. Speaking to Professor Ben Campkin from UCL, Travis finds out why individual venues are closing and the impact of their loss.

    Travis hears personal accounts of how these venues shapes individuals, and visits one of London’s oldest LGBTQ+ venues, The Black Cap, which closed in 2015. Campaigners have since held weekly vigils there, but developers want to turn the upper part into luxury apartments and say a new pub will have an "LGBT flavour". Travis also visits a venue being threatened with closure, The Eden Bar in Birmingham, as well as other LGBTQ+ spaces beyond nightlife; Gay's The Word bookshop, and The Outside Project.

    Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell explains the impact of these venues in the 70s and 80s compared to today, and London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé discusses how London is working to protect venues.

    Finally, Travis speaks with Phyll Opoku- Gyimah, the co-founder of UK Black Pride, to consider whether these venues truly serve the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Produced by Anishka Sharma and Sasha Edye-Lindner Researcher: Eleanor Ross A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

    LLGC Oral History clips and First Out Oral History clips courtesy of UCL Urban Laboratory.

    Photo credit: Tiu Makkonen

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  • 06.09.2019
    27 MB
    28:32
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    Art of Now: The World in Their Hands

    We hear from one of the world’s last remaining globemakers and reflect on the globe’s cultural and symbolic currency.

    While Google Earth may give us intricate detail of every inch of land, there’s nothing like clutching a globe to properly comprehend our place in the world. We’ve been fascinated by replicating our planet since ancient times; an art and science that’s developed as our understanding has evolved.

    In this programme, we step into the studio of Bellerby & Co Globemakers, one of the few companies remaining that are making globes by hand today. From their Stoke Newington warehouse, we follow the journey of a globe from design to dispatch. We hear about the challenges they face daily, from retraining their hands to querying geopolitical protocol, and the customers who’ve commissioned their unique bespoke worlds.

    Alongside this creative process, we visit installation artist Luke Jerram, who is touring his replica earth artwork, Gaia. We also hear from writer and cartography enthusiast Simon Garfield and globe conservator Sylvia Sumira to explore the rich history of globemaking as well as some bigger ideas around the influence of those who represent our planet to us. The globe is crucially illustrative of our shared experience. Do we need its symbol today more than ever?

    Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

    Photo by kind permission of Bellerby & Co Globemakers (credit: Sebastian Boettcher) Gaia soundtrack courtesy of Luke Jerram and Dan Jones

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  • 27.08.2019
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    28:21
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    What’s Eating Rotherham

    Why do you keep going back to the fridge after dinner? Fruit and vegetables, a balanced diet, low salt, low sugar and moderate exercise seem to be the silver bullets loaded into a revolver that has only ever fired blanks at the problem of Britain’s obesity crisis. More than ten years ago, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver came to Rotherham in an effort to help combat obesity, by providing information on how to cook healthy foods. A decade on Rotherham still has a high proportion of people that are overweight or obese.

    In What’s Eating Rotherham, local resident Joanne Keeling, who is 28 stone and trying to lose weight, looks at the emotional side of overeating and examines the effect Jamie Oliver - and the spotlight he brought to Rotherham - can have on a town at the centre of media attention. With the help of Producer Jay Unger, Joanne soon discovers an uncomfortable truth about why some people emotionally eat. As well as questioning whether or not traditional methods of treating obesity, like prescribed exercise and diet regimes, actually work she wants to learn about the psychology of why people overeat in the first place.

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  • 23.08.2019
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    28:43
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    The Courage of Ambivalence

    In an age of certainty, of assertions without facts, and sometimes assertions with facts, Mark O’Connell makes the case for a different virtue – ambivalence. Six years on from his thought-provoking, witty and charming Four Thought, he returns to make the case for ambivalence.

    In those six years almost every trend in public life has been away from ambivalence rather than towards it. Populist movements from the left and the right are about certainty, and even the idea of balance often ends up sharing single, entrenched views, just neatly arrayed on either side.

    Yet in real life few decisions are truly clear-cut, there is often a case on both sides, and a reasonable person could easily reach a different conclusion with the same evidence. Most of us, much of the time, have complex and mutually contradictory views on issues small and large. And that's also true in public life: the arts and business, politics and the military are all properly in the realm of ambivalence, with complicated, messy and marginal decisions.

    Mark begins this programme in Dublin, speaking to a philosopher, a psychologist, an essayist and an art critic about what ambivalence is, how central it is to the human experience, and how we might embrace it. Then he travels to London, to examine areas of public life, and issues, where ambivalence feels less comfortable, more challenging. But as someone who is profoundly ambivalent about most things, much of the time, can he sustain the courage of his own ambivalence?

    Producer: Giles Edwards

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  • 13.08.2019
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    Can Facebook Survive?

    David Baker, contributing editor of Wired, explores the challenges Facebook must meet and overcome in order to survive after a disastrous period which has seen the reputation and the business model of the social media giant questioned like never before.

    Producer: Jonathan Brunert

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  • 09.08.2019
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    28:54
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    Power of Deceit

    Lucy Cooke sets out to discover why honesty is almost certainly not the best policy, be you chicken, chimp or human being. It turns out that underhand behaviour is rife throughout the animal kingdom, and can be a winning evolutionary strategy. From sneaky squid, to cheating cuckoos, some species will resort to truly incredible levels of deception and deviousness to win that mate, or get more food. And when it comes to social animals like we humans, it turns out that lying, or at least those little white lies, may be the social glue that binds us all together.

    Lucy heads to the RSPB cliffs at Bempton, with Professor Tim Birkhead to discover why so many bird species appear to be such proficient deceivers, as well as visiting the very crafty ravens at The Tower of London. She speaks to psychologist Richard Wiseman about how to spot when someone is lying, and finds out whether she is any good at it. In fact, can we trust any of what she says in this documentary at all?

    Presenter Lucy Cooke Producer Alexandra Feachem

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  • 06.08.2019
    27 MB
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    Hannah Walker Is a Highly Sensitive Person

    Hannah Jane Walker argues that sensitivity is overlooked, dismissed and under-utilised, and argues that our society would be much better off if we embraced it instead.

    Two years ago, Hannah gave a Four Thought talk about sensitivity, and received hundreds of emails from strangers, reaching out to tell her the same things: that sensitivity in our society isn’t considered useful, and that, well, ‘that’s just the system that we live in, isn’t it?’ Since then, Hannah has felt slightly ashamed at having started such a powerful conversation without offering a solution. And so in this programme she sets out to do just that. She’ll be talking to several of her correspondents, as well as a psychologist, a neuroscientist, an economist and even a newly-minted activist for the highly sensitive.

    The programme focuses on highly sensitive people, but sensitivity is a spectrum and as Hannah hears more about it, she also finds out more about the benefits all of us can take from being in closer touch with our sensitive sides.

    Producer: Giles Edwards

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  • 30.07.2019
    55 MB
    57:56
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    The Upside of Anxiety

    Anxiety has become one of the defining characteristics of our modern age, with millions of us suffering from its various damaging effects. It comes in many shapes and sizes - status anxiety, social anxiety, and more recently Brexit and Eco-anxiety. Figures indicate a big rise in its prevalence, particularly among young people and members of minority groups. In this editon of 'Archive on Four' Professor Andrew Hussey how this new age of anxiety has come about, how it compares with previous moments of national stress, and also why he believes it to be a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Hussey makes the case that while pathological forms of anxiety can be crippling, anxiety can also bring with it positive benefits - and rather than attempt to destroy it we should attempt to make it a useful ally.

    Producer - Geoff Bird

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  • 26.07.2019
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    From College to Clink

    What happens when top graduates work behind bars as prison officers? Lucy Ash meets young people who have forsaken lucrative careers in the City or elsewhere, for what many see as one of the world’s worst jobs. They’re part of Graduates Unlocked, a scheme which, which is trying to replicate in the prison service the success of Teach First, the programme that sends high-flyers into inner-city schools.

    The aim is to raise the status and reputation of prison officers, to boost recruitment and cut reoffending. It is hoped that youthful enthusiasm plus resilience and empathy could bring a much needed revolution to the criminal justice system.

    But faced with acute understaffing and assaults on prison officers at record levels, how much of a difference can the graduates make? Lucy meets a group of young men and women who are are sent to HMP Aylesbury, which holds the longest-sentenced young adult males in the English prison system. The youth offender institution in Buckinghamshire is "in a perpetual state of crisis" according to the Howard League for Penal Reform. A few months into the graduates' stint there, the youth prison is placed in special measures for keeping some inmates locked up for 23 hours a day. Can the graduates' early idealism survive the reality of life behind bars?

    Producer: Arlene Gregorius

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  • 28.06.2019
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    America's Child Brides

    A tense debate is taking place in states across America. At what age should someone be allowed to marry? Currently in 48 out of 50 states a child can marry, usually with parental consent or a judge's discretion. In 17 states there's no minimum age meaning in theory a two year old could marry. But there's a campaign to change the law and raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 without exceptions across all American states. But changing the laws state by state is not as easy as one may think. There's resistance and raising the minimum age to 18 has often been blocked by legislators.

    Jane O'Brien speaks to child brides, the campaigners pushing to make it illegal and the people who say that the laws don't need to change.

    Producer: Rajeev Gupta Editor: Amanda Hancox

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  • 11.06.2019
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    A History of Hate - Bosnia: The Weaponisation of History

    Hate seems to be everywhere - whether it’s white supremacists marching on the streets of America, jihadists slaughtering Christians in Sri Lanka or the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand. In this five part series, BBC journalist Allan Little unpicks the mechanics of hatred and reveals how this dangerous emotion has been whipped up and disseminated throughout history. Allan Little begins with the hatred he witnessed on the killing fields of the Bosnian War, deconstructing how Serbian leaders like Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic manipulated and weaponised history to inculcate a violent loathing that would lead to the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. It's a hatred and an ideology that continues to inspire today's extreme far-right.

    Presenter: Allan Little Producer: Xavier Zapata Editor: Helen Grady

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  • 07.06.2019
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    What's in a Game?

    While the video games industry is big business, it's also breaking new ground in the arts.

    We're at a cultural tipping point for the industry. For the past decade the process of producing and distributing games has become easier so there's now a wider array of games than ever before. And games, which are the meeting point for so many art forms, are now at the forefront of creativity, pushing boundaries and making players think differently.

    In this programme, Alex Humphreys speaks to leading video games designers, composers and writers from around the world about their craft, and discovers the ongoing battle to have video games recognised on a par with other creative mediums.

    Produced by Glyn Tansley

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  • 20.05.2019
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    28:35
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    Rewinder

    Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James digs into the BBC's archives, taking some of the week's news stories as a starting point for a trip into the past.

    Greg, who describes himself as a "proud radio nerd", is let loose in the vast BBC vaults, home to a treasure trove of radio and television programmes as well as some revealing documents. He says "As someone who spends too much time searching for oddities online, the opportunity to gain access to one of the greatest media resources on the planet was too good to miss."

    This audio journey uncovers some surprising moments. As the UK prepares for the state visit of President Trump, Greg discovers some of his first encounters with British broadcasters - and also finds that searching for 'trump' in the archives delivers an unexpected series from the early 1980s.

    The Elton John biopic Rocketman arrives in our cinemas this week and the BBC archives reveal that Elton's journey to global success had a very bumpy start. And following the announcement that Yorkshire-born Simon Armitage will be the next Poet Laureate, we hear from a long-overlooked Yorkshire writer who wrote hundreds of royal poems. And there's an art review format which Greg describes as 'astonishing': two Beryls consider paintings by an artist called Beryl.

    Producer Paula McGinley

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  • 17.05.2019
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    The Prototype

    We assume the instruments we know and love today will be around forever. What if they're not? What new forms and ideas could take their place? Hannah Catherine Jones takes you into the world of the prototype, meeting instrument inventors challenging traditions and shifting boundaries.

    Sarah Kenchington is an artist and inventor living on a derelict farm in the Campsies, Scotland. Her curiosity for how instruments would sound if they were freed from humans led to a life-long endeavour. Twenty years later and she's still tinkering with her semi-mechanical orchestra, complete with hurdy-gurdy, 100-year old gramophone and ping pong machine.

    Savinder Bual is an artist, animator and now instrument-inventor. She's fascinated with the pineapple - a fruit that symbolises Britain's dark colonial history whilst being a fun, popular motif. By spinning the pineapple head, she realised its leaves could pluck strings and make music. That discovery led to her making a complete orchestra of pineapple instruments.

    The Mi.Mu gloves were invented by a team of scientists, technologists and e-textile designers. Using your movements to trigger sounds from a computer, they allow the performers the flexibility to move on stage without being connected to a computer. But if the sound isn't coming from the gloves themselves, does this still make them an instrument?

    Hannah enlists the expertise of Adam Harper (musicologist, music critic, former church organ player), important grime figurehead Elijah (who runs the record label Butterz), multi-instrumentalist and producer Swindle, and the luthier Bill Bunce.

    Hannah Catherine Jones is an artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, conductor and founder of the Peckham Chamber Orchestra.

    Produced by Eliza Lomas.

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  • 30.04.2019
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    29:01
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    The Fast and the Curious

    Tom Heap sets off on a guilt trip road trip to find out why people like him won't give up the things they know are destroying the planet.

    Tom loves his powerful car. Despite a pretty thorough knowledge of the science of climate change and the contribution that his petrol-powered Subaru makes to a warming world he doesn't want to give it up. He's not alone. Most of us have dirty pleasures we have no intention of foregoing, whether that's eating meat, buying fast fashion or flying to our favourite holiday destinations.

    So what will make Tom and people like him change their behaviour for the sake of the planet? Tom hits the road to find out, dropping in on people who have influenced his thinking on the environment. There's food writer and cook, Jack Monroe who has helped make veganism a pleasure rather than a pain. There's John Browne, the oil company CEO who tried to push BP, Beyond Petroleum, Christiana Figueres, the diplomat who persuaded Presidents and PMs to sign up to carbon reductions. And there's the Bishop of Salford who thinks we should heed the Gospels and accept that personal sacrifice is essential to save the world.

    Producer: Alasdair Cross

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  • 26.04.2019
    27 MB
    28:27
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    The Bubble

    Social media, especially Twitter has changed the way we consume the news. Articles, commentaries and opinions are put into our news feeds by the people we choose to follow. We tend to only follow the people we agree with and like, and block and unfollow the people we disagree with. We're creating our own echo chambers and social media bubbles.

    These bubbles are making us more polarised than ever, and we’re less likely to listen to views that are different from ours. Are we missing out on hearing the other side, because we're not hearing why they think the way they do?

    In this programme, for two weeks, two people with opposite views swap Twitter news feeds. One Labour voting Remainer, and one Conservative Leaver. They’ll keep audio diaries using their smartphones documenting what they’re consuming. Are they angry at what their opposite is consuming? Will it change their viewpoint on politics and world events?

    At the end of the experiment they’ll meet each other for the first time to discuss what they learned. Will they confront each other, or will they be ashamed of themselves? Will they be disappointed by how the opposite side thinks or will they learn from each other?

    Presenters: Joanna Fuertes and Cameron Bradbury Producer: Lydia Thomas

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  • 23.04.2019
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    28:41
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    Peach Fuzz

    Mona Chalabi asks why female facial hair still seems to be a source of such shame.

    Last year, when she sent a lighthearted tweet about hairy women, she was deluged with replies. Hundreds of women wrote to her to describe the physical and emotional pain they experienced about their body hair. But there was one area they really wanted to talk about - their facial hair.

    And in this programme Mona will do just that – talk about female facial hair – including to some of the women who contacted her after her initial tweet. What can be dismissed as trivial is a source of deep anxiety for many women, but that’s what female facial hair is, argues Mona, a series of contradictions. It’s something that’s common yet considered abnormal, natural for one gender and apparently freakish for another. Removing it is recognized by many women - including Mona - as a stupid social norm and yet they strictly follow it. And as well as gender demarcations, this discussion touches on the intersections of race and age, too.

    As she tries to unravel this question, Mona will examine her own complicated feelings about this subject - as she takes us to her laser hair removal appointment.

    Producer: Giles Edwards

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  • 12.04.2019
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    29:05
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    A Sense of Time

    Animal senses reveal a wealth of information that humans can't access. Birds can see in ultra violet, and some fish can 'feel' electricity. But how do different species sense time?

    If you've ever tried to swat flies, you'll know that they seem to have super-powered reactions that let them escape before you can blink. Presenter Geoff Marsh asks whether flies have some sort of super-power to see the world in slow motion. Are they watching your hand come down at what might appear a leisurely pace?

    Science reveals a window into the minds of different species and their temporal perceptions. Some flies have such fast vision that they can see and react to movement at four times the rate you can, and our vision works at more than six times the speed of one species of deep sea fish. This programme delves into each moment of experience to ask 'what is time, biologically?' When birds have to dodge through forests and catch flies on the wing, or when flies have to avoid birds, it would seem that a faster temporal resolution would be a huge advantage. So what is their sense of time?

    Geoff meets physicist Carlo Rovelli and asks him to jump outside of physics to answer questions on biology and philosophy. Geoff explores the mind of a bat with Professor Yossi Yovel in Israel, and dissects birdsong at super slow speeds with BBC wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson. Getting deep into the minds of animals he questions whether our seconds feel like swordfish seconds, or a beetles' or birds' or bats..?

    Presenter: Geoff Marsh Producer: Rory Galloway

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  • 09.04.2019
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    The Monster Downstairs

    Life for the child of an alcoholic can be lonely, locked inside a house of secrets.

    A code of silence means they don't want to talk to friends, or neighbours, or even their brothers and sisters.

    Journalist Camilla Tominey, whose mother was an alcoholic, hears their stories.

    Since having her own children, Camilla has longed to travel back in time and ask her, mother to mother: "What made you start drinking before noon?" Here, she and her two brothers sit down for the first time in twenty years to talk about their memories.

    Alcoholism is by no means a one-size fits all experience. It cuts across class lines and manifests itself in many different forms. We hear stories from people across Britain. How have they been changed by their experience and what has helped get them through?

    The Monster Downstairs features intimate, wrenching stories - of young people and adults - as they talk about an unpredictable existence.

    Producer: Caitlin Smith

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  • 02.04.2019
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    A Job for the Boys

    Women once made up 80% of the computer industry. They are now less than 20%. Mary Ann Sieghart explores the hidden and disturbing consequences of not having women at the heart of the tech.

    Who is the in room today when technology is designed determines how society is being shaped. Justine Cassell, from Carnegie Mellon University, says young men in Silicon Valley are told, “Design for you. Design what you would want to use” and so virtual assistants, such as the ever-female Siri, Alexa and Cortana play with “cute talk” and female game characters still have their “tits hanging out of their blouses.”

    Artificial Intelligence is now making life-changing choices for us - about our health, our loans, even bail. But it isn’t faultless; it is biased. AI is only as good as the data it’s been fed and if it’s learning from prejudice, it will only amplify it.

    Apps designed by men are overlooking women’s health, algorithms are rejecting women outright and as MIT Professor Catherine Tucker explains, they aren’t even being sent jobs adverts “because their eyeballs are more expensive.”

    Mary Ann looks at why women left the computer industry and what still deters them today. She hears the challenges that tech entrepreneur Steve Shirley faced in the 1960s are almost identical to those voiced by organisers of the Google walkout last year. Women are harassed, side lined and not taken seriously; they are put off by a cult of genius and techno-chauvinism.

    But there is hope. Mary Ann meets campaigners trying to regulate AI gender bias and those succeeding in getting more women into tech, finding a small tweak in classroom design or style of university marking can make a real difference.

    Producer: Sarah Bowen.

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  • 25.03.2019
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    18:28
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    The Puppet Master – Episode 5. Enemies

    Effigies, aliases, and a 'golden cage': it all comes down to this in the series finale about Vladislav Surkov, the most powerful man you’ve never heard of. Presented by Gabriel Gatehouse.

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  • 25.03.2019
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    18:15
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    The Puppet Master – Episode 4. Unravelling

    Is it all getting too much for the hero – or is he the villain of our series? His name is Vladislav Surkov and his enemies are circling. Gabriel Gatehouse continues the story of the most powerful man you've never heard of.

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  • 25.03.2019
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    18:20
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    The Puppet Master – Episode 3. Impresario

    The story of Vladislav Surkov, the most powerful man you’ve never heard of, continues. His background is in theatre and PR, but his profession is politics. And in this episode, Gabriel Gatehouse tells the story of how it all comes together in a bold statement of Surkov's power and confidence.

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  • 25.03.2019
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    18:32
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    The Puppet Master – Episode 2. Ascension

    This is the story of the most powerful man you’ve never heard of.

    He can spot an ex-spy with presidential potential and help turn him into a world leader. He creates opposition movements out of thin air. He’s got a nation’s news directors on speed dial. Billionaires seek his advice. He’s even got his own little war. He’s at the heart of the standoff between East and West. Some even credit him with pioneering the concept of post-truth politics. Yet few even know his name.

    He is Vladislav Surkov. And in this episode, Gabriel Gatehouse charts his rise from small-town Russia to the heights of power in the Kremlin.

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  • 25.03.2019
    17 MB
    18:26
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    The Puppet Master – Episode 1. Snipers

    The Puppet Master is a series that gets to the bewildering heart of contemporary Russia by exploring the fortunes of a secretive, complicated and controversial man called Vladislav Surkov.

    Reporter Gabriel Gatehouse speaks fluent Russian and has access to a vast cache of leaked emails from Surkov’s Kremlin office. Using these, plus archive and sources gained over a decade of covering Russia and its wars, Gatehouse goes in search of the man pulling the strings. The journey is by turns dramatic, surprising and surreal, ranging from the battlefield to the theatre and the Kremlin itself. The destination? The post-truth world we inhabit today.

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  • 22.03.2019
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    57:26
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    Flat 113 at Grenfell Tower

    On the 14th floor of Grenfell Tower, firefighters moved eight residents into flat 113. Only four would survive. Using evidence from stage 1 of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, Katie Razzall pieces together what went wrong that night in flat 113. The answer reveals a catalogue of errors which may help to explain the wider disaster.

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  • 15.03.2019
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    28:42
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    Macpherson: What Happened Next

    In April 1993, a black teenager, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in the London suburb of Eltham. The Metropolitan Police bungled the investigation into his killers. The Inquiry which followed by Sir William Macpherson produced one of the most damning documents ever to emerge from the heart of the British establishment. Most famously, he concluded the force was “institutionally racist” issuing wide ranging recommendations for reform. 20 years on, barrister and broadcaster Hashi Mohamed, examines what’s changed since the Macpherson report was published. What difference did it really make?

    The programme includes the first broadcast interview with Sir William Macpherson for nearly 20 years.

    Producer: Jim Frank

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  • 04.03.2019
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    NB - Episode 1: Realising

    What do you do when you realise you’re non-binary? How do you come out to yourself? How do you find people like you? Caitlin Benedict is coming out. But before they begin, they need to really understand what it’s like to live as non-binary: to exist as neither completely male nor completely female in a world usually confined to two options. So Caitlin has enlisted the help of their friend and mentor Amrou, and together they set off for Brighton, and the Museum of Transology where curator EJ Scott shares his wisdom about life outside the gender binary, the incredible trans community in the UK, and how best to transport a pair of breasts. And Amrou takes Caitlin to meet their best friend, artist Victoria Sin. Presented by Caitlin Benedict & Amrou Al-Kadhi Produced by Caitlin Benedict, Arlie Adlington and Georgia Catt

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  • 01.03.2019
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    #OurBoysAsWell

    With “toxic masculinity” high on the agenda, are we are now viewing boys as potential perpetrators of sexism and violence? Is this fair - and what should we be teaching them? After #MeToo with phrases like “toxic masculinity” on everyone's lips, are we now beginning to view boys as potential perpetrators of sexism and violence? If so, what effect is it having on them? How do we teach boys positive behaviour and prevent them repeating the mistakes of previous generations, without also making them feel that they are being vilified as emerging men? Producer Emma Kingsley, herself a mother of sons, explores this delicate balancing act. She talks to one of her boys and meets boys and girls at Moreton School near Wolverhampton to hear their views. She meets developmental pyschologist Dr. Brenda Todd from City University, London to talk about how problematic ideas around boyhood can develop from an early age. She speaks to Dan Bell from the Men and Boys Coalition who has concerns about how current debates impact on boys and she also hears from feminist writer Victoria Smith about how she balances awareness of toxic masculinity with being the mother of sons. We hear how boys are being guided towards constructing new models of behaviour with a glimpse into a workshop run by David Brockway of the Good Lad Initiative at Wetherby Senior School in London. Also taking part in the programme are Dr. Michael Ward from Swansea University who has researched how place impacts on young men's identity, anthropologist Samuel Veissière from McGill University who has researched toxic masculinity and Courtney Hartman, CEO of the company Free to be Kids whose clothing reflects anxieties about the perception of boys.

    Produced and presented by Emma Kingsley

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  • 22.02.2019
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    28:50
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    Branding Genius

    Who owns Shakespeare? The English? The tourist industry? The world? Branding and Graphic Designer Teresa Monachino goes in search of the 21st century phenomenon that is William Shakespeare and uncovers his contradictory brand values, with the help of a distinguished cast: Rev Dr Paul Edmondson from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Nick Eagleton and Katharina Tudball from SuperUnion Greg Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Vikki Heywood, Outgoing Chairman of the Royal Society of the Arts Chino Odimba, Writer Professor Michael Dobson, The Shakespeare Institute Duncan Lees, Warwick University Michael Pennington, Actor, Director, Writer and Founder of the English Shakespeare Company Alicia Maksimova, Filmmaker Wind up Will Producer: Ellie Richold.

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  • 28.01.2019
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    27:15
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    How To Burn A Million Quid: Rule 1

    Bill sets off on a mission to shake up the music industry by causing chaos and confusion.

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  • 25.01.2019
    27 MB
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    Millennials in the Workplace

    Beanbags! Beanbags are what Millenials want from a job - along with free food and the lofty idea of ‘making an impact’. That’s what academic Simon Sinek's video about "Millennials in the Workplace", enjoyed by over 10 millions viewers, would have you believe. Everyone born between 1980 and 2000 are hobbled by a thin skinned sense of entitlement, weak education, coddling parents and an addiction to social media - and therefore, are terrible to deal with in the workplace. But does that idea of the ‘snowflake’ generation really ring true? How can it be that the most educated, most tech savvy generation to ever exist are the most incompetent in modern history? Why has the Millennial generation become the most mocked and derided in the workplace? By exploring the experiences of Millennials working in the real world, combined with expert inside on the political, economical and psychological anchor points that moulded the Millennial Generation India Rakusen explores the a fundamental clash of life experiences and values between the generations and uncovers the truth about Millennials in the working world.

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  • 15.01.2019
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    28:22
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    I Feel for You: Narcs and narcissists

    At a time when we're being told we need more empathy, some experts claim that narcissism - empathy's evil twin - is on the rise. Narcissism has vaulted off the psychotherapist’s couch, sprinted away from the psychiatric ward, and is now squatting in the mainstream of popular conversation. Social media seems obsessed with "narcs", and with detecting narcissism personality disorder in people. It may or may not be a coincidence that we ended up with an apparent world-class narcissist in the White House at just the time when we seemed to be undergoing a public crisis about narcissism and narcissists. Blogs and books about narcissists are everywhere. Jolyon Jenkins talks to people who make a living from advising the public about narcissists, and a self-confessed celebrity narcissist who offers consultations to people who think they may be living with one of "his kind". The evidence that there really is more narcissism around seems thin, but that doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't take it seriously when it flips into a personality disorder.

    Producer/presenter: Jolyon Jenkins

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  • 15.01.2019
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    28:19
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    I Feel for You: Empaths and empathy

    Empathy is the psycho-political buzzword of the day. President Obama said - frequently - that America's empathy deficit was more important than the Federal deficit. Bill Clinton said "I feel your pain", and Hillary urged us all "to see the world through our neighbour’s eyes, to imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes". Many people have taken up the idea of empathy with gusto, and the United Nations has poured money into virtual reality films that led us allegedly experience the world of, for example, a Syrian refugee. As we seem to be driving ourselves ever deeper into silos of mutual incomprehension, the idea of taking another person's perspective seems an obviously useful one. But what's the evidence that feeling someone else's pain, or even understanding it, actually does any good? Jolyon Jenkins speaks to one self-described intuitive empath, who says she can sense the feelings of strangers in a room or even in the street. She describes it as both a gift and a curse. For the rest of us, is there not a danger that, having felt a brief emotional engagement, we move on, our fundamental attitudes and beliefs unchanged?

    Producer/presenter: Jolyon Jenkins

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  • 11.01.2019
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    Behind the Scenes: Marianela Nunez at Covent Garden

    As she prepares to perform two roles in a new production of the classic "White ballet", La Bayadere, the Royal Ballet's charismatic Argentinian-born principal dancer, Marianela Nunez shares her life behind the scenes. Marianela Nunez is considered one of the greatest ballerinas in the world, combining passion and flare from her Argentinian background with discipline and experience from her many years with the Royal Ballet. As she celebrates 20 years dancing with the company, she takes Radio Four's Beaty Rubens behind the scenes, sharing what it means to be a Principal Dancer today. The programme focuses on her preparations to dance the two key roles in the much-loved classic, La Bayadere - the temple dancer Nikiya and the princess Gamzatti. It reveals glimpses of her at home in her native Buenos Aires over the summer, follows her as she travels into work, attends specially - designed Pilates classes and studio rehearsals with the great Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova (who recreated Marius Petipa's 1877 Indian Classic for a contemporary audience in 1989) and culminates with her triumphant opening night, leaving her in her dressing room with her feet in a bucket of ice and surrounded by vast bouquets of pink roses. Beaty Rubens also hears from Natalia Makarova, the Royal Ballet's Kevin O'Hare and the leading Russian dancer who partners Marianela, Vadim Muntagirov. Now at the very top of her game, Marinanela Nunez is also a wonderfully charismatic individual, whose love of dance and enthusiasm for life in the Royal Ballet effervesces in this lively depiction of a true artist.

    Producer: Beaty Rubens ,

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  • 09.01.2019
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    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward - Episode One

    From H.P. Lovecraft: The investigation into a mysterious disappearance.

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  • 08.01.2019
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    Let's Raise the Voting Age

    In 1969 Harold Wilson's Government lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Fifty years on, with calls for votes at 16 gaining support, Professor James Tilley explores not just whether reducing it further makes sense, but if arguments could be made for raising it back to 21. As most other areas of the law restrict the rights and responsibilities of 16-year-olds, why should voting buck the trend of our rites of passage into adulthood happening increasingly late? Former Labour leader Ed Miliband offers his take on why 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote, and there's some voting mythbusting from Professor Phil Cowley, who honestly answers the question as to whether 16-year-olds really dislike him. LSE Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, Lucinda Platt offers insights into the changes in the age at which key milestones of life happen now compared to in the late 60s, and Dr Jan Eichhorn of the University of Edinburgh explains the picture in Scotland where 16-year-olds can vote. And Maisie and Lottie, campaigners from York's Youth Council, put forward their views as to why they should be allowed to vote.

    Presented by Professor James Tilley

    Produced by Kev Core

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  • 04.01.2019
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    58:20
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    Apollo 8

    Six months before Neil Armstrong’s ‘one small step’ came humanity’s giant leap. It was December 1968. Faced with President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade, NASA made the bold decision to send three astronauts beyond Earth orbit for the first time. Those three astronauts spent Christmas Eve orbiting the moon. Their legendary photograph, "Earthrise" showed our planet as seen from across the lunar horizon - and was believed to have been a major influence on the nascent environmental movement. Through extraordinary NASA archive, the first British astronaut Helen Sharman goes inside the capsule to tell the story of the first time man went to another world.

    Written and produced by: Chris Browning

    Researchers: Diane Richardson and Colin Anderton

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  • 01.01.2019
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    58:29
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    Doorstep Daughter

    Two families from very different backgrounds, one street and a baby on a doorstep. This series charts the story of how a young Christian couple came to entrust the care of their little daughter to a Muslim family that lived nearby in 1990s Watford. They were strangers but the couple - Peris Mbuthia and Martin Gitonga - needed help, as immigrants from Kenya working in low paid jobs with a child to support and no family to step in. They were struggling and their relationship was under strain. Early one morning, Martin left his flat with six month old Sandra zipped inside his jacket and handed her over to the Zafars across the road while he went to work at a warehouse. This arrival at the door was an event that changed the course of all their lives - that day the baby girl became the Zafars' Doorstep Daughter. And a special, enduring bond developed between Sandra and the Zafar’s daughter Saiqa. It is a story of faith, trust and love - a modern day telling of how it takes a village to raise a child. In this first episode, Peris and Martin meet as they begin their new lives in London and Saiqa is on a gap year, deciding what will be in store for her. Then along comes a baby.

    Producer: Sally Chesworth

    Sound: Richard Hannaford

    Editor: Gail Champion

    Exec Editor: Richard Knight

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  • 25.12.2018
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    The Power of Twitter

    How did Twitter, invented to allow friends to keep track of each other's social lives and interests, become a key forum for political debate? And what effect has the social media platform had on the nature and quality of public life? Presenter David Baker speaks to the man who taught President Trump everything he knows about Twitter, the head of President Obama's social media campaign, and Twitter's own leader on strategy for public policy, to explore the real effect that it has had on politics.

    Producer: Jonathan Brunert

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  • 20.12.2018
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    Introducing Life Lessons

    Young UK adults talk about the issues that matter most to them - and why they should matter to all of us.

    A new podcast from Radio 4.

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  • 18.12.2018
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    29:19
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    Contracts of Silence

    'Gagging clauses' - NDAs or non-disclosure agreements - have been rarely out of the headlines in recent months. High profile cases in business, politics and celebrity life have prompted calls for an outright ban, particularly when used to cover up apparent sexual impropriety. This programme explores the rise and rise of the NDA. Who uses them, why, and when? Are they an invisibility cloak, helping the rich and powerful to silence victims of their bad behaviour? Or are they a vital tool for those looking to protect personal privacy and business interests? Tiffany Jenkins investigates.

    Producer: Dave Howard

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  • 07.12.2018
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    Pursuit of Beauty: The Spider Orchestra

    The Berlin-based Argentinian artist, Tomás Saraceno, trained as an architect. He was struck by the beauty of spider webs, their structural intricacy and began making them into sculptural works. Then he realised that every time a spider tugs a string as it spins a web, or moves along the silken strands, this causes vibrations. Using microphones and amplifiers it is possible to hear the tiny music they make. The different species create various sounds - bass, treble, percussion - and the result is an orchestra of arachnids. On Air is Saraceno's latest and most ambitious exhibition. He has filled the Palais de Tokyo in Paris with extraordinary, beautifully lit spiders' webs, some connected to microphones so their occupant's movements echo round the gallery. There is an African spider that spins large webs which lift in the wind and so they travel, gliding places new. This inspires Saraceno's light-weight sculptures that do the same, and an aeolian harp of spider silk, which sings in response to the turbulence caused by gallery visitors. In another piece, the amplified sound of a spider's movements cause dust motes in a beam of light to move, and these, too, produce sound. A whole room is strung with elaborate patterns of tensed ropes. Visitors move among them, plucking and stroking the strings which sound, the floor itself vibrating - the closest humans can get to the experience of a spider in its web. Saraceno's work is a collaboration between artist, spiders and people, a kind of jam session. He also invites musicians to to respond to them, to play along with spiders. The famous experimental composer Alvin Lucier does this in a concert, featured in this programme (and he bounces the sound of his heartbeat off the moon). In the gallery in Paris, and his Berlin studio, Saraceno reveals his thinking and observations. The Spider Orchestra captures these, and all these sounds in a sonic web, and combines them. It, too, is a collaboration, between artist, spiders, people and producer - creating a compelling composition, for radio.

    Producer: Julian May

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  • 23.11.2018
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    Pursuit of Beauty: Dead Rats and Meat Cleavers

    The sounds of casting, chiming, singing and clanging are fused together to make a magical sound track to the story of how meat cleavers have been used as musical instruments for over 300 years.. Growing up in Suffolk, Nathaniel Mann, heard stories passed down by his grandma about a tradition of the village Rough Band, made up of pots and pans, iron and metal implements, including meat cleavers - delivering a sort of sonic warning to anyone stepping out of line, committing adultery or behaving in way considered unacceptable. As part of the Avant-Folk trio 'Dead Rat Orchestra', Mann, a singer and composer, has long been playing music with strange percussive instruments. Coming across an old meat cleaver in his dad's garage he was inspired to make a set of cleavers to play music on - so turned to a bronze bladesmith to help turn meat cleavers into musical gold. In a chance discovery, he discovered the idea wasn't new - and so he sought out Jeremy Barlow, author of “The Enraged Musician”, to find out the coded messages of Hogarth’s musical prints, including marrow bones and meat cleavers. He also visits BathIRON 2018, as a new bandstand is being cast for the city of Bath, and gets the chance to conduct and sing with an orchestra of master smiths. The freshly cast meat cleaver is finally used in one of the Nest Collective's Campfire Concerts, where the Dead Rat Orchestra join a trio of female folk musicians from Poland - Sutari - who have developed their own parallel world of Rough Music. A joyful celebration, some nail biting forging, and some entrancing music. You've never heard cleavers like this before....

    Producer: Sara Jane Hall

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  • 16.11.2018
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    Pursuit of Beauty: Art Beneath the Waves

    Artist Emma Critchley meets filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and painters who are drawn beneath the sea to create underwater art. Julie Gautier performs a graceful, lyrical ballet on the floor of the deepest pool in the world. Without a tank of air or mask, she dances magically through crystal-clear waters across a sunken stage. In the azure waters of the world, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor uses the seabed as his canvas. He has installed hundreds of life-sized, concrete people on the sea floor. Fish weave through his couple playing on sea-saw, tourists taking photographs or migrants huddling in a raft. As Jason works towards the opening of his first cold water installation, Emma asks what draws him to the sea, the meaning of his work and how audiences can engage with underwater art. She explores the unpredictability of working with the sea, hearing stories of storms, seasickness and near drowning. Suzi Winstanley is petrified of the deep, but her passion for documenting wildlife has taken her to the remotest and coldest places in the world. With fellow artist Olly Williams, they collaborate to paint, lightning-fast, their experience of encountering white shark and leopard sea. Emma braves the wintery British waters to talk concentration, boundaries and time with artist Peter Matthews who immerses himself in the ocean for hours, sometimes days, floating with his drawing board and paper. Sunlight dances on the twisting fabrics of headless bodies in photographer Estabrak’s pictures. For her, working in Oman, underwater is the only safe space to tell stories. For some the pull of the sea is political, for others environmental, but all the artists find extraordinary freedom in this huge untapped underwater world.

    Producer: Sarah Bowen

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  • 30.10.2018
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    Ghosts in the Machine

    Laurie Taylor investigates the people who hear the voices of the dead in recorded sounds - and uncovers the strange and haunting world of auditory illusion. Believers in EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena think they're hearing the voices of the beyond - messages captured in the throb and static of white noise. Laurie Taylor's a rationalist - he doesn't go in for this mumbo-jumbo. But whilst the peculiar world of EVP may not be evidence of the afterlife, it does show how we're susceptible - far more susceptible than we might have ever believed - to be deceived by our ears. Laurie takes us on an mind-bending journey through the world of aural hallucination and illusion - revealing how the ghosthunters of EVP actually are showing off something rather profound about the flaws in our auditory perception...and they way we scrabble for meaning in the booming, buzzing confusion of the world around us. Contributors include the acclaimed expert on auditory illusion Diana Deutsch, writer and sound artist Joe Banks, neurologist Sophie Scott and parapsychologist Ann Winsper.

    Producer: Steven Rajam for BBC Wales

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  • 19.10.2018
    27 MB
    29:07
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    The Supercalculators

    Alex Bellos is brilliant at all things mathematical, but even he can't hold a candle to the amazing mathematical feats of the supercalculators. Alex heads to Wolfsburg in Germany to meet the contestants at this year's Mental Calculation World Cup. These men and women are the fastest human number crunchers on the planet, able to multiply and divide large numbers with no need to reach for a smart phone, computer or calculator. So how do they do it, and is it a skill that any of us can learn? Alex talks to Robert Fountain, the UK's two-time winner of this prestigious prize, about his hopes for this year's competition and the mathematical magicians of the past who have inspired him. He also meets Rachel Riley, Countdown's number queen, to find out what it takes to beat the countdown clock.

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  • 05.10.2018
    28 MB
    29:13
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    The Art of Now: Border Wall

    Donald Trump's pledge to build a "big beautiful wall" along the US-Mexico border has inserted a political urgency into the mainstream art world and made the Latino experience a point of inspiration for many. Seven artists working on either side of the border wall, from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, describe their work and how recent US immigration policy has helped to shape it. From music, to sculpture, virtual reality and performance art, the Art of Now explores the diverse artistic scene thriving along the 2000 miles border. Producer: Sarah Shebbeare

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  • 28.09.2018
    27 MB
    28:48
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    The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle

    How instant noodles, now 60 years old, went from a shed in Japan to global success. What is the most traded legal item in US prisons? Instant Noodles. According to the World Instant Noodles Association, 270 million servings of instant noodles are eaten around the world every day. Annually, that's 16 to 17 portions for every man, woman and child. At the turn of the millennium, a Japanese poll found that "The Japanese believe that their best invention of the twentieth century was instant noodles." The Taiwanese-Japanese man who invented them (Momofuku Ando) was convinced that real peace would only come when people have enough to eat. In the bleak wreckage of post-war Japan, he spent a year in a backyard hut, creating the world's most successful industrial food. Crucially, he wanted the noodles to be ready to eat in less than three minutes. That convenience has since become a selling point for noodles that are consumed by students, travellers and, yes, prisoners the world over. Instant noodles first went on sale in 1958, and they've changed little since. Sixty years on, Celia Hatton explores the story behind instant noodles. It's a journey that starts in Japan, at the nation's instant noodle museum, and then takes her to China, still the world's number one market for "convenient noodles" as they're known there. Chinese sales of instant noodles are falling, though, as the country becomes wealthier. But noodles are still on sale in every food store in the country. The story ends with Celia being shown how to make a "prison burrito" by an ex-prisoner from Riker's Island prison in New Jersey, in the US. We hear why instant noodles have emerged as the prisoners' currency of choice. Momofuku Ando's invention lives on.

    Producer: John Murphy.

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  • 25.09.2018
    27 MB
    28:47
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    The Ballad of the Blade

    The story of knife crime, told in verse by the weapon itself. Why do teenagers carry knives? How does it feel to live in a world where that's normal? How should we respond to the moral panic generated by the current wave of youth crime? Momtaza Mehri, Young People's Poet Laureate for London, presents a verse-journey into the thoughts and feelings of those for whom knife crime is an everyday reality. Perpetrator or victim, armed or defenceless, all the lines blur in "Ballad of the Blade" - a poem told in the voice of the knife as it travels on a chilling arc out of a child's bedroom, through fear, a yearning to belong and succeed, ruin and - sometimes - redemption. First-person voices from London and Sheffield splinter through the poem, reflecting the mosaic of lives affected by youth violence - bereaved youngsters and determined parents, criminals and youth workers. "Ballad of the Blade" is scored by Jon Nicholls. The programme was devised by Andrew Efah of BBC II! Producer Monica Whitlock.

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  • 21.09.2018
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    28:35
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    The Sound Odyssey: Nadine Shah travels to Beirut

    The Sound Odyssey is a new series in which Gemma Cairney takes British artists for musical collaborations in different countries around the world, hearing the musicians in a new light, and exposing their artistic process as they create something new in different and unfamiliar surroundings with an artist they have never met before. In the first of a series of journeys Nadine Shah a British Muslim artist travels to Beirut, to collaborate with Lebanese singer songwriter and musicologist Youmna Saba. The challenge will be for them to create a track together in Beirut in just two days. Both have very different musical styles and cultural heritages. Nadine was born in Whitburn, South Tyneside, to an English mother of part-Norwegian ancestry and a Pakistani father. Her music is very much inspired by conflict, immigration, and cultural and religious identity, and her latest Mercury Prize nominated album, Holiday Destination was written about the Syrian refugee crisis. Although Nadine's lyrics have been very much inspired by the conflict in Syria she has never been to the Middle East. Youmna Saba holds a master's degree in Musicology, focusing mainly on the parallels between classical Arabic music and Arabic visual art. She is a part-time instructor at the musicology department at the Antonine University. Her sound borrows elements from the Arabic music tradition, and blends them with electronic treatments, sonic textures and loops. They will meet and collaborate in Beirut, a city once ravaged by civil war that has been gaining a reputation as a burgeoning cultural hub where cultural and religious diversity sits side by side. Once dubbed "the Paris of the Middle East", the Lebanese capital is a beautiful and daringly hopeful vision of what the future of the region might hold - A city of new ideas -art, fashion, political movements, multiculturalism and a thriving music scene. Whilst in the city Gemma Cairney meets local artists including Dima Matta the host of Cliffhangers, a storytelling group and platform which offers a safe space for people to express themselves in a country where this is very problematic and censorship is very much a real thing. And we hear from Syrian rock group Tanjaret Daghet, who now live in Beirut as exiles, anxious about their families and homes.

    Presented by Gemma Cairney

    Produced by Jax Coombes

    A BBC 6 Music Production for BBC Radio 4.

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  • 19.09.2018
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    20:15
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    Intrigue: The Ratline

    A story of love, denial and a curious death. Philippe Sands investigates the mysterious disappearance of senior Nazi, Otto Wachter, and journeys right to the heart of the Ratline.

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  • 28.08.2018
    28 MB
    29:21
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    What Happened Last Night in Sweden?

    In February 2017, President Trump made a speech to his supporters. He moved on to the topic of immigration and Sweden. "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," he told the crowd at a rally in Florida. "They took in large numbers; they're having problems like they never thought possible". This confused the Swedes because they hadn't noticed anything happening on that Friday night in their country. What Trump was referring to was a Fox News report he had seen about immigration and crime in Sweden. The report twisted a story done by Ruth Alexander for Radio 4's More or Less programme and used misleading statistics to try to show that recent immigrants were responsible for a crime wave in Sweden. More or Less debunked the report and its use of statistics but since then there has been spate of violent crime in Sweden. Ruth Alexander travels to Stockholm and Malmö to find out the truth about what's going on.

    Producer: Keith Moore.

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  • 21.08.2018
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    28:54
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    The Five Foot Shelf

    According to Charles W. Eliot - President of Harvard and cousin of T.S. - everything required for a complete, liberal education could fit on a shelf of books just 5-feet in length. In 1909 the first volume of the Harvard Classics were published - and grew to become a 51-volume anthology of great works, including essays, poems and political treatises. But what if people today from all walks of life were asked to recommend books to be included on a five foot shelf? Which books do they think might be required for a complete home education? Ian Sansom has set a course for Wigtown - Scotland's National Booktown - to find out. Local craftsman Steve has been busy creating just the shelf for the job - exactly five foot long - and fashioned from elm wood and whiskey barrels recycled from a local distillery. Ian will be playing shopkeeper at the Open Book in Wigtown - a B&B meets bookshop which allows visitors to indulge their fantasy of running their own bookstore. With Ian parked behind the counter, all that's needed is for visitors to drop by and try to persuade him of the books they think deserve a rightful place on The Five Foot Shelf. But of course not everything will make it on and as custodian of the shelf, Ian can be ruthless. Well, kind of... No academics. No critics. No nonsense. The Five Foot Shelf is a guide for readers by readers about the books which matter to them. Producer: Conor Garrett.

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  • 14.08.2018
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    Game Changer: Fortnite on 4

    If you are a parent, you probably do not need an introduction to Fortnite Battle Royale. It's the online video game that's been absorbing the minds and time of millions of children and young adults since its launch last September. To the uninitiated, it's an online shooter game that has elements of The Hunger Games movies and the building video game Minecraft. In each match, 100 people are air-dropped onto a cartoon-rendered island where they run around searching for weaponry, building defensive forts and fighting to the death. The winner is the last one standing. It's free to play on multiple devices from computers to games consoles to smartphones. Presenter Kevin Fong (medical doctor, broadcaster and father of two) asks, is Fornite more like the new crack cocaine or more like the Beatles? It's estimated that more than 125 million people have played Fortnite Battle Royale and that 3 million people around the world are playing it at any one time. Its creators Epic Games have earned more than US$1 billion from Fortnite within the last year, and that is just from players buying virtual outfits and victory dances for their avatars. These dances or 'emotes' have leaked out of Fortnite's virtual world into the real one as anyone watching the World Cup will have seen. Football players now emote on scoring goals. There are also professional Fortnite players who are making millions by playing the game while vast numbers of people spectate via live streaming internet channels. Fortnite's Ronaldo is Ninja, a 26 year old man in Illinois, USA. It's said he makes US$ 500,000 from the 300 hours he spends playing the game each month. There are now Fortnite e-sports scholarships offered to students at one university in the United States. Is Fortnite a revolutionary development in video gaming and what is the formula of its undoubted success? With the World Health Organisation recently adding Gaming Disorder to its list of disease categories, how concerned should parents be about the risks of gaming addiction for their Fortnite-playing offspring? Kevin Fong explores the culture and conversation around Fornite with gamers of all ages, games creators, games culture experts, psychologists and psychiatrists. Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

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  • 13.08.2018
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    The Infinite Monkey Cage

    In a special edition of the science and comedy podcast to mark the 100th episode, Brian Cox and Robin Ince reminisce about their favourite moments from the show.

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  • 07.08.2018
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    57:46
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    Pop Star Philosophy

    Broadcaster and comedian Steve Punt scours the archives to exhume the often pretentious and opinionated philosophical outpourings of pop stars through the ages.

    With the help of music journalists Paul Morley, Kate Mossman, DJ and record producer Ras Kwame and surprising soundbites from the archive, Steve explores the concept of the pop star as philosopher. From pop star hobbies, to politics and theories of aliens and the Illuminati, Steve explores the attempts of pop stars to make sense of a chaotic world.

    Presenter: Steve Punt

    Producer: Georgia Catt.

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  • 03.08.2018
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    29:05
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    In Search Of Sovereignty

    The American satirist Joe Queenan goes in search of sovereignty. He wants to know what it is, what's it for, and how old it is

    "Now I know this is a big issue for you all right now. Over here we've been fighting over sovereignty since the eighties.

    The 1780s. But I still don't really understand what it is, nor why it's making everyone so mad."

    With contributions from Professor Richard Bourke, editor of Popular Sovereignty in Historical Perspective; and Edith Hall the author of Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life.

    The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde

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  • 31.07.2018
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    The Silence and the Scream

    Donegal is an Irish county where silence is a virtue. You can find it in the desolate landscape, the big skies and far horizons - but silence can be found in the people too. Maybe it's discretion or reticence. It could be shyness or a kind of wisdom.

    So when radical free-thinking commune, The Atlantis Foundation, set up home in the remote Donegal village of Burtonport in the mid-1970s, it seemed like an unlikely choice of location.

    Led by charismatic Englishwoman Jenny James and inspired by an experimental brand of counter-cultural psychology, the foundation practised 'primal scream' therapy. This was about letting it all out, yelling; shouting; shrieking to release deep rooted fears in the most challenging and visceral way. The locals simply called them the Screamers.

    Author and Donegal native Garrett Carr was a boy when he first heard of the Screamers. His family would lower their voices when mentioning them. While he found the name unnerving, Garrett was intrigued. On the coast near his home, he liked to imagine he could hear their cries echoing across the water.

    Now Garrett is returning to Donegal to find out who the Screamers were, what they wanted and if they ever managed to find it. Most of all he wants to know what happened when the quiet restraint of his local community was confronted by the outward abandonment of the Atlantis Foundation.

    Garrett is going home to discover what happens when silence meets scream.

    Producer: Conor Garrett.

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  • 27.07.2018
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    Could the PM Have a Brummie Accent?

    BBC political correspondent Chris Mason examines the changing accents of politics and politics of accents, with help from politicians, language experts and an impersonator.

    The programme examines the ways that stereotypes and prejudices can be loaded onto accents, how the voting public responds to different voices, and what politicians can do and have done about it all.

    With the help of the archive, the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock and former Conservative minister Edwina Currie reflect on the political soundtrack of their lifetimes. How have their voices, those of their contemporaries and the sound of the national political conversation changed?

    How is it possible and when it is sensible to change your accent? Chris is joined by Steve Nallon, who impersonated Lady Thatcher on Spitting Image, to listen back to her as a new backbencher and later as Prime Minister.

    And what about the sound of political reporting? The archive allows the former Today Programme presenter Jack Di Manio to give Chris (a son of the Yorkshire dales) a lesson in speaking 'properly'.

    So are we really becoming more open minded about this aspect of political communication? The programme hears from two MPs who say they still struggle to be understood in the Commons today.

    Producer: Joey D'Urso.

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  • 06.07.2018
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    Out of Tredegar

    Michael Sheen explores Aneurin Bevan's roots in Tredegar.

    A spectre is haunting Tredegar. It feels a little like that at least. This town high in the South Wales Valleys is understandably proud of its most famous son and makes the most of his memory.

    Aneurin Bevan was born in Tredegar in 1897. And he was the local MP there until his death in 1960. Memories of Bevan still populate the streets.

    Aneurin Bevan was a coalminer at the age of 13. He was a troublemaker with a stutter. An autodidact. He won a scholarship from his union for further study in London. He joined committees. He was a town councillor, then a district councillor, before reaching Westminster in 1929, where his greatest legacy must surely be his central role in the founding of the NHS in 1948. The civic religion of the NHS.

    And he fought for it in the image of Tredegar.

    It's perhaps ironic then, that it's in Aneurin Bevan's home town that the effect of the NHS was felt least of all.

    By that time an estimated 96% of the town's population was covered anyway, by a voluntary scheme: the Workmen's Medical Aid Society.

    This is what Aneurin Bevan was referring to when he said, "All I am doing is extending to the entire population of Britain the benefits we had in Tredegar for a generation or more. We are going to 'Tredegar-ise' you."

    He said that while he was battling to establish the system nationwide. Or he said it with a jeer to Winston Churchill across the dispatch box in the Commons. Or maybe he wrote it somewhere.

    Anyway, it's etched on a plaque outside the old Town Hall in Tredegar. The now dilapidated town hall, just down the street from one of Bevan's old meeting places, which is now a DWP Assessment Centre, itself just down the hill from the Medical Centre, which has been trying unsuccessfully for months and months to recruit new staff.

    Those details shouldn't be the beginning or the end of anyone's image of Tredegar. It's more various and interesting - and more beautiful - than they might suggest. But those details, and others like them, do lead eager programme-makers to feel pleased with themselves when, after spending a necessarily small amount of time in the town, they reverse that old slogan of Bevan's and ask, idly it must be said: who is going to Tredegar-ise Tredegar today?

    With Dr Alfazuddin Ahmed, Eryl Evans, Iwan Fox, Megan Fox, Alwyn Powell and Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

    With grateful thanks to the Tredegar Brass Band and the Tredegar Local History Museum.

    Producer: Martin Williams.

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  • 22.06.2018
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    31:51
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    Pink Rabbits and Other Animals

    The writer and illustrator Judith Kerr has created some of our best-loved books for children since publishing her first, and perhaps most famous book, 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea', which celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

    Judith's life has always inspired her writing, from fleeing Nazi Germany as a child, a story she told in 'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit', to the peculiar family cats whose adventures she chronicled in the Mog series. Now 94 years old, Judith is still hard at work, still writing and drawing in the study overlooking the common where she has written all her books and in this programme Judith invites us into her study as she works on her latest classic.

    Producer & Presenter: Jessica Treen.

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  • 15.06.2018
    29 MB
    30:47
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    The Sisters of the Sacred Salamander

    A convent of Mexican nuns is helping to save the one of the world's most endangered and most remarkable amphibians: the axolotl, a truly bizarre creature of serious scientific interest worldwide and an animal of deep-rooted cultural significance in Mexico.

    The Sisters of Immaculate Health rarely venture out of their monastery in the central Mexican town of Patzcuaro. Yet they have become the most adept and successful breeders of their local species of this aquatic salamander. Scientists marvel at their axolotl-breeding talents and are now working with them to save the animal from extinction. BBC News science correspondent Victoria Gill is allowed into the convent to discover at least some of the nun's secrets and explores why axolotls are a group of salamanders so important to protect from evolutionary oblivion.

    Axolotls are able to regrow lost limbs and other body parts. As a result, the aquatic salamanders are of great interest to researchers worldwide who study them in the hope of imitating the trick: to grow tissues and organs for medicine. The nuns also began to breed and rear their axolotls for medical reasons. They use the salamander as the key ingredient in an ancient Mexican remedy for coughs and other respiratory illnesses. The Sisters of Immaculate Health sell the medicinal syrup to the public. As well as being the basis for a popular folk remedy all over Mexico, the axolotl is also the manifestation of one of the ancient Aztecs' most important gods.

    The big problem is that all species of axolotl are critically endangered. The nun's species is known locally as the achoque. It only lives in nearby Lake Patzcuaro and it has been pushed to the edge of extinction because of pollution and introduced fish species. This is why the sisters began to breed the animals in the convent about 30 years ago. They were advised to do this by a friar who was also a trained biologist because the supply of achoques from Lake Patzcuaro's fishermen diminished. In the 1980s, 20 tonnes of axolotls were fished from the lake every year. Today they are very few left in the wild.

    Biologists from the nearby Michoacan University discovered that the nuns are expert breeders of the species and have started to collaborate with them in a conservation programme to make the Lake Patzcuaro an axolotl-friendly habitat once more and (if necessary) to introduce convent-bred animals to restore the lake's tiny population. The project is being supported and funded by the UK's Chester Zoo. The zoo's curator of amphibians Dr Gerardo Garcia visits the convent with Victoria, and demonstrates some of the technical help being offered to the nuns. For example, he micro-chips and takes DNA samples from the nun's breeding salamanders so the sisters can refine their breeding success even further.

    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

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  • 08.06.2018
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    30:50
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    Pursuit of Beauty: Slow Art

    So - how slow are we talking about, when it comes to art?

    French anarchist vegetarian artists Elizabeth Saint-Jalmes & Cyril Leclerc rescue snails bound for the cooking pot, and display them as a sound and light installation - Slow Pixel - before setting them free.

    To watch illuminated snails crawl across a concert hall for 6 hours is one way of bringing your heart beat right down!

    Twenty-two ash trees, shaped and sculpted as they grow quietly for 40 years, in a secret location; an extinct volcano filled with subterranean light passages; music to play for a 1000 years; a mile of writing, and a 5 hour composition for a string quartet called 'Slow', played as slowly and quietly as possible...

    As the 21st century continues at break-neck speed Lindsey Chapman brings you a moment of calm, as she meets some extraordinary musicians and artists, to find out the motivation behind creating slow art.

    Lindsey - a performer herself, as well as presenter for BBC TV's 'Springwatch' - explores what added value the length of time of creation gives to an artistic idea. Does it make time shrink? Or does it distract us from our awareness of our own finite existence?

    The biggest art project in progress in the world today is the Roden Crater. You may not have heard of it yet, but Leonardo DiCaprio has been booked to open it, although no one yet knows when that will be. It's the work of artist James Turrell who dreamed, in the 1960's, of sculpting an extinct volcano as a celestial viewing post. and he's spent 40 years working on it so far - Tim Marlow, artistic director of the Royal Academy, has been watching its progress.

    Also in progress for 40 years, the Ash Dome - created by world acclaimed wood sculptor David Nash. he gives Lindsey is given the coordinates to find the secret circle, and she comes across it on a bluebell strewn forest floor at dawn, a magical moment of pure beauty - but one which leads her to consider where she might be in 40, or 400 years from now.

    Slow art has that effect - seeing into the future, and sometime fearfully into infinity.

    Jem Finer, musician and ex-Pogue bassist, has created a piece of music called 'Longplayer', which has already been playing for 18 years and which has another 982 to go - and of course he knows he won't be there to hear it end.

    Tanya Shadrick knelt beside an open air swimming pool, day after day, month after month, writing a diary, line by line, a mile long. What inspired her to create "Wild Patience?" and what did she learn?

    Composer Morton Feldman is well known for his long slow quiet pieces of music - but what is it like to actually hold and play the violin on stage for five hours? Darragh Morgan recounts the intensity, and how he never gets bored, and in fact falls in love with the beauty of the music - lie being wrapped in a beautiful shawl of sound.

    Slow art in under half an hour - sit back and relish the moment.

    Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

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  • 29.05.2018
    56 MB
    59:02
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    Commuterville

    It is 175 years since the word "commuter" was used for the first time. (The word does not in fact describe a traveller, it describes a transaction: regular travellers on the railroad into Manhattan were given the opportunity to "commute" their individual tickets into a season pass. Ever since, commuters have been both travellers and revenue stream.)

    Today our great cities inhale and exhale millions of commuters, who start their journey in the darkness of winter mornings in the suburbs, resurface blearily in the heart of the city and return to long tucked-in children in darkness.

    It wasn't meant to be like this. Matthew Sweet looks at our imagined world of fantasy journeys and asks if driverless cars, monorails, or high speed transport systems might deliver them in the future.

    Producer Mark Rickards.

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  • 22.05.2018
    29 MB
    30:53
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    A Church in Crisis

    Since Ireland's independence, the Catholic Church has played a preeminent role in defining morality south of the border. However in recent decades, its position as moral arbiter has come under attack. Congregation sizes have fallen dramatically, and constitutional referenda have legalised contraception, divorce and gay marriage despite the vehement opposition of the Catholic Church. As Ireland goes to the polls to vote this time on abortion, William Crawley asks could this signal further decline in the Catholic Church's authority in society and its relationship with the State. Producer: Neil Morrow.

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  • 15.05.2018
    29 MB
    30:19
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    Is Eating Plants Wrong?

    Are plants rather cleverer than once thought? Scientists from around the world are claiming that plants cannot just sense, but communicate, learn and remember. In an experiment in Australia, plants appeared to learn to associate a sound with a food source, just as Pavlov's dogs linked the sound of a bell with dinner. In Israel they've found that plants communicated a message from one to another, and that the information was then used to survive drought. In British Columbia and the UK researchers have shown that trees pass information and nutrients to each other through an underground fungal network. This even happens more with closely related trees or seedlings than with strangers. And in California it turns out that sagebrush shrubs have "regional dialects"! Botanist James Wong explores these findings and asks whether, if plants can do all these things, and if, as one scientist says, they are a "who" and not a "what", then is it wrong to eat them?

    Producer Arlene Gregorius

    Contributors:

    Prof. Richard Karban

    Dr Monica Galiano

    Prof. Ariel Novoplansky

    Prof Suzanne Simard

    Dr Brian Pickles

    Prof Michael Marder.

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  • 20.04.2018
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    29:28
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    The Opt Out

    In 2014 Polly Weston's sister Lara died. She had just turned 22. Lara and her family had never discussed organ donation, and she wasn't on the register. But when the family were asked if they would consider donation, they said yes. Out of the tragedy of her death, medics managed to donate her organs to four women, while her eyes saved the sight of three men.

    In February a bill passed its second reading in Parliament to say that England would seek to move to an organ donation opt-out system - meaning citizens would be presumed to consent to their organs being donated unless they actively withdrew from the system. It seemed like there was universal support for the announcement. Labour were behind it. Newspapers rejoiced.

    But having been through the process, Polly's family were unsure about whether this policy change would bring about an improvement in donations.

    Now she asks what does organ donation really mean to families - and will an opt out system really make a difference?

    Produced and presented by Polly Weston.

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  • 17.04.2018
    29 MB
    30:38
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    The Turban Bus Dispute

    Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera returns to his home town of Wolverhampton where a battle raged over the right to wear the turban on the buses in Enoch Powell's constituency at the time he made his Rivers of Blood speech.

    In 1967 Sikh bus driver Tarsem Singh Sandhu returns from his holidays wearing a turban and a beard, both against the uniform regulations. The Wolverhampton Transport Committee insists rules are rules and there will be no exceptions, so Mr Sandhu enlists the help of a Punjabi political party, the Akali Dal, who employ radical tactics. They bus in Sikhs from around the UK for the biggest march in Wolverhampton since the war, and one of their leaders, Sohan Singh Jolly, announces that he will set himself on fire if their demands are not met.

    Right in the middle of the dispute, Enoch Powell makes his infamous Rivers of Blood speech, specifically citing the Sikh campaign as a dangerous example of communalism, where religious or ethnic groups seek special rights that threaten the very fabric of society.

    Sathnam Sanghera discovers the real story behind the dispute with surprising revelations that shed light on the history of race relations in the UK.

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  • 06.04.2018
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    32:48
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    The Vet with Two Brains

    Adam Tjolle is a vet with two brains - who once starred on the BBC's Animal Hospital. His second brain - in reality a slow-growing tumour - was discovered by accident on a scan when he fell off his bike.

    The presenter of the programme, his friend (and psychologist) Claudia Hammond is really interested in what's going on inside his head, so has kept a record - before and after the life-changing surgery.

    Adam's biggest fear is losing his memories - so he asks friends and family to send patches of fabric to make a special hat - to remind him of them as well as keep his head warm in chilly Edinburgh.

    The surgeon will operate while Adam is wide awake - being careful to cause the least damage possible to the area of his brain which controls spatial awareness, time perception and his decision-making skills, while also removing as much of the tumour as possible.

    Producer: Paula McGrath

    Presenter: Claudia Hammond.

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  • 30.03.2018
    28 MB
    29:29
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    The Art of Now - Band Politics

    BBC 6 Music's Chris Hawkins listens to new music every day - and he's noticing a trend.

    More and more of the bands he plays on the station are writing about politics. Acts like Nadine Shah, Cabbage, Idles and Life are covering topics as diverse as The NHS, the refugee crisis of 2016, austerity and rail privatisation.

    Chris visits the performers to ask them what is fuelling their music, considering whether supposedly radical bands are operating in a form of musical filter bubble - singing radical songs to an audience who already agree with their point of view.

    From the blues to grime, music and politics have always been intertwined, but Chris Hawkins provides a snapshot of the topics which are driving a generation of rock bands right now.

    Presented by Chris Hawkins

    Producer Kevin Core

    Music featured:

    Nadine Shah: Out the Way. Holiday Destination. Mother Fighter. Jolly Sailor.

    Idles: Mother. Divide and Conquer.

    Life: In Your Hands. Euromillions.

    Cabbage: Tell Me Lies About Manchester. Preach to the Converted.

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  • 20.03.2018
    30 MB
    31:49
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    What Are the Odds?

    Rajesh speaks with Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University who has been collecting stories of coincidence since 2011. Rajesh wants to find out why he is so prone to coincidence. Along with discovering mind blowing coincidences Rajesh sets out on an experiment to see if he can seek out coincidence and he's very surprised by the results.

    David Spiegelhalter believes its not that these things occur, it's that we notice them. As well as giving an opportunity to study probability and chance David believes that coincidences are important to us, because they are uplifting and good for us. Rajesh does not disappoint and in the making of the programme hears and experiences several coincidences which will leave you thinking what are the odds of that.

    Produced by Kate Bissell.

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  • 11.03.2018
    30 MB
    31:44
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    Mums and Sons

    The relationship between mothers and sons as depicted in the arts is complex and, as anyone familiar with Medea's story will attest, not always terribly positive.

    As Lauren Laverne discovers, however, there are many examples of stories, films and dramas in which the love between mums and sons is very much celebrated, and as a mother of two boys herself, Lauren is very keen to unpick the particular facets of the relationship as depicted on page, stage and screen.

    She meets Sophie Ellis Bextor, mother of four boys, and hears about carving out a space in which she can continue her career as a singer - even if that has meant at times recording songs with a baby in her arms.

    Patrick Ness is the author of the novel 'A Monster Calls' and also wrote the screenplay for the successful film. He tells Lauren how the story, about a boy dealing with the imminent death of his mum from cancer, was originally conceived by another author, Siobhan Dowd, who died before getting chance to complete it.

    Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, a highly successful mother and son band from Kansas, talk about how they came to play together and the various upsides of being together on the road.

    Finally, Lauren meets Jonathan Butterell and Dan Gillespie Sells, who helped create the West End hit 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie', the musical version of a true story about a teenage boy from County Durham who is determined to go to the school prom in a dress. The story appealed to both Jonathan and Dan because each of them recognised the 'fierce and open hearted relationship' they shared with their own mothers.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne

    Producer: Geoff Bird.

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  • 06.03.2018
    57 MB
    59:48
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    The Bald Truth

    For thousands of years, bald men have been the subject of ridicule. As a result they've felt ashamed and have resorted to desperate measures to hide their condition. During the decades when hair style was a cultural battleground between youth and the establishment, the balding man was at the bottom of the heap. No prime minister since Clement Attlee has been bald. But increasingly, bald men are coming out of the closet and shaving their heads - and some women too. Research shows that bald men are perceived as less attractive but more dominant. Now that we are more relaxed about hair style, and more willing to tolerate tonsorial diversity, are bald men finally able to shed the stigma? And could the comb-over finally make a come back? Ian Marchant, who has shaved his head since the early 1980s, investigates.

    Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

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  • 27.02.2018
    58 MB
    01:00:39
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    In the Wake of Wakefield

    Twenty years ago, in February 1998, one of the most serious public health scandals of the 20th century was born, when researcher, Andrew Wakefield and his co-authors published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. As we know, in the years that followed, Wakefield's paper was completely discredited as "an elaborate fraud" and retracted. Attempts by many other researchers to replicate his "findings" have all failed and investigations unearthed commercial links and conflicts of interests underpinning his original work. Wakefield himself was struck off the medical register.

    And yet, the ripples of that episode are still being felt today all over the world as a resurgent anti-vaccine movement continues to drive down inoculation rates, particularly in developed Western societies, where measles rates have rocketed particularly in Europe and the United States.

    But the Wakefield scandal hasn't just fostered the current ant-vax movement but has played a key role in helping to undermine trust in a host of scientific disciplines from public health research to climate science and GM technology.

    Through the archive, science journalist Adam Rutherford explores the continuing legacy of the anti-vaccine movement on the anniversary of one of its most notorious episodes, and explore its impact on health, on research and on culture both at home and abroad.

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  • 23.02.2018
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    31:41
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    Behind the Scenes: Dawn Walton

    Dawn Walton, artistic director of Eclipse, the black theatre touring company, was bored of only ever coming across three black stories in British theatres - slavery stories, immigrant stories, and gang stories. She knew there was a far greater range of stories out there and she wanted to tell them. Revolution Mix is the result - a programme of new plays inspired by 500 years of black British history and it will be the largest ever presentation of black British stories performed in regional theatres.

    In this intimate portrait of artistic director Dawn Walton, we follow her as she leads her company, Eclipse Theatre, to its premiere of the first play in her ground-breaking Revolution Mix programme - Black Men Walking. It's a new play inspired by a real-life black men's walking group in Sheffield. Not only does the play challenge clichéd representations of black people, it's also an experimental work fusing music, movement, and magic.

    In this programme, as well as hearing from some of those involved in the production, we hear Dawn rehearsing her company, coping with a significant bereavement, discussing her life before entering the world of theatre, and finally sharing her ambitions for British theatre. Revolution Mix is an enterprising programme and in Dawn Walton it has a doughty champion.

    Presenter: Ekene Akalawu

    Interviewed Guest: Dawn Walton

    Interviewed Guest: Ola Animashawun

    Interviewed Guest: Testament (aka Andy Brooks)

    Interviewed Guest: Dorcas Sebuyange

    Interviewed Guest: Tyrone Huggins

    Interviewed Guest: Trevor Laird

    Interviewed Guest: Tonderai Munyevu

    Producer: Ekene Akalawu.

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  • 20.02.2018
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    59:52
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    A Brief History of Cunning

    How cunning is Donald Trump?

    In Queenan on Cunning, the satirist Joe Queenan explores a word rarely associated with the current President of the USA.

    "From Odysseus to Bismarck, via Brer Rabbit and Machiavelli's The Prince, there's a fine tradition of tricksters and hucksters, but where does the Donald fit in the mix?

    You need patience, intelligence, forward planning - some of these are Trump-like qualities. Stress on the some. But he's by no means a modern day Odysseus. Not much of a sailor."

    With contributions from Adam MacQueen, author of The Lies of the Land; Edith Hall, who wrote a cultural history of Homer's Odyssey; and Tibor Fischer, whose forthcoming novel is called How to Rule the World.

    Plus John Sergeant, Kathy Lette, Richard Nixon, Alistair McAlpine, Laura Barton ... and a campaigning American president cross-faded with a much loved song from The Jungle Book.

    The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

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  • 16.02.2018
    30 MB
    31:49
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    Inside the Killing Jar

    The work of the entomologist very often involves the killing of insects in large numbers. This happens in the search for new species in the exploration of the planet's biodiversity and in ecological investigations to monitor the health of wild insect populations and the impact we are having on the environment. But the methods of entomologists have come under criticism.

    Last August presenter and entomologist Adam Hart was involved in a citizen science project aimed at surveying the abundance and distribution of the various species of social wasp around the country. The survey entailed members of the public setting up wasp traps in their gardens for a week and then sending the dead insects to the lab running the project. Many people took part but the study also generated negative newspaper coverage and stinging criticism on social media.

    The reaction got Adam Hart thinking: can his profession really defend the death of thousands and sometimes millions of insects for the sake of science, especially when there's so much concern around insect conservation? How do entomologists feel about killing their subjects, and might the insects themselves feel something akin to pain and suffering themselves?

    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

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  • 13.02.2018
    30 MB
    32:01
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    Find Me a Cure

    Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia or CLL, is the most common form of leukaemia. It's a disease which kills. The most common treatment is with chemotherapy. If that doesn't work, most patients can only expect to live for another few years at most.

    But there are dramatic developments with new targeted treatments which are less toxic than conventional chemotherapy. In this programme, reporter Simon Cox follows a medical trial based at St James' hospital in Leeds which uses a unique combination of drugs designed to defeat the cancer. It's the last hope for many patients but will it work? Can researchers find a cure?

    Presenter: Simon Cox

    Producer: Jim Frank

    Editor: Andrew Smith

    Image: Illustration of man in a white coat looking at a test tube

    Credit: BBC.

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  • 09.02.2018
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    The Death of Illegitimacy

    Illegitimacy once meant you were a 'bastard'. The MP Caroline Flint wants to know what the word 'illegitimate' means now.

    Caroline has always been open about her unmarried Mum having her when she was 17 years old and that she had her first son before she got married. Caroline describes her own family's story as a Catherine Cookson novel. There are suspicions that her widowed great-grandmother had an illegitimate child. Her grandmother's older sister had an illegitimate child during WW1 with an American soldier who was brought up as though his mother was his sister.

    She explores the archives to find out if the stigma has died out with social historian Jane Robinson and discusses the issue with best-selling crime author Martina Cole and fellow MP Jess Phillips. Martina, who is also an ambassador for the single parent families' charity Gingerbread, became a single parent by choice when she was 18 and then again 20 years later. Jess conceived her son when she was 22 and had been with her boyfriend for barely a month.

    Is the biggest deal today not whether a child is illegitimate but whether she bears her father's surname? Has the cloak of illegitimacy really fallen because daddy is willing to say publicly: she's mine?

    This programme contains archive clips of the stories of Betty, Ada and Gina from 'The Secret World of Sex: In Disgrace' (1991), sourced from Domino Films, copyright of Testimony Films - http://www.testimonyfilms.com/

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  • 30.01.2018
    29 MB
    30:35
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    Inside the Brain of Gerald Scarfe

    The brain - the final frontier. Radio 4 is setting out on an exploration of the creative mind.

    Gerald Scarfe's drawings have intrigued and alarmed for more than fifty years but where do his ideas come from? Professor Vincent Walsh of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience has a theory he wants to pursue. Vincent is an expert in the workings of the visual brain; he thinks that two specific areas may be talking to each other in an unexpected way, resulting in recognisable faces being mixed up with recognisable objects, hence Mrs Thatcher as an axe, a handbag, and even a shark.

    Now, cartoonist and neuroscientist are going to meet. "I for one would be fascinated to know what's going on in my brain - please pursue this," says Gerald Scarfe.

    The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

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  • 23.01.2018
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    01:02:28
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    From the Steppes to the Stage

    From the nomads of the vast steppe - to the glamour and adulation of the stage. Kate Molleson unravels the story of Mongolia's remarkable rise to being an opera superpower. And, in this special double bill, producer Steven Rajam joins Rhianna Dhillon to discuss the making of the programmes.

    Mongolia is becoming a global leader in opera singing - and completely breaking the mould. Young nomadic herders and horsemen are being plucked from the vast plains and taken to Ulaanbataar - where they're transformed into the next generation of top-flight tenors and baritones.

    It's a fascinating synergy of young men with the perfect physique, often honed in a rugged, traditional outdoorsmen culture, and a superb Soviet-era music and arts education system that - just over half a century after its State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet first opened - is delivering the next generation of global singing superstars.

    Radio 4 brings you a hypnotic audio portrait, taking you from the open plains, horse lullabies and throat singing of the endless Mongolian landscape to the cultural melee of Ulaanbataar - a place of stark contrasts where gleaming 21st century skyscrapers rise, yet where around half the population live in traditional gers (tents). A nation numbering just 3 million people, yet the size of Western Europe, and sandwiched between the gigantic superpowers of Russia and China - how much can Mongolia harness its cultural might to have a voice in global geopolitics?

    In the first episode, journalist Kate Molleson documents the story of Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar - last year, the winner of one of the most prestigious prizes in global opera: the BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World Song Prize, whose previous winners include Bryn Terfel and Ailish Tynan. Ariunbaatar was born to a family of nomadic herders, who still live a traditional lifestyle in the immense Mongolian steppe. At his family's ger, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, Kate is treated to a performance of Mongolian longsong - the nation's traditional classical singing art - as well as joining Ariunbaatar on horseback to hear the songs he sang as a young boy, alone in the vast wilderness. Is Mongolia's unique traditional culture - perhaps even its landscape itself - the secret of its extraordinary vocal alchemy?

    In the concluding episode, Kate explores the political value of Mongolia's musical prowess. In the Soviet era, the communist government used the people's love of traditional song to advance opera, and with it a certain idea of "civilisation"; in 2017, the current government see Mongolia's operatic might as a way of punching above its weight in global geopolitics. The buzzword on everyone's lips is "soft power" - a way for Mongolia to be part of a global conversation with nations - like its neighbours Russia and China - they could never compete with militarily or economically.

    As Mongolia's foremost opera star prepares to take the stage in Ulaanbaatar, Kate explores the diversity of Mongolia's musical makeup in 2017 - from breakout indie acts and hip hop DJs to women throat singers causing ripples in the nation's venerable traditional classical singing art.

    Producer: Steven Rajam

    Presenter: Kate Molleson

    A BBC Wales production for BBC Radio 4.

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  • 16.01.2018
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    The Dawn of British Jihad

    Before 9/11 British attitudes to partaking in faith-inspired armed combat were... different.

    British Muslims travelled freely to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma and Kashmir for a few weeks or months, and then returned home to their day jobs or studies - few questions asked.

    In this programme, Mobeen Azhar sheds light on the people and organisations involved in this early wave of British involvement in Jihad - the youth organisations which helped send hundreds of young Brits to fight overseas.

    The programme also reveals reports featured in magazines published in the 1990s by Lashka-e-Taiba - the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

    Within its pages are detailed reports on how its leader Hafiz Saeed came to Britain in the mid-90s to spread the word on fighting a holy war, find recruits and raise money. The programme hears from those who answered his call - the British Muslims who built bridges with militant groups in South Asia and beyond.

    Many of these 'pioneers' came from Britain's Salafi community - followers of a strict, literal interpretation of Islam. Since 9/11 the Salafis - sometimes known as Wahhabis - have often been named as the key influencers in the global jihad, but is that accurate?

    The programme also explains the nuances of Salafism and how this early period of British involvement in Jihad was itself hugely divisive within the British Salafi community, creating a schism between a peaceful pious majority, and those who chose to take up arms.

    Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal.

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  • 12.01.2018
    56 MB
    58:40
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    Good Luck Professor Spiegelhalter

    Rhianna Dhillon brings you another seriously interesting story from Radio 4.

    This week, luck.

    Whether we believe in luck or not, we do use the word- a lot! More as a figure of speech than an article of faith perhaps but some do pray for luck, others fantasise about it - and bad luck or misfortune is a staple of comedy

    Can luck be said to exist as some force in our lives and if so, what is its nature? How have people thought about luck in the past and what's changed today? Can you bring good luck upon yourself - there's a school of thought these days that thinks you can without appealing to the divine or supernatural.

    In Good Luck Professor Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University looks at notions of luck in gambling, traces the origins of how we think about fate and fortune, the religious and psychological view of luck and how the emergence of theory of probability changed our view of it.

    He is convinced by the philosopher Angie Hobbs that there is one form of luck it is rational to believe in and by psychologist Richard Wiseman that there is a secular solution to bringing about good fortune in your life.

    Good Luck Professor Spiegelhalter, is presented by David Spiegelhalter and produced in Salford by Kevin Mousley.

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  • 09.01.2018
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    29:51
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    Why the Moon, Luke?

    Luke Jerram is that rare bird, a genuinely popular yet acclaimed contemporary artist. And he's obsessed with the moon. So he's made one: seven metres wide featuring 120dpi detailed NASA imagery, and he's taking it around the world. This is his story, as well as the moon's..

    Every day Luke Jerram cycles to his studio across the river in Bristol and watches its dramatic changes. It has the second highest tidal range in the world and it's the moon that makes this happen. Luke's become fascinated with finding out everything he can about the cultural, artistic and poetic significance of the moon, and the latest scientific developments around it. It both reflects our culture and inspires it.

    Being colourblind he's interested in all forms of light, and moonlight is fascinating and has very particular properties. The fact we see 'the man in the moon' is a perceptual and optical illusion. But again, different cultures see different imagery - in China they see the Hare in the Moon.

    Luke presents his own story of making these works and hearing people's responses to them, woven in with the new soundtrack he's commissioned from composer Dan Jones. We talk to fellow contemporary moon obsessives James Attlee and Jay Griffiths, but it's all filtered through the very particular consciousness of one artist and his imagination, and the hard slog of his creative process.

    Producer Beth O'Dea.

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  • 05.01.2018
    30 MB
    31:25
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    The Far Future

    How do we prepare for the distant future? Helen Keen meets the people who try to.

    If our tech society continues then we can leave data for future generations in huge, mundane quantities, detailing our every tweet and Facebook 'like'. But how long could this information be stored? And if society as we know it ends, will our achievements vanish with it? How do we plan for and protect those who will be our distant descendants and yet may have hopes, fears, languages, beliefs, even religions that we simply cannot predict? What if anything can we, should we, pass on?

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  • 29.12.2017
    28 MB
    30:07
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    Thinking Outside the Boxset: How Technology Changed the Story

    For centuries tales were shared around the camp-fire; modern settlements share data via wi-fi. But what hasn't changed across the ages is our passion for histories and information - we shape and make sense of our lives by telling stories about what has happened to us, and relax by reading or seeing fictions about the lives of imagined characters. From cave-dwellers to millennials , stories have been organised in pretty much the same way - with a beginning, middle and end, although, in contemporary culture, now less frequently in that order.

    All storytellers have used techniques of tension, delayed revelation, surprise twists. But - now - the art of narrative is being fundamentally changed by new technologies, which offer fresh ways of telling stories and different places for them to be told, redefine narrative genres, and allow audiences unprecedented opportunities to inter-act with and even co-author the content.

    In this, the first part of a new three part series, Mark Lawson speaks with some of the leading figures in British TV - including showrunner Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty), producer Nicola Shindler (Red Productions) writer Paula Milne (The Politician's Wife, Angels), Charlotte Moore (BBC Director of Content) - to examine how the stories being told on television in the digital age have adapted to the advent of streaming services, binge-watching and catch-up TV.

    Mark also visits a cinema in Macclesfield to watch the live broadcast of 'Follies'- staged simultaneously in the West End. He talks with Kwame Kwei-Armah, soon to begin as the Young Vic's Artistic Director, about how the technology involved has brought top-level theatre to a whole new audience and redefined the idea of live spectatorship.

    Presenter: Mark Lawson

    Producer: Geoff Bird.

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  • 26.12.2017
    29 MB
    30:28
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    The Power of Sloth

    Zoologist and founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society, Lucy Cooke, unleashes her inner sloth to discover why being lazy could actually be the ultimate evolutionary strategy.

    The explorers of the New World described sloths as 'the lowest form of existence', but sloths are actually some of the most enduring of all tropical mammals. They make up one third of the mammalian biomass in rainforests and have survived some 64 million years - outliving far flashier animals like sabre tooth tigers.

    The secret to the sloth's success is their slothful nature and their suite of energy-saving adaptations. In fact slothfulness is such a successful strategy, that there are examples all over the animal kingdom, including, surprisingly, worker ants. Recent studies in humans have shown the many health benefits of adopting a slower pace of life. Sleep itself is universal amongst the animal kingdom. All animals do it, but why remains a mystery. What is clear though, is that unleashing your inner couch potato is no bad thing, be you sloth or human.

    Lucy discovers the genius behind the sloths laid back attitude and fights the corner for laziness.

    Producer: Alexandra Feachem.

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  • 22.12.2017
    29 MB
    30:54
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    Iceland's Dark Lullabies

    Dreaming of a Dark Christmas, in Iceland

    At the darkest time of the year in Iceland scary creatures come out to play. Storyteller Andri Snær Magnason used to be terrified by his grandmother's Christmas tales of Gryla the 900 year old child eating hag and her thirteen troll sons - the Yule Lads - who would come down from the mountains looking for naughty children in the warmth of their homes. These dark lullabies partly hark back to a pre-Christian Christmas when people worshipped the Norse gods.

    As Iceland opens up to global influences after centuries of isolation Andri travels from farmstead to lava field and reflects on these traditions: whether the elves still crash your house to throw a Christmas party or the cows still talk on New Year's Eve; and what happens when you have to spend Christmas alone, locked inside Ikea?

    Featuring the Graduale Nobile Choir conducted by Árni Heiðar Karlsson

    Partially recorded in Binaural Stereo. Listen on headphones for the best effect.

    Additional sound design by Phil Channell

    Producer Neil McCarthy.

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  • 19.12.2017
    28 MB
    29:43
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    The Unconscious Life of Bombs

    Historian and psychoanalyst Daniel Pick of Birkbeck College, University of London tells the story of how aerial bombardment - from Zeppelins to B52s, from H-Bombs to drones - has made the unconscious mind a field of battle.

    Daniel explores how, in the shadow of the First World War, Freud turned his analytical eye from desire to the 'death drive', and how psychoanalysts probed what might happen if another war came.

    Would survivors of mass aerial bombardment hold up psychically, or would they collapse into infantile panic? Or would they become uncontrollably aggressive?

    And why do humans come to be so aggressive in the first place?

    When the war - and the bombers - did come to Britain, it appeared that survivors were much more stoical and defiant than had been expected.

    But, as Daniel discovers, brave faces concealed a great deal of psychological damage.

    With historian Lyndsey Stonebridge, he visits the Wellcome Library to see - courtesy of the Melanie Klein Trust - the case notes of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein on her analysis of a troubled ten year old boy, 'Richard'.

    What do Klein's notes, and Richard's extraordinary drawings, reveal about his attitude to being bombed?

    Daniel examines how, with the advent of the Cold War and the distinct possibility that bombs and missiles could destroy civilisation, technocrats trying to plan for the end of the world coped with staring into the abyss.

    Finally, Daniel shows how a radical new turn in aerial bombardment opens up this field anew. Nuclear weapons can destroy the planet; but what does it do to the mind to live under the threat of 'surgical' attack by unmanned drones?

    With: Derek Gregory, Peter Hennessy, Dagmar Herzog, Richard Overy, Lyndsey Stonebridge

    Producer: Phil Tinline.

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  • 12.12.2017
    28 MB
    30:08
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    Mysteries of Sleep - Sleepwalking

    Why do some of us do bizarre things in our sleep? Like riding a motorbike, using a shoe to 'phone for a pizza or even having sex while sleeping? These are complex behaviours and yet sleepwalkers aren't aware of what they're doing and often have no memory of their strange night-time activities.

    These sleep disorders are known as non-REM parasomnias and include conditions like night terrors and sleep eating.

    So why does it happen? Sleepwalking usually occurs during deep sleep, when something triggers the brain to wake - but not completely. So the areas that control walking and other movement wake up, yet other parts, involved in awareness and rational thinking, remain asleep. What's confusing is that sleepwalkers look awake - their eyes are open - but they're really not awake. They're not really asleep either. The brain is awake and asleep at the same time. We have known this happens in some animals, who can sleep with half of their brain at a time. But recently, we have learnt that similar things can happen in the human brain.

    In the first of a three-part series, neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner, talks to patients he's been treating at his sleep clinic at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals in London. They include Jackie who began sleepwalking as a child and continued her strange night-time behaviour as an adult, riding her motorbike whilst sleeping.

    We hear from James whose night terrors have become so violent his wife has begged him to get help; from Alex who rescues people from floods in his sleep. And we talk to Tom, whose recent diagnosis of sexsomnia has had a significant impact on his life.

    These remarkable sleepwalking experiences help us to understand the complex workings of the human brain.

    Presenter: Dr Guy Leschziner

    Producer: Sally Abrahams.

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  • 29.11.2017
    44 MB
    46:16
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    The Glasgow Boys: Chaos and Calm

    Byron Vincent joins the Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow to see how they turn young men away from lives of violence and chaos.

    Three years ago, after he discussed his own violent and chaotic youth in a Four Thought talk on Radio 4, Byron was invited to come and speak at the VRU. Since then he has been back several times - now he experiences the unit's work directly. Byron spent two weeks embedded in two of the VRU's programmes, from watching the scheme's participants working in food trucks in the west end of Glasgow to joining the cast at the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.

    After hours, and with his powerful personal connection to their lives, Byron has extraordinarily candid conversations with the young men involved in the scheme about fear, insecurity, redemption, love, hope and the real reasons for spiralling violence. But what sacrifices will be required for them to make new lives, free from chaos and violence?

    Producer: Giles Edwards.

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  • 24.11.2017
    28 MB
    29:40
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    Where Are All the Working Class Writers?

    "The more we reinforce the stereotypes of who writes and who reads, the more the notion of exclusivity is reinforced. It takes balls to gatecrash a party."

    Kit de Waal, published her first novel, My Name is Leon, in 2016 at the age of 55. She has already put her money where her mouth is - using part of the advance she received from Penguin to set up a creative writing scholarship in an attempt to improve working class representation in the arts.

    Kit knows that - as a writer from a working class background - the success of her debut novel is a rare occurrence. Born to a Caribbean bus driver father and an Irish mother (a cleaner, foster carer and auxiliary nurse), Kit grew up in Birmingham and left school at 15 with no qualifications. She became a secretary with the Crown Prosecution Service and went on to have a career in social services and criminal law.

    In this feature she explores an issue that is deeply personal to her. She looks back at her own life and trajectory, and takes the listener on a journey around the country to find out what the barriers really are to working class representation in British literature today.

    "There is a difference between working class stories and working class writers. Real equality is when working class writers can write about anything they like - an alien invasion, a nineteenth century courtesan, a medieval war. All we need is the space, the time to do it - oh yes, and some way to pay the bills!"

    Kit talks to a range of writers, agents and publishers about what the barriers are for writers from working class backgrounds, including Tim Lott, Andrew McMillan, Gena-mour Barrett, CEO of Penguin Random House UK Tom Weldon, Julia Bell, Julia Kingsford, Ben Gwalchmai, Nathan Connolly and Stephen Morrison-Burke (Birmingham poet laureate and the first recipient of the Kit de Waal scholarship).

    Produced by Mair Bosworth.

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  • 07.11.2017
    57 MB
    59:41
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    Close to the Edit

    Filmmaker Mike Figgis explores the story of edited film, audio and culture, and how the simple process of cutting and splicing has changed the way people view the world.

    We are living in an age of the edit.

    From the jump-cuts of Eisenstein and Hitchcock, to the fractured narratives of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, from the cut-and-paste sounds of musique concrete and hip-hop, to the sensibility of social media (to say nothing of the radio feature itself), it's the edit - the cut, the splice; montage and juxtaposition - that has ushered us into the present. To some, it's the stuff of life itself: chimps, for example, share 99% of our DNA; what matters is the sequencing, the edit.

    There's a year zero to this story of the edit. From the moment we get up in the morning until we close our eyes at night, the visual reality we perceive is a continuous stream of apparently linked images. That's the way we experienced the world for millennia. Then suddenly, just over a century ago, human beings were confronted with something else: edited film.

    But this isn't an exercise in cinema history. It's about our present culture. A culture in which the invisible mediating hand of the editor is ever-present. A culture of the 'creative commons' in which we can pull anything out of context and re-edit it (a gif, an internet meme, a mash-up, a parody of a political speech) and make the edit itself become an art form. Cutting, splicing, sampling -- it's all part of the way the world functions now. This is just the beginning.

    With Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us, Margie Borschke, Walter Murch and Will Self.

    Producer: Martin Williams.

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  • 06.11.2017
    28 MB
    29:33
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    BONUS: Russia – 100 Years on from Revolution

    A century ago, the Russian Revolution took place. It was a seismic event that changed the course of the 20th century.

    In this special, bonus episode of Seriously…, we visit four cities closely linked to the events of 1917. With Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg as our guide, we travel the 4000 mile journey across Russia, asking if the repercussions of Red October are still being felt today.

    Steve also reveals to Rhianna Dhillon more of the stories he discovered on his way from St Petersburg to Khabarovsk.

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