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Seriously...

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

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  • 02.03.2021
    28 MB
    29:36
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    Club 18-30

    Marie Le Conte explores the shared experiences of people aged 29 to 33, members of the so-called crisis cohort, who have had their adult lives book-ended by the financial crash of 2008 and the huge economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus.Marie examines what defines this generation of young, or not so young, people and what adulthood means for them. She explores the ways that living through the crises has shaped emotional literacy and economic fortunes.Finally, she asks how her generation has seen these twin crises shape their values - both politically and personally..Presenter: Marie Le Conte Producer: Steve Hankey Sound Design: Emma Barnaby Executive Producer: Will YatesA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 26.02.2021
    34 MB
    35:35
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    Made of Stronger Stuff: The Heart

    Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand focus on the heart, which has been branded the seat of emotion by generations of poets and songwriters.They find out whether it’s medically possible to die from a broken heart, hear from a woman who lived for 16 months without a human heart, and Xand opens up about how Long Covid is affecting his heart.Producer: Dan Hardoon Researcher: Emily Finch Executive Producer: Kate Holland A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 23.02.2021
    29 MB
    31:04
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    The Battersea Poltergeist – Ep1: 63 Wycliffe Road

    63 Wycliffe Road is an ordinary house on a quiet South London street, but in 1956, it becomes famous as the site of an alleged poltergeist. The strange events focus around teenager Shirley Hitchings – but is it a haunting or hoax? Ghost hunter Harold Chibbett arrives to investigate.This series blends drama and documentary to explore an intriguing paranormal cold case. As we hear the original haunting brought to life, host Danny Robins begins his own present-day investigation – what really happened to terrify the Hitchings family 65 years ago?Written and Presented by Danny Robins, starring Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Toby Jones (Detectorists, Capote), Burn Gorman and Alice Lowe, with original theme music by Mercury-nominated Nadine Shah and Ben Hillier, this gripping 8-part series interweaves a chilling supernatural thriller set in 50s London with a fascinating modern-day investigation into Britain’s strangest ever haunting – a mystery unsolved... until now.Cast: Shirley Hitchings........Dafne Keen Harold Chibbett.........Toby Jones Wally Hitchings........Burn Gorman Kitty Hitchings..........Alice Lowe Ethel Hitchings..........Sorcha Cusack John Hitchings........Calvin Demba Mrs Cameroo..........Amina ZiaWritten and presented by Danny Robins With thanks to James Clark, co-author of 'The Poltergeist Prince of London' Consultant: Alan Murdie Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow Sound Designer: Richard Fox Music: Evelyn Sykes Theme Music by Nadine Shah and Ben Hillier Produced by Danny Robins and Simon Barnard Directed by Simon Barnard​A Bafflegab Production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 19.02.2021
    27 MB
    29:05
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    England's Level Best

    When Boris Johnson won the 2019 election, he did so pledging to tackle regional inequality and invest in parts of the country that felt left behind .His desire to 'level up' the UK is not the first attempt by a government to tackle one of the most fundamental problems in the country’s economy. But his plans were quickly derailed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now he faces the enormous challenge of delivering tangible improvements to the lives of those who voted for him, while rebuilding the country after successive lockdowns.Can it be done?Political journalist Sebastian Payne takes a road trip to speak to business owners, residents and politicians from across the North and the Midlands - from Sedgefield and Liverpool to Stoke-on-Trent.He mulls over the importance of the 'levelling up' agenda, hearing from key figures like Labour’s Lisa Nandy on the need to broaden the government's focus beyond the cities. He speaks to former chancellor George Osborne about why his Northern Powerhouse agenda was abandoned, and policy makers Rachel Wolf and Diane Coyle about why 'levelling up' is important.And he asks transport secretary Grant Shapps whether his government’s ambitious plans can be realised.Presenter: Sebastian Payne Producer: Ellie Clifford Executive Producer: Robert NicholsonA Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 16.02.2021
    28 MB
    29:11
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    Sideways: Siding with the Enemy

    Best-selling author Matthew Syed explores the ideas that shape our lives with stories of seeing the world differently.A criminal walks into a Swedish bank brandishing a machine gun. He takes a handful of bank workers hostage. The police lock the victims and their captors in the vault and then things start to get weird. Despite being held captive and threatened with violence, the hostages side with the criminals.Stockholm Syndrome is born.In this episode, Matthew Syed reexamines the birth of this peculiar psychiatric disorder and discovers that all is not what it seems.Producer: Gemma Newby Music, Sound Design and Mix: Benbrick Series Editor: Russell Finch Executive Producers: Sean Glynn and Max O'BrienA Novel production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 12.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:53
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    The Lost Sounds Orchestra

    For the vast majority of the 200,000 years humans have been on the earth, let alone its first 4.6 billion years of existence, the sonic story has been a fleeting, unrepeatable live show. Miss it, and you missed out. But now, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated cohort of scientists, historians and musicians, some of the world's most weird and wonderful ‘lost sounds’ are making a comeback. Mary-Ann Ochota meets the people who are bringing sounds of the past to life through the technology of the present.Professor Julia Clark of Texas University takes issue with Hollywood’s presentation of dinosaur sounds and has been reconstructing the sound of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. She’s identified a voice box in an early bird fossil, revealing clues about vocal structures in dinosaurs. By studying crocodilians, she has a partial glimpse at dinosaur sound-making. Combining them together, then adjusting the frequency to match the size of the massive T-Rex, Julia has given us a better understanding of how the world’s largest land carnivore may have sounded.Domenico Vicinanza is a scientist and music composer at Anglia Ruskin University who is pioneering data sonification: a computer modelling process that turns data into sounds to give voice to inaudible vibrations from the Earth’s atmosphere. We hear about his latest project creating music from infrasonic measurements captured at Yellowstone National Park in America. Oscillations of the Earth's eruptions are translated into a frequency range we can actually hear, as flute music pieces.It wasn’t until the 19th century that we first began to capture sounds, but those early efforts were also lost to time, until recently. Patrick Feaster and David Giovannoni have been at the forefront of discovering the oldest sound recordings of the human voice. When they began, the earliest sound anyone could hear was from 1888. In 2008 they pushed that date back 28 years and in so doing showed that it wasn’t the American Thomas Edison who first recorded sound on his phonograph as previously thought, but the Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, who made the world's first recordings of airborne sounds in Paris on a machine he called a phonautograph.Finally, Emily Thompson is a member of a growing community of historians who’ve turned their attention to the aural landscape, interrogating the materiality and texture of our sonic worlds. Emily explains how she brought alive the soundscape of 1920s New York City through a multimedia database of audio recordings, video and documented noise complaints from the Roaring Twenties, breathing new life into a lost world.Special thanks to the University of South Carolina and the Municipal Archives, City of New York for use of their archives. To hear more sounds from the Roaring Twenties, visit nycitynoise.com. Cover Image: www.firstsounds.orgPresented by Mary-Ann OchotaProduced by Melissa FitzGeraldA Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 09.02.2021
    27 MB
    29:05
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    Black and Blue

    Hugh Muir has spent much of his journalistic career chronicling the working lives of Britain’s black and minority ethnic police officers. In this programme, he investigates claims that racism is on the rise within policing in the UK.In 1990, the Met acknowledged that it had a problem holding on to its black officers and decided to ask black and Asian staff why so many of them were leaving. Almost all the force’s black police officers attended a two-day meeting at the then Bristol Polytechnic that summer. They had no choice - it was mandatory. The officers all shared experiences of racist ‘banter’ and other mistreatment they had suffered on the job. Many found it therapeutic.However, 30 years on from the ‘Bristol meeting’, black officers say that despite some initial improvements, not much has changed. Some even contend that racism within policing got worse. And since the backlash that followed the killing of George Floyd last year, black officers now face growing hostility from outside as well as from within.For this programme, Hugh has spoken to several black and minority ethnic officers, both serving and retired. They include Andrew George, President of the National Black Police Association, and retired superintendent Leroy Logan, whose life story was recently adapted for the screen by the Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen in his film anthology Small Axe.“I think black cops deserve more internal and external support as the key to making the real progress we all say we want,” Hugh says.Produced by George Luke A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 05.02.2021
    27 MB
    28:30
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    Afterlives: Harry and Anne

    Two parents share their stories of life’s pain - but also its unexpected gifts - after the death of their sons, who each took their own life. They have never met but Afterlives brings them together for the first time to examine and interrogate their journeys since their sons’ suicides.Patrick Biggs-Davison was 25 when he died by suicide in 2015. His father Harry describes his beautiful son with the magnetic personality who learnt about failure at a young age and, after struggling with drug addiction for half his life, decided that he didn’t want to go on living.Anne Thorn lost her only child to suicide in 2011. He was 23. Since his death, she has been to university and trekked across the Sahara and, while she cannot understand how life has gone on, feels she deserves a medal for embracing life – in memory of her son Toby.Neither leave you with any doubt about the heart-breaking experience of losing a child in this way, or the legacy of pain and guilt it leaves. But through this conversation – where they simply share their stories and ask about each other’s journey – hope emerges.Both are passionate about raising awareness of the prevalence of suicide – especially among young men. But both also, through their brokenness and survival, talk of the courage it has given them and how life goes on.Producer: Anna Scott-Brown An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 29.01.2021
    28 MB
    29:46
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    The Flipside with Paris Lees: Beyond Touch

    Paris Lees hears from two women learning to cope as they deal with the complexities of human touch. One who struggles with intimacy and the other who misses it.Presenter: Paris Lees Producer: Marijke Peters An ITN Production for BBC Radio 4

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  • 25.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:24
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    Battle for the Capitol

    In the run up to the 2020 Presidential election, journalist Leah Sottile explored the motivations and agendas of America’s far right for the Radio 4 series Two Minutes Past Nine. Recordings were made against a backdrop of a country that felt tense, divided and dangerous.In the past month, a lot has happened. In this reactive and raw programme, Leah explores America’s far-right at this very moment; fired up by conspiracies, frustrations, and the defeat of the first President they have ever supported.On Wednesday 6th January, as a Joint Session of Congress met to certify the election of Joe Biden, Trump supporters breached security lines and stormed the Capitol Building in scenes that looked straight out of the racist hate filled propaganda novel The Turner Diaries. Two pipe bombs were found just blocks away at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees.Leah asks how Donald Trump has managed to manipulate a rabble of foot-soldier extremists and asks what’s next - and how worried we should be.Interviews include Kelvin Pierce, son of William Luther Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, Kerry Noble, and former elder of far right militant group The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord.With thanks to Dave Hawkins for the additional archive.Presenter: Leah Sottile Producer: Georgia Catt

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  • 20.01.2021
    13 MB
    14:33
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    39 Ways to Save the Planet: Wood for Good

    Tom Heap introduces an episode of Radio 4's new environmental podcast which looks at 39 great ideas to relieve the stress that climate change is exerting on the planet.Trees soak up carbon dioxide, trees store carbon dioxide. So why not build with wood instead of concrete and steel? The usual reason is strength, but Dr Michael Ramage at Cambridge University has what he thinks is the answer- cross-laminated timber. It's strong enough to build a skyscraper and replaces lots of that carbon from conventional building. Tom Heap and Dr Tamsin Edwards take a look at the global possibilities of cities built of wood.Producer : Alasdair Cross

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  • 08.01.2021
    27 MB
    29:05
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    I Am Robert Chelsea

    The first African-American to have a face transplant tells his own story - in a documentary about faith, identity and character. Robert suffered horrific burns in a car accident - but survived and went ahead with a series of demanding surgical operations in an attempt to restore his appearance. A shortage of black donors meant it was a long wait for his doctors to find even a partial match for his skin colour. In a moving narrative, Robert, his friends, family and doctors reflect on his remarkable journey. Producer: Ben Davis

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  • 05.01.2021
    27 MB
    28:56
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    Sci-Fi Blindness

    From Victorian novels to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, sci-fi regularly returns to the theme of blindness. Peter White, who was heavily influenced as a child by one of the classics, sets out to explore the impact of these explorations of sight on blind and visually impaired people. He believes a scene in The Day pf the Triffids by John Wyndham imbued him with a strange confidence - and he considers the power of science fiction to present an alternative reality for blind readers precisely at a time when lockdown and social distancing has seen visually impaired people marginalised. He talks to technology producer Dave Williams about Star Trek The Next Generation's Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen talks about Birdbox and world-building from a blind point of view in James L Cambias's A Darkling Sea. Professor Hannah Thompson of Royal Holloway University of London takes us back to 1910 to consider The Blue Peril - a novel which in some ways is more forward thinking in its depiction of blindness than Hollywood now. And Doctor Who actor Ellie Wallwork gives us her take on why blindness is so fascinating to the creators of science fiction. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Kevin Core

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  • 29.12.2020
    36 MB
    37:38
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    Can I Talk About Heroes?

    Vicky Foster's award-winning Radio 4 Audio Drama Bathwater looked at the effect the murder in 2005 in Hull of the father of her children, a firefighter, is still having on her family .In this documentary, Can I talk about Heroes ? Vicky looks at the way society creates heroes, whether the meaning and significance of that label has changed in recent times and if the term is still useful .This questioning has been prompted by her own story. Stephen Gallant, convicted of the murder of Vicky's ex-partner,was out on day licence attending a prisoner rehabilitation event in November 2019 when he tackled the London Bridge terrorist with a narwhal tusk, which caught the attention of the public and the media. He was quickly branded a 'hero' .Vicky Foster talks to Dr Zeno Franco, Associate Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin Emma Kinder, Victim Support’s Homicide Regional Manager Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, Head of Services at Vitality Homes Recovery Centre Mel, a nurse working on a covid ward.Produced by Susan Roberts, BBC Audio North

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  • 22.12.2020
    37 MB
    39:06
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    Scientists in the Spotlight

    Back in 2019, most scientists struggled to get any media attention. Now scientists involved in fighting the pandemic are generating media headlines, daily. On top of working harder than ever to understand the virus and how it spreads, many have become public figures. Some have been caught in the headlights. Others have stepped into the footlights. Many have found themselves at the centre of highly politicised conversations - not something their scientific training has prepared them for particularly well. And the fact that everyone is now an expert on R numbers and immunology has created a new set of challenges. Jim Al-Khalili talks to the scientists who have been in the media spotlight in 2020 and hears about some of the challenges they've faced trying to tell us what they know.We may look to science for certainty (all the more so during uncertain times) but there is no magic moment when scientists can announce with absolute certainty that ‘this is how it is’. And now that science is being reported in real time revealing the bumpy road to discovery, there is a risk that our faith in science will be undermined. But scientists airing their dirty laundry in this way could result in a much greater appreciation of the true nature of scientific knowledge and how it’s formed. Perhaps during these difficult times, a new relationship between scientists and the media has been forged? Scientists have been the source of non-stop news. And maybe journalists have help science to progress by synthesising scientific findings and interpreting what they mean. When the pandemic is over, will scientists continue to be part of the national debate?Producer: Anna Buckley(First aired 15 December 2020)

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  • 08.12.2020
    28 MB
    29:30
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    Apocalypse How

    In the first of a series looking at existential threats to humanity, Jolyon Jenkins asks whether an electromagnetic pulse bomb could send us literally back to the dark agesThe arrival of COVID has brought home to us just how vulnerable we are to external threats, but we've been lucky that it hasn't been a lot worse. So what else is out there that might hit us from nowhere? For many years, some campaigners, particularly on the American right, have been talking up the threat of a nuclear weapon, detonated high in the atmosphere, that could, according to a congressional commission, wipe out 90 per cent of the population in the first 12 months, by bringing down the electric grid and frying electronic devices. They claim that China, North Korea, Russia, and even some terrorist groups might be capable of staging such an attack.Mainstream arms control experts don't give the idea much credence, but they rarely engage with the detail of the argument. So is this a real threat, or just the right's attempt to conjure up an apocalypse that can be survived if you have enough guns, food and defensible real estate?Presenter and producer: Jolyon Jenkins

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  • 04.12.2020
    36 MB
    38:12
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    Generation Covid

    What has the experience of children and young people living in the era of Covid-19 done for their mental health and wellbeing?Mental health researcher Sally Marlow speaks to epidemiologists, clinicians, parents, and young people themselves to try to evaluate how the challenges of 2020 might have impacted our youngest and more vulnerable members of society. In a sector already in need of investment and refreshment, some have called the situation an imminent “second pandemic”, but is that really the case?Epidemiologists have previously worked with door-to-door and school-based questionnaires to try to evaluate what younger people are going through, and this way have tracked the ongoing rise in numbers experiencing mental health needs. But those scientific tools of objective data gathering which are so crucial to determine mental health policy have not been available this year.The lack of social contact and the closure of schools and youth groups, necessitated by lockdown measures, have also taken away much of mental health professionals’ ability to support the children and young people they work with. So both at the frontline and at a policy level mental health professionals have had to find new ways to work.Some trends are coming through, and they are not positive.But of more concern are the extremes of the scales. As with many aspects of our pre-Covid society, it seems it is the inequalities that are being magnified. Many vulnerable children and young are at increased risk, including those in mainstream schooling, and those who are being looked after by the state. And as with many physical diseases elsewhere in society, remote rather than face-to-face provision may be storing up problems for the future, as fewer and fewer satisfactory diagnoses can be made, and it’s not clear whether digital interventions can deliver the support needed.Children and young people, as Anne Longford, Children’s Commissioner for England, tells Sally, are in need of their own Nightingale-scale moment.Presenter: Sally Marlow Producer: Alex Mansfield

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  • 01.12.2020
    36 MB
    38:12
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    Inside the Brain of Jeff Bezos

    David Baker reveals the thinking and the values that have made Jeff Bezos the richest man on the planet, and Amazon the most wildly successful company, even in a year when the global economy faces catastrophe.Speaking to senior colleagues within his businesses, longstanding business partners and analysts, David Baker learns the secrets to Amazon's success, and the impact of Jeff Bezos' ideas on all of the commercial, cultural and now environmental sectors - on Earth and beyond - that have been influenced by his investments and activity.Producer: Jonathan Brunert

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  • 27.11.2020
    37 MB
    38:34
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    Living with the Dragon

    How have recent British governments handled the UK's relationship with China and what does this tell us about the way to live with China today? Nick Robinson talks to former leading politicians, diplomats and officials to cast light on the risks and the rewards. Drawing on his personal experience reporting on prime ministerial visits to China, he recalls telling encounters and the challenges they reveal.Contributors: Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary Lord Charles Powell, former Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Margaret Thatcher Lord Stewart Wood, former adviser to Gordon Brown Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former National Security Adviser Sir Craig Oliver, former Downing Street Director of Communications Tom Fletcher CMG, former Downing Street Foreign Policy Adviser John Gerson CMG, former adviser on China to Margaret Thatcher Katherine Morton, Professor of Global Affairs, Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street Chief of Staff Nick Timothy, former Downing Street Chief of StaffPresenter: Nick Robinson Producer: Sheila Cook

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  • 25.11.2020
    28 MB
    29:59
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    The Corrections:Trojan Horse

    In 2014 an anonymous letter was sent to journalists detailing a 5 step plan to Islamise schools in Birmingham. The so-called Trojan Horse Affair sparked hundreds of articles and several investigations. But the letter was not all it seemed. The Corrections asks, what was going on behind the headlines?Presenter Jo Fidgen speaks to key players, reporters and media watchers about how the coverage measured up to the reality. How did a local education story become a national security issue? And what dilemmas do journalists face when in receipt of an anonymous tip-off?In a 3-part series, Jo explores how two incompatible narratives developed; how the controversial word ‘extremism’ entered the fray; and what the affair revealed about Britishness. Narrative consultant John Yorke is on hand to explain how storytelling techniques possibly influenced the direction the Trojan Horse story took, and why – in the end – we hear only the version that supports our tribe.Presenter: Jo Fidgen Editor: Emma Rippon

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  • 25.11.2020
    27 MB
    28:54
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    Losing It

    Through a set of new poems, Caleb Femi, former Young People's Laureate for London, looks back on his first experiences with sex and explores the pressures on teenage boys around losing their virginity. He speaks to his friend, the writer Yomi Sode, about their experiences growing up; to Nathaniel Cole, a workshop facilitator, writer and public speaker on mental health, masculinity, and relationships; and to a group of 17 year old boys from a London school."I’ve always tried to avoid writing about love and sex and all the clichéd things you’d expect a poet to write about. But then lockdown happened and as many of us know, lockdown has a very reflective effect on you. I found myself going back to the beginning… to my teenage years, to all the things that shaped my ideas about sex, gender, love, intimacy, how I relate to women, and what I thought it was to be a man. And how difficult it was to talk about it openly - to express my concerns, my curiosities, my insecurities. I began writing a new set of poems about my first experiences with sex, and started talking to other men and boys about their experiences. I guess my hope is that, by talking more openly about these things that are sometimes hard or awkward to talk about, things will be a little bit different for young people, for teenagers coming up and trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world."There’s no ceremony that my hands know of But to tremble at the thought of touching you And claiming to know what it is I am touching The history of your skin - the story Of its complexion - the craftsmanship of that birthmark I am an idiot playing the role of a surveyor When the truth is this plain it is believable How you find the patience is the real magic of this moment They said I’d become a man here No such thing has happenedCaleb is a poet and director featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. Using film, photography and music Caleb pushes the boundaries of poetry both on the page, in performance and on digital mediums. He has written and directed short films commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4 and poems by the Tate Modern, The Royal Society for Literature, St Paul's Cathedral, the BBC, the Guardian and many more. Between 2016-2018, Caleb was the Young People's Laureate for London working with young people on a city, national and global level. Caleb performs and speaks internationally on major stages, and at institutions and festivals. He works on global advertising campaigns.Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio in Bristol.

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  • 25.11.2020
    27 MB
    28:52
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    Can I Still Read Harry Potter?

    Journalist and fan Aja Romano examines their decision to close the books on the boy wizard and hears different viewpoints toward Harry Potter and contemporary readership.Aja Romano has been a Harry Potter fan for many years, but after personally disagreeing with statements by their author JK Rowling regarding gender identity, they are considering closing the books for good.Across the world, millions continue to embrace the Wizarding World in all its forms and JK Rowling has received a lot of support for speaking out on an important issue in a personal way.With this in mind Aja assesses the different factors at play in their choice, speaking to cultural experts, academics and fans and considering influences such as social media, trends in fan communities, "cancelling" , literary theory and more. With contributions from critic Sam Leith, writer Gavin Haynes , journalist Sarah Shaffi, Dr Ika Willis and fans Jackson Bird and Patricio Tarantino.'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' film trailer clip courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, Director: Chris Columbus.Produced by Sam Peach

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  • 12.11.2020
    27 MB
    28:49
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    East Meets West

    The UK may have a divide north and south, but how about east and west? Chris Mason takes a virtual journey from Whitby in the east to the Lake District in the west to find out. Chris was born and brought up in the Yorkshire Dales, straddling the centre of the country, so he has had a foot in both camps. But is there a real difference in the east from the west? Certainly the weather, the geology, and the landscapes are contrasting in nature. Chris Mason talks to artists, poets, farmers and journalists about their different identities east and west, and listens carefully as the accents change on his imagined journey across the country.

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  • 12.11.2020
    27 MB
    28:50
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    Playing With The Dead

    Art has long promised to transport us, to enable us to step outside ourselves and encounter experiences we never would otherwise. Now Jordan Erica Webber explores a possibility only video games can offer, a way to commune with long-dead friends and relatives, sometimes years after their deaths.This experience has a familiar ring to it – finding a photo, a video, or a loved one’s notes scrawled in the margins of a book – but it’s also profoundly different, because in video games you can get to interact with your loved one, to play with their ghost.Sometimes this is accidental: a deceased parent’s data left as a high score, a ghostly shape that races you to the finish line, or Artificial Intelligence storing some part of the person and surprising us with them later. But some game designers have memorialised loved ones in their art intentionally, like Dan Hett, who made a series of microgames about the loss of his brother Martyn in the Manchester Arena bombing, or Ryan and Amy Green who coded their son Joel into a video game character that has already outlived him.Can you bear to beat the high score and erase that recording forever? And when do the Greens stop playing with Joel? This programme examines profound questions that have been posed in all kinds of art from poetry to sculpture to performance, and asks what it means when the ghosts are interactive.Producers: Giles Edwards and Patrick Cowling

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  • 12.11.2020
    28 MB
    29:13
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    The Year the Music Stopped

    For musician and poet Arlo Parks, 2020 was set to be massive. Festivals, a US tour. Then the world shifted. Her gigs were postponed, festivals cancelled. We watched Glastonbury's empty fields from our sofas where Arlo played, but only for the cows.So instead, she did gigs online, put out new tracks to wide critical acclaim, wrote new music and published poetry on social media. Her thoughtful, intimate music has been the soundtrack to many people's life in lockdown. But still, live performing is on hold. Her fans, once singing her lyrics back at her at shows, feel very far away. She left a bit of her heart out there, on the road.The Coronavirus pandemic has struck a huge blow to everyone involved in the music industry. While the world gets back to some kind of normal, Arlo explores what the psychological effect will be of a world with - for now - no live music in it. She asks other artists she admires like poet and hip-hop artist Kojey Radical, Ed O'Brien from Radiohead, Yannis Philippakis from the band Foals and indie singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, how they've dealt with the void. How have they managed the impact on their creative process and where do the silver linings lie? She asks them what lasting impact this time will have on their live performances once the world's venues are open for business again. And she connects with her fans, the people she can't wait to get back to see in the flesh, down in the auditorium.Presented by Arlo Parks. Produced by Clare Salisbury for BBC Audio in Bristol.Photo by Adrian Lee.

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  • 12.11.2020
    29 MB
    30:18
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    The Karen Meme

    Tricky is the place to discuss difficult questions away from the bear pit of social media.Drag artist Vanity Von Glow, poet Iona Lee, relationship & sex educator, Esther De La Ford and actor Karen Bartke discuss the 'Karen' meme.Karen is a slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman, who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people's behaviours. It’s similar to the male term 'Gammon' in that they both refer to furious opinionated white people. ‘Karen’ began as shorthand in the US's black community but was popularised right across all sorts of service industries.For the Karen on our panel it puts her off complaining about anything, in case she's accused of ‘being such a Karen' especially because that's her name! But is it now being used simply as a means to shut women down when they express an opinion that usually a man doesn't like? Who is the arbiter of when the meme is being correctly used or is that simply the nature of these things that once they're out they take on a life of their own?Producers: Myles Bonnar and Peter McManus Editor: Anthony Browne A BBC Scotland production for Radio 4

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  • 12.11.2020
    14 MB
    15:09
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    A History of Ghosts: Ancient Ghosts

    'When was the first time a human felt haunted?'Kirsty Logan travels back to the world’s earliest civilisations to uncover where tales of ghosts first emerged.From the earliest evidence of belief in an afterlife, seen in decorated bones in early grave sites, to Ancient Egyptian letters to the dead, and predatory Chindi unleashed to wreak deadly vengeance in the snowy wastes of North America, Kirsty tells the tales of the spirits that haunted our most ancient forebears, and became the common ancestor for ghost stories across all of human history.

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  • 12.11.2020
    20 MB
    21:17
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    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 3

    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigate series into the death of young musician, Sean Walsh.Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better.Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life.Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them.Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont

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  • 12.11.2020
    16 MB
    17:26
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    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 2

    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigate series into the death of young musician, Sean Walsh.Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better.Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life.Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them.Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont

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  • 12.11.2020
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    24:34
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    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 1

    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures is a three-part investigative series into the death of young musician Sean Walsh.Sean was 20 when he found out his cancer was back. He’d been in remission for less than two years and was determined that this time round, he would not have conventional treatment. He turned down chemotherapy in the hope that he could cure his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through an alternative approach, including a vegan diet, cannabis oil and coffee enemas. Throughout his treatment he used controversial thermography scans to monitor his progress and was convinced he was getting better.Journalist Layla Wright followed Sean’s journey on social media as he attempted to heal himself, and for a while, it seemed to be working. He raised thousands of pounds to fund his treatment and beat the doctor’s prognosis. But in January 2019 Sean died, and his family believe alternative treatments cost him his life.Through the testimony of those closest to him, and through his own words, Layla explores why Sean – and many others – took this approach. She meets the family of Linda Halliday who also relied on thermography scans for reassurance that alternative treatments were working and investigates the clinic that provided them.Presenter and producer: Layla Wright Producer: Ruth Evans Executive producer: Matthew Price Sound design: Emma Crowe Editor: Emma Close and Philly Beaumont

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  • 12.11.2020
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    19:52
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    Blood Lands: Common Purpose – Episode 5

    The final episode of Blood Lands - a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa.A group of white men are on trial accused of murdering two black South Africans, but as a long and explosive trial comes to an end, could muddled medical evidence see them walk free? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring racial tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an dramatic trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution. When a whole community is on trial who pays the price?Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney

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  • 12.11.2020
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    16:43
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    Blood Lands: Betrayal – Episode 4

    Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa.A family betrayal leads to a murder trial in a small farming town in South Africa. But who is telling the truth about a frenzied attack that left two black farm workers dead, and a community bitterly divided on racial lines? Blood Lands is murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney

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  • 12.11.2020
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    18:20
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    Blood Lands: Shaking the Tree – Episode 3

    Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa.Police investigating a suspected double murder in a small South African farming community uncover crucial new evidence. But will it be enough to break the farmers’ wall of silence and solve a case that has divided a town on racial lines? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the "rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney

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  • 12.11.2020
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    17:37
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    Blood Lands: Say Nothing – Episode 2

    Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa.A white farming family falls silent following the brutal deaths of two black workers. Were the dead men really thieves? Or has South Africa’s tortured past come back to haunt a racially divided community? Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the “rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution. When a whole community is on trial who pays the price?Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney

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  • 12.11.2020
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    17:13
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    Blood Lands: Blood on the Wall – Episode 1

    Blood Lands is a true story told in five parts which takes us to the heart of modern South Africa.At dusk on a warm evening in 2016, two men arrive, unexpectedly, at a remote South African farmhouse. The frenzy that follows will come to haunt a community, destroying families, turning neighbours into traitors, prompting street protests, threats of violence, and dividing the small farming and tourist town of Parys along racial lines. Blood Lands is a murder investigation, a political drama, a courtroom thriller, and a profound exploration of the enduring tensions threatening the “rainbow nation". Over the course of three years, correspondent Andrew Harding has followed every twist of the police’s hunt for the killers, the betrayals that opened the door to an explosive trial, and the fortunes of all those involved – from the dead men’s families to the handful of men controversially selected for prosecution.Presenter, Andrew Harding Producer, Becky Lipscombe Editor, Bridget Harney

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  • 12.11.2020
    28 MB
    29:23
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    Broad Spectrum

    Autism is a lifelong condition, often seen as particularly ‘male’. Yet a growing number of women, and those assigned female at birth, are being diagnosed as autistic in their 30s, 40s, 50s - and beyond. Writer and performer Helen Keen is one of them, and she’s found this diagnosis has helped her make sense of many aspects of her life, from growing up with selective mutism, to struggling to fit in as a young adult. In this programme Helen asks why she, like a growing number of others, had to wait till she was well into adulthood before finding her place on the autistic spectrum. She discovers that for many years psychologists believed that autism was rarely seen in women and non-binary people. Now it is accepted that people often display autistic traits in different ways, for example, they may learn to ‘camouflage’ and behave in a neurotypical way - but at what cost? Helen talks to others like her who have had late diagnoses and finds out if knowing they are on the autistic spectrum has given them insight into how they can navigate the pressures on them from contemporary society. She also explores how we can value and celebrate neurodiversity.Helen also talks to psychologists Professor Francesca Happé , of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, and Dr Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University about their research into autism.

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  • 12.11.2020
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    38:15
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    Universities in Crisis

    Sam Gyimah, former minister for universities in Theresa May's government, asks if Britain's universities can survive the crisis they now face.Many are calling the immense challenge that Britain's universities now face an existential crisis. With access to leaders of universities from the most traditional to the most modern, Sam Gyimah explores whether the business and education models for Brtain's higher education sector are fit for purpose. The Covid pandemic is significant but when that crisis comes together with the major issues that Britain's universities already face over their funding, it's clear that the coming academic year will be like no other in living memory.Universities in Crisis examines the changes now challenging students, teachers, researchers and all those connected to higher education.Producer: Jonathan Brunert

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  • 12.11.2020
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    37:50
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    Code-Switching

    Like many young black people, Lucrece Grehoua is an expert in code-switching - used to changing her voice, accent and mannerisms when she enters white-majority spaces. But should she really have to? In this programme, Lucrece reveals the cost of hiding who we really are in the workplace and explores the mechanics of code-switching, a term first used to describe the experience of African-American students in the 1970s. She shares her own story of being taught to become “a palatable black girl with a soft voice and an unceasing smile”. And she talks to other young professionals about the steps they’ve taken to fit in – from adopting a “white voice” in the office to changing how they behave and switching up their look. We also hear from those who, tired of code-switching, are daring to be themselves in the corporate world.Lucrece speaks to: Her friends Emmanuel Ajayi, Cheryl Jordan Osei and Ivan Her Mum and brother Steve Criminal barrister Leon Nathan Lynch Sociolinguist Devyani Sharma from the Accent Bias Britain Project Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man, A Satirical Guide to Conquering the World While Black Elizabeth Bananuka, founder of BME PR Pros and The Blueprint Social Mobility Commissioner and lawyer Sandra WallacePicture Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Led by the Science

    Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the UK government has stated that its decisions have been “led by the science”. This pithy phrase implies there is a fixed body of knowledge from a consensus of scientists that provides a road map of what to do to stop the pandemic. But there isn’t.And if decisions made by politicians turn out not to work, then who gets the blame? Is it the science?While some scientists have willingly appeared in support of the actions announced, many researchers are furious with the way that the government has used science. They point out that scientists from different disciplines have different expertise to bring to the discussions about what to do in a pandemic caused by a novel virus. Public health doctors say that their experience of local communities has been ignored in favour of mathematical models. Virologists feel their knowledge of how infection works has been sidelined. And psychologists believe the government has taken the idea of nudge as the only way to understand the behaviour of the population. Scientific knowledge changes through debate and discussion, in particular when we are confronted by a novel situation.Philip Ball explores the relationship between science and political decision making in the pandemic.Producer: Alex Mansfield for BBC Radio 4

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Taking on Trump

    James Naughtie examines Joe Biden's chances in the forthcoming US election as he tries to beat president Donald Trump at the polls this November.Donald Trump was elected on the promise to 'drain the swamp' in Washington, and in response the Democrats have chosen a candidate who is from the heart of the political establishment.As a state senator for 36 years and then president Obama's VP for eight more, Joe Biden now carries the standard in the strangest American presidential election of modern times, its character completely changed by the coronavirus pandemic.While Mr Biden is 'Washington Man' epitomised, he has always presented himself as the common man and in this programme we chart Joe Biden's blue-collar roots, his political career, and ask what can he and the Democratic Party offer America?Can a party with its own internal divisions unify to beat the Republicans? And is 77-year-old Joe Biden ready to battle with an incumbent president who is a proven political street fighter?Presenter: James Naughtie Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Fothermather

    When Belfast poet Gail McConnell's son was growing in her partner's womb, Gail was writing poems exploring what it means to be a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship. Gail's poem 'Untitled/Villanelle' lets go of the binaries of motherhood and fatherhood and imagines these roles in more fluid terms as a parent with a bit of both...a Fothermather. We meet Gail, her partner Beth and their son Finn as Gail tries to find language for a family structure we don't have words for yet.Producer: Conor Garrett

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  • 12.11.2020
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    38:07
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    The Homeless Hotel

    Simon had been sleeping in shop doorways in Manchester for three years when the coronavirus pandemic reached the UK. Suddenly, as the government released emergency funding to get people sleeping rough off the streets during lockdown, Simon found himself being offered an en suite room at the Holiday Inn. This is the story of the unprecedented operation to get the country’s street homeless inside - told through one hotel in Manchester. The experience has been transformational for some, including Simon - proof that radical change can happen and happen fast. Government ministers say this is an opportunity to end rough sleeping “for good”. But homelessness charities are warning that as emergency funding runs out, people will end up back on the streets. So what will happen to Simon and others like him as the country moves out of lockdown?Reporter/Producer: Simon Maybin

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  • 12.11.2020
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    14:17
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    How They Made Us Doubt Everything: 1. Big Oil's Big Crisis

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured.In this episode we take you to an oil company’s boardroom as they plan their response to the ‘crisis mentality’ that was emerging after the long hot summer of 1988. 5,000 people died in the heat wave, coinciding with the moment NASA scientist Jim Hansen announced that a ‘greenhouse effect’ was ‘changing our climate now’. This looked like a battle for the survival of the oil industry.This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change. With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.Producer: Phoebe Keane for BBC Radio 4 Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev

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  • 12.11.2020
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    A Deadly Trade

    The bodies of 39 Vietnamese men and women discovered in a lorry container in Essex highlighted the growing problem of illegal and dangerous journeys into the UK. With police and governments pledging to do more to uncover illegal smuggling operations Radio 4 speaks to refugees, lorry drivers and to some of the smugglers behind this deadly tradeRecent coverage from Greece has highlighted the pressures on borders as desperate people risk everything to cross from Turkey. Dangerous Trade starts by tracking a dinghy full of refugees landing on the island of Lesbos and heading for the now infamous Moria camp. It was constructed for 3,100 people but now has a population of more than 20,000 men, women and children.On the camp refugees speak about their dreams of a new life and many hope to make it to the UK. Following the route of some of those that have, Sue Mitchell joins them in Dunkirk as they negotiate with smugglers and weigh up the risks of crossing the Chanel illegally by boat or stowing away in lorries bound for England. Last year, whilst recording another documentary for Radio 4, Sue met a 14 year old girl who was single-handedly talking to smugglers and raising the money from relatives who had already reached the UK. She details what happens as she and her siblings make the dangerous journey and she reflects on her new life in Britain.Those who make the crossing know they are lucky to have survived. The deaths in the Essex container lorry revealed the shocking risks – as do reports of others who have perished at sea and on land. For the lorry drivers who inadvertently end up smuggling refugees, there’s growing anger that more isn’t being done at the borders. Governments have promised to work together to tackle this growing problem, but solutions are still a long way off.Producer/Reporter: Sue Mitchell

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Summer with Greta

    Everywhere she goes, people ask for selfies and tell her how wonderful she is. But what’s it really like to be the world’s most famous climate campaigner when you’re still a teenager? In this revelatory personal essay which she wrote for Swedish Radio, Greta Thunberg describes her journey to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly, observing the effects of climate change first-hand, her encounters with both powerful and ordinary people and a terrifying trip in a yacht across the Atlantic.This Swedish Radio production is introduced by Justin Rowlatt, the BBC's chief environment correspondent, and Greta's essay is interspersed with excerpts of her favourite music.Producer: Mattias Österlund Sound engineer/technician Lisa Abrahamsson

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  • 12.11.2020
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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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  • 12.11.2020
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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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  • 12.11.2020
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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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  • 12.11.2020
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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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  • 12.11.2020
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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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