The Documentary Podcast podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Original BBC documentary storytelling, bringing award-winning journalism, unheard voices, amazing culture and “unputdownable” audio. New episodes every week from The Documentary, Assignment, Heart and Soul, In the Studio, BBC OS Conversations and The Fifth Floor.

Original BBC documentary storytelling, bringing award-winning journalism, unheard voices, amazing culture and “unputdownable” audio. New episodes every week from The Documentary, Assignment, Heart and Soul, In the Studio, BBC OS Conversations and The Fifth Floor.

 

#2000

Assignment: The Caspian crisis

The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world. Bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan it spans 371,000 square kilometres and bridges Europe and Central Asia. It’s fed mainly by Russia’s Volga and Ural rivers and the sea is not only rich in oil and gas but is also home to numerous rare and endemic species, including the Caspian seal and 90% of the world’s remaining wild sturgeon. But the Caspian Sea is in crisis. Climate change and the damming of Russia’s rivers are causing the coastline to recede at an alarming rate. The sea’s levels have fallen by a metre in the last 4 years, a trend likely to increase. Recent studies have shown that the levels could drop between 9 and 18 metres by 2100. Last June Kazakh government officials declared a state of emergency over the Caspian. Iran has also raised the alarm with the UN. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent travels to Kazakhstan for Assignment to report from the shores of the Caspian Sea on what can be done to prevent an environmental disaster. ... Read more

3 hrs Ago

28 MINS

28:20

3 hrs Ago


#1999

In the Studio: Zoë Barrett and Patrick Eley

Zoë Barrett and Patrick Eley have a unique way of thinking about space. They know just how to guide people from A to B with ease, no matter how higgledy-piggledy the building or complex the environment. Zoë and Patrick consider every detail of their work carefully, with aspects such as shape, colour, typeface, graphic design, materials and iconography forming an integral part of their strategically placed signage and maps. Their job is to make sense of confusion with beautiful, simple, modern designs and attractive invitations to ‘walk this way’. ... Read more

Yesterday

26 MINS

26:29

Yesterday


#1998

Bonus: The Global Jigsaw

A bonus episode from The Global Jigsaw podcast. “China is not buying Africa, it is building Africa” is the view from Beijing. How is this landing with local audiences? There have been hints of a cooling down of Sino-African friendship. For this episode, the team travels to the Kenyan capital Nairobi to get a sense of Chinese influence on the ground, and understand why Beijing has chosen it as a hub for its media operation in Africa. For more, go to bbcworldservice.com/globaljigsaw or search for The Global Jigsaw wherever you get your BBC podcasts. Producer: Kriszta Satori Presenter: Krassi Twigg ... Read more

Yesterday

41 MINS

41:01

Yesterday


#1997

Labelling the world: The power of DSM

The number of labels to describe different types of mental disorder has mushroomed in recent years. New categories include Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Prolonged Grief Disorder and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Many classifications have been created or influenced by a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Advocates of DSM say labels help people take ownership of their situation, provide them with answers, treatments and social support. Critics think it creates stigma, medicalises normality and leads to a glut of unnecessary and harmful drug prescriptions. UK based musician Jay Emme asks if labels help or hinders in everyday life and whether it’s time to drop the terms ‘mental’ and ‘disorder’? ... Read more

19 May 2024

48 MINS

48:16

19 May 2024


#1996

The Fifth Floor: Message in a bottle to North Korea

Park Jung-oh defected to South Korea from the North 26 years ago. Hearing how North Koreans in the Hwanghae Province suffer from food shortage, he started throwing bottles filled with rice and a USB stick into the Yellow Sea, hoping they would land on North Korean shores. Did his messages ever reach anyone? Rachel Lee from BBC Korean brings us this extraordinary story. Plus, Madina Dahiru Maishanu, the youngest presenter at BBC Hausa, shares stories from her award-winning show, Mahangar Zamani, and Thomas Naadi tells us about Stevie Wonder's love affair with Ghana. Produced by Alice Gioia and Caroline Ferguson. (Photo: Faranak Amidi. Credit: Tricia Yourkevich) ... Read more

18 May 2024

26 MINS

26:36

18 May 2024


#1995

BBC OS Conversations: The floods in Brazil

Vast areas of the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul remain under water after the worst flooding in 80 years. Homes have been destroyed, thousands are without power or drinking water, and entire towns remain cut-off. The torrential rains began in Rio Grande do Sul at the end of April, saturating the ground and bursting the banks of the Taquari and Caí rivers. Those rivers flow into the Guaíba, which has led to severe flooding in the state capital, Porto Alegre. We bring together three residents of Porto Alegre and volunteer rescue workers to share their experiences of the flooding. ... Read more

18 May 2024

23 MINS

23:15

18 May 2024


#1994

Heart and Soul: Glorifying God through wine

When Father Père Basile was 12 years of age, he started thinking of a religious life. But it never crossed his mind that he would someday be living in a cloistered abbey in the south of France producing wine. This monastery has incredible history as it is the site of the oldest papal vineyard in the world, dating back to the 14th Century. When Pope Clement V moved the papal capital from Rome to Avignon in France, his palace needed a steady stream of wine and so the vineyard was planted in Le Barroux. Presenter Colm Flynn travels to the abbey to meet Fr Père Basile, and hears his amazing story of growing up as the son of wealthy, world-travelling diplomats, and turning his back on that to pursue a deeper calling in life. ... Read more

17 May 2024

26 MINS

26:30

17 May 2024


#1993

Bonus: The Global Story

A bonus episode from The Global Story podcast. EncroChat: The crime family brought down by their violent messages. The Global Story brings you one big story every weekday, making sense of the news with our experts around the world. Insights you can trust, from the BBC, with Katya Adler. For more, go to bbcworldservice.com/globalstory or search for The Global Story wherever you get your BBC podcasts. This programme contains descriptions some of you may find upsetting. ... Read more

16 May 2024

25 MINS

25:58

16 May 2024


#1992

Bonus: Lives Less Ordinary

A bonus episode from the Lives Less Ordinary podcast. Manni Coe’s brother Reuben has Down’s syndrome, and had become isolated and non-verbal in a UK care home during the Covid pandemic – so he decided to stage a lockdown rescue mission. For more extraordinary personal stories from around the world, go to bbcworldservice.com/liveslessordinary or search for Live Less Ordinary wherever you get your BBC podcasts. Presenter: Jo Fidgen Producer: May Cameron ... Read more

15 May 2024

41 MINS

41:01

15 May 2024


#1991

Assignment: Return of the Benin Bronzes

In 1897 British colonial forces attacked and looted the ancient Kingdom of Benin in what is now southern Nigeria. Thousands of precious objects were taken, including stunning sculptures made of bronze, brass, ivory and terracotta. Some were decorative, some were sacred. Known collectively as the Benin Bronzes, they were famed for their craftsmanship and beauty. The majority ended up in museums around the world. But ever since, Nigerians have been demanding their return. The Bronzes became symbols of the wider global campaign for restitution by former colonial powers. Now finally, some have been handed back. Peter Macjob travels to Nigeria to track the return of the Bronzes, and find out what it means for Nigeria to have these lost treasures come home. ... Read more

14 May 2024

28 MINS

28:06

14 May 2024


#1990

Crime and punishment in South Africa

Outside of a war zone, South Africa is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The country’s murder rate is now at a 20-year high. With trust in the police falling, communities say they have no option but to defend themselves. BBC Africa Eye’s Ayanda Charlie joins two volunteer units, a team of farmers near Pretoria, and a group in Diepsloot, a poor township near Johannesburg. We see the risks they take, and ask who holds patrols accountable. ... Read more

12 May 2024

26 MINS

26:29

12 May 2024


#1989

In the Studio: Cressida Cowell

Enter the magical world of children’s writer Cressida Cowell. She created the hugely successful How to Train Your Dragon series, which continues to excite children across the globe and has been turned into Oscar nominated animated films. For her latest series, Cressida explores teenage magic and Iron Age warriors. As she works on the illustrations for the second book in this new trilogy, The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic, she gives fellow children’s author Michael Rosen an insight into how she creates these worlds. ... Read more

12 May 2024

26 MINS

26:29

12 May 2024


#1988

The Fifth Floor: China’s global mining for green tech

The BBC's new Global China Unit tell Faranak Amidi about their investigation into Chinese mines overseas, and what it's like to work in them and live near them. ... Read more

11 May 2024

27 MINS

27:09

11 May 2024


#1987

OS Conversations: Mass tourism

The pandemic stopped most of us travelling anywhere, but now the United Nations predicts that international tourism will soon return to pre-Covid levels. While that might be welcome if you’re making money from tourism, the number of visitors can also cause problems. Hosts James Reynolds and Lukwesa Burak discuss how you balance the tourist dollar. Residents of Venice, Bali and Spain’s Canary Islands discuss their concerns, ranging from a lack of infrastructure and non-tourist housing to cultural insensitivity and the distribution of tourism income. “Tenerife has about one million residents and six million tourists visit every year,” says Brian. “With over 36 percent of the population living in or at risk of poverty, it’s obvious that mass tourism has failed the islanders.” We also discuss the role of travel influencers who share videos and photos with a mass audience on social media. Kristen Sarah in Costa Rica, who runs @Hopscotchtheglobe vlog, says: “As influencers, it’s our messaging that encourages and inspires others to follow in our footsteps,” she says. “A photo is just a photo. But if you don’t take in the place that you’re visiting, then what’s the point of even going?” A Boffin Media production in partnership with the BBC OS team. ... Read more

11 May 2024

23 MINS

23:12

11 May 2024


#1986

Heart and Soul: A Colombian Christmas in February

In the heart of Colombia, very special Christmas celebrations take place not in December but in February. Its roots lie in the days of slavery when many Afro-Colombians were serving their masters' festivities during that time. In an act of cultural and racial resistance that has been preserved for nearly 200 years, Christmas celebrations in Quinamayo are held 40 days after the traditional birth date of Jesus and the amount of time that the Virgin Mary is said to have rested after delivery, and right after the end of harvest season. Christina Noreiga asks how the celebrations came about and why they have a special magic for both young and old. ... Read more

10 May 2024

26 MINS

26:30

10 May 2024


#1985

Twin towns

The small rural town of Igbo-Ora in south-western Nigeria proclaims itself to be the “twin capital of the world". It has an astonishingly high twin birth rate. Everyone here wants to have twins because in Yoruba culture they are believed to bring good fortune and are celebrated almost as deities. And yet, in another part of Nigeria, near the capital Abuja, a different community once viewed twins with fear. Twins were seen as the manifestations of evil spirits. There were even reports that some twins were killed as infants. Nigerian journalist Peter Macjob visits both communities, to hear about the lives of twins and explore the power of traditional beliefs. ... Read more

09 May 2024

26 MINS

26:34

09 May 2024


#1984

Bonus: World of Secrets: The Disciples investigation live show

A bonus episode from the World of Secrets podcast. Inside the World of Secrets investigation – the story of the journalism behind The Disciples. Hear from the journalists and the whistleblowers about the investigation into TB Joshua. A special episode with season 2 presenters Charlie Northcott and Yemisi Adegoke, producer Rob Byrne and whistleblowers Rae and Ajoke. Hosted by Hannah Ajala, presenter of the Love, Janessa podcast, and recorded in front of an audience at World Service Presents in London. Plus we hear from the presenter of the first season of World of Secrets, Rianna Croxford, about how she investigated allegations of sexual exploitation made against the former CEO of fashion giant Abercrombie and Fitch. Season 2 of World of Secrets is a story of miracles, faith and manipulation – the cult of Nigerian prophet TB Joshua. Content warning: This episode contains references to sexual, physical and psychological abuse. If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this podcast, please contact support organisations in your own country. For a list of organisations in the UK that can provide support for survivors of sexual abuse, go to bbc.co.uk/actionline If you are suffering distress and need support, details of help available in many countries can be found at Befrienders Worldwide: www.befrienders.org ... Read more

08 May 2024

44 MINS

44:53

08 May 2024


#1983

Assignment: Italy's mafia whistleblower

Last year in Italy the biggest anti-mafia trial in 30 years reached a climax. On the stand were the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta: they are estimated to run 80 percent of Europe’s cocaine and to make more money in a year than McDonalds and Deutsche Bank put together. With access to mafioso-turned-collaborator Emanuele Mancuso, journalist Francisco Garcia looks at why Emanuele testified against his powerful family. What has this trial meant for the 'Ndrangheta? And has it changed life for Calabrians today? ... Read more

07 May 2024

26 MINS

26:38

07 May 2024


#1982

In the Studio: Abhishek Singh

Indian artist Abhishek Singh’s comic books have sold more than half a million copies and been translated into Italian, Spanish, French and English. His interpretation of the Indian myth, Krishna: A Journey Within, was the first graphic novel by an Indian writer and artist to be published in American comic book history. Abhishek has long included environmental themes in his work, but after travelling round the mountains and forests of India, and spending time with elephants in particular, he realised that most mythic tales concern kings and queens and battles, all about humans and human activity. He decided it was time to create a new non-human mythology, one which centres on our vulnerable environment and the animals who live within it. Paul Waters joins him in Delhi as he paints one of his pictures for his new graphic novel The Hymns of Medhini. ... Read more

06 May 2024

26 MINS

26:29

06 May 2024


#1981

The Fifth Floor: Love and politics in Russia

Nataliya Zotova of BBC Russian tells us how Yulia Navalnaya has stepped in for her husband since his death and how there is somewhat of a precedent for this in Russia. Plus Ikechukwu Kalu explains how the BBC Igbo social media team use proverbs to connect with their audience. Produced by Caroline Ferguson and Alice Gioia (Photo: Faranak Amidi. Credit: Tricia Yourkevich) ... Read more

04 May 2024

26 MINS

26:32

04 May 2024