Loading…

The Documentary Podcast podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

 

#300

Uruguay’s Cash Cow

Cattle are part of Uruguay’s DNA. There are around 4 cows to every one of their tiny 3.5 million population of people and beef is their main export. But how do they compete against their mighty, better known neighbours; Argentina and Brazil? In this week’s Assignment Jane Chambers travels to the country’s lush, green pastures to find out about how they keep their cash cow flourishing. She hears from cattle farmers and other people in the beef industry about how they’re carving out a niche for themselves and future proofing against the threats of climate change. Produced and presented by: Jane Chambers Country Producer: Lucinda Elliot Studio Mix: Rod Farquhar Production coordinator: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman Series Editor: Penny Murphy ... Read more

02 Feb 2023

27 MINS

27:23

02 Feb 2023


#299

The Night Witches of World War Two

Orna Merchant learns how, during World War Two, a desperate Soviet Union created three all-female aerial combat units. The most celebrated of these was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Using Polikarpov Po-2 wooden biplanes, as the aviators approached their target they would cut their engines and glide in to drop their bombs. The eerie sight and sound of this – added to the discovery of them having all women crews - led German forces to nickname them ‘Nachthexen’ - the Night Witches. ... Read more

31 Jan 2023

27 MINS

27:10

31 Jan 2023


#298

A short history of sadness

How do humans cope with sadness? Is it something to be avoided at all costs or part of the human condition? Should we dwell on our sadness, or flee from it? Author Helen Russell explores humanity's history of gloom, and the cultural differences in our approach to tackling it. Helen goes to Lisbon to explore their relationship with melancholy, communicated through a uniquely mournful genre of music called Fado, and an untranslatable word "saudade". She learns about the service which sends a handsome man to wipe away tears in Japan, and hears about joy, sadness and mourning with a Ghanian poet. ... Read more

28 Jan 2023

48 MINS

48:29

28 Jan 2023


#297

Babies and families

Several countries are experiencing a fall in the number of babies being born and this has potentially serious consequences. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society. The problem is an increasingly elderly population and not enough younger people to keep the country ticking over. China is seeing record low birth rates and South Korea has the lowest rate of women having babies in the world. Youtubers Sarah and Kyuho in the South Korean capital Seoul, describe some of the pressures and reactions they experienced when they said they are not planning to have kids. ... Read more

28 Jan 2023

24 MINS

24:26

28 Jan 2023


#296

Cuba–United States relations

Cuba and the United States share a long, complex history. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 to Fidel Castro's Cuba, these neighbours have often had an uneasy relationship. Claire Graham speaks with Ana Maria Roura, a BBC World Service journalist and Cuban native, to understand the history between the two nations. ... Read more

28 Jan 2023

18 MINS

18:56

28 Jan 2023


#295

Iran Protests: Tales from the frontline

Why did people take to the streets, risking arrest and a barrage of bullets? After protests turned violent and hundreds of people were killed, four Iranians tell the story of why they risked their lives. What has been happening in Iran to drive them out onto the streets to face bullets? ‘Agrin’ tells Phoebe Keane she’s tired of being objectified as a woman, and having no faith that the authorities will take sexual assault seriously when the police themselves are accused of raping prisoners. Mahsoud tells how he was shot during a protest but feared going to the hospital in case the authorities put him in jail. When plain clothed police loitered outside his family home, he decided to leave Iran. Still bleeding and with a metal pellet lodged in his ear impairing his hearing, he finally made it across the border to Iraq. ‘Nazy’ tells of being arrested by the morality police while walking to work and being shoved in a van as the heels on her shoes were too high. She started to protest every day and now walks through the streets with her hair blowing in the wind, an act of defiance. ‘Farah’ remembers a time in Iran when women could dance and sing in public and protests because she wants her daughter to live a life without fear. Presenter: Phoebe Keane Producers: Ed Butler, Ali Hamedani, Khosro Isfahani and Taraneh Stone Series editor: Penny Murphy ... Read more

26 Jan 2023

26 MINS

26:28

26 Jan 2023


#294

Sierra Leone's children of war

In 2002 photojournalist Caroline Irby and former BBC reporter Tom McKinley arrived in Sierra Leone to cover the fallout from the country’s brutal conflict. They travelled with children caught up in the fighting; as they were reunited with their families. Now, just over two decades on, Caroline returns to West Africa to track them down. ... Read more

24 Jan 2023

28 MINS

28:02

24 Jan 2023


#293

The Black Book

As the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union swept over vast areas of Ukraine and Belorussia from the summer of 1941, over three million Jews were deliberately targeted for annihilation. Shot, hung, butchered, a million and a half Jewish souls were buried in vast pits in Babi Yar, Rumbula, Mariupol, Minsk, Kyiv and Riga. Many accounts began to flood into the Soviet Union where journalist and writer Ilya Ehrenburg began gathering testimonies of the mass murder. This became The Black Book, a chronicle of the Nazi extermination of Soviet Jews. Historian Catherine Merridale travels to Riga, Latvia and Yad Vashem, where the Black Book was smuggled, to uncover this complex story of loss, silence and rediscovery. ... Read more

21 Jan 2023

50 MINS

50:28

21 Jan 2023


#292

Yiddish glory: Jewish refugees in Central Asia

During World War Two, approximately 1.6 million Soviet, Polish and Romanian Jews survived by escaping to Soviet Central Asia and Siberia, avoiding imminent death in ghettos, firing squads and killing centres. Many of them wrote music about these horrors as the Holocaust unfolded. Singer Alice Zawadzski, whose own family found themselves on a similar journey to Central Asia, and historian Anna Shternshis of the University of Toronto, who led the project to bring these songs back to life, travel to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to retrace the journeys of those Jewish refugees who became music composers. ... Read more

21 Jan 2023

50 MINS

50:35

21 Jan 2023


#291

Afghan women

Since the Taliban returned to power some 18 months ago, women in Afghanistan have been removed from nearly all areas of public life. They are barred from secondary schools, universities and most workplaces and cannot even socialise in public parks. As Afghanistan faces a growing humanitarian crisis, we bring together three students in the country to share their experiences of life under Taliban rule. We catch up with three young women who used to compete in Afghanistan. Footballer, Najma, tells us that in the country many girls wish they had been born boys. We speak to two politicians who had fled the country when the Taliban returned to power. ... Read more

21 Jan 2023

24 MINS

24:03

21 Jan 2023


#290

Roe v Wade and abortion in America

Fifty years ago, Jane Roe become the centre of a ruling that would fuel US politics for the following decades. The Roe v Wade case gave women the constitutional right to abortion, until 2022 when it was overturned by the US Supreme Court. Claire Graham speaks with Katty Kay about the 1973 legal case, the legacy of that ruling and how abortion became such a central issue in contemporary American politics. ... Read more

21 Jan 2023

18 MINS

18:33

21 Jan 2023


#289

A return to Paradise

In 2018 the town of Paradise in hills of northern California was wiped out by one of the worst wildfires in California's history. The disaster made headlines around the world - regarded as a symbol of the dangers posed by climate change. So what does the future hold for communities like Paradise in a region increasingly threatened by wildfire? Four years on, Alex Last traveled to Paradise to meet the survivors who are rebuilding their town. Photo: A home burns as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. (Josh Edelson /AFP via Getty Images) Reporter and producer: Alex Last Sound mix: Rod Farquar Series Editor: Penny Murphy Production coordinator: Iona Hammond ... Read more

19 Jan 2023

26 MINS

26:27

19 Jan 2023


#288

What do you think you are? Part two

There’s growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious but they possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. In the second part of this two-part series, Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals and the ethical implications this has on animal welfare and our relationship with animals. ... Read more

17 Jan 2023

29 MINS

29:16

17 Jan 2023


#287

The price of citizenship

What does it mean to be a citizen? Is it about belonging, or about convenience? Katy Long examines two trends which offer stark alternatives: countries which remove citizenship (or want to), and those which sell it. Sharing stories from Belarus, the Dominican Republic, Malta and Kuwait reveals how very differently different countries think about these questions, about identity, and about the powerful forces shaping our world and our lives, forces over which few of us have any power. ... Read more

14 Jan 2023

50 MINS

50:10

14 Jan 2023


#286

Covid in China

When it came to tackling Covid, China has been among the strictest on the planet. There have been almost three years of travel restrictions, testing and lockdowns. Host James Reynolds also chats with Yanni, Lex and David, who discuss what it has been like to live under China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy and how they have all recently had the disease, following a nationwide surge in cases. We also get a perspective on what’s been happening in China from two foreigners living in the county: Jonathan, a Canadian, and Lee, a South African, who tells us that she has felt unable to leave Beijing for the past three years. ... Read more

14 Jan 2023

24 MINS

24:00

14 Jan 2023


#285

Understanding how Syria's peaceful uprising became a civil war

Inspired by the Arab Spring, peaceful protests began in Syria in early 2011. However, a complex civil war followed which has lasted over a decade and involved many other countries. Lina Sinjab, a BBC Middle East correspondent, explains how the conflict in her native country began. From the arrest and torture of protesting teenagers in Daraa to the rise of the Islamic State (IS), the last 12 years have devastated the country and inflicted immense suffering on the Syrian people. Is there an end to war in sight? ... Read more

14 Jan 2023

18 MINS

18:41

14 Jan 2023


#284

Saving children from the mafia

Southern Italy is home to some of Europe's most powerful criminal organisations; the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra in Naples and the Ndrangheta based in Calabria. For many, crime is a family business. So a judge in Sicily has come up with a radical plan to prevent young people becoming the next generation of mobsters. He’s been taking children away from Mafia families. This controversial policy is now being considered by other countries around the world. Daniel Gordon travels to Sicily to meet those involved in the programme and find out whether it actually works. Photo: A 17 year-old girl, Letizia, supported by her uncle, addresses an anti-mafia meeting in the Sicilian town of Messina. Her mother is missing and is believed to have been killed by local gangsters. (Rocco Papandrea, Gazzetta del Sud.) Reporter: Daniel Gordon Producer: Alex Last Series Editor: Penny Murphy Sound engineer: Graham Puddifoot Production coordinator: Iona Hammond ... Read more

12 Jan 2023

26 MINS

26:29

12 Jan 2023


#283

What do you think you are?: Part one

There is growing scientific evidence that many animals are not only conscious, but possess a more profound sense of self. They can learn by experience and make decisions that depend on a sense of the future - in other words, they are “sentient” beings with the capacity to feel pain, pleasure and emotions. Sue Armstrong reports on the latest scientific research into the minds and consciousness of animals of all sorts, from chimpanzees to birds, bees and cuttlefish. ... Read more

10 Jan 2023

26 MINS

26:49

10 Jan 2023


#282

Farewell to Pelé

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or ‘Pelé’ as he became known, is thought by most to have been the greatest footballer to grace this planet. He died on 29th December, aged 82. James Reynolds has been in Santos, Pelé’s adopted hometown. He was among the crowds on the streets at the funeral procession, as they celebrated this sporting legend’s life. ... Read more

08 Jan 2023

24 MINS

24:17

08 Jan 2023


#281

Kids who care

Oritsé Williams became a young carer aged 12, when his mother contracted multiple sclerosis and he had to take responsibility for looking after her and two younger siblings. During his teenage years, he had a dream: to become a singer and make plenty of money so that he could fund research to find a cure for his mum. At least part of that dream came true when Oritsé and his band, JLS, were runners-up in a national talent contest. But Oritsé never forgot his early years as a young, unpaid carer. He meets the next generation of kids who care – in the UK, Uganda and El Salvador. He learns about the challenges these children and teenagers face, but also hears stories of resilience and hope. Among the children are 13-year-old Amber, who looks after two sick and disabled parents; 15-year-old Jordan, whose care role ties him to the house almost completely; and 13-year-old Gloria from Uganda, who looks after four younger siblings all on her own. ... Read more

03 Jan 2023

24 MINS

24:15

03 Jan 2023