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HARDtalk

Author: BBC World Service

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In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.
701 Episodes
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The British film and TV producer Tony Garnett died last week, aged 83. In 2016 Stephen Sackur spoke to him about his life and pioneering work which began in the 1960s. The subject matter he tackled included homelessness, illegal abortion and police corruption, and uncovered dark corners in British life. But how much of his motivation came from the dark corners in his own life?
Who polices the shadowy world of private intelligence? HARDtalk’s Sarah Montague speaks to Seth Freedman, who was an investigator for Black Cube, and gathered information for its client, the disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Does he regret what he did?
Though the fear of imminent war has receded, the Middle East has been profoundly destabilised by the American assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The unfolding US-Iran conflict will impact the whole region, not least Iraq, where the Iranians are intent on hastening the end of America’s military presence. Stephen Sackur interviews Douglas Silliman, former US ambassador to Iraq until a year ago. Does Trump have a strategy - and if so, what is it?
Stephen Sackur is at the workshop of Britain’s most successful sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley. His monumental pieces, put in prominent positions in outdoor spaces, have become some of the world’s most famous examples of public art. His inspiration is the human body, in fact, his own body. So what does his work tell us about his relationship with the world around him?
Who’s gained and who’s lost after the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani? HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Vali Nasr, US foreign policy scholar and former adviser to the US State Department. Phase one of the fallout from America’s assassination of Iran's favourite General appears to be over. Washington and Tehran are both talking tough while taking a step back from the brink of all out war. For now. What might happen next?
America’s targeted killing of Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, has spread new fears of war across the Middle East. The key protagonists are in Washington and Tehran, but the main stage for the conflict may well be Iraq, as Soleimani was assassinated in Baghdad. Iraq is now under intense pressure to pick sides. Stephen Sackur interviews Ayad Allawi, who was the country’s vice-president twice. Does the current crisis spell disaster for Iraq?
Stephen Sackur speaks to Malcolm Gladwell, the Canadian author who has been described as America’s most famous intellectual. His latest book, Talking to Strangers, challenges the assumptions we make about trust and truth. But how far can we trust Malcolm Gladwell?
The scale of the Conservative Party triumph in last week's UK election promises to have seismic consequences. Boris Johnson can get Brexit done on terms and a timetable of his choosing, with Parliamentary approval guaranteed. Not since Margaret Thatcher has a Tory leader had such an opportunity to remake Britain. Hardtalk speaks to Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell. Boris Johnson has been handed immense power - what will he do with it? (Photo: Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell)
At the end of the second decade of the 21st century, does anyone still believe in the ability of the so-called ‘international community’ to stop wars, disarm dictators and protect civilians? One can decide by looking at the scale of suffering in Syria, the renewed unrest across the Middle East and the imminent American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Stephen Sackur interviews Staffan de Mistura, who has been a UN envoy in all of those places over the last decade. Is it time to acknowledge the irrelevance of the international peacemakers? Photo: Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura Credit: AFP via Getty Images
Sometimes it takes an outsider armed with just a sharp eye and curiosity to get us to see ourselves as we really are. That would explain the enduring popularity of the American-born writer Bill Bryson, whose wry take on Britain and the British has generated two best-selling books. From the mysteries of afternoon tea to the power of the human brain, what has Bill Bryson learned from his gentle search for understanding? Photo: Bill Bryson at the Cheltenham Literary Festival Credit: Getty Images
The fight for Afghanistan's future has been joined far beyond the frontlines between Government forces and the Taliban. Stephen Sackur interviews Aryana Sayeed, who is engaged in the struggle by using her own potent weapons: her voice, her songs and a spirit of defiance. She is Afghanistan’s biggest pop star, and has braved death threats to campaign for women’s rights and artistic freedom. Is this a fight she can win?
Can complex truths be revealed using digital fragments from the worldwide web? Eliot Higgins is the founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, which in recent years has broken a series of scoops. Bellingcat has exposed the depth of Russian military involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine; it revealed the identities of two key Russian suspects in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal; most recently, it has provided damning detail about the suspected assassin of a Chechen rebel in Berlin. Has Bellingcat reinvented journalism for our "fake news" age?
Holding placards outside the funerals of dead soldiers, celebrating the death of children after school massacres: Westboro Baptist Church has been called the "most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America". From the age of 5, Megan Phelps-Roper had stood on the picket lines, and carried those hate-filled signs. But as an adult firing off tweets to her online critics, Megan began to doubt. Shaun Ley speaks to Megan Phelps-Roper in London. Can Megan really still regard those who abused her mind, teaching her to hate and to pray for more deaths, as Mum and Dad?
Eighteen years since the 9/11 attack on the United States, and the impact still reverberates even as memories fade. The US Government responded by adopting a counter-terror strategy embracing ‘enhanced interrogation’, a euphemism for torture. Stephen Sackur interviews Daniel Jones, who led a six year investigation into the CIA’s darkest secrets. Now his story has been turned into a movie; but did America cease to care, long ago?
In 2013, the Australian Government adopted a draconian anti-immigration policy, which involved sending all sea-borne would-be asylum seekers to de-facto detention camps in remote Papua New Guinea and Micronesia. Stephen Sackur interviews one of them. Behrouz Boochani is an Iranian Kurd who has written about his extraordinary six-year experience as a marooned migrant. He’s now a prize-winning author, but is his long-term fate any clearer?
In a special edition of HARDtalk, Stephen Sackur is on the road in Zimbabwe to witness the effects of change in Southern Africa’s climate. Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era is wrestling with an economic crisis, endemic corruption and widespread poverty, which leaves Zimbabweans extremely vulnerable in the face of prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro power is down and taps have run dry. Can Zimbabwe adapt to looming environmental crisis?
The American TV series The Wire, which methodically dissected America’s war with drugs, was an eye-opener for many. Shaun Ley interviews Wendell Pierce, whose role as Detective Bunk Moreland brought him international attention. Now he’s on stage in London as the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. But it was Hurricane Katrina that defined him, when he rolled up his own sleeves when his childhood home was smashed. After his city’s darkest hour, when help failed to come, did Wendell Pierce fall out of love with America?
Is Chinese leader Xi Jinping facing the most serious challenge of his presidency? The significance of the political unrest in Hong Kong stretches far beyond the borders of its territory. If Beijing cannot quell the calls for freedom in Hong Kong, what does that tell us about the sustainability of its authoritarian rule elsewhere? Stephen Sackur speaks to China’s Ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming.
Zimbabwe is wrestling with economic crisis, endemic corruption and prolonged drought. Crops have failed, hydro-power is down, taps have run dry. Also at risk is the country's wildlife population – animals and people are now in a desperate competition for resources. Mangaliso Ndlovu is Zimbabwe's Environment minister. Does his government have a plan to avert environmental disaster?
Will the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill derail Donald Trump's presidency? Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax and a close personal friend of the US president. He has accused Democrats of playing politics with impeachment, while the President himself calls the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt. How much trouble is Donald Trump actually in?
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Comments (27)

Bahram Kalviri

Behrouz Boochani's message to governments was really noteworthy in this episode.

Dec 6th
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jersey2777

so Christopher Ruddy's reasoning for Trumps innocence on the issue of Ukraine, is that he doesn't know the laws?! he also refuses council from those who do know, so it's not that he doesn't know, he doesn't care.

Nov 25th
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JENNIFER WANG

Horrible host who interrupts constantly

Nov 15th
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ForexTraderNYC

mindblowing so inspiring..didnt know her, i will look her up!

Nov 9th
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Omar Deghayes

unbelievable strength..

Nov 7th
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Omar Deghayes

arrogant idiota

Nov 7th
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Omar Deghayes

worthy of his job

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

Eye opening..articulate

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

interesting

Nov 7th
Reply

Omar Deghayes

good on her

Nov 7th
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Omar Deghayes

hard exposure

Nov 7th
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Omar Deghayes

excellent

Nov 7th
Reply

ForexTraderNYC

courageous lady fighting for immigrants... who dares to do that in 21st ce.? only quality ppl.. such compassion to help the helpless..love her such strong determination!

Sep 5th
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ForexTraderNYC

wish the interview didnt end so abruptly wanted to learn more..nevertheless i was captured by her confidence n strong will n warrior attitude to face difficulties of life.. i shall look for her interviews other places. thx BBC for the introduction

Sep 5th
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Rabindra Karki

Really nice program

Jul 25th
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my.android. Mfz

this guy earned my respect. Europe has become a toothless lions. if it can't get the US to comply which all of them agreed, thry should have the guts to act on it.

Jul 24th
Reply (1)

Ketan Ramteke

No wonder Joe Rogan's interviews are so amazing than these mainstream media houses.

Feb 11th
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thomas kagwa

The media is so smug about watergate. Where was the fourth estate during the Rwandan genocide? Is anyone calling out the UK and US governments over the war crimes in Yemen?

Nov 14th
Reply (1)

André Graciotti

wow, that was cringy-worthy to listen to. I don't agree with most of Peterson's ideas, but this interview was agressive to say the least. I couldn't hear the man finish one single thought. shame on you BBC.

Aug 18th
Reply

Intrograted

After listening... This is atrocious, BBC. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I used to respect the World Service. This was Cathy Newman all over again. Same tone, same accent, just a male voice. This is a disgusting way to conduct a conversation. This is no way to 'inform' the world. Fortunately, I think the world are smart enough to see through your destructive agenda. With love and hope from a true progressive. Be better. ❤

Aug 8th
Reply
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