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The Documentary Podcast

Author: BBC World Service

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Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.
1192 Episodes
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Women in Iran

Women in Iran

2021-06-1924:11

Iran has voted for a new president and BBC Persian Service presenter, Rana Rahimpour, hears from different women in conversation on what life is like in the country. Three young women, including one 17-year-old, join Rana to discuss their fears, frustrations and hopes for the future. A pharmacist and doctor share their experiences in two hospitals after the country underwent a fourth wave of infections. They describe the long days and the financial challenges in the health sector, including the relatively low pay. Rana is also joined by two of her colleagues from BBC Persian to discuss the difficulties of reporting on your homeland from thousands of miles away in London.
Syrian born reporter Lina Sinjab presents a special series from Assignment’s award winning archive on the ten years of civil war in her country. In the final programme from the season Lina hears from BBC foreign correspondent Tim Whewell who spoke to Abood Hamam, perhaps the only photojournalist to have worked under every major force in Syria's war - and lived to tell the tale. At the start of the uprising he was head of photography for the state news agency, SANA, taking official shots of President Assad and his wife Asma by day - and secretly filming opposition attacks by night. Later he defected and returned to his home town, Raqqa, where various rebel groups were competing for control. Other journalists fled when the terrorists of so-called Islamic State (IS) took over, but Abood stayed - and was asked by IS to film its victory parade. He sent pictures of life under IS to agencies all over the world - using a pseudonym. As the bombing campaign by the anti-IS coalition intensified, Abood moved away - but returned later to record the heartbreaking destruction - but also the slow return of life, and colour, to the streets. For months, he roamed through the ruins with his camera, seeing himself as ”the guardian of the city." Raqqa's future is still very uncertain, but Abood now wants everyone to see his pictures, which he posts on Facebook, and know his real name. He hopes the colours he's showing will tempt the thousands of families who've fled Raqqa to return home, and rebuild their lives, and their city. Producer: Mohamad Chreyteh Sound mix: James Beard Production coordinator: Gemma Ashman Editor: Bridget Harney (Image: Children running in Raqqa, 2019. Credit: Abood Hamam)
Guru: Living a lie

Guru: Living a lie

2021-06-1527:113

For the last year, BBC journalist and passionate yoga teacher Ishleen Kaur has been investigating allegations of sexual and emotional abuse at the heart of an organisation she once called home. Fellow practitioners share with her their stories of cruelty, rape and even the sexual assault of a child - but she wasn't prepared for what she uncovered next. Ishleen takes us on a deeply personal journey into the dark legacy which haunts Sivananda Yoga, one of the world’s most revered yoga schools.
In July 1971, Kissinger, then US National Security Advisor, made a clandestine visit to the People’s Republic of China – then America’s sworn enemy. At the time China was isolated from the outside world amidst the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. America was looking for a way out of the Vietnam war. Both countries had had no contact for over 20 years. The 48-hour mission paved the way for President Richard Nixon’s historic handshake with Chairman Mao a few months later. It changed the geometry of the Cold War. So what has happened since Kissinger stepped on Chinese soil in that summer half a century ago? How did we get to where we are today?
Life in Iran

Life in Iran

2021-06-1224:226

As Iran prepares to hold its presidential election to select a replacement for Hassan Rouhani, BBC Persian presenter Rana Rahimpour brings together Iranians, both in the country and living abroad, to hear about their lives and thoughts. Three young Iranians discuss what it’s like to live in a country where many people want to leave and need two jobs to make ends meet. Plus two sisters - one in London and the other still living in Iran with their parents - discuss the emotional difficulties of separation.
Syrian born reporter Lina Sinjab presents a special series from Assignment’s award winning archive on the ten years of civil war in her country. This week Chloe Hadjimatheou tells the astonishing story of a group of young men from Raqqa, Syria, who chose to resist the so-called Islamic State, which occupied their city in 2014 and made it the capital of their ‘Caliphate’. These extraordinary activists risked everything to oppose ISIS; several were killed, or had family members murdered. ISIS put a bounty on the resistance leaders’ heads forcing them to go into hiding. But the group continued its work, under the banner Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently. Chloe met the group’s founders, who were organising undercover activists in Raqqa from the relative safety of other countries. As reporter Chloe Hadjimatheou tells Lina, despite the passing of the years these men are still in hiding from the militants who occupied their city in 2014. (Photo: Four activists from the group working under the banner Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently)
Being mum

Being mum

2021-06-0827:562

Are children always better off in a two-parent family? Ateira Griffin, daughter of a single mother and the director of non-profit organisation that supports black single mothers and their daughters, explores what it is like for a family to be headed by a mum without a dad, a family structure that is on the rise in her native United States. In fact children in single mum households account for half of all African-American kids growing up in America and Ateira explores the context for this historically and in terms of contemporary social policy.
Introducing our new original podcast. Here’s episode 1: Hacking Hollywood. A movie, Kim Jong-un and a devastating cyber attack. The story of the Sony hack. How the Lazarus Group hackers caused mayhem. And this is just the beginning…Search for The Lazarus Heist wherever you get your podcasts. #LazarusHeist
Hacking Hollywood and the billion-dollar plot. Hear all about our new original podcast. Search for The Lazarus Heist wherever you find your podcasts. #LazarusHeist
The Olympic Games now look certain to go ahead in Japan in July. However, some people in the country are against holding the event, as it tackles a fourth wave of coronavirus cases, low vaccination and the extension of a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas. Two doctors in Tokyo share their observations, experiences and concerns. As some countries, including Japan, struggle to vaccinate older members of their populations, host Nuala McGovern also hears from two 12-year-olds in Canada and the United States. They were among the first children in the world to receive a Covid vaccine.
Syrian born reporter Lina Sinjab presents a special series from Assignment’s award winning archive on the 10 years of civil war in her country. This week an extraordinary story from 2016, reported by Mike Thomson, about a secret library stored in the basement of a crumbling house in the besieged Syrian town of Darayya. The library was home to thousands of books rescued from bombed-out buildings by local volunteers, who daily braved snipers and shells to fill its shelves. In the town gripped by hunger and death after three years without food aid, Mike Thomson revealed how this literary sanctuary proved a lifeline to a community shattered by war. And now, 10 years on, Mike brings Lina up to date on the fate of some of those volunteers. Produced by Michael Gallagher and additional research and translation by Mariam El Khalaf. (Image: 14 year-old Chief Librarian Amjad in the Secret Library, Credit: Daraya Council Media Team)
Globalisation in reverse

Globalisation in reverse

2021-06-0127:571

Globalisation is about open trade, open doors and open borders. It is the way that Asia has grown its economy for the better part of the last half century. But the pandemic and tensions between the US and China have seen globalisation go into reverse - with many now saying it hasn’t benefited everyone. One of the biggest beneficiaries of globalisation has been Singapore. But the city-state is now an increasingly lonely voice calling for economies to stay open. It is being forced to reinvent itself and find new ways to grow its trade dependent and global economy. What lessons does Singapore have for the rest of us? Join Karishma Vaswani as she explores that question and many others in a wide-ranging interview with Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong
Alvin Hall tells the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in US history. In the early 20th Century, Tulsa was a wild west town which became a boom city. But the oil capital of the world was also home to the thriving and prosperous district of Greenwood - nicknamed 'Black Wall Street' by Booker T Washington - because it was a mecca for Black entrepreneurs. On 30 May, a young Black shoe shiner Dick Rowland, was wrongly accused of attacking a white elevator operator Sarah Paige (the girl later recanted her story). This was the trigger, on 31 May and 1 June, for an armed white mob to loot and burn Greenwood, in a violent 16-hour attack. Many estimate up to 300 Black citizens were killed. Over 1200 homes were destroyed, every church, hotel, shop, and business was completely wiped off the map.
A century ago, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in US history took place - the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Greenwood was a prosperous and thriving district, nicknamed 'Black Wall Street' because it was a mecca for Black entrepreneurs and businesses. Dick Rowland, was wrongly accused of attacking a white girl in an elevator - a charge she would quickly recant. But after a sensationalist newspaper report, a mob gathered outside the courthouse. Violence broke out, many of the white mob were deputised and given arms. During the evening of 31 May 1921 and 1 June, 35 square blocks of Greenwood were looted and burned to the ground. Jerica D Wortham is an author, poet, and publisher, born and raised in Greenwood. Jerica invites us to witness how the community is marking the centennial.
Vaccines are seen as a way out of the coronavirus pandemic; a way to stop transmission and have fewer patients in hospital. Host Nuala McGovern shares different experiences of vaccination and hospitalisation. For some who have been vaccinated, infection is still possible, but hospitalisation is expected to be less likely. Two guests describe their reactions to getting a positive test, after having Covid jabs, and how the virus affected them. We consider too those who are hesitant about the Covid vaccine, despite the dangers of catching the disease.
Syrian born reporter Lina Sinjab presents a special series from Assignment’s award winning archive on the ten years of civil war in her country. This week she introduces Tim Whewell’s programme from 2016 about what happened to a local football team in Aleppo province in the early years of the civil war: A fuzzy team photo from the 1980s sent Tim on a journey to track down the football players in the picture; the men who were once the champions of Aleppo province. Mare’a, their small hometown in northern Syria, had by then become a war zone - bombed by the Assad regime, besieged by Islamic State, even subjected to a mustard gas attack. And the civil war had torn through what was once a close knit band of friends - some had become pro-rebel, some pro-regime. They were scattered across Syria and beyond, some were fighting near Mare'a, some were living in refugee camps abroad. In this moving story about how war fractures and divides a community, Tim hears about the ordeals the men had suffered since they won that football cup and asks whether they could ever be reunited? At the end of the programme, Lina catches up with Tim to find out what’s happened to the team members since 2016. (Image: Mare’a’s cup-winning football team, 1983. Credit: Mare'a football team’s archive)
On 25 May 1986, 6.5 million people did the impossible; they joined hands to form the world’s longest human chain, from New York to Los Angeles. But far from being a simple stunt, Hands Across America was raising money to fight hunger and homelessness in the world’s richest country. Did it succeed? Aleks Krotoski was 11 years old when she stood in the sunshine between her mother and a stranger and held their hands for those 15 minutes 35 years ago. She speaks with the organisers, the people who participated, and the people who received the donations, and discovers that Hands Across America didn’t just feed the hungry, but led the social networking revolution as well.
Vaccinating the world

Vaccinating the world

2021-05-2250:53

Now that scientists have created a Covid-19 vaccine in record time, the race is on to vaccinate the world. Public health professor Devi Sridhar follows the journey of the Covid vaccine from factory to arm as she goes behind the scenes of the rollout. Speaking to health leaders, politicians and experts, we see how the world is responding and look at how long it might take to vaccinate enough people.
Gagarin and the lost Moon

Gagarin and the lost Moon

2021-05-2201:01:506

On 12 April 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became an explorer like none other before him, going faster and further than any human in history, into what had always been the impenetrable and infinite unknown. Raised in poverty during the World War Two, the one-time foundry worker and a citizen of the Soviet Union became the first human to fly above the Earth. Dr Kevin Fong tells the story of how 27-year-old Yuri Gagarin came to launch a new chapter in the history of exploration and follows the cosmonaut’s one hour flight around the Earth.
Israel and Gaza

Israel and Gaza

2021-05-2223:33

After 11 days of conflict, a ceasefire has been agreed between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The violence in that time killed more than 250 people, most of them in Gaza. During this past week, host Nuala McGovern has been hearing conversations from both Palestinians and Israelis about what it has been like to be living under bombardment. They talk about their lives and hopes for the future.
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Comments (188)

sara ghazavi

almost all of the people who are in Iran , want to go abroad for better life . because this country with this regime is not the home which they expected to be. I said this as an young Iranian person who is full of dreams , thoughts and plans that no one cares about .

Jun 13th
Reply

For The Love Of a HORSE

Just compare PRE O bama then post O bama. Compare if you will likwise into the past. O bama was a mistake and for petes sake, not to do with color. Puppet comes to mind as the behind the curtain Hillarys were busy fulfilling faceless nameless ghosts of orders given to her. Beside that her own small? agenda leading to now.

May 31st
Reply

Janella Gowryluk

Is there a way to get money to the lady making the food?

May 26th
Reply

Doha Hashish

wait wait wait! don't you see the big difference between the Palestinian stories and the Isrealis ones! Palestinians are being rocketed without shelters while Israelis have ones, Residential buildings, hospitals, shy scripers, and mosques have been destroyed by Israel. There is no a single evidence says that Hamas is using any of the above! and by the way, Palestinians don't want Israelis in their whole country. And israelis are assaulting their "beloved Arab neighbors"!!!! so misleading

May 25th
Reply

Doha Hashish

#SaveSheikhJarrahh #Save_Palestinian_48 #ISRAELBREAKSTHETRUCE #IsraeliTerrorism #Free_Palestine #FreePalestine #أنقذوا_فلسطيني_48 #انقذوا_حي_الشيخ_جراح #انقذوا_سلوان #SaveSilwan

May 25th
Reply

Doha Hashish

Damn you!!! you are trying to keep your kids going their daily routines while your army destroys everyday life of the Palestinians, shame on you! you are complaining cause the Palestinians trying to stop your assault on them!!!!? what should they be doing then, let you rock their whole lives and stand still?! are you that fool!?

May 25th
Reply

Doha Hashish

What about the sounds of residential buildings being rocked by Isreal??!

May 25th
Reply

Doha Hashish

you know how many Palestinians are threatened to be out of their homes illegally??? All the Palestinians in the complex of Al-Aqsa!!!!! it is NOT just some Palestinian families it is ALL the Palestinian families

May 25th
Reply

Corny Coy Coadlig

is this a Brexit commercial? #annoyed

May 24th
Reply

Ingrid Linbohm

children suffer from mental illness and adults abuse them with ideas of gender dysphoria. A three year needs to be protected not destroyed by their mad parents who want to destroy them with transgender nonsence.

May 11th
Reply (1)

abiola shadrack

tell me when next you got a real podcast and not this. cheers.

May 3rd
Reply

Doha Hashish

double standards when it comes to Muslims. You should also say that as these terrorists trying to spread Islam by force, Islam is calling for peace and security for all people regardless of race and religion. Those group doesn't present the real Islam and you should say that. Under the realm of Islam in the past Christians, Jews, even Idols worshipers were living in total peace and enjoyed all rights stated in the Quran. Prophet Mohamed PBUH was treating Christians and Jews fairly as Muslims. We have a verse in the holy Quran says "لا إكراه في الدين" i.e. Muslims are NOT allowed to fight any one because they refuse to follow Islam. Those who got battles of the prophet wrong, didn't understand the reasons behind them, and don't understand Quran are the ones we see distorting Islam by going exactly against its teachings. BTW, why do I see BBC reports about Muslim terrorist and don't see Muslim victims!!? Don't you see Muslims in Palestinian and Myanmar?! You just throw my day off! Thank you for the injustice you do!!!!!!!!

May 3rd
Reply

失魂魚🐟

such a beautiful story! And every informative as well! Two 👍👍up!

May 2nd
Reply

Doha Hashish

i just can't believe that sb thinks that sb's else is the source of life! how come! and if the ancestors can do any good, the wouldn't have allowed themselves to die at the first place! it is just nonsense

Apr 26th
Reply

HeyMissK_T ZM

This is so so sad. Why would police feel threatened from someone holding a small pipe. A pipe versus a gun. I mean really?! It’s like their training brainwashes them and they fail to see people as human.

Apr 19th
Reply

Alexa Nebula

Wow, what a compassionate jail guard. She is one in a million. There are not enough like her. I'm not even sure that you could find another line her.

Apr 12th
Reply

Alexa Nebula

"rings around there neck? Maybe, it's all subject to interpretation"..... Haha what the fuck.

Apr 5th
Reply

Edgar

really someone think that Coronavirus was controlable with few cases? Seems unlikely, ofc they could do a better job and slow down cases but I don't think that this virus had some degree of possibility of control.

Mar 25th
Reply

Hammad Ali

loved this...

Jan 3rd
Reply

Yeelun Lai

I haven't checked his background but this Antonio guy sounds like a trump's guy.. spin and spin, read from google search result, make vague description, but no concrete actionable answer

Dec 3rd
Reply (1)
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