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Sinopsis

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.

Episodios

  • Battle for the Capitol

    Battle for the Capitol

    25/01/2021 Duración: 28min

    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 s

  • 39 Ways to Save the Planet: Wood for Good

    39 Ways to Save the Planet: Wood for Good

    20/01/2021 Duración: 14min

    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

  • I Am Robert Chelsea

    I Am Robert Chelsea

    08/01/2021 Duración: 29min

    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

  • Sci-Fi Blindness

    Sci-Fi Blindness

    05/01/2021 Duración: 28min

    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 bli

  • Can I Talk About Heroes?

    Can I Talk About Heroes?

    29/12/2020 Duración: 37min

    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

  • Scientists in the Spotlight

    Scientists in the Spotlight

    22/12/2020 Duración: 39min

    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

  • Apocalypse How

    Apocalypse How

    08/12/2020 Duración: 29min

    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 ages The 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

  • Generation Covid

    Generation Covid

    04/12/2020 Duración: 38min

    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 muc

  • Inside the Brain of Jeff Bezos

    Inside the Brain of Jeff Bezos

    01/12/2020 Duración: 38min

    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

  • Living with the Dragon

    Living with the Dragon

    27/11/2020 Duración: 38min

    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 Colleg

  • The Corrections:Trojan Horse

    The Corrections:Trojan Horse

    24/11/2020 Duración: 29min

    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

  • Losing It

    Losing It

    17/11/2020 Duración: 28min

    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 abo

  • Can I Still Read Harry Potter?

    Can I Still Read Harry Potter?

    13/11/2020 Duración: 28min

    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 c

  • East Meets West

    East Meets West

    10/11/2020 Duración: 28min

    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.

  • Playing With The Dead

    Playing With The Dead

    03/11/2020 Duración: 28min

    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

  • The Year the Music Stopped

    The Year the Music Stopped

    29/10/2020 Duración: 29min

    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 Fo

  • The Karen Meme

    The Karen Meme

    23/10/2020 Duración: 30min

    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 the

  • A History of Ghosts: Ancient Ghosts

    A History of Ghosts: Ancient Ghosts

    20/10/2020 Duración: 15min

    '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.

  • False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 3

    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 3

    22/09/2020 Duración: 21min

    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

  • False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 2

    False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures - Episode 2

    22/09/2020 Duración: 17min

    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

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