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.


  • We're All Living in OK Computer Now...

    13/05/2022 Duración: 58min

    On the 25th anniversary of Radiohead’s breakthrough album, admirers from literature, music, science and politics examine the album’s prophetic qualities. Did OK Computer actually shape and predict the future? In June 1997, an also-ran band in the Britpop wars put out a third LP. Moving clear of their musical peers, who were engaged in 60s nostalgia, this was a sonically and psychologically sophisticated record. Released in the first days of the New Labour government, it subverted the era's idealism and “things can only get better”, and lit a flare at the dawn of a new age of postmodern anxiety. Recently, OK Computer was voted the “ultimate 90s album” on BBC Radio 2. But this was more than just a 90s record. Much more. OK Computer is rock music as science fiction. A musical version of George Orwell or JG Ballard. Each song yields a vivid premonition of life as it is lived now, a quarter of a century on. It speaks directly to the major events of our time, from Trump to the climate emergency, big data and survei

  • Time Flies

    10/05/2022 Duración: 28min

    Over 700 clocks may adorn the walls of their Cheshire home, but as Roman and Maz Piekarski contemplate their futures, neither can understand where all the time has gone. For more than 30 years, the brothers have dedicated their every waking minute to building and sustaining Cuckooland - the world’s largest collection of antique cuckoo clocks. With neither having married, nor had children, tracking down, restoring and preserving their treasured timepieces has been a never-ending labour of love - a lifetime’s work. Once a busy tourist destination, changing tastes had already seen footfall declining. And since the onset of the pandemic, the gates to their museum and home - a 19th century schoolhouse perched by the side of the A556 - have been shut. Covid has only compounded the brothers’ ever-present predicament - with nobody poised to take stewardship over their prized possessions, what happens when they no longer have the capacity to continue as the custodians of Cuckooland? They may be slowing down, but time

  • Mother, Nature, Sons

    06/05/2022 Duración: 28min

    Writer Nell Frizzell has spent years agonising about whether climate change should stop her from having a second child. She invites listeners to join her as she strives to make an intensely personal decision about her future. As the biological and doomsday clocks tick away, Nell calls upon friends, campaigners and experts at different stages of life to explain their reproductive decisions, in the hope that the path to a conclusion will reveal itself. Nell speaks to Dr Matt Winning, comedian and author of Hot Mess, a book about raising a baby and understanding climate change. She also hears from musician Blythe Pepino, who formed and then disbanded the campaign group BirthStrike, and Les Knight, a campaigner for the extinction of the human race. Finally, she interviews reproductive epidemiologist Dr Shanna Swan, whose book Count Down predicts the potential end of natural conception. Produced by Elly Lazarides A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4

  • Blood, Sweat and Tears

    03/05/2022 Duración: 28min

    As the BBC’s former defence correspondent, Caroline Wyatt spent more than a decade covering the war in Afghanistan. She first went there just after the 9/11 attacks, to report on the British troops joining the US-led coalition against Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts. By the time combat operations ended in 2014, 454 British military personnel and civilians had died - and many more Afghan civilians. Following the final withdrawal of US troops last year – and the scramble for safety by Afghans who’d worked with the West – she set out to speak to British veterans of the conflict. To find out what had made them sign up to fight, despite the risks, and what the campaign’s ultimate failure means to them now. Like many who served in Afghanistan, Louise Jones signed up because she “wanted to make a difference”. She found watching the scenes unfold on television “painful”. It made her question how much she trusted those in power “when they say we want to commit to Ukraine, for example.” Harry Parker, a former captain

  • Licence to Kill?

    29/04/2022 Duración: 38min

    On October 14, 2016, Michael Hoolickin was murdered by a man he had never met. His killer, Tim Deakin had 55 previous offences. His last crime was to bite a man's ear off in a pub fight. Deakin was a high risk and prolific offender who had been freed early - "on Probation Service Licence" - to serve what was left of his sentence in the community. Deakin was later jailed for 27 years. At Michael's inquest, the family discovered Deakin had been stopped following a car chase just a few days earlier with no insurance and carrying drugs. The Coroner outlined serious failures by the people who were supposed to be monitoring Deakin that meant he stayed out of prison and remained free - on license - to kill. Along with the Hoolickin family, Radio 4 discover the true extent of crimes, many of them violent, committed by people who have been released on license, including where the advice was that they were still a danger to the public. At the heart of this are Michael’s parents, Garry and Leslie, and the torment o

  • Missing Mother

    26/04/2022 Duración: 29min

    The Mother-Daughter relationship is a special one - but what happens to little girls who lose their mums early? Missing Mother is an intimate window into the life of women who have experienced arguably the most significant loss - the loss of a mother. Jacqueline Shepherd, broadcaster and presenter, who lost her mum at the age of 10 explores whether there is an unspoken or unrealised academic, relational and mental connection between their loss as a girl and the women they later go on to become. Produced by Tobi Olujinmi A Hill 5.14 Media production for BBC Radio 4

  • Dirty Work

    22/04/2022 Duración: 38min

    Over the past 20 years, our workplaces have changed for the better. The MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter have brought harassment and discriminatory actions to the fore, and our workplaces have generally become less tolerant of bad behaviour. But there’s another highly damaging aspect of workplace culture that often goes unchecked - workplace bullying. As members of the UK political class come under fire for bullying their staff, Matthew Taylor is putting bullying in the spotlight. Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, author of the Taylor Review into Modern Workplace Practices, and has spent many years thinking about creating safer environments for the future of our workforce. Despite his extensive grounding in tackling workplace culture, when he fell victim to poor treatment at work, it took him a long time to realise that what he was experiencing was bullying. Anxiety, self-doubt and isolation meant that he never did anything about it at the time, but it set him on a path of t

  • The End of Invention

    19/04/2022 Duración: 29min

    Someone born in the late 19th century would have lived through the most rapid period of technological progress in human history. By comparison, people born since the Second World War have seen stagnation and sclerosis. At least, that’s what some people claim - that we are living through “the great stagnation”. The productivity of scientists and inventors is slowing - and economist Sam Bowman is worried. There are fewer new drugs coming to market, and it takes more and more people to make smaller computer chips. It takes longer for PhD students to finish their studies, and research grants go to ever older scientists. The balance of research funding has shifted from government to companies, and companies look for profitable inventions rather than necessarily revolutionary ones. It looks as though big new ideas are getting harder to find. Can we fix the system, or are we doomed to permanent slowdown? Presenter: Sam Bowman Producer: Jolyon Jenkins Executive Producer: Katherine Godfrey Sound Design & Engineerin

  • The P Word

    15/04/2022 Duración: 29min

    Is the use of the ‘P’ word ever acceptable? Prompted by the recent allegations of racism at Yorkshire CCC by cricketer Azeem Rafiq, Rajan Datar and producer Rajeev Gupta go on a journey of personal exploration. Like many South Asians in the 1970s and 80s, Rajan was routinely called the P-word as he walked to and from school, but a new generation of young British Asians say they now claim the word and it can be used within the community as a sign of power. Rajan finds out for himself how true this is and does a context in which the use of the word is acceptable actually exist? Produced by: Rajeev Gupta

  • Am I That Guy?

    12/04/2022 Duración: 29min

    Scottish writer and broadcaster Alistair Heather is not proud of some of his past interactions with women. In a previous job as a builder’s labourer, he would watch and laugh as co-workers wolf-whistled and cat-called passing women. In the street, on trains, in cafes, bars and other public places, he would see it as his right to approach and talk to women. He knows that in behaving like that he has contributed to women and girls feeling excluded and unsafe. Now he wants to find out what he should be doing to help change the culture for the better. Alistair discusses ‘locker room talk’ with former Aston Villa youth player and Dundee United Hall of Famer Seán Dillon, challenges an old friend and explores Police Scotland’s much-praised campaign which urged men to address their attitudes to women with a hard-hitting viral video telling them: “sexual violence begins long before you think it does. Don’t be that guy". Producer Dave Howard Researcher Carys Wall Sound design Joel Cox

  • The Witches' Pardon

    01/04/2022 Duración: 29min

    From allegations of cursing the king's ships, to shape-shifting into animals, or dancing with the devil, three centuries ago witch-hunting was a mania that spread right across Europe. But nowhere did it exert a greater grip than in Scotland, which had an execution rate five times higher than England's. It remains an example of just how vicious sexism and misogyny - exacerbated by superstitious beliefs and religious extremism - can be. Now campaigners are on course to win an official pardon for the estimated four thousand - mostly women - tried as witches. Leading QC Claire Mitchell, known for her prominent role in the Lockerbie appeal, is also fighting for an apology for all those accused, and for a national monument to mark the state-sanctioned atrocities she calls "the greatest miscarriage of justice in Scottish history." Claire Mitchell and co-founder Zoe Vendittozi hope that First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will issue a formal apology. But will she? And why does it matter? Once again 'witch' is a name bein

  • Sir Alex Ferguson: Made in Govan

    29/03/2022 Duración: 58min

    BBC Radio Manchester presenter Mike Sweeney and former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson go back a long way. They used to play football together and bonded over their love of music from the sixties. In this edition of Archive on 4, they sit down together to talk about Sir Alex as a young man and the influences which shaped his extraordinary career. Sir Alex reflects on his upbringing in Govan, the tenements where he lived and the people who first believed in him. He reveals how his early experiences as a working man left him with values that last to this day. He tells Mike about the magic of first playing football, and reflects on the ups and downs of his playing and coaching career and their impact on what came next. Moments from the BBC Archive help Mike tell Sir Alex's story. Presented by Mike Sweeney. Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Camellia Sinclair. Mixed by Michael Harrison.

  • Cold as a Mountain Top

    25/03/2022 Duración: 28min

    WH Murray was one of a pioneering group of climbers in Scotland in the 1930’s, establishing new routes in Glencoe, Ben Nevis and The Cuillin. But it was one particular mountain that he loved – and climbed – the most; the iconic Buachaillie Etive Mor at Glencoe. This was the last mountain he climbed just before leaving for war in 1941. Murray was captured in the African desert but his life was saved when he uttered the words, ‘Cold as a mountain top.’ The German officer was also a mountaineer and took him prisoner instead of shooting him on the spot. During his imprisonment in Italy and Czechoslovakia he wrote the seminal ‘Mountaineering in Scotland’ completely from memory, recalling the intimate details of climbs he undertook in the 1930’s. The book has been a talismanic text for climbers like Robert Macfarlane. He's turned to it often, particularly when the cold of the mountain top has felt very far away during recent periods of confinement. In this immersive audio voyage, Robert returns to Murray’s beloved

  • Women in Stitches: The Making of the Bayeux Tapestry

    11/03/2022 Duración: 28min

    The Bayeux Tapestry is coming to Britain in the near future. It’s among the world’s most famous works of art, but it's also a mystery: no one knows who made it. The stitching, though, is full of clues. Abigail Youngman seeks to reveal the truth about the lives of the women who stitched it, to unpick the secrets they left in plain sight, in the margins of the tapestry. The Bayeux Tapestry records great historical events but its humanity is in the details: the little boy holding his mother's hand tightly as they flee their burning home; scenes of sexual violence; bawdy jokes at the Normans' expense. Scholarly opinion is divided, but some think it was stitched by Anglo-Saxon women who had experienced war and occupation first-hand. The main panels were probably designed by an Important Man (hence the focus on battles, on big sexy horses – surely the BMWs of their day – and political propaganda). But the margins of the tapestry may have been left to the imagination of the stitchers themselves: probably English wom

  • 5. The Lowball Tapes – Hunting the Truth

    03/03/2022 Duración: 15min

    The public had a chance to find out the truth about the Libor scandal in 2012 – but somehow they didn’t. Andy finds secrets kept from MPs and even the juries in the rate rigging trials. Can he find out where the instructions to lowball really came from? Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones

  • 4. The Lowball Tapes – The Overseers

    03/03/2022 Duración: 15min

    Who was responsible for Libor? It was hailed as the world’s most important number but who was looking after it and were the custodians behaving with integrity? While traders went to prison for rigging interest rates were there orchestrated manipulations of Libor by far bigger players? Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones

  • 3. The Lowball Tapes – The Whistleblower

    03/03/2022 Duración: 16min

    Pressure is put on a reluctant trader to manipulate interest rates. But where are his instructions coming from? As Libor begins to feel like a lie, Andy is given a flash drive with some incendiary audio recordings. Presenter: Andy Verity Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones

  • 2. The Low Ball Tapes - The Trails

    03/03/2022 Duración: 15min

    Andy Verity investigates the secret history of Libor, asking did the right people go to jail? Were the rate rigging trials about law and the evidence, or were they show trials to appease public anger towards banks? Producer: Sarah Bowen Music: Oskar Jones

  • 1. The Low Ball Tapes - Arrested

    03/03/2022 Duración: 15min

    The secret tapes the authorities, on both sides of the Atlantic, wouldn’t want you to hear. Andy Verity, the BBC’s Economics Correspondent has audio recordings, kept secret for years, which reveal evidence that could upend the received version of the biggest scandal since the financial crash. We might have thought that the rate-rigging bankers, ‘the LIBOR manipulators’ were justly jailed in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, but over 5 episodes, Andy questions the traditional narrative. The Lowball Tapes exposes evidence, much of it kept out of the trials, to show how they were instructed to give a falsely low LIBOR rate, ‘to lowball.’ Outraged, some of the traders turn whistle-blowers; but rather than stopping the deception, the whistle-blowers find themselves pursued. In interviews with convicted traders, including one on the run, Andy hears how it appears blame for manipulating LIBOR was shifted onto junior traders, while those higher up escaped prosecution. Did the world fail to see the truth at

  • Art Came in the Night

    25/02/2022 Duración: 28min

    Kevin Harman is an Edinburgh artist best known for creating 'situations', such as borrowing all his neighbours’ doormats to create an installation, smashing the window of an art gallery and transforming rubbish in skips into sculptures. In this programme he explores what happens when public art and people clash and gets a sense of what it's like when 'art comes in the night'. Whilst working on his own installation in Govan, he ponders what success and failure really mean in the sometimes controversial world of public art. Some public art is loved, some even defended from packs of roving art dealers, some is brushed off with indifference, or grumbling about wasted tax money. But when art comes out of the galleries and is splashed on the wall of someone's house or stuck outside on a shared stretch of grass the community can't help but be changed by its presence, and the art is at the mercy of those surrounding it. Kevin meets architect Lee Ivett who, in 2017, embarked on a new project in Govan, a huge sculptura

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