The History Hour

By BBC World Service

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 Jun 20, 2022

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An hour of historical reporting told by the people who were there.

Episode Date
Fifty years since Asians were kicked out of Uganda
Compilation of stories marking 50 years since Idi Amin expelled thousands of Asians from Uganda in 1972. We hear about why they migrated there, their expulsion, and what they did next. Jamie Govani’s grandparents always dreamed about finding a better life away from India. After getting married in the Indian state of Gujarat in the 1920s, they decided to pack their bags and move to Uganda with their young family. It was a wonderful place to grow up for Jamie, but racial segregation lingered in the background, and things began to change after Ugandan independence in 1962. She’s been speaking to Ben Henderson. As well as in Uganda, there was also an Asian population in Kenya, who experienced discrimination. This was initially from white settlers but, after independence, it came from black Kenyans too. Following the partition of India in 1947, Saleem Sheikh’s parents fled to Kenya. His family joined a thriving Asian community there. But, they were forced to leave in the late 1960s after a rise in violence against the Asian population. Saleem tells Ben Henderson about his life. In August 1972, the dictator Idi Amin announced that all Asians had just 90 days to leave Uganda. Nurdin Dawood, who was a teacher with a young family, initially didn't believe that Amin was being serious. But soon he was desperately searching for a country to call home. He spoke to his daughter Farhana Dawood in 2011. Thousands of Asians who were expelled from Uganda in 1972 settled in the UK and many made the city of Leicester their home. They helped to shape the east Midlands city’s identity with lots of new businesses. Now Leicester has the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India. Nisha Popat was nine-years-old when she arrived there with her family who later opened a restaurant in the area that became known as the Golden Mile. Nisha tells her story to Reena Stanton-Sharma. President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986. He encouraged exiled Asians to return to Uganda and reclaim their homes and businesses in order to rebuild the country. The economy had collapsed under the dictator Idi Amin. Dr. Mumtaz Kassam was one of the people who went back to Uganda years after arriving in the UK as a refugee. She talks to Reena Stanton-Sharma about returning to the country that had expelled her. (Picture of Jamie Govani's grandparents, aunts and uncles in Uganda in the 1950s)
Aug 06, 2022
The Revolution on Granite
A student protest in Ukraine, the Surkov leaks, the world’s deadliest ever earthquake, a leaflet bomber in South Africa and the invention of the nicotine patch. (Photo: Oksana Zabuzhko wearing a red jumper at the Revolution on Granite in 1990)
Jul 30, 2022
Stories from iconic TV shows from around the world
The history of television from around the world and its enduring impact, including a look at Nigeria's sitcom Papa Ajasco and an interview with actor turned food writer and Indian TV cook Madhur Jaffrey. Also we take you behind the scenes of telenovelas- Mexican soap operas and one of the most successful drama schools in Latin America The Centro de Educación Artística.
Jul 23, 2022
Stories from the abortion fight frontline
Stories from around the world on women's reproductive rights. Women fighting both sides of the abortion debate as well as the first Muslim country to legalise abortion. Also, the development of the Pill and why Japan took so long to make it legal for women. (Image: Speakers from Tunisia Women's Union at an event. Credit: Saida El Gueyed)
Jul 16, 2022
America’s first gay election candidate
In 1961 the first openly gay person ran for public office in the United States. He was a drag queen called Jose Sarria, well-known for his performances at the bohemian 'Black Cat' bar in San Francisco. He was determined to stop gay people being second-class citizens. His friend and fellow drag performer Mike-Michelle spoke to Josephine McDermott about his memories of the campaign. In 1928 the smear test was invented by Dr George Papanicoloau, a Greek immigrant who had made a new life in the United States. He discovered a way of detecting changes in cells from a woman’s cervix, which meant cancer could be prevented from developing. His work has stopped millions of women worldwide getting cancer. Dr Papanicolaou’s great niece Olga Stamatiou speaks to Laura Jones. It’s 10 years since scientists in Geneva said they believed they had found the Higgs Boson - known as the 'God particle'. In July 2012 after more than 40 years of searching, teams taking part in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider confirmed the existence of the particle which gives everything mass. Dr André David from CERN speaks to Laura Jones. In 1968 and early 1969 university students across Japan fought pitched battles with riot police after they barricaded themselves into their lecture halls and went on strike. They were protesting about the poor quality of their education and the inequalities of Japanese society in a period of rapid economic change. Emily Finch talks to Kazuki Kumamoto who was a young student who joined the protests. This is a Whistledown production for BBC World Service. The south-east region of Nigeria declared itself to be the independent state of Biafra. In response, Nigerian forces invaded the state on the 6th July 1967, beginning the Nigerian Civil War. More than a million people died before the fighting stopped. We bring you one child’s story of getting caught up in the frontline. In 2021 Paul Waters spoke to Patricia Ngozi Ebigwe, now better known as TV and music star Patti Boulaye, who was 13 years old when she had to try to escape the conflict. (Photo: Jose Sarria in drag. Credit: The Jose Sarria Foundation)
Jul 09, 2022
Hong Kong: 25 years since the handover from British to Chinese rule
Stories from Hong Kong, 25 years on since the handover from British to Chinese rule. We hear from the last governor of Hong Kong, a pro democracy campaigner and about life in Kowloon Walled City. (Photo: Chris Patten at the handover ceremony of Hong Kong from Britain to China. Credit: Getty Images)
Jul 02, 2022
Egypt's first democratic Presidential election
In June 2012, Egypt held its first ever free democratic Presidential election. Mohamed Morsi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, emerged victorious. Ben Henderson spoke to Rabab El-Mahdi, Chief Strategist to one of Morsi’s rival candidates. She described what it was like to be involved in the first election of its kind, how Morsi tried to recruit her, and the personal impact of political campaigning in such a polarised country. In June 1982 a young Chinese-American engineer was murdered with a baseball bat by two white men in the US city of Detroit. The lenient sentences the perpetrators received sparked an Asian-American activist movement with protests across the US. At the time, America was going through an economic depression and many blamed Japan, which was perceived to be flooding the US with its cars. For Asian-Americans, it was a time of fear. Farhana Haider spoke to Helen Zia, one of the activists who led the fight for justice. This programme was first broadcast in 2017. In 2003, Dr Nayana Patel, who ran her own fertility clinic in the state of Gujarat in India, carried out her first surrogacy procedure. It involved a surrogate mother and her own daughter. Dr Patel's clinic would go on to become one of the biggest in India attracting Western couples. It was legalised in 2002 but due to growing criticism, the government banned couples from the West from paying Indian surrogates to bear their children in 2015, arguing that the industry was exploiting poor women. Reena Stanton-Sharma spoke to Dr Nayana Patel. In 1985, the first robot-assisted medical surgery took place in Vancouver, Canada. It’s now become a standard feature of operating theatres worldwide. The original gadget was named Arthrobot. A member of the original project team, Geof Auchinleck, told his story to Kurt Brookes. A Made in Manchester production. The UK’s first official gay Pride march took place 50 years ago – on 1st July 1972. Alex Collins talked to Ted Brown, who took part in the London march.
Jun 25, 2022
Cambodian genocide trials
In 2009, Rob Hamill testified in the trial of Comrade Duc, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison during the Cambodian genocide. Josephine McDermott spoke to him. It is 50 years since Kim Phuc's village in Vietnam was bombed with napalm. The photograph of her, running burned from the attack, became one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War. Kim Phuc talks to Christopher Wain, the man who helped save her. In 2001 a violent, sectarian dispute took place outside Holy Cross Primary School in Belfast. Loyalist protesters tried to block the school run for Catholic pupils and their parents for months. Rachel Naylor spoke to one of the parents, Elaine Burns. This year is the 100th anniversary of Ulysses by James Joyce, one of the most influential novels of the 20th Century. Ulysses is the story of one day in the life of a young Irishman in Dublin; that day, June 16th, is now known as Bloomsday. To mark Bloomsday, Simon Watts brought together the memories of some of Joyce’s friends. The programme was first broadcast in 2012. In 1985, a unique High School opened in New York to provide a safe environment for LGBT students needing specialised education. The publicly-funded Harvey Milk High School was founded by former social worker, Steve Askinazy. Alex Collins talked to Steve Askinazy. (Photo: Kang Kek lew (Comrade Duc) as Director of Tuol Sleng Prison, c.1976-8. Credit: Getty images)
Jun 18, 2022
How Sri Lanka's president survived a suicide bombing
Max Pearson introduces first-hand accounts of the 2006 suicide bombing attack on Sri Lanka's president, the 75th anniversary of Anne Frank's diary and the 1968 assassination in the US of Bobby Kennedy. Plus, the birth of a crime fighting women's rights group in India and the moment the President of Gabon was shown the treasures of the rainforest.
Jun 11, 2022
The Syrian civil war
Max Pearson introduces first-hand accounts of the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria and the opening of a refugee camp for Syrians fleeing the civil war. Plus, how lynching was finally outlawed in America, the opening of the Sydney Opera House and the Queen's coronation. PHOTO: A UN inspector at work in Ghouta, Syria in August 2013 (Reuters)
Jun 04, 2022
Artists who made history
Max Pearson introduces the memories of people who knew Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe; plus, how a collector in the Soviet Union managed to open a museum for Russian artists banned by Stalin, and how a festival in Senegal in the 1960s inspired artists across a newly-independent Africa. PHOTO: Pablo Picasso in 1955 (Getty Images)
May 28, 2022
The Marcos regime in the Philippines
Max Pearson introduces first-hand accounts of the rule of Ferdinand Marcos Senior in the 1970s and 80s; plus, Shanghai during World War Two, and the opening of the first McDonald's in the Soviet Union. The History Hour also hears how the murder of a young West Indian called Kelso Cochrane changed race relations in Britain in the late 1950s. PHOTO: Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos in Manila in 1977 (Getty Images)
May 21, 2022
The war in Transnistria
With speculation mounting that President Putin might mount an attack on Moldova, Max Pearson hears a first-hand account of the war in the 1990s between the Moldovans and Russian-backed separatists in the disputed region of Transnistria. There's also a chilling story from the Cold War about how a Soviet air defence official prevented a potential catastrophe by realising that a computer warning about a US nuclear attack was a false alarm. In the second-half of the History Hour, an Egyptian poet remembers how 48 hours of unrest in 1977 forced the government to scrap a huge increase in the cost of bread, and an Icelandic geophysicist recalls how the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused disruption all over Europe. PHOTO: Russian-speaking Transnistrian fighters during the war (Getty Images)
May 14, 2022
Fighting for Uyghur rights in China
Max Pearson gets a first-hand account of how the minority Uyghur community in China staged some of the first protests against the all-powerful Communist Party in the 1980s. Plus, the young lawyer who won the landmark Roe v Wade abortion rights case in the US, the chemistry of cannabis and the personal stories of two veterans of the 1982 Falklands War. PHOTO: A Uyghur yurt on the Xinjiang steppe (Getty Images)
May 07, 2022
Algeria's War of Independence
Sixty years after Algeria's independence from France, first-hand accounts of a traumatic 'birth of a nation': a female Algerian bomber who was part of the battle for Algiers; how the French military responded with brutal tactics; a massacre on the streets of Paris; and reprisals against Algerians who fought alongside the French. Plus,the flowering of a national spirit through football. (Photo: French soldiers in the kasbah of Algiers, 1960. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 30, 2022
The Falkands War
On the fortieth anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, Max Pearson hears two contrasting accounts of the war with Britain. Patrick Watts was the manager of the radio station on the Falklands; he kept broadcasting calmly as Argentine troops burst into the studio. Patrick Savage was a conscript in the Argentine army; for him, the fighting was a cold, frightening and brutal experience that culminated in defeat. Max also gets analysis of the conflict from Argentine political scientist, Dr Celia Szusterman. In the second half of the programme, there are first-hand accounts of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; the US-USSR trade deal that fuelled inflation in the 70s; and a historic handshake in space between an American astronaut and a Soviet cosmonaut. PHOTO: Argentine troops on the Falklands shortly after the 1982 invasion (Getty Images)
Apr 09, 2022
Protesting against Putin
Starting in late 2011, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets to try to stop what they saw as a power grab by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The movement was not successful, but analysts say it worried the Russian leader so much that he launched a crackdown on dissent that has lasted to this day. We hear from Russian rock journalist, Artemy Troitsky, who composed a song that became an anthem of what was sometimes called the "Snow Revolution". Also, the launch of the first women's newspaper in Afghanistan, how black stuntmen demanded work from the big studios in Hollywood, and the dramatic story of the women who escaped a violent cult based in South London. Photo: An anti-Putin rally in Moscow in December 2011. Credit: Getty Images
Apr 02, 2022
Ukrainian history special
To mark the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a special edition on episodes from Ukrainian history. In April 1986 a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. Sergii Mirnyi monitored radiation levels in the exclusion zone around the plant. How the international community - including both Russia and the USA - offered security "assurances" to Ukraine in return for giving up its share of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. A survivor's account of Ukraine's great famine in the 1930s, the Holodomor, when several million people died. The mass killing of Ukrainian Jews by Nazi Germany during World War Two, and how Artek, on the shores of the Black Sea in Crimea, became the Soviet Union's most popular holiday camp. Photo: The Chernobyl plant shortly after the explosion in 1986 Credit: Getty Images
Mar 26, 2022
Women who made history
To celebrate International Women's Day, a special edition on five women who've made their mark on history. US feminist Gloria Steinem remembers founding Ms Magazine in 1972; Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi discusses the human rights campaigning which won her the Nobel Peace Prize; and a friend of Anna Akhmatova remembers the great Russian poet. Plus, a leading Italian feminist on the international movement in the 1970s which demanded women get paid for housework; and the Australian women who helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War. Picture: Gloria Steinem, centre, at the offices of Ms Magazine in New York circa 1974 (Credit: PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Mar 12, 2022
Russia under Putin
How Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, rose to power and transformed Russia. We hear eyewitness accounts of Putin's war in Chechnya, his campaign against Russia's independent media, and the war in Georgia, which became a blueprint for the invasion of Ukraine. Plus the BBC's Russia specialist Lucy Ash tells us why Putin was shaped by his experience of the end of the Cold War, and we talk to Dr Katerina Tertytchnaya of UCL about Putin's popularity and a turning point in Russian popular protest. Photo: A Russian soldier walks through the streets of the destroyed Chechen capital Grozny, February 25, 2000. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)
Mar 05, 2022
LGBT history special
In the 1990s, doctors in Berlin began a cutting-edge treatment programme that led to a patient being cured of HIV/AIDS. The so-called "Berlin patient" was Timothy Ray Brown: he was suffering from leukemia as well as HIV/AIDS, and was given a bone marrow transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation which killed off the HIV virus. We find more about Timothy Ray Brown's story and the latest research on an HIV cure. Also, in a special edition on LGBT history, how Bollywood lesbian drama "Fire" raised awareness of LGBT issues in India; the trans film star who made headlines in Yugoslavia during a time of war; and the first couple in the world to celebrate a same-sex civil union. PHOTO: Timothy Ray Brown in 2012 (Getty Images)
Feb 19, 2022
The Ukraine crisis: an eyewitness history
Former presidents and protestors recount two key moments in the history of the Ukraine crisis - from the historic meeting that ended the USSR to the dramatic anti-government protests in Ukraine in 2013-14. And the BBC's Lucy Ash explains how Russian-Ukrainian relations have evolved. Also in the programme, an eyewitness account of the forgotten mass killings in Burundi in 1972, plus the inventors of Google Maps and how Manolo Blahnik became a legend in the world of shoes. Photo: Kyiv, Ukraine - December 9th 2013. Anti-government protesters stand guard at one of the barricades defending Maidan Square against police. Credit: Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images
Feb 12, 2022
Kazakhstan's new capital
How Kazakhstan's strongman president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, created a new capital, which would eventually be named after him; transformation in the UEA - the first Emirati female teacher in the 1960s; the murder of American journalist, Daniel Pearl; from 70 years ago, the passing of Britain’s King George VI; and a once-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus. Picture: Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, since renamed Nur-Sultan (credit: Shutterstock)
Feb 05, 2022
Fifty years since Northern Ireland's Bloody Sunday
In one of the most controversial episodes of 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, UK soldiers fired on unarmed Catholic protesters, killing 13 in January 1972. We look at why British troops were there, what happened on that day, and how it further polarised Protestant Unionist and Catholic Republican communities. Successive UK governments insisted the soldiers had returned fire in self defence, until a public inquiry reported in 2010 that the soldiers had in fact fired first - and at fleeing, unarmed, protesters. The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised on behalf of the government. We'll speak to former BBC Northern Ireland Editor, Eimear O'Callaghan, who as a teenager kept a diary of life in sectarian Belfast in the 1970s, later published into a book, and who reported for years on the struggle for peace. Photo: A British soldier grabs hold of a protester by the hair. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 29, 2022
The rise of Boko Haram
In 2009, Boko Haram, a small Islamist group, launched an insurgency in the north eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. The conflict would eventually force hundreds of thousands from their homes, and leave tens of thousands dead. We hear a witness account of how the violence started. Plus, this past week Americans have been observing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day national holiday. The long campaign to have Dr King formally recognized in the US was led by his widow, Coretta Scott King. We hear from her daughter, Dr Bernice King, about the campaign. We dip into the BBC archive to bring you the story of the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment. Also, from the 1980s, a time when many wanted to get out of East Germany and into the West, the young woman who decided to go the other way and set up a new life in the East. And the Dutchman behind the first bike sharing scheme. Photo: A suspected Boko Haram house in Maiduguri set ablaze by Nigerian security forces, 30th July 2009 (AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 22, 2022
Hitler's Indian ally: Subhas Chandra Bose
The Indian independence campaigner, Subhas Chandra Bose, sided with Hitler's axis powers in World War Two to try to free his country from British rule. We'll hear from his great-niece about why she thinks that if he had lived he could have changed the course of India's history. We'll also hear from Dr Shruti Kapila of Cambridge University about why India's current government is celebrating Bose. Plus a nuclear scientist tells us about his role in a secret project to make safe vast swathes of nuclear-contaminated land in post-Soviet Kazakhstan - as well as preventing nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands. Also, the reckless actions which led to the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, the first woman to have silicone breast implants and Malick Sidibé, the Malian photographer whose work altered people's perceptions about 1960s Africa. Photo: Subhas Chandra Bose giving a speech in Nazi Germany in 1942.
Jan 15, 2022
Mozambique's Eduardo Mondlane: From professor to freedom fighter
Mozambique’s struggle to end Portuguese colonial rule and the assassination of Eduardo Mondlane, we'll hear from his daughter Nyeleti Brooke Mondlane and Dr Eric Morier-Genoud from Queen's University Belfast. Also, the brainwashing of Albanian youth under Stalinist Enver Hoxha's leadership, the fight for democracy in Taiwan and the worst ever loss of life at sea - the sinking of the German military transport ship, Wilhelm Gustloff in World War Two. All that plus, from the archives, the life and work of the celebrated French author Marcel Proust 100 years after his death. PHOTO: Eduardo Mondlane in 1966 (Getty Images)
Jan 08, 2022
A history of games
The inside story of games that shaped the modern world. Including Atari's Nolan Bushnell on his game Pong which helped launch the video game industry. Plus the origin of Grand Theft Auto, the man who invented Tetris, the son of the Lego brick pioneer and the true story of Monopoly. Max Pearson also talks to the technology journalist Louise Blain about the development of the huge gaming industry and where it goes next. Photo: Pong being played at a retro games event in Germany (Getty Images)
Jan 01, 2022
The right to drive in Saudi Arabia
In 2011, cybersecurity expert Manal Al-Sharif helped found the Women2Drive movement. It was designed to force the Saudi Arabian government to overturn its ban on women driving cars - one of the many restrictions on women in the Kingdom. Inspired by the mood of the Arab Spring, Saudi women got behind the wheel and then posted videos of themselves all over social media. The movement attracted international attention and the ban on women drivers was eventually lifted. Saudi journalist Safa Al-Ahmad describes how the lifting of the ban was a radical change to Saudi society, but women in the country still face many severe restrictions. Plus, how in 2010 a Tanzanian man with albinism braved threats and discrimination to become the country's first albino elected politician. Also, the dramatic story of how the great Russian ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, defected from the Soviet Union in 1961. Finally, the festive history of how a town in Finnish Lapland, eviscerated during WWII, rose from the ashes to become the unofficial home of Santa Claus. Presented by Max Pearson.
Dec 25, 2021
The birth of Bangladesh
A special edition on the Bangladesh War of Independence, which ended 50 years ago in December 1971. The conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and redrew the political map of South Asia. The programme features first-hand accounts from leading activists and politicians, as well as the people caught up in the war - from a Pakistani soldier to one of the many Bangladeshi women who suffered appalling sexual violence. There is expert analysis from Sabir Mustafa, the head of the BBC Bengali Service, and Witness History's Farhana Haider. PHOTO: The flag of Bangladesh is raised at the Awami League headquarters in 1971. Credit: Getty Images.
Dec 18, 2021
Four decades of HIV/Aids
It’s forty years since the first report on HIV/Aids appeared in a medical journal. Back in the early days in the 1980s a misunderstanding made one man the face of the epidemic. A Canadian air steward, Gaetan Dugas was mistakenly identified as ‘Patient Zero’. A misreading of scientific data had given the impression that he was responsible for the spread of the disease. We hear from people who knew him. Also one woman who was diagnosed in the 1980s tells us of the stigma at the time. And the discovery of the first successful treatment for HIV/Aids, as well as the story of how South African activists led the charge to make drugs widely available. And we hear from the former partner of the British film maker, Derek Jarman who was one of the first artists to speak openly about being HIV positive. Photo: Gaetan Dugas. (Credit: Rand Gaynor)
Dec 04, 2021
The assassination of the Mirabal sisters
The three Mirabal sisters were leading figures in the Dominican Republic's opposition movement against the dictator General Rafael Trujillo. They were all killed on the 25th November 1960. We hear from the daughter of one of them, Minerva, who tells us about her family and from Professor Elizabeth Manley on the Mirabal sister's legacy in the Dominican Republic. Also in the programme, the last case of Smallpox in Europe, the woman who helped her mother to die and laid the groundwork for the Netherlands becoming the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia. Also how Estonia led the way on connecting up schools to the internet and the painting by Gustav Klimt which was stolen by Nazis and only returned to its Jewish owners after a lengthy legal battle. Photo: The three Mirabal Sisters, Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa (Credit: Mirabal family collection)
Nov 27, 2021
Sudan's October Revolution
How in 1964 Sudanese civilian protesters first brought down a military regime, plus the hunt for former Serbian leader Radovan Karadžić later convicted of genocide and war crimes. Also in the programme, Russia's public outcry at the killing of human rights pioneer and leading female politician Galina Starovoitova in the 1990s, the birth of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anxiety and depression, and getting shot in the arm for the sake of 'art' in the USA. Photo: People celebrate the fall of the military regime in Khartoum, November 1964 (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Nov 20, 2021
The South African football star murdered for being a lesbian
In 2008, the brutal murder of Eudy Simelane shocked South Africa and highlighted the widespread violence faced by South African women and members of the LGTBI community. But has anything changed? We hear from a friend of Eudy and speak to Sibongile Ndashe, a South African lawyer and human rights activist. Plus, we look back at the massive oil fires in Kuwait in 1991, battling racial discrimination in British schools in the 1960s, Cold War intelligence gathering in East Germany and the invention of Chanel No.5, 100 years ago. Photo: Eudy Simelane’s parents sat at the bridge named in their daughter’s honour. Credit: BBC
Nov 13, 2021
When Eritrea silenced its critics
An hour of first hand accounts from the past. Starting with a crackdown on opposition voices in Eritrea from twenty years ago, plus memories of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the Nuremberg trials, a breakthrough in orthopaedics, and how the fictional character Fu Manchu prejudiced popular opinion against China and the Chinese for decades.
Nov 06, 2021
The child environmental activist of the 1990s
To mark the start of the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, taking place in Glasgow in the UK, we’re looking back at the history of our awareness of climate change with some of the scientists and activists who have been trying to solve this global crisis in recent decades. We hear from environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who was just 12 years old when she implored world leaders to take action, at the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro. Plus, how a pioneering American scientist provided compelling evidence of man-made global warming back in the 1950s, and measuring melting glaciers at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Photo: Severn Cullis-Suzuki (2nd left) and her friends at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Courtesy of Severn Cullis-Suzuki.
Oct 30, 2021
The Greenham Common women's peace camp
The anti-nuclear weapons protest began in 1981 and lasted nineteen years. Also the first transgender priest in the Church of England, WW2 Polish refugees in Africa, plus why lesbian mothers caused such a stir in the 1970s and was the untimely death of Mozambique's President Samora Machel an assassination? Photo: Women from the Greenham Common peace camp blocking Yellow Gate into RAF Greenham Common , 1st April 1983 . (Photo by Staff/Reading Post/MirrorpixGetty Images)
Oct 23, 2021
The Pakistani law that jailed rape survivors
Under legislation known as the Hudood Ordinances introduced in 1979, a nearly blind teenaged rape survivor was jailed herself for having sex outside marriage. In 1983 Safia Bibi was sentenced to three years imprisonment, 15 lashes and a fine. The verdict and the draconian punishment galvanised the women's rights movement in Pakistan. Also in the programme the terrible price paid by an abortion doctor in 1990s America, the rise of a fascist movement in 1960s Britain plus the Saudi author who shook up Arabic fiction in the early 2000s and from 1987 how a baby stuck down a well in Texas gripped the world’s attention.
Oct 16, 2021
Black history: Britain and race
As part of our British black history coverage we look back at the racism faced by London's first black policeman from his own colleagues. We also hear about the death in police custody of black ex-soldier Christopher Alder. Plus, the intriguing story of a Somali sailor based in the UK in the early 20th century; the heartbreak faced by the children of black American soldiers and white British mothers during World War Two; and the story of Clyde Best, Britain's pioneering black footballer. Presenter Max Pearson also hears from Dr Martin Glynn of Birmingham City University's Black Studies course. Photo: London's first black policeman PC Norwell Roberts beginning his training with colleagues at Hendon Police College, London, 5 April 1967. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Oct 09, 2021
Photographing Brazil's Yanomami
In 1971 photographer Claudia Andujar began documenting the lives of a remote indigenous tribe in the Brazilian Amazon jungle. Her photographs helped the campaign for recognition of the Yanomami's rights over their own land. Chris Feliciano Arnold, writer and reporter specializing in the Amazon, describes the new threats facing the many indigenous communities in the region. Plus, remembering Petra Kelly - one of the influential founders of the German Green party, tracing the birth of the Taliban, and a survivor of of the Tanker Wars in the 1980s describes the moment his ship was attacked. Photo:Antônio Korihana thëri, a young man under the effect of the hallucinogenic powder yãkoana, Catrimani, 1972-1976. © Claudia Andujar
Oct 02, 2021
Kenya: Westgate mall attack
Eyewitnesses remember the Westgate mall attack in Kenya, the 1990s 'miracle water' craze in Mexico, and the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Plus the amazing story of how a journalist revealed the secret romance between Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy, and we look back at the changing nature of James Bond. Photo: A police officer at the site of the terrorist attack, Westgate Mall, on September 21, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.. (Photo by Jeff Angote/Nation Media/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Sep 25, 2021
The earthquake that devastated Haiti
In 2010 the Haitian capital and surrounding areas were hit by a catastrophic earthquake. Much of Port Au Prince was flattened and more than a hundred thousand people were killed. Amid the destruction and death people's first instinct was to pull together and help one another. A survivor describes what happened after his family home collapsed around him. Plus, a prisoner who took part in the dramatic Attica prison uprising of 1971, the professor who used DNA to unravel a 200-year-old royal mystery from France, and one of the first settlers of Copenhagen's famous hippy commune, Christiania. Photo: Men gather to try to reach those still buried in the rubble beneath the Haitian Department of Justice building in January 2010.(Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Sep 18, 2021
9/11 and the war on terror
In a special edition on the terrorist attacks on America, we hear from the White House official who broke the news to the President and a Muslim first-responder who worked at Ground Zero. Plus, personal memories of the US intelligence failures in the run-up to 9/11 and the bombing of Afghanistan which followed. We also get a dramatic first-hand account of the death of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Afghan resistance against the Taleban, who was killed by an al-Qaeda suicide bomber on the eve of the attacks on New York and Washington. And former BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus joins us to analyse the war on terror and the gains made - or not made - in the twenty years since a day which changed the world. Photo: Smoke pours from the World Trade Centre after it was hit by two passenger planes on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Credit: Robert Giroux/Getty Images)
Sep 11, 2021
Surviving the fall of Saigon
When South Vietnam fell in 1975, most could not escape. In the last days, the US airlifted its remaining personnel and some high ranking Vietnamese officials - but millions were left behind to await their fate. Hear the account of one South Vietnamese veteran who remained in Saigon as North Vietnamese forces took the city. Also on the programme: the 1990s electric car that was taken out of production, we go up close with North Korea's Kim Il Sung, the Gdansk shipyard strike in Poland, and the Sicilian businessman who tried to defy the Mafia. Photo: A South Vietnamese soldier helps his wounded friend during fighting with communist forces in Saigon, 28th April 1975 (Bettmann/Getty Images)
Sep 04, 2021
My father survived the sinking of the Titanic
Fang Lang was one of six Chinese men who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The six faced racism and a hostile immigration system when they reached America. Unlike other survivors, their stories remained untold for decades. We hear from Fang Lang's son Tom and Arthur Jones whose documentary called The Six tells the story of those six Chinese survivors. Also John Maynard Keynes, the economist who transformed the world, changing attitudes in Mexico towards disabled women plus Nigeria’s war against indiscipline in the 1980s and the contested legacy of one of the most revered Arab poets of the twentieth century. Photo: Tom’s father, Fang Lang. Credit: LP Films.
Aug 28, 2021
US withdrawal: The Fall of Saigon
The desperate scramble to evacuate the US embassy at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, also the 1940s Indian radio station calling for independence. We'll look at life as a 'human shield' in Iraq under Saddam, the man who invented the term 'genocide' and why, and the messy diplomatic embarrassment of Nicolae Ceaușescu's visit to The Queen in 1978. (Photo: A CIA employee helps Vietnamese evacuees onto an Air America helicopter from the top of 22 Gia Long Street, a half mile from the U.S. Embassy. April 1975. Getty Images.)
Aug 21, 2021
The Berlin Wall
In August 1961, communist East Germany began building the Berlin Wall, which divided the city for nearly three decades and became a symbol of the Cold War. We hear the memories of Germans from both sides of the Wall and tales of daring escapes. Plus, what life was like in the East - from nudism and folk music to the grim reality of facing the notorious Stasi secret police. PHOTO: Soldiers at the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s (Getty Images)
Aug 14, 2021
Chipko: India’s tree-hugging women
The story of the famed 1970s Indian conservation movement. Plus we speak to Professor Vinita Damodaran about the history of Indian environmentalism. Also Patti Boulaye on escaping the Biafran war, we hear from Dorothy Butler Gilliam - an African American news pioneer, why Afghanistan's first private radio station helped change a generation, and memories of a taboo-breaking gay support group in 1990s India. (Photo by Bhawan Singh/The The India Today Group via Getty Images)
Aug 07, 2021
Darfur's ethnic war
We hear about the start of the war in Darfur, through the eyes of a teenage boy whose life was changed when the Sudanese military allied to a local militia, the Janjaweed, laid waste to villages across the region, killing and raping as they went. We hear from a survivor of Norway's worst day of terror, when a far-right extremist, Anders Breivik, launched a bomb attack on government offices and attacked a summer camp. Plus a story from our archives from a British army officer during World War Two who witnessed the end of Italy's colonial rule in East Africa during a final battle in the Ethiopian town of Gondar. From Brazil, the women's rights activist whose story of abuse inflicted by her husband inspired the country's first legislation recognising different forms of domestic violence in 2006. Lastly, the story of how the family of the artist Vincent Van Gogh worked to get him recognised as a great painter after he died penniless in 1890. Photo: A young Darfurian refugee walks past a Sudan Liberation Army Land Rover filled with teenage rebel fighters on October 14 2004 in the violent North Darfur region of Sudan. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
Jul 24, 2021
When the Taliban ruled Kabul
Afghans remember life under the Taliban in 1990s Kabul, and we ask Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network about the fall and rise of the Taliban. Plus, Jane Goodall on her ground-breaking study of chimpanzees, why race riots swept northern England in 2001, the remarkable story of a boy trapped in China's Cultural Revolution, and the invention of the jet engine. Photo: Taliban gunners outside Kabul in November 1996.(Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)
Jul 17, 2021
North Korea's 1990s famine
When the USSR collapsed it could no longer support North Korea, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths due to starvation and malnutrition. We hear from one survivor and Prof Hazel Smith who explains some of the contributing factors behind the 'long, slow famine'. Also on the programme, the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, why the UK sent all its gold to Canada during World War Two, battling for Roma rights and the mystery behind Cuba's blindness epidemic. All told by the people at the heart of the stories. Photo: North Korean boys at a kindergarten in Pyongyang pose for a World Food Programme Emergency Food Assistance photographer in 1997. Their thin arms and legs, knobby knees and distended abdomens show that they are seriously malnourished. (Credit: Susan North/AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 10, 2021
Supernatural sightings
Is there anybody out there? Max Pearson hears about a UFO sighting in rural Zimbabwe in 1994 and talks to Gideon Lewis-Kraus of the New Yorker about whether the US Pentagon is taking UFOs more seriously. Plus, the birth of communist China, a wind power pioneer, trailblazing Chinese students and a radical Syrian playwright. Image: Composite of children's illustrations of UFO, Zimbabwe 1994.
Jul 03, 2021
The Confederate flag and America’s battle over race
In June 2015 an American anti-racist activist climbed a flagpole on the South Carolina state house grounds to take down the Confederate flag. The protest followed the killing of 9 black people at a historic Charleston church by a white supremacist who was pictured holding the flag. We discuss the history of this divisive symbol of America's racist past. Also how life in the Chinese countryside has been dramatically changed by 40 years of migration to the cities. Plus, from the 1980s, a British TV event that shifted attitudes towards victims of rape, East Germany’s iconic Trabant car and the man behind Mindfulness. Photo Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate flag at the State House in Columbia, SC, on Saturday 27th June 2015. Credit Adam Anderson / Reuters.
Jun 19, 2021
When Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor
On 7 June 1981 Israeli fighter jets launched a surprise attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor located outside Baghdad, killing 11 people. The French-built reactor was still under construction and there was no leakage of nuclear material, but the bombing was widely condemned internationally. We hear from Dr Fadhil Muslim al Janabi, a former consultant for Iraq's nuclear agency. Also this week, eye-witness testimony to the fall of Madrid in 1939; Hamas' unexpected election victoryin 2006, the plight of legal sex workers in Tunisia and taking part in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the consecration of Coventry's new cathedral. Photo: The Tammuz light-water nuclear materials testing reactor under construction in Al-Tuwaitha, just outside of Baghdad, 1979. (Getty Images)
Jun 12, 2021
The war on drugs
US President Richard Nixon declared illegal drugs 'public enemy number one' in 1971 and launched a worldwide 'war' on the narcotics trade. 50 years on we revisit key moments in the ongoing fight against the powerful criminal groups involved from Columbia to Afghanistan. We'll hear personal stories from the front line of drug addiction, plus journalist and author Ioan Grillo joins our presenter Max Pearson to discuss, what went wrong in the war on drugs? Photo: US President Richard Nixon (BBC)
Jun 05, 2021
Amilcar Cabral: an African liberation legend
We remember Amilcar Cabral, who led the armed struggle against Portuguese colonial rule in West Africa in the 1970s and speak to Dr Nayanka Perdigao about his legacy. Plus the shocking fallout of the Indian rail strike in 1974 which was - at the time - the biggest industrial action on record and from a century ago, the Tulsa race massacre, when thousands of African Americans were left homeless and hundreds were killed. We'll also find out how Lotfia Elnadi became the first Arab woman pilot in 1933 and the story behind the first big charity fundraising rock concert in the Soviet Union when communism broke with its antipathy toward western pop music. Photo: Rebel soldiers on patrol in Guinea Bissau during the Portuguese Colonial War in West Africa, 1972. Credit: Reg Lancaster/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
May 29, 2021
When Egypt said Enough
Under the slogan 'kefaya' which means 'enough' in Arabic, in 2004 Egyptians began protesting in Cairo against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. The months of demonstrations took place several years before the Arab Spring swept through the region and drew many people onto the streets for the first time in their lives. We get an eye-witness account. Plus, Ariel Sharon's controversial visit to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 2000, the women who staged strikes against military rule in South Korea, and the landmark 1971 conference on saving the world's wetlands. PHOTO: Protestors in Egypt in 2004 (AFP/Getty Images)
May 22, 2021
Why a British MP was filmed taking mescaline
# Warning: This programme contains descriptions of drug use # In 1955 Christopher Mayhew MP took the hallucinogenic drug mescaline for a TV experiment. We look back at the history of psychedelic research and speak to Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London. Plus, the battle to legalise contraception in Ireland, a pro-democracy activist in China, the chemical and biological weapons programme in apartheid South Africa, and why thousands of Jews secretly fled Iraq in the 1970s.
May 15, 2021
The IRA hunger strikes
The IRA hunger strikes of 1981 – Max Pearson hears from Suzanne Breen of the Belfast Telegraph about the impact of the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland. Plus, one man’s story of surviving Guantanamo Bay, how a French winemaker exposed a wine fraudster, feminist science fiction pioneer Ursula Le Guin, and cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam.
May 08, 2021
The killing of Osama Bin Laden
It is 10 years since the al-Qaeda leader was killed. We look at the US special forces operation that finally tracked him down to a city in northern Pakistan, the 1979 siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, one of the events that shaped his world view; we talk to a Western-based journalist who met him, hear from a survivor of the attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and hear about the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader in the mountains of Afghanistan after 9/11. (Photo: Osama Bin Laden. Credit:AFP/Getty Images)
May 01, 2021
How the NRA became a US political lobbying giant
The origins of the gun lobby in the US. Plus we speak to Prof Robert Spitzer about the power of the National Rifle Association. Also, the mysterious American who killed two men in Pakistan and triggered a diplomatic crisis, the historic trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1961, the battle to reclaim a Native American sacred lake, and the first space shuttle mission. Photo: National Rifle Association Holds Its Annual Conference In Dallas, Texas. DALLAS, TX - MAY 05 2018. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Apr 24, 2021
The first woman in the US Supreme Court
Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to America's top court in 1981. She'd been nominated by newly-elected Republican president Ronald Reagan. Also in the programme: an eye-witness on the beaches during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, the worm that unlocked secrets of genetics in the 1960s, the decline of the South Asian vulture and China's "kingdom of women". Photo:Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in at the Senate confirmation hearing on her selection as a US Supreme Court justice, September 1981 (Credit: Keystone/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)
Apr 17, 2021
The women who reclaimed the night
We hear from the women who started "Reclaim the Night" marches in the north of England in 1977 - a time when a serial killer nicknamed the Yorkshire Ripper was murdering women. The women felt police were policing their behaviour rather than that of men by instructing them to stay home at night. We speak to Hallie Rubenhold author of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper for a comparison of the treatment and expectations of women in the 19th and 20th century. Plus we go to Mexico and the neuropsychologist who met and discovered the motivations behind the country's first female serial killer - a famous woman wrestler - who strangled old women. It's 30 years since the Russian city of Leningrad voted to abandon the name of the leader of the Russian revolution - Vladimir Lenin - and to return to its historic name of St Petersburg and we hear the famous British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough remembering his first visit to the tropics of West Africa. Finally, we bring you the remarkable story behind the discovery of the jet stream –the high speed air currents which profoundly affect our environment all-round the globe. Photo: women taking part in a Reclaim the Night march. Credit: BBC Photo:women taking part in a Reclaim the Night march. Credit: BBC
Apr 10, 2021
Black Jesus
On Easter Sunday 1967 the Reverend Albert Cleage re-named his church in Detroit the Shrine of the Black Madonna. He preached that if man was made in God's image there was little chance that Jesus was white as most of the world's population is non-white. Plus, how British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wowed the Soviet Union with a live TV interview in 1987; how the death of singer Karen Carpenter raised the profile of the anorexia eating disorder; and the story of two Englishmen who were kidnapped on an orchid-hunt in Colombia. Photo: Black Madonna and Child (Courtesy of BLAC Detroit)
Apr 03, 2021
The History Hour
South Africa fights for cheaper drugs during the AIDS epidemic, the man born into slavery in Mauritania, trying to end the troubles in Northern Ireland, Banksy’s first street art and a sex therapy legend. With Max Pearson
Mar 27, 2021
The History Hour
The hunt to find the Jamaican drug lord wanted for extradition to the United States, the six men trapped in a simulated space ship for a year and a half, the mother of the Swedish welfare state, the New York drag scene of the 1990s and a classic cold war chess match which was much more than just a game. With Max Pearson (Jamaican police on patrol after a frenzy of gang and drug violence in Kingston, May 24 2010. Credit: Anthony Foster/Getty Images)
Mar 20, 2021
The women of Egypt's Arab Spring
The women of Egypt's Arab Spring; the underground abortion network in 1960s America; Greece's champion of the Parthenon Marbles, Melina Mercouri; China’s most powerful 19th-century ruler, and the doctor who was India’s 1966 Miss World. Photo: Hend Nafea protesting in Tahrir Square in January 2011. (Copyright Hend Nafea)
Mar 13, 2021
The Iron Curtain
Churchill's Iron Curtain speech about the Cold War, the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa which radicalised many anti-apartheid movements and we hear from a man whose relatives were killed when police bombed the home of African-American radicals in the US. Plus how Nauru became a Pacific island limbo for asylum seekers and the first man to dive to the deepest point on the planet - the bottom of the Mariana Trench. We'll also hear from a BBC science correspondent about why we know more about space than the deepest depths of the ocean. Photo: Winston Churchill at the podium delivering his "Iron Curtain" speech, at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri, 5th March 1946 (PA)
Mar 06, 2021
The fall of Kwame Nkrumah
An eyewitness account of the overthrow of Ghana's famous independence leader. And we examine Nkrumah's legacy with Prof. Gareth Austin from Cambridge University. Plus the story of a heroic African WW2 airman, the scientists who alerted the world to the threat of acid rain, a Nobel Peace Prize winner on the 1990s campaign to ban landmines and an inside account of Ireland's financial crisis. Photo: Kwame Nkrumah c 1955 (Getty Images)
Feb 27, 2021
Black History: The Black Panthers
As part of our Black History coverage we look back at the Black Panthers and ask Professor Clayborne Carson of Stanford University "How radical was the US black rights group?" Also, we bring you an archive interview with Mary Wilson of the Supremes, we delve into the question of compensation after the abolition of slavery - and no, not compensation for the people who had been enslaved, but for the former slave owners. Also, how one descendent of slaves, James Dawkins, discovered his ancestors' connection with the British writer Richard Dawkins. And, looking back at the story of Henrietta Lacks the African-American whose cells revolutionised medical science. Photo: Schoolchildren at a Black Panthers breakfast club. Credit: Shutterstock
Feb 20, 2021
US 'smart bombs' hit an Iraqi air raid shelter
More than 400 civilians were killed when two US precision bombs hit the Amiriya air raid shelter in western Baghdad on the morning of 13 February 1991. The Americans claimed that the building had served as a command and control centre for Saddam Hussein's forces. It was the largest single case of civilian casualities that ocurred during Operation Desert Storm. Also in this week's programme, a drug scandal from the 1970s which blighted the lives of generations, rare archive of the celebrated British artist, Francis Bacon, the 1980s New York Street News newspaper set up to help the homeless and we hear from a nurse from West Africa who devoted her life to the British health service. Photo: Inside the Amiriya air-raid shelter following the US bombing (Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)
Feb 13, 2021
The Burma protests of 1988
In August 1988, people took to the streets of Burma, or Myanmar, to protest against the country's military government. The bloody uprising would lead to the rise of Aung San Suu Kyi as the country's pro-democracy leader. Also, the epidemic of drug use among US troops in Vietnam in the 1970s, the first Eurostar train service and the launch of the spectacular Moscow State Circus in 1971 PHOTO: Protestors in Rangoon in 1988 (Getty Images)
Feb 06, 2021
The Arab Spring of 2011
In the early months of 2011 a wave of social unrest swept across the Arab world as people protested against repressive and authoritarian regimes, economic stagnation, unemployment and corruption. It began with reaction to the self-immolation of a young market trader in Tunisia, but soon became an outpouring of resentment after generations of fear. On The History Hour, Professor Khaled Fahmy of Cambridge University, helps us unravel the roots of the uprisings, describes what it was like to be there, and looks at why things haven't turned out as the protesters had wanted. Photo: Libyan anti-Gaddafi protesters wave their old national flag as they stand atop an abandoned army tank in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on February 28, 2011.(Credit PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Jan 30, 2021
Hitler's beer hall putsch
Hitler made his first attempt at seizing power in Germany in 1923, ten years before he eventually became Chancellor. The failed "beer hall putsch" - so named because it started in a beer hall in the southern city of Munich - would become a foundational part of the Nazis' self-mythology. Professor Frank McDonough tells us more. Plus, more Nazis with The Turner Diaries, the novel that inspired the US far right; anti-Sikh riots in India; the birth of Swahili-language publishing; and the house fire in New Cross, South London, which led to a Black People's Day of Action. PHOTO: Nazi members during the Beer Hall Putsch, Munich, Germany 1923 (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Jan 23, 2021
Attack at the US Capitol
In 1954, Puerto Rican militants opened fire in the US House of Representatives, wounding five Congressmen - we hear how the assault was one of many previous attacks on American democracy. Plus, the coup attempt in Spain in 1981, India's first woman lawyer and landing a probe on Titan, one of Saturn's moons. PHOTO: Lolita Lebron and two other Puerto Rican activists are arrested in 1954 (Getty Images)
Jan 16, 2021
Buddhist on Death Row
How US inmates turned to Buddhism to face execution in 1990s Arkansas, and we look at the history of the death penalty in the US with Prof Vivien Miller. Plus, the truth of a space "strike", the 70s book that predicted global decline in 2020, sequencing the Ebola virus and we hear the world's oldest song. Photo: Anna Cox and inmate Frankie Parker.
Jan 09, 2021
75 years of Unesco
Unesco - the United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Educational Organisation - was set up 75 years ago, in the aftermath of the Second World War. It’s probably best known for its work protecting cultural monuments and areas of natural beauty around the world, but when it was founded, its aim was to use education as a means of sustaining peace after the horrors of the war. In this episode of The History Hour: Unesco’s work on race and tolerance, its effort in the 1960s to save Egyptian treasures from the rising waters of the Aswan Dam, Le Corbusier’s attempt to build a model city in India, the fight to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the tragic story of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.
Jan 02, 2021
Film special
We hear from eye-witnesses to some classic moments in cinema history – from It’s a Wonderful Life to Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy via Studio Ghibli, the Sound of Music and Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator. Plus, film critic Helen O’Hara tells us about the history of Christmas movies. Photo: one of the final scenes from Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, featuring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Carol Coombs, Jimmy Hawkins, Larry Simms and Karolyn Grimes, clockwise from top (photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images)
Dec 26, 2020
The birth of Bangladesh
How Pakistan's first democratic elections in 1970 led to war, the break up of Pakistan and the creation of a new country, Bangladesh. Also Gibraltar under Spanish blockade plus refugees from Namibia’s war of independence, Britain’s first reality TV family and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. Photo East Pakistan 1971 The flag of Bangladesh is raised at the Awami League headquarters. Credit Getty Images
Dec 19, 2020
The first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize
When Chief Albert Luthuli won the Nobel Peace Prize he was living under a banning order in rural South Africa. He won the prize for advocating peaceful opposition to the Apartheid regime. We hear from his daughter Albertina and speak to a South African historian about his legacy. Plus the cave discovery in France that changed the way we think about Neanderthals, the best-selling African-American crime writer Chester Himes, celebrating 100 years since a cinematic first and the reintroduction of beavers that's helping restore Scotland's ecosystem. (Picture: Albert Luthuli receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive)
Dec 12, 2020
The fall of Addis Ababa
In May 1991, the brutal Ethiopian dictator, Colonel Mengistu and his military regime were on the verge of collapse after years of civil war. The end came when a Tigrayan-led rebel movement advanced on the capital Addis Ababa and took power. We get a first-hand account from an American diplomat and hear how the events of 1991 contributed to the current crisis in Ethiopia. Plus, the controversy in France over banning headscarves and other religious symbols from schools, the Nazis' terrifying V1 bombing campaign in World War Two and the story of the Haitian slave leader, Toussaint Louverture. Photo: EPRDF rebels in Addis Ababa, 28 May, 1991 (BBC)
Dec 05, 2020
Disability History special
We look back at the fight for disability rights in the UK and India in the 1990s, plus the remarkable life of Helen Keller as told by her great niece, how a Rwandan Paralympic volleyball team made history, and the invention of the iconic disability vehicle, the Invacar. And we speak to Colin Barnes, Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds University, about the historic struggle for disabled rights and recognition. Photo: A disabled woman on her mobility scooter is carried away by four policemen after obstructing the traffic outside the Houses of Parliament. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Nov 28, 2020
The world's first woman premier
Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected prime minster of Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was known then, in 1960 following the assassination of her husband, Solomon Bandaranaike and became the first female prime minister in the world. We hear from Dr Asanga Welikala about her legacy. Plus the first Arab leader to visit Israel, the former hostage taken captive by Somali pirates in 2008 who came to sympathise with their plight and the Jewish refugees given sanctuary by America during WW2. Also the revolutionary and graphic book for women published in 1973 which helped us understand women's bodies and is now published in 33 different languages. Photo: Sirimavo Bandaranaike the Prime Minister of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka), 1960. Credit Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Nov 21, 2020
The Guerrilla Girls
In 1985 a group of anonymous female artists in New York began dressing up with gorilla masks on their heads and putting up fly-posters around the city's museums and galleries. We hear from two of the original Guerrilla Girls, who launched a campaign to demand greater representation for women and minorities in the art world. Also on the programme, the rarely heard voices of Africans who were forced to take sides in WW1; how Pluto lost its status as a planet, the invention of a revolutionary sign language, Makaton, in the 1970s, and changing 20th century theories of child rearing. PHOTO: Some of the Guerrilla Girls in 1990 (Getty Images)
Nov 14, 2020
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
In 1995, the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. We hear how his death scuppered hopes of peace in the Middle East. Plus, the racism endured by children born to black American soldiers and German mothers after World War Two, the rebuilding of Dresden's most famous church, and nude theatre in London and New York. PHOTO: Yitzhak Rabin in 1993 (Getty Images)
Nov 07, 2020
US presidential history special
Eyewitness accounts of moments in US presidential history: Inside JFK's election victory, remembering Shirley Chisholm - the first African American from a major party to make a presidential run, plus a senator's account of the Watergate hearings, the rise of the religious right and the story of President Bush's 9/11. Photo: US President John F. Kennedy giving his first State of the Union address to Congress in January 1961. (Credit: NASA/SSPL/Getty Images)
Oct 31, 2020
Why Portugal decriminalised all drugs
In the grips of a drug crisis, why Portugal took a radical approach in 2001 and became the first country in the world to decriminalise all drugs. Also searching for those who disappeared during apartheid rule in South Africa, how mistakes with the initial production of the polio vaccine made thousands of children ill in 1995, plus the black women who helped propel NASA's space programme and Joan Littlewood a giant in 20th century British theatre. (Image: Staffers interview a new patient in Lisbon, Portugal (Credit: Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Oct 24, 2020
CNN and the 24-hour news revolution
In June 1980, US media mogul Ted Turner launched the first TV station dedicated to 24 hour news, Cable News Network or CNN. We get a first-hand account of the early days of a channel that transformed news and politics. Plus, the end of Lebanon's civil war, the long fight for full voting rights for African-Americans and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's plan to become a film mogul. (PHOTO: Ted Turner attends official CNN Launch event at CNN Techwood Drive World Headquarters in Atlanta Georgia, June 01, 1980 (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Oct 17, 2020
British black history special
We present five eyewitness accounts of moments in British black history. Including the late Sam King remembering the voyage of the Empire Windrush, plus Britain's first black headteacher Yvonne Conolly, Dr William Lez Henry on confronting the Far Right in the battle of Lewisham, Reggae star David Hinds on fighting the nightclub colour bar in 1970s Birmingham and Trix Worrell on the creation of the pioneering and hugely popular TV comedy Desmond's. Max Pearson is joined by Colin Grant, the writer, broadcaster and author of Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation. Photo: Newly arrived Jamaican immigrants on board the 'Empire Windrush' at Tilbury, 22nd June 1948: (Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images)
Oct 10, 2020
The Mafia and Italian politics
The trial which linked a senior Italian politician to the Mafia, the death of the charismatic Egyptian President - Gamal Abdel Nasser, a whale rescue which brought together cold war enemies, the German house which witnessed a century of change and the birth of Google. Photo: Giulio Andreotti in 1983. Credit: Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images
Oct 03, 2020
Blackwater killed my son
An Iraqi father remembers the day in September 2007 when US private security guards opened fire on civilians in central Baghdad killing 17 people, including his 9-year-old son. Plus, former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on negotiating the cancellation of Liberia's massive debt; the chaos of Florida's 'hanging chads' in the 2000 US elections; when Nelson Mandela visited Detroit; and the end of the Galileo space project. Photo: An Iraqi looks at a burnt car on the site where Blackwater guards opened fire on civilians in Baghdad on 16 September 2007 (Credit ALI YUSSEF/AFP via Getty Images)
Sep 26, 2020
Stories of resistance and protest from around the world
Max Pearson brings you a roundup of this week’s Witness History stories of resistance from the last 70 years. From the early days of opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, through the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, a photographer's memories of the 1989 demonstrations in China, an iconic civil rights story from the USA, to Argentina and the women who are still demonstrating in the hope of discovering what became of their children under military rule. Photo: a lone protestor, who became known as Tank Man, in Tiananmen Square in China in June 1989. Credit: Stuart Franklin/Magnum.
Sep 19, 2020
Prohibition in India
How Indian women in the 1990s campaigned to stop the sale of alcohol in the state of Andhra Pradesh to protect women from domestic violence and safeguard family finances. The history of America's healthcare system, how the UN was eventually persuaded to apologise for the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and the horror of being caught up in one of the most notorious hi-jackings of the 1970s, plus the birth of Reddit, one the world's most successful websites. Photo A shop selling alcohol in India. Credit Getty.
Sep 12, 2020
Inventing James Bond
How author and former intelligence officer Ian Fleming created the British super-spy, James Bond plus, how the British government shifted social care for the disabled away from large institutions and into the community and the Cape Town bombings in 1990s South Africa. Also how a British Airways jumbo jet flew through a volcanic ash cloud and survived and the birth of the Sony Walkman, a device that changed listening habits forever. Photo: Ian Lancaster Fleming, British author and creator of the James Bond character, in 1958. (Getty Images)
Sep 05, 2020
Margaret Ekpo - Nigeria's feminist pioneer
Margaret Ekpo helped establish Nigerian independence and became one of the country's first female MPs. We hear from her grandson and speak to a Nigerian feminist about why Nigeria has so few women in government today. Plus the US Supreme Court decision that threatens the voting rights of Black Americans, the policeman turned protestor who was part of the Occupy Wall Street protest, America's first woman combat pilot and the bittersweet memories of the Gaelic-speaking community who left the remote islands of St Kilda in 1930. PHOTO: Margaret Ekpo in London in August 1953 (ANL/Shutterstock)
Aug 28, 2020
The siege at Ruby Ridge
Randy Weaver was a white separatist in Idaho in the north-west United States who was wanted by the government on firearms charges. When government agents approached his remote cabin on Ruby Ridge in August 1992, it was the start of an eleven day siege involving hundreds of police officers – which ended with the deaths of Weaver’s wife and teenage son, along with a US marshal. The incident would become a touchstone for the American far right. Plus, growing up with Saddam Hussein, the invention of the asthma inhaler and digging up King Richard III of England. PHOTO: Randy Weaver (C) shows a model of his Ruby Ridge, Idaho cabin to US Senator Arlen Specter, R-PA, during Senate hearings investigating the events surrounding the 1992 standoff with federal agents (PAMELA PRICE/AFP via Getty Images).
Aug 22, 2020
Beirut's hotel war
At the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975, Beirut’s luxury hotel district was turned into a battlefield, with rival groups of gunmen holed up in some of the most expensive accommodation in the Middle East. We hear from two former employees of the Holiday Inn about what came to be known as the Battle of the Hotels. Also in today's programme, the first radar, the invention of the ventilator, and how women in Turkey overhauled decades-old laws on rape and sexual assault. Photo: The ruins of the Holiday Inn. (Credit: Getty Images)
Aug 15, 2020
The Second World War in Japan
It’s 75 years this week since the dropping of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which led to Japan’s surrender to Allied forces and the end of the Second World War. We hear first-hand accounts of military turning points in the Pacific including the attack on Pearl Harbour and the Battle of Midway, and historian Ian Buruma explains the context for Japan’s attack on the US. We also hear about the impact of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki on civilians, about Japanese-American citizens imprisoned in internment camps in the US, and about the writing of Japan’s post-war constitution. Picture: Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after bombing by atomic bomb on 9th August 1945 ( US Air Force photo/PA)
Aug 08, 2020
Adrift for 76 Days
Surviving the Atlantic alone in a liferaft, Spain's historic 1960s tourism boom, the death of the infamous Nazi Heinrich Himmler, plus fighting Australia's bushfires and we remember a groundbreaking Latino writer. Photo: Photo: Steve Callahan shows how he hunted fish from his life raft. © Steve Callahan
Aug 01, 2020
The Million Man March
On 16th October 1995 hundreds of thousands of black American men marched on Washington D.C. in an attempt to put black issues back on the government agenda. We hear from one woman who went on the march. Plus the first women's refuge opens in Afghanistan, the son of the man behind the failed plot to kill Hitler in 1944, campaigning to protect the Borneo rain forest, and the world's fastest vaccine maker. (Photo:The Million Man March, Credit:TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 25, 2020
South Korea's 1980s prison camps
The horrors of South Korea's so-called Social Purification project, the vanished Chinese sailors who left their mark on Liverpool after the Second World War and the return of a huge ancient monument to Ethiopia from Italy. Also fighting for the rights of Jewish women at the Western Wall in Jerusalem plus the origins of the holiday camp, Club Med. Photo: Seung-woo Choi talking to reporters. Credit BBC.
Jul 18, 2020
Quarantined in a TB sanatorium
Extreme lockdown half a century ago: the TB children forced to endure years of isolation in a sanatorium; the unveiling of looted Nazi art works, the Rolling Stones in the dock, calls for democracy in 1990s Nepal, and the campaign to ban dangerous skin-lightening products in South Africa. Picture: boys sleep on the balcony of the Craig-y-nos TB sanatorium in Wales (Credit: private collection of the family of Mari Friend, a former patient at Craig-y-nos)
Jul 04, 2020
Dealing with economic crisis
As the world begins to consider how to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, we look back at economic crises of the past and how countries have responded to them. Max Pearson hears about America's "New Deal" in the 1930s, South Korea's transformation in the 1950s and Chile's "miracle economy" of the 1970s. Plus, Tanzania and its African form of socialism, and economic shock therapy in Russia in the 1990s. PHOTO: President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1935 (Getty Images).
Jun 27, 2020
Sex trafficking and peacekeepers
How whistle-blowers implicated UN peacekeepers and international police in the forced prostitution and trafficking of Eastern European women into Bosnia in the late 1990s. Plus, how Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross changed the way we think about death and dying when she developed her Five Stages of Grief; Beethoven's role in China's Cultural Revolution; the "friendship train" between India and Bangladesh; and the controversial teaching exercise which segregated children by whether they had blue or brown eyes. Picture: the United Nations Peacekeeping Force patrols the Bosnian capital Sarajevo in March 1996 (Credit: Roger Lemoyne/Liaison/Getty Images)
Jun 20, 2020
Black American History Special
Eyewitness accounts of important moments in recent African American history. We hear from the daughter of the man named in the court case which became a turning point in the battle for civil rights, plus the sister of a teenage girl killed in a racist bomb attack. We hear how the winning performance of an all-black basketball team helped change America's attitude to segregation in sport. Plus Rodney King whose attack by police in 1991 was caught on camera and seen by millions - the later acquittal of the officers sparked days of rioting. Finally we hear from Bilal Chatman who was sentenced to 150 years in prison under the 1994 'three strikes law' which disproportionately affected black Americans. Putting it all into context, presenter Max Pearson talks to Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Jun 13, 2020
The Zanzibar revolution
How a bloody 1960s revolution changed East Africa. We hear an eyewitness account and talk to Professor Emma Hunter of Edinburgh University. Plus the birth of ecotourism in Costa Rica, the post-war origin of the World Health Organisation, the man who created the world's first portable defibrillator, and remembering the artist Christo. PHOTO: Ugandan revolutionary and self-styled Field Marshal John Okello (1937 - 1971), leader of the Afro-Shirazi anti-Arab coup in Zanzibar, circa 1964. (Photo by Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Jun 06, 2020
The Gwangju massacre
Forty years on from the Gwangju uprising in South Korea, the book that changed the way we eat, plus the dangers of being a Congolese conservationist. Also, revealing accounts of British wartime leader Winston Churchill from his doctor, and the pioneering African-American dress designer who designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress. Photo: soldiers beating men in Gwangju in May 1980. Credit: 5.18 Memorial Foundation/AFP via Getty Images
May 30, 2020
Britain's World War Two crime wave
During times of crisis in the UK, World War Two is often remembered as a period when the country rallied together to fight a common enemy. But as Simon Watts finds out from the BBC archives, there was a crime wave during the war years, with a massive increase in looting and black marketeering. Also in the programme, the first 3D printers, plus a black policeman recalls the 1980 Miami riots, Hong Kong's city within a city and explaining autism. PHOTO: A government poster from World War Two (Getty Images)
May 23, 2020
Fighting for the pill in Japan
Why Japanese women had to wait until 1999 to be allowed to take the pill, the Dutch 'Prince of scandal', plus the flatulent fish that prompted a Cold War scare, the first helpline for children and the joy of being liberated from Nazi occupation on The Channel Islands. (Photo: A collection of contraceptive pills. Getty Images)
May 16, 2020
VE Day Special
Eyewitness accounts of the fall of Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe. Using unique interviews from the BBC's archives we bring you men and women who fought in the battle for Berlin, and some of those who were with Hitler in his final days. We present the story of a German woman who survived the start of Soviet occupation, and we meet the historian whose 1995 exhibition challenged Germans' view of the war. Plus the sounds of VE Day in London, 8th May 1945, as reported by the BBC at the time. Putting it all into context, presenter Max Pearson talks to Dr Mary Fulbrook, Professor of German History at University College London and author of the award winning book "Reckonings" about the aftermath of the war and the quest for justice. (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
May 09, 2020
The 1957 flu pandemic
A new strain of flu emerged in East Asia in 1957 and spread all over the world. Known at the time as “Asian flu”, it killed more than a million people. We hear from a woman who survived the virus and speak to Mark Honigsbaum, author of The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris. Plus, Indonesia’s transgender rights movement, the assassination of the UN’s first Middle East mediator, conflict in the Galapagos Islands, and the trees that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Photo: Americans worried about "Asian flu" wait their turns at Central Harlem District Health clinic in October 1957. Credit: Getty Images
May 02, 2020
The last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade
The grandson of the last surviving African-born US slave, plus the story behind the portable hospital breathing ventilator that was a precursor to those helping save coronavirus lives; also on the programme the Pakistani welfare hero, the deadly explosion which sent 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and candid insights from one of America's greatest playwrights.
Apr 25, 2020
Apollo 13: The drama that gripped the world
50 years since the Apollo 13 mission, how millions of TV viewers followed the famous rescue of the three NASA astronauts. Also, the women who led the way in America’s space programme by spending two weeks under water and what happened when Skylab crashed to Earth in 1979. Plus, a collision on board the Mir space station in 1997 and the last men on the Moon. PHOTO: The crew of Apollo 13 after their rescue (Getty Images)
Apr 18, 2020
How technology revolutionised our lives
In a special edition of the History Hour, Max Pearson looks back at some of the major technological milestones of recent years. We hear about the Californian computer club where the founders of Apple cut their teeth, about the inventors of the webcam and about the unlikely pioneers of home shopping. Plus, the launch of the iPhone and one of the very first social networks. PHOTO: Len Shustek, former member of the Homebrew Computer Club.
Apr 11, 2020
Women in the law
Trailblazing British lawyer Rose Heilbron was the first female judge at London's famous Old Bailey criminal court. Her daughter Hillary Heilbron QC remembers how hard she had to fight to be accepted. Dana Denis-Smith, founder of the First 100 Years Project about the history of women in law, discusses women's participation in legal professions around the world. Plus, being a Muslim in China, the Swedish warship restored after 300 years, the assassination that aimed to revenge the Amritsar massacre, and Pando, the biggest living organism in the world by mass. Photo: English KC (King's Counsel) Rose Heilbron (1914 - 2005) arrives at the House of Lords in London, for the traditional champagne breakfast hosted by the Lord Chancellor at the start of the Michaelmas Term for the law courts, 2nd October 1950. (Credit William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Apr 04, 2020
The AIDS memorial quilt - a patchwork of loss
How an LGBTQ+ activist decided to commemorate friends who had died of AIDS with a quilt, plus sequencing the 1918 flu virus, five years of war in Yemen, the story of a child abandoned in Hong Kong, and an attack on South Korea. (Photo: A section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Getty Images)
Mar 28, 2020
The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope
In 1990, NASA launched the historic mission which put into orbit the Hubble Space Telescope. The orbiting observatory has revolutionized astronomy and allowed us to peer deeper than ever before into the Universe. We hear from astronaut, Kathryn Sullivan. Plus, China's cure for malaria, the "Red Scare" in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s, and a pioneering sexual harassment case at the US Supreme Court. PHOTO: The Hubble Space Telescope (NASA)
Mar 21, 2020
The 1918 'Spanish' flu pandemic
A special edition looking at how the world has battled deadly viruses over the past 100 years, We have eyewitness accounts of the 1918 flu, and the recent struggle against SARS, we hear how a vaccine saved millions from Polio, and the moment the world discovered the killer viruses known as Marburg Fever and Ebola in the 1960s and 70s. (Photo: An American policeman wearing a mask to protect himself from the outbreak of Spanish flu. Credit:Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Mar 14, 2020
The history of the Volkswagen Beetle
How the British army helped rebuild the German car industry after WW2, plus the fight to ban leaded petrol, psychiatry as punishment in the USSR, striking South Asian women in 1970s Britain and 'Womenomics' in Japan. Picture: Major Ivan Hirst (right) driving the 1000th Beetle off the production line at Wolfsburg in March 1946 (Credit: Volkswagen AG)
Mar 07, 2020
Freeing American prisoners from Iran
How a former prisoner in Iran fought to free her friends, a 200-year-old Antarctic mystery, eradicating small pox, the first mobile phone and rebel nuns in the US. PHOTO: Sarah Shourd in 2010 (Getty Images)
Feb 29, 2020
Saving Antarctica
In October 1991, an international protocol to protect the world’s last wilderness, Antarctica, from commercial exploitation was agreed at a summit in Madrid. Louise Hidalgo talks to one of the environmentalists who led a successful campaign to protect the ice continent. Also, how meditation changes the brain, the Iraqi "supergun affair", and political art in Nigeria. Picture: Blue icebergs in Antarctica (Credit: Getty Images)
Feb 22, 2020
The publication of Harry Potter
A look back at some of the most influential books of modern times, including an interview with the publisher who first spotted Harry Potter's potential. Plus, Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, Brazilian bestseller Diary of a Favela, and dating handbook The Rules. Picture: JK Rowling signs copies of the final Harry Potter book "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" at the Natural History Museum in London, 2007. (Justin Goff\UK Press via Getty Images)
Feb 15, 2020
London's first black policeman
The prejudice faced by London's first black policeman, how a new sign language emerged in 1980s Nicaragua, the Native American casino boom, plus the release of Nelson Mandela and China's much maligned 19th-century dowager empress. Photo: London's first black policeman PC Norwell Roberts beginning his training with colleagues at Hendon Police College, London, 5th April 1967. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Feb 08, 2020
The early days of the European Union
The hurried signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 which led to greater European unity, plus 1992 - when the British royal family started to reform its role after a year of scandal and disaster. Also on the programme, the horrific gang rape which prompted India to rethink its laws, the storm that helped British tree experts make an important scientific discovery and the woman born to slaves who became the first self-made female millionaire. Photo: European leaders at the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images
Feb 01, 2020
The mystery of the disappearing frogs
This week we're looking at extinction. The deadly fungus that's killing amphibians, the story of the Dodo, plus why discovering that whales 'sing' helped to save them. Also, the book that changed attitudes to the environment and the 'Frozen Zoo' that aims to preserve endangered DNA for future generations. (Photo: dead frog infected with Chytrid Fungus. Credit: Forrest Brem)
Jan 25, 2020
Storming the Stasi HQ
The fall of East Germany's secret police; racism, injustice and a child execution in the US, plus the killing of Osama Bin Laden; the woman who negotiated peace in the Philippines, and the man who saved British aristocrats' country houses. Photo Photo:East Germans streaming into the secret police headquarters in Berlin on the night of January 15th 1990. Credit: Zöllner/ullstein bild/Getty Images.
Jan 18, 2020
The Computers for Schools revolution
In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to give a laptop computer to every child in state primary schools. We hear from the man whose initiative is credited with transforming the lives of students and teachers. Plus, a US soldier's account of the battle for the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, and memories of the Brazilian rubber-tapper and environmentalist Chico Mendes. PHOTO: Two Uruguayan children enjoying their laptops (Courtesy Plan Ceibal)
Jan 11, 2020
The book that warned of an end to civilisation
In 1972 a book which outlined the possible future of the world became a best-seller. 'The Limits to Growth' was based on computer modelling which suggested that if economic growth remained unfettered, there'd be a 'traumatic' decline in civilisation from 2020. It also suggested global policy changes which could prevent a downward trend. Find out which path the world took and why... Plus, why East German punks were targeted by the secret police in the 1980s, a top UN negotiator remembers how peace was won in El Salvador in 1991, the first black sitcom in Britain and the launch of the Chippendales - the first male strip show for women - in 1979. Photo: Front cover of 'The Limits to Growth' published in 1972.
Jan 04, 2020
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
On 24th December 1979 Soviet troops poured into Afghanistan in support of an anti-government coup. The Soviet occupation would last for nine years. Plus, the hidden history of the board game Monopoly, the invention of chemotherapy, the heaviest aerial bombardment of the Vietnam war at Christmas 1972, and the street-performer origins of the global circus phenomenon Cirque du Soleil. Picture: Russian tanks take up positions in front of the Darulaman (Abode of Peace) Palace in Kabul, January 1980. (Henri Bureau/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Dec 28, 2019
The Romanian revolution
In this edition the fall of the Ceaușescus in Romania in December 1989, a global panic over bees in the early 2000s and WW2 black GIs finally recognised decades after the war. Plus the building of Abuja as Nigeria's capital and a woman's right to pray in some Hindu temples in India. (Photo: The army join the revolutionaries in Romania 1989. Credit: Getty Images)
Dec 21, 2019
The Cuban writer who defied Castro
On 7 December 1990 the dissident Cuban novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas killed himself in New York after years of suffering from AIDS. Before fleeing Cuba, Arenas had been jailed for his homosexuality, sent to re-education camps and prevented from writing. We hear from his friend and fellow writer, Jaime Manrique. Plus the memories of the daughter of the renowned British sculptor, Henry Moore; how the DEA helped track down Pablo Escobar; the ill-fated voyage of Shackleton's ship The Endurance; and inside one of the most notorious prison camps in post Soviet Central Asia. (Photo: Reinaldo Arenas. Credit: Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images)
Dec 07, 2019
The man who gave his voice to Stephen Hawking
The story of the American scientist Dennis Klatt who pioneered synthesised speech. He used recordings of himself to make the sounds that gave physicist Stephen Hawking a voice. Plus India:struggling to live through economic shock treatment in the 1990s, also LEO the first electronic office system, the first confirmed case of AIDS in America and when Uluru, Australia's famous natural landmark was handed back to the control of the country's indigenous people. (Photo: BOMBAY, INDIA: World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking answers questions with the help of a voice synthesiser during a press conference at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay, 06 January 2001. Credit AFP)
Nov 30, 2019
I saw the soldiers who killed El Salvador's priests
The woman who risked her life to reveal that the army, not left-wing rebels, were responsible for the murder of six Jesuit priests in 1980s El Salvador; the moment when the Taser first hit the streets; the long legal fight to reclaim Klimt's masterpiece Woman in Gold; the man who got the Delhi metro built; and travels in Arabia with Wilfred Thesiger. (Photo: a plaque commemorating the murdered priests in San Salvador- courtesy of David Mee)
Nov 23, 2019
Rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean
In 2004, a German aid agency ship, Cap Anamur, was sailing to the Suez Canal, when it came across 37 Africans on a sinking rubber boat. The captain, Stefan Schmidt, rescued the men and headed for a port in Sicily to drop them off, but he and his crew were promptly arrested by the Italian authorities. Max Pearson finds out more about the incident and about the migration crisis that faced the European Union in later years. Also this week, an eye-witness account of secret preparations by Hindu extremists to destroy the mosque in the Indian city of Ayodha in 1992; a grassroots struggle against pollution in America; and memories of the British war poet Wilfred Owen. (Photo: the German aid agency ship Cap Anamur in 2004. Credit: Antonello NUSCA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Nov 16, 2019
Britain's secret propaganda war
Subversive warfare and 'fake news' in World War Two, the scandal which exposed horrific Indian police violence in the 1980s, two sides of the Iran hostages crisis in 1979, the woman who transformed cancer treatment, and a defining Berlin Wall rock concert. Photo The actress and singer Agnes Bernelle, who was recruited to be a presenter on a fake German radio station during the war)
Nov 09, 2019
'Jane' - the underground abortion service
The feminist network that performed illegal abortions in the 1960s in Chicago, the Algerian nationals who fought alongside the French in Algeria’s war of independence and when Margaret Thatcher first expressed anti- Europe sentiment. Plus the Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors at the end of the Second World War and the battle to protect the Barrier Reef. Photo courtesy of Martha Scott
Nov 02, 2019
The fall of the Berlin Wall
1989 was a seismic year in world history and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the clearest symbol of the Cold War. But it was a series of events across Europe that added to the momentum. We journey back through Poland, Hungary and East Germany ahead of that historic moment in November, through the testimonies of the people who were there at the centre of events; the Solidarity movement in Poland, the protesters in Hungary and East Germany and an account from the first people to cross the wall. (Photo: East Germans climbing onto the top of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate after the opening of the East German border was announced in Berlin. November 9, 1989. Credit: REUTERS/Staff/Files)
Oct 26, 2019
An environmental history special
A pioneer of climate change science, UK's Windscale nuclear accident, Kenya's Green Belt heroine who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the man "who fed the world", and banning cars in Mexico City. (Photo: Thick black smoke blowing out of an industrial chimney. Credit: John Giles/PA)
Oct 19, 2019
Black British history
To mark Black History Month in the UK we look back at some landmark moments in British Black History. We hear how the famous cricketer Learie Constantine broke the colour bar, and about the Notting Hill race riots and the Bristol bus boycott. Plus, we speak to Britain’s first black female MP Diane Abbott, and one of the thousands of mixed race children born of relationships between black GIs and British women during the Second World War. With Professor Hakim Adi. Photo: Sir Learie Constantine outside Westminster Abbey in 1966. Credit: Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images.
Oct 12, 2019
The birth of the People's Republic of China
To mark 70 years of communist China we hear from a soldier at the founding ceremony on October 1st 1949. Also, the memories of an American friend and comrade of Mao Zedong, a Red Guard who regrets the cultural revolution and the pro-communist protests in 1960s Hong Kong, plus the economic liberalisation of the 1980s. Our guide is China expert Isabel Hilton. Photo: An officer reads a newspaper to soldiers while they are waiting for the announcement of the foundation of the People's Republic of China on Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949 in Beijing, China. (Credit: Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Oct 05, 2019
Fighting the Islamic State group online
When the Islamic State group took over Mosul in Iraq in 2014 they flooded the internet with propaganda, claiming life under IS was fantastic. One historian living in the city decided to post a counter-narrative online, setting up a website called "Mosul Eye". Also in this edition, one black man's experience of growing up in Hitler's Germany; the gruesome death of the famous bullfighter Paquirri, switching on the Large Hadron Collider and the birth of the Sound of Music on Broadway in 1959. (Photo: Mosul Eye website. BBC)
Sep 28, 2019
The Cambridge spy network
The distinguished British art historian Anthony Blunt was exposed as a former Soviet spy in 1979. He was one of a group of double agents recruited at Cambridge University who passed vital information to Moscow. The BBC's Gordon Corera explains the scandal which shook the British establishment. Plus the Black Panther Party's free breakfast programme; the abolition of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy towards LGBT troops in the US military; Ethiopian troops in South Korea; and memories of celebrated children's author CS Lewis. Photo: Sir Anthony Blunt at the press conference in which he explained his motivation in 1979 (Credit: Aubrey Hart/Getty Images)
Sep 21, 2019
Conflict timber in Liberia's civil war
How the timber industry fuelled a brutal civil war in West Africa, the Honduran coup that left the president holed up in an embassy plus the Indian affirmative action controversy, the first ever voyage all the way around the globe 500 years ago and the sit-com "Friends" hits TV screens worldwide. (Photo: Timber near Buchanan in Liberia in 2010. Credit: Getty Images)
Sep 14, 2019
The outbreak of World War Two
On September 1st 1939 German forces invaded Poland. Douglas Slocombe, a British cameraman, was there at the time and filmed the build-up to the war. Also the man who resisted the Sicilian Mafia in the 1990s plus the first all-female peacekeeping force, the defining trial of holocaust denial and why Apollo 11's astronauts were put in quarantine after their historic landing on the moon. (Image: German citizens in Gdansk (also known as Danzig) welcoming German troops during the invasion of Poland on September 3rd 1939 . Credit:EPA/National Digital Archive Poland.)
Sep 07, 2019
The Kindertransport children
Around 10,000 children were sent by their parents to safety in the UK out of Nazi-dominated Europe in the run-up to the outbreak of WW2 in 1939. Many of the so-called Kindertransport children never saw their parents again. We hear from Dame Stephanie Shirley who arrived in London as a five-year-old girl. Also, how the legendary singer Nina Simone went to live in Liberia, plus a key breakthrough in criminal forensics, the lynching of a black teenager that galvanised America's civil rights movement, and the murder of Mexican young women in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. (Photo:Getty Images)
Aug 31, 2019
The return of the wolf
Why the wolf was brought back to the US in the 1990s and the history of "rewilding", plus the liberation of Paris 75 years on, the missing children from El Salvador's civil war, the life and death of Brazil's legendary president Vargas, and the man who wanted to be a cyborg. Photo:.A Yellowstone wolf watches biologists after being tranquilized and fitted with a radio collar during wolf collaring operations in Yellowstone National Park (William Campbell/Sygma via Getty Images)
Aug 24, 2019
The division of Kashmir
The origins of the crisis in Kashmir, the warnings ignored about 9/11 and the arrest of the notorious terror suspect Carlos the Jackal. Plus the invention in a British back garden of the daily disposable contact lens and how Dr Seuss taught America to read. Photo: Indian troops arriving in Kashmir in October 1947 (Getty Images)
Aug 17, 2019
The mass exodus of Algeria's 'Pieds Noirs'
The French colonialists who returned to France after decades in Algeria, the Catholic welcome when the British army was first deployed to Northern Ireland, plus the US nuclear submarine that went under the north pole, Britain's last battle in China in WW2 and the introduction of Community Service to help relieve overcrowded prisons. (Photo: French repatriates leaving Algeria May 1962. (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Aug 10, 2019
The anti-nuclear protesters who won
The eight year protest campaign which stopped the construction of a nuclear reprocessing plant at Wackersdorf in Germany, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and from more than a decade later, the death of British weapons expert David Kelly, who got caught up in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Also, the Warsaw uprising of 1944 and from one of the most significant discoveries of Anglo-Saxon treasure in 1939. Picture: demonstrators fight against police during a protest at the Wackersdorf construction site (Istvan Bajzat/DPA/PA Images)
Aug 03, 2019
When Tunisia led on women's rights
Liberation for Tunisia's women in the 1950s; gay and lesbian fake marriages in China; the Chappaquiddick incident in the US; the birth of Mamma Mia! the musical, and the discovery of the fossilised remains of humanity's oldest ancestor. Photo: courtesy of Saida El Gueyed
Jul 27, 2019
Exploring space
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in July 1969, five personal accounts of landmarks in space exploration. We hear from an Apollo flight controller about the moment Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, and from one of the astronauts who survived the Apollo 13 near disaster. Plus how Laika the dog became the first living creature in space, the pioneering woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, and Britain's attempt to put the Beagle 2 lander on Mars. PHOTO: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon in July 1969 (Getty Images)
Jul 20, 2019
Kenya's ivory inferno
Twelve tonnes of ivory was set alight by President Daniel Arap Moi in Nairobi National Park in July 1989, to highlight the threat from poaching. The ivory burn was organised by conservationists who wanted to save the world's elephants. Plus, the closure of Britain's ground-breaking Common Cold Unit; Cuba executes top military officers, the Chinese allow sales of tampons and the first modern lesbian. (Photo: Ivory tusks arranged in a pile and set alight. Credit: Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis/Getty Images)
Jul 13, 2019
Surviving Cambodia's 'Killing Fields'
Life under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, the Germans kidnapped by the Contras in Nicaragua in the 80s, plus how Aboriginal women took on the Australian government against nuclear waste, Anita Hill's stand against the promotion of Judge Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court and the birth of the Sony Walkman. (PHOTO: CHOEUNG EK, CAMBODIA - 1993/02/01: Skulls are piled up at a monument situated outside Phnom Penh to serve as a constant reminder of the genocide under the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot years.. (Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Jul 06, 2019
The Stonewall riot
The riot that inspired the modern gay rights movement; Saddam Hussein's 1980s genocidal campaign against Iraq's Kurds; notorious British serial killers, Fred and Rose West; 50 years of fighting for fat people in America; and Joseph Heller on his seminal work, Catch-22. Picture: the Stonewall Inn today (Getty Images)
Jun 29, 2019
The assassination of Medgar Evers
An African-American civil rights hero, a Chinese online star, the tragic icon of Iran's reform movement and archive recordings of the psychoanalyst CG Jung. Plus the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin's love of yoga. Photo:Roy Wilkins and Medgar Evers Being Arrested on 1st June 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. Credit: Getty Images
Jun 22, 2019
The first anti-psychotic drug
How a 1950s drug helped revolutionise the treatment of mental illness. Also, how hundreds of thousands of Kosovans fled when NATO bombed former Yugoslavia. Plus, a monumental public artwork in post-Cold War Berlin, Chinese-American relations after WW2, and a trailblazing same sex wedding in the 1970s. Photo: Nurses prepare a patient for electric shock treatment in a psychiatric hospital. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Getty Images)
Jun 14, 2019
Eyewitness accounts of the Allied invasion of Nazi occupied Europe on D-day, 6th June 1944. We also hear how the BBC reported events on that momentous day. Plus Vikings in England, the Gurkhas fight for justice and discovering the fate of 'The Little Prince' Photo: The photo titled 'The Jaws of Death' shows a landing craft disembarking US troops on Omaha beach, 6th June 1944 ( Robert Sargent / US COAST GUARD)
Jun 08, 2019
Tiananmen Square
A student protester's perspective on the Tiananmen Square massacre, the first social network on the internet, the surprisingly controversial early years of Sesame Street, the overthrow of Emperor Bokassa in the CAR, and the death of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Picture: Dan Wang speaking in Tiananmen Square (credit: Peter Turnley/Corbis/Getty Images)
Jun 01, 2019
Fighting Uganda's anti-gay laws
In 2009 Ugandan MPs tried to introduce new laws against homosexuality that would include life imprisonment and even the death penalty. We speak to Victor Mukasa about his story of fighting for LGBT rights in Uganda, first as a lesbian woman and then as a trans man. Also, the early days of the environmental organisation Greenpeace, walking the Great Wall of China and fighting acid attacks on women in Bangladesh. (Photo: Ugandan LGBT Activist Victor Mukasa May 2019. BBC)
May 25, 2019
The final days of Sri Lanka's civil war
In May 2009 the Sri Lankan army defeated the Tamil Tigers, ending a brutal 25-year civil war; also, the economists who predicted the 2008 global economic crash, plus the Nazis' stolen children, a victim of China's One Child policy, and the building of the great Karakoram Highway. Photo: Tamil civilians standing on the roadside after crossing to a government-controlled area 2kms from the front-line, 2009 (Getty Images)
May 18, 2019
The war on drugs
US President Richard Nixon's efforts to deal with illegal drugs in 1971, the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam plus the rise of Jack Ma and his Alibaba empire in China. Also the Bauhaus movement and the global TV hit 'Strictly Come Dancing'. Photo: US President Richard Nixon (BBC)
May 13, 2019
The Malayan Emergency
Battling a communist insurgency in 1950s Malaya, the sinking of the Belgrano during the UK Argentine conflict, plus how Ellen DeGeneres came out to millions on US TV, also the African who made the Arctic his home because of his fear of snakes and the life of WW1 poet Rupert Brooke. Photo: A photograph taken by a British sergeant on patrol in the Malayan jungle.. (Copyright: Keystone/Getty Images)
May 04, 2019
The al Yamamah arms deals
The huge but controversial Anglo-Saudi deal, the Sri Lankan journalist who predicted his own murder, plus remembering South Africa's historic election 25 years ago, the day NATO bombed Serbian TV, and the origin of modern Veganism. Photo: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and King Fahd in London in 1987. Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images.
Apr 27, 2019
The Columbine school shooting
The memories of the brother of one of the victims of the Columbine mass school shooting; plus the story behind 'A Raisin in the Sun' - the first play on Broadway by a black woman; the world's first space tourist, the origins of organic farming and the auto-destructive art movement of the 1960s. Photo: Students from Columbine High School run under cover from police, following a shooting spree by two masked teenagers. April 20th 1999 (Mark Leffingwell/AFP/Getty Images
Apr 18, 2019
The rise of Hindu nationalism
How an Indian religious rally in 1990 sparked the rise of Hindu nationalism, 100 years since the Amritsar Massacre plus the first wing-suit for base jumping, a US food scare in the 1960s and teaching Marilyn Monroe to dance. (Photo LK Advani during rath yatra 15/10/1990 Credit: Getty Image)
Apr 13, 2019
Abolishing the army
After a brief civil war in March-April 1948, the new president of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres, took the audacious step of dissolving the Armed Forces. The Central American country is now one of just over 20 countries without a standing army - we find out more. Plus, Maya Angelou's ground-breaking memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and the remarkable story of the raising of the Swedish warship, the Vasa. Photo: Costa Rican soldiers in San Jose after the end of the civil war, April 1948 (Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 06, 2019
Drama in the British parliament
Prime Minister Jim Callaghan's desperate attempts to survive a no-confidence motion in 1979, the record-breaking 20-day balloon flight around the world; plus the Nazi past of Kurt Waldheim, mindfulness and the first home pregnancy test. Picture: James Callaghan outside 10 Downing Street (Fox Photos/Getty)
Mar 30, 2019
Autism and the MMR vaccine
How a British doctor misled the world by linking the MMR vaccine to autism; the early rise of Hungary’s Viktor Orban also what it was like to contest the Soviet Union’s first multi-party elections plus the exposure in the 1970s of a Nazi criminal in Holland and uncovering Mexico’s Aztec past. Photo: Dr Andrew Wakefield arrives at the General Medical Council in London to face a disciplinary panel, July 16th 2007 (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
Mar 23, 2019
China's breakthrough malaria cure
How an ancient Chinese remedy provided a 1970s breakthrough in the fight against malaria; the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War that inspired Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war novel Slaughterhouse Five; the fall of Singapore; plus the town that America built in Afghanistan's south-western desert, and 'was Lenin a mushroom' - a satirical re-writing of Soviet history. Photo: Professor Lang Linfu (Family archives)
Mar 16, 2019
I was abused by a President
How allegations of child abuse engulfed Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the campaign to return the Elgin marbles to Greece, Britain's first black headteacher, the origins of the Barbie doll and how Baroness Warsi made history. Photo: Zoilamerica Narváez announces in a press conference that she is filing a law suit against her stepfather Daniel Ortega, March 1998 (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images):
Mar 09, 2019
Venezuela's oil bonanza
When Venezuela was rich; surviving a mid-air airline disaster; Japan's Red Army militants of the 1970s, the origin of the swine flu epidemic and Iceland's Beer Day. Photo: Seidel/United Archives/UIG via Getty Images
Mar 02, 2019
The curse of Agent Orange
Millions left dead or deformed because of chemicals used in the Vietnam war, UK cigarette smoking warnings ignored, remains of the Nazi 'Angel of Death' discovered in Brazil, the Columbia Shuttle disaster which led to huge questions about American space safety and the unrest featured in the Oscar-nominated film, Roma, where Mexican students were killed by government-trained paramilitary troops. Photo: Child suffering from spinal deformity in rehabilitation centre in Saigon.
Feb 23, 2019
Iceland jails its bankers
Why Iceland jailed 40 bankers after the 2008 financial crisis, how the Maastricht Treaty gave birth to the EU, plus America's first female airline pilots, Cameroon's historic referendum and homeless, drunk and yet a genius in the USSR. (Photo: Protesters on the streets of Reykjavik demand answers from the government and the banks about the country's financial crisis, Nov. 2008. (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 16, 2019
The last days of Hitler
Hitler's secretary on the last days in the bunker; a CIA operative on the killing of Che Guevara, remembering the US invasion of Iraq, a child of the Soweto Uprising and the tricky task of bringing Disneyland to France. Photo: Getty Images
Feb 09, 2019
The Iranian Revolution
In February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to Iran in the defining moment of a revolution that would change his country and the whole Middle East. In a special edition of the programme, Rebecca Kesby hears eye-witness accounts from the protestors who brought down the Shah, one of the Ayatollah's aides and an American embassy official taken hostage by Khomeini supporters. She also talks to the BBC Persian Service's special correspondent, Kasra Naji. PHOTO: Ayatollah Khomeini returning to Iran (Gabriel Duval, AFP/Getty Images.)
Feb 02, 2019
Vatican II: Reforming the Catholic Church
In January 1959 Pope John XXIII announced a council of all the world's Catholic bishops and cardinals in Rome. It led to sweeping reforms. Plus Carmen Callil recalls setting up Virago, the most successful feminist publishing house to date; India gives birth to the call centres and remembering the Carry-on films. (Photo; Pope John XXIII at the Vatican. Credit: Getty Images)
Jan 26, 2019
Strikers in Saris
How South Asian women led thousands of UK workers in an industrial dispute in the late 1970s, plus Dr Crippen's alleged gruesome crime, Judy Garland's emotional last performances, the 'miracle waters' in Mexico and excitement over a whale in London's River Thames. (PHOTO: Jayaben Desai, leader of the Grunwick strike committee holding placard 1977 Credit: Getty images)
Jan 19, 2019
When Stalin Rounded Up Soviet Doctors
Stalin's last terror campaign against the best Soviet doctors, Castro's triumphant entry into Havana, the extraordinary story of how a destitute single mother produced a best selling memoir about her life in a Brazilian favela. Also, the controversy over 'Fat Is a Feminist Issue', and the world's only seed vault. Photo: Yakov Rapoport, one of the few survivors of Stalin's 'Doctors' Plot'. Credit: family archive.
Jan 14, 2019
Vikings in North America
The discovery that proved the Vikings got to North America, a former Marxist rebel describes how his group overran an army base in El Salvador's bitter civil war in the 1980s, the enormous palace built by the Romanian communist dictator, Nicole Ceausescu, how the prolific romantic novelist Barbara Cartland was made a Dame by the Queen and the summer of 1987 when thousands of tins of marijuana washed up on a Brazilian beach. Photo: Replicas of Norse houses from 1000 years ago at L'Anse aux Meadows. (LightRocket/Getty Images)
Jan 05, 2019
UFO Sightings: The Rendlesham Forest Incident
The most striking and well documented UFO "sightings" there have ever been plus the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the theft of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey in 1950 also one of the first electronic instruments and how Britain has long honoured its' military animals. (Photo: Computer illustration of UFOs - Unidentified Flying Objects)
Dec 29, 2018
Stopping The 'Shoe Bomber'
Passenger Kwame James recalls how he helped overcome the British-born Richard Reid on American Airlines flight 63. Reid had hidden explosives in his shoe which failed to go off. Plus, the US apology for the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans in WW2, the first computer password, the woman who wrote Mary Poppins and a British theatrical group tours the Sahara. Photo: One of the shoes worn by Richard Reid on the American Airlines flight to Miami (ABC/Getty Images)
Dec 22, 2018
Apollo 8
At Christmas 1968, the biggest audience in TV history watched NASA's Apollo 8 mission beam back the first pictures from an orbit around the Moon. The broadcast captured the world's imagination and put America ahead of the Soviet Union in the Cold War battle to make the first lunar landing. Plus, the rape of Nanking, WWII spy drama in the Netherlands and the woman who revolutionised the treatment of the dying. Picture: The Earth as seen from the Moon, photographed by the Apollo 8 crew (NASA)
Dec 15, 2018
Adopted By The Man Who Killed My Family
A child survivor of a Guatemalan army massacre during the country's brutal civil war, the women who cleared up post war Berlin, plus Armenia's 1988 earthquake, how Bokassa became Emperor of the Central African Republic, and Angela Merkel's rise to power. Photo: Ramiro as a child in Guatemala (R.Osorio)
Dec 08, 2018
The Man Who Inspired Britain's First Aids Charity
The first man in Britain to die of AIDS, whale hunting in the South Atlantic in the 1950s, how Norway voted not to join the EU, the American adventurer who inspired the Indiana Jones stories, and Saddam Hussein's draining of Iraq's southern marshes in a bid to flush out his opponents. Picture: Terrence Higgins (Courtesy: Dr Rupert Whitaker)
Dec 01, 2018
The 'Braceros' - America's Mexican Guest Workers
From 1942 to 1964 the US actively encouraged American farmers to hire tens of thousands of migrant workers to come to work legally from Mexico - they were known as 'braceros'; also, when Moscow invited thousands of foreign students to attend an International Youth Festival in the former USSR; a witness to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington; plus Arafat's final weeks and why was JKF's killer allowed to defect to the Soviets? Photo: A group of Mexican Braceros picking strawberries in a field in the Salinas Valley, California in June 1963 (Getty Images)
Nov 24, 2018
Japanese Murders in Brazil
How Japanese immigrants in Brazil fell out with each other after the end of the WW2, how Britain helped to get disabled people on the road in the 1940s plus life for Jews under Imperial Russia, the victims of Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and the American embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.
Nov 17, 2018
The End of World War One
11th November 1918 saw the end of a four year war that had killed an estimated 20 million soldiers and civilians around the world. We hear eyewitness accounts of the conflict which was fought by many nations, on many continents. The historian, Professor Annika Mombauer joins Max Pearson to discuss the devastating war that changed the world. Photo: Crowds in London celebrate the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918 (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Nov 10, 2018
When Russia's Richest Man Was Jailed
Russia's struggles with big business, when Nigeria struck oil, why Maximilian Kolbe was made a saint, the London arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Desmond Tutu. Photo: former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaving the courtroom in Moscow, Russia, September 22, 2005. Credit: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images
Oct 26, 2018
The Nazi Black Book
The Nazi black book, a list of those to be arrested and dealt with if Germany occupied Britain, privation in wartime and Allied-occupied Austria, racial tension in 1940s Sweden, plus how Britain's Labour party moved against hereditary peers in the House of Lords in the 1990s.
Oct 26, 2018
When Belgium Banned Coca Cola
A strange illness strikes Belgian teenagers, Brazil's forgotten Amazon war, diverting Mount Etna's lava, arguments over aid and trade in the UK, and the 1973 oil crisis. (Photo: A poster saying 'out of order' is stuck on a Coca Cola vending machine in Mouscron, Belgium in 1999. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images).
Oct 20, 2018
The Street Battle That Rocked Brazil
In October 1968, students from two neighbouring universities in the centre of São Paulo clashed in a battle which left one dead and many injured. We hear how the so-called 'Battle of Maria Antônia' drove Brazil deeper into a military dictatorship which is still controversial to this day. Plus, a pioneering race relations case in Britain during World War 2, the invention of artificial skin and fashion in the Soviet Union. Photo: the 'Battle of Maria Antonia', São Paulo, 1968. Credit: Agência Estado/AFP
Oct 06, 2018
The Arnhem Parachute Drop
Operation Market Garden - the failed attempt to end the war against Hitler; plus, a deadly nuclear accident in Brazil, the film of the Battle of Algiers, the last regular steam train to run in Britain and one of the Cuban Five jailed in America for spying for Fidel Castro. (Photo: Allied planes and parachutists over Arnhem, Getty Images)
Sep 22, 2018
How I Survived a Fire on a Plane
A lucky escape from a jet plane fire in the 1970s, Chamberlain's talks with Hitler in 1938 plus the killing of the South African anti-apartheid campaigner, Steve Biko. Also toxic waste being shipped around the world in the 1980s and how Britain became obsessed with the idea that aliens were responsible for crop circles. (Photo: Ricardo Trajano as a young man. Copyright: Ricardo Trajano)
Sep 15, 2018
Living under Gaddafi
Award-winning writer Hisham Matar on life in Gaddafi's Libya, plus how British Bengalis faced the far-right in 1970s east London, the last battles of WW1, the struggle to name St.Petersburg and the first MRI scanner. Photo: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on September 27th 1969, shortly after the bloodless coup that brought him to power AFP FILES/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 08, 2018
Surviving the "Death Railway"
A former prisoner of the Japanese in WW2, plus Hitler's girl guides, how Benidorm became a tourist hotspot, Italian migrant tragedy in post-war Belgium, and the Lake Nyos disaster. Photo: Allied Prisoners of War in a Japanese prison camp 1945 (British Pathé)
Sep 01, 2018
Albert Speer - Hitler's Architect
Hitler's architect and minister of war, Albert Speer, was one of the few top Nazis to live on into old age. In the late 1970s, following his release from Spandau prison, he gave an interview to the British journalist, Roger George Clark. Plus, the Soviet Union's campaign against alcoholism, the hostage drama that gripped West Germany, and a woman's voice from pre-colonial Nigeria. Picture: Albert Speer standing at the gate of his house near Heidelberg in December 1979. (Credit: Roger George Clark)
Aug 25, 2018
Vera Brittain: Anti-Bombing Campaigner
Baroness Shirley Williams recalls her mother, WW2 anti-bombing protestor; 20 years since a mass killing in Omagh, the African-American photographer whose coverage of Martin Luther King's funeral won him a Pullitzer Prize, plus when TV finally came to South Africa and the birth of the instant noodle. Photo: Vera Brittain at Euston Station, London, in 1956. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Aug 18, 2018
WW1: Britain's Conscientious Objectors
The treatment of Britain's First World War conscientious objectors, Iran bends the nuclear rules, the CIA's first coup in Latin America, what happened to Eastern Europe's dancing bears, and the culling in Wales of a sacred bull. Photo: A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during World War I at a special prison camp (Hulton Archive)
Aug 04, 2018
The Whitewashing of Zimbabwe's Ancient History
The true history of the Great Zimbabwe ruins uncovered after independence, why Churchill lost the post-war election also the first women at the US military academy West Point and the crack down on leftist supporters in the south before the Korean war. (Photo; The iconic tower in the Great Enclosure of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument. It's one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit; Getty Creative.)
Jul 27, 2018
The Killing of the Russian Tsar
The murder of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, four daughters and young son in 1918, plus how the Soviet Union struggled to feed its people in the 1950s; also the IRA attacks on mounted troops in London's Hyde Park in 1982, the Zionist bombing of the British headquarters in Jerusalem in 1946 and the first steps towards a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. (Photo: Nicholas II, Tsar and his family. From left to right - Olga, Maria,Tsar Nicholas II,Tsarina Alexandra, Anastasia, Tsarevitch Alexei and Tatiana. Credit: Press Association
Jul 21, 2018
Smiling Buddha: India's First Nuclear Test
The scientist at the forefront of India's first successful nuclear test in 1974, plus how an undersea mission finally found the remains of nearly 300 migrants drowned off Italy in the 1990s; also, Der Spiegel journalists under threat in Germany, and remembering two great artists - Nigeria's Chinua Achebe and Robert Mapplethorpe. Photo: A crater marks the site of the first Indian underground nuclear test conducted 18 May 1974 at Pokhran in the desert state of Rajasthan. (PUNJAB PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Jul 14, 2018
When The US Shot Down An Iranian Airliner
How a US warship downed a passenger jet killing 290 people, plus the story behind The Toilet, the controversial 1990s Russian 'masterpiece', Madeleine Albright on Kosovo, the history of adventure playgrounds. and the hunt for Deep Throat. Photo: The USS Vincennes fires a surface to air missile towards Iran Air flight 655 on 3 July 1988 (Rudy Pahoyo)
Jul 07, 2018
The Ex-President and the Gun Lobby
This week, how former US President George Bush Senior took on the all-powerful National Rifle Association; the murder of the campaigning Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin; and how a Soviet submarine got stuck on a Swedish rock during the Cold War. Plus, the Cockney pilot who became known as the "King of Lampedusa" during World War Two. (Photo: President George Bush Senior. Credit: Bachrach/Getty Images)
Jun 30, 2018
Korea Divided: A Bitter History
From the 1945 division of the peninsula, to the Korean war and the death of Kim II-sung, we have first-hand accounts from the turbulent recent history of North and South Korea. Plus, expert analysis from Dr Owen Miller of SOAS University of London. Photo: As US infantrymen march into the Naktong River region, they pass a line of fleeing refugees during the Korean War (Getty images)
Jun 16, 2018
The 1968 Belgrade Student Revolt
The 1968 student revolt in Communist Yugoslavia, an assassination attempt that sparked Lebanon's war, Adolf Eichmann's execution, plus the sudden death of Nigeria's strong man in less than clear circumstances and 'from couch to 5k' that inspired a global running craze. (Photo: Sonja Licht with her fellow protester and later her husband, Milan Nikolic, at the site of the protests. Credit: Licht-Nikolic family archive)
Jun 09, 2018
Free Health Care for All
The birth of the British health service in 1948; the battle for compensation over Thalidomide; the world's first bicycle-sharing scheme; discovering a perfectly-formed frozen baby mammoth in Siberia, and the great science-fiction writer, Isaac Asimov. Photo: Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, meeting a patient at Papworth Village Hospital after the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 (Edward G Malindine/Getty Images)
Jun 03, 2018
The Fall of Suharto in Indonesia
In 1998, the Indonesian dictator, President Suharto, resigned after 31 years in power. He stood down in the wake of nationwide demonstrations sparked by the killing of four student protestors. We hear from Bhatara Ibnu Reza, who was with one of the students when he died. Plus, how a Pakistani theatre company took on the dictatorship of General Zia ul-Huq; the landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah; and the day lesbian protestors targeted the BBC news studio. Photo: Students celebrate outside the Parliamentary buildings, Jakarta after Indonesian President Suharto announced his resignation. Credit: Adam Butler/PA
May 26, 2018
May 1968 Paris Riots
A French riot policeman's view of the violence that swept through France in May 1968; plus the man who led a team that made safe two nuclear weapons that had crashed to ground in the US. Also, the origins of Montessori education, one of the airmen on the Dambusters' raid and actor Jane Asher remembers John Osborne's radical 1950s play, Look Back in Anger. Photo: Protesters face police in front of the Joseph Gibert bookstore, Boulevard Saint Michel in May 1968. (Credit: Jacques Marie/AFP/Getty Images)
May 19, 2018
The Last King of Bulgaria
From child king in the Second World War to post-communist prime minister, the story of Bulgaria's King Simeon II; the first ever surgery performed on a foetus in the womb, an American family selling secrets to the Soviets in the 1980s, plus the 1963 attempt to form a United States of Africa, and the earliest diagnosis of autism. Photo: King Simeon II 1943 (credit: Bulgarian Royal Family)
May 12, 2018
When Margaret Thatcher Came to Power
Working for Britain's first female PM, the rare story of prisoners on the high seas in WW2, plus the Children's Crusade for civil right in 60s Alabama, the origin of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the story behind the Japanese TV hit, Takeshi's Castle. Photo: British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, with husband Denis on May 4th 1979. (Credit: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
May 05, 2018
The Oslo Peace Talks
The story behind the secret Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Oslo in 1993, the woman who swam from the USA to the Soviet Union, plus remembering Pablo Picasso, how art transformed notorious Scottish prisoners, and one of the most famous figures of World War One, the Red Baron. Photo: Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat at the signing ceremony for the Oslo Accord, September 13,1993. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Apr 28, 2018
Earth Day
The birth of the modern environmental movement, Germany's 1918 Spring Offensive, the discovery of the concentration camp horrors of Bergen-Belsen plus the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre site; and the last occupiers of Europe's most westerly lighthouse. Photo credit: Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images
Apr 21, 2018
The Zimbabwe Massacres
In this week's episode, Robert Mugabe's brutal crack down on the opposition in the 1980s, a mass expulsion of Soviet spies from Britain in the 1970's and the working class film revolution of the 1960's. Plus the first frozen embryo and the death of a German student leader that sparked huge demonstrations. (Photo: Robert Mugabe. Getty Images)
Apr 14, 2018
The Good Friday Agreement
In 1998, the political parties in Northern Ireland reached a peace agreement that ended decades of war. We hear from Paul Murphy, the junior minister for Northern Ireland at the time. Plus, a cross-community choir in Bosnia and women pioneers from the worlds of finance and oceanography. PHOTO: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (L) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) pose with the mediator
Mar 31, 2018
The Battle of the Airwaves in Latin America
Why the BBC started broadcasting to South and Central America, plus the My Lai Massacre, Brazil's careful transition to democracy, and Moscow's show trials in the 1930s. Photo: Members of the BBC's Brazil service rehearsing in a London studio in 1943. Credit: BBC.
Mar 17, 2018
Deaf Rights Protest
A landmark protest by deaf students in the US; the early fight for women's reproductive rights; the life and times of political thinker, Hannah Arendt; language and history in Azerbaijan, and Wonder Woman. Picture: Student protestors, courtesy of Gallaudet University in Washington DC
Mar 10, 2018
China's Barefoot Doctors
How China's barefoot doctor scheme revolutionised rural healthcare; plus M*A*S*H, the ground-breaking American TV show that taught a generation about war; the assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme; the German and Russian soldiers who fought on the Eastern Front in the First World War; and the Angel of the North, a huge steel sculpture that has become an icon for the north-east of England. Picture: Gordon Liu
Mar 03, 2018
The Boy in the Bubble
How a young boy lived with a rare genetic disorder; plus "Ghana Must Go" - when 1 million Africans were expelled from Nigeria, battling the last major smallpox epidemic in India, reporting the Jimmy Swaggart scandal and the story behind the acclaimed novel "Infinite Jest" (Photo: David Vetter and his mother Carol-Ann Demaret Credit: Carol-Ann Demaret)
Feb 24, 2018
Women's Rights In Iran
We hear from Mahnaz Afkhami, Iran's first ever minister for Women's Affairs, appointed in 1975. Plus, the so-called "headscarf revolutionaries" who fought for improvements in Britain's notoriously dangerous fishing industry, a member of the Viet Cong recalls one of the biggest battles of the Vietnam War, finding the lost notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the 1970s lesbian separatist movement in America. Photo: Mahnaz Afkhami at the UN in 1975. (Mahnaz Afkhami)
Feb 17, 2018
The Munich Air Disaster
The plane crash that killed eight of Manchester United's top players, the courage of the British Suffragettes, uncovering South Africa's nuclear secrets, plus tracking down Nazis in South America and the attack on a South Korean airliner ahead of the Seoul Olympics. (Photo: Plane wreckage at Munich airport - AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 10, 2018
The Tet Offensive
In January 1968, North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong guerrillas launched a huge surprise attack on towns, cities and military bases across South Vietnam. The events of the Tet offensive had a profound impact on American public opinion and marked a turning point in the war. Plus the roots of the Rohingya crisis, the birth of gospel music, Ireland's Bloody Sunday, and the end of corporal punishment in Britain. Photo: Julian Pettifer reporting under fire near the Presidential Palace in Saigon, 31st January 1968 (BBC)
Feb 03, 2018
The Capture of the USS Pueblo
When North Korea and the US came close to war in 1968; plus Salvador Dali, re-creating Francis Bacon's studio, the first veggie burger and the origins of Lego Photo: Members of the USS Pueblo's crew being taken into custody. Credit: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service
Jan 27, 2018
Truth And Reconciliation in South Africa
After Apartheid was abolished in the 1990s, South Africa set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to try to confront the legacy of its brutal past. We speak to Justice Sisi Khampepe, who served on the Commission. Plus, the inspiring story of the disabled Irish author, Christoper Nolan; an inside account of two of America's most famous presidential speeches; and the role of British women in World War I. (PHOTO: Pretoria South Africa: President Nelson Mandela (L) with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, acknowledges applause after he received a five volumes of Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report from Archbishop Tutu. Credit: Getty Images.)
Jan 20, 2018
When France Said 'Non' to Britain Joining Europe
When France stopped Britain joining Europe in the 1960s, the boy who set a record for continuously staying awake, the launch of the first iPhone, hands reaching out in friendship between Britain and Germany after the Second World War, and a notorious massacre during Algeria's bitter internal conflict of the 1990s. Photo: Charles de Gaulle, President of France, at a press conference on 14th January 1963 at which he said Britain was not ready to join the European Economic Community, now the EU (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)
Jan 13, 2018
Boris Yeltsin's Surprise Resignation
Mrs Yeltsin, on the day her husband shocked the world, half a century since the Mafia's grip on America was exposed, the 1999 protests in Iran - the biggest since the revolution - a student tells us how a photograph led to his death sentence and the Brazilian woman hijacker who took her kids along for the ride.
Jan 06, 2018
Kwanzaa - The African-American Holiday
How Black activists invented a new holiday, flying around the world without refuelling, what not to do if you win a fortune, and the mountaineers who risked their lives climbing the spires of Leningrad during WW2. Then there's the obligatory Christmas board game - Trivial Pursuit. Picture: Children at the first Kwanzaa celebration - courtesy of Terri Bandele.
Dec 30, 2017
To Kill A Mockingbird
One of the most successful American films of all time was released on Christmas Day 1962. Based on the best-selling book by author Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird starred Gregory Peck as a lawyer who stood against prejudice in the Deep South of the USA. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Gregory Peck's son Carey Peck. Plus, the life of Indian independence leader BR Ambedkar; a short-lived period of peace in Somalia under the Islamic Courts Union; the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution in China; and the invention of WiFi. Picture: Gregory Peck with Harper Lee in 1962 (Getty Images)
Dec 23, 2017
The Unsung Hero of Heart Surgery
The African-American lab technician, Vivien Thomas, who pioneered surgery that saved millions of babies, Otis Redding remembered 50 years on from his tragic death, the killer smog of the 1950's London, the man brave enough to hypnotise Uday Hussein and the Australian Prime Minister - lost at sea. (Photo: Vivien Thomas, US Surgical Technician, 1940) (Audio: Courtesy of US National Library of Medicine)
Dec 16, 2017
British Withdrawal from South Yemen
Fifty years since Aden gained independence from Britain, plus an amazing discovery under the oceans, a celebration of Finnish independence, Russian art punished by the Bolsheviks and the building of Mount Rushmore's famous statues. Photo: Aden 1967 Copyright: Alamy.
Dec 09, 2017
The Poisoning of Litvinenko
In November 2006, the world was shocked by the murder in London of former Russian intelligence officer, Alexander Litvinenko. We hear from his widow Marina about his life and agonising death, and get an analysis of the case from Luke Harding, author of "A Very Expensive Poison". Also in the programme, an astonishing assassination plot during El Salvador's Civil War, a huge oil spill in Spain, and the purpose-built city in Siberia which was home to the Soviet Union's best scientists. (PHOTO: Alexander Litvinenko in a London hospital a couple of days before his death in November 2006. Credit Getty Images.)
Dec 02, 2017
The Siege of Mecca
The secret battle for the holiest site in Islam in 1979; the coup that changed the Vietnam war, plus an East German musical icon, prosecuting Charles Manson and Toy Story's digital revolution. Photo: Fighting at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after militants seized control of the shrine, November 1979 (AFP/Getty Images)
Nov 25, 2017
The 'Disappeared' of Lebanon
The women searching for their loved-ones who went missing during the Lebanese civil war, plus the man who first discovered diamonds in Botswana, a pioneer of the Indian restaurant business in the UK, an exploding whale, and naked dancing in post-war London. Photo: West Beirut under shellfire in 1982.(Credit:Domnique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov 18, 2017
The Russian Revolution: The Bolsheviks Take Control
Eye-witness accounts from the Russian Revolution of October 1917; the first dog in space; Sabah, one of the biggest 20th-century stars of the Middle East; the last journalist to interview Osama Bin Laden; and horror and heartbreak: memories of the First World War. Picture: Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin addressing crowds in the capital Petrograd during the Russian Revolution of 1917. (Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Nov 11, 2017
Martin Luther's 95 Theses
The German monk who began a religious uprising; the book that made us think of humans as animals; how the murder of a Brazilian journalist by the secret police became a symbol of Brazil's military brutality; plus the Lebanese architectural dream that was overtaken by war and the fight that ended sex censorship online. Photo: A portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder on display at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, Germany (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Nov 04, 2017
The Fake IDs That Saved Jewish Lives
How tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews escaped the Nazis by using false papers; what happened when abortion became illegal overnight in 1960s Romania; the murder of campaigning Nigerian journalist Dele Giwa; the creation of British satire magazine Private Eye; and the love affair between writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Photo: False Hungarian ID document (BBC)
Oct 29, 2017
The 43 Group: Battling British Fascists
How Jewish veterans fought fascism in post war Britain; plus investigating the death of Mozambique's president Samora Machel, we hear from a survivor of the Moscow theatre siege, inside the Cuba Missile Crisis and the mystery of Booker prize winner JG Farrell. Photo:British Fascist Sir Oswald Mosley speaking at a rally, Hertford Road, Dalston, London, May 1st 1948. (Getty Images)
Oct 21, 2017
The Death of Che Guevara
In October 1967 the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was captured and killed in Bolivia - we hear from the CIA operative who was one of the last people to speak to him. Plus, the plan to rescue Italy's art from the Nazis; remembering a hero of Catalan nationalism; the policeman and friend who testified against OJ Simpson, and Madonna - the early years. (Photo: Felix Rodriguez (left) with the captured Che Guevara, shortly before his execution on 9 October 1967. Courtesy of Felix Rodriguez)
Oct 14, 2017
The Hate Crime That Changed American Law
Why the brutal killing of a young gay man in Wyoming prompted change, how white people came to terms with their past after segregation in deep south America, living alongside Israeli soldiers in Gaza, plus modern treasures uncovered in Iran and rediscovered Tudor treasures raised from the English seabed. (Photo: Matthew Shepard with his parents, Judy and Dennis, on holiday at Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy of the Matthew Shepard Foundation)
Oct 07, 2017
Walking the Great Wall of China
Walking the Great Wall of China; the death of Pope John Paul 1 after just a month in the job; turning against a colonial power - how Guinea gained independence from France; the life and times of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, and the British Land Girls of World War Two. (Picture: Yaohui Dong, Wu Deyu and Zhang Yuanhua on the Great Wall of China. Courtesy of Yaohui Dong)
Sep 29, 2017
When Animals Make History
Five remarkable stories of animals in recent history - from the guide dog who led her owner out of the World Trade Center on 9/11 to a ferocious shark attack to the locust swarm that flew more than 5000 miles across the Atlantic ocean. Photo: a Great White Shark - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Sep 24, 2017
The Collapse of Northern Rock
The run on a British bank which signalled the coming global financial crisis, a schoolboy arrested in East Germany for writing a letter, a doctor remembers the Sabra Shatila massacre in Beirut, and a Nigerian archaeological treasure trove. Photo: Northern Rock customers queuing outside the Kingston branch, in order to take their money out on September 17th 2007. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Sep 16, 2017
The Fairy Photos
The search for a spirit world after WW1 that led people to believe that photographs of fairies were real. Plus Jamaica's worst train crash, France's last execution by guillotine, the man who saved the Proms and life in a giant greenhouse in Arizona - Biosphere 2. Photo: Frances Griffiths and the "Cottingley Fairies" in a photograph made in 1917 by her cousin Elsie Wright with paper cut-outs and hatpins. Credit: Alamy
Sep 09, 2017
The Death of Princess Diana
Princess Diana's brother remembers the passionate speech he gave at her funeral, and one of the doctors who treated her at the scene of her fatal car crash remembers her death. Plus, how George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, the development of a revolutionary new 3D medical scanning technique, and the birth of the online auction site eBay. Picture: Earl Spencer and Prince William at Princess Diana's funeral. Credit: Getty/AFP
Sep 02, 2017
Medicine in World War One
In BBC archive recordings, veterans tell the story of how medical care dealt with the horrors of WW1. Plus when Germany put Nazis on trial, race riots in London's Notting Hill in 1958, and in East Germany in 1992. And the inventors of Botox. Photo: Australian wounded on the Menin Road on the Western Front, 1917 (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Aug 26, 2017
Nike and the Sweatshop Problem
On this week's programme, how campaigners took on Nike in the 1990s, plus the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the newspaper which defied Argentine's military dictatorship. We also find out more about nudism in East Germany and the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. PHOTO: Nike worker Cicih Sukaesih telling her story in America in 1996 (courtesy of Jeff Ballinger)
Aug 19, 2017
Reagan's Bombing Joke
Ronald Reagan's joke about bombing Russia in the 1980s, the murder of a Palestinian cartoonist in London, communal violence in India a year before partition, the man who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage patch, and Florence Nightingale, in her own words and those of people who knew her. Photo: American president Ronald Reagan in the 1980s at his desk in the White House, Washington DC. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Aug 11, 2017
When Homosexuality Was a Crime
Comedian and broadcaster Pete Price speaks about being subjected to horrific aversion therapy to "cure" him of his homosexuality in 1960s Britain. Plus the 99-year-old former aide to the Chinese nationalist leader, Chiang Kai Shek, a radical new approach to housing in the former USSR, the perils of deep sea commercial diving in the North Sea and how the Welsh fought for recognition of their language. Photo: Pete Price (private collection)
Jul 29, 2017
Psychological Warfare
Spooking fighters during the Vietnam War, building the Mont Blanc Tunnel, designing a Nintendo legend, the murder of Gianni Versace and archive voices from the 'Bonus Army' a protest movement of WW1 veterans which shook the US government in 1932. Photo:Viet Cong guerrillas on patrol during the Vietnam War, 2nd March 1966: (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Jul 22, 2017
The Oka Crisis
A watershed moment for Canada's indigenous people as Mohawks take on the developers, the birth of UKIP in Britain, memories of the poet Irina Ratushinskaya who died earlier this month - plus dance music with ballet star Nureyev's defection and illegal raving in England's countryside. (PHOTO: A Mohawk activist confronts a soldier. Credit: IATV NEWS)
Jul 15, 2017
The Roswell Incident
In July 1947 a US rancher found some debris in the New Mexico desert - did it come from an alien spacecraft? Witness hears from the son of one of the US servicemen who investigated the incident, and from Dr David Clarke, expert on UFO history at Sheffield Hallam University. Plus the first Tamil suicide bombing; a hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure discovered in an English field; a sex scandal in the USSR during perestroika; and the first non-stop journey around the world in a hot air balloon. PHOTO: Major Jesse Marcel at Fort Worth, Texas with balloon debris from the Roswell incident - copyright Alamy
Jul 08, 2017
The History of Modern Tourism
In a tourism special we look at the original low-cost transatlantic airline, based in Iceland, the 1960s Hippie trail. Also the journey that led to the best selling Lonely Planet travel guides, political tensions caused by a luxury resort on the Red Sea and how Disney came to Europe. (Photo: An Icelandic Airlines advertisement from May 1973, in New York's Fifth Avenue (US National Archives)
Jul 02, 2017
Italy's Secret "State-within-a-State"
Murder and conspiracy among Italy's elite, an Italian atrocity in 1930s Ethiopia, Christians in the Korean War, Japan hosts the first Body Worlds, and Asian Americans struggle against racism and violence in the 1980s. Photo: Robert Calvi, head of Banco Ambrosiano, who was convicted of fraud but released on appeal shortly before his murder (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 24, 2017
The Woman Who Stopped Equal Rights in America
Phlyllis Schalfly, the woman who defeated a law to guarantee gender equality in the US; plus, the first performance of the Beatles hit "All You Need Is Love", a forgotten WW2 disaster, Berber rights in Algeria, and the volcanic eruption on the island of Montserrat. PHOTO: American political activist Phyllis Schlafly smiles from behind a pair of podium mounted microphones, 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Jun 17, 2017
The Six Day War 1967
Soldiers from both sides on the battle for Jerusalem; plus Robert Kennedy's assassination, the child who fought slavery in Pakistan, and the cousin of Anne Frank Photo:Israeli forces advancing in the Sinai desert during the Six-Day War, June 1967. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Jun 10, 2017
Operation Lifeline: Canada's Refugee Revolution
How private citizens in Canada sponsored Vietnamese boat-people. Plus the first ever charity rock concert for Chernobyl, the actor who stared in a Hitchcock murder movie, America's first ever female rabbi and Mr Sanitation brings clean toilets in India. Photo: A Vietnamese boat crowded with refugees runs aground on the Malaysian coast. 1979 (BBC)
Jun 03, 2017
Brown v The Board of Education
The 1954 US Supreme Court ruling that led to the end of racial segregation in US schools, the Iranian woman protestor whose death on film shocked the world; the start of the worldwide dieting franchise, Weight Watchers and who was Alexander Hamilton? (Photo African American student Linda Brown, Cheryl Brown Henderson's eldest sister (front, C) sitting in her segregated classroom.Credit: GettyArchive)
May 20, 2017
The Trial of Maurice Papon
The French minister tried for colluding with the Nazis, the USSR's version of James Bond, the beginning of China's economic boom, plus the first time Americans were told they were too fat - but that their wine was better than France's. PHOTO: Maurice Papon in October 1997, shortly after his trial for war crimes opened. (Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)
May 13, 2017
The Invention of Liposuction
In the 1970s, Italian cosmetic surgeons Arpad and Giorgio Fischer developed the modern technique of liposuction, which involves sucking out fat from under the skin. The global cosmetic surgery industry is now booming and liposuction is one of the most popular procedures. Also in the programme, the little-known civil war in Tajikistan after the breakup of the Soviet Union, how French troops mutinied toward the end of World War One and the start of the legendary Magnum photo agency. Photo: A doctor performs a liposuction at a hospital in Shanghai, China (Credit: AFP /LIU Jin)
May 06, 2017
Searching For Argentina's Disappeared
In April 1977 a group of women in Argentina held the first ever public demonstration to demand the release of thousands of opponents of the military regime. It was the start of a long campaign by the women, who became known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Also on the programme: the controversy surrounding Syria's presence in Lebanon, plus the pioneer of psychotherapy RD Laing, Bulgaria's attempts to crush Turkish language and culture, and we hear the shocking testimony of a survivor of Bosnia's notorious rape camps. (Photo: Mirta Baravalle of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, with a black-and-white photograph of her daughter, Ana Maria)
Apr 29, 2017
Charlie Chaplin Returns to America from Exile
Charlie Chaplin's son on his father's political views and his rocky relationship with his one-time adopted home, America. Plus the Hubble telescope produces the first clear pictures of the furthest galaxies; shaking off colonialism with the world's first festival for black artists; Japan launches a new way of learning the violin and tragedy in Latin America when American missionaries flying over Peru were mistaken for drug-runners. (Photo: Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp in the 1925 film, The Gold Rush. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 22, 2017
The Takeover of Russia's NTV
NTV was Russia's only nationwide independent TV station until it was taken over in April 2001. We hear from the head of the station at the time. Plus, Ethiopia's Red Terror; the Katyn massacre during WW2; a breakthrough for disability rights in the US with the 504 sit-in; and Sikh bus drivers in the UK win the right to wear turbans to work. Photo: Life size puppets of Russian political leaders including President Putin, on the set of NTV's popular satirical television show "Puppets"; June 29, 2000. Credit: Oleg Nikishin/Newsmakers/Getty
Apr 15, 2017
How Princess Diana changed the perception of AIDS
The royal handshake that changed attitudes to AIDS, America enters WW1, plus Egypt's Facebook girl, Nagorno Karabakh and remembering Jane Fonda's workout (Photo: Princess Diana with an AIDS patient at the Middlesex Hospital April 1987. Credit REX/Shutterstock)
Apr 10, 2017
The Flavr Savr Tomato - The World's First Genetically Engineered Food
In 1994 the world's first genetically-engineered food went on sale in the US. It was a tomato, called the 'Flavr Savr' which stayed fresh for up to 30 days. Plus, a mysterious anthrax outbreak in the Soviet Union; the murder of a Catholic archbishop in El Salvador; and the Teletubbies turn 20. Photo: Roger Salquist, former Chairman and CEO of Calgene (courtesy of Roger Salquist)
Apr 01, 2017
The First Russian Revolution of 1917
100 years since the Russian Revolution, Imperial Russia in colour, AIDS and the mystery of 'Patient Zero', when Indian sex workers marched for employment rights and the British Lord who fled the Nazis in Czechoslovakia as a six year old on the Kindertransport. Photo: 12th March 1917: Barricades across a street in St Petersburg, as a red flag floats above the cannons, during the Russian Revolution. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Mar 18, 2017
Kuwaiti Women Secure the Vote
Women in Kuwait win the right to vote, and the only women on the front line on the Western Front in World War One; battling smog in Mexico City in the 1980s, the artist Georgia O'Keeffe, and America's first incident of Islamic terror forty years ago. Photo: the first women candidates for parliamentary elections in Kuwait in 2006, Aisha al-Rashid (R) and Rola Dashti (C) (Credit: Yasser al-Zayya/AFP/Getty Images)
Mar 10, 2017
Mother Teresa - The Nun Who Became A Saint
Life with Mother Teresa among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, how the World Health Organisation came to realise that obesity was a global problem and Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House. Plus the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks - a remarkable story of one woman's impact on medical research. (PHOTO: AP Mother Teresa holds a child in 1978)
Mar 04, 2017
The German American Bund
In the 1930s, a group of German-American Nazi sympathisers known as the German American Bund held rallies and summer camps across the US. Also, the lawyers who helped Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic defend himself against war crimes charges and how vandals attacked Denmark's famous Little Mermaid Statue.
Feb 25, 2017
Love and Marriage
From speed-dating to gay romance, from divorce to bigamy we look at recent changes in the way society perceives love and marriage. Plus - an expert view on how to make sure your love endures. Photo: A heart hanging over Carnaby Street in London. Credit: BBC.
Feb 18, 2017
Sanctuary Cities in the USA
This week how American cities like San Francisco became safe havens for undocumented immigrants, the story of Tilikum and first recorded killing of a human by an orca whale, discovering DNA, the ship wreck that gave locals whiskey galore and Kenya's smash hit song - that got everyone singing in Swahili. (Photo: Supporters of Sanctuary Cities demonstrating in San Francisco, January 2017. Credit: AP)
Feb 11, 2017
The End of Apartheid
Former South African police minister on ending apartheid, eyewitness to Black Hawk Down, landmark sexual harassment case in India, the last South American war and a record breaking solo trek across the Antarctic Picture: Anti-apartheid protestors demonstrate in Cape Town on the same day that President de Klerk announced the lifting of the ban on the ANC and the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela (Credit: RASHID LOMBARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 04, 2017
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy
On 26 January 1972 four Aboriginal men began a protest outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. They erected a beach umbrella on the grass and called it an 'embassy'. Plus, the murder of five lawyers in Madrid in 1977, which became a turning point in Spain's return to democracy; the invention of the microwave oven; Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; and 75 years of the BBC's longest-running programme, Desert Island Discs.
Jan 28, 2017
Roots - The TV Series
The epic mini-series about slavery in the US hit TV screens in January 1977. We hear from actor Leslie Uggams, who played the character Kizzy, recalling how "Roots" revolutionised perceptions about African-American history. Plus: when peace deal ended El Salvador's brutal civil war, the murder of prominent Turkish Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, life in the world's largest refugee camp, and how Dungeons and Dragons came about. (Photo: Actors LeVar Burton, Todd Bridges and Robert Reed in Roots. Credit: Alamy)
Jan 21, 2017
Princess Diana's Minefield Walk
In 1997, the Princess of Wales made a high-profile visit to a landmine clearance programme in Angola. Her trip is credited with boosting the campaign for a global landmine treaty signed later that year. Also, the man who rewrote the rules on transitions of power in the USA, the first woman to wear a headscarf into the Turkish parliament and the triumph of British espionage that changed the course of World War One. PHOTO: Princess Diana in Angola in 1997 (Credit: Alamy)
Jan 14, 2017
American Communists
The early American Communists, a North Vietnamese tunneler who helped outsmart the Americans and win the war in Vietnam, plus the pyramid scheme failure in Albania which left gun-toting children on the streets. Also how five American missionaries paid the ultimate price after seeking out a remote tribe in Ecuador but left a lasting legacy, and the petition signed in Czechoslovakia which helped bring about the end of communism. Photograph: Ella and Bert Wolfe (courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives
Jan 07, 2017
The Break-Up of the Soviet Union
December 1991 saw the end of 70 years of communist rule and the collapse of the Soviet Union. We hear from two of the key signatories of the dissolution treaty, a witness to the ensuing crisis in one of the newly independent states, and from an American nuclear expert who helped clean-up the former USSR. Also, the performance artist protesting about the growing divide between rich and poor, and the first editor of Vogue magazine in Russia. Photo: The leaders of Ukraine and Belorussia, alongside Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, at the ceremony formally dissolving the USSR in December 1991, Credit: AP
Dec 31, 2016
Death of an Anarchist
The controversial death in police custody of Italian anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli, the Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett how Greece and Turkey almost came to war over a tiny rocky island in the Aegean sea, also the experimental film-maker Derek Jarman and how on Christmas day in 1968 Apollo 8 became the first spacecraft to leave the Earth's orbit and travel to the moon. Photo:Giuseppe 'Pino' Pinelli, with his wife Licia and his daughters Silvia and Claudia. Credit: The Pinelli Family.
Dec 24, 2016
Yoyes, ETA's female icon
The life and untimely death of a Basque separatist fighter, resisting the Nazis in Lithuania, a medical breakthrough that prevented babies from dying in their cots, the grand old lady of Brazilian TV soaps, and the Hindu milk miracle. Photograph: Maria Dolores Gonzalez Katarain, known as Yoyes, who was the first woman to join the leadership of the separatist group, ETA
Dec 16, 2016
100 Women History Hour
A special edition of the programme remembering some of the women that history has overlooked. From women warriors to women scientists. From rural women, to factory workers we bring you the stories of women who made a contribution to history - and who deserve to be remembered.
Dec 10, 2016
Bob Marley Survives Assassination Attempt
The shooting of Bob Marley in 1976, the resistance of the Mirabal Sisters, how Ralph Nader made Americans safer, discovering Colombia's ancient Lost City and when Le Corbusier built Chandigarh - India's 1950s modernist marvel. Photo: Bob Marley, 1970s (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Dec 03, 2016
The 1948 French Miners' Strike
This week, the French Miners' strike of 1948, 50 years since the launch of the Cabaret musical, the Silk Letters Movement of British India, the plane-spotters jailed for spying and how to save baby elephants! (Photo: French President Francois Hollande welcomes former striker Norbert Gilmez during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. September 2016. Credit:Reuters.)
Nov 25, 2016
The Dili Massacre
It is 25 years since Indonesian troops attacked protestors in the East Timorese capital, plus the impact of The Satanic Verses on British society, smuggling endangered birds out of the jungles of South America, a palace burns in Madagascar and the inspiration behind James Bond's theme tune. (Photo: East Timorese activists preparing for the protest that ended in tragedy. Copyright: Max Stahl)
Nov 19, 2016
The Pitcairn Sex Abuse Trial
A mass child sex abuse trial on a remote island in the Pacific that shocked the world, a controversial Kurdish song, the birth of Rolling Stone magazine, men versus computers, and street fighting in San Salvador in the 1980s Photo: Adamstown, seen in this June 2003 photo of Pitcairn Island (AP)
Nov 13, 2016
Dickey Chapelle - War Reporter
On this week's programme, how pioneering American woman war reporter, Dickey Chapelle, was killed in Vietnam; plus two very different perspectives on Mao's China, Mexican writer Octavio Paz and the escape which made Harry Houdini's name. PHOTO: Dickey Chapelle during a US Marines operation in 1958 (Credit: US Marine Corps / Associated Press)
Nov 05, 2016
Shell Shock
World War One veterans describe Shell Shock and Prof. Edgar Jones of Kings College on the psychiatric cost of war; plus Hungary's 1956 uprising, how French intelligence was rocked by the abduction of activist Mehdi Ben Barka, the history of Marvel Comics and London's Big Bang. Photo: French troops shelter during bombardment, 1918. (General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
Oct 29, 2016
The Mayak Nuclear Disaster
One of the world's worst nuclear disasters, the most notorious prison riot in America, Second World War internment in Australia, resistance in apartheid South Africa, and one of Britain's most celebrated artists, Stanley Spencer, through the eyes of his daughters. Photo: The Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in 2010. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency
Sep 30, 2016
The University of Texas Shooting
On 1 August 1966, student Charles Whitman shot dead 14 people and injured another 32 in America's first mass shooting at a university. Plus, the oldest arts festival in the Middle East; how President Reagan smashed the power of the trade unions; and meeting JD Salinger, the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye". PHOTO: Associated Press.
Aug 08, 2016
First CIA coup in Latin America
In this week's programme, we hear personal accounts of two fronts in America's Cold War fight against communism: Guatemala and Russia itself. Plus, the earthquake in China that killed a quarter of a million; riots in the English city of Liverpool; and remembering Picasso in his prime. PHOTO: Army officers opposed to President Arbenz go over a map of the territory on their push to Zacapa and then to Guatemala City, July 1954. (AP Photo)
Jul 30, 2016
Tanzania's Ujamaa
Socialism in Tanzania, the man who assassinated the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, the crash of the Soviet supersonic jet Concordski, 20 years to build a road and Date Rape (Photo: Tanzanian women cultivating the soil. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Jun 04, 2016
The Thalidomide Trial
Executives of the German company that made the drug Thalodomide go on trial. Plus, Chechen rebels negotiate peace with President Yeltsin; the Israeli airlift of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews; Hands Across America, the day millions of Americans formed a human chain to try to end poverty; and the execution of the Queen of England, Anne Boleyn. Photograph: A Thalidomide child undergoes rehabilitation, 1963 (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
May 28, 2016
Remembering Chernobyl
Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear disaster; the funeral of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution changed the world; plus, the impact of being accused during the McCarthy era in America, and two style icons of the Sixties, the Mini and Yves St Laurent. Photo: a Swedish farmer wears protective clothing because of contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (Credit: STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Apr 30, 2016
The Original Revolutionary Feminist
Russia's revolutionary feminist, British women after the First World War, poisoning in the Balkans, a miscarriage of justice in Britain, and the world's worst aviation disaster
Mar 12, 2016
The Battle of Verdun
The World War One battle that traumatised France; the Austrian mountaineer who wrote Seven Years in Tibet; how Christian Dior revolutionised fashion with the 'New Look'. Plus, how Foot-and-Mouth disease broke the hearts of British farmers and the botched assassination which humiliated the Israeli Secret Service. (Photo: French Troops under fire at Verdun. Credit: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
Feb 20, 2016
The birth of the Prozac generation, the battle to save Afghanistan's ancient artworks and death and violence in the Spanish embassy in Guatemala. Plus we hear about an American political corruption scandal and the launch of the Disney classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Feb 06, 2016
The Challenger Disaster
The launch of space shuttle Challenger goes horribly wrong, Rupert Murdoch goes to war with his print unions, Australia's 18th century penal colonies, Sharia law in Nigeria, and Batman comes to TV. Photo: Christa McAuliffe (left) and Barbara Morgan. Credit: Nasa
Jan 30, 2016
Michael Jackson's Thriller
The 1982 release of the world's best selling album; plus the untimely death of General George S Patton; the former child star Karolyn Grimes on the film It's A Wonderful Life, the Beagle 2 mission to Mars, and Vladimir Nabokov's scandalous book, Lolita. (Photo: Michael Jackson and assorted zombies in the video for Thriller in 1983. Credit: 01/01/1983 Publicity Handout)
Dec 31, 2015
The Battle of Tora Bora
The hunt for Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan; a Ku Klux Klan trial in 1965; the siege of Kut in World War 1; an unexpected alliance in 1980s Britain with Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners; and seminal alternative rock band the Velvet Underground's first gig. (Photo: Afghan fighters look out over a smoking valley after a US B-52 aircraft bombed a front line position in the mountains of Tora Bora in north-eastern Afghanistan. Credit: Associated Press)
Dec 12, 2015
The Amman Bombings
Suicide bombings in Amman; a massacre in East Timor that was a turning point on the road to independence; the fall of the Taliban; anti-Sikh riots in India; and the BBC's first wildlife broadcaster
Nov 14, 2015
The Death of Rock Hudson
Angie Dickinson remembers her friend, the Hollywood superstar who became the most high profile celebrity to acknowledge he was suffering from Aids; plus one of the founding members of Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club, the Danish cartoon controversy, remembering Kabul's musicians' quarter and the birth of Karaoke. Photo: Rock Hudson at the BBC.
Oct 03, 2015
Korea Divided
In this programme: Korea split along the 38th parallel, child prisoners of the Japanese during World War Two, the notorious Devil's Island penal colony, the man who published Harry Potter and Sue the T-Rex skeleton. Photo: Korea 38th parallel Credit: AFP
Aug 15, 2015