Episodes

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Emma - My Detox Tea Battle2019060320190605 (R4)

Emma Whittaker was 17 when she fell into a cycle of abusing laxatives. She first started using them when she got swept up in the detox tea craze that exploded on Instagram. These teas contained the natural laxative senna and promised to cleanse the body and get users flat tummies and perfect hair.

Emma was susceptible to the messaging. Her mum died when she was 12, and soon after she embarked on a career in modelling. “How I looked was all that mattered to me. That’s all I cared about.”

Six years on, Emma has recovered from her eating disorders and she wants some answers. She has started a petition calling for a ban on the sale of laxatives and detox teas without a prescription from a GP.

Can a tea really detox the body? Is Emma’s petition realistic? And what responsibility do Insta influencers have for the mental health of their followers?

Emma talks to a detox tea company CEO, an Instagram influencer and the Advertising Standards Authority to find out.

Producer: Lucy Proctor

Emma is 23 and wants to see detox teas banned. Is she right?

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

Emma - My Detox Tea Battle20190603

Emma Whittaker was 17 when she fell into a cycle of abusing laxatives. She first started using them when she got swept up in the detox tea craze that exploded on Instagram. These teas contained the natural laxative senna and promised to cleanse the body and get users flat tummies and perfect hair.

Emma was susceptible to the messaging. Her mum died when she was 12, and soon after she embarked on a career in modelling. “How I looked was all that mattered to me. That’s all I cared about.”

Six years on, Emma has recovered from her eating disorders and she wants some answers. She has started a petition calling for a ban on the sale of laxatives and detox teas without a prescription from a GP.

Can a tea really detox the body? Is Emma’s petition realistic? And what responsibility do Insta influencers have for the mental health of their followers?

Emma talks to a detox tea company CEO, an Instagram influencer and the Advertising Standards Authority to find out.

Producer: Lucy Proctor

Emma is 23 and wants to see detox teas banned. Is she right?

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

Gary: Homeless And Needing Help2019061720190619 (R4)

Gary is homeless, and up until very recently, slept rough on the streets of Manchester. He's confused as to why a happy childhood with his dad and a good upbringing has led him to his current position. As he puts it: "I don't know where I went wrong." But like many people on the streets Gary is mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and despite still bearing the scars and addictions of homelessness he has a curious mind and has found himself with some questions. How did he slip through? Why has he found it so hard to get help?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has a high-profile ambition to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020. Gary supports the ambition of A Bed Every Night and thinks it's right that someone is prioritising the problem, but unlike most reporters and commentators he's used it. And he explains why for him, it was not a straightforward process.

With Amanda Croome, the Chief Executive of Manchester's Booth Centre for the homeless, Gary asks about the struggling services which Amanda says make delivering help harder all over the country. He talks to other homeless people about their experiences on the streets, and to mental health workers about whether charities can help the vulnerable in the same way health professionals can.

He wants to know why the Government's own rough sleeping target is a lifetime away in 2027. And Gary wants to put his questions about the Bed Every Night scheme to Andy Burnham himself, to offer a view of support for the homeless from street level.

Presented by Gary
Produced by Kev Core

Gary is homeless and asks if ambitious plans to help people like him are working.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

Gary: Homeless And Needing Help20190617

Gary is homeless, and up until very recently, slept rough on the streets of Manchester. He's confused as to why a happy childhood with his dad and a good upbringing has led him to his current position. As he puts it: "I don't know where I went wrong." But like many people on the streets Gary is mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and despite still bearing the scars and addictions of homelessness he has a curious mind and has found himself with some questions. How did he slip through? Why has he found it so hard to get help?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has a high-profile ambition to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020. Gary supports the ambition of A Bed Every Night and thinks it's right that someone is prioritising the problem, but unlike most reporters and commentators he's used it. And he explains why for him, it was not a straightforward process.

With Amanda Croome, the Chief Executive of Manchester's Booth Centre for the homeless, Gary asks about the struggling services which Amanda says make delivering help harder all over the country. Nick Buckley of the charity Mancunian Way, describes the changes he's seen on the streets in just ten years. And Gary talks his friend Robin about her experiences on the streets, and to mental health workers about sharing emergency accommodation with strangers. Can we expect charity workers to provide a level of care that's comparable to health professionals?

Gary wants to put his questions about the Bed Every Night scheme to Andy Burnham himself, giving his street level view of homelessness.

Presented by Gary.
Produced by Kev Core.

Gary is homeless and asks if ambitious plans to help people like him are working.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

Gary: Homeless And Needing Help2019061720190619 (R4)

Gary is homeless, and up until very recently, slept rough on the streets of Manchester. He's confused as to why a happy childhood with his dad and a good upbringing has led him to his current position. As he puts it: "I don't know where I went wrong." But like many people on the streets Gary is mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and despite still bearing the scars and addictions of homelessness he has a curious mind and has found himself with some questions. How did he slip through? Why has he found it so hard to get help?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has a high-profile ambition to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020. Gary supports the ambition of A Bed Every Night and thinks it's right that someone is prioritising the problem, but unlike most reporters and commentators he's used it. And he explains why for him, it was not a straightforward process.

With Amanda Croome, the Chief Executive of Manchester's Booth Centre for the homeless, Gary asks about the struggling services which Amanda says make delivering help harder all over the country. Nick Buckley of the charity Mancunian Way, describes the changes he's seen on the streets in just ten years. And Gary talks his friend Robin about her experiences on the streets, and to mental health workers about sharing emergency accommodation with strangers. Can we expect charity workers to provide a level of care that's comparable to health professionals?

Gary wants to put his questions about the Bed Every Night scheme to Andy Burnham himself, giving his street level view of homelessness.

Presented by Gary.
Produced by Kev Core.

Gary is homeless and asks if ambitious plans to help people like him are working.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is20190506

Documentary series that in each episode focuses on one individual's experience.

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

My Name Is2019051320190515 (R4)

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

My Name Is2019052020190522 (R4)

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

My Name Is2019060320190605 (R4)

Emma Whittaker was 17 when she fell into a cycle of abusing laxatives. She first started using them when she got swept up in the detox tea craze that exploded on Instagram. These teas contained the natural laxative senna and promised to cleanse the body and get users flat tummies and perfect hair.

Emma was susceptible to the messaging. Her mum died when she was 12, and soon after she embarked on a career in modelling. “How I looked was all that mattered to me. That’s all I cared about.”

Six years on, Emma has recovered from her eating disorders and she wants some answers. She has started a petition calling for a ban on the sale of laxatives and detox teas without a prescription from a GP.

Can a tea really detox the body? Is Emma’s petition realistic? And what responsibility do Insta influencers have for the mental health of their followers?

Emma talks to a detox tea company CEO, an Instagram influencer and the Advertising Standards Authority to find out.

Producer: Lucy Proctor

If you've been affected by the issues raised in 'My name is Emma' help is available at bbc.co.uk/actionline.

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is2019062420190626 (R4)

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is Carolyn2019051320190515 (R4)

Carolyn lives in an old coastguard cottage at Cuckmere Haven in Sussex, perched on the edge of a cliff, high above the sea. Her house is vulnerable to storms, coastal erosion, and rising sea levels—threats amplified by climate change.

She talks with producer Meara Sharma about why she's fighting to save her home from falling into the sea.

Produced by Meara Sharma
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4

Carolyn lives on a cliff edge. She's fighting to save her home from falling into the sea.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is Josh Walker2019050620190508 (R4)

Josh Walker was a volunteer with the YPG or People's Protection Units in northern Syria. He wants to know why the media fail to explain the complexities of war.
With Lindsey Hilsum of Channel 4 news, MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, and artist George Butler who specialises in war reportage.

The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde

Josh Walker was a volunteer with the YPG or People's Protection Units in northern Syria

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is Katie2019042220190424 (R4)

Forty year old Katie gambled over £50,000 in one night. in this programme she investigates how online gambling companies routinely break the regulations supposed to protect people like her.

Katie was a successful accountant working in the City of London, but she started using cocaine to stay awake to cope with the workload. After being signed off work from stress, her drug use increased. While unemployed she started gambling online after seeing advertisements on television.

The regulations say gambling companies should check the incomes of customers, and step in when they display online signs of problem gambling. This includes using a range of credit cards and playing all night – all things Katie did as she gambled away £125,000 with two gambling firms; all on credit cards. With one she lost £50,000 in a single night.

After rehabilitation Katie got hold of her account data from the gambling firms. She believes it proves how the gambling companies broke the rules and it also shows transcripts of the manner in which they spoke about her. Katie told the regulator, the Gambling Commission, about her case, but so far has heard nothing about what they are doing.

With the help of BBC Producer, Lydia Thomas, Katie wants to talk to the Gambling Commission, and she wants to meet the gambling companies who so far have refused to comment on her case. She also meets with politicians who are making promises to tighten gambling laws – Katie wants to know….when will they finally do it?

My name is Katie, and I gambled over \u00a350,000 online in one night.

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

My Name Is Sammy - I'm Thinking Of Leaving The Nhs2019061020190612 (R4)

As far back as she can remember, Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden dreamed of being a doctor at the sharp end of medicine. For several years, she has worked on the frontline of the NHS as a registrar in A&E and intensive care, and is three years away from qualifying as a consultant.

But the rising pressure on services has left her worrying that she can “no longer keep her patients safe”. She says, “I used to love my job and now I’m dreading what I’m going to find when I walk in there.”

In a few months, she will leave the NHS to begin a new career with the Air Ambulance, enticed by the promise of saving lives within a well-resourced emergency service. Sammy isn’t alone. Last year, a poll by the General Medical Council found that over half of NHS doctors were considering leaving the NHS or slashing their hours.

Before she leaves, Sammy is determined to find out how things could be improved for her NHS colleagues.

Producer: Dan Hardoon
Reporter: Sara Parker
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Sammy is an intensive care doctor who is considering leaving the NHS.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is Sammy - I'm Thinking Of Leaving The Nhs20190610

As far back as she can remember, Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden dreamed of being a doctor at the sharp end of medicine. For several years, she has worked on the frontline of the NHS as a registrar in A&E and intensive care, and is three years away from qualifying as a consultant.

But the rising pressure on services has left her worrying that she can “no longer keep her patients safe”. She says, “I used to love my job and now I’m dreading what I’m going to find when I walk in there.”

In a few months, she will leave the NHS to begin a new career with the Air Ambulance, enticed by the promise of saving lives within a well-resourced emergency service. Sammy isn’t alone. Last year, a poll by the General Medical Council found that over half of NHS doctors were considering leaving the NHS or slashing their hours.

Before she leaves, Sammy is determined to find out how things could be improved for her NHS colleagues.

Producer: Dan Hardoon
Reporter: Sara Parker
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Sammy is an intensive care doctor who is considering leaving the NHS.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is Tommy2019052020190522 (R4)

The first time Tommy was excluded he was 5 years old. Moved from a large mainstream school, he entered a small Pupil Referral Unit with only 10 pupils all of whom had been removed from mainstream education.

"I was the youngest in the school and at the bottom of their food chain. So I was bullied for my weight and because I had social attachment issues with my mum. I couldn't take my frustrations out on the other kids because I was such a small child, so I started to lash out at my teachers."

As Tommy grew older, his problems deepened both at school and at home. Eventually, he joined a special school for boys with severe social, emotional and mental health needs. It wasn't until after he left school that Tommy finally received a medical diagnosis of ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

In these recordings, Tommy goes back to one of his old schools to have a frank discussion with his teacher about the reasoning behind exclusions and how schools could help to prevent them. Plus, Carol Homden from Coram Children's Charity discusses new research on the experiences of families and children living with these issues.

After multiple exclusions, life went downhill for Tommy, until he hit rock bottom aged 17. Now he's trying to turn his life around, and he chats to current mentor, Josh Babarinde from social enterprise Cracked It, about the things that have helped him to make progress.

The Producer is Michelle Martin.

Tommy was using a pseudonym during this programme. Support organisations are listed in the Related Links section below.

Tommy is 19 and was excluded from nine schools. Can he turn his life around?

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

My Name Is: I'd Rather Not Say, But For The Benefit Of The Recordings You Can Call Me Courtney2019052720190529 (R4)

When Courtney was sexually assaulted she never imagined that she would face further violation as police officers asked for access to her phone and everything stored on it - from photos to messages. She was told that if she didn’t agree to their requests the case against her alleged attacker could not proceed. She had five days in which to make her decision and in the end felt that she couldn’t let her most private information find its way into the hands of defence lawyers.

Here she takes up an issue which has caused her great distress and is affecting other rape victims reporting to police in this country. National consent forms, brought in to develop a common approach across all police forces, place a new emphasis on disclosing material. In order to decide what might be relevant police may have to download the entire contents of a mobile and handing over such details requires trust in the criminal justice system.

Critics warn that by focusing attention on what will be asked of the complainant, an impression has been created that victims are under investigation rather than suspects. For Courtney the stress of this invasion of her privacy contributed to post traumatic stress. In this programme she challenges the decision and asks Government Officials, police officers and other victims what they think. And she turns a spotlight on the difficult dilemmas faced in the digital age: who should have access to your most private world and how will any information gathered be used?

My Name Is: I'd rather not say, but for benefit of the recordings you can call me Courtney

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

Rod - Life As A Childless Man20190624

Rod is fighting to break the culture of silence around male fertility.

Rod Silvers and his wife tried to have a child through IVF, a process that was ultimately unsuccessful. After that experience, Rod went in search of stories about people like him - childless men - and found nothing. Now he's on a mission to raise awareness about what it's like to be a man without kids.

Sammy - I'm Leaving The Nhs2019061020190612 (R4)

As far back as she can remember, Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden dreamed of being a doctor at the sharp end of medicine. For several years, she has worked on the frontline of the NHS as a registrar in A&E and intensive care, and is two years away from qualifying as a consultant.

But the rising pressure on services has left her worrying that she can “no longer keep her patients safe”. She says, “I used to love my job and now I’m dreading what I’m going to find when I walk in there.”

In a few months, she will leave the NHS to begin a new career with the Air Ambulance, enticed by the promise of saving lives within a well-resourced emergency service. Sammy isn’t alone. Last year, a poll by the General Medical Council found that over half of NHS doctors were considering leaving the NHS or slashing their hours.

Before she leaves, Sammy is determined to find out how things could be improved for her NHS colleagues.

Producer: Dan Hardoon
Reporter: Sara Parker
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Sammy is an intensive care doctor who is quitting the NHS.

An individual with a story to tell, and some answers to find, in today's Britain.

01Youth Climate Strikers20190401

17-year-old Londoner, Noga Levy-Rapoport is helping organise UK wide school strikes as part of a growing global campaign for action on climate change.

The London sixth former was inspired to act after 16-year-old Greta Thunberg began skipping classes to sit outside government buildings last September. She accused Sweden of not following the Paris Climate Agreement and her protests inspired tens of thousands of children across the globe to hold their own demonstrations.

Noga had not been intending to become a leader of UK wide protests, but the February strike UK day saw thousands of schoolchildren and young people walk out of classes and in London at least they needed some direction. As youngsters gathered on the grass she stepped forward and took charge, with protestors snaking behind her as they headed for Trafalgar Square.

Once there she was handed a microphone and started to speak, her passion and anger spilling over into an impromptu blockade of the roads as children linked arms and chanted. Her actions catapulted her centre stage in what is now a growing movement and the recordings follow her as she plans the March 15th strike day and urges parliament to tackle the escalating ecological crisis.

This is the first programme of a new series in which someone at the heart of a breaking news story takes listeners through their interactions as events unfold. In these recordings Noga discusses the preparations and the lead up to the global school strikes; the biggest environmental protest that students have organised and taken part in: “Our time to save our planet is running out; we have twelve years left before our impending environmental doom can't be stopped and we have to legislate new regulations now or we will not have a world as we know it.”

She says she feels increasingly optimistic: “it's such a powerful thing for students to come and say their piece. I'm here to make a stand, to make a difference. For me going to the first UK school strike in February was something I had to do – there was no way I could avoid it or make excuses. When I got there I knew I had to step forward and take a lead because we needed to make our voices heard.”

Organisers estimated that around 3,000 schoolchildren and young people gathered in London, with 2,000 in Oxford and smaller protests in many other cities. The March 15th strike day looks set to take place in more than 50 countries, although the Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast growing number of strikers is difficult.

Noga says she will continue to organise the actions until there is climate justice: she is keen to debate her views on what could be done and takes her message to delegates attending the International Petroleum Conference in London. She speaks to her MP and liaises with those pioneering new approaches, whilst also promoting individual changes to friends and neighbours.

“I’m just a kid like any other kid, but having been in theatre for a while has given me the confidence and the leadership skills to not back down, to not hesitate when eyes are on me. And I think that was a key factor when people were asking what to do – I just had to come up with something on the spot. I got things organised and people followed me as we marched.

“There’s a massive positive reaction to the action. I think it's so inspiring and powerful to see how many people care and how many young people took to the streets. We are saying that we won't have schools to go to if we don't fix this in the next twelve years.

“For me it's a really strange concept that people know who I am. When people are relying on the next generation to be the next leaders and to lead us into a future where climate change hopefully won't have the horrible impact we think it will, then we've got to be ourselves and we've got to show who we are or people won't listen to us.”

Produced by Sue Mitchell

My name's Noga Levy-Rapoport and I'm campaigning on climate change to help save our planet

02My Name Is Rachel20190408

Rachel Waddingham hears voices. The first time she heard them she was lying in a bed. “You’re so stupid”, “they are watching you”, “it would be much better if you just ended it all”. She was also convinced she was being watched, that she was at the centre of a conspiracy. She ended up dropping out of university and eventually was admitted to a psychiatric unit. “I began to hear the alien speak to me, and that alien told me that I was a murderer, that it could control me, that it was going to make me kill people. It was a hideous terrifying voice.” She was put on medication and it looked like everything was working. “I was less troubled, less troubled by the voices”, she says. After a few weeks Rachel was discharged, but was soon back in again, with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. “I lost all hope. It wasn't so much the voices that kind of risked my life, it was this hopelessness, this sense that I'd never be part of the normal world”. She tried to escape from the ward and was subsequently sectioned.

Rachel became what’s called a ‘revolving door patient’, in and out of hospital, sectioned multiple times. Each time she became more and more alarmed by what she saw as the lack of humanity in the system. This is Rachel’s story of being sectioned in 21st Century Britain. It’s an intimate and revealing insight into what it’s like to be a ‘revolving door patient’. Talking to a consultant psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse and the lead author of a recent government review of the Mental Health Act, she challenges the status quo and considers how things might change. Rachel asks why she doesn’t have more rights to decide her own care and treatment, and explores how to break the cycle of the ‘revolving door’ patient.

Details of organisations offering information and support with mental health are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 155 998.

Rachel Waddingham tells her story of being sectioned multiple times.

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

03My Name Is Jay20190415

Jay wants to leave behind a life in gangs, but he thinks those in a position to help don't care about young men like him, and he doesn't know how to do it on his own.

Jay takes us with him on a tour of his neighbourhood - revealing an alternative geography of East London, one marked by territorial lines which are dangerous to cross; shops and street corners where friends have been shot, stabbed and died; and places of safety where he introduces us to friends he grew up and who have shared his life. At the end of a long day, he explains his motivation for wanting to get out.

After that, he sets out to meet some people who might be able to help. In a frank and open conversation he speaks to Callum, a young man in Glasgow whose story contains echoes of Jay's own, and finds out for the first time that the problems he thought were confined to his neighbourhood are far from unique. And then he goes in search of those with the power to help: a trauma surgeon, the local police commander, and the Mayor of Newham. He wants to challenge the simplistic narrative about why young men get involved in gangs in the first place, and find out why there isn't more support - of the type that was available for Callum in Glasgow - for those who want to get out.

Produced by Gaetan Portal.

Jay wants to leave behind a life in gangs, but who is there to help?

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion

04Gambling Addiction20190422

Forty two year old Katie gambled over £50,000 in one night and investigates how online gambling firms use customer data to target people like her.

Katie was a successful accountant working in the City of London, but she started using cocaine to stay awake to cope with the workload. After being signed off work from stress, her drug use increased. While unemployed she started gambling online after seeing advertisements on television.

The regulations say gambling companies should check the incomes of customers, and step in when they display online signs of problem gambling. This includes using a range of credit cards and playing all night – all things Katie did as she gambled away £140,000 with two gambling firms; all on credit. With one she lost 50,000 in a single night.

After rehabilitation Katie got hold of her account data from the gambling firms. She believes it proves how the gambling companies broke the rules and it also shows transcripts of the manner in which they spoke about her. Katie told the regulator, the Gambling Commission, about her case, but so far has heard nothing about what they are doing.

With the help of BBC Producer, Lydia Thomas, Katie wants to talk to the Gambling Commission, and she wants to meet the gambling companies who so far have refused to comment on her case. Katie also wants to speak to another female gambling addict to ask for advice and muse on how they ended up where they are now. She also meets with politicians who are making promises to tighten gambling laws – Katie wants to know….when will they finally do it?

My name is Katie, and I gambled over \u00a350,000 online in one night.

05My Name Is Elizabeth2019042920190501 (R4)

Chef Elizabeth Haigh asks whether the UK restaurant industry needs its own #MeToo moment.

After a number of high profile chefs in the US were accused of patterns of sexual harassment, bullying and assault, there has been an intense conversation globally about what it would take to eliminate such practices in the industry. Kitchens are known for long hours, highly pressurised working conditions and rigid hierarchies with all powerful chefs at the top. All these things have made it easier for bullying and harassment to go unnoticed - many female chefs have experienced abuse, but felt unable to speak up or have been punished when they do.

Elizabeth Haigh is a Michelin starred chef - and former Masterchef contestant - whose passion for cooking has seen her rise through the industry to become her own boss. But in that time she's seen a great deal of behaviour she considers inexcusable and ,on occasions, she has had to quit kitchens as a result of being bullied by colleagues.

She takes us on a journey through her world - talking frankly with chefs, people trying to inspire change and even her old employer.

Producer: Will Yates
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Chef Elizabeth Haigh asks whether the UK restaurant industry needs its own #MeToo moment.

Current affairs programme presented by someone who lives within the issue under discussion