The Untold


0101High Stakes20160111

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold dramas of 21st century Britain.

The stakes couldn't be higher for 26 year old Steve: he needs to prove he's quit gambling by Christmas in order to move back in with his partner and two kids.

Steve and Stacey met as teenagers ten years ago but Stacey kicked him out when she discovered he was gambling away thousands of pounds on smartphone apps. Things came to a head when Steve blew his entire wage packet in just one hour - on payday - leading Stacey and their children facing eviction.

Steve lost everything - can he win back Stacey's trust in time for a happy Christmas in the family home?

Producer: Laurence Grissell

0102Strictly Come Langport20160118

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Langport in Somerset has a secret. Not a dark secret, quite a happy one really - a dance competition to blow away the winter blues. Grace Dent and her producer zoom in on events and discover a classic tale of good vs evil - a sparky 70 year old widow called Mo doing the salsa; and opposing her a tango-ing video technician called Ferg. At stake, a small silver trophy and eternal local glory. So who will win Strictly Come Langport this year?

The producer is Miles Warde.

0103Todmorden Under Water20160125

Grace Dent documents the untold dramas of 21st century Britain.

Boxing Day, 7.30am: flood sirens sounded in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

As the waters rose rapidly, Mandy and Paul faced a unique rescue mission. They share their terraced house on the outskirts of Todmorden with their student daughter, her boyfriend, three dogs, four cats and 27 tortoises.

The Untold follows them as they attempt to meet their first objective: getting one room clear of the water so that they can close the door on the chaos in the house and take stock.

Sharing this one room with their many pets, they face numerous challenges. The town is cut off, roads are closed, they have elderly relatives in need of care, and a baby tortoise in need of emergency treatment, after it was stepped on in the chaos. Mandy also stands in the road, asking drivers to quell their speed: moving vehicles create waves which add to the water in the house.

As the rain eases, The Untold finds out how Mandy and Paul try to restore some normality to their world under water.

Producer Sue Mitchell.


In July last year, veteran Bristol DJ, Derek Serpell-Morris, known as "DJ Derek", went missing. He was last seen on CCTV camera leaving a pub, but after that, nothing. He might as well have vanished into thin air. His great niece, Jennifer Griffiths, used to be his PR manager, and for the last six months she has been the public face of the campaign to find Derek. Over those months, we follow Jennifer as she goes through the cycles of hope and despair, following leads that go nowhere and clues that seem to mean either everything or nothing. It's a detective story, but one where the final chapter is still unwritten. What does it do to a family to live with such uncertainty?

Presenter: Grace Dent

Producer: Jolyon Jenkins

0105Tainted Love20160208

Grace Dent tells the story of Jean, 73, who's being harassed by her 80 year old estranged husband, George. After over 40 arrests, a judge must decide whether George's actions are the result of dementia.

Jean and George finally split up in early 2015 after nine years of unhappy marriage. But for George, that wasn't the end of their relationship. For months, George has been harassing Jean: writing her love letters, verbally abusing her and coming to her flat trying to gain entry. Jean now feels like a prisoner in her own home, scared to go out alone.

Despite over 40 arrests, George won't keep away. As the day of George's court appearance approaches, a judge must weigh up whether George's actions are deliberate or if they stem from dementia.

Producer: Laurence Grissell

0106Being Bowie20160215

Laurence Bolwell has been dressing as David Bowie and singing his songs on stage for 18 years. One Monday morning, early in January, he hears the news that his idol has died. That Friday night, he is due on stage with his act in a theatre in Carmarthen. Grace Dent tells the story of Laurence's week, and finds out what it's like to be a tribute artist the day your hero dies.

Producer: Chris Ledgard

0107Darkie Day: Michael And The Mummers20160222

Grace Dent presents untold stories of 21st century Britain. Young black film director Michael Jenkins is making a film about Padstow's Darkie Day. It's a long standing tradition where local residents black up their faces and process through the streets singing and dancing. The locals are defensive about their celebration which is part of their Cornish identity. Despite what outsiders think they say it has no racial overtones, but they did change the name to Mummers Day after complaints prompted MP Diane Abbott to call for the festival to be stopped. As a young Black British man Michael wants to experience it for himself and capture it on film. Will any of the town's residents accept his invitation to sit down and have an honest conversation with him about Darkie Day's origins and meaning? Is political correctness making it worse? This is a story where modern Britain meets medieval history in a clash of cultures.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

0108Stacey Jackson: Chasing Dreams20160229

Grace Dent follows pop star and mum Stacey Jackson as she launches a career in business.

Stacey Jackson is no ordinary working mum - she's a successful pop star with a very wealthy husband. But for Stacey, that's not enough. She's about to launch a career in business. Why does she keep chasing new dreams when she already has all the money anyone could wish for?

Producer: Sara Parker

0109Be My Baby20160307

Grace Dent presents untold stories of 21st century Britain.

After a week-long fling with a girl he met on Tagged, 21 year old Thomas is shocked to hear she is pregnant.

He stands up to the mark, offering support and going with her to the scans, but she suddenly cuts off all communication. She doesn't return his calls or messages and Thomas can only guess what is going on. Has he done something wrong? Does she just want to do this on her own? The ex- boyfriend has moved back so perhaps the child isn't actually his?

In October he sees a baby girl being pushed around town. He sees her photos on Facebook. He knows his life will change forever if he is found to be the father, but Thomas can't cope with not knowing.

He is going to court to force a DNA test to find out one way or another.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

0110The Gold Man20160314

Grace Dent presents a new series documenting the untold stories of 21st century Britain.

Today she follows the Gold Man of Farnworth market as he tries to save his business. John Hill is a gold trader who set up a stall at a traditional market, in Farnworth near Bolton, six years ago. He is a big character who isn't afraid to fight for what he believes in. John turned his back on an IT career to run his own stall and has led the battle to keep the traditional market going but now the local Council has written to John and his fellow traders to tell them their time is up: February 26th is their last day. John has consistently come up with alternative plans to keep the market going but, right now, it looks as if he will be the last man fighting. He needs a new site to keep his tribe of traders together but that means getting the council's permission and the other traders on side. Grace Dent wants to know if John can persuade them to go with him as he searches for hope, even at the 11th hour.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

0111No Fixed Abode20160321

Grace Dent presents untold stories of modern Britain. Today, a tale of homelessness in Poole as we follow the life of Mel.

From a career in high finance, Mel has ended up sleeping rough in the stairwell of a multi storey car park. We follow her daily - and nightly - routine as she tries to survive with no fixed abode.

Events conspire to raise the stakes for Mel and the need for a roof over her head becomes more urgent than ever.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0112 LASTSanjeev - Saviour Of Steel?20160328

The British steel industry is in meltdown. But one person believes he has worked out how to make it profitable, and he's investing millions. Grace Dent and her producer zoom in on events to try and discover his secret. At stake are thousands of jobs, so does Sanjeev have what it takes to make British steel rise again?

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

0201Child Rescue20160502

In the first of a new series of The Untold Grace Dent looks at the case and asks what you would have done?

Bahar and her Dad, Reza, fled from the Taliban in Afghanistan and made the journey across Europe to reach Calais. They have relatives in Leeds and had struck up a friendship with Rob Lawrie when he was working in the camp as a volunteer. At the end of his time there they begged for help and he agreed to put the little girl in the cabin of his lorry. His actions were foiled when sniffer dogs at the border found two Eritrean men who, unknown to him, had stowed in the back of his van. He faced a prison sentence of up to five years following his arrest.

Producer Sue Mitchell has been alongside him following his return from France. The January court hearing in Bologna was a media frenzy, with people across the world debating the rights and wrongs of his actions. He was found guilty of 'child endangerment' for his attempt to smuggle Bahar into Britain and was given a suspended fine of 1,000 Euros. But he has paid a heavy price for his actions on many fronts: his wife has left him, taking the four children with her and he now faces the task of rebuilding his own life whilst also trying to help Bahar and Reza reach Britain

He has struggled to cope and on his return he attempts suicide. He sold his carpet cleaning business to go to France, a move he took after seeing the images of three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi. Because he was in care as a child he wanted to try and help other children neglected by the system. He has bi-polar disorder and staying well is difficult, but what eventually helps is the huge swell of public opinion in favour of his actions, with many well-wishers spurring him on and sending donations for those in the camps. This interest in his story and the prominence it gives to child refugees has sparked interest from Hollywood and longer term there might well be a movie.

But for now there are these recordings, made in the weeks following his return home as he contemplates his future and shares his story with the Untold, which is presented by Grace Dent.

Produced by Sue Mitchell.

0202A Storm In Babbacombe Bay20160509

Grace Dent tells the story of a clash between a bestselling author and a millionaire hotel developer in the idyllic setting of Babbacombe Bay.

Millionaire businessman Peter de Savary has applied to build a car park on the hill overlooking Torquay's picturesque Babbacombe Bay. The car park would service the expansion of the Cary Arms, a luxury hotel on the bay.

The car park is opposed by million selling author Lesley Pearse along with a number of other local residents, who mount a vocal campaign against the plan.

The decision will be made at an all-important meeting of the council's planning committee. As crucial vote approaches, which side will emerge victorious?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0203Down's Syndrome: It's Just Two Words20160516

Salma is having a baby, but as the due date draws near she's forced to confront unresolved issues with her last pregnancy: her baby was born with Down's syndrome and she's yet to tell her in-laws. Grace Dent follows what happens.

The shock of the diagnosis and the way Salma was given the news contributed to a long period of struggle and shame. As she reveals in The Untold, she was fearful of letting others know what had happened and to this day she's still not been able to bring herself to tell her in-laws. For the first few months she didn't even tell her own parents as she feared that others would see her responsible and would feel differently about her, her husband and their children.

Following the diagnosis she lost confidence, wouldn't go out in public and cried constantly. The turning point came after a chance meeting with another Asian Mum whose son also has Down's syndrome. Soon Mariam had introduced her to a third mother in the same position, Bilkish, and the three women have formed a strong friendship.

Producer: Sue Mitchell.

0204The Funeral20160523

Mandy was shocked to discover how much the funeral for her ex-husband was going to cost. But she was also determined that her three children should not be forced to carry the cost alone. Matt the eldest is her carer, and legally liable for all costs, but his carer's allowance was never going to cover the costs - embalming, cremation, flowers, the hearse. So the idea of a fundraising day at the local pub slowly emerged. But despite the best efforts of the community, Mandy and Matt still struggle to settle the bill.

And more bills keep coming in.

Grace Dent presents one family's struggle to grieve for their dead father while dealing with the spiralling price of his death.

The producer is Miles Warde.

0205The Tb Test20160530

Grace Dent follows the story of a fourth generation Herefordshire beef farmer during his most stressful time: the TB Test. Matthew Oliver wants to sell around fifteen cattle at a local market, but to do this they have to be free of TB. It's a nervy time both for Matthew and his 87 year old mother - they have failed the test before. If the TB test is positive, cattle movement is banned for 120 days, the affected animals all culled. The farm, set up by his great grandfather in 1892, is in a high-risk area and Matthew knows local farmers who have never been free of TB; one neighbour was forced to leave farming altogether. So the stakes are high for Matthew, and the future of his family farm.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

0206Battle Song20160606

Grace Dent tells the story of Deborah, a dynamic barbershop singer, in the lead up to the biggest competition of the year.

Deborah loves her family, her dog and, possibly most of all, barbershop singing.

She would drive hundreds of miles each week to sing in the best choruses in southern England. Now living in Christchurch, she sings with Wessex Harmony and music runs through the fabric of the house; her husband directs her current chorus, her daughter sings in her barbershop quartet and her desk drawers are stuffed with singing medals.

Once a year the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers holds a convention to find the country's most talented chorus. Over two thousand women in sparkling outfits and identical makeup and jewellery, are pitted against each other. And Deborah starts to plan for this wonderful weekend a year ahead.

But in May she finds a lump on her breast. It is cancer.

Grace follows her through the year, looking at what Deborah is prepared to do to compete, the risks she wants to take, the sacrifices the family are prepared to make and asks what happens if she doesn't get there.

Producer: Sarah Bowen.

0207The Sailor Who Lost Everything20160613

Grace Dent tells the story of an 82 year old sailor, forced to rebuild his life from scratch after a disaster at sea leaves him with nothing.

From the Norwegian lifeboat that had plucked him from the waves, 82 year old Julian watched his uninsured sailing boat that was his home sink to the bottom of the North Sea - with it, all of his belongings.

For most of his life he had lived conventionally - working as an architect, bringing up children - but in the back of his mind was always the feeling there was more to life.

Taking early retirement he put all his money into pursuing his dream - sailing. Living on a 26 foot boat, he circumnavigated the globe, visiting some of the wildest places of the world.

Forced back on land, with no home or belongings, Julian must pause and reflect on what he wants from life.

As he considers whether he is too old to continue the nomadic seafaring lifestyle that is his dream, he also faces up to something he has been putting off for decades - how to reconnect with the daughter he has not seen since a bitter divorce 30 years before.

Producer Georgia Catt.

0208The Blind Side20160620

Grace Dent follows 21-year-old footballer Brandon Coleman, who is hoping to get his first cap for England.

Brandon is a typical 21-year-old. He's good looking, says "like" a lot, and takes a great interest in girls, and drum and bass music. Then there's football. He loves football. Not just watching, but playing too. His coaches say he's a "freak". They've never seen anyone train as hard as him before. Grace Dent follows him in the run up to England's match against France in May - will Brandon make the grade?

It's been a long road for Brandon to get here. Four years ago, aged 17, he was in and out of work, and getting into trouble. Then, suddenly, his eye sight began to deteriorate. Six weeks later, he was blind. After trying to pretend his situation wasn't real, he eventually enrolled at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, where he learnt to play football. Just eighteen months later, he's been training with England's blind football team, and if he can make the grade, he'll be getting his first cap for England.

The team suffered a bitter defeat at the euros on their home turf last year - depriving them of a place in this year's paralympics. Brandon's first match will also be the team's first game together since then. England manager, Jonathan Pugh, has to pull the team back together again - and Brandon is part of the plan.

Producer: Polly Weston.

0209I Hope I Get It20160627

Teenagers Mohammed and Jess are both auditioning for the National Youth Theatre - with just a one in ten chance of success.

And the stakes are especially high for them, because they're a couple. Both are desperate to progress with their acting careers: Jess won a drama scholarship to her boarding school, while Mohammed attends a performing arts Academy.

Grace Dent follows their story, from the auditions to the nail-biting wait on results day.

0210Tilting At Poker20160704

Lister has taken redundancy, sold his home - a narrowboat - and is trying to make it as a professional poker player. His aim is to go to Las Vegas. But a run of bad luck has put him in "tilt" - the mental problem that can affect poker players when their luck goes bad and they start to play badly as a reaction. Can he get his head straight and start winning again? Maybe, with the intervention of a top poker psychologist.

Presenter: Grace Dent

Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

0211Our Own Marigold Hotel20160711

The idea for a guest house came after Phillida and Christopher Purvis spent time travelling with charities working in the Nilgiri Hills. They had heard Indian community leader, Stan Thekaekara when he gave a guest presentation at Oxford University's Said Business School and were impressed by the work he was doing. He and his wife Mari have been alongside the Adivasi community in the Nilgiri Hills for more than three decades, working with those living in more than 300 villages and settlements stretching over a 40 mile radius. They set up a charity to help tribal villagers reclaim land and businesses to trade in tea and honey, for example. They have also overseen new community provisions, including a school and a well-regarded hospital.

As a former merchant banker Christopher already had experience of working abroad and being thrown in at the deep end. He had overseen the setting up of Warburg's Tokyo branch and it was in Japan that he and Phillida met. When he retired from banking he turned his hand to charity work, opening the Handel House Museum in London and working to help disadvantaged youngsters get into University and adjust to life there. He and Phillida decided to commit to sustained periods of volunteering in India with Stan and his community. They also thought that some of their retired friends might also like to help and the idea of the guest house was born.

The couple have put in a third of the money needed to buy the land and build the guest house and are lending a further third to the charity they've set up to oversee things. They want to raise the last £100,000 from friends and people they know, in part because it signifies a commitment and desire to join the venture. As Grace Dent hears, this will enable people with a range of skills can join together to help and it will also be fun sharing the guest house with like-minded people. There will be terraces, an area for yoga and even for Ayurveda medicine and meals will be specially prepared in the purpose built kitchens.

The unveiling of the idea to friends is met with a mixed response: on the one hand some are happy to commit to the kind of time share arrangement proposed, with £6,000 securing a month's stay every year for a decade. Others are more reluctant without visiting first and instead offer donations to help get things started. With the Monsoon fast approaching the work on clearing the land needs to start for things to be up and running on time. The rallying of the uncommitted begins in earnest and Grace Dent follows what happens

Produced by Susan Mitchell.

0212The School Inspection20160718

A headteacher's fate hangs in the balance as she awaits a visit from a school inspector.

When Sue Vermes became headteacher of struggling Rose Hill Primary School less than two years ago, she hoped to reverse its fortunes. Instead, an Ofsted inspector labelled the Oxford school 'inadequate' and placed it into so-called 'Special Measures'. Now Sue's future is in question as she awaits the verdict of a follow-up visit by Ofsted. Have Sue and her team done enough to arrest the school's decline?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0213Carry On Coxing20160725

Paddy Davison is 77 years old and possibly the oldest rowing coxswain in the country. He's also never rowed a stroke in his life, and only discovered the sport five years ago. Despite the late start, he commands a crew of eight ladies at the City of Bristol Rowing Club and is desperately hoping for success at this year's Henley Women's Regatta. But this isn't really a story of a rowing race. This is a tale of recovery from grief, and how teamwork and friendship can be a powerful salve. Paddy lost his wife, Jules, nearly two years ago in sudden and unexpected circumstances. It knocked him for six. But his 'rowing girls' have been there for him, and are helping him get his life back on track.

Grace Dent presents.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

A 77-year-old cox and a rowing eight that helps him recover from the loss of his wife.

0214The Prison Wedding20160801

The pregnant fiancee of a white-collar criminal tries to organise their prison wedding.

Grace Dent tells the story of a white-collar-criminal's pregnant fiancée, trying to organise their prison wedding.

When Veronica's partner - a successful businessman - was sent to prison for what is sometimes called a 'white-collar crime', she was pregnant with his child.

On her first visit to him behind bars, he proposed. At a time of such uncertainty the prospect of marriage was something that kept them united.

But they want the marriage to take place before the birth of the baby - just 9 weeks away. And they're not even sure if it's possible to get married in a prison at all.

Producer: Georgia Catt.

0215The Roma Memorial20160808

Sherrie Smith, a florist and Romany Gypsy from Hertford, wants to take the first ever UK Gypsy and Traveller group to an annual Holocaust memorial event at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She sees it as vital for getting up to half a million Roma deaths more widely acknowledged, and - by extension - improving the lives of modern day Gypsies and Travellers. But the cost of flights has tripled and Sherrie's meagre budget means it might no longer be possible. Can she raise the extra funds to get the trip back on track? Grace Dent follows her story.

Producer Dave Howard.

0216Ice Cream Wars In Newbiggin20160815

In the Northumberland fishing village of Newbiggin by the Sea, local ice cream van owner Tommy Brash has lost the prime spot in the car park for selling ice creams. The council put it out to tender, and the tender was won by 'foreigners'. Variously described as Polish and then Iraqi, it seems no one actually knows who they are, and they've kept a low profile since winning the tender, even though the news made the headlines.

A local petition is launched to get Tommy's patch back, a march is held, but the newcomers are staying.

Tracking them down for this programme, we discover who the new ice cream sellers really are and follow them over the summer as they battle local hostility, rain, Brexit and health issues.

As they prepare for Newbiggin's big annual event, the Lifeboat fund-raiser - a sure-fire money-spinner, will they finally make their new business a success and will they get the welcome they're looking for?

Grace Dent presents.

Producer: Alice Lloyd.

0217 LASTRevisited20160822

Grace Dent hears from some of the people featured in previous episodes of The Untold. Updates include the fate of Bristol's DJ Derek and the latest on 73 year old Jean, who was being harassed by her estranged husband. Also, 23 year old Thomas reflects on fatherhood following the result of a positive paternity test. Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0301The Trials Of Gunner John Gough20161017

With Grace Dent.

Since leaving the army, John's never slept in his bed. He barely sleeps at all, but when he does, it's on the floor of the living room in the sheltered accommodation for army veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD.

Now it's closing. And John has no idea what to do. He fears he could end up on the streets.

John left school at 16 and trained as a bricklayer, but after a fortnight of work being rained off and his girlfriend breaking up with him, he headed to the army careers office to sign up. He was 18 and went on to serve in Northern Ireland and both Gulf wars. It's been 20 years since he left, but he hasn't been able to move on.

Like the other war veterans in the house in Wolverhampton where he lives, PTSD has scarred his life. In the past decade he has shut out friends and family. Panic attacks, injuries sustained in service and drug addiction have left him unable to work, and he has served prison sentences. And now he is about to lose his home - purpose-built accommodation for army veterans with mental health issues. He fears he'll end up on the streets.

Grace Dent follows John as he tries to arrange somewhere to live, and as he makes the first tentative steps towards reconnecting with old friends and family, seeking help, and starting to live again.

Producer Georgia Catt.

0302The Man The Lions Love To Hate20161024

Mark Godwin has a problem. "A lot of the animals don't really like me. I'm usually the bad news person - if something bad's going to happen, I turn up."

Head keeper at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, he wears sunglasses to avoid upsetting the wolverines, the zebras and the giraffes he sometimes has to dart. There's one lioness who would love to have him for lunch.

The rhinos do seem to like him, but now he has to move one of them on the back of lorry around the M25. Astrid is a celebrity rhino, a bit of a diva they say. When she was born even the Prime Minister came to pay his respects. But now Astrid is three years old she has to be moved, or her dad Monty could try to mount her. But Astrid won't even go in her crate.

Grace Dent introduces a zoo tale with a difference, featuring a blunt speaking keeper just trying to do his job.

The producer is Miles Warde.

0303Some Mother's Son20161031

Grace Dent follows Untold listener Shirley as she tries to find out the exact circumstances of her estranged son's death from drinks and drugs.

Shirley had just arrived at work when she got a phone call which changed her life - the student finance company wanted her son's death certificate for their records. Six months previously Ben, who was sleeping rough, had disappeared - but Shirley had no idea he'd died.

Shirley needs to know more about her son's death. Three years on, she hopes to meet the rough sleeper who was with him when he died - and visit the drop-in centre which tried to help him.

Producer: Sara Parker.

0304Race Against Time20161107

Twenty three year old May Brown needs a bone marrow transplant to survive: her sister's a perfect match but she lives in Nigeria and has been refused a visitors visa to enter the UK. For May and her husband, Mike, the Home Office decision is a huge set-back. They had their hopes resting on the transplant and fear what will happen next. There are no other matches for May on the register kept by the African and Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, where staff have mounted a social media campaign to challenge the Government's decision.

The Home Office reasoning is that May's sister, Martha, doesn't meet the income threshold for a visitor's visa - as a teacher her wages are only around £200 a month. For Orin Lewis, from the ACLT, this overlooks the compassionate grounds which he is urging the Minister to take into account. Grace Dent tracks May's private fight against acute myeloid leukaemia alongside the public pressure for a reversal of the decision

May is in an isolation unit in the hospital at the start of the recordings and hasn't seen her two year old daughter, Selina, for three months. With her chemotherapy underway she is discharged to be seen as an outpatient and goes back to Weymouth to be with Mike and Selina. The couple's marriage was investigated for more than two years before immigration officers were satisfied that it was genuine. Now it's another waiting game as the case for allowing Martha in is reconsidered: Grace Dent tracks what happens next.

0305The Search For Bru20161114

Rob Lawrie first met four year old Bru and her father when he volunteered at the Calais jungle. He ended up on trial in a French court after being arrested trying to get the girl to her relatives in Leeds. With the jungle demolished his search to find out what's happened to them takes him to the streets of Paris.

There are thousands of refugees sleeping rough in Paris and as the police step up their efforts to clear the makeshift camps from the streets, Rob Lawrie focuses on the Afghan refugees, finding out what's been happening to them and also whether they know where Bru and her Dad have ended up.

The Untold first reported on Rob Lawrie's work with the refugees earlier this year, with listeners alongside him as he awaited trial in France. He was given a suspended sentence following his attempt to smuggle Bru across the border in his van. He had been taking donations of clothes to the Calais jungle and her father had begged him to take the little girl to relatives living close to his own home in Leeds.

Listeners moved by the story sent in money and letters of support for Bru and her Dad, who described their long trek to safety after fleeing Afghanistan. In Paris Rob hears from many others who have made that same journey, including Ali, who lost his leg in a Taliban bomb blast. He describes being wedged into a small gap under a lorry and travelling for 36 hours just inches from the ground. He, along with so many others, are now waiting to see what happens next as Europe wrestles with the growing refugee crisis.

0306Songs Of The Bothy Balladeer20161121

17-year old Rachel Carstairs speaks and sings in Doric. It's a dialect not commonly used outside Rachel's native north-east Scotland, but she has grown up unusually steeped in local folk traditions.

She started singing the area's unique traditional farm-worker's songs, known as 'Bothy Ballads', aged just 4, when she entered a music festival competition.

This is why her music teachers now see her as an exciting 'tradition bearer'; with the potential to be a leading voice in the Scottish folk scene's next generation.

But before that can happen, she has just 15-minutes to impress an audition panel at the world renowned Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Will she take her place at Scottish traditional music's top table?

Producer: Dave Howard.

0307Coping Without Kira20161128

Kira is an 18 year old Gloucester teenager who has just got her A level grades. The only girl from her school to be offered a place at Cambridge University, Kira is meant to be off to read history at the end of September.

But she is a carer for Rachel, her mum.

Rachel is bipolar, diabetic and arthritic. Virtually bedroom bound, she is heavily dependent upon Kira. Although hugely proud of her daughter, Rachel is not sure how she will cope if her daughter leaves.

Kira is keen for a new start. Perceived to be the poor kid at school, her teenage years were not particularly happy. And caring each evening for her mum, means parties, sleepovers and teenage freedoms have somewhat passed her by.

But Kira is consumed by worry and guilt.

Can she find a way to leave her mother and if she did, would she actually enjoy life as a Cambridge undergraduate?

Narrated by Grace Dent and produced by Sarah Bowen.

0308All In The Proof20161205

Grace Dent tells the story of a maverick lawyer and his attempt to win asylum for a Pakistani man who says that - because he's gay - he will be persecuted if returned to Pakistan.

Mike McGarvey is the lawyer: He's eccentric, disorganised and very dyslexic; he failed at school and didn't pursue education until his adult years. He runs his own business which is based in a small suite of offices near the main station in Cardiff. One wall in his office has a distinctive collage of pictures from Disney, Star Wars and the Blues Brothers: things that are 'designed to cheer me up' because 'nearly everyone who comes here tells you they're going to be killed'.

We follow Mike for five months as he tries to find ways to prove that his client is indeed gay. This involves mining his phone for evidence of activity on gay dating sites, and seeking witnesses who will be prepared to say in court that they had a relationship with him.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

0309Every Second Counts20161212

As you drive into Bridgwater, a sign reads "The home of Carnival". The town prides itself on being the oldest and biggest carnival in Europe, and it's the biggest event of the year. For hundreds of years they've held a carnival here. This is an industrial town - a town full of engineers and tradesmen - and this is their creative outlet.

Every November, thousands of people flock to see the show of carts come through the town centre. Enormous moving feats of electrical engineering, which are covered in lights and animatronics.

At the end of it, one cart will be crowned winner of the Ker Cup - the most prestigious prize at the carnival.

Alan Windsor, or Winds, is our guide. Born and bred in Bridgwater, Alan is captain of the Marketeers carnival club. All year round they fundraise and build towards the big night. They're known as the Bridesmaids - the club that always come second.

Across the industrial estate are their arch rivals - if you want to win, you have to beat the Gremlins. They've won 23 of the last 31 carnivals - and for those 31 years, the Marketeers have consistently been on their tails.

This year, the Marketeers are building something special: a 100ft space machine, covered in 250,000 LED lights - "nothing like this has ever been seen on the streets of Bridgwater before."

Could this year be the year that the Marketeers' luck changes and they beat the Gremlins to the Ker Cup?

This is a story of dedication, loyalty - and never giving up.

Producer: Polly Weston.

0310Desperately Seeking Santa20161219

At a garden centre in Derbyshire, marketing manager Ben needs six Santas and two dozen elves to staff his Christmas grotto. Plus two Mrs Clauses. He's spent a fortune on what he hopes is the biggest, best garden centre grotto in the region, and needs the customers to have a satisfying 90 minute Santa experience. But good Santas are hard to come by. He's had to offer a Santa finder's fee and even approach Santa agencies. Will he pull it off?

Presenter: Grace Dent

Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

0311Life After Bhs20161226

Grace Dent follows BHS worker Anthony as he hunts for a new job - one of 11,000 BHS staff made redundant in 2016.

The story starts in August as BHS Cardiff Bay closes its doors for the last time. Furniture sales consultant Anthony resolves to leave retail and find a job with more sociable hours.

But the 50 year old finds changing direction is more difficult than he'd hoped.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0312Feeding An Army20170102

Grace Dent tells the story of Corpus Christi church in Oldham which faces an uncertain future. The Diocese has plans to close a quarter of its churches and Corpus Christi is on the shortlist. The parishioners are unhappy about this and have appealed. Due to a shortage of priests and lack of attendance in certain parishes, the Bishop has decided to "prune for regrowth"

Father Dermot Heakin (a windsurfer and a musician) leads a busy parish life. We follow him around the community on his pastoral activities. But as Christmas approaches, apprehension grows as both priest and congregation await the Bishop's final verdict on the future of their church.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0313Leaving Prison20170109

With unique access to Craig and the team working with him in Forest Bank, Producer Sue Mitchell records for six months before the October release date. Drug worker Paul Curran helps Craig navigate some of the issues behind his heroin and cocaine use and equips him with new ways of coping with the pressures he might face when he's free. He is now 36 and has been in and out of custody for most of his life, starting with an eight year sentence when he was just seventeen.

Forest Bank, on the outskirts of Manchester, prides itself on the close links between the drug unit in the prison and the community team ready to take over on release. Craig's partner has had enough of raising three children on her own and wants him to finally get settled: some of the work involves family meetings as the couple discuss what life might be like. Another strong element rests with two former prisoners, themselves ex-addicts, who now work mentoring Craig and others as they detox on the wing and embark on therapy and group work.

The recordings reveal the struggle Craig faced following the murder of his older brother and how drugs became his way of coping with the pain. On his last release he was doing well until he lost his job and after that things quickly deteriorated. This time round he feels better able to cope with knock-backs and is working on his temper, his expectations and how his hopes for a normal life can be realised. As his release date draws near listeners are taken into his cell as he packs and waits: will this be the time he finally manages to start his life in earnest.

0314Holding The Baby20170116

Charlotte and husband Ian really want a baby, but she has epilepsy and pregnancy is likely to be fraught with difficulties. There is a balancing act between drugs that will keep Charlotte seizure-free but can pose risks to her unborn child. And if all goes well, then even after the birth, Charlotte has been advised that she will need to be careful: she's been told it's best she doesn't hold her baby when she's alone. For example, she should feed the baby on the floor and when she needs to go upstairs, carry her baby up and down in a secure car-seat. Even the pram she's going to use has a dead-man's brake, in case she has a seizure while out and about.

Charlotte has had epilepsy since she was eleven years old, and her seizures meant she had to leave University and has been unable to hold down a job. But Charlotte is determined to have a baby, and says: ' I won't let epilepsy take away my chance to be a mother.'

Producer in Bristol: Sara Conkey.

0315A Habit Of Hoarding20170123

David is a hoarder and lives alone in a house in south Belfast that's reached gridlock. Rooms are filled with his accumulated belongings and doors won't open against piles of furniture and random possessions. He hasn't dusted for years, hasn't had any form of central heating for longer and won't let anyone come round for a visit - not even members of his own family.

Now David has discovered the house has a potentially devastating case of dry rot. Floors and ceilings may be in danger of collapsing but with all his piles of stuff, dealing with it is a far from straight-forward process.

Will the dry-rot be the catalyst that lets David break the hoarding habit of a lifetime? And will he be able to invite his daughter Ruth into the house for the first time in years?

Presenter: Grace Dent

Producer: Conor Garrett.

0316 LASTThe Process20170130

Grace Dent presents a series documenting the untold dramas of 21st-century Britain.

0401Missing: Episode 120170220

At the beginning of November, an advert appeared on the lost and found section of a well-known website. Amongst the pictures of misplaced iPads, recovered wedding rings and lost drones, was a photo of a smiling young man, holding a new-born baby. 'Father and partner missing', it said.

Zack's in his late 20s. He has bipolar disorder. On medication, he has it mostly under control. He and his girlfriend Kirsty had just moved into a new flat and become proud parents of their first child together. Life, they thought, was good.

But one day in early November, on their five year anniversary and when the baby was just 5 weeks old, Zack left for work and never came home.

His decision to go appeared meticulously planned. He had disappeared without trace.

In a special, serialised version of The Untold, Grace Dent presents the story of a girlfriend turned sleuth, and her hunt for the truth. It's a search which takes her across the country. The police tell Kirsty that he's safe and well. She doesn't believe them. Her family try to warn her off the search. She ignores them. She hears news that he's working and has started a new life. She finds he has been gambling. She receives texts from him claiming he's lost his memory. Is he playing her, or does he need her help?

Over the past three months The Untold has recorded with Kirsty and her family as they make unsettling discoveries about his disappearance, and find out the truth as to why he went. It's something that will test her love for him and her understanding of his mental illness.

Producer: Georgia Catt.

0402Missing: Episode 220170221
0403Missing: Episode 320170222

At the beginning of November, an advert appeared on the lost and found section of a well-known website. Amongst the pictures of misplaced iPads, recovered wedding rings and lost drones, was a photo of a smiling young man, holding a new-born baby. 'Father and partner missing', it said.

Zack's in his late 20s. He has bipolar disorder. On medication, he has it mostly under control. He and his girlfriend Kirsty had just moved into a new flat and become proud parents of their first child together. Life, they thought, was good.

But one day in early November, on their five year anniversary and when the baby was just 5 weeks old, Zack left for work and never came home.

His decision to go appeared meticulously planned. He had disappeared without trace.

This is the story of a girlfriend turned sleuth, and her hunt for the truth. It's a search which takes her across the country. The police tell Kirsty that he's safe and well. She doesn't believe them. Her family try to warn her off the search. She ignores them. She hears news that he's working and has started a new life. She finds he has been gambling. She receives texts from him claiming he's lost his memory. Is he playing her, or does he need her help?

Over the past three months The Untold has recorded with Kirsty and her family as they make unsettling discoveries about his disappearance, and find out the truth as to why he went. It's something that will test her love for him and her understanding of his mental illness.

Producer: Georgia Catt.

0404Missing: Episode 420170223
0405 LASTMissing: Episode 520170224
0501Doctor Doctor20170501

Can two doctors, husband and wife, save their surgery from closure?

Can Duncan and Sian, a doctor husband and wife team, save their surgery from closure?

Duncan and Sian Shaw are both GPs. They live in Bournemouth with their young family and, for fourteen years, have been based at the same surgery, working hard for the thousands of patients on their list. But, like the situation facing many GP surgeries in the country, things have become critical: in the last three years, several doctors have resigned and Duncan and Sian have not been able to recruit new ones.

When they started at the surgery it had eight doctors; now it has five, and soon there will be just three. It's no longer viable. They are at crisis point. Can they save the surgery? Or will they have to sell up and walk away, leaving 10,000 patients to find another GP?

Producer in Bristol: Karen Gregor.

0502Eddie Todd For Mayor20170508

Grace Dent follows Doncaster businessman Eddie Todd in his campaign to be the town's Mayor

Grace Dent follows Doncaster businessman Eddie Todd in his colourful campaign to be the town's Mayor. Rejecting traditional politics, Eddie's standing as an independent - but without a party machine behind him can he convince enough voters to put a cross next to his name?

Eddie starts his campaign with high hopes but as 4 May approaches he realises he's got a mountain to climb.

We're with Eddie from the moment he unpacks his megaphones right through to the nail biting tension of election night and those all important results.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0503The Divorce Settlement20170515

A father faces eviction because of his daughter's divorce settlement.

A father faces eviction after the house he's lived in for 20 years becomes the final marriage asset to be divided in his daughter's divorce settlement. He's 81 and frail; he suffers from emphysema. But he's independent and wants to die in the place he knows as home.

His daughter has decided she won't tell him - she worries the news would kill him. Instead she must find a way to secure the house and his future in it. She hopes he'll never know how close he was to losing it.

0504The Shoe Man20170522

Grace Dent follows one man's dream to make and sell men's designer shoes. Can he do it?

Grace Dent follows Miguel Marcus Almeida who has always dreamed of making luxury, British designer shoes and selling them to global markets like Japan and the US. But with no financial backing and no family lineage, he's a tiny fish in a massive pond. Can he really pull this off?

He's always loved shoes, a passion he's had since childhood. Growing up on a council estate in London, he said he didn't have much but it was his grandfather who instilled in him his love of shoes and told him that a man is "measured by his shoes".

Miguel has now been given his biggest break. He has been asked to design some men's shoes by an agent in Japan, the world's biggest consumer of British luxury brands. But he's under pressure. At the same time, he's getting a collection of shoes ready to showcase in Florence, at one of the most prestigious international men's fashion shows.

Here, he'll have the opportunity to meet buyers from around the world and there's a chance he might even meet his prospective Japanese buyers who could take a chance and invest in this little known shoemaker.

Can this dreamer who dreams big really crack this?

Producer in Bristol: Perminder Khatkar.

0505All Things Must Pass20170529

A church in Oldham faces closure. The parishioners are not happy. Grace Dent presents.

Corpus Christi Church in Oldham and its parish priest Father Heakin face an uncertain future. The Diocese of Salford proposes to close a quarter of its churches and Corpus Christi is on the shortlist. Due to a shortage of priests and lack of attendance in certain parishes, the Bishop calls it "pruning for growth". The parishioners are fighting the decision.

Father Dermot Heakin (also a windsurfer and a musician) leads a busy parish life. We follow him around the community on his pastoral activities. But as Christmas approaches, apprehension grows as both priest and congregation await the Bishop's final verdict about the future of their church. Grace Dent presents

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0506Her Word Against His20170605

A woman must decide if she can or should testify against the entertainer Rolf Harris.

A local radio journalist is celebrating her silver wedding anniversary when she picks up her microphone and starts to record. The police have decided they have enough evidence to take the entertainer Rolf Harris to court and they want her to testify. Can she do it, should she do it, would she be believed?

As a child, she was a huge Rolf Harris fan. And at 16, she volunteers to help look after him during the recording of an ITV show, Star Games. It is then that she says he assaulted her.

But if this goes to trial how will she prove it? Assault cases are often very difficult to prove and hang on one person's word against another. Although this journalist has experience with the court process she is totally unprepared for the year ahead. Friends don't want to talk about it, it is difficult at work, and then family say they don't believe her.

This is not a re-examination of the evidence, but one woman's story as she heads towards the court. The programme culminates in the trial of May 2017 when Rolf Harris is cleared of all the four sex assault charges.

Narrated by Grace Dent and produced by Sarah Bowen.

A local radio journalist is celebrating her silver wedding anniversary when she picks up her microphone and starts to record. The police have decided they have enough evidence to take the entertainer Rolf Harris to court and they want her to testify. Can she do it, should she do it, would she be believed?

As a child, Karen Gardner was a huge Rolf Harris fan. And at 16, she volunteers to help look after him during the recording of an ITV show, Star Games. It is then that she says he assaulted her.

But if this goes to trial how will she prove it? Assault cases are often very difficult to prove and hang on one person's word against another. Although Karen has experience with the court process, she is totally unprepared for the year ahead. Friends don't want to talk about it, it is difficult at work, and then family say they don't believe her.

This is not a re-examination of the evidence, but one woman's story as she heads towards the court. The programme culminates in the trial of May 2017 when Rolf Harris is cleared of all the four sex assault charges.

Narrated by Grace Dent and produced by Sarah Bowen.

0507All Sewn Up20170612

Koye, 23, weighs up whether to abandon his home-grown fashion label for a job in the City.

Grace Dent follows 23 year old Koye as he weighs up whether to abandon his homegrown fashion label for a corporate job in the City of London.

Koye's Nigerian parents - who've spent a fortune on his education - are desperately keen for him to get a job in the City. But Koye himself is torn. He's also the sole force behind successful African street wear brand Mojo Kojo. This is where his heart truly lies.

We follow him as he goes through the gruelling process of applying for City graduate schemes and confronts the possibility of leaving behind the business he's worked so hard to establish.

Producer: Mariana Des Forges

Original music by Mina.

0508Back To Life20170619

All Nick wants is his life back after a car accident leaves him with a brain injury.

This is Nick's story; and it's a story of grit and determination; of ambition and limitations; of one young man's struggle to get his life back, after a car accident that's left him with a brain injury.

Nick was 23 when his life changed forever. He's lucky to be alive. He was driving home late one night when his car came off the road. He thinks he fell asleep at the wheel. Luckily no one else was involved, but the consequences for Nick and his family have been immense. He was in hospital for months. At first Nick was wheelchair bound. Slowly, slowly, he's getting his independence back. He's now up and about - walking and talking and cracking jokes, but his injuries were serious - apart from the ones to his body, his brain injury means his short term memory is impaired.

Before the accident, Nick was a bar manager, and independence for him means getting back his old job. That's what keeps him going. But will he manage it?

From brain injury rehab unit, to sheltered accommodation and then back to living with his mum, his greatest champion - he's a man on a mission: to get his life back. But the road of progress is long and winding and Nick is impatient.

Produced in Bristol, by Jo Dwyer.

0509Care Or Custody20170626

Ray finds out he is father to a baby in care and fights for custody. Grace Dent presents.

One day Ray finds out he's the father of a newborn baby who has been taken into care. He's now in another relationship with girlfriend Cally. Together they begin the the fight for custody of his daughter otherwise she'll be given up for adoption. Ray spent his own childhood in care and is determined to avoid that fate for his daughter. The process has been arduous and the outcome - in the weeks before the final hearing - is far from certain. Grace Dent presents.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0510The End Of The Road?20170703
0511Born Before Time20170710

The Untold follows baby Isobel, born at 26 weeks and being cared for in the neo-natal unit

Isobel is a much longed for baby for Catherine and James, who want to spend as much time as possible with her on Bradford Infirmary's neo-natal unit. Being born at just 26 weeks old means she needs a good deal of mechanical intervention to survive and she has a dedicated nursing team to closely monitor her progress.

As Grace Dent hears, her chances of survival are good, but there is vigilance about possible longer term complications and in the early weeks she is very closely monitored. As tests continue, there is an added burden for her parents, who both work: Catherine's job takes her round West Yorkshire collecting and cremating dead animals and helping owners overcome their grief at losing much loved pets. She also runs a busy service putting down sick and dying horses.

Leaving Isobel on the unit whilst she works is hard to do, but all seems to be going well - and then there is a change. It is a testing time for Catherine, James and their Consultant, Dr Chris Day. He knows how difficult it is to predict who will do well and although girls born early tend to do better than boys, Isobel still faces challenges as she learns to breath and feed on her own. He and his team are dedicated to doing all they can to improve the chances of these very premature babies.

Producer: Sue Mitchell.

0512Mr And Mr20170717

Gubs is Sikh, gay and getting married. But will his dad go to the wedding?

Gubs and Gary are getting married. They've been preparing for this day for over a year.

Gubs is Sikh and Gary is white. Gubs has already told his dad he is gay, and his father managed to accept it. But it looks like a wedding is just one step too far. Now, there are only weeks to go. Final preparations are being made for the outfits, the photography, the food. But Gubs wonders if his Dad will change his mind before the big day. And if he does relent, how will Gubs feel about it?

Producer in Bristol: Sara Conkey.

0513Lost Benefits20170724

Amir is in a catch-22: too ill to work yet apparently not ill enough for illness benefits.

Amir is twenty five and can't work - he has a rare neurological condition and is waiting for surgery to correct foot deformities. His doctors agree, but the Government does not and he has six weeks to appeal the decision denying him disability related payments.

It was all a far cry from the life Amir imagined when he left school and set out to follow his Dad's advice: get a job, start saving and put together enough money to buy a house. He started down that path, working for Morrison's and later for Next. But as his health deteriorated he was forced to give up his job and last October he claimed disability related support.

He has Charcot Marie Tooth disease, a progressive condition which he hopes will be alleviated by reconstructive surgery on his feet. His GP, Dr Anne-Marie Killeen, agrees that he is too ill to work and has supplied medical evidence showing that he can't walk far and frequently falls. His GP says he should qualify for the additional payments that would help him with his mobility and give him the support he needs.

The Department of Work and Pensions says that during a period of sickness it tailors work-related activity to specific circumstances and Amir is on an extended sick note until August 8th. This means he does not have to apply for, or take up, work. For his part, Amir thinks this is not good enough and he can not cope without the money he and his GP believe his disability should entitle him to.


Grace Dent revisits four of the most intriguing Untold stories from the past few months.

0515A Chair For Neil20170807

Grace Dent tells the story of Neil and his quest for the chair that could change his life.

Neil Francis loves the outdoors. There's nowhere else he'd rather be than stretched out in a field gazing at the sky, with his dog Bouncer by his side. From his front room he can see the hills that he used to play in as a child. But for now, he can't get up them.

25 years ago, an accident left Neil paralysed from the chest down and since then he's had to rely on 24hr care at home. His wheelchair gives him some freedom but it can only take him so far. Uneven paths, muddy fields and steep hills are out of bounds and being trapped in the same position day after day, for over two decades, is taking its toll. His spine is curving and he endures debilitating seizures.

Neil needs to find a way out of pain and back into the landscape that he loves. He discovers there's a wheelchair that could help him, but it costs a lot of money - too much money. It doesn't look like he can get it. But then, enter two guardian angels....

Presenter Grace Dent. Producer Nicola Humphries.

Further information

SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity

Southern Spinal Injuries Trust

0516Virtual Friends20170814

What happens when best friends meet for the first time?

One day, when Alice was 15, she discovered Japanese Rock music - and discovered a post from a girl called Mimei about an obscure J Rock band. They started talking online - and over the years the relationship developed as the world's online platforms developed - through blogging, online messenger services, social media and video calls.

Alice tells Mimei everything and says she's been one of the biggest influences on her life. As they grew up, Mimei moved to Japan, became a professional youtuber with hundreds of thousands of followers, and got married - Alice became an accountant, moved to London, and took up ice hockey.

But they've never met...until now. Mimei is flying to London and together they're going travelling round Europe. Four countries, ten days, and two friends who know everything about each other, but have never met before.

This is the story of what happens when best friends meet for the first time.

Produced by Polly Weston in Bristol.

0517 LASTIn The Grip Of Anorexia20170821

Maya is struggling with anorexia, and her A-levels are imminent.

17-year-old Maya is struggling with anorexia. Her life at home is volatile and her A levels are looming. It will mean the world to her if she can do well in these exams, but she can't concentrate to revise.

Anorexia has been explosive within the family and Maya captures, with a raw honesty, the agonising rows they have. Combining extremely candid audio diaries with behind-the-scenes confrontation, Maya gives us an extraordinary insight into the life of a family living with an eating disorder. No one shies away from explaining the deceptive, manipulative and painful nature of this illness.

Maya was a loving, fun and happy teenager, surrounded by friends and with a world of opportunity ahead of her. But at 16 her life changed and when admitted to hospital, she was so unwell, she was told she was lucky to be alive.

Now doing well in the A levels this summer has become crucial, "The exams are the key to going to university, proving to myself that I can beat this illness. I just get so scared because, if I fail the exams how am I going to get better, how am I going to succeed in life?"

She needs to get to AAB to read Zoology at Bristol University, but the disease is all consuming: "I think it's more than just starving yourself of food, it's starving yourself of everything because everything becomes about using as much energy as possible. So I starve myself of friends, I starve myself of family, I starve myself of education because I can't dedicate any time to sit down and work because the thought of sitting down and not constantly moving and constantly using energy is too stressful."

With 6 weeks to go, will Maya be well enough to sit the exams and get the grades she needs?

Narrated by Grace Dent and produced by Sarah Bowen.

0601Unfair Dismissal?20171106

The story of a care home manager who was sacked after posting a photo on Facebook.

Grace Dent returns with a new series of untold stories from modern Britain.

The new series opens with the story of former care home manager Rachel Burns who was sacked after posting a photo of one of her residents on Facebook.

Though Rachel Burns admitted she'd made a number of mistakes in her use of social media, she felt that dismissal was too draconian after 21 years working for her employer, the local council. The Untold follows Rachel over a twelve month period as she pursues an unfair dismissal claim.

The odds seem stacked against her in the employment tribunal. While the council is represented by a barrister, she has no formal legal representation.

And as the case drags on, Rachel's debts mount and the experience starts to take a severe emotional toll.

Will the employment tribunal rule in her favour - or dismiss her claim?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0602I've Lost My Voice20171113

This is Rob's story - a man who lost his voice and is trying to get it back.

Rob is a warm and charismatic man who says he's an extrovert. He's a successful business-coach - a people-centred job he loves.
But two years ago he lost his voice. At first he thought he'd shouted too much at the rugby, but then he discovered he'd developed the rare neurological condition, Spasmodic Dysphonia, which has severely affected his ability to speak. It's having a serious impact on both his social and working life.

Producer, Karen Gregor, follows Rob for six months as he tries to improve his voice: he gets treatment at the QE hospital in Birmingham with Consultant ENT surgeon, Declan Costello; he seeks out voice coaching with Christina Shewell in Bristol; and he meets a woman with the same very rare condition who might, just might, shed some light on what on earth he should do.

Grace Dent tells the story. Karen Gregor produces.

0603Hit And Run20171120

A mother's search for justice after her son was knocked over and killed on Christmas Eve.

28 year old Liam Rogerson was crossing the road near his sister's home in Kent when he was knocked over and killed on Christmas Eve last year. The car did not stop. Grace Dent tells the story of a family trying to come to terms with the loss of the eldest son. As the court date approaches for the sentencing of the driver, Liam's family prepare themselves for a result they may not feel is fair.

Producer: Georgia Catt.

0604Mike And Nouri Go Fishing20171127

Nouri is Syrian and Mike is Scottish. Grace Dent follows a friendship formed over fishing.

0605My Lost Brother20171204

Rani is trying to find her baby brother's grave, a family tragedy no-one speaks about.

This is the story of Rani Bilkhu. When she was 11 years old her baby brother Jaspal died. No-one in her family ever speaks about this and the silence has tormented Rani for decades. She didn't go to the funeral, no one did. In fact no one even knows where Jaspal is buried.

Rani is second generation Panjabi Sikh and says, in her culture, especially in the 1980s, there was a tendency for families to cover up difficult issues and not involve children in bereavement.

Now, as she reaches 50, Rani wants some answers. She wants to find Jaspal's grave not just for herself but for also for her mum and hopes it'll bring them closer together.

The presenter is Grace Dent and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.

If you've been affected by bereavement, or child bereavement, help and support is available.
BBC Action Line.

0606Zero Hour Hero?20171211

Jonathan's app could be a lifeline for jobseekers in the gig economy. Can it succeed?

Jonathan's app could be a lifeline for job seekers in the gig economy. Grace Dent follows the Essex entrepreneur as he tries to get his app off the ground before funding runs out.

Jonathan's a former supermarket worker inspired by the poverty he's seen in his local area. He's created an online recruitment app that aims to help those left behind by the gig economy and zero-hour contracts. For a year he struggled to make progress, but now he's finally got his big break. A backer will fund him for 3 months. For the first time he's been able to pay himself and call the business his job. Yet when funding stops, there's no guarantee he'll be able to continue the enterprise.

We're with Jonathan over the course of a make or break 12 weeks. It's a race against time to grow the business and make it succeed. Can he make enough profit to find a living for himself, as well as others?

Producer: Sam Peach.

0607The Oboe Man20171218

Oboist Paul Mosby has Alzheimer's - can music therapy reconnect him with his past?

Paul Mosby was a professional oboist. Now with advanced Alzheimers, he is largely non-verbal, and spends his days walking the corridors of his care home. His wife Yvonne and daughter Helen hope that music therapy might awaken his connexion with music, and with himself. Paul made the decision to stop playing the oboe nearly twenty years ago. He put it away in a box, and has not played since. And the early music sessions don't go well - Paul only stays a few minutes and then again begins his endless walking. Then his daughter brings in an old oboe that he gave her many years before - will it evoke any memories in Paul and re-connect him with his past?


Grace Dent revisits four Untold stories to discover what happened next.

Grace Dent revisits four of the most intriguing Untold stories from recent series to discover what happened next. This includes Rachel Burns, the former care home manager who was sacked after posting a photo of one of her residents on Facebook. Another update is from Deborah, the cancer patient touring the world as a barbershop singer. We also hear the latest from the retired couple establishing their own Marigold Hotel and Nick, the 25 year old determined to get his life back after a brain injury.

Producer: Sam Peach.

0609The End Of The Road20180101

Mary is 86 and faces losing her driving licence if she fails her next eye test.

Mary is 86 and facing an eye test to decide if she can continue to drive. Will the test put an end to her 65 year driving career - or can she carry on?

She's been diagnosed with several eye conditions including glaucoma, cataracts and macula degeneration, and now she faces the field of vision test - the test which will decide whether she's fit to continue to drive.

She lives in rural Somerset, where public transport is scarce. For 40 years she had the same Morris Traveller and now she drives a Fiat. Although she says, "a car is only necessary in that it has four wheels. And a roof is quite useful." If she has to stop driving, she'll have to depend on her daughter - this is not what she wants. "It's absolutely typical of my age - we fear that if we once give way, the flood gates will open, and we will become dependent."

This is more than a story about driving - it's about independence and the possible loss of it. But is there something else in Mary's life that could pose a greater threat to her driving than any eye test?

Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston.

0610Jay-z And Me20180108

What happens when you accidentally write a song for a global superstar?

Kanan is a 30-year-old software consultant in Bristol, but for years he was a struggling musician.

A few years ago after 15 years of trying to make it in the music industry, he got a day job. His first solid 9-5. To his surprise, he loved the new structure to his life. His life changed completely - he has stability and he's happy.

But his secure life has now been overtaken by unexpected events. Two years ago, he wrote a song in his bedroom about a break-up he was going through. He gave it to some friends, the band Hannah Williams and the Affirmations, to record. At the beginning of 2017 the unthinkable happened - by a twist of fate, Jay-Z heard the track, liked it, and sampled it.

It's become part of the song 4:44 - Jay-Z's public apology to Beyoncé. It's the title track on his platinum selling album, and the first single he released earlier this year, and Kanan is listed as songwriter without ever having spoken to Jay-Z. He had no idea any of this was going to happen until June when the album was released.

In song writing terms, it's like winning the lottery - but what does it really mean for his life?

Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston.

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Sharon is 43, from Rotherham and looking for love. Grace Dent follows what happens.

Grace Dent follows what happens when 43 year old Sharon embarks on a search for love. With two failed marriages behind her it would be easy to feel disappointed about the possibilities: not Sharon, who is optimistic that the right man is out there somewhere. When nights out at a local club fail to reap rewards Sharon turns to the internet but with mixed success: some of prospective suitors look nothing like their profile photos and whilst one or two prove to be decent, there are others who are not.

Over visits to Sharon's Rotherham flat, Producer Sue Mitchell gets to know more about her and her family. She has three children and helps pitch in to look after her grandchildren and keep an eye on her 23 year old daughter, Jessica, who is single and sometimes accompanies her on nights out. She has a dog, Molly, who gives birth to eleven pups and many friends call in and out on an evening. As well as looking for love, Sharon is also keen to get a job and already has a plan in place when it comes to spending her wages: a trip to Benidorm and perhaps even a holiday romance!

At the start of recordings she is with Serge, who has come from Cameroon and quickly moves into Sharon's flat, where he learns to make Yorkshire puddings and immerses himself in the goings on in Coronation Street. But strains quickly develop and before long they are arguing over his wish to have a child and her worry about what she sees as his controlling behaviour. When the relationship breaks down it is back to the drawing board: how is she going to find Mr Right and exactly what is she looking for in a partner?

0612The Toss Of The Coin20180122

Jackie has a 50-50 chance of developing Huntington's disease. Does she have it?

Jackie Harrison has a 50-50 chance of developing Huntington's disease. Her grandfather, mother and uncle all died young with this devastating, neuro-degenerative disease and she cares for her younger brother who has it too.

In December 2017 it seemed that there might have been a breakthrough and there's been a surge of people at risk asking for a predictive test. It's a blood test which simply tells you if you will develop the disease - but currently there is no cure.

Jackie has previously shied away from the test, but is now considering it. The test is a gamble. A bad result can be devastating.

Having lived all her life thinking she has Huntington's, Jackie hasn't leant to drive for fear she will have her license taken away. She hasn't had children, for fear that any child would have to look after her when she became ill.

"There are very few days you're not thinking about it," she admits, checking herself for symptoms, "I twitch my shoulder and I know I do. Sometimes I've a twitchy eye or one time my thumb was shaking or shivering for no reason. I'm being bad tempered and I'm shouting at people - so you think is this the start of it?"

As Jackie approaches 50, she is increasingly persuaded to have the test. Her partner Tony describes it as a horrendous Catch 22, "Do you want to live the rest of your life in the hope that you may be free of the disease or do you want to toss the coin, with the negative of that being you find you're not free of it and you then you have no hope left?"

Should she have the test and could she cope with the result?

Narrated by Grace Dent and produced by Sarah Bowen.

0613The Good Fight20180129

One man's battle with the authorities over his freedom to use a washing machine.

One man's bitter battle over his freedom to use a washing machine.

Steve Norman - Stormin' Norman to anyone who knows him - is a big, loud, gruff, heavy smoker who's made it his mission to hold the authorities to account. "Facetious, obstinate, difficult - yeah I am. But I think I've got every right to be".

At 59, he lives in a council block in the shadow of the M5. The flats are too small for washing machines so the block uses a shared facility, but in 2017 the council began to restrict usage to Monday to Friday 8am-8pm. Steve's retaliation? He took them to court for failing to consult the residents on the changes - and a baffled judge concluded that there was a case to answer, and gave the council two weeks to reach an agreement, or else it would go to trial.

Stormin' Norman left school at 16, with no qualifications. Through 30 years in the merchant navy, he learned to love to read, and subsequently, he taught himself how to understand the law, and how to use it. Now every councillor in Bristol knows his name - he's the guy at every protest cursing at them through a loud hailer.

The laundry is his opportunity to get the council in to the court room and to say his piece, publicly, in a court of law. "It's a circus... You can have all the fancy lawyers in the world, but if you're in breach of an agreement and I can prove it, you lose... simple as."

The laundry is the fight he wants. But, as the year progresses, the fight he faces is very different.

This programme is broadcast on Steve's 60th birthday.

Produced by Polly Weston.

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Fourteen year old Mohammed was excluded from school over a year ago: his poor behaviour culminating in an incident involving a firework in a classroom corridor. His Mum has been trying to get him back into education for many months now and as time passes she sees little hope of success. At first she opted to home school him, but with her work and family responsibilities she found this too difficult. She wants him to get a school place but worries about how he will settle and whether he can catch up the months of education that he's missed. Grace Dent follows what happens.

Mohammed is being helped by staff at Raising Explorers, an inspirational after school club in Bradford, which provides input on the academic side, along with Islamic study. Abu Mustafa, who oversees the team, says that however much work they do at the centre it will not be enough to compensate for the loss of a school education. He is supporting the family with efforts to get Mohammed back into lessons, whilst also addressing the behavioural issues which have seen him excluded in the past.

Teachers at Raising Explorers know that Mohammed and his family are not alone in the challenges they face and they see particular challenges for teenagers wrestling with competing priorities. They feel that schools properly resourced to get to the bottom of problems once they arise and parents are not involved in putting things right. The after school club tries to close this gap, particularly for youngsters who are balancing community and family expectations alongside finding their own path in life. Abu Mustafa is pleased with how Mohammed is responding to this input and hopes that he will be able to make a real go of things once a school place is found.