Witness [World Service]

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

Episodes

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20130317In March 1966 Mexican-American farm workers staged a protest that inspired the Latino civil rights movement in the USA. It was led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Chavez died in 1993 but Dolores Huerta has been speaking about their long struggle against California's grape growers, and about the phrase that came to signify their movement ""si se puede - yes we can"".

Photo: Cesar Chavez in 1979. AP.

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Series looking at key events in history, featuring archive accounts from the people who were there.

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Series looking at key events in history, featuring archive accounts from the people who were there.

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Series looking at key events in history, featuring archive accounts from the people who were there.

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20150404History as told by the people who were there.

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On May 31st 1986 a small group of musicians staged the first charity rock concert ever held in the USSR. It was organised in less than two weeks to raise money for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. The nuclear reactor accident had happened just a month before in Ukraine. Some of the artists who played at the concert had been previously banned by the Soviet authorities, so the concert was a social revolution, as organiser - Artemy Troitsky explains to Rebecca Kesby.

(PHOTO Credit TASS: Soviet pop star Alla Pugacheva performs at a concert for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster)

20170601

In June 1972 one of Hitchcock's most controversial movie was released. It was his penultimate film and provoked some critics to accuse him of revelling in scenes of violence against women. Vincent Dowd speaks to actor Barbara Leigh-Hunt about working with the renowned director and about her role as the female victim in Frenzy.

(Photo: Alfred Hitchcock on location of the film "Frenzy" in Covent Garden, London, 1971. Credit: Jack Kay/Daily Express/Getty Images)

20170606

Senator Robert Kennedy died in the early hours of June 6th 1968. He had been shot the day before in a Los Angeles hotel as he prepared to celebrate winning the California primary in the race to become the Democratic Party's nominee for President. His labour adviser Paul Schrade, who was standing next to him, was also injured in the attack. He spoke to Ashley Byrne about Robert Kennedy the man, and about the events surrounding his death.

Photo: Robert Kennedy speaking in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly before the shooting took place. Copyright: BBC.

Photo: Robert Kennedy speaking in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly before the shooting took place. Copyright: BBC."

20170607

On 7 June 1967, Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, including its most holy site, the Temple Mount that is revered by both Jews and Muslims. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Arik Achmon, one of the first Israeli paratroopers to enter the old city that day and reach the Western Wall.

(Photo: Israeli photographer David Rubinger's iconic photograph of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city following its capture by Israel. Credit: David Rubinger/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Israeli photographer David Rubinger's iconic photograph of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city following its capture by Israel. Credit: David Rubinger/AFP/Getty Images)"

20170608

In 1967 East Jerusalem was under the control of Jordan and Captain Nabih El Suhaimat was stationed there. In early June he and his soldiers fought in vain against Israeli paratroopers. But they lost control of the Old City and he was forced to flee Jerusalem in disguise. He has spoken to Zeinab Dabaa about the Six Day War.

Photo: Nabih El Suhaimat in his Jordanian Army Uniform. Credit: Nabih El Suhaimat.

20170613

Hundreds of thousands of Algeria's indigenous people, the Berbers, marched to the capital Algiers in June 2001 for a massive demonstration demanding more rights. In particular, they wanted official recognition for the Berber language, Tamazight. Zeinab Dabaa has spoken to Berber activist Rasheed Alwash about the demonstration.

Photo: Berber youths, who walked from their village in Kabylia region to take part in the rally in the capital Algiers. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Berber youths, who walked from their village in Kabylia region to take part in the rally in the capital Algiers. Credit: AFP/Getty Images"

20170614

In June 1982 an attempt to amend the US constitution to guarantee equal rights for men and women was defeated. Despite two decades of women's liberation activism and a huge groundswell of political support, the amendment was prevented from going through. The defeat was in large part down to one woman, staunch Republican and leading conservative, Phyllis Schlafly. Claire Bowes has been listening to archive recordings of Mrs Schlafly, held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential library.

PHOTO: American political activist Phyllis Schlafly smiles from behind a pair of podium mounted microphones, 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

PHOTO: American political activist Phyllis Schlafly smiles from behind a pair of podium mounted microphones, 1982. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)"

20170615

In June 1967, the Beatles were invited by the BBC to appear on the world's first live TV broadcast, called Our World. In a now iconic appearance, the band played a new song called All You Need Is Love, which captured the anti-war spirit of Swinging London. Simon Watts talks to Mike McCartney, performer with the Scaffold and brother of Paul McCartney.

(Photo: The Beatles at the "All You Need Is Love" recording. Credit: Getty Images)

(Photo: The Beatles at the "All You Need Is Love" recording. Credit: Getty Images)"

20170616

On 17 June 1940, a packed British troopship was sunk off the coast of France by German bombers. The ship had just picked up thousands of British military personnel left behind in France after the evacuation of the army at Dunkirk. It's believed around 5,000 people lost their lives. It was one of the worst maritime disasters in British history and news of the sinking was initially supressed in Britain. Alex Last spoke to 99-year-old Ernest Beesley, a sapper in the Royal Engineers, who is among the last survivors of the Lancastria.
Photo: The Lancastria after being hit by German bombers off the coast of France in 1940 (Lancastria Association of Scotland)

On 17 June 1940, a packed British troopship was sunk off the coast of France by German bombers. The ship had just picked up thousands of British military personnel left behind in France after the evacuation of the army at Dunkirk. It's believed around 5,000 people lost their lives. It was one of the worst maritime disasters in British history and news of the sinking was initially supressed in Britain. Alex Last spoke to 99-year-old Ernest Beesley, a sapper in the Royal Engineers, who is among the last survivors of the Lancastria.
Photo: The Lancastria after being hit by German bombers off the coast of France in 1940 (Lancastria Association of Scotland)"

20170707

In July 1987 separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka attacked an army camp. It was the first of hundreds of suicide attacks carried by the group known as the "Black Tigers" against both military and civilian targets during the country's long running civil war. Farhana Haider hears from a former Tamil resident of Sri Lanka and from one of the only filmmakers to have spent any time with the Black Tigers.

Photo: Captain Miller shrine at Nelliady, Jaffna, Sri Lanka on Black Tigers Day, 2004. Credit: Public Domain

20170711

The dissident poet was sentenced to 7 years in a Soviet Labour camp. She suffered from cold, malnutrition and harsh treatment, but she continued to write poems secretly. She was released on the eve of a nuclear summit between the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Irina Ratushinskaya died on July 5th 2017. She spoke to Louise Hidalgo for Witness in 2016.

(Photo: Irina and her husband Igor, arriving in London in December 1986. Credit: Topfoto)

20170712

In 1961, one of the world's best ballet dancers, Rudolf Nureyev, defected from the USSR to the West, causing a worldwide sensation. Dina Newman spoke to Victor Hochhauser, the international impresario who organised that historic tour.

Photo: Rudolf Nureyev receives flowers after his performance of 'Swan Lake' in Paris in 1963. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

20170713

In the summer of 1992, thousands of ravers and New Age travellers gathered for an illegal free festival on common land near the Malvern Hills in the English Midlands - to the horror of local residents. It was a high point for British rave culture, but also the beginning of the end. The Castlemorton Common event led to a change in the law giving police increased power to shut down events playing music "characterised by the emission of repetitive beats".

Lucy Burns speaks to Lol Hammond, a former member of music collective Spiral Tribe, who played at the event.

Photo: Murray Sanders/ANL/REX/Shutterstock: New Age travellers camping at Castlemorton Malvern Hills in 1992.

20170714

Indigenous Canadians objected to plans to develop a golf course on the site of a burial ground in Quebec in 1990. The dispute led to a summer-long siege between Mohawk protestors and Canadian security forces. Ellen Katsi'tsakwas Gabriel is a Mohawk activist who spoke to Rebecca Kesby about the crisis.

Photo: A Mohawk activist confronts a soldier. Credit: IATV NEWS.

20170718

The Famicom gaming console was a breakthrough in the world of computer games. Launched in Japan in 1983, it brought games out of arcades and into people's living rooms. When it reached markets in the West it was renamed the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo designer Masayuki Uemura has been speaking to Ashley Byrne about how it was developed.

Photo: Masayuki Uemura, holding Donkey Kong software for the original Famicom console. (Credit: Kyodo News via Getty Images.)

20170719

On July 15th 1997 the Italian fashion designer was shot dead on the steps of his Florida mansion. His murder sparked a huge manhunt and shocked the world of fashion. Mike Lanchin spoke to journalist Cathy Horyn about the man, and his life.

Photo: A police car outside Gianni Versace's Miami home in July 1997. Credit: Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images

20170720

In the summer of 1932, tens of thousands of American First World War veterans marched on Washington DC to demand the bonus they'd been promised by the government for their part in the war. It was the height of the Great Depression and many were unemployed and hungry. They called themselves the Bonus Army. Louise Hidalgo talks to author Paul Dickson about their story.

Photograph: Bonus Army marchers stage a mass vigil on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington while the Senate debates their case (Copyright: Getty Archive)

20170721

During the Vietnam war, the US army's Psychological Operations, or PSYOP, teams were deployed to battle communist Viet Cong guerillas and the North Vietnamese Army. Their goal was to try to weaken the enemy's willingness to fight. They used a variety of methods including playing spooky "Wandering Soul" tapes which preyed on local beliefs about the afterlife. Alex Last has been speaking to PSYOP veteran Rick Hofmann who was deployed to Vietnam in the late 1960s.
Photo:Viet Cong guerrillas on patrol during the Vietnam War, 2nd March 1966: (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

During the Vietnam war, the US army's Psychological Operations, or PSYOP, teams were deployed to battle communist Viet Cong guerillas and the North Vietnamese Army. Their goal was to try to weaken the enemy's willingness to fight. They used a variety of methods including playing spooky "Wandering Soul" tapes which preyed on local beliefs about the afterlife. Alex Last has been speaking to PSYOP veteran Rick Hofmann who was deployed to Vietnam in the late 1960s.
Photo:Viet Cong guerillas on patrol during the Vietnam War, 2nd March 1966: (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

20170725

In the 1960s, millions of Soviet families were able for the first time to move to a flat of their own. This was due to a mass construction programme of standardized housing. Dina Newman speaks to a resident of one of the first five storey apartment blocks, and to Clem Cecil, a campaigner for preserving architecture.

Photo: a five-storey building dating from the 1960s in western Moscow on June 11, 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

20170726

In July 1967, homosexuality was legalised in England and Wales for the first time. Before that gay men lived in fear of arrest, beatings and blackmail. Some even underwent so-called aversion therapy at psychiatric hospitals in an attempt to 'cure' themselves. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Liverpool comedian and radio presenter, Peter Price, who still bears the psychological scars of what he was put through when he was 18.

Picture: Comedian Peter Price (copyright: private collection)

20170727

The battle for China between Communists and Nationalists left Mao the victor in 1949. Defeated Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai Shek, fled with his troops to the island of Taiwan, but he vowed to return. Hau Pei Tsun is a former chief aide to Chiang Kai Shek. Now 99 years old, he speaks to Rebecca Kesby about his memories of the controversial leader, and their fight for the soul of China.

Photo: General Chiang Kai Shek, cerca 1943 (Keystone/Getty Images)

20170728

In the 1970s, deep sea divers were at the sharp end of the North Sea oil boom. Alex Last has been speaking to the former diver David Beckett, who wrote The Loonliness of a Deep Sea Diver, about his dangerous life working under the waves.
Photo: A saturation diver works to fix an undersea oil pump in the North Sea (BBC)

20170801

During World War Two, Croatian fascists tortured and killed tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people in several concentration camps. The most notorious was Jasenovac. Dina Newman speaks to Milinko Cekic, a Serb survivor of Jasenovac.

Photo: Milinko Cekic speaking to the BBC in 2017. Credit: BBC.

During World War Two, Croatian fascists tortured and killed tens of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people in several concentration camps. The most notorious was Jasenovac. Dina Newman speaks to Milenko Cekic, a Serb survivor of Jasenovac.

Photo: Milenko Cekic speaking to the BBC in 2017. Credit: BBC.

20170802

In 1977 a state hospital near Paris began quietly changing the way women gave birth. Obstetrician, Dr Michel Odent, believed that childbirth had become too medicalised and he wanted a more natural approach. He introduced a pool to ease the pain of labour. Eventually some babies were even born in the pool. Claire Bowes speaks to Dr Odent about the innovation that has become a revolution using the power of water.

(Photo: Getty Images)

20170803

In July 1999, the spiritual movement Falun Gong was banned in China. Thousands of people were arrested. The Chinese government says Falun Gong is an "evil cult", but followers of the movement say they have been the victims of state persecution.

Witness speaks to Falun Gong practitioner Chao Yu and journalist Ian Johnson.

(Photo: Falun Gong practitioners stage a sit-in protest outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong, 2002. Credit: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

20170804

In 2000 the US led a major effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Bill Clinton brought the two sides together at the leafy presidential retreat in Maryland. The Israeli leader, Ehud Barak and the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, failed to reach any agreement and the summit ended in failure. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the senior American diplomatic interpreter and policy adviser, Gamal Helal who attended the Camp David summit.

White House photo released 16 July 2000 US President Bill Clinton (C) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Palestinian Chairman Yassar Arafat and Gamal Helal at a working dinner at Camp David, Maryland during the Middle East Peace Summit. Credit: SHARON FARMER/AFP/Getty Images

20170808

The acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987. His attackers have never been identified. Naji al-Ali's cartoons were famous across the Middle East. Through his images he criticised Israeli and US policy in the region, but unlike many, he also lambasted Arab despotic regimes and the leadership of the PLO. His signature character was called Handala - a poor Palestinian refugee child with spiky hair, who would always appear, facing away with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the events depicted in the cartoon. Alex Last has been speaking to his son, Khalid, about his father's life and death.
Photo: A cartoon by Naji al-Ali published with the permission of Naji Al-Ali family. Copyrights reserved.

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20171031

When German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saint's Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, he started a religious revolution. The document was about the church's practice of selling indulgences - but Luther's protest would grow into the Protestant Reformation. Witness hears primary sources from the time, and speaks to historian Lyndal Roper.

(Photo: A portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder on display at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, Germany (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

20171101

In the Lebanese city of Tripoli there is an exceptional architectural site which has never been used. The great modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer designed all the buildings for an international fair which was about to open when civil war broke out in the 1970s. Architect Wassim Naghi has been speaking to Nidale Abou Mrad about the fair.

Photo: The Tripoli international fair from above. Credit: BBC.

20171102

In 1997 the US Supreme Court ruled against censoring sex on the internet. It overturned a law, signed the previous year which had been designed to protect children from sexual content on the internet. Claire Bowes has been speaking to an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who fought the case for freedom of speech.

Photo: A computer. Credit: Anilakkus/iStock

20171103

In 1967 the zoologist and broadcaster, Desmond Morris, wrote about humans in the same way that animals were described. The Naked Ape provoked criticism from religious thinkers and feminists alike, but it was an instant bestseller. His idea that we're not so different from our animal cousins was revolutionary at the time. Farhana Haider speaks to Desmond Morris about his provocative book.

Photo: Desmond Morris author of the Naked Ape. Credit: BBC

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20181218Theatre director Peter Brook led a troupe of actors on a three-month-long journey across the Sahara Desert starting in December 1972. They performed improvised pieces to local villagers. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to author and journalist John Heilpern who went with them.

Photo: Peter Brook in the 1990s. (Credit: Jean Pimentel/Kipa/Sygma via Getty Images)

History as told by the people who were there

20181219Scientists at MIT in the 1960s had to share computer time. They were given passwords to access the computer and could not use more than their allowance. But one man, Allan Scherr, hacked the system by working out the master password. He has been talking to Ashley Byrne.

Photo: Allan Scherr at his workstation connected to the MIT central system in 1963. Courtesy of Allan Scherr

History as told by the people who were there

20181220Writer PL Travers created a children's classic when she invented the magical English nanny. But was the character built around her own personality? Vincent Dowd has been speaking to PL Travers' granddaughter.

Photo: Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney's original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS (credit: Walt Disney)

History as told by the people who were there

2018122520181226 (WS)At Christmas 1980 strange objects and lights were seen over a US military base in Suffolk, England, for three consecutive nights. Several military service people reported seeing them, including the deputy commander of the base, Lt Colonel Charles Halt. He explains what he saw to Rebecca Kesby, and why the experience changed his opinion on the existence of UFOs.

(Photo: Computer illustration of UFOs - Unidentified Flying Objects)

History as told by the people who were there

2018122620181227 (WS)In late December 1979, the world held its breath as thousands of Soviet troops were sent into Afghanistan. Moscow said the troops would be there six months, to help bring peace to the country. In fact, the Soviet army stayed almost ten years, and Afghanistan came to be seen as the Soviet Union's Vietnam. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to journalist Andrei Ostalski and former soldier Vyacheslav Ismailov about that time.

Picture: Soviet tanks in front of the Darulaman Palace in Kabul (Credit: Henri Bureau/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

History as told by the people who were there

2018122720181228 (WS)'I like it, carry on', said Joseph Goebbels, after listening to the trautonium, invented in Berlin. It was used first in classical music in the early 1930s. Paul Hindemith composed pieces for it. For decades it was played by one man only, Oskar Sala. Thomas Pappon spoke to him in 1997, and to Peter Pichler, who still performs on the trautonium.

Picture: Alfred Hitchcock observes Oskar Sala playing the trautonium in the latter's studio, Berlin, in 1962. Credit: Heinz Koester/ Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

History as told by the people who were there

2018122820181229 (WS)In December 1943, a British charity created the Dickin Medal to honour the bravery of animals serving in war. The first medals went mainly to pigeons used in World War Two, although dogs and one cat were also among the winners. Simon Watts tells the story of the Dickin Medal using recordings from the BBC archive.

PHOTO: Winkie the Pigeon receives a Dickin Medal in 1943 (Getty Images)

History as told by the people who were there

20190123History as told by the people who were there
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On June 3rd 1972 Sally Priesand became the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the USA. However it still took her another nine years to secure a full-time post in a synagogue. She spoke to Zeinab Dabaa about overcoming the traditional gender barriers in her ground-breaking career.

Photo: Sally Priesand in 1972 (With thanks to the American Jewish Archive)

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09/03/201820180311 ()
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1916: Central Asia Rebels Against The Russian Empire20160714

In 1916, Muslims in Central Asia rose up against Russian imperial rule. The revolt was brutally supressed. Tens of thousands of Central Asians were killed, and hundreds of thousands fled to China. Dina Newman reports.

Photo: Nomadic Kirghiz family, circa 1911. (Credit: Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Prokudin-Gorskii Collection)

Photo: Nomadic Kirghiz family, circa 1911. (Credit: Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Prokudin-Gorskii Collection)

1954 Burma Hijack20140623

In June 1954 separatist Karen rebels in Burma hijacked a passenger plane. They wanted to use it to help arm fellow insurgents in the west of the country. Witness hears from Saw Kyaw Aye, who led the hijackers.

(Photo: Saw Kyaw Aye, now in his late 80s)

In June 1954 separatist Karen rebels in Burma hijacked a passenger plane. They wanted to use it to help arm fellow insurgents in the west of the country. Witness hears from Saw Kyaw Aye, who led the hijackers.

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26/09/20112011092720110928GETRIDOFTHIS.
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28/07/201120110801It is 30 years since the launch of the first 24-hour music TV channel.

It was to revolutionise the way that music was consumed and promoted - and the way that people watched television.

Witness hears from one of the founders of MTV.

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75 Years Of Bbc Tv20111106On 2 November 1936 the first regular TV service in the world was launched by the BBC.

Initially it only had a few hundred viewers and was only broadcast for two hours a day.

Viewers watched variety acts beamed live from the studios.

75 Years Of Bbc Tv20111107On 2 November 1936 the first regular TV service in the world was launched by the BBC.
A Bizarre Poisoning Plot In Oregon20150821

In 1984, a clash between a religious commune in the US state of Oregon and locals residents resulted in the mass food poisoning of a town. Dina Newman speaks to a county official and a former member of the commune, run by an Indian guru, Bhagwan Rajneesh. Photo: Bhagwan Rajneesh denounces his former followers at a news conference on Monday, Sept.17, 1985 in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon (Photo Credit: AP/Jack Smith)

A Black Gi In China20161101

In November 1950, Clarence Adams, an African-American soldier fighting in the Korean war, was captured by the Chinese Red Army. He was held in a prisoner of war camp until the war ended. But instead of returning home, Adams and 20 other GIs chose to settle in China. Rob Walker has been speaking to his daughter, Della Adams.

(Photo: Clarence Adams and his Chinese wife, Liu Lin Feng, courtesy of the family)

A Black Gi In China20161128How did a black American soldier end up living a privileged life in communist China?

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

In November 1950 Clarence Adams, an African-American soldier fighting in the Korean War was captured by the Chinese Red Army. He was held prisoner until the war ended but then, instead of returning to the USA, Adams and 20 other GIs chose to settle in China. Rob Walker has been speaking to his daughter Della Adams about her father's life in Communist China.

A Heroine Of Burundi's Civil War20131024In 1993, Burundi's civil war began. We hear the story of Marguerite Barankitse who helped thousands of children affected by the conflict and came to symbolise hope for peace. She is known as 'the Angel of Burundi'.

Photo: Marguerite Barankitse in Burundi / UNHCR

A Japanese Royal Wedding20160408In a challenge to centuries of tradition Japan's Crown Prince Akihito married a non-royal bride on April 10th 1959. The wedding marked a turning point in Japanese society.

This is a Made in Manchester production.

Photo: Crown Prince Akihito and his bride Princess Michiko. Credit: Associated Press.

In a challenge to centuries of tradition Japan's Crown Prince Akihito married a non-royal bride on April 10th 1959. The wedding marked a turning point in Japanese society.

A Jewish Homeland In Siberia20151030

In 1930, the USSR created a Jewish Autonomous Region in Siberia, as a homeland for Soviet Jews. Dina Newman talks to someone who grew up there.

Photo: Birobidzhan, the Jewish capital. Courtesy of Birobidzhan Regional Museum

A Literary Love Affair20171027How Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met and fell in love in Paris in October 1929

In October 1929 Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir began their fifty-year love affair after meeting in Paris. Louise Hidalgo speaks to the writer and leading French feminist, Claudine Monteil, who knew Sartre and de Beauvoir, about their legendary status and their famously open relationship.

Photo: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre sitting in a cafe in Paris, 1970. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

A Mass Shooting In America20160111

In October 2006 a man killed five Amish schoolgirls, and injured five more, in one of the many mass-shootings that take place every year in the USA. Hear from Terri Roberts, the killer's mother, for a unique perspective on gun violence, grief and forgiveness.

A Pakistani View Of The Bangladesh War Of Independence20151215

When Bangladesh fought for independence from Pakistan, thousands of Pakistani troops were sent to fight in what was then called East Pakistan. Shujaat Latif was sent to the town of Jassore where he fought, and then surrendered. He spent two and a half years as a prisoner-of-war. Hear his story.

Photo: Indian army soldiers fire on Pakistani positions, December 15th 1971. Credit: AFP/Getty Images.

A Polish Odyssey2012091720120918 (WS)
20120924 (WS)
One girl's story of exile and soldiering during World War Two.

Danuta Maczka was just 14 when her family was sent to Siberia in 1940.

By the time she was 16 she had been recruited into a Polish army in the Middle East and was fighting the Nazis.

One girl's story of exile and soldiering during World War II.

By the time she was 16 she had been recruited into a Polish army in the Middle East and was fighting the Nazis.

Abba Win Eurovision20140509In 1974 the Swedish pop group Abba finally made it to international pop stardom. Their song Waterloo won the Eurovision Song Contest and they went on to top the charts across Europe.

Hear from Mike Batt who was at the Eurovision Song Contest that night and who met the group on the verge of fame.

Photo: Abba (with their conductor dressed as Napoleon) Copyright BBC.

In 1974 the Swedish pop group Abba finally made it to international pop stardom. Their song Waterloo won the Eurovision Song Contest and they went on to top the charts across Europe.

Abebe Bikila The Barefoot Runner2012080920120810 (WS)
20120812 (WS)
At the 1960 Olympics in Rome an Ethiopian athlete stunned the world.

He was the first black African to win an Olympic gold medal and he did it without wearing shoes.

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Adopted By The Man Who Killed My Family20181206Ramiro Osorio Cristales was just five years old when his family was murdered by the Guatemalan army, along with more than 200 other civilians from the Mayan village of Dos Erres. One of the soldiers who participated in the killings, Santos Lopez, took Ramiro with him and later adopted him. In November 2018, Ramiro gave evidence in the trial against his adoptive father for his part in the massacre. He has been telling Mike Lanchin about his horrific ordeal. (This programme contains disturbing accounts of extreme violence)
Photo: Ramiro as a child in Guatemala (R.Osorio)

Ramiro Osorio Cristales was five when his family was massacred by the Guatemalan army.

History as told by the people who were there

Afghan Coup Part One20091228It's exactly thirty years since Soviet forces overthrew the Afghan government.

Thirty years ago Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the govermnent in Kabul.

In the first of two programmes marking those events Lucy Williamson hears from a young eyewitness to events.

It's exactly thirty years since Soviet forces overthrew the Afghan government.

Afghan Coup Part Two20091229 It's exactly thirty years since Soviet soldiers invaded Afghanistan - part two.

In the second of two programmes marking thirty years since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Lucy Williamson brings together two people who lived through those events.

One from each side of the conflict.

Afghanistan's National Museum20160204

Since 1989 the treasures in Afghanistan's National Museum in Kabul have been at risk. From war, from looting, and also from the Taliban who destroyed many works which they saw as un-Islamic. Yahya Muhibzada was acting director of the Museum in 2001 when he was forced to look on helplessly as Taliban officials destroyed statues. Nancy Hatch Dupree is an American who has charted the fate of Afghanistan's cultural heritage.

(Photo: Yahya Muhibzada)

Africa United20130523Fifty years ago, in May 1963, leaders of 32 newly-independent African nations came together for the first time in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. At stake was the dream of a united Africa.

(Image: African leaders in Africa Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 25, 1963. Credit: AP)

African Embassy Bombings20100809The simultaneous bomb attacks on two United States embassies in Africa in 1998.

A Kenyan man blinded during a bomb attack on the US embassy in Nairobi tells Witness how he's come to terms with his injuries.

Other survivors describe that day.

A Kenyan man blinded during a bomb attack on the US embassy in Nairobi tells Witness how he's come to terms with his injuries. Other survivors describe that day.

African Troops During Wwii2012060420120605
20120605 (WS)
During World War II, African soldiers were a vital part of the Allied forces.

Many of them were sent to Burma as reinforcements for the British troops there.

Hear just some of their memories - recorded by the BBC in the 1990s.

Hear just some of their memories - recorded by the BBC in the 1990s.

African Troops During Wwii2012060420120610
20120610 (WS)
During World War II, African soldiers were a vital part of the Allied forces.

Many of them were sent to Burma as reinforcements for the British troops there.

Hear just some of their memories - recorded by the BBC in the 1990s.

During World War II, African soldiers were a vital part of the Allied forces.

Airlift To America20100104In the late 1950s a plan to educate young Africans leaders is born.

A scholarship programme for young Africans which started in the late 1950s eventually led to the first african-american President of the United States.

Claire Bowes looks into the African Airlift Foundation.

A scholarship programme for young Africans which started in the late 1950s eventually led to the first african-american President of the United States. Claire Bowes looks into the African Airlift Foundation.

In the late 1950s a plan to educate young Africans leaders is born.

Alaska Statehood20110103On January 3 1959 Alaska finally became a fully fledged member state of the USA.

We hear from Dennis Egan, whose father was to become the first governor of the newly formed state.

He remembers the hope, pride and emotion of that historic day.

We hear from Dennis Egan, whose father was to become the first governor of the newly formed state. He remembers the hope, pride and emotion of that historic day.

Albanian Illegal Immigrants20140624

In the spring and summer of 1991 tens of thousands of Albanians commandeered cargo ships to take them to Italy. The immigrants were escaping a collapsing communist dictatorship. Robert Budina was one of the Albanians on board the Vlora, a cargo ship which had been carrying sugar from Cuba.

(Photo: Albanian immigrants on board the Vlora. Copyright: Associated Press)

In the spring and summer of 1991 tens of thousands of Albanians commandeered cargo ships to take them Italy. The immigrants were escaping a collapsing communist dictatorship. Robert Budina was one of the Albanians on board the Vlora, a cargo ship which had been carrying sugar from Cuba.

Photo: Albanian immigrants on board the Vlora. Copyright: Associated Press.

Albania's Economic Chaos20170302There was rioting across Albania after pyramid investment schemes collapsed.

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

Series looking at key events in history, featuring archive accounts from the people who were there.

Algeria Emergency20110221Rioting in Algeria in October 1988 killed around 500 people and started a period of political turmoil.

A short-lived experiment in democracy ended in a violent civil war between Islamists and the Algerian army. A state of emergency remains in force until today.

Witness speaks to a foreign journalist and an Algerian student who both experienced a turning point in the country's history.

How Algeria's experiement with democracy ended in civil war and a state of emergency.

American Air Traffic Controllers' Strike20160805

In August 1981 President Ronald Reagan fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers. The strike, which was illegal under American law, lasted just two days, but it was to become a watershed moment in labour relations in the US. Witness speaks to John Dwyer, one of those sacked, and to Ken Moffett, who was involved in trying to settle the dispute.

(AP Photo/Dave Pickoff)

American Football And Brain Injuries20140131

In 2002 the death of a former NFL star, Mike Webster, led to questions about the safety of American football. Hear from Mike's son, Garrett Webster and one of the doctors who treated him.

Photo: Mike Webster. Getty Images Sport.

American Prisoners In Vietnam2013032820130329 (WS)After their release in 1973, former US prisoners of war began to talk about torture.

After their release in 1973, former US prisoners of war began to talk about the torture they had suffered at the hands of the Vietcong. One of the POWs who spent longest in Vietnamese prison camps was Everett Alvarez - hear his story.

After their release in 1973, former US prisoners of war began to talk about the torture they had suffered at the hands of the Vietcong. One of the POWs who spent longest in Vietnamese prison camps was Everett Alvarez - hear his story.

Americans Told 'eat Less' To Live Longer20170510In 1977 a US government body first warned Americans that their diet was killing them.
America's First Communists20170102

The Communist party of the USA was formed in 1919, two years after the Russian Revolution. Witness tells the story of two of those first American communists, Ella and Bert Wolfe, who in the early years of persecution had to live under false names. In 1921, they fled to Mexico where they later became friends of the artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to someone who knew them.

Photograph: Ella and Bert Wolfe (courtesy of the Hoover Institution Archives)

Amnesty At 5020110529It is half a century since the launch of the human rights group Amnesty International.

Over the years it has highlighted thousands of cases where people have been imprisoned without trial.

Maria was a teenager in jail in Uruguay when she was helped by one of its early letter-writing campaigns.

(Photo: Maria today).

Amnesty At 5020110530It is half a century since the launch of the human rights group Amnesty International.
An Assassination In Colombia20170320

In March 1990 the left-wing politician and presidential candidate, Bernardo Jaramillo, was shot dead at Bogota's international airport. He was leader of the Patriotic Union, a party formed by members of the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian communist party. Jaramillo was among several thousand of its members killed by right-wing paramilitaries with close links to the country's drug cartels. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to the murdered politician's widow, Mariela Barragán, who was with him the day he died.

Photo: Mariela Barragán and Bernardo Jaramillo (courtesy of the family)

An Azerbaijani View Of The Demise Of The Soviet Union.20110909How the collapse of the Soviet Union played out in the life of a teenager in Azerbaijan.

The story of how a teenage girl in Azerbaijan became disenchanted with Moscow's propaganda, and sided with nationalists who campaigned for the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Konul Khalilova today.

An Azerbaijani View Of The Demise Of The Soviet Union.20110911
An Azerbaijani View Of The Demise Of The Soviet Union.20110912How the collapse of the Soviet Union played out in the life of a teenager in Azerbaijan.
Anc Bomb20111219Fifty years ago the armed wing of South Africa's ANC party took its first violent action.

Ronnie Kasrils tells us about planting a bomb at municipal offices in Durban.

(Image: Ronnie Kasrils in 1961.

Credit: Ronnie Kasrils).

(Image: Ronnie Kasrils in 1961. Credit: Ronnie Kasrils)

Angela Merkel20160411

On April 10th 2000, Angela Merkel became the first female leader of a German political party - and then Chancellor in 2005. But before she became one of Europe's most powerful politicians, she had an entirely different career - as a theoretical chemist in communist East Berlin. Witness speaks to her former colleague Michael Schindhelm.

PHOTO: Angela Merkel waves two bouquets after her election as chairman of the CDU in Essen, Germany on April 10th 2000.

Angela Merkel20160630A look back at the career of the German Chancellor before she became a politician.

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

As Britain begins to negotiate its exit from the European Union we're looking back at the early career of one of the key players in those negotiations, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. She started her career, not in politics, but as a chemist in a laboratory in Communist East Germany. Lucy Burns has spoken to someone who worked alongside her in the days before she took up politics.

Angela Merkel's Rise To Power20181207Angela Merkel rose to power in German politics after the fall of her mentor, Helmut Kohl. He had accepted secret donations on behalf of their political party the CDU. After the scandal erupted in December 1999 Angela Merkel wrote a newspaper article condemning his actions. Soon she was the party's new leader. Tim Mansel has been speaking to her biographer Evelyn Roll.

Photo: Angela Merkel in 1999. Credit: Getty Images.

History as told by the people who were there

Angola Mercenaries2012071020120715In July 1976 four foreign mercenaries were executed for their part in Angola's civil war.

Three of the men were from Britain, a fourth was from America.

American attorney Bob Cesner, was one of the defence lawyers.

(Image: Bob Cesner at the 1976 trial).

In July 1976 four foreign mercenaries were executed for their part in Angola's civil war.

Anne Frank's Diary2012062520120626In June 1947 the diary of Anne Frank was published for the very first time.

Witness has been speaking to her first cousin and closest surviving relative, 87-year-old Buddy Elias.

(Photo: Anne Frank/Press Association).

Anne Frank's Diary2012062520120701In June 1947 the diary of Anne Frank was published for the very first time.
Anthrax Attacks20130918In Sept 2001 letters were sent to journalists containing the biological agent Anthrax
Anthrax Attacks20160914

One week after the 9/11 attacks, a series of letters were sent to journalists and politicians in the USA. They contained the deadly biological agent Anthrax. The United States was gripped with fear as postal workers fell ill. The FBI launched one of the biggest and most expensive investigations in its history. In 2013 Rebecca Kesby spoke to Special Agent Scott Stanley about the case.

(Photo: Workers washing out rubbish bins. Credit: AP/Steve Mitchell)

Anthrax Leak In The Soviet Union20170329

In 1979, an outbreak of anthrax poisoning caused dozens of deaths in the Soviet Union. Geneticist and molecular biologist Professor Matthew Meselson and his team accessed the area years later to determine what had happened.

He told Rachael Gillman about his experience.

Photo: Anthrax Vial

Credit: Getty Images

Photo: Anthrax Vial

Anti-shah Demonstrations In Iran20131230Millions of people took to the streets of Iran's main cities in December 1978. They were demonstrating against the Shah and his authoritarian government. Hear from two men who took part in the protests: Sadeq Zibakalam and Abbas Milani.

Photo: Demonstrators in 1978. Associated Press.

Apollo 820181212The biggest audience in TV history watched NASA's Apollo 8 mission beam back the first pictures from an orbit around the moon at Christmas 1968. The broadcast captured the world's imagination and put the Americans ahead of the Soviet Union in the Cold War battle to make the first lunar landing. Simon Watts talks to Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman.

Picture: The Earth as seen from the Moon, photographed by the Apollo 8 crew (NASA)

How the first mission to orbit the Moon captured the world's imagination in December 1968

History as told by the people who were there

Armenia20100114The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during World War 1 still casts a shadow over the country's relationship with neighbouring Turkey. Tom Esslemont has been listening to the memories of two elderly Armenian survivors of that time.

Remembering the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians over 90 years ago.

Armenia And Azerbaijan2013030420130305 (WS)
20130311 (WS)
It is 25 years since violence broke out in the city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan.

It is 25 years since violence broke out in the city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan. Anti-Armenian riots had to be put down by Soviet soldiers. They were a forewarning of the war that would split the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is 25 years since violence broke out in the city of Sumgait in Azerbaijan. Anti-Armenian riots had to be put down by Soviet soldiers. They were a forewarning of the war that would split the region following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Armistice Day 191820131111On November 11th 1918 at 11am, the guns of World War One finally fell silent.

Listen to voices from the archives remembering that moment.

Photo: Marshall Foch and other military leaders outside the railway carriage where the WW1 Armistice was signed on Nov 11th 1918. (Three Lions/Getty Images)

Arnold Schwarzenegger And Mr Universe2012090320120904 (WS)
20120908 (WS)
20120909 (WS)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and bodybuilding in the 1960s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger first made his name in the 1960s as Mr Universe.

He was a shy young man with little English, but he took the world of bodybuilding by storm.

Witness meets two men who knew him in those days; a fellow competitor and a Mr Universe judge.

Picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger courtesy of Getty Images.

Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger and bodybuilding in the 1960s.

Artek - The Soviet Holiday Camp20140703

Artek was the Soviet Union's most popular holiday camp, on the shores of the Black Sea in Crimea. Thousands of children visited every year - Maria Kim Espeland went there in the 1980s.

(Photo: Group of children attending Artek. Credit: Irina Vlasova)

Assad And Syria20101229It is 40 years since Hafez al Assad seized power in Syria.

Hafez al Assad was the Syrian Defence Minister in the winter of 1970 when his struggle for power came to a head.

His former friend, the hardline Baathist, Salah Jadid, was jailed for life.

Hafez al Assad was the Syrian Defence Minister in the winter of 1970 when his struggle for power came to a head. His former friend, the hardline Baathist, Salah Jadid, was jailed for life.

Assassination Of Anwar Sadat20111006In October 1981 the President of Egypt was shot at a military parade.

On October 6, 1981 the President of Egypt was shot dead.

He was killed by Egyptian officers taking part in a military parade.

He was replaced by his Vice-President, Hosni Mubarak.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images.

Assassination Of Anwar Sadat20111007
Assassination Of Anwar Sadat20111010In October 1981 the President of Egypt was shot at a military parade.
Assassination Of Leon Trotsky2012082120120822 (WS)
20120826 (WS)
The assassination of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotksy in Mexico City in 1940.

The exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City in August 1940, stabbed in the head with an ice-pick.

Trotsky's grandson, Esteban Volkov, then aged 14, lived with his grandfather, and describes arriving home from school that fateful day.

He also recalls a previous assassination attempt three months earlier.

Photo: Esteban Volkov with his grandparents, Leon Trotsky and Natalia Sedova (courtesy of Trotsky Museum, Mexico City)

Photo: Esteban Volkov with his grandparents, Leon Trotsky and Natalia Sedova (courtesy of Trotsky Museum, Mexico City)

Assassination Of Malcolm X20110228How black leader Malcolm X was assassinated in New York in February 1965.

In February 1965, the controversial black leader, Malcolm X, was assassinated in Harlem, New York.

Witness speaks to a supporter of Malcolm X who saw the killing.

Assassination Of Rafik Hariri20110214

On February 14 2005, Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri was assassinated

The former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, was driving through central Beirut when a remote-controlled bomb was detonated under his armour-plated car.

22 other people were killed in the attack.

The former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, was driving through central Beirut when a remote-controlled bomb was detonated under his armour-plated car. 22 other people were killed in the attack.

Assassination Of Rajiv Gandhi2014052120140525 (WS)In 1991 the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. The grandson of the founder of modern India, Jawaharlal Nehru, was blown up by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels while campaigning for the general election. We hear from a journalist who was with him just moments before the attack.

(Photo: Funeral procession of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi 24 May 1991. Credit: Douglas E. Curran/AFP/Getty Images)

Assassination Of Trujillo20110530It is 50 years since the assassination of Rafael Trujillo - Dominican Republic dictator.

Witness hears from 3 people who remember that day.

Photo: Antonio Imbert, one of men who shot Trujillo.

Assassination Of Trujillo20110531It is 50 years since the assassination of Rafael Trujillo - Dominican Republic dictator.
Assassination Of Trujillo20110604
Assassination Of Trujillo20110605It is 50 years since the assassination of Rafael Trujillo - Dominican Republic dictator.

Witness hears from three people who remember that day.

Photo: Antonio Imbert, one of men who shot Trujillo.

Attack At Lod Airport20110531It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv

It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv - more than 20 people were killed.

This programme contains some graphic descriptions of violence - listeners may find it distressing.

Photo: Ros Sloboda, a survivor of that day, tells her story.

Attack At Lod Airport20110601It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv.
Attack At Lod Airport20110604It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv - more than 20 people were killed.

This programme contains some graphic descriptions of violence - listeners may find it distressing.

Photo: Ros Sloboda, a survivor of that day, tells her story.

It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv.

Attack At Lod Airport20110605It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv

It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv - more than 20 people were killed.

This programme contains some graphic descriptions of violence - listeners may find it distressing.

Photo: Ros Sloboda, a survivor of that day, tells her story.

It is almost 40 years since an attack at the airport outside Tel Aviv.

Attack On Argentina's Jews20140721

In 1994, 85 people were killed when a car bomb exploded outside a Jewish community centre in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. No-one has ever been convicted for the bombing. We hear from two people whose lives were changed that day.

Photo: A man walks over the rubble left after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israeli Mutual Association. Credit: Ali Burafi/AFP/Getty Images)

Attack On Fela Kuti2012050820120509
20120509 (WS)
20120513 (WS)
The day the Nigerian military stormed the musician's compound in Lagos.

They burned down the buildings and threw his mother out of a window - she never recovered.

Hear from one of his former wives about the events of that day.

Hear from one of his former wives about the events of that day.

The day the Nigerian military stormed the musician's compound in Lagos.

They burned down the buildings and threw his mother out of a window - she never recovered.

Hear from one of his former wives about the events of that day.

Attack On Fela Kuti2012050820120513
Attack On Fela Kuti2012050920120510The day the Nigerian military stormed the musician's compound in Lagos.
Attack On Springboks In New Zealand2012090620120907 (WS)
20120909 (WS)
In 1981 anti-apartheid protestors used a plane to attack South African rugby players.

They wanted to stop them from playing against New Zealand's All Blacks.

Hear from a player, and a protestor who were there.

Hear from a player, and a protestor who were there.

Attack On The Us Embassy In Islamabad20151120

In late November 1979, a mob inspired by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini set fire to the US Embassy in Islamabad. Those inside fled to the steel lined safe-room to await rescue, which took several hours to come. We hear from Marcia Gauger, an American reporter who was trapped inside.

Photo: Pakistani troops resting outside the burnt out US Embassy in Islamabad 1979 (BBC)

In late November 1979, a mob inspired by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini set fire to the US Embassy in Islamabad. Those inside fled to the steel lined safe-room to await rescue, which took several hours to come. We hear from Marcia Gauger, an American reporter who was trapped inside.

Auschwitz Convoy Escape20120418How a group of Jews escaped from a train bound for the Auschwitz death camp in 1943.

In 1943, a group of Belgian Jews escaped from a train bound for the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

In the only incident of its kind, they were helped by members of the Belgian resistance.

Witness speaks to Simon Gronowski, who, at the age of 11, jumped from the train to safety.

PHOTO: Simon Gronowski with his parents (private collection)

Auschwitz Convoy Escape20120419
Auschwitz Convoy Escape20120422How a group of Jews escaped from a train bound for the Auschwitz death camp in 1943.
Australian Evacuee20110625During WW2 British children were sent away from the cities to escape German bombs.

Most went to the countryside but some went as far away as Australia.

Helen Cuthbert (right) and her sister were sent to live with their aunt there.

Australian Evacuee20110626During WWII British children were sent away from the cities to escape German bombs

During WW2 British children were sent away from the cities to escape German bombs.

During World War II, many British children were sent away from the cities to escape German bombs.

Most went to the countryside but some went as far away as Australia.

Helen Cuthbert (right) and her sister were sent to live with their aunt there.

Australia's Asylum Stand-off20131002In 2001, Australia refused entry to more than 400 refugees aboard a Norwegian freight ship, the Tampa. The people on board were mainly Afghans fleeing the Taliban, who had set sail in a fishing boat from Indonesia. The refugees became the centre of an international row over who should give them shelter.

(Photo: The Indonesian fishing boat carrying more than 400 refugees comes alongside the Norwegian Cargo ship Tampa which took them aboard. Credit: AP)

Australia's Rabbit Plague20150526Rabbits were introduced to Australia for sport in the 19th century. By the 1950s they posed a serious threat to Australia's agricultural economy. Hear from one farmer who took part in the battle to bring the alien species under control.

Austrian Wine Scandal20151006

In 1985 government scientists discovered anti-freeze in bottles of fine Austrian wine. No one died, or fell ill from drinking the poisoned wine, but the country's reputation as a wine-producing nation was seriously dented. We hear from Heidi Schroek, a young Austrian wine-maker at the time.

(Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

In 1985 government scientists discovered anti-freeze in bottles of fine Austrian wine. No one died, or fell ill from drinking the poisoned wine, but the country's reputation as a wine-producing nation was seriously dented. We hear from Heidi Schroek, a young Austrian wine-maker at the time.

Baby Fae And The Baboon Heart Transplant2012111220121113 (WS)
20121119 (WS)
In 1984 doctors in California tried a revolutionary operation on a 2 week old baby girl.

In 1984 doctors in California tried a revolutionary operation on a two-week-old baby girl. She had been born with a fatal heart condition - but there was no infant human donor available. Hear from the lead surgeon, and an intensive care nurse involved in the fight to save Baby Fae's life.

Photo: Baby Fae listening to her mother's voice in the isolation unit. Courtesy of Loma Linda Hospital

She had been born with a fatal heart condition - but there was no infant human donor available.

Baby Fae And The Baboon Heart Transplant20131114In 1984 doctors in California tried a revolutionary operation on a two-week-old baby.

In 1984 doctors in California tried a revolutionary operation on a two-week-old baby girl. She had been born with a fatal heart condition - but there was no infant human donor available.

Hear from the lead surgeon, and an intensive care nurse involved in the fight to save Baby Fae's life.

Photo: Baby Fae listening to her mother's voice in the isolation unit. Courtesy of Loma Linda Hospital

In 1984 doctors in California tried a revolutionary operation on a two-week-old baby girl. She had been born with a fatal heart condition - but there was no infant human donor available.

Hear from the lead surgeon, and an intensive care nurse involved in the fight to save Baby Fae's life.

Baby Fae And The Baboon's Heart20130113

In 1984 doctors in California tried to save a baby girl's life by giving her a heart transplant. Unable to find an infant human donor, they used the heart of a baboon. Dr Leonard Bailey, who led the transplant team, and nurse Marie Hodgkins, talk about their attempts to save Baby Fae.

Photo: Baby Fae in the isolation unit listening to her mother's voice a few days after her operation. Courtesy of Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Bangladesh Independence20110403It is 40 years since the beginning of the battle for independence in Bangladesh.

When Meghna Guhathakurta was 14 years old her father was killed during a crackdown by the Pakistani military.

During what they called 'Operation Searchlight' they targeted intellectuals sympathetic to the cause of Bengali nationalism.

Meghna and her parents.

Barbara Cartland - Queen Of Romance20190102Dame Barbara Cartland was best known for her historical romances and is thought to have sold hundreds of millions of books around the world. She was step-grandmother to Princess Diana and was at her most prolific in the 1970s and 80s when she appeared regularly on British television. Kirsty Reid has been listening to some of her interviews from the BBC archives and hearing what it was like to meet her in person from Joe McAleer, author of Call of the Atlantic: Jack London's Publishing Odyssey Overseas.

Photo: Barbara Cartland, pictured in 1970 (Credit: BBC)

The romantic fiction writer is thought to have sold hundreds of millions of books

History as told by the people who were there

Barbary Pirates And The White Slave Trade20151005

Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans were captured by pirates known as the Barbary corsairs. Many spent the rest of their lives in slavery in North Africa. We hear the account of one English boy, Thomas Pellow, who was a slave of the Moroccan Sultan, Moulay Ismail, for 23 years.

(Photo: Corsairs attack a ship off the Barbary Coast of North Africa, circa 1700. A lithograph by Collette. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans were captured by pirates known as the Barbary corsairs. Many spent the rest of their lives in slavery in North Africa. We hear the account of one English boy, Thomas Pellow, who was a slave of the Moroccan Sultan, Moulay Ismail, for 23 years.

Barbie20140312

The first Barbie doll was sold in 1959. The woman at Mattel who created it describes how it took years to convince her male colleagues that it would sell.

PHOTO: Ruth and Elliot Handler, creators of Barbie, courtesy of Mattel Inc

Battle Of Mogadishu: Black Hawk Down20170201

In 1993, the United States launched a disastrous raid against the forces of the Somali warlord General Mohamed Farah Aideed. During the operation, two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, 18 American troops were killed, dozens more were injured. Somali casualties were estimated to be in the hundreds. The disaster would have a major impact on US foreign policy in Africa and was made famous by the film Black Hawk Down. We hear a Somali account of the operation, and from one of the American helicopter pilots who was shot down during the raid.

(Image: UH60 Blackhawk US Army Gunship patrolling Mogadishu. Credit: AP)

In 1993, the United States launched a disastrous raid against the forces of the Somali warlord General Mohamed Farah Aideed. During the operation, two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, 18 American troops were killed, dozens more were injured. Somali casualties were estimated to be in the hundreds. The disaster would have a major impact on US foreign policy in Africa and was made famous by the film Black Hawk Down. We hear a Somali account of the operation, and from one of the American helicopter pilots who was shot down during the raid.

Battle Of Tora Bora20160324After the Taliban fell in Afghanistan, the hunt for Osama bin Laden began in earnest.

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, in late 2001, the hunt for Osama bin Laden began in earnest. CIA commander Gary Berntsen led the drive to catch the Al Qaeda leader. In December 2001 he ordered a small group of special forces soldiers and Afghan fighters into the White Mountains close to Pakistan in the hope of cornering bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora.

Bay Of Pigs Invasion20110418In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Castro.

In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Fidel Castro.

50 years ago boatloads of counter-revolutionaries stormed the beaches of a bay in Cuba.

They soon ran out of ammunition, and without backup their mission failed.

We hear from one of those exiles.

In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Fidel Castro.

50 years ago boatloads of counter-revolutionaries stormed the beaches of a bay in Cuba.

Bay Of Pigs Invasion20110419
Bay Of Pigs Invasion20110423
Bay Of Pigs Invasion20110424In April 1961 Cuban exiles, backed by the US government, tried to overthrow Castro.
Bay Of Pigs Invasion20120715In 1961 Alfredo Duran was part of a group of CIA-trained Cuban exiles who invaded the island to try to overthrow Fidel Castro's revolutionary government.

He tells Witness how the scheme went badly wrong, and how the promise of help from the Americans never came.

Baywatch20130924Executive producer Michael Berk on the birth of a global hit TV show in September 1989
Beatlemania20140207

On February 7th, 1964, British pop group the Beatles were met by hysterical crowds when their plane landed in the USA. Judith Kristen was one of the thousands of teenage girls at the airport that day. Hear her memories of Beatlemania.

Photo: AP

Beatlemania20150904

On 7 February 1964, British pop group The Beatles were met by hysterical crowds when their plane landed in the USA. Judith Kristen was one of the thousands of teenage girls at the airport that day. Hear her memories of Beatlemania.

Photo: AP

Beirut Barracks Bombing20131023On 23 October 1983, hundreds were killed in co-ordinated suicide attacks on the headquarters of American and French troops stationed in Lebanon. The troops were part of a multi-national force deployed to help end the Lebanese civil war. Hear the story of Randy Gaddo, a US marine who witnessed the devastating attack on the US Marine barracks.

(Photo: Aftermath of attack on US Marine Barracks in Beirut, 23 October 1983. Credit: AP)

Beirut Bombing20100419The US Embassy in Beirut was attacked by a suicide bomber in April 1983.

In April 1983 a suicide bomb attack against the US Embassy in Beirut changed relations between America and the Islamic world forever.

Ryan Crocker tells Witness about the bombing - and its aftermath.

Bering Strait Swimmer2012080720120808 (WS)
20120812 (WS)
In 1987, a 30-year-old American swimmer called Lynne Cox swam across the ""Ice Curtain"" between the USA and the Soviet Union.

The Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait were only 2.7 miles apart, but divided by near-freezing water and Cold War rivalry.

Lynne Cox talks to Witness.

Her experiences are also recalled in her autobiography, Swimming to Antarctica.

PHOTO: Lynne Cox on the Bering Strait. (Copyright Rich Roberts)

How an American swimmer crossed the ""Ice Curtain"" between the USA and the Soviet Union.

How an American swimmer crossed the ""Ice Curtain"" between the USA and the Soviet Union.

Berlin's Rubble Women20181203At the end of WW2 much of Germany's capital had been destroyed by bombing and artillery. Almost half of all houses and flats had been damaged and a million Berliners were homeless. Caroline Wyatt has been speaking to Helga Cent-Velden, one of the women tasked with helping clear the rubble to make the city habitable again.

Photo: Women in post-war Berlin pass pails of rubble to clear bombed areas in the Russian sector of the city. (Photo by Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

At the end of WW2 much of Germany's capital had been destroyed. Women helped clear it up.

History as told by the people who were there

Biafra20100115It's exactly 40 years since the Biafran war of independence from Nigeria ended in failure.

It is exactly 40 years since the Republic of Biafra ceased to exist. After two and a half years of war and starvation, its founders had given up the fight - and surrendered to Nigerian forces. But what was it like fighting for such a tiny state, against such huge odds? Claire Bowes hears from a former member of the Biafran Air Force, Canice Umenwaliri.

Biba20140901

In September 1964, a ground-breaking new boutique called Biba opened in Swinging London. Witness speaks to Biba creator Barbara Hulanicki.

Picture: 30th September 1966 - two sets of identical twins who work as shop assistants at Biba's boutique in Kensington, west London (left to right Rosy Young, Nicole Hellier, Michelle Hellier and Susy Young.) Photo by Caroline Gillies/BIPs/Getty Images.

Bibles In Us Schools20160816

In 1963 a third of schools in the US had to change their rules on Bible reading after a Supreme Court decision. It all began when a teenager refused to read the Bible in class. 16 year old Ellery Schempp took his school to court accusing them of violating the first amendment by forcing him to read the Bible at the start of every school day. It challenged the principle of a separation of church and state enshrined in the US Constitution. Claire Bowes has been speaking to him for Witness.

Photo: Ellery Schempp aged 16 courtesy of Ellery Schempp

Audio of Supreme Court provided courtesy of Oyez, a free law project hosted at the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University.

Big Brother - The Beginning Of Reality Tv2012122820121229 (WS)In December 1999 a young Dutch man won the first ever Big Brother reality TV show.

It was to be the start of a global television phenomenon.

But for 22-year-old Bart Spring in't Veld, his victory proved to be a mixed blessing.

Photo: Big Brother winner Bart Spring in't Veld (Endemol)

It was to be the start of a global television phenomenon.

But for 22-year-old Bart Spring in't Veld, his victory proved to be a mixed blessing.

Photo: Big Brother winner Bart Spring in't Veld (Endemol)

Bionic Heart20140826

Today we go back to 1994 when doctors in the UK carried out a revolutionary operation on a 62 year old man. He was fitted with a battery-operated heart as a permanent replacement. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the lead surgeon.

Inside Story : Heart Team BBC

Picture shows surgeon John Walwork operating in the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. In Great Britain the first successful heart transplants were carried out at the Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, over twenty years ago.

Birmingham Pub Bombings20131121In 1974, bombs exploded at two busy pubs in the English city of Birmingham, killing 21 people. The IRA were blamed. Witness speaks to Les Robinson, who survived the attack.

(Photo: Debris and damage from the bomb in the basement pub. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Birth Control In The Usa20111013On 16 October 1916, the first birth control clinic in the USA was opened.

The woman behind it, Margaret Sanger, was arrested for breaking obscenity laws.

Photo: Margaret Sanger (left) outside court, awaiting trial.

Birth Control In The Usa20111014
Birth Control In The Usa20111017On 16 October 1916, the first birth control clinic in the USA was opened.
Birth Of The Euro20120102How millions of Europeans celebrated the launch of the euro in 2002.

At midnight on January the 1st 2002, the euro was launched simultaneously in 12 European countries.

Millions of people lined up at cash machines to take out their first notes in the new currency.

Louise Hidalgo talks to the European Central Bank official in charge of the biggest currency launch in history.

(PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images).

Birth Of The Euro20120103
Birth Of The Euro20120107
Birth Of The Euro20120108How millions of Europeans celebrated the launch of the euro in 2002.
Black In The Ussr20160620

Robert Robinson, a Jamaican born engineer, was recruited to work in the USSR from a factory in Detroit in 1930. Having had his US citizenship revoked, he spent 43 years unable to leave the Soviet Union. Dina Newman tells his story, using BBC archive.

(Photo: Robert Robinson in the 1920s. Source: BBC archive)

Robert Robinson, a Jamaican born engineer, was recruited to work in the USSR from a factory in Detroit in 1930. Having had his US citizenship revoked, he spent 43 years unable to leave the Soviet Union. Dina Newman tells his story, using BBC archive.

Black July2013072320130728 (WS)In 1983 violence erupted between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. Hundreds, possibly thousands of Tamils were killed in the capital Colombo. The violence ended after a few days, but the killings had sparked off a civil war which would last for more than quarter of a century.

(Photo: The aftermath of the violence in a street in Colombo. Credit: Associated Press)

(Photo: The aftermath of the violence in a street in Colombo. Credit: Associated Press)

Black Sabbath20160212

On Friday 13 February 1970, Black Sabbath released their first album and a new genre was born - heavy metal. Witness speaks to guitarist Tony Iommi about the band's origins in Britain's industrial West Midlands - and the day his career nearly ended when he lost the tips of two fingers in a metal-working accident.

(Photo: Black Sabbath backstage at Top of the Pops (BBC). From left: Bill Ward, Ozzy Osborne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler)

Black Stars Of Ghana2013011720130118 (WS)
20130120 (WS)
Striker Osei Kofi on how the Ghanaian football team dominated Africa in the 1960s.

In the 1960s, the Ghanaian football team dominated Africa, winning tournament after tournament.

Known as the Black Stars, they were an exciting attacking force which President Kwame Nkrumah hoped would help promote African unity.

But in 1965, the Ghanaians faced an uphill struggle in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunis.

Their star striker, Osei Kofi, remembers the match for Witness.

PHOTO: Osei Kofi speaking to the BBC.

Black Wednesday2011091620110917On 16 September 1992, Britain lost billions in foreign currency reserves in a single day.

Norman Lamont was Chancellor of the Exchequer when the country had to crash out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Image: VT Freeze Frame.

Black Wednesday20110917
Black Wednesday20110918On 16 September 1992, Britain lost billions in foreign currency reserves in a single day.

Norman Lamont was Chancellor of the Exchequer when the country had to crash out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Image: VT Freeze Frame.

Blasphemy In Pakistan2012092020120921 (WS)
20120923 (WS)
In 1998 a Roman Catholic Bishop killed himself in protest at Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

His name was Bishop John Joseph - and he believed that the laws were being used to persecute Christians.

Hear from a Catholic priest who knew him well, but who still believes he should not have taken his own life.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images.

Bloods And Crips20150819

In the early 1990s, gang warfare in South Central Los Angeles was claiming hundreds of lives a year. Then, in 1992, peace activist Aqeela Sherrills helped negotiate a truce between the two main black gangs, the Bloods and the Crips. He tells Witness how it transformed his local neighbourhood of Watts.

Bob Marley Survives Assassination Attempt20170301An eye-witness remembers the night gunmen tried to kill the global reggae star.

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

In December 1976 gunmen tried to kill the most famous reggae artist of all time, Bob Marley, at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. Marley's friend and neighbour, Nancy Burke, was at the singer's house that night. She's been telling Mike Lanchin about life in the reggae star's entourage, and how she hid in a back room when the unidentified gunmen broke in.

In December 1976 gunmen tried to kill the most famous reggae artist of all time, Bob Marley, at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. Marley's friend and neighbour, Nancy Burke, was at the singer's house that night. She's been telling Mike Lanchin about life in the reggae star's entourage, and how she hid in a back room when the unidentified gunmen broke in.

Bobby Fischer2012082820120829 (WS)
20120902 (WS)
In 1972, the world was transfixed by a Chess match.

At the height of the Cold War, volatile American Bobby Fischer took on Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union for the World Championship.

Played in Iceland, the showdown was known as the ""Match of the Century"".

Alex Last speaks to an Icelandic policeman who became a close companion of Bobby Fischer.

PHOTO: AP

In 1972, chess makes headlines as volatile American Bobby Fischer becomes world champion.

In 1972, the world was transfixed by a Chess match.

Played in Iceland, the showdown was known as the ""Match of the Century"".

PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

Body Worlds Exhibition20170620In 1995 Tokyo University staged the first exhibition to feature plastinated human corpses

In 1995 Tokyo University staged the first public exhibition to feature human corpses that had been preserved through the process of plastination using silicone. The process was developed by the German anatomist, Gunther Von Hagens - but it was Professor Takeshi Yoro of Japan who first suggested they should be put on public display. He speaks to Rebecca Kesby for Witness.

(Photo: Base-ball player at the Body Worlds exhibition of real human bodies, San Diego, California, 2009. Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP)

(Photo: Base-ball player at the Body Worlds exhibition of real human bodies, San Diego, California, 2009. Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP)"

Bokassa's Downfall20100920In 1979 the Emperor of the Central African Republic, Jean Bedel Bokassa, was overthrown.

It was on September 20th 1979 that French forces drove the Central African dictator, Jean Bedel Bokassa from power.

Witness remembers his rule, and his downfall.

(Photo: Bokassa at his coronation.

Getty Images).

It was on September 20th 1979 that French forces drove the Central African dictator, Jean Bedel Bokassa from power. Witness remembers his rule, and his downfall.

(Photo: Bokassa at his coronation. Getty Images)

Born On The Fourth Of July20160704

Alan Johnston talks to the former US Marine and peace activist Ron Kovic about two moments that changed his life forever - one on the battlefield, and one at an anti-war protest in Washington. He became famous when his life story was made into a Hollywood film.

Bosnia: Rape As A Weapon Of War20170427During the Bosnian war of the early 1990's, thousands of women were raped.
Boycott Of "the Sun" Newspaper20110711How the people of Liverpool boycotted Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper.

In 1989, the people of Liverpool began boycotting Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper over its reporting of the Hillsborough football disaster.

The Sun later apologised, but sales in the city have never recovered.

Witness speaks to a Liverpudlian involved in the boycott, and to a local radio journalist who remembers the city's anger.

PHOTO: Press Association.

Boycott Of "the Sun" Newspaper20110712
Boycott Of "the Sun" Newspaper20110716
Boycott Of "the Sun" Newspaper20110717How the people of Liverpool boycotted Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper.
Bradford Riots20110711It is 10 years since riots engulfed the city of Bradford in the North of England.

There were running battles between police and young British Pakistanis.

Mohammed Amran was on the streets throughout.

Photo: Press Association.

Brazil Protests: Caras Pintadas20130823In 1992, President Fernando Collor of Brazil was forced from office by a huge wave of street protests against corruption. The demonstrations were led by students who painted their faces with slogans and the colours of the Brazilian flag. Witness speaks to one of the first members of a movement that became known as Caras pintadas, meaning the Painted Faces.

Picture: Students with painted faces protest, Credit: AFP/Getty Images

In 1992, President Fernando Collor of Brazil was forced from office by a huge wave of street protests against corruption. The demonstrations were led by students who painted their faces with slogans and the colours of the Brazilian flag. Witness speaks to one of the first members of a movement that became known as Caras pintadas, meaning the Painted Faces.

Brazil's Marijuana Summer2019010120190102 (WS)In September 1987, fishermen and surfers in the states of Rio and São Paulo started spotting mysterious tin cans floating in the sea. Soon those tins became a talking point across the country, because they were packed full of high quality marijuana. The tin cans inspired books, fashion, poems, films and many songs. Thomas Pappon has been speaking to two Brazilians who remember that summer well.

Photo: Tin cans picked up by the Brazilian police in Rio. Credit: Agência Estado/AFP

In 1987 thousands of tin cans full of marijuana washed up on the beaches in Rio.

History as told by the people who were there

Britain's Executioner - Albert Pierrepoint20151103

Using archive recordings we tell the story of Britain's most famous hangman. During the 1940s and 50s, he was responsible for the execution of some of Britain's most notorious murderers and was sent to Germany to hang more than 200 Nazi war criminals after WW2. He said he was always determined to treat prisoners with dignity and respect whatever their crime. He initially appeared to support the abolition of the death penalty.

Photo: Albert Pierrepoint at home, 1973 (Credit: Getty Images)

Using archive recordings we tell the story of Britain's most famous hangman. During the 1940s and 50s, he was responsible for the execution of some of Britain's most notorious murderers and was sent to Germany to hang more than 200 Nazi war criminals after WW2. He said he was always determined to treat prisoners with dignity and respect whatever their crime. He initially appeared to support the abolition of the death penalty.

Britain's First Nudist Beach20110808In August 1979 the seaside town of Brighton decided to open a nudist beach

It was the first place in Britain to agree to allow naked bathing.

At first it was a very divisive idea, which shocked some of the locals.

Britain's First Nudist Beach20110809In August 1979 the seaside town of Brighton decided to open a nudist beach.
Britain's First Nudist Beach20110814In August 1979 the seaside town of Brighton decided to open a nudist beach

It was the first place in Britain to agree to allow naked bathing.

At first it was a very divisive idea, which shocked some of the locals.

In August 1979 the seaside town of Brighton decided to open a nudist beach.

Britain's Gi Babies2019123020200104 (R4)During World War Two hundreds of thousands of US troops were posted to the United Kingdom and several thousand of those soldiers were African-American. But when children were born as a result of relationships between those black GIs and white British women, their babies often grew up in children's homes and went on to have difficult lives. Farhana Haider has been speaking to one of those children, Babs Gibson-Ward.

Photo: Hoinicote House children, c.1948
Credit: Lesley York

The story of children born to British mothers and black GIs during WW2

Series looking at key events in history, as told by the people who were there

During World War Two hundreds of thousands of US troops were posted to the United Kingdom and several thousand of those soldiers were African-American. But when children were born as a result of relationships between those black GIs and white British women, their babies often grew up in children's homes and went on to have difficult lives. Farhana Haider has been speaking to one of those children, Babs Gibson-Ward.

Photo: Hoinicote House children, c.1948
Credit: Lesley York

Britain's Palestine Patrols20151126

In the 1940s the Royal Navy intercepted dozens of Jewish refugee ships trying to reach British-controlled Palestine. It was part of British government policy to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine. Witness hears from Alan Tyler who served as an officer onboard HMS Chevron, patrolling the Mediterranean sea.

(Photo: The ship 'Jewish State' docking at Haifa in October 1947. The Jewish refugees on board were sent to Cyprus by the British authorities. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

Britain's Secret Code-breakers20160211

In February 1943, as German and Italian troops withdrew from Libya, thousands of miles away, Britain's secret army of British code-breakers were listening in. Witness talks to Rozanne Colchester, one of the thousands of young men and women who worked at Bletchley Park in England, breaking their enemies' secret codes, like Enigma, and deciphering their top-secret military communiques.

(Photo:Code-breakers in Hut Six at Bletchley Park, deciphering German Air-force codes. Crown copyright, reproduced by kind permission of Director, GCHQ)

British Forces In Afghanistan20141031As the UK ends combat operations in Afghanistan, hear from a translator who worked alongside British troops in the country, and who was eventually forced into exile because of hostility towards the coalition forces.

Photo: British troops on patrol in Helmand Province. Credit: Press Association

British Miners' Strike20140304

In March 1984, coal miners across Britain went on strike over planned pit closures. One former miner recalls the clash between strikers and police in 'the Battle of Orgreave'.

(Photo: Striking miners picketing Tilmanstone Colliery in Kent, March 1985. Credit: Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Buena Vista Social Club20150930

In 1996 a group of veteran musicians made an album that changed the image of Cuban music for ever. Some of the artists had come out of retirement for the occasion. Laoud-player, Barbarito Torres, remembers that ground-breaking recording session in Havana and his excitement at playing on the very first Buena Vista Social Club album, which went on