Witness History [World Service]

History as told by the people who were there


2020062220200623 (WS)

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


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

"spend, Spend, Spend" - The Miner's Wife Who Won Big2017122720171228 (WS)

How Viv Nicholson became a celebrity in Britain after winning the football pools in 1961.

1916: Central Asia Rebels Against The Russian Empire20160714

In 1916, Muslims in Central Asia rose up against Russian imperial rule.

1995 Peru-ecuador Border War20170203

A former Peruvian army officer recalls the last war between Latin American neighbours.

2001 A Space Odyssey20180405

In April 1968 Stanley Kubrick's ground-breaking sci-fi movie was released in the US. The film had mixed early reviews but went on to be considered one of the great classics of all-time. Keir Dullea played the starring role of astronaut David Bowman in the film. He tells Mike Lanchin about working with Kubrick and with the famous space computer H.A.L.

Photo credit: MGM / EMI

Actor Keir Dullea recalls starring in Stanley Kubrick's ground-breaking sci-fi movie

A2020052520200526 (WS)


A Bitter Divorce: When Guinea Said "no" To France20170928

How Guinea became the first French West African colony to declare independence in 1958.

A Black Gi In China20161101

How an African American soldier captured in the Korean war, decided to settle in China

A Brief History Of Time20180321

In memory of the renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who died on the 14th of March 2018, Witness looks back at the publication in March 1988 of his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to the editor who published it, Peter Guzzardi, about the book and the ideas about physics, existence and the universe that made it so popular.

Picture: Physicist Stephen Hawking (Credit: Liam White/Alamy)

Physicist Stephen Hawking's best-seller, A Brief History of Time, was published in 1988

A Ground-breaking Change To Treating Breast Cancer20191105

In 1975 the Canadian oncologist Dr Vera Peters released ground-breaking data to prove that breast-conserving surgery could at times be as effective as having a radical mastectomy. Her findings were received with lukewarm support and even open opposition from many of her colleagues in the male-dominated medical profession. Mike Lanchin hears from Dr Peters' daughter, Dr Jennifer Ingram, about her mother's tenacious attempt to improve the well-being of
breast-cancer sufferers.

Photo:Dr Vera Peters (courtesy of the family)

How a Canadian oncologist proved the effectiveness of breast-conserving surgery

A Japanese Royal Wedding20160408

In a change to tradition Japan's Crown Prince Akihito married a non-royal, in April 1959.

A Kristallnacht Story20181102

On 9 November 1938 Nazis led attacks on Jewish homes and businesses across Germany. Because of the number of windows that were smashed it would be remembered as the "night of broken glass" or Kristallnacht. Writer and artist Nora Krug has investigated her German family's wartime experiences for her graphic history "Heimat". She spoke to Kirsty Reid about what happened in her hometown of Karlsruhe that night in November 1938.

(Photo: Nora Krug. Credit: Penguin Books)

Nora Krug investigated Nazi attacks in her German hometown on 9 November 1938

A Literary Love Affair20171027

How Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met and fell in love in Paris in October 1929

A Mass Shooting In America20160111

In October 2006 a man killed five Amish schoolgirls and injured five more in Pennsylvania

A New Approach To Shakespeare20180430

The Royal Shakespeare Company opened in Britain in 1961 and changed theatre forever. 400 years after his death, the playwright's work began to be performed in a radical new way. Claire Bowes has been listening to archive of the founder of the theatre company, Sir Peter Hall, and speaking to Britain's longest serving theatre critic, Michael Billington about the move which made Shakespeare more relevant than ever before.

Photo: Portrait of English dramatist William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), circa 1600. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A Sitcom That Changed Britain2020010220200103 (WS)

Desmond's was the most successful black sitcom in British TV history. It ran on Channel 4 for over five years, attracting millions of viewers. Trix Worrell, the man who wrote it, believes that Desmond's changed attitudes to race in the UK. Trix has been speaking to Sharon Hemans about the show, and the people who inspired it.

Image: Ram John Holder, Norman Beaton and Gyearbuor Asante (Credit: Courtesy of Channel 4)

A Space Crash2020041720200418 (WS)

Michael Foale was on board the Mir space station when a resupply vessel crashed into it.

Michael Foale was on board the Mir space station when a resupply vessel crashed into it in June 1997. It was the worst collision in the history of space flight and it sent Mir spinning out of control. Michael was one of the three astronauts who had to try to repair the damage and get the space station back on course. In 2016 he told Alex Last about their ordeal.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Mir Space Station. Credit: Getty Images.

Michael Foale was on board the Mir space station when a resupply vessel crashed into it in June 1997. It was worst collision in the history of space flight and it sent Mir spinning out of control. Michael was one of the three astronauts who had to try to repair the damage and get the space station back on course. In 2016 he told Alex Last about their ordeal.

A Vet Remembers The Hyde Park Bombing20180720

Two IRA bombs were detonated in Hyde Park and Regent's Park in London on 20th July 1982. They left 11 military personnel dead, and injured around 50 people. Seven horses were also killed as the Hyde Park bomb was detonated during the Changing of the Guard procession. Karen Gregor has been speaking to former Army vet, Paddy Davison, who was called to the scene.

Photo: The covered bodies of horses lying in the road after the Hyde Park bombing. Credit: BBC

Two IRA bombs in London parks killed 11 military personnel and 7 horses on 20th July 1982

Abolishing The Army20190404

After a brief civil war in March-April 1948, the new president of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres, took the audacious step of dissolving the Armed Forces. Since then Costa Rica has been the only Latin American nation without a standing army. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from 94-year-old Enrique Obregon, who served in the military before its dissolution.

Photo: Costa Rican soldiers in San Jose after the end of the civil war, April 1948 (Credit:Getty Images)

Costa Rica dissolved its Armed Forces after a brief civil war in 1948

Adopted By The Man Who Killed My Family20181206

Ramiro 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.

Afghanistan's National Museum20160204

Since 1989 the treasures in Afghanistan's National Museum have been at risk.

Africa United20180508

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. Alex Last spoke to Dr Bereket Habte Selassie who took part in that first gathering.

Photo: Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (C) and Ghana's first President Kwame Nkrumah (L) during the formation of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa in May 1963. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

How 32 newly-independent nations came together to plan the future of their continent.

African Troops During World War One20181106

At the start of World War One, British and German colonial forces went into battle in East Africa. Tens of thousands of African troops and up to a million porters were conscripted to fight and keep the armies supplied. Alex Last brings you very rare recordings of Kenyan veterans of the King's African Rifles, talking about their experiences of the war. The interviews were made in Kenya in the early 1980s by Gerald Rilling with the help of Paul Kiamba.

Photo: Locally recruited troops under German command in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (then part of German East Africa), circa 1914. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Thousands of East Africans were conscripted to fight for Britain and Germany during WW1

Albania's Economic Chaos20170105

How the collapse of 'pyramid' investment schemes caused riots in Albania in 1977

Alexander Hamilton20170518

A Broadway musical has made an 18th century American politician famous once more.

Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy20170601

Actor Barbara Leigh-Hunt on her role in one of the most controversial Hitchcock movies

Algeria's Berbers20170613

In June 2001 hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated for Berber rights in Algiers.

American Air Traffic Controllers' Strike20160805

In August 1981 over 11,000 air traffic controllers were fired after two days on strike.

Americans Told 'eat Less' To Live Longer20170510

In 1977 a US government body first warned Americans that their diet was killing them.

America's 504 Disability Rights Protests20170413

In April 1977, US disabled activists occupied a government building for nearly a month.

America's First Communists20170102

Husband and wife Bert and Ella Wolfe faced persecution in the movement's early years

America's First Female Rabbi20170602

In June 1972 Sally Priesand became the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the USA.

An Antarctic Mystery2020022420200225 (WS)

In 1985, human remains were found by chance on a remote island in Antarctica by Chilean biologist Dr Daniel Torres. But whose were they? It would take years to determine their remarkable origin. We speak to Dr Torres about his discovery and how it revealed an unknown chapter of indigenous South American history.

Photo: Skull discovered on LIvingstone Island, Antarctica in 1985 (D.Torres/INACH)

Human remains were found on a remote island in Antarctica in 1985 but whose were they?

An Assassination In Colombia20170320

The murder of left-wing opposition politician Bernardo Jaramillo in March 1990.

An Ethiopian War Hero20190916

In the early 1950s the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, sent thousands of Ethiopian troops to fight in the Korean war. They were called the Kagnew Battalions and they formed part of the American-led UN force supporting South Korea against communist North Korea and their Chinese allies.
Alex Last spoke to Captain Mamo Habtewold who won his country's highest honour.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: The Captain as a young man. Courtesy of Mamo Habtewold.

Ethiopia sent soldiers to fight alongside the United Nations during the Korean War

An Oasis Of Peace20180328

In 1978 a small community called Wahat al-Salam, Neve Shalom, was founded by four families, Jews and Arabs, on a hill-top between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It was a pioneering experiment in peaceful co-existence in the long Middle East conflict. Four decades on, it is now home to more than 60 families. Mike Lanchin travels to the community and speaks to two of its long-standing residents, Nava Sonnenschein and Daoud Boulus about life in this "oasis of peace."

(Photo courtesy of Daoud Boulus)

The story of Wahat al-Salam, Neve Shalom where Jews and Arabs live side by side in peace.

Angela Merkel20160411

On April 10 2000, Angela Merkel became the first woman to lead a German political party.

Angela Merkel's Rise To Power20181207

Angela 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.

Ann Lowe - African American Fashion Designer2020052920200530 (WS)

Ann Lowe designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress but for years few people knew her name

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

Anthrax Attacks20160914

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks in the USA someone started posting Anthrax to politicians

Anthrax Leak In The Soviet Union20170329

In 1979, an outbreak of anthrax poisoning caused dozens of deaths in the Soviet Union.

Anti-traveller Riots In Sweden20181009

In 1948 racist violence broke out against Romany-speaking traveller people in Sweden. The riots in the town of Jönköping lasted for several days. Birgitta Hellström and Barbro Gustafsson are sisters from the traveller community and they have been speaking to Tim Mansel about the events of that time.

(Photo: Birgitta Hellström (L) and Barbro Gustafsson (R). Credit: Tim Mansel)

In 1948 violence broke out against Romany-speaking traveller people in Sweden

Apollo 1320190718

The 1970 Moon mission that almost ended in tragedy after an explosion on board the spaceship. Fred Haise was one of the Apollo 13 astronauts. In 2010 he spoke to Richard Howells about how they managed to get back to Earth despite the odds.

Photo: The Apollo 13 astronauts after they were picked up from the Pacific. Left to right: Fred Haise, Jim Lovell and Jack Swigert. Credit: SSPL/Getty Images.

The Moon mission that almost ended in tragedy after an explosion on board the spaceship.

Apollo 13: The Drama That Gripped The World2020041320200414 (WS)

How millions of TV viewers followed the famous rescue of three NASA astronauts in 1970.

In April 1970, hundreds of millions of viewers around the world tuned into TV coverage of the drama on board Apollo 13 as it attempted to return safely to Earth after a devastating on-board explosion. The drama revitalised interest in the NASA space programme, which had been dwindling after the first lunar landing a year earlier. Simon Watts talks to David Schoumacher, former Space Correspondent for America’s CBS news, and to former CBS producer Mark Kramer.

PHOTO: The crew of Apollo 13 after their rescue (Getty Images)

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

Apollo 820161223

How the first mission around the Moon captured the world's imagination at Christmas 1968

Apollo 820181212

The 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


In September 1938 Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew back and forth to Germany to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. He hoped to guarantee "peace for our time". He agreed that Germany could take over the Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia, as part of a policy known as appeasement.

Photo: The Prime Minister meets the press on his return from his first trip to Germany on September 16th 1938. Copyright: BBC.

In September 1938 Neville Chamberlain tried to negotiate with Hitler over Czechoslovakia.

Archbishop Oscar Romero2018101220181014 (WS)

The murdered Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, is being made a saint of the Roman Catholic church. He was killed in 1980 by a right-wing death squad as he said mass at the altar. His death pushed El Salvador into its bloody civil war. Mike Lanchin spoke to local journalist, Milagro Granados, who was there at the moment of his assassination.

Photo: Archbishop Romero, pictured in July 1979 (Credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Murdered while head of the Roman Catholic church in El Salvador, he is being made a saint

Armistice Day 191820181109

On November 11th 1918, at 11 o'clock, the guns of World War One finally fell silent

Around The World In 20 Days20190327

In March 1999 Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard made the first non-stop flight around the world in a balloon. Beginning in Switzerland and finishing over Africa, the record-breaking trip took just 20 days. Pilot Brian Jones has been telling Mike Lanchin about the highs and lows of the amazing and dangerous journey.

(Photo credit BBC)

The record-breaking balloon flight

Around The World In A Balloon20170704

In 2002 Steve Fossett succeeded in flying solo around the world in a hot air balloon.

Art In Revolutionary Russia2017120820171210 (WS)

Avant-garde art flourished in Russia after the 1917 revolution but was later suppressed

Australia's Rabbit Plague20170920

Rabbits infested huge swathes of the Australian countryside in the 1940s and 1950s.

Austria At War20181011

In October 1945, Austria got its first provisional government since its annexation by Nazi Germany a year before the Second World War. Wilfriede Iwaniuk was 14 when Hitler marched into Vienna; she tells Louise Hidalgo about the harshness of the war years and how, after the war too, there was no food and few jobs.

Picture: Wilfriede Iwaniuk in 1946.(Credit: the Iwaniuk family)

The story of a young Austrian woman who survived World War Two and the allied occupation

Autism And The Mmr Vaccine20190321

A British doctor published an article in the leading medical journal The Lancet in 1998 that led to a global panic over the triple vaccine protecting children against measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr Andrew Wakefield linked the MMR vaccine with autism. He advocated the use of single vaccines instead while the link was explored.

Meanwhile many parents stopped vaccinating their children entirely, leading to outbreaks of measles.

In 2010 the General Medical Council in the UK found Dr Wakefield 'dishonest' and 'irresponsible' and struck him off the medical register.

Photo: Dr Andrew Wakefield arrives at the General Medical Council in London to face a disciplinary panel, July 16th 2007
(Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

How a British doctor misled the world by linking the MMR vaccine with autism.

Auto-destructive Art20190417

In 1959 the German artist Gustav Metzger came up with a new and subversive form of art. He called it auto-destructive art. It was art as a political weapon and a challenge to the established status quo. Metzger, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, organised a series of events in London, called the Destruction in Art Symposium, DIAS, and invited radical artists from all over the world, including a relatively unknown young Japanese American, Yoko Ono.
Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Welsh artist Ivor Davies, who helped Metzger launch the events and was himself an early pioneer of auto-destructive art.

Photo: Gustav Metzger demonstrates his auto-destructive art at London's South Bank, July 1961 (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gustav Metzger and the birth of the radical new art form in the 1960s

Avenging The Amritsar Massacre2020040120200402 (WS)

A former governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O'Dwyer, was killed by an Indian immigrant in London in 1940. The assassin, Udham Singh, said he was avenging the deaths of hundreds of civilians who had been fired on by colonial troops in Amritsar in India in April 1919. When he was put on trial at the Old Bailey, he gave a defiant speech against colonial rule. Sajid Iqbal has been speaking to Avtar Singh Jouhal who campaigned to have Udham Singh's courtroom speech made public.

Photo:An Indian man takes a photograph of a painting depicting the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. The Amritsar massacre, also known as the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, took place on April 13, 1919 when British Indian Army soldiers on the direct orders of their British officers opened fire on an unarmed gathering killing at least 379 men, women and children, according to official records. (Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

A former British governor of Punjab was shot in 1940 as revenge for killings in Amritsar

Ayatollah Khomeini Returns From Exile20190129

In February 1979 an Islamic revolution began to unfold in Iran. The Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who had been in exile for 14 years, flew back to Tehran from Paris on the 1st of February. Mohsen Sazegara was close to the heart of events and in 2011 he spoke to Louise Hidalgo for Witness.

Photo: Ayatollah Khomeini leaving the Air France Boeing 747 jumbo that flew him back from exile in France to Tehran.(Credit: Gabriel Duval, AFP/Getty Images.)

In February 1979 an Islamic revolution began when Iran's exiled religious leader returned

Ayn Rand20170323

The Russian-American philosopher whose novels praising capitalism sold in the millions.

Baba Of Karo20180823

The story behind the groundbreaking autobiography of a woman who grew up in 19th century pre-colonial Nigeria. The book is the story of Baba a Hausa woman, who lived in the farming hamlet of Karo, when the region was part of the Islamic empire, the Sokoto Caliphate. Baba's account was written down by an English woman, Mary Smith, in 1949, while she was working in northern Nigeria with her husband, the anthropologist, M.G Smith. The book became a key text in studies of pre-colonial Africa. Alex Last has been speaking to Mary Smith about her memories of Baba.

Photo: Baba as an old woman in northern Nigeria in 1949 (credit: Mary Smith)

The groundbreaking autobiography of a woman who grew up in 19th century Nigeria

Banning The Belt2018020220180204 (WS)

In February 1982 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain should end corporal punishment in state schools. The landmark decision came after a lawsuit launched by two mothers in Scotland. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Andrew Campbell, the son of one of the women behind the campaign.

Photo: A school teacher holds a belt or Tawse, used for punishing pupils (Alamy)

How two Scottish mothers forced the UK government to end corporal punishment in schools

Barbara Cartland - Queen Of Romance20190102

Dame 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

Bata The Shoemaker's Revolution20180619

Bata was a Czech company which pioneered assembly line shoemaking and sold affordable footwear around the world. Its factory near London became key to its expansion. Dina Newman speaks to one of its senior engineers, Mick Pinion, about the company's remarkable history and how it shod millions in Africa and Asia.

Photo: Bata factory in East Tilbury near London. Credit: Bata Heritage Centre.

Bata, a Czech company, pioneered assembly line shoemaking

Battle Of Mogadishu: Black Hawk Down20170201

In 1993, US forces launched a disastrous raid against the Somali warlord, General Aideed

Battling Soviet Psychiatric Punishment20200305

The story of Dr. Semen Gluzman, a Ukrainian psychiatrist, who took a stand against the psychiatric abuse of political dissidents in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, Soviet authorities had many dissidents declared mentally ill and confined them to special psychiatric hospitals for 'treatment'. In the 1970s, a young Ukrainian psychiatrist, decided to write a counter-diagnosis of one of the most famous of these incarcerated dissidents. For this, he would pay a high price. Alex Last speaks to Dr Semen Gluzman about his struggle to oppose Soviet punitive psychiatry.

Photo: Semen Gluzman in 1989.(Gluzman)

One man's stand against the psychiatric abuse of political dissidents in the Soviet Union

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

Bbc Proms: Audience Member Rescues Concert20170907

When the principal singer collapsed, a member of the audience took over his role.

Bee Crisis: Colony Collapse Disorder20191219

In 2007, the mysterious loss of commercial honey bees in the United States made headlines around the world. Researchers called the phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder. The sudden loss of bee colonies had serious implications for modern agriculture as the commercial honey bees were used to pollinate many crops. The crisis served to highlight the broader threat to bees and other crucial pollinators from disease, pesticides and the destruction of habitat. Alex Last has been speaking to Dr Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who studied Colony Collapse Disorder.

Photo:Honey bees on a hive. (Getty Images)

Why the mysterious loss of honey bees in the US triggered a global panic.

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

Beethoven's Role In China's Cultural Revolution2020061620200617 (WS)

Chairman Mao banned all classical music in 1966, but some musicians defied the order.

Behind The Scenes On Sesame Street20190530

A TV show for young children, Sesame Street aimed to educate and promote tolerance at the same time. It was first broadcast in 1969 and went on to become one of the most popular children's shows ever made. Sonia Manzano starred as Maria on Sesame Street for 44 years and she has been speaking to Ned Carter Miles about how the show's ethos shaped its characters and storylines.

Photo: Three of the Sesame Street puppets. Credit: Getty Images.

The inside story of one of the most popular children's TV shows ever made

Being A Chinese Muslim2020040320200404 (WS)

Practising a religious faith in communist China has always been hard. Uighur Muslims face incarceration in re-education camps. But other Muslims have seen repression under communism too.Things were particularly tough in the 1960s during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. Then there was a brief period in the 1980s when the state seemed to ease its pressure on believers. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to two Chinese Muslims about their lives and worship.

Photo: A child waits during prayers at a ceremony to mark the Eid-al-Fitr Festival in the Niujie Mosquein in Beijing, China. The Niujie Mosque is the largest mosque in China's capital and dates back to the 10th century. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

It has never been easy to practice a religious faith in communist China

Being Black In Nazi Germany20190924

Theodor Wonja Michael was a child when Hitler came to power in Germany. The son of a German mother and a Cameroonian father he faced discrimination and danger under Nazi rule. He has been speaking to Caroline Wyatt about how working as a film actor helped him to survive World War Two.

Photo: Theodor Wonja Michael at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013. Credit: Alamy


The Spanish town of Benidorm is now one of the world's most popular holiday resorts - receiving more than 10 million visitors a year. The hotels and skyscrapers are the vision of Benidorm's mayor in the 1950s and 60s, Pedro Zaragoza. Zaragoza personally convinced Spain's dictator, General Franco, to allow more tourism - and to allow sunbathers to wear the bikini. Simon Watts introduces the memories of Pedro Zaragoza, as recorded by Radio Elche Cadena Ser shortly before his death.

PHOTO: A busy day at Benidorm (Reuters)

The story of the mayor who created one of the world's biggest holiday resorts.

Berlin's Rubble Women20181203

At 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.

Bibles In Us Schools20160816

In 1963 a third of schools in the US had to change their rules on Bible reading.

Biosphere 2: Building A New World20170906

Eight scientists sealed themselves inside a giant greenhouse for an ambitious experiment.

Black Basketball Pioneers - Texas Western2020061020200611 (WS)

How an all-black college team overturned racist assumptions about basketball in the USA

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

Black Gis During World War Two20191216

For much of World War Two African-American soldiers were relegated to support roles and kept away from the fighting. But after the Allies suffered huge losses during the Battle of the Bulge, they were called on to volunteer for combat. Janet Ball has been speaking Reverend Matthew Southall Brown who saw action in Europe towards the end of the war. He fought in the US Army's 9th Division, 60th Regiment, Company E.

Photograph:Volunteer combat soldiers from the 9th Division prepare for shipment to front lines in Germany. Credit: US Government Archives.

How soldiers who had been relegated to support roles were asked to volunteer for combat

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

Black In The Ussr20160620

Robert Robinson, a black American engineer, spent 43 years in the USSR against his will.

Black Sabbath20160212

On Friday 13 February 1970, heavy metal band Black Sabbath released their first album

Bob Marley Survives Assassination Attempt20161202

In December 1976 gunmen tried to kill the legendary reggae singer at his home in Jamaica.

Body Worlds Exhibition20170620

In 1995 Tokyo University staged the first exhibition to feature plastinated human corpses

Bokassa's Massacre Of The Children20190528

Protests about expensive school uniforms in the Central African Republic eventually led to Jean-Bédel Bokassa's fall from power in 1979. The demonstrations started with school children, but soon widened to involve university students. Bokassa ordered brutal reprisals and within months his regime had lost its international support and French troops had invaded. André Nalke Dorogo was a university student at the time and he as been speaking to Ashley Byrne about the events of that year.

Image: Jean-Bédel Bokassa on the day he crowned himself Emperor in 1977. Credit:Pierre Guillaud/AFP/Getty Images.

How protests by young people led to Jean-B\u00e9del Bokassa's fall from power in C.A.R

Boris Yeltsin's Surprise Resignation20180101

On New Year's Eve 1999 the Russian President went on TV and said he was leaving office.

On New Year's Eve 1999 the Russian President went on TV and said he was leaving office. Tired and emotional, he apologised to the people for the state of the country. Dina Newman spoke to his widow, Naina Yeltsina, about that day.
Photo: Russian President Boris Yeltsin with his wife Naina in 1998. Credit: ITAR-TASS POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Born On The Fourth Of July20160704

Ron Kovic is a former US Marine turned peace activist whose story became a Hollywood film

Bosnia: Rape As A Weapon Of War20170427

During the Bosnian war of the early 1990's, thousands of women were raped.

Botswana's Diamonds2017111720171119 (WS)

Huge diamond deposits were first discovered in the Kalahari desert in Botswana in 1967

Br Ambedkar20171221

The Indian independence leader and campaigner for Dalit rights died in December 1956.

Brazil's Hidden War In The Amazon20181017

In the early 1970's, at the peak of political repression and persecution in Brazil, a collection of left-wing students and liberal professionals decided to move to a remote region in the Amazon to fight the military dictatorship. Two survivors from the so-called Araguaia Guerrilla War spoke to Thomas Pappon about how they endured life and war in the jungle.

Photo: Two guerrilla fighters after being captured in 1974 (Archive PCdoB)

How a small guerrilla group tried to start a revolution in the Brazilian jungle.

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.

Brazil's Nuclear Accident20180921

In September of 1987, two waste pickers in the Brazilian town of Goiania broke into a disused medical clinic and stole a radiotherapy machine, triggering the biggest ever radioactive accident outside a nuclear facility.Hundreds of people were contaminated and four people died.

Thomas Pappon spoke to one of the victims and the physicist who was the first to assess the scale of the accident.

Photo of technicians collecting nuclear waste in the contaminated scrap yard in Goiania. Copyright CNEN.

Hundreds of people were contaminated when a disused radiotherapy machine was scrapped.

Bringing Nazi Leader Klaus Barbie To Justice20180205

In February 1983 the man known as 'the butcher of Lyon' was extradited to France to face charges of murder and torture during World War Two. The former head of the Gestapo in Lyon was traced to South America by two Nazi-hunters, married couple Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. They have been telling their amazing story to Mike Lanchin.

Photo: Klaus Barbie on his way to court in Lyon, France (AFP)

The extradition to France of the man known as 'the butcher of Lyon'

Britain's First Female Black Headteacher20190308

Yvonne Conolly was appointed head of Ringcross Primary school in North London in 1969. She had moved to the UK from Jamaica just a few years earlier and quickly worked her way up the teaching profession. She faced racist threats when she first took up the post but refused to allow them to define her relationship with the children she taught.

Photo: Yvonne Conolly in a classroom. Copyright: Pathe.

Britain's First Muslim Woman In Government20190304

Sayeeda Warsi made history when she was appointed to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government's Cabinet in May 2010, and was also made Conservative party co-chair. The daughter of working-class Pakistani immigrants, she walked up Downing Street for her first Cabinet meeting dressed in a traditional South Asian salwar-kameez; it was a landmark moment in British politics. Sayeeda Warsi talks to Farhana Haider about her journey into government and about Islamophobia in politics.

(Photo: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi outside 10 Downing Street in London, May 2010. Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Sayeeda Warsi was appointed to the coalition government's Cabinet in May 2010

Britain's First Vegans20190423

The Vegan Society was established in 1944 by British 'non-dairy vegetarians'. They wanted to persuade other people not just to give up meat, but milk and eggs too. But the first vegans often got ill, because there was one vital element missing from their diets - vitamin B12. Kirsty Reid has been speaking to former Chair of the Vegan Society, George Rodger, about the history of vegans in the UK.

Photo: Fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses. Credit: Getty creative stock.

Britain's First Woman Judge2020033020200331 (WS)

Rose Heilbron was a trailblazer for women in the legal profession in Britain. She was made the first woman judge in the UK in the 1950s and made headlines around the world when she became the first to sit at the world famous criminal court, London's Old Bailey. Her daughter, Hilary Heilbron QC remembers how hard she fought to be accepted.

Photo: English KC (King's Counsel) Rose Heilbron (1914 - 2005) arrives at the House of Lords in London, for the traditional champagne breakfast hosted by the Lord Chancellor at the start of the Michaelmas Term for the law courts, 2nd October 1950. (Credit William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Britain's Land Girls20170926

Thousands of women and girls worked on farms throughout WW2 to produce much needed food.

Britain's Little Blue Disability Car20181116

For decades disabled people in the UK were offered tiny, three-wheeled, turquoise cars as their main form of transport. They were known as Invacars and they were provided, free of charge, to people who couldn't use ordinary vehicles.They were phased out in the 1970s because they were accident-prone and people were given grants to adapt conventional cars instead. Daniel Gordon has been hearing from Colin Powell, who was issued with his first Invacar at the age of 16.

Photo: an Invacar. Credit: BBC

Britain's National Trust20200113

The National Trust was founded in 1895, and initially focused on preserving Britain's rural heritage. But their mission expanded in the 1930s to include protecting stately homes - the grand old houses of the British aristocracy - which were under threat. Higher taxation meant many landowners were struggling to maintain their properties while sweeping social changes made it harder for them to find servants.

James Lees Milne worked for the National Trust's Country House Scheme, travelling around the country to see which houses the Trust should acquire, and writing a diary about his experiences which paints a vivid picture of a disappearing world of elderly aristocrats living in genteel poverty in crumbling country houses.

Lucy Burns presents interviews with James Lees Milne from the BBC archive.

(Photo: The National Trust country house Kingston Lacy. Credit: Loop Images/Universal Images Group /Getty Images)

How some of the great stately homes of Britain were saved from demolition and decay

Britain's Secret Code-breakers20160211

Witness talks to one of Britain's secret army of World War Two code-breakers

Britain's Secret Propaganda War20191106

How sex, jazz and 'fake news' were used to undermine the Nazis in World War Two. In 1941, the UK created a top secret propaganda department, the Political Warfare Executive to wage psychological warfare on the German war machine. It was responsible for spreading rumours, generating fake news, leaflet drops and creating fake clandestine German radio stations to spread misinformation and erode enemy morale. We hear archive recordings of those involved and speak to professor Jo Fox of the Institute of Historical Research about the secret history of British "black propaganda".

(Photo: The actress and singer Agnes Bernelle, who was recruited to be a presenter on a fake German radio station during the war)

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

Britain's Withdrawal From South Yemen20171205

In 1967 Britain's departure from Aden leads to the creation of an independent South Yemen

Britain's World War Two 'brown Babies'20191011

The US first began sending troops to the UK in 1942 to help in the war effort. It is estimated that at least two million American servicemen passed through the UK during World War Two and tens of thousands of them were black. The African-American GIs stationed in Britain were forced by the American military to abide by the racial segregation laws that applied in the deep south of the US. But that didn't stop relationships developing between British women and the black soldiers, some of whom went on to have children. Babs Gibson-Ward was one those children. She has been speaking to Farhana Haider about the stigma of growing up as mixed raced child in post-war Britain.

(Photo: Hoinicote House children, c.1948. Boys and girls whose parents of mixed ancestry met during WWII. Credit: Lesley York)

The stigma of growing up as a mixed race child in post-war Britain

Britain's World War Two Crime Wave2020052220200523 (WS)

How criminals from looters to con artists thrived in London during the Blitz.

Britain's Worst Nuclear Accident20191017

Things started to go wrong at the Windscale nuclear plant in October 1957. A reactor was overheating and workers were rushed in to help. In 2011 Chris Vallance spoke to Vic Goodwin and John Harris, two of the men who helped bring things under control during Britain's worst nuclear accident.

Photo: the Windscale nuclear plant. Credit: Getty Images.

A reactor caught fire at the Windscale nuclear plant in the north of England in 1957

British Cameroons' Historic Referendum20190213

In 1961, the British run territories of Northern and Southern Cameroons in West Africa were given a vote to decide their future. They could choose either to become part of Nigeria, or to become part of Cameroon. They were not given the choice of becoming their own country. The decision taken in that referendum would lay the seeds for the conflict which erupted in Cameroon's English speaking region in 2016. Alex Last spoke to the Cameroonian historian Prof. Verkijika Fanso about his memories of the crucial vote which decided the fate of his country.

The 1961 vote lies at the heart of the violent conflict in Cameroon's Anglophone region

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

British Troops Take To The Streets Of Northern Ireland20190808

In August 1969 the British Army was first deployed in Northern Ireland. Their job was to keep the peace on the streets of Londonderry where sectarian violence had broken out. To begin with the soldiers were welcomed by residents, but attitudes soon changed and what became known as 'The Troubles' got underway.

Picture: Armed British soldiers on the streets of Northern Ireland, 15th August 1969 (Credit: Press Association)

In August 1969 the British Army was deployed on the streets of Londonderry

Broadcasting D-day20190606

Hear how the BBC reported the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France on June 6th 1944. The operation was a crucial step in the liberation of western Europe. Using original BBC reports from the time - from Chester Wilmot, Richard Dimbleby, Robin Duff, Ward Smith and Alan Melville - we tell the story of D-Day.
Photo: D-Day Landings: US troops in an LCVP landing craft approach Omaha Beach in Colleville Sur-Mer, France, on June 6th 1944 (US National Archives)

How the BBC reported the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France, 6 June 1944

Brown V The Board Of Education2020060820200609 (WS)

A landmark case about racial segregation in the USA.

Brown Vs The Board Of Education20170517

In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

Brown Vs The Board Of Education20200608

A landmark case about racial segregation in the USA.

Bugging The Us Embassy In Moscow20161017

The row over hi-tech spying in America's new diplomatic building in the USSR

Bulgarian Nurses On Trial In Libya20170223

Valya Chervenyashka was accused of mass murder and tortured in a Libyan jail.

Bulgaria's "revival Process"20170424

Bulgaria's brutal policy of forced assimilation against its Turkish minority in the 1980s

Burning Man20160829

It's thirty years since the birth of the counter-culture festival Burning Man.

Cap Anamur: A Rescue That Led To Jail20191112

In 2004, a German aid agency ship, Cap Anamur, was sailing to the Suez Canal, when it came across 37 Africans on a sinking rubber boat. The captain, Stefan Schmidt, rescued the men and headed for a port in Sicily to drop them off. But for almost 2 weeks, Italy blocked the ship from entering port and when the ship was finally granted permission to dock, Captain Schmidt and two others were arrested and prosecuted by Italian authorities for aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The case made headlines around the world and was a foretaste of an increasingly hostile European policy towards refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. Alex Last has been speaking to Captain Schmidt about his memories of the incident.

(Photo: the German aid agency ship Cap Anamur in 2004. Credit: Antonello NUSCA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Why a captain was arrested after saving shipwrecked Africans in the Mediterranean in 2004

Car Safety And Ralph Nader20161129

In the early 1960s there were virtually no laws covering car safety in the USA.

Carl Gustav Jung20190618

One of the most influential figures in modern psychoanalysis, the Swiss thinker and writer, Carl Gustav Jung, died in June 1961. Although he had worked alongside Sigmund Freud in the early years of the 20th Century, Jung created a different style of psychoanalysis which acknowledged spiritual elements to the human psyche.

Photo: Carl Gustav Jung at home in Switzerland in 1959. Copyright: BBC.

One of the most influential figures in psychoanalysis died in June 1961

Castlemorton Common: Britain's Biggest Illegal Rave20170713

In the summer of 1992 thousands of ravers and New Age travellers gathered for a festival.


Joseph Heller's funny, tragic satirical anti-war novel was published in 1961 and sold millions. For many it epitomised the growing anti-establishment mood of the 1960s. Heller had served in a bomber squadron during World War Two. Though his experiences provide the setting for the book, its target was actually the America of the 1950s. Using interviews with the author from the BBC archive, Alex Last tells the story behind Catch-22.

(Photo: A first edition of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, published by Simon and Schuster. Credit: Abe Books)

The story behind Joseph Heller's acclaimed, satirical anti-war novel which sold millions

Catching 'carlos The Jackal'20190815

In the 1980s Ilich Ramírez Sánchez known as 'Carlos the Jackal' was seen as the world's most-wanted terrorist. He had carried out bombings, killings and kidnappings and had been on the run for decades. He was finally arrested in Khartoum in August 1994. Alex Last spoke to former CIA operative, Billy Waugh, who tracked him down.

Photograph: Rare photo of Carlos the Jackal, taken in the 1970s (AFP/Getty Images)

How the CIA tracked down one of the world's most wanted men

Ceausescu's 'house Of The People'20190103

In the early 1980s the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the construction of a massive building in central Bucharest. Dubbed the "House of the People", it was to become the world's 2nd largest building. Now, decades after the fall of Communism, the building remains a lasting monument to the excesses of the dictator's totalitarian rule. Robert Nicholson speaks to Eliodor Popa, one of the architects behind the building.

(Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)

The vast building that symbolised the excesses of Romania's brutal former dictator

Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution20161102

A former communist Red Guard recalls his role in China's Cultural Revolution.

Chairman Mao's Little Red Book20160107

How the thoughts of China's communist leader became an unexpected global best-seller

Chairman Mao's Little Red Book20200210

In 1966, the collected thoughts of China's communist leader became an unexpected best-seller around the world. A compendium of pithy advice and political instructions from Mao Zedong, it was soon to be found on student bookshelves everywhere.Vincent Dowd has been speaking to Alexander Cook, who edited a collection of essays about the famous book.

(Photo: Front cover of Mao's Little Red Book)

The collected thoughts of China's communist leader that became an unexpected best-seller

Changing The Alphabet In Azerbaijan2018030920180311 (WS)

Independent Azerbaijan changed its alphabet from Russian Cyrillic script to the Latin alphabet in 2001. The new letters symbolised a break with the country's Soviet past, but presented a difficult challenge for publishers and journalists and schoolchildren. Olga Smirnova has been talking to Elchin Shixli and Shahbaz Xuduoglu.

Photo: Staff members of Azerbaijan's Ustarat newspaper prepare copy July 31, 2001 in their Baku headquarters for the following day, August 1, when all newspapers, according to government decree, had to switch the alphabet of their Azeri text from Cyrillic to Latin. (Photo by Yola Monakhov/Getty Images)

After independence Azerbaijan changed from Russian Cyrillic script to Latin letters.

Charlie Chaplin Returns To America From Exile20170419

Eugene Chaplin remembers his famous father's love-hate relationship with the USA

Charter 7720170104

In January 1977 an opposition movement began in Soviet-era Czechoslovakia.

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster20160426

In April 1986 a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine

Chiang Kai Shek: The Man Who Lost China20170727

The Chinese civil war remembered by the Nationalist leader's former chief aide.

Chicago's Police Torture20170111

A victim of abuse at the hands of the Chicago police tells his story.

Child Refugees From The Spanish Civil War20160713

In 1937, Britain took in 4000 Basque children at the height of fighting in northern Spain

Chile Votes Against Pinochet20161012

In 1988 Chileans voted to end the brutal 15-year military rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

China And Japan At War20181214

Japanese troops reached the Chinese city of Nanjing in December 1937. The violence that followed marked one of the darkest moments in a struggle that continued throughout WW2. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to former General Huang Shih Chung, who survived the slaughter in Nanjing as a boy and then fought in China's war of resistance against the Japanese.

Photo: Huang Shih-Chung as a young soldier.

China Opens Up To Capitalism20191004

In May 1980 China allowed capitalist activity for the first time since the Communist Revolution, in four designated cities known as the Special Economic Zones. The most successful was Shenzhen, which grew from a mainly rural area specialising in pigs and lychees to one of China's biggest cities. In 2017 Lucy Burns spoke to Yong Ya, a musician who has lived in Shenzhen since the 1980s, and to ethnographer Mary Ann O'Donnell.

IMAGE: Pedestrians and cars stream by a giant poster of Chinese patriarch Deng Xiaoping in Shenzhen, the first of China's special economic zones. TOMMY CHENG/AFP/Getty Images

How China's Communist rulers established the country's first Special Economic Zones

China Puts Tampons On Sale20190709

Tampons first went on sale in China in 1985. But many Chinese women, especially in rural areas still didn't have access to basic sanitary products. Even now only a tiny percentage of Chinese women use tampons on a regular basis.
Yashan Zhao has been talking to the man behind the first advertising campaign for tampons in China, and to a woman from the countryside where sanitary products were not widely available until the late 1980s.

Photo: Chinese women looking at educational material about tampons in a Beijing store, in 1985 (Courtesy of Ren Xiaoqing)

Women in China got access to tampons for the first time in 1985

China's Barefoot Doctors20180301

In March 1968, Chairman Mao officially launched a scheme to improve healthcare in rural China, by giving thousands of people basic medical training and sending them out to work in villages. They were known as the “barefoot doctors”.

Gordon Liu is a Professor of Economics at Peking University. He tells Lucy Burns about his memories of working as a barefoot doctor.

Picture: Gordon Liu

How China's barefoot doctor scheme revolutionised rural healthcare.

China's Breakthrough Malaria Cure20190313

Chinese scientists used ancient traditional medicine to find a cure for malaria in the 1970s. Artemisinin was discovered by exploring a herbal remedy from the 4th century, a small team of scientists managed to harness the medicinal properties from the Artemisa Annua plant. It can cure most forms of malaria with very few side effects and has saved millions of lives all over the world. Professor Lang Linfu was one of the scientists involved, he told Rebecca Kesby how they made the discovery in the laboratory as China's Cultural Revolution raged across the country.

(Photo; Professor Lang Linfu. Family archives)

Chinese scientists used ancient traditional medicine to find a cure for malaria.

China's Crackdown On Falun Gong20170803

In July 1999, the Chinese government banned the spiritual movement Falun Gong

China's One Child Policy20190516

The Chinese Communist Party started ruthlessly enforcing birth control in the early 1980s. People with more than one child faced fines, or lost their jobs, or had children forcibly adopted. Yashan Zhao has been speaking to Zhou Guanghong who experienced the policy first-hand, both as a father and as a birth control official.

Photo: a propaganda poster extolling the virtues of China's "One Child Family" policy. (Credit:Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/GettyImages)

Chinese Restaurant Syndrome20190412

Diners at Chinese restaurants in America in the 1960's began to report unusual symptoms, including headaches, flushing, numbness at the back of the neck.

It was linked to the man-made flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate or MSG – but it was also part of wider attitudes towards Chinese restaurants at the time.

Lucy Burns speaks to restaurateurs Philip Chiang and Ed Schoenfeld about their memories of what became known as 'Chinese restaurant syndrome'.

Photo credit: Plates of Chinese food (Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images)

In the 1960's American diners began to worry that Chinese food was making them ill.

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart20160721

In 1958 the Nigerian writer published his first book, revolutionising African literature.

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart20180710

In 1958 Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, published his first book "Things Fall Apart". It was set in pre-colonial rural Nigeria and examines how the arrival of foreigners led to tensions within traditional Igbo society. The book revolutionised African writing, and began a whole new genre of world literature. In 2016 Rebecca Kesby spoke to Achebe's youngest daughter, Nwando Achebe.

(Photo: Chinua Achebe in 2002. Photo Credit: Reuters/Ralph Orlowski/Files )

Published in 1958 the Nigerian writer's first novel revolutionised African fiction.

Christian Dior's New Look20160217

In February 1947, French designer Christian Dior transformed post-war fashion.

Cicely Saunders And The Modern Hospice Movement20181210

In 1967, Dame Cicely Saunders opened the first modern hospice in South London. St Christopher's inspired the creation of thousands of similar hospices around the world and its scientific research helped establish the modern discipline of palliative medicine. Simon Watts introduces archive interviews with Dame Cicely, who died in 2005.

PHOTO: Dame Cicely Saunders (BBC)

The British woman who revolutionised the treatment of dying patients around the world.

Cirque Du Soleil2019122620191227 (WS)

The global circus phenomenon Cirque du Soleil was born in 1984 when a group of street performers in Quebec bought a big top tent and went on tour.

Lucy Burns speaks to Cirque du Soleil co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix, who walked 56 miles on stilts to raise money for the show.

Picture: Cirque du Soleil acrobats perform during the dress rehearsal of Kooza at the Royal Albert Hall in January 2013 in London, England. (John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)

The ground-breaking circus was formed by a group of street performers in Quebec in 1984.

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

Picture: Cirque du Soleil acrobats perform during the dress rehearsal of Kooza at the Royal Albert Hall in January 2013 in London, England. (John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)

Citizen Kane20160516

Archive interviews with Orson Welles about one of the greatest films of all time

Civil War In Tajikistan20170504

In 1992, shortly after the collapse of the USSR, a civil war erupted in Tajikistan.

Cixi: China's Most Powerful Woman20200204

The Empress Dowager Cixi ruled China for 47 years until her death in 1908. But it wasn't until the 1970s that her story began to be properly documented. She'd been vilified as a murderous tyrant, but was that really true or was she a victim of a misogynistic version of history? Prof Sue Fawn Chung was the first academic to go back to study the original documents, and found many surprises. She tells Rebecca Kesby the story of "the much maligned Empress Dowager".

(Photo: Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi, portrait c1900. Credit: Ullstein bild/Getty Images)

The Empress Dowager Cixi ruled for 47 years until her death in 1908.

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

Colombia's 'lost City'20161201

In 1976, archaeologists found the ruins of a huge indigenous settlement hidden in forest

Concordski Plane Crash20160601

In June 1973 Russia's supersonic rival to Concorde crashed at the Paris Air Show

Condemned As A Spy In The Ussr20160304

Flora Leipman, a British Jew, falsely condemned as a spy, was sent to a labour camp

Confessions Of A Prince2020051420200515 (WS)

How Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands broke his silence to reveal a love child

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

Confessions Of A Soviet Alcoholic20190214

In 1969, homeless Russian alcoholic Venedikt Yerofeev wrote a hugely popular book which was passed illegally from person to person. The book gave voice to a generation of Soviet intellectuals who were unable to fit into mainstream Soviet society. The author's friend poet Olga Sedakova shared her memories with Dina Newman.

Photo: Venedikt Yerofeev. Credit: Olga Sedakova archive.

How a homeless Russian drunk wrote a secret classic

In 1969, a homeless Russian alcoholic Venedikt Yerofeev wrote a hugely popular book which was passed illegally from person to person. The book gave voice to a generation of Soviet intellectuals who were unable to fit into mainstream Soviet society.

How a homeless Russian drunk wrote a secret classic.

Conflict Over A Tree In The Dmz20160818

In August 1976, two US soldiers were killed in the zone between North and South Korea.

Conflict Timber In Liberia's Civil War20190912

How the timber industry fuelled a brutal civil war in West Africa. In the late 1990s, timber companies worked closely with Liberia's warlord-turned-president, Charles Taylor. In return for money and support for his militias, the regime allocated huge swathes of the country's valuable rainforest to timber companies for logging. A group of young Liberians started to document what was happening. Alex Last has been speaking to the award winning activist, Silas Siakor, whose work led to a UN ban on Liberian timber exports.

(Photo: Timber near Buchanan in LIberia in 2010. Credit: Getty Images)

Cot Death20161215

The 'Back to Sleep' campaign was launched in 1991 to prevent babies dying in their cots

Couch To 5k20180604

In 1996 a young TV producer in Boston came up with the idea of a running programme to help people exercise regularly. Couch to 5K running groups now exist all over the world and it has even been endorsed by Britain's National Health Service, the NHS. Elizabeth Davies hears from Josh Clark, who invented the programme.

Photo credit: Science Photo Library

The birth of the running programme that got millions off their sofas and out jogging

Criminals In The Community20190807

In the 1970s the UK tried to reduce its growing prison population. An experimental new punishment was introduced for convicted criminals. It was called Community Service. The scheme was soon copied around the world. Witness History speaks to John Harding, a former Chief Probation Officer, who was in charge of the introduction of Community Service in one of the first pilot schemes.

Photo: BBC

How Britain pioneered Community Service as an alternative to prison in the 1970s

Crossing Antarctica Alone20170131

Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland was the first person to cross Antarctica alone.

Cs Lewis And The Chronicles Of Narnia20190919

The first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by the Northern Irish-born writer CS Lewis was published in autumn 1950. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would go on to become one of the great classics of children's literature. CS Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, talks to Louise Hidalgo about the academic and theologian who created Narnia's magical world.

Picture: CS Lewis, the children's and theological author, seated in his Cambridge study in the early 1950s (Credit: Camera Press/Arthur Strong)

The first book in CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series was published in autumn 1950

The first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by the English writer CS Lewis was published in autumn 1950. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would go on to become one of the great classics of children's literature. CS Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, talks to Louise Hidalgo about the academic and theologian who created Narnia's magical world.

Cuba Executes Top Military Officers20190711

Four army officers were sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Castro government in July 1989. Critics accused the communist authorities of carrying out a show trial of opponents of President Fidel Castro. In 2016, Mike Lanchin spoke to Ileana de la Guardia, daughter of one of the four men executed.

Photo: Col Antonio de la Guardia and his daughter Ileana, Cuba 1986 (AFP)

Four army officers were sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Castro government in July 1989. Critics accused the communist authorities of carrying out a show trial of opponents of President Fidel Castro. In 2016, Mike Lanchin spoke to Ileana de la Guardia, daughter of one of the four men executed.

Cuban Missile Crisis: The Governments20171016

In October 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis took the world to the brink of nuclear war

Dadaab: The World's Largest Refugee Camp20170118

How one young woman fled war in Somalia to grow up in Kenya's massive refugee camp

Date Rape20160603

In 1991 Katie Koestner went public with her experience of date rape and divided America.

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest20180222

One of the biggest novels of the late twentieth century - both literally and figuratively - was published in February 1996. Infinite Jest by American author David Foster Wallace is nearly 1100 pages long, but the ground-breaking work of literary fiction also became a bestseller.

Lucy Burns speaks to the editor of Infinite Jest, Michael Pietsch.

One of the biggest novels of the late twentieth century was published in February 1996.


Eyewitness accounts of the Allied landings on the coast of Normandy during World War Two on 6 June 1944. The massive operation was a crucial step in the liberation of western Europe from years of Nazi rule and the defeat of Hitler's Germany. In this episode, we present the accounts of veterans held in the BBC archive.

Photo: The photo titled "The Jaws of Death" shows a landing craft disembarking US troops on Omaha beach, 6th June 1944 ( Robert Sargent / US COAST GUARD)

Eyewitness accounts of the Allied landings in Normandy during WW2 on 6 June 1944.

Deaf Rights Protest20180306

Students at deaf-only Gallaudet University in Washington DC shut-down the campus in protest when the board of trustees appointed a hearing President in March 1988. They barricaded the campus with buses, marched to the White House and made the front page of the New York Times. Claire Bowes has been speaking to Dr I King Jordan, who was eventually appointed the first ever deaf President in the University's long history.

(Photo: Student protestors, courtesy of Gallaudet University)

Students at the world's first deaf-only University demand a deaf college President.

Death In The Amazon20170106

Auca tribesmen killed five American missionaries in the jungle in January 1956.

Death Of An Anarchist20161219

Giuseppe Pinelli was an Italian anarchist who died in police custody - but why?

Defending A British Serial Murderer20190628

**Warning: Some listeners might find parts of this programme disturbing**

In June 1994 Fred and Rosemary West were charged with a series of gruesome murders of young women and girls, committed over a twenty-year period in the south of England. Among the victims were the couple's 16 year-old daughter. Mike Lanchin speaks to Leo Goatley, Rosemary West's defence lawyer.

(Photo: Composite image of victims of Fred and Rosemary West)

The lawyer of serial killer Rosemary West recalls the gruesome details of the case

Defusing Nuclear Bombs: The Goldsboro 'broken Arrow'20180518

How Lt. Jack ReVelle disarmed two thermonuclear bombs which crashed in Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1961. The bombs had been sucked out of a B-52 bomber which broke up in mid air and crashed on a flight over the eastern United States. Accidents involving nuclear weapons are known as Broken Arrows in US military terminology. At the time, Jack Revelle led a US Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team based in Ohio.
Photo: One of the bombs Jack disarmed remained virtually intact.(USAF)

How Lt. Jack ReVelle disarmed two thermonuclear bombs which crashed in North Carolina.

Demoted For Being Gay20180621

Uzi Even is a former Colonel in the Israeli army reserves and a top nuclear scientist. In 1982 he was dismissed from his post after the military discovered he was gay. Ten years later, he went public, forcing the Army to change the law. He later became the first openly gay member of parliament in Israel. He tells Mike Lanchin about his battle for LGBT rights.

Photo: Uzi Even in the 1970s (courtesy of Uzi Even)

When the Israeli Army punished Colonel Uzi Even for being gay, he fought back.

Denmark's Second Eu Referendum2016070520160709 (WS)

In 1993, Denmark held a second referendum on greater EU integration

Dennis Tito - The First Space Tourist20190415

In April 2001 an American multi-millionaire paid Russia's space agency millions of dollars to blast him into space. He spent time on the International Space Station and returned to earth after eight days in space. Dennis Tito, who was 60 years old at the time of his space flight, spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2011 about his experiences. (This is a rebroadcast)

Photo: Dennis Tito immediately after his return to earth. Credit: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images.)

In April 2001 an American multi-millionaire paid Russia to send him into space

Derek Jarman20161220

The experimental film-maker made his first feature film 'Sebastiane' in 1976.

Desert Island Discs At 7520170127

The story of the BBC's longest-running radio programme.

Desmond Tutu Wins The Nobel Peace Prize20181022

In October 1984, one of South Africa's most well-known human rights activists, Desmond Tutu, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid. Two years later he became the first black head of the Anglican church in Southern Africa. Archbishop Tutu's friend and former deputy, Bishop Michael Nuttall, has been telling Louise Hidalgo about those milestones on the road to a new multi-racial South Africa, and about his friend's irrepressible spirit.

Picture: Desmond Tutu in Washington addressing a US House Subcommittee hearing on apartheid shortly after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Credit: David Tulls/AFP/Getty Images)

Apartheid South Africa's outspoken critic Bishop Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Desmond's: A Sitcom That Changed Britain20200102
Diary Of Life In A Favela20190110

A poor single mother of three, Carolina Maria de Jesus lived in a derelict shack and spent her days scavenging for food for her children, doing odd jobs and collecting paper and bottles. Her diary, written between 1955 and 1960, brought to life the harsh realities faced by thousands of poor Brazilians who arrived in cities like São Paulo and Rio looking for better opportunities. Her daughter, Vera Eunice de Jesus Lima, speaks to Thomas Pappon about how the book changed her family's life.

Picture: Carolina Maria de Jesus in the Canindé Favela. Credit: Archive Audálio Dantas

The poor black single mother who stunned Brazil with a book about her life in 1960.

Diary Of Life In A Favela20200212

A poor single mother of three, Carolina Maria de Jesus lived in a derelict shack and spent her days scavenging for food for her children, doing odd jobs and collecting paper and bottles. Her diary, written between 1955 and 1960, brought to life the harsh realities faced by thousands of poor Brazilians who arrived in cities like São Paulo and Rio looking for better opportunities. Her daughter, Vera Eunice de Jesus Lima, speaks to Thomas Pappon about how the book changed her family's life.

(Photo: Carolina Maria de Jesus in the Canindé Favela. Credit: Archive Audálio Dantas)

A shocking account of the realities of the slums of S\u00e3o Paulo

Dien Bien Phu20160519

The French surrender at the siege of Dien Bien Phu ended their colonial rule of Vietnam

Digging Up The Truth20161205

Mercedes Doretti has spent her life uncovering mass graves around the world.

Discovering The Great Pacific Garbage Patch20170807

Charles Moore recalls how he came across the world's largest floating rubbish dump.

Disney Goes To Europe20190207

In 1992 Disney opened its first theme park in Europe. But it had taken years of delicate negotiations and diplomacy get it off the ground. In 2013 Rebecca Kesby spoke to Robert Fitzpatrick who had the job of bringing the magic of Mickey Mouse to France.

Photo: Celebrations during the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris at the park in Marne-la-Vallee in April 2017.(Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

The first Disney theme park in Europe took years of negotiations to get off the ground.

Domestic Violence In Brazil20160921

In 2006 Brazil passed the ground-breaking "Maria da Penha" law to tackle domestic abuse.

Dr Seuss: The Man Who Taught America To Read20190816

The Dr Seuss books revolutionised the way American children learnt to read in the 1950s. Books like 'The Cat in the Hat' were designed to help young children enjoy reading simple words and sentences using rhymes, anarchic characters and lively illustrations. Claire Bowes spoke to Christopher Cerf who knew Theodor Geisel, the author of the books.

Photo: Author and illustrator Ted Geisel sits at his drafting table with a copy of his book, 'The Cat in the Hat' in 1957. (Gene Lester/Getty Images)

The Dr Seuss books revolutionised reading in America in the 1950s.

Drama In The British Parliament20190326

In March 1979, the British Prime Minister James Callaghan was struggling desperately to govern with a parliamentary majority of just three. When the Conservative opposition tabled a motion of no-confidence, his party whips fought a furious - and ultimately unsuccessful - battle to keep him in power. Simon Watts listens through the BBC's archives to tales from the collapse of the Callaghan government.

Picture: James Callaghan outside 10 Downing Street (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Jim Callaghan's desperate attempts to survive a no-confidence vote in 1979

Dungeons And Dragons20170120

The fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons launched in January 1974.

Dutch Elm Disease20160715

In the 1970s Dutch Elm disease killed millions of Elm trees in England, France and the US

Earth Day20180420

On April the 22 1970, 20 million Americans came out on to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in the first so-called Earth Day. Mass rallies were held to highlight concerns about pollution and the destruction of America's natural heritage. Some see it as the birth of the modern environmental movement. Farhana Haider spoke to Denis Hayes, the organiser of that first Earth Day.

Photo credit: Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images

In 1970, 20 million Americans came out to demonstrate for a sustainable environment.

East German Refugees In The Prague Embassy20191023

Thousands of East Germans fled to the West in the summer and autumn of 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many of them sought refuge in the West German embassy in Prague, where they camped in the grounds and slept in stairwells and corridors, fed by the Red Cross. On September 30th, West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher announced that they were free to travel to West Germany.

Hubert and Susanne Kuhn lived in the embassy with their three children for three months. They spoke to Lucy Burns about their experiences.

Photo: a crowd of East-German refugees in Prague wait to be transferred to West Germany after East Germany lifted restrictions on emigration (PASCAL GEORGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Thousands of East Germans sought refuge in the West German embassy in Prague in 1989.

East Germany's Punks20200103

In the early 1980s, thousands of young people in communist East German became punks, attracted by the DIY culture and anti-establishment attitude.

But the East German secret police the Stasi believed the subculture represented an existential threat to the state and tried to crush the movement.

Lucy Burns speaks to former punk Jürgen Gutjahr, aka Chaos, and Tim Mohr, author of "Burning Down The Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution and the Fall of the Berlin Wall."

Photo: Young punks posing in Lenin Square (now United Nations Square), East Berlin. 1982. (Credit: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

How the communist secret police, the Stasi, tried to crush a youth subculture.

East Timor Massacre20161116

In November 1991 Indonesian troops opened fire on independence activists in Dili.

Edhi: Pakistan's 'angel Of Mercy'2020042220200423 (WS)

Abdul Sattar Edhi built one of the biggest welfare charities in the world

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

Egypt's Facebook Girl20170407

Israa Abd El Fattah was one of the first Egyptian activists to use Facebook for protests.

Eisenhower's Farewell Address20180117

American president Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address in January 1961 is regarded as one of the greatest speeches made by a US president. In it, he warned Americans against the military industrial complex, a phrase that he coined for the first time, and not to live just for today. Eisenhower, who had been the allied commander in Europe during World War Two, was succeeded by his young Democratic rival, John F Kennedy, who was seen as representing the new post-war generation. Louise Hidalgo talks to Dwight Eisenhower's grandson and one of his speech-writers about that time.

(Photo: President Eisenhower (left) and his vice-president Richard Nixon at the president's second inauguration in Washington. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

American president Dwight Eisenhower's great farewell address

Eleanor Roosevelt20170303

America's longest-serving First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt

Elisabeth K\u00fcbler-ross And The Five Stages Of Grief2020061520200616 (WS)

The remarkable Swiss psychiatrist who changed the way we think about dying.

Ellen Comes Out20190429

Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian publicly in April 1997 – and so did the fictional character she played in her self-titled sitcom. The Puppy Episode would be watched by more than 40 million people and represented a milestone for LGBT representation in popular culture.

Lucy Burns speaks to the episode’s writer and executive producer Dava Savel.

Picture: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche attend the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 14, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on primetime American television in April 1997.

Elvis In The Us Army20180320

In March 1958, Elvis Presley, then at the height of his fame as the 'King' of Rock'n'Roll, was called up and joined the US Army. Simon Watts has been listening to the memories of the soldiers who served alongside him. The interviews are taken from the G.I. Blues of Elvis Presley, made for the BBC by Sugar Productions.

(Photo: Elvis Presley listening to an army lecture. Credit:Getty Images)

How the 'King' of Rock'n'Roll became a GI in 1958 and served during the Cold War

Emdr: The Eye-movement Therapy20190402

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy which works for many sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. The 'eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing' technique was first developed in the USA in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro. She set up an EMDR Institute and Ashley Byrne has been speaking to psychologist Dr Gerald Puk, one of its senior trainers.

(Picture: a model looking downwards. Credit: Getty Images.)

A therapy which seems to work for post-traumatic stress was developed in the late 1980s

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

Englandspiel: The Deadly Ww2 Spy Game20181213

In 1942, a Dutch secret agent was captured by German military intelligence in the Netherlands. The agent's name was Haub Lauwers and he worked for the Special Operations Executive, a secret organisation set up by the British to wage a guerrilla war against the Nazis in Europe. So began, the Englandspiel, the England Game, a German counter-intelligence operation that led to the capture and deaths of dozens of Dutch agents.
Photo: Haub Lauwers identity card when he joined the Dutch army in exile.

How Britain sent dozens of Dutch agents to their deaths in Nazi-occupied Netherlands

Ernest Hemingway In Cuba20160504

Alberto Ramos remembers his time working for the great American novelist in Cuba.

Escape From Slavery20170605

The story of the Pakistani boy forced into bonded labour at the age of four.

Escape From The South Atlantic20160510

In the spring of 1982 Britain and Argentina went to war over the Falkland Islands.

Estonia's Bootleg Vodka Poisoning20160909

In September 2001, 68 people died after an outbreak of alcohol poisoning in Estonia.

Ethiopia's Red Terror20170410

In the 1970s Ethiopia's military regime launched a brutal campaign of repression

Euro Disney20170630

In 1992 Disney opened its first theme park in Europe.

Executed For Being Too Capitalist20160414

In 1961, in Soviet Central Asia, 21 managers were executed for using capitalist methods.

Executions In Cuba20160707

In July 1989 four Cuban army officers were convicted of drug trafficking and executed.

Explaining Autism2020052120200522 (WS)

One scientist's ground-breaking work that revolutionised our understanding of autism

Exploring Arabia's Empty Quarter20191122

In the 1940s, British gentleman explorer Wilfred Thesiger travelled extensively in one of the world's harshest environments - the Empty Quarter of Arabia. Thesiger lived with nomads in order to cross a desert that was then considered a place of mystery and death. He captured a final glimpse of their way-of-life before the arrival of the oil industry, and was inspired to write the classic travel book Arabian Sands. Simon Watts introduces recordings of Wilfred Thesiger in the BBC archive.

PHOTO: Wilfred Thesiger (Pitt Rivers Museum via Bridgeman Images)

How Wilfred Thesiger travelled in one of the world's harshest environments in the 1940s.

Exposing Child Abuse In The Catholic Church20161006

In 1994, a TV programme in Northern Ireland lifted the lid on clerical child sex abuse.

Fania All Stars - Legends Of Salsa20160826

How a Latin music supergroup helped spread salsa music from New York to the world.

'fat Is A Feminist Issue'20190111

Susie Orbach's best-selling book Fat is a Feminist Issue led many in the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s to rethink body-image from a feminist perspective. Millions of people have read the book, which is still in print four decades later. Susie Orbach explained to Rebecca Kesby how she came up with the idea, and why she is devastated that it is still selling copies.

(Photo: Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue. Credit: Getty Images)

Susie Orbach's book led people to rethink body-image from a feminist perspective

Father Charles Coughlin - America's First Radio Priest20161018

How a controversial Catholic priest had millions of listeners in the 1930s.

Fidel Castro Takes Havana20160106

In Jan 1959 leftist revolutionaries ended decades of rule by Cuba's US-backed dictator

Fidel Castro Takes Havana20190108

On January 8 1959 Fidel Castro and his left wing guerrilla forces marched triumphantly into the Cuban capital, ending decades of rule by the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. It was the beginning of communist rule on the Caribbean island. Mike Lanchin spoke to Carlos Alzugaray, who was a 15-year-old school boy when he joined the crowds in the Cuban capital that turned out to watch the rebel tanks roll into town.

(Photo: Fidel Castro speaks to the crowds in Cuba after Batista was forced to flee, Jan 1959. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

The end of the US-backed dictator and the start of communist rule in Cuba in January 1959

Fighting Cancer2019122320191224 (WS)

In the 1960s doctors began ground-breaking work into using several toxic chemicals at once to treat cancer. Combination chemotherapy, as it was called, would revolutionise cancer survival rates, particularly for Hodgkin Lymphoma, until then a virtual death sentence. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to the doctor who played a key part in that breakthrough, clinical oncologist, Vincent DeVita who has spent his more than 50-year career trying to cure cancer.

Picture: Vincent DeVita (centre) and colleagues George Canellos and Bob Young circa 1971 (Credit: Joel Carl Freid)

Pioneering work in the 60s into combination chemotherapy to try to find a cure for cancer

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

Picture: Vincent DeVita (centre) and colleagues George Canellos and Bob Young circa 1971 (Credit: Joel Carl Freid)

Fighting For Castro At The Bay Of Pigs20160420

A member of Cuba's communist militia recalls battling US-backed invaders in April 1961

Fighting For Rural Women In South Africa20161209

Sizani Ngubane set up the Rural Women's Movement in South Africa in the 1990s

Fighting For The Pill In Japan2020051320200514 (WS)

It took until 1999 for Japanese women to be allowed to take the contraceptive pill.

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

Fighting In The Iran-iraq War20180927

The war lasted for eight years. The death toll is estimated at over a million people. It began when Saddam Hussein sent planes and troops into Iran in September 1980. Ahmed Almushatat was a young Iraqi medic who was sent to the front line towards the end of the war. He spoke to Louise Hidalgo.

Photo: An Iraqi tank in action. Credit:AFP/Getty Images

The war lasted for 8 years and is thought to have left over a million people dead.

Fighting Mount Etna20181015

The Italian authorities tried to divert the stream of molten lava pouring down the slopes of the Etna volcano on the island of Sicily in 1983. Susan Hulme has been speaking to volcanologist, Dr John Murray, who was there watching their efforts to save homes and businesses from destruction.

Photo: Mount Etna erupting in 2017. Credit:Reuters/Antonio Parrinello

How the Italian authorities diverted the stream of molten lava from the Etna volcano.

Fighting Oil Pollution With Art In Nigeria20200219

"Battle Bus" was a sculpture made by Sokari Douglas Camp in memory of Nigerian environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists who were controversially executed in 1995. The sculpture was seized and impounded by Nigerian port authorities in 2015 when the art work was shipped to Nigeria. Sokari Douglas Camp talks to Rebecca Kesby about growing up in the Niger Delta and how it's shaped her art work.

PHOTO: "Battle Bus" by Sokari Douglas Camp on show in London in 2015 (Sam Roberts Photography).

Battle Bus" was a sculpture in memory of Nigerian environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa

Fighting The Islamic State Group Online20190925

When the Islamic State group took over Mosul in Iraq in 2014 they flooded the internet with propaganda, claiming life under IS was fantastic. One historian living in the city decided to post a counter-narrative online. Omar Mohammed set up "Mosul Eye" to expose the atrocities and failings of IS fighters, but it was at great risk to his own safety. Omar tells Rebecca Kesby how he posted news from Mosul to the outside world from right under the noses of the Islamic State group. He says he felt it was his duty to tell the real story.

(Photo: Mosul Eye website. BBC)

How one historian living in Mosul took aim at the Islamic State group on the internet.

Fighting Uganda's Anti-gay Laws20190522

In 2009 Ugandan MPs tried to introduce new laws against homosexuality that would include life imprisonment and even the death penalty. Homophobia was rife in the media with tabloid papers printing the names and addresses of gay men and lesbians. Many activists suffered intimidation and assault. The law was eventually overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2014 but homosexuality is still illegal in Uganda. Victor Mukasa shares his story of fighting for LGBT rights in Uganda, first as a lesbian woman and then as a trans man.

(Photo: Ugandan LGBT Activist Victor Mukasa May 2019. BBC)

When MPs tried to toughen the laws against homosexuality, LGBT activists took a stand.

Finding El Salvador's Missing Children20190820

At the end of El Salvador's civil war human rights investigators began the search for hundreds of children reportedly kidnapped by the army during anti-guerrilla operations. In early 1994, two years after the end of the conflict, the first six children were located in an orphanage in the capital San Salvador. Among them was Maria Elsy Dubon, who had been seized by soldiers who killed her father in May 1982. Mike Lanchin has been hearing about Maria Elsy's distressing ordeal and about the difficult reunion she later had with her biological family, who believed that she was dead.

(Photo: Peasants who lost their children during military operations in the civil war at a rally in March 2006 (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The search for hundreds of children kidnapped by the Salvadoran army during the civil war

Finland Wins Independence From Russia20171206

In December 1917 Finland became an independent country for the first time.

First Women On The London Stock Exchange20180326

London's Stock Exchange, one of the world's oldest, welcomed women as members for the first time in March 1973. It meant they could earn much more money, as partners in their firms. It also meant they were finally allowed to cross the famous trading floor. Hilary Pearson told Claire Bowes how she and a handful of other women made their way in a very traditional man's world.

Photo: One of the first women to be admitted to the floor of the London Stock exchange, 26th March 1973. (Credit: Arthur Jones/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The women who broke tradition shocking London's top-hatted stockbrokers.

Fleeing Deportation To The Ussr20160811

After WW2, many Soviet citizens who had ended up outside the USSR, refused to go home.

Flight 655: When The Us Shot Down An Airliner20180703

On 3 July 1988, a US Navy warship, the USS Vincennes, shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf. All 290 on board the aircraft were killed, among them 66 children. The plane was flying a scheduled service from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai but was mistakenly identified as "hostile" by the US ship. Alex Last has been hearing a rare first-hand account from Rudy Pahoyo, a former US Navy Combat Cameraman who happened to be filming on the USS Vincennes that day.
Photo: The USS Vincennes fires a surface to air missile towards Iran Air flight 655 on 3 July 1988 (Rudy Pahoyo)

All 290 on board were killed when a US warship downed an Iranian passenger jet in 1988

Florence Nightingale20170810

The "lady with the lamp" died on August 13th 1910.

Forced Sterilisation In Peru20160627

In the 1990s more than 280,000 women were sterilised in Peru, many against their will.

France's Last Guillotine20170908

The last man to be executed by guillotine in France was a Tunisian, Hamida Djandoubi.

Francis Bacon's Studio20180122

In 1998 the influential painter's studio was moved in its entirety from a London house to a gallery in Ireland. Francis Bacon had worked in the chaotic room for 30 years up until his death. Every drip of paint and scrap of paper was carefully transported. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to Barbara Dawson of the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin about the project.

Photo: Francis Bacon in his studio. Credit:BBC/IWC Media/Peter Stark

How an influential painter's studio was moved in its entirety from London to Ireland.

Free Breakfast With The Black Panthers20190918

The Black Panther Party hit the headlines in the late 1960s with their call for revolution. But they also ran a number of "survival programmes" to help their local communities - the biggest of which was a project providing free breakfasts for schoolchildren.

Reverend Earl Neil was one of the organisers of the first Free Breakfast for Children programme at St Augustine's Church in Oakland, California. He speaks to Lucy Burns.

(IMAGE: Shutterstock)

The revolutionary Black Panther Party provided free breakfasts for local schoolchildren.

Free Health Care For All20180530

In 1948 the British government carried out an ambitious shake-up of post war society, establishing the foundations of a welfare state.
A cornerstone of this new vision was the creation of the National Health Service, the NHS, providing free universal health care for everyone in the UK.
Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of Olive Belfield, a former nurse and health visitor, and of Dr John Marks, one of the first doctors to qualify to work in the new NHS.

Photo: Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, meeting a patient at Papworth Village Hospital, after the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 (Edward G Malindine/Getty Images)

In 1948 Britain launched the National Health Service, NHS

Freeing American Prisoners From Iran20200228

In 2009, three American hikers were arrested and jailed after they crossed an unmarked border into Iran while on holiday in Iraqi Kurdistan. Sarah Shourd was released first and fought a long campaign to get her friends Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal released from prison in Teheran. Their freedom was eventually brokered by diplomats from Oman – opening up a diplomatic channel between Iran and the US which was later used in their nuclear negotiations. Sarah Shourd talks to Simon Watts.

PHOTO: Sarah Shourd, centre, with the mothers of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal (Getty Images)

The diplomacy behind the release of three US citizens who unknowingly hiked into Iran.

From Cakes To Computers2019112720191128 (WS)

In the early 1950s, the leading British catering firm, J Lyons & Co, pioneered the world's first automated office system. It was baptised LEO - the Lyons Electronic Office - and was used in stock-taking, food ordering and payrolls for the company. Soon it was being hired out to UK government ministries and other British businesses. Mary Coombs worked on the first LEO and was the first woman to become a commercial computer programmer. She tells Mike Lanchin about her memories of those heady days when computers were still in their infancy.

Photo: LEO 2 in operation, 1957 (Thanks to The LEO Computers Society for use of archive)

How the Lyons catering company pioneered LEO, the first electronic office system

Photo:LEO 2 in operation, 1957 (credit: The LEO Computers Society)

From Leningrad To St Petersburg20180906

In 1991 as the communist system was collapsing, in a hugely symbolic act, Leningrad voted to drop Lenin's name abandoning its revolutionary heritage and returning to its historic name of St Petersburg. Dina Newman speaks to Ludmilla Narusova, wife of the first St Petersburg mayor, Anatoli Sobchak, who campaigned for the change.

Photo: Communist campaigners demonstrate against the name change in Leningrad in 1991. Credit: Sobchak Foundation.

In a hugely symbolic act Leningrad returned to its historic name of St Petersburg in 1991

George Orwell And Animal Farm20170829

Animal Farm was an allegory about the dangers of Soviet communism and of Joseph Stalin.

Georgia In Crisis20161227

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Georgia found itself on the verge of civil war.

Georgia O'keeffe20170309

One of the world's most famous female artists died in March 1986.

German Atrocities In Poland During Ww220200106

Towards the end of World War Two in Europe, Polish civilians suffered terribly at the hands of retreating German troops. But many never received any reparations for what they’d been through. Kevin Connolly has been speaking to one survivor who was a child in those final brutal days of the war in Europe.

Photo: Undated image of Nazi soldiers travelling by motorcycle and car stop to watch a Polish village burn to the ground. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)

The memories of a survivor of Nazi atrocities in the final months of the war in Europe

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

Germans Kidnapped By Nicaragua's Rebels20190702

In the 1980s thousands of young activists from around the world flocked to Nicaragua to support the fledgling left-wing Sandinista revolution. They came to build houses, pick coffee, or work in local health centres. Some of the foreigners were caught in the middle of the ongoing civil war between the Sandinista government and right-wing rebels, or Contras, supported by the US government. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to two Germans who were kidnapped by the Contras in the summer of 1986 and held in the jungle for 25 days.

Photo: Anti-Sandinista Contras practice military drills and exercises at military bases in Honduras (Getty Images)

Two German left-wing activists recall their ordeal as hostages of Nicaragua's Contras

Germany's Nudists20170814

How East Germans went naked on the beaches despite official communist party disapproval.

Ghana Must Go20180219

Over a million West African migrants, most of them Ghanaian, were ordered to leave Nigeria at short notice in 1983. The Nigerian economy was suffering a downturn. But hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians then found themselves stuck outside Ghana's border unable to get back home. Alex Last has spoken to one Ghanaian who took part in the forced exodus.

Photo: Migrants leaving Nigeria wait at the border to enter Benin. Credit: Michel Setboum/Getty Images.

Over a million African migrants, most of them Ghanaian, had to leave Nigeria in 1983

Good Vibrations20161007

In October 1966, the Beach Boys released their "pocket symphony" Good Vibrations.

Hacking The First Computer Password20181219

Scientists 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

Scientists at MIT in the 1960s had to share computer time - but some people wanted more.

Haile Selassie In Jamaica20160418

On 21 April 1966 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia arrived in Jamaica

Handing Back Uluru2019112820191129 (WS)

In 1985 Australia's most famous natural landmark, Uluru, the huge ancient red rock formerly known as Ayers Rock, was handed back to its traditional owners, the indigenous people of that part of central Australia, the Anangu. But as one of the government officials involved in the negotiations for the transfer, former private secretary for aboriginal affairs, Kim Wilson, tells Louise Hidalgo, not everyone in Australia was pleased.

Picture: Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock, in Kata Tjuta National Park, the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site (Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)

In 1985 Australia's famous natural landmark Uluru was returned to aboriginal ownership

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

Picture: Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock, in Kata Tjuta National Park, the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site (Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC)

Hands Across America20160524

The day millions of Americans formed a human chain to try to end poverty and homelessness

Happy Beer Day!20190301

On March 1st 1989 Icelanders were allowed to buy beer for the first time in decades

Harry Houdini20161031

How a performance in London made the reputation of the world's greatest escape artist

Helmand Convoy20160825

An audacious military mission to bring electricity to southern Afghanistan.

Hiroshima's Trees Of Hope2020050120200502 (WS)

Trees which survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima are still growing in the Japanese city

Hitler's Architect20180824

Among the leading Nazi inmates in Berlin’s Spandau prison, which was closed in August 1987, was Hitler's architect and minister of war, Albert Speer. He was the only top Nazi who later apologised for the Holocaust, although he claimed he never knew it was happening. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to the journalist Roger George Clark, who interviewed Speer a decade after his release at his home in West Germany.

Picture: Albert Speer standing at the gate of his house near Heidelberg in December 1979. (Credit: Roger George Clark)

Albert Speer was Hitler's architect. We talk to a journalist who interviewed him.

Hitler's League Of German Girls20180828

The League of German Girls was the girl's wing of the Nazi party's youth movement, Hitler Youth. Open to girls aged ten years upwards, it was a key part of the Nazi plans to shape a new generation of Germans. Caroline Wyatt travels to Berlin to meet Eva Sternheim-Peters, now 93, who joined the League at the age of ten and rose to be one of its leaders.

Photo: Eva Sternheim-Peters at home in Berlin (Credit: Stefan Thissen)

An elderly German recalls her years as a leader in the Hitler Youth for girls.

Hitler's Nuclear Programme20160506

Nazi Germany had a nuclear programme, which could have given Hitler an atomic bomb

Hitler's Stolen Children20190517

During the Second World War Nazi officials searched for blonde blue-eyed children in the countries they had occupied. The children were removed from their families as part of a plan to build an Aryan master race. Ingrid Von Oelhafen grew up in Germany and only found out in her 50's that she had been born to Slovenian parents. At nine months old she was taken away and sent to a 'Lebensborn' children's home. She has been speaking to Kate Bissell about what happened during her childhood, and the effect it still has on her life.

Photo: Ingrid Von Oelhafen aged about two. Courtesy of Ingrid Von Oelhafen.

During WW2 the Nazis abducted blonde blue-eyed children to build an Aryan master race

Hong Kong's Abandoned Children2020032320200324 (WS)

In the 1950s and 60s, hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled to the British colony of Hong Kong to escape from the Great Famine. Conditions for the new arrivals were so desperate that some families chose to abandon their children in the streets so they would be taken in by orphanages. Their plight made headlines around the world and many were adopted in homes in Britain and other English-speaking countries. Laura FitzPatrick talks to one of the adopted children, now known as Debbie Cook.

PHOTO: The young Debbie Cook (Family Archive)

The Chinese babies left on the streets of 1960s Hong Kong in the hope they'd be adopted.

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

How America 'lost' China2019061320190614 (WS)

After the end of WW2 the US feared its wartime ally, China, would become communist. In 1946 after the end of Japanese occupation China returned to a civil war which had been fought on and off for years. America saw China as a future ally in business and politics and sent General George Marshall to broker peace between the nationalists and the communists. But just as the communist leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, was advising the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong to enter into a truce, the British leader Winston Churchill gave his famous speech about an 'iron curtain' descending over Europe and the Cold War began to take hold. Daniel Kurtz Phelan tells Claire Bowes about this largely forgotten pivotal moment in world history.

Photo: General George C. Marshall in the War Department in Washington DC in 1943 (Getty Images)

Archive material: Courtesy of the George C Marshall Foundation

How an American war hero was sent to stop China becoming communist and failed.

How British Women Helped Win World War One20180115

For the first time women were encouraged to join the workforce to help win the war. As millions of men were mobilised for military service, British women began to do many jobs that had been the preserve of men. They worked in industry, on the land, in the civil service. But tens of thousands were employed in munitions factories. It was long, hard and dangerous work. Using the BBC archive we hear from women who worked as 'Munitionettes'
Photo: British recruitment posters urging women to work during World War I. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How Christo Wrapped The Reichstag2020060320200604 (WS)

The artist who delighted post-Cold War Berlin by wrapping its greatest monument

How Environmental Campaign Group Greenpeace Was Formed20190523

The environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, was formed in 1971 in western Canada, after a group of activists met in a Vancouver kitchen and decided to sail an old fishing boat to Alaska to stop a US nuclear test. Greenpeace is today one of the biggest environmental organisations in the world, known for its direct action, with offices in over 39 countries. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to one of the founders of Greenpeace, Rex Weyler, about that first campaign.

Picture: Members of the original Don't Make a Wave Committee with Greenpeace skipper John McCormack preparing to sail to Amchitka island to try to stop a US nuclear test, 1971 (Credit: Getty Images)

The story of how environmental campaign group Greenpeace was formed

How Europe Won Over The British Left20160908

A speech by Jacques Delors helped change British trade unionists' attitude to Europe

How I Survived A Fire On A Plane20180913

Ricardo Trajano was the only passenger to survive a fire on a plane in 1973. His flight from Brazil was forced to make an emergency landing outside Paris, and 123 people died. But, as he's been telling Thomas Pappon, he stayed alive by ignoring all the official safety advice.

Photo: Ricardo Trajano as a young man. Copyright: Ricardo Trajano.

One young man was the only passenger to survive a fire on a plane - find out how.

How Little America Was Built In Afghanistan20190315

In the 1950s, US engineers were sent to Afghanistan to build a dam.

How Meditation Changes Your Brain20200218

In 2002, scientists in the US began performing a landmark series of experiments on Buddhist monks from around the world. The studies showed that the brains of experienced meditators alter, allowing them to focus better and manage their emotions. Alejandra Martins talks to Professor Richard Davidson of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

PHOTO: A monk taking part in the experiment (Center for Healthy Minds).

In 2002, a landmark study on Buddhist monks showed that meditation can alter the brain.

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

How Organic Farming Started20190418

In the aftermath of World War Two pesticides and chemical fertilisers started to become more widespread in the UK. Worries about the effect this would have on soil quality led Lady Eve Balfour to establish the Soil Association to promote natural farming techniques. John Butler has been a farmer all his life and he has been speaking to Dina Newman about Lady Eve and the early days of Britain's organic farming movement.

Photo: Lady Eve Balfour with some of her friends. Copyright: The Soil Association.

Worries about the industrialisation of farming post-WW2 led some farmers to go organic.

How Peru Mistook Missionaries For Drug Traffickers20170417

Hear from the American who survived being shot down in his plane over the Amazon jungle

How Science Ended The Search For Josef Mengele20190222

An international panel of experts gathered in Brazil in 1985 to identify the remains of a man thought to have been the infamous doctor from Auschwitz.
'To see that this man was finally in his grave was important' says Eric Stover, part of the team of American and German experts who examined the body from a cemetery near São Paulo. Mengele's family in Germany claimed that it was his. Thomas Pappon has spoken to Eric Stover about the efforts to prove that one of the most wanted war criminals of the 20th century was dead.
Image: Josef Mengele with his skull superimposed on top. Used by German forensic scientist Richard Helmer. (Credit: Brazilian Institute Medico-Legal)

A panel of scientists went to Brazil to identify the remains of the infamous Nazi in 1985

How The Brazilian Dictatorship Made My Father Disappear20181112

On a hot summer day in 1971, six armed men invaded the house of former Congressman Rubens Paiva in Rio de Janeiro. He was taken from his wife and children, never to be seen again. Paiva was one of the most famous Brazilians to disappear during the military dictatorship. His son, writer Marcelo Rubens Paiva, tells how his family coped with decades of lies, uncertainty and, finally, the truth.

Photo: Rubens Paiva surrounded by his family (his son, Marcelo, is seated cross-legged). Credit: Family Archive

Writer Marcelo Rubens Paiva remembers the day his father was taken by the military.

How The Dodo Died Out20200121

A flightless bird, the dodo became extinct just decades after being discovered on the uninhabited island of Mauritius by European sailors. Because dodos couldn't fly they, and their eggs, were eaten by explorers and the cats and rats that came with them on board their ships. By the late 1600s there were none left. Simon Watts charts the demise and subsequent popularisation of the dodo.

Image: An engraving of a dodo. Credit: Science Photo Library.

A flightless bird, the dodo was extinct just decades after being discovered by Europeans

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

How The World Woke Up To Global Warming20180622

Professor James Hansen finally got US politicians to listen to his warnings about climate change in June 1988 after years of trying. He and fellow NASA scientists had first predicted global warming in 1981. Professor Hansen spoke to Ashley Byrne about his discoveries.

Image: Map of the world. Credit: Science Photo Library.

James Hansen got US politicians to listen to his warnings about climate change in 1988.

Howl: The Poem That Revolutionised Us Writing2018100520181007 (WS)

Allen Ginsberg first read his poem Howl, at an art gallery in San Francisco in October 1955. It marked a turning point in American literature and is credited with starting the "Beat Generation" of American writers. Michael McClure, a fellow poet, took part in the reading that night. The programme was first broadcast in 2012.

Photo: Allen Ginsberg, front row centre, with other poets in 1965. Express/Getty Images.

How Allan Ginsberg's reading in San Francisco in 1955 started the "Beat Generation".

Hull's 'headscarf Revolutionaries'20180212

In 1968, a group of women from the British fishing port of Hull staged a successful campaign to improve safety in what was then one of the most dangerous industries in the world. Following the deaths of nearly 60 men in three separate trawler accidents, the so-called Headscarf Revolutionaries picketed the port and lobbied ministers in London until the owners agreed to changes. Simon Watts hears the memories of one of the women, Yvonne Blenkinsop.

(Photo: Yvonne Blenkinsop (left) and three other campaigners in 1968. Credit: Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

The British fishermen's wives who fought for better safety standards in their industry

Humanity's Earliest Ancestor20190726

In July 2001 a team of palaeontologists led by Michel Brunet discovered a seven million year-old fossilised skull in the Djurab desert in Chad. Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye was the member of the team who first uncovered the skull which has been nicknamed Toumai. Freddy Chick has been speaking to Professor Brunet about his hunt for hominid fossils in West Africa. Photo: French palaeontologist Professor Michel Brunet, holding Toumai's skull along with Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye who discovered the skull. (Photo credit Patrick ROBERT/Corbis via Getty Images)

A fossilised skull found in Chad is thought to be the earliest-known ancestor of humans

Hypnotising Saddam's Son20171211

How an American hypnotist went to Iraq to treat Uday, the eldest son of Saddam Hussein.

I Helped Liberate Paris From The Nazis20190821

On August 25 1944 General Charles De Gaulle, who had been in exile in London for the majority of World War 2, finally entered Paris at the head of the Free French forces. But the French capital was far from secure. Ashley Byrne hears from Charles Pegulu de Rovin, who as an 18-year-old student fought with other resistance fighters against the Nazis in the final battle for Paris.

(Photo by Pierre Jahan/Roger Viollet via Getty Images)

A former member of the French resistance remembers the drama of August 1944

I Hijacked A Plane To Save My Children20180104

On 4 January 1970 a hijacked plane touched down in Cuba after a dramatic four day journey. The plane, its crew and passengers had been seized on New Year’s Eve by a small group of left-wing guerrillas fighting military rule in Brazil. Mike Lanchin has spoken to one of the hijackers, Marilia Gimaraes, who took her two young children with her.

Photo: Marilia Gimaraes, 2017 (courtesy of the family)

How one woman fled Brazil's military dictatorship with her kids on a hijacked plane.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings20190405

Maya Angelou's iconic first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in spring 1969. The book was an instant best-seller, and was one of the first literary accounts of growing up as a black girl in the southern states of America, including graphic depictions of rape and racism. Louise Hidalgo talks to Maya Angelou's friend and biographer, former magazine editor, Marcia Gillespie, about the book and how it helped to establish Maya Angelou as one of the great voices of her generation.

Picture: Maya Angelou holding a copy of her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in 1971 (Credit: BBC/WF/AP/Corbis)

Maya Angelou's iconic memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969

I Saw The Soldiers Who Killed El Salvador's Priests20191120

In November 1989 Salvadoran government soldiers dragged six Jesuit priests from their beds and murdered them along with their housekeeper and her teenage daughter. The Salvadoran government tried to blame the killings on left-wing rebels, but one woman provided key testimony that contradicted the official version, at great personal danger. Lucia Cerna tells her story to Mike Lanchin

(Photo: a plaque commemorating the murdered priests in San Salvador- courtesy of David Mee)

Lucia Cerna was the only witness to a murder that shocked El Salvador in November 1989

Iceland Jails Its Bankers20190211

The 2008 global economic crisis hit hard in Iceland. Its three major banks and stockmarket collapsed and it was forced to seek an emergency bail-out from the IMF. But unlike many other countries affected by the global downturn, Iceland decided to prosecute its leading bankers. Around forty top executives were jailed. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Special Prosecutor, Olafur Hauksson, who led the investigations.

(Photo: Protesters on the streets of Reykjavik demand answers from the government and the banks about the country's financial crisis, Nov. 2008. (Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images)

The man who jailed 40 top bankers in Iceland after the 2008 global credit crunch

Photo: Protesters on the streets of Reykjavik demand answers from the government and the banks about the country's financial crisis, Nov. 2008. (HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images)

The man who jailed forty top bankers in Iceland after the 2008 global credit crunch.

India's "mr Sanitation"20170530

In 1968 Dr Bindeshwar Pathak began his mission to improve toilet facilities for the poor.

India's Affirmative Action Controversy20190911

In 1990 the Indian government introduced an affirmative action plan that had been lying unimplemented for a decade. The Mandal Commission recommended guaranteeing a percentage of government jobs to lower caste Hindus. It's implementation was an attempt by the government to quell the rise of Hindu nationalism. But the move proved controversial from the outset and led to weeks of student protests across India.  Farhana Haider has been speaking to a retired superintendent of police, Dilip Trivedi who remembers the implementation of the report and its aftermath.

Photo Students protesting Mandal Commission proposal for quotas on govt. jobs for so called backward castes 1990. Credit Getty Images.

Why guaranteeing government jobs to lower caste Hindus led to weeks of student protests.

India's City Of The Future: Chandigarh20161130

World famous architect Le Corbusier built a city to revive Indian pride after Partition.

India's Economic Revolution2019112620191127 (WS)

In the 1990s India began to open up its state-controlled economy

India's First Call Centre20190121

Pramod Bhasin returned home to India in 1997 after working abroad for years. He spotted an opportunity to start a new industry that would revolutionise the country's economy. He tells Witness how he set up India's first call centre in spite of telecom challenges that might have put most entrepreneurs off.

Photo: Pramod Bhasin in one of the call centres he started. Credit: BBC.

In the late 1990s a businessman started a new industry in India

Inside Lunar Astronaut Quarantine20190904

When the crew of Apollo 11 returned to earth after their historic mission to the Moon, they were immediately placed in quarantine for 3 weeks. It was done to protect the Earth from the dangers of possible lunar alien life. Dr William Carpentier was the flight surgeon for the Apollo 11 mission and was placed in quarantine with the crew to monitor their health and check for any signs of alien life. He talks to Alex Last about his memories of working with the Apollo programme and life in quarantine.

Photo: Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right): Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin peer from window of the Mobile Quarantine Facility aboard the U.S.S. Hornet after their July 24th recovery.

Apollo 11's doctor tells how NASA tried to protect Earth from possible lunar alien life

Iran Hostage Crisis20190130

In 1979 young revolutionaries stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. 52 Americans were taken captive and held hostage for 444 days. Barry Rosen was one of the hostages. In 2009 he told his story to Alex Last.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Boy in camouflage points a toy pistol at an effigy of US President Carter during a demonstration outside the US Embassy, 18 November 1979. (Credit:STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Barry Rosen was one of the Americans held hostage for 444 days in Tehran.

Iran Hostage Crisis: The Humanitarian Delegation20191104

On November 4th 1979 revolutionary students overran the US Embassy in Tehran and took everyone inside hostage. In February 1980 the students invited a humanitarian delegation from the US to visit them in Iran. The group were shown around Tehran to highlight the country's poverty. They were also allowed to meet some of the American hostages. Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe was a member of the delegation and Masoumeh Ebtekar was the spokesperson for the students.
Rachael Gillman reports on a crucial moment in the relationship between the US and Iran, as part of the BBC Crossing Divides season, which brings people together across divides.

How Iranian students invited a group of Americans to Iran to meet the hostages

Iran Hostage Rescue Mission20190131

In April 1980, the US launched Operation Eagle Claw - a daring but ultimately disastrous attempt to free dozens of hostages held captive in the US Embassy in Tehran. The rescue mission ended in tragedy almost as soon as it began. Rob Walker spoke to Mike Vining, a member of the US special forces team in 2015.

This programme is a rebroadcast

(Photo:Special forces troops returning from the failed mission. Credit: US Army)

The US sent special forces to try to rescue hostages from their Embassy in Tehran in 1980

Iran Student Protests 19992018010520180107 (WS)

In July 1999, students in Iran took to the streets demanding reform. At the time it was the largest anti government protest since the Islamic revolution. Alex Last spoke to Ahmad Batebi in 2013, about how he became an unwitting symbol of the protest movement and suffered years of mistreatment in prison. (Photo: Ahmad Batebi holds up a T-shirt belonging to an injured friend, Tehran, July 12, 1999. Credit: Reuters)

A young man became an unwitting symbol of the anti-government protests

Iraqi Shia Uprising - 199120160324

At the end of the First Gulf War thousands of Iraqis rose up against Saddam Hussein

Iraq's Secret Nuclear Programme20160609

In 1981 Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor; it began Iraq's secret nuclear programme

Irina Ratushinskaya20161010

The dissident poet was released from a labour camp on the eve of a US-Soviet summit

Isaac Asimov And Science Fiction20180531

In May 1942, the American Isaac Asimov published the first instalment of the Foundation series, which would go on to become one of the most popular works of science fiction ever written. Foundation asks big and hugely imaginative questions about the predictability of human behaviour in a space-age future. Simon Watts introduces excerpts from BBC archive interviews with Isaac Asimov and an early BBC dramatization of the Foundation series.

PHOTO: Isaac Asimov in the 1970s (BBC)

The American writer and scientist considered one of the greats of Science Fiction.

Isadora Duncan - Dance Pioneer20180925

Sometimes called the 'Mother of Modern Dance' she was born and brought up in the USA. Isadora Duncan performed across Europe in the early 20th Century, and her free-flowing movements caused a sensation among dancers and choreographers alike. Simon Watts brings together archive accounts of the dancer whose private life was almost as controversial as her dancing.

Photo: Isadora Duncan. Credit: Getty Images

Israel Withdraws From Gaza20171004

One woman's account of life on the front-line of Israel's occupation of Gaza.

Israel's Secret Peace Envoy20180809

In August 1994 Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli leader publicly to visit Jordan. But in fact talks had been going on for years. Former head of Mossad, Ephraim Halevy, was Israel's secret peace envoy. He's been telling Louise Hidalgo about Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan's clandestine meetings during the often fraught road to peace.

Picture; US president Bill Clinton looks on as King Hussein and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands on the White House lawn in July 1994 ahead of a formal peace treaty between Israel and Jordan later that year. (Credit: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

In August 1994 Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli leader to visit Jordan

Italy Votes For Divorce20170215

In May 1974, Italians defied the Catholic Church and voted overwhelmingly for divorce.

Italy's 'ghost Shipwreck'20180713

In the summer of 2001, an Italian journalist used an underwater robot to find the remains of a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily which had killed nearly 300 migrants from South Asia. At the time this was the worst disaster of its kind in the Mediterranean but the few survivors had been ignored by officials and dismissed as fantasists. The discovery of the so-called “Phantom Shipwreck” caused an outrage in Italy. Simon Watts talks to Italian journalist Giovanni Maria Bellu and the former Observer correspondent in Rome, John Hooper, who also investigated the tragedy.

(Photo: The remains of the "Ghost Shipwreck" filmed off the Sicilian coast. Credti: EPA/ANSA/La Repubblica)

How journalists located the wreck of a boat that capsized killing nearly 300 migrants

Italy's Partisan Fighters20160905

The brother and sister who took part in the struggle to free Italy from fascism in WW2.

Italy's Shame: The Massacre In Ethiopia20170623

In 1937 Italian forces occupying Addis Ababa murdered thousands of Ethiopian civilians

Italy's 'state-within-a-state'20170619

In 1982 Italian banker Roberto Calvi was found dead in London in mysterious circumstances

Jack Ma: The Founder Of Alibaba20190506

The Chinese billionaire set up his online shopping site in 1999. When Alibaba first started, Jack Ma and his team were working out of a small flat in Hangzhou. The BBC's Michael Bristow has been hearing from Duncan Clark, who first worked with the internet entrepreneur in those early days.

Photo: Jack Ma attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 2019. (Credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Jackass Penguin Rescue20160621

An oil spill in June 2000 threatened tens of thousands of African penguins.

Jacqueline Du Pre20160802

Jacqueline Du Pre makes one of the most famous classical recordings of the 20th Century

Jamaica's Worst Train Accident20170904

A survivor recalls the Kendal train crash in September 1957 when more than 200 died.

'jane' - The Underground Abortion Service20191031

A group of feminists working under the name “Jane” carried out underground abortions in 1960s Chicago – when abortions were still illegal in most of the US.

Initially they gave abortion counselling and put women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies in touch with doctors who would perform the procedure. But when they discovered that one doctor they had been working with was not medically qualified, the women started to perform the abortions themselves.

Martha Scott was a member of the group – she received an abortion through the service, learned to perform abortions, and was one of the Janes arrested when they were busted by the police. She tells Lucy Burns about her experiences.

Photo courtesy of Martha Scott

An underground feminist network performed illegal abortions in 1960s Chicago.

Japanese Murders In Brazil20181115

When WW2 was over, a fanatical group of Japanese immigrants living in Brazil refused to believe that Japan had lost the war. They decided to punish their more prominent compatriots who accepted that Japan had lost. The extremists killed 23 people. Aiko Higuchi remembers the tragic day in February 1946 when her father became their first victim.

Photo: Some members of Shindo Renmei (Tokuichi Hidaka is the first from the right) in picture taken by Masashigue Onishi in Tupã, state of São Paulo, Brazil, in the beginning of 1946, before the killings. Credit: Masashigue Onishi/Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration in Brazil

Fanatics killed Japanese immigrants who accepted that Japan had surrendered in WW2.

Jaslyk - Uzbekistan's Infamous Prison20191205

A prison camp called Jaslyk opened in the desert in western Uzbekistan in 1999. Even by the standards of the Uzbek prison system it would become notorious for torture and human rights abuses, including reports of a prisoner being boiled alive. Journalist Muhammad Bekjanov was imprisoned in Jaslyk during the 18 years he spent in Uzbek jails. He speaks to Lucy Burns along with independent human rights observer Acacia Shields.

PHOTO: Muhammad Bekjanov in Istanbul, 1995 (courtesy of Muhammad Bekjanov)

A prison camp in the Uzbek desert became notorious for torture and human rights abuses.

Jewish In Imperial Russia20181113

Pearl Unikow was a young woman who grew up in a segregated Jewish community in Russia before WW1. Her stories, recorded in Yiddish in the 1970s, provide a rare account of traditional Jewish life. Her granddaughter Lisa Cooper wrote a book based on those recordings. Dina Newman has been listening to the tapes and spoke to Lisa Cooper. Photo: Pearl Unikow (in the middle of the back row) with her cousins, circa 1920. Credit: family archive.

A young woman's rare account of Jewish life in imperial Russia.

Jimmy Swaggart's Fall From Grace20180220

In February 1988 Jimmy Swaggart, one of America's most successful televangelists, was forced to make a humiliating public confession from the pulpit. He had been caught in the company of a New Orleans prostitute. Swaggart's tough no-nonsense style of preaching had won him a huge global following. He had also been fiercely critical of other evangelical preachers who had become mired in sexual scandals. Mike Lanchin hears from the Baton Rouge news reporter Edward Pratt, who followed Swaggart's rapid rise to fame and sudden fall.

Photo: Jimmy Swaggart breaks down in tears on televised sermon as he confesses his relationship with a prostitute, Feb 1988 (Alamy)

How one of America's most successful televangelists was caught with a prostitute

John Muir And America's Wild Places20160819

The Scottish-born naturalist considered the father of the National Parks in the USA.

Judy Garland's Final Shows20190114

Judy Garland ended her long and glitzy stage and screen career at a London theatre club in January 1969. She was booked for five weeks of nightly shows at the 'Talk of the Town', but by that time, the former child star of the 'Wizard of Oz' was struggling with a drug and drink addiction. Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of Rosalyn Wilder, then a young production assistant, whose job was to try to get Judy Garland on stage each night.

Photo: Judy Garland on stage in London, December 1968 (Larry Ellis/Express/Getty Images)

The world famous singer's final performances were in London in January 1969

Karakoram Highway20160531

In 1979 the Karakoram Highway between Pakistan and China was opened to the public

Kenya's Hit Record: Jambo Bwana20170208

The story of a 1980 Kenyan pop song which became an unlikely global hit.

Kenya's Ivory Inferno20190712

Twelve tonnes of ivory was set alight by President Daniel Arap Moi in Nairobi National Park in July 1989, to highlight the threat from poaching.The ivory burn was organised by conservationists who wanted to save the world's elephants. Alice Castle has been speaking to Richard Leakey, former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

(Photo: Ivory tusks arranged in a pile and set alight. Credit: Andrew Holbrooke/Corbis/Getty Images)

How a dramatic bonfire in Nairobi National Park highlighted the threat from poaching

Khrushchev's Soviet Housing Programme20170725

In the 1960s, many Soviet families moved to a flat of their own for the first time.

Kia Ora: Maori Rights Breakthrough In New Zealand20160520

Telephone operator Naida Glavish became known for saying good morning to callers in Maori

Kim Philby: The Third Man20160511

In May 1988, the death was announced in Moscow of the English spy Kim Philby.

Kolkata Sex Workers.20170317

In March 2001 thousands of Indian prostitutes united to fight for their rights.

Korea Divided20180611

At the end of World War Two with the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Korea was split along the 38th parallel. Soviet forces took control in the North of the peninsula, and the US military took control in the South. Shin Insup was a boy, living the northern city of Pyongyang at the time. In 2015 he spoke to Catherine Davis about what happened next.

(Photo: Korea 38th parallel. Credit: Getty Images/AFP)

The Korean peninsula was split between North and South at the end of World War Two.

Kosovo: 'madeleine's War'20180706

When war broke out in Kosovo in 1998 Nato intervened with air-strikes. US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright was the main proponent for military action. She explains to Rebecca Kesby why she argued for action, and tells her own remarkable story from a childhood in Czechoslovakia to the highest political office ever held by a woman in the United States.

(Photo: Madeleine Albright. Credit US Government)

Ex US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on why she argued for Nato action in Kosovo

Kowloon Walled City2020051920200520 (WS)

How Hong Kong's city within a city was torn down in 1993.

Kurdish Singer Ahmet Kaya20161111

The widow of the famous folk singer recalls the night that changed her husband's life.

Kuwaiti Women Secure The Vote20170307

In 2005 an unprecedented protest by Kuwaiti women won a historic change

Laika The Space Dog20171108

The Russian street dog was the first living creature to orbit the Earth.

Laika, The First Dog In Space20190715

The Russian stray was the first dog to orbit the Earth. She was sent into space in November 1957 in a flight which had been timed to mark the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. She died after orbiting the Earth four times. Professor Victor Yazdovsky's father was in charge of the dogs in the Russian space programme. Professor Yazdovsky tells Olga Smirnova about playing with Laika, before her flight, when he was just nine years old.

Photo: Laika. Credit: Keystone/Hulton/Getty Images.

The Russian stray was the first dog to be sent into orbit around the earth

Latvia's Controversial Waffen-ss Fighters2018031620180318 (WS)

On March 16th 1998, veterans of the Latvian Legion who had fought for the Nazis during World War Two, marched through the capital Riga commemorating their greatest battle against the Soviet Red Army. It was a rare official remembrance of the efforts of the Waffen SS. Dina Newman has been speaking to two veterans of the Latvian Legion.

Photo: Latvian infantrymen march through a street in Riga under the German occupation. Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images

In 1998 Latvian Waffen-SS veterans marched to remember a battle against the Soviets.

Learie Constantine - Fighting Racism In The Uk20191007

The great West Indian cricketer, lawyer and member of the House of Lords took a London hotel to court when it refused to let him and his family stay there in 1943. Susan Hulme brings us his story from the BBC archives.

Photo: Sir Learie Constantine outside Westminster Abbey in 1966. Credit: Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images.

The great West Indian cricketer who fought against racism in the UK

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

Lebanon's Baalbek Festival20160804

The Middle East's oldest arts festival, in Baalbek in Lebanon, started 60 years ago

Lenin And The Deadly Mushrooms20190312

As communism was crumbling in the early 1990s a spoof made for Soviet TV, persuaded some Russians that Vladimir Lenin's personality had been seriously affected by hallucinogenic mushrooms. The mushrooms in question were the deadly poisonous fly agaric fungi which the programme alleged Lenin had eaten whilst in exile in Siberia. Dina Newman has spoken to journalist Sergei Sholokhov who presented the TV spoof.

Photo: two fly agaric toadstools. Copyright: BBC.

A spoof TV show persuaded some Russians that Lenin took too many hallucinogenic mushrooms

Leonardo's Lost Notebooks20180214

In February 1967, it was revealed that two notebooks by the great 15th-century Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci, that had been lost for centuries, had been discovered in the national library in Spain. Louise Hidalgo talks to two people with a personal interest in the discovery, Da Vinci scholar Pietro Marani, and robotic engineer, Mark Rosheim, who used Leonardo's drawings to recreate the artist and inventor's lost Robot Knight.

(Photo: A self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci dated circa 1500. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1967 two long-lost notebooks of the artist Leonardo da Vinci were discovered in Spain

Lesbian Protest On Bbc News20180523

On 23 May 1988 a group of lesbian activists invaded a BBC TV news studio as it went live on air. They were protesting against the introduction of new UK laws to limit LGBT rights. Booan Temple was one of the women who took part in the demonstration and she's been speaking to Ruth Evans about what happened that day.

Photo: Booan and another protester are led out of the BBC by security guards. Credit: BBC.

On 23 May 1988 a group of lesbian activists invaded a BBC TV news studio as it was on air

Lgbt 'cooperative' Marriages In China20190723

LGBT people in China sometimes arrange fake marriages to hide their sexuality. In 2005 Lin Hai set up a website to allow lesbians and gay men to get in touch with each other. He came up with the idea to stop his family from putting pressure on him to get married. Homosexuality is not illegal in China but there is discrimination against LGBT people.

(Photo: Lin Hai and his partner on holiday in Thailand in 2014. Credit: Lin Hai)

How LGBT people in China started arranging fake marriages to hide their sexuality

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

Life With America's Black Panthers20181030

Eldridge Cleaver, one of the leaders of the radical African American Black Panther party, spent more than three years in exile in Algeria in the late 1960s. He set up an international office for the Black Panthers, mingling with dozens of left-wing revolutionary activists who had also sought refuge in north Africa. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Elaine Klein Mokhtefi, a left-wing American woman who lived and worked in Algiers, and who became Cleaver's fixer and close confidante.

Photo: Eldridge Cleaver and Elaine Mokhtefi (credit: Pete O'Neal)

Memories of the radical African American leader, Eldridge Cleaver.

Living Under Gaddafi20180905

In September 1969, a military coup in Libya brought Muammar Gaddafi to power. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to award-winning writer Hisham Matar about life in Libya in the first decade of Gaddafi's rule, his family’s flight from Libya and how his father, Jaballa Matar, became one of Gaddafi's most prominent opponents in exile and paid the ultimate price.

Picture: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on September 27th 1969, shortly after the bloodless coup that brought him to power (Credit: AFP FILES/AFP/Getty Images)

A military coup in Libya in September 1969 brought Muammar Gaddafi to power.

Lluis Companys - Martyr Of Catalan Nationalism20171010

The Catalan leader who was executed by a Spanish fascist firing squad in October 1940.

London's First Black Policeman20200203

Norwell Roberts joined the Metropolitan police in 1967. He was put forward as a symbol of progressive policing amid ongoing tensions between the police and ethnic minorities in the capital. But behind the scenes, he endured years of racist abuse from colleagues within the force. Norwell Roberts QPM spoke to Alex Last about growing up in Britain and his determination to be a pioneer in the police force.

Photo: London's first black policeman PC Norwell Roberts beginning his training with colleagues at Hendon Police College, London, 5th April 1967. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Norwell Roberts endured years of racist abuse within the Metropolitan police

Lonely Planet20170628

The travel guide that helped tourists make their way around the world on a budget.

Look Back In Anger20180517

The play Look Back in Anger exploded onto London's cultural scene in May 1956 and helped to change British theatre forever. The play by John Osborne is about a disillusioned university graduate coming to terms with his grudge against middle-class life and values. One writer described it as a cultural landmine. Actress Jane Asher starred in an early production and has been speaking to Louise Hidalgo for Witness.

Picture: Jane Asher, Victor Henry and Martin Shaw at a rehearsal for the 1968 revival of John Osborne's play Look Back In Anger at the Royal Court theatre. (Credit: Jim Gray/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The play Look Back in Anger changed British theatre when it was staged in 1956

Lyuba The Baby Mammoth20180601

In May 2007 a nomadic reindeer herdsman discovered the perfectly preserved body of a 42,000-year-old baby mammoth in Siberia. The creature, which was later named Lyuba, was 130 cm tall and weighed around 50 kilos. Anya Dorodeyko has been speaking to herdsman Yuri Khudi about his amazing find.

Photo: Lyuba on display in Hong Kong in 2012. (credit: aaron tam/AFP/Getty Images)

How a herdsman found the perfectly preserved body of a 42,000-year-old baby mammoth.

Maastricht: The Birth Of The European Union20190215

In February 1992, European ministers from 12 countries signed a treaty that would lead towards greater economic and political unity. The European Union would become the biggest free trading bloc in the world, but over the years it has survived several rocky moments as individual countries have questioned whether they want to be included. Senior EU Official Jim Cloos was one of those involved in drafting the Maastricht Treaty, and he explained to Rebecca Kesby how exciting it was to be involved in the project in those early days.

(Photo: The flag logo of The European Union)

In 1992 European ministers signed a treaty towards greater economic and political unity.

Mad Cow Disease And Cjd20160316

How a disease affecting cattle was transferred to the human population in Britain.

Madonna's First Single20171013

Everybody was released in 1982 - it was the first step on Madonna's journey to stardom

Magellan And The First Voyage Around The World20190913

In September 1519, a fleet led by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set off on what would be the first circumnavigation of the world. Magellan was the first navigator to find a route round South America, but he had to quell several attempted mutinies and he was eventually killed by tribesmen in what is now the Philippines. His circumnavigation was completed in 1522 by one of his subordinates, Juan Sebastian Elcano. Simon Watts tells Magellan’s story through the book published by his on-board chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta.

PHOTO: Magellan's fleet (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1519, the Portuguese explorer set off on the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Magnum Photos20170503

The legendary photographic cooperative, Magnum, was founded 70 years ago

Mallory On Everest20160406

In 1999 the body of legendary British mountaineer, George Mallory, was found on Everest.

Mamma Mia!20190722

The hit musical Mamma Mia! opened in London's West End in 1999. Using the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA, the stage show was followed in July 2008 by Mamma Mia! the movie and ten years later by a sequel, both of which have broken musical box-office records. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Mamma Mia's creator Judy Craymer about how it all began.

Picture: Mamma Mia! the musical West End promotional poster (Credit: Littlestar Services)

The story of the hit musical Mamma Mia! from the woman who created it

The hit musical Mamma Mia opened in London's West End in 1999. Using the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA, the stage show was followed in July 2008 by Mamma Mia the movie and ten years after that by a sequel, both of which have broken musical box-office records. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Mamma Mia's creator Judy Craymer about how it all began.

Picture: Mamma Mia the musical West End promotional poster (Credit: Littlestar Services)

The story of the hit musical Mamma Mia from the woman who created it

Mao's Cultural Revolution20191002

In 1966 Chairman Mao declared the start of the Cultural Revolution in Communist China, a radical and brutal attempt to reshape Chinese society. Saul Yeung was 20 years old at the time and in 2016 he spoke to Lucy Burns about his decision to join the Red Guards, tasked with carrying out Mao's revolution.

Photo: Chinese Red Guards reading from Chairman Mao's Little Red Book (Getty Images)

We hear from one man who took part in China's brutal Cultural Revolution.

Mapping The Ocean's Secrets20180329

The publication of a map of the floor of the Atlantic ocean in 1957 by an American female cartographer, Marie Tharp, helped to change forever the way we view our world. Her discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was eventually taken as evidence of the theory of plate tectonics. Yet her work was initially dismissed as 'girls' talk', her colleague geologist Bill Ryan tells Louise Hidalgo.

Picture: Marie Tharp working on a map of the ocean floor at Columbia University in the 1960s. (Credit: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory courtesy of the Marie Tharp estate)

Marie Tharp's discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge proved the theory of plate tectonics

Marburg Virus20200313

A deadly new form of haemorrhagic fever was discovered in the small town of Marburg in West Germany in the summer of 1967. The first patients all worked at a factory in the town which made vaccines. In the course of their work they had all come into contact with blood or tissue from monkeys from East Africa who were infected with a disease similar to Ebola. Lucy Burns speaks to virologist Werner Slenczka and former laboratory worker Frederike Moos about their experiences of the outbreak.

Photo: A Grivet monkey looks out from an enclosure at Egypt's Giza Zoo in Cairo on August 1, 2017 (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP via Getty Images)

A deadly new disease infected laboratory workers in a small town in West Germany in 1967.

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

Marcel Duchamp And His Fountain20161020

The story of the great French conceptualist artist Marcel Duchamp and his art

Marcus Garvey20160517

In 1916 Marcus Garvey arrived in the US urging black people to unite in a new nation.

Margaret Thatcher's Anti-europe Speech20191028

The British Prime Minister started expressing doubts about the European Union during a speech in the Belgian city of Bruges in 1988. The now famous "Bruges speech" is seen by many as the spark which ignited the anti-European movement within Britain's Conservative party. Susan Hulme has been speaking to Sir Stephen Wall who wrote an early version of the speech and to David McWilliams who was a student in the audience at the College of Europe when Mrs Thatcher spoke.

(Photo: Margaret Thatcher giving her "Bruges speech" at the College of Europe in 1988. Credit: Press Association/Fiona Hanson)

The British Prime Minister started expressing doubts about the European Union in 1988

Marie Stopes: Birth Control Pioneer20160303

In March 1921, Marie Stopes opened Britain's first birth control clinic in London

Marie Stopes: Birth Control Pioneer20180308

In March 1921, Marie Stopes opened Britain's first birth control clinic in London. The Mother's Clinic in Holloway offered advice to married mothers on how to avoid having any more children. Hear testimonies on the early days of birth control in Britain from the BBC archive. This programme was first broadcast in 2013.

(Photo: Dr Marie Stopes, photographed in 1953. Credit: Baron/Getty Images)

The first birth control clinic in Britain was opened in London in 1921 by Dr Marie Stopes

Martin Luther's 95 Theses20171031

How German monk Martin Luther started a religious revolution

Marvel Comics And 'the Fantastic Four'20161024

In 1961 a new generation of comic-book super heroes was launched in the US


On the 28th of February 1983 the final episode of the iconic US TV series M*A*S*H was broadcast. It was watched by a record 125 million viewers. Set during the Korean War. M*A*S*H centred on the lives of the doctors and nurses in an army medical unit. Farhana Haider has been hearing from one of the show's writers Karen Hall about the sitcom that presented a wry take on war.

Photo Cast of M*A*S*H 1980 Karen Hall far right. Credit Karen Hall

The last episode of the iconic TV series broadcasts to record audiences across the US.

Mass Deportations From Soviet Estonia20170322

In 1949, Moscow arranged the deportation of tens of thousands of Estonians to Siberia.

Maximilian Kolbe: 'the Saint Of Auschwitz'20181024

In October 1982, the Polish priest, Father Maximilian Kolbe, was canonised for sacrificing his own life to save another prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War Two. Simon Watts uses the BBC archives to tell the story of the man the Vatican considers the “Patron Saint of the 20th Century”.

(Photo: Maximilian Kolbe at his monastery in Poland in 1927. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

The Polish priest who was declared a saint for swapping his life for a stranger's

May 1968 Paris Riots20180516

In May 1968 student demonstrations spread across France and when workers joined the protests the whole country was brought to a standstill. Jean-Claude Pruvost was a young policeman who had to face the violent protests on the streets of Paris as the authorities tried to restore control. He has been speaking to Lisa Louis for Witness.

Photo: Protesters face police in front of the Joseph Gibert bookstore, Boulevard Saint Michel in May 1968. (Credit: Jacques Marie/AFP/Getty Images)

A riot policeman's view of the violence which swept through France in 1968.


In July 1966, the US government health insurance programme Medicare came into force.

Medicine In World War One20170823

Veterans tell the story of how medical care dealt with the horrors of WW1

Meeting Picasso20160727

In the summer of 1951 art historian John Richardson met Pablo Picasso for the first time.

Memories Of Wilfred Owen20191111

Wilfred Owen died just a few days before the end of World War One but his poetry ensured he would be remembered. Little is known about the man behind the poems but his younger brother Harold spoke to the BBC about him in the 1960s. Vincent Dowd pieces together a picture of the young soldier-poet using the BBC's archive, Owen's letters home, and by speaking to Jean Findlay, biographer of CK Scott Moncrieff, the translator of Proust, who fell in love with Wilfred Owen.

(Photo: Wilfred Owen in 1916. Credit: Getty Images)

The British war poet's younger brother Harold Owen spoke to the BBC in the 1960s

Mexico City Slashes Car Use20191015

By the 1980s a deadly cocktail of factory fumes and car exhausts had turned Mexico City into the world's most polluted city. Hundreds of thousands of people were falling ill each month, many of them children. The Mexican authorities came up with an ambitious plan to curb the use of each of the city's two million cars for one day a week. The scheme was an immediate success and has been copied in other major cities around the world. Ramon Ojeda Mestre, the environmentalist behind the Mexican initiative spoke to Mike Lanchin about overcoming fierce opposition to the plan.

Photo: Cars driving through Mexico City. Credit: Alamy

How Mexico City cut its dangerously high air pollution levels

Mexico Slashes Car Use20170308

How Mexico City's bold plan helped reduce dangerously high pollution levels.

Mexico's Miracle Water20190115

Thousands of people flocked to the village of Tlacote in central Mexico in 1991. They were hoping to be cured by 'magical' water after rumours spread that it had healing powers. Maria Elena Navas has been speaking to Edmundo Gonzalez Llaca who was an official in the local environment ministry in 1991 and who was sent to Tlacote to check out what all the fuss was about.

Photo: Hands under a stream of water (Getty Images)

Thousands of people flocked to the village of Tlacote hoping to be cured by magical water

Mexico's Murdered Women20190827

In 1993 young women began disappearing in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez. Since then hundreds are reported to have been kidnapped and killed. Mike Lanchin has spoken to a forensic scientist who used to work in the city; and to the mother of one of the murdered girls. This programme was first broadcast in 2013.

Photo: Jorge Uzon. AFP/Getty Images

How young women began disappearing in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez in 1993

Mexico's Tequila Crisis20160119

In January 1995 Mexico was forced to seek a multi-billion dollar bailout from the US

Microwave Ovens20170123

Microwave ovens for domestic kitchens first became widely available in 1967.

Mindfulness For The Masses20190329

In 1979 scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn opened the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, pioneering a meditative approach to treat pain and depression.  In a few decades mindfulness has gone from being a specialist element of Buddhist teaching to a billion dollar industry. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Dr Kabat-Zinn about the popularising of mindfulness to tackle the stresses of modern life.

(Photo Jon Kabat-Zinn teaching MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Medical School 1992, Credit Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn pioneered a meditative approach to treat pain and depression.

Moral Majority20160614

In June 1979 the Moral Majority was launched and changed the course of American politics

Moscow Theatre Siege20171018

Svetlana Gubareva recalls her ordeal when Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theatre in 2002.

Mother Teresa - The Nun Who Became A Saint20170301

In March 1997 Mother Teresa retired from her charity work in India.

Mount Rushmore20171204

Construction on one of America's most famous monuments started in 1927.

Musicians Of The Iranian Revolution20190128

During the heat of Iran's revolution the country's top musicians decided to join the popular uprising. After the massacre of demonstrators by the Shah's armed forces in Jaleh Square in September 1978, state employed musicians went underground and started recording revolutionary songs. These songs became some of the most iconic in recent Iranian history. In 2015 Golnoosh Golshani heard from Bijan Kamkar about the musicians of the revolution.

This programme is a re-broadcast.

(Photo: Bijan Kamkar, on the far left, with a group of Iranian musicians. Courtesy of Bijan Kamkar)

How Iran's state employed musicians started recording revolutionary songs.

My 10-year Battle To Adopt In Guatemala2018011920180121 (WS)

In 2007 Guatemala overhauled its much-criticised adoption system. All future foreign adoptions were immediately suspended, while some 3,000 cases already underway were caught in legal limbo. Many of these cases have taken years to resolve. American Ruth Sheehan tells Mike Lanchin about her long struggle to secure the adoption of Luis, a young Guatemalan child she first met ten years ago.

(Photo: Ruth Sheehan with Luis in Guatemala City, courtesy of Ruth Sheehan)

How Guatemala's changes in law scuppered Ruth Sheehan's attempt to adopt a baby boy

My Memories Of Chairman Mao20191001

American Sidney Rittenberg first met Mao Zedong in the 1940s during the final years of China's civil war and before Mao's victory over the Nationalist forces. Already a committed socialist, Rittenberg had been stationed in China during WW2 but decided to stay on and fight alongside Mao's Communists. In 2013 he spoke to Rebecca Kesby about his memories of one of the world's great revolutionaries.

Photo: a poster of Chairman Mao in Beijing in the 1960s. Credit: AFP.

China's legendary Communist leader in the words of an American who knew him well

Namibian Independence20160321

In March 1990, Namibia became independent from South African rule.

Nasa's Female Aquanauts2020041420200415 (WS)

The women who led the way in America's space programme by spending two weeks underwater

Five 'aquanauts' became the first women to front a mission for America's space agency, Nasa, in 1970. But their mission was underwater rather than in space. They spent two weeks being continuously monitored on camera in an undersea habitat. When they emerged from the experiment they were given a ticker tape parade and invited to the White House. Laura FitzPatrick has been speaking to Alina Szmant one of the aquanauts.

Nato Bombs Serbian Tv20190422

In April 1999 Nato bombed the Serbian state TV station in Belgrade, killing 16 people. It was part of a military campaign to force Serbia to withdraw from Kosovo. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to one of the survivors, Dragan Suchovic, a TV technician, who was working at the station that night.

Photo: The damage caused by the Nato bombing on the TV station in Belgrade (courtesy of Duco Tellegen, 2015)

A survivor from the April 1999 bombing in Belgrade that killed 16 people.

Negotiating An End To El Salvador's Civil War2019123120200101 (WS)

On December 31 1991 the two warring parties in El Salvador's brutal civil war agreed to end the fighting. Left-wing FMLN rebels pledged to disarm and demobilise all their fighters, in exchange for the US-backed government and military carrying out sweeping political and security reforms. The Salvadoran peace process was heralded as a major victory for UN diplomacy. Its top negotiator, the Peruvian Alvaro de Soto, tells Mike Lanchin about his role in the long road to peace in El Salvador.

Photo: Rebels celebrate the end of the war in El Salvador (Jason Bleibtreu/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

The UN's top negotiator Alvaro de Soto recalls his part in bringing peace to El Salvador

Nigeria's First Coup20160115

In 1966 a small group of Nigerian army officers launched the country's first ever coup

Nike And The Sweatshop Problem20170815

In the 1990s Nike got a bad name after being linked to sweatshops in Asia.

Nina Simone Moves To Liberia20190829

The great African-American jazz singer Nina Simone moved to the Liberian capital Monrovia in September 1974. Simone was famous for her vocal support for the civil rights movement in the USA as well as for songs like I'm Feeling Good, Mississippi Goddam and I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, and she was invited to the West African republic by her friend the singer Miriam Makeba.

Lucy Burns speaks to Nina Simone's friend James C Dennis Sr.

Picture: Nina Simone performs on stage at Newport Jazz Festival on July 4th 1968 in Newport, Rhode Island (David Redfern/Redferns)

The great African-American jazz singer moved to West Africa in 1974.

Nintendo's Family Computer20170718

The home gaming console was a breakthrough in the world of computer games.

No Sex In The Ussr20170705

Why a Russian woman blurted out "We have no sex in the USSR" on international TV.

Nok Terracottas: Nigeria's Ancient Treasure20170911

When West African tin miners unearthed evidence of a lost civilization

Norway's Eu Referendum20181130

At the end of November 1994, Norway voted in a referendum not to join the European Union. The issue had split the country, and Norway was the only one of four countries that had referendums on EU membership that year to vote against. A senior member of the Yes campaign, former Norwegian foreign minister and Labour politician, Espen Barth Eide, tells Louise Hidalgo about the night they lost.

Picture: fishing vessels with banners reading "No to EU" in the harbour of Tromso two weeks before the referendum took place (Credit: Press Association)

In November 1994, Norwegians voted in a referendum not to join the European Union

Notting Hill Race Riot20170825

The racial disturbances in west London which shocked Britain in 1958.


In 1997 obesity was first recognised as a global problem by the World Health Organisation

Octavio Paz20161103

In October 1990 the Mexican poet and essayist was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Operation Lifeline: Canada's Refugee Revolution20170529

In 1979 Canadians began a revolutionary scheme to aid thousands of Indochinese refugees

Osama Bin Laden's Last Interview20171106

Osama bin Laden spoke to journalist Hamid Mir as US-led forces closed in after 9/11.

Oscar Niemeyer's Forgotten Masterpiece20171101

In the Lebanese city of Tripoli there is an exceptional architectural site.

Otis Redding20171212

The great soul singer who was killed in a plane crash in December 1967

Outback Internment20160926

During WWII, Britain deported some civilians classed as 'enemy aliens' to Australia.

Pablo Picasso20180427

The man that many consider the greatest artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, died in April 1973. Louise Hidalgo talks to Anthony Penrose who knew Picasso as a boy and whose parents, the American photographer, Lee Miller, and the surrealist artist, Roland Penrose, were his friends and biographer.

Picture: Pablo Picasso by the photographer Lee Miller, taken in the Villa la Californie, Cannes, in 1956 (Credit: Lee Miller Archives)

The great Spanish artist Pablo Picasso died in April 1973; hear from someone who knew him

Pakistan Ban On Alcohol20160331

In the spring of 1977 the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced a ban on alcohol

Pakistan's First Nuclear Test20170526

In May 1998 Pakistan responded to an Indian nuclear test with an explosion of its own

Pakistan's Theatre Revolution20180522

In 1984 a group of young people formed the Ajoka theatre group. Created at a time of heightened tensions and censorship due to the state of emergency imposed by the then military dictatorship of General Zia ul-Huq, it pioneered theatre for social change in Pakistan. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Fawzia Afzal-Khan who acted in the company's first original play.

(Members of the Ajoka theatre group 1988; Credit Fawzia Afzal-Khan)

The launch of Ajoka, the group which pioneered theatre for social change in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Women Only Police Station20160210

In 1994 Pakistan opened the country's first all-female police station

Palomares Nuclear Accident20160108

How two US military planes, one carrying nuclear weapons, crashed over a Spanish village

Paris Protests Of 196820160518

How student protests and workers' strikes threatened to bring down France's government.

Patty Hearst The Rebel Heiress20190401

Patty Hearst was kidnapped by an extreme left-wing group called the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. She had been held hostage for two months when, in April of that year, she announced that she had come to share their beliefs. She would go on to take part in an attempted bank robbery before being arrested and put on trial. Louise Hidalgo spoke to two women who remember the impact of her kidnapping in California in 1974.

Photo: Patty Hearst posing with a machine gun in front of a Symbionese Liberation Army flag in 1974. (Credit: Getty Images.)

In April 1974 the heiress announced she supported her kidnappers' beliefs

Persecution Of Christians In The Korean War20170621

In 1950, tens of thousands of Christians were persecuted during the Korean War.

Philippines People Power Revolution20160224

In 1986, Filipinos took to the streets to overthrow the regime of Ferdinand Marcos

Photographing Martin Luther King And His Family20180814

In 1969 photo journalist Moneta Sleet became the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He won for the black and white image of Coretta Scott King the widow of Martin Luther King taken at the funeral of the murdered civil rights leader. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Moneta Sleet's son Gregory Sleet about his father's remarkable career capturing many of the images that defined the struggle for racial equality in America.

Photo: Moneta Sleet's Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Coretta Scott King and daughter Bernice. Credit. Getty

Moneta Sleet, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

Pioneer North Sea Divers20170728

In the 1970s, deep sea divers were at the sharp end of the North Sea oil boom

Plane Spotters Arrested In Greece20161122

In Nov 2001 a group of British tourists was arrested in Greece and charged with spying.

Playgrounds Made Of Junk20180705

Post-war Britain saw a rise in makeshift adventure playgrounds born out of bomb sites. Children were provided with tools and raw materials,
to build whatever they wanted to play with, using their own imagination. Anya Dorodeyko spoke to Tony Chilton, an early "playworker" and champion of adventure playgrounds in the UK about their boom in the 1970s.

Picture: children playing on an adventure playground in London in the 1970s (Credit: BBC)

Post-war Britain saw a rise in "adventure playgrounds" born out of bomb-sites

Poisoned In Kosovo20160307

How Roma Gypsies, who fled ethnic violence in 1999, were settled in a camp on toxic land

Prague Spring20180821

A former student, Olda Cerny, tells Alan Johnston about how he made a desperate appeal for the support of the outside world as invading Soviet tanks rumbled through the streets of the Czechoslovak capital in August 1968. This programme was first broadcast in 2010.

Picture: Soviet troops in Prague (Getty Images)

The student who appealed for the world's help when Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia

Predicting The Financial Crash20190514

In the early 2000s, a handful of experts warned that the world was sleep-walking towards a financial crisis. Among them were South-African born political economist Ann Pettifor and the IMF's chief economist at the time, Raghu Rajan. But their warnings were ignored, and instead in 2008 the world plunged into the worst financial crash since the Great Depression, whose shadow still hangs over our politics. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to the Cassandras of the crash.

Picture: Traders at the New York Stock Exchange watch as the Dow Jones share index plunges following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The economists who predicted the 2008 financial crash but whose warnings were ignored

President Suharto Resigns20180521

On May 21st 1998 the president of Indonesia resigned after 31 years in power. He stood down in the wake of demonstrations and riots across the country. The riots had broken out after the shooting of four student demonstrators by armed police in the capital Jakarta. In 2014 Alex Last spoke to Bhatara Ibnu Reza who took part in the demonstrations and who was with one of the students when he died.

Photo: Students celebrate outside the Parliamentary buildings, Jakarta after Indonesian President Suharto announced his resignation. Credit: Adam Butler/PA

Princess Diana's Handshake With Aids Patient20170405

In April 1987 Princess Diana opened the UK's first purpose built HIV Aids unit

Princess Diana's Minefield Walk20170112

How Britain's most famous Royal brought the danger landmines to the world's attention.

Princess Margaret And The War Hero20181031

In October 1955, Britain was gripped by a romance between the young Princess Margaret and a glamorous, but divorced, ex-fighter pilot called Captain Peter Townsend. The couple had been in love for years, but after opposition from Buckingham Palace courtiers, the princess eventually announced that she would not go ahead with a marriage. Simon Watts talks to Lady Jane Rayne, a former lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret and one of the first to spot the chemistry between the pair.

PHOTO: Captain Townsend with Princess Margaret in the 1940s (Getty Images)

How a love affair between the Queen's sister and Captain Peter Townsend gripped Britain.

Private Eye20171024

A new satirical magazine called Private Eye was published in London in October 1961.

Proving Climate Change: The Keeling Curve20191014

How a young American scientist began the work that would show how our climate is changing. His name was Charles Keeling and he meticulously recorded levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. His wife Louise and son Ralph spoke to Louise Hidalgo about him in 2013.

(Photo: Thick black smoke blowing out of an industrial chimney. Credit: John Giles/PA)

An American scientist began recording carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in 1958


In the spring of 1988 a new kind of anti-depressant went on the market.

Rabindranath Tagore20170818

The "Bard of Bengal" died on August the 7th 1941.

Race Riots In Liverpool20160725

In 1981 police used CS gas for the first time in mainland Britain to control race riots

Racial Equality In Britain - Learie Constantine20181001

The former West Indies cricketer, Learie Constantine, took the Imperial Hotel in London to court in 1943. It had refused to let him and his family stay because they were black. He won his case. Susan Hulme brings you his story from the BBC Archives.

Photo: Sir Learie Constantine and his wife in the 1960s. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The former West Indies cricketer took a London hotel to court in 1943

Radiocarbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud20160314

In 1988 scientists performed a carbon dating test on the Shroud of Turin.

Radiocarbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud20180322

The Turin Shroud is one of the most revered relics of the Catholic Church: a piece of linen cloth that appears to show the imprint of a blood-stained crucified man. Some Christians believe it is the ancient cloth that Jesus Christ was buried in.

In 1988, the Church allowed scientists to perform a radiocarbon dating test on a small sample of the shroud. The results are still controversial.

In 2016 Rob Walker spoke to Professor Michael Tite who supervised the testing process. This programme is a rebroadcast.

(Photo: Picture showing a facsimile of the Shroud of Turin at the Cathedral of Malaga. Credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1988 scientists performed a carbon dating test on the Shroud of Turin.

Reaching Out After World War Two2018011220180114 (WS)

German children from Dusseldorf were invited to stay in the English town of Reading shortly after WW2 had ended. Hear how two girls became lifelong friends as a result. Chris Browning has been hearing from June Whitcombe and Gretel Rieber about their memories of that time, and about the local mayor, Phoebe Cusden, who single-handedly organised the exchange.

(Photo: June (L) and Gretel (R) in the 1940s. Courtesy of June Whitcombe)

German children were invited to stay in the English town of Reading after WW2 had ended

Reagan's Bombing Joke20170811

We begin bombing in five minutes" said the US President in 1984. But he was only joking

Rebels Rout The Army In El Salvador2018123120190101 (WS)

On December 30 1983 Marxist rebels in El Salvador attacked and occupied the El Paraiso army base in the north of the country. It was the first time an important military installation had fallen to the guerrillas and dealt a humiliating blow to the Army and its US backers. Mike Lanchin has spoken to a former rebel fighter who took part in the operation, and to Todd Greentree who worked at the US Embassy in San Salvador.

Photo: Damage caused to the El Paraiso military base in El Salvador after the 1983 guerrilla attack. (US DOD)

The storming of the El Paraiso base by Marxist rebels in December 1983.

Rebuilding The Site Of The Twin Towers20180417

After the September 11th attacks brought down the Twin Towers, reconstruction began at the devastated area in New York in April 2006. Rachael Gillman spoke to TJ Gottesdiener, who was a managing partner at the architecture firm tasked with designing a new skyscraper on the site.

(Photo credit: Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)

How a team of architects were given the responsibility to repair New York's skyline.

Recreating Down Syndrome In Mice20161208

Scientist Elizabeth Fisher created a new strain of mouse to help understand Down Syndrome

Red Hollywood20200318

In 1950, a 200-page-long directory called "Red Channels " was published in America. It was a list of people working in the media who were suspected of being Communists or Communist sympathisers. It ruined careers and sent actors, writers and directors into exile. Most of the people named in it are no longer alive. But Vincent Dowd has been speaking to former Hollywood actress Marsha Hunt who is still with us, aged 102.

PHOTO: Marsha Hunt in 1938 (Getty Images)

Former actress Marsha Hunt remembers the anti-Communist witch-hunt of the late 1940s.

Reform Of The House Of Lords20181008

Britain's Labour government was determined to get rid of the unelected aristocrats sitting in the House of Lords - Parliament's second chamber. But the hereditary peers didn't go without a fight. Susan Hulme has been speaking to Marquis of Salisbury the man at the centre of the backroom deal to keep some seats for the nobility.

Photo: Lords at the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster. in 2008. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

How Britain's Labour government tried to kick the aristocrats out of Parliament

Reforming India's Rape Laws20200128

In January 2013 the Indian government began to overhaul the country's laws on rape following the brutal gang rape and killing of a 23 year old physiotherapy student in Delhi. The public outcry across India forced the government to commission a legal review. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Gopal Subramanium, one of the three senior lawyers tasked with reforming the way India tackled violence against women.

(Photo: Justice Leila Seth. Justice J Verma and Justice Gopal Subramanium and team deliver their report. January 2013. Credit: Permission of Gopal Subramanium)

The overhaul of India's rape laws followed the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi.

Remembering Chairman Mao20160906

On September 9th 1976 the founding father of Chinese Communism, Mao Zedong, died.

Restoring 'the Last Supper'20160608

In 1999 Italian art experts completed an ambitious restoration of da Vinci's masterpiece.

Revolutionary Psychiatrist Rd Laing20170425

The man who changed the way people thought about mental illness.

Risking My Life To Protect Congo's Forest2020052620200527 (WS)

How a conservationist tried to protect Congo's rainforest during the country's civil war.


The drug Ritalin was developed in the 1940s - it's now used to treat ADHD.


Irish dance sensation Riverdance debuted at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin

Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory20170125

Roald Dahl's book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, was published in January 1964

Robert Mapplethorpe - Photographer20180709

The New York photographer known for his nude portraits was at the height of his fame and notoriety in 1988. His older sister Nancy has been speaking about Mapplethorpe's life and art to Vincent Dowd for Witness.

This programme is no longer available

Photo: Ken Moody 1984. Credit: Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

The artist known for his nude portraits was at the height of his fame in 1988.

Rock Concert For Chernobyl20170531

In May 1986, a small group of musicians staged the first charity rock concert in the USSR

Rodney King And The La Riots2020061120200612 (WS)

People rioted in Los Angeles after police who had assaulted a black man were acquitted

Rolling Stone Magazine20161110

Writer and musician Michael Lydon recalls the birth of an iconic magazine.

Romania's Abortion Ban20171023

Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu made abortion illegal in October 1966.

Romania's Orphans20160405

In 1989 news began to emerge of terrible conditions in Romania's orphanages.

Roots - The Tv Series20170119

The epic mini-series about slavery in the USA hit TV screens in January 1977

Rosalind Franklin Dna Pioneer20170206

The scientist produced an x-ray photograph in 1951 that helped show the structure of DNA

Roselle - The 9/11 Guide Dog20170921

The inspiring story of how a Labrador led her blind master out of the World Trade Center.

Rupert Brooke20190430

In April 1915, Britain mourned when poet and national hero Rupert Brooke died on a troopship in the Dardanelles during World War One. Often compared to a Greek god because of his blond good looks, Brooke had written a series of famous sonnets that reflected the optimistic mood at the beginning of a conflict that would claim tens of millions of lives. Simon Watts introduces the memories of three of Brooke's friends, as recorded in the BBC archives.

(Photo: Rupert Brooke. Credit: Culture Club/Getty Images)

The English poet whose death at the start of World War One was mourned by millions

Russia's Bitter Taste Of Capitalism20180404

Chaos and hardship hit Russia with the rapid market reforms in early 1992, weeks after the collapse of the USSR. Dina Newman has been speaking to one of the architects of this "shock therapy", the economy minister Andrei Nechaev.

Photo: an old woman outside McDonald's in Moscow, circa 1992. Credit: Dina Newman archive.

Chaos and hardship hit Russia with the rapid market reforms in early 1992.

Russia's 'dog Man'20161230

How conceptual artist Oleg Kulik posed as a dog, attacking passers-by in Moscow.

Russia's Forbidden Art20160112

The Russian painter who created a world-famous collection of forbidden Soviet art

Sabah: The Songbird Of Lebanon20171109

The singing star and actress was one of the most popular celebrities in the Middle East.

Sabra And Shatila - A Massacre In Lebanon20170915

A doctor working in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon recalls the massacre there

Saddam Hussein's 'supergun'20200220

An insider's account of Project Babylon, the plan to build the largest gun in the world for Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The "Supergun" was the brainchild of Canadian artillery maverick, Dr Gerald Bull. He'd long wanted to build a gun capable of launching satellites into space. In the 1980s Saddam Hussein agreed to fund this plan. But was it a science project or a weapon? In 1990, the "Supergun" hit the headlines and it became an international scandal. Alex Last spoke to Chris Cowley an engineer who worked on Project Babylon,. Appropriately enough he has also become an author of thrillers. His latest book is called Without A Shadow.

Photo: UN inspectors visit the site of the 350mm (baby) Super Gun in Iraq. After the Gulf War, the gun components were broken up and destroyed.(UN)

Building the largest gun in the world for Saddam Hussein's Iraq

Salvador Dali20180124

The great surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dali died in January 1989. Louise Hidalgo has been talking about his life and work with Christine Argillet, whose father was one of Dali's publishers and who, as a child, spent several summer holidays visiting Dali and his wife Gala in northeast Spain.

Picture: the artist Salvador Dali (1904 -1989) in December 1964. (Credit:Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The life and times of the great surrealist artist, Salvador Dali

Samuel Beckett20161222

The great Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett died on 22nd December 1989

Sanctuary Cities In The Usa20170210

How American cities like San Francisco became safe havens for undocumented immigrants

Sara Ginaite Lithuanian Jewish Partisan20161213

A young Jewish woman escaped from the Kaunas Ghetto in Lithuania to fight the Nazis.

Sarajevo: Singing For Peace20180327

After the bitter Bosnian war in the 1990's, Catholic Monk, Friar Ivo Markovic, launched a multi-faith choir to bring survivors of the violence together and promote understanding between different ethnic groups. The choir is called "Pontanima", an invented word based on Latin that means, "bridge among souls". Rebecca Kesby spoke to Friar Ivo and saw the choir perform.

(PHOTO: Members of the Pontanima Choir of Sarajevo: Courtesy of The Woolf Institute)

How a multi-faith choir brought together survivors of the Bosnian civil war.

Saving Antarctica20200221

In October 1991, an international protocol to protect the world’s last wilderness, Antarctica, from commercial exploitation was agreed at a summit in Madrid. The agreement was the result of a long campaign by environmental organisations to stop oil and gas companies being allowed to explore the continent. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Kelly Rigg from Greenpeace.

Picture: Blue icebergs in Antarctica (Credit: Getty Images)

A 1980s campaign to preserve Antarctica for science.

Saving Italy's Art During Ww220171011

Italy's great works of art were threatened by bombing and looting during World War Two.

Saving Orphaned African Elephants20161123

How a Kenyan woman, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, first raised orphaned baby African elephants

Saving The Great Barrier Reef20191101

In the 1960s conservationists began a campaign to prevent the Queensland government from allowing mining and oil drilling on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Eddie Hegerl told Claire Bowes that he and his wife were prepared to sacrifice everything to protect the world's biggest coral reef from destruction.

Photo: Science Photo Library

The 1960s campaigners who fought the government to save the world's biggest coral reef.

Science City In Siberia2017120120171203 (WS)

Thousands of scientists moved to deepest Siberia to dedicate their lives to research.

Scotland's Stone Of Destiny2018122420181225 (WS)

On Christmas Eve 1950 four young Scottish students took the 'Stone of Destiny' from Westminster Abbey. The symbolic stone had been taken from Scotland to England centuries earlier and had sat beneath the Coronation Chair in the Abbey ever since. Anya Dorodeyko has been speaking to Ian Hamilton who took part in the daring escapade in order to draw attention to demands for Scottish Home Rule.

Photo: Ian Hamilton. Credit: BBC

On Christmas Eve 1950 four students took the 'Stone of Destiny' from Westminster Abbey

Scottish Prison Experiment20180426

A Glasgow jail began offering art therapy and a much more relaxed regime to some of its most violent prisoners in 1973. It was known as the Barlinnie 'special unit' and soon its inmates were painting and writing instead of fighting with prison officers. Hear archive voices from the unit alongside Professor Richard Sparks who was a visitor there in the 1990s.

Photo: Barlinnie prison. Credit:PA /David Cheskin.

A special unit in a Glasgow jail began offering art therapy to violent prisoners in 1973.

Searching For Argentina's Disappeared20170428

How the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo challenged Argentina's military rulers.

Sequencing The 1918 Influenza Virus2020032420200325 (WS)

Over 50 million people died from influenza during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. Scientists trying to understand why that particular strain of flu was so virulent, dug into Alaska's permafrost to find traces of it to study. Kate Lamble has been speaking to Dr Jeffery Taubenberger who sequenced the genome of the so-called "Spanish" flu virus.

Photo: an influenza ward in 1918. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Over 50 million people are thought to have died from influenza around the world in 1918

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

Seven Years In Tibet20160215

The Austrian mountaineer who lived in the forbidden land of Tibet in the 1940s and 50s.

Sex Trafficking And Peacekeepers2020061720200618 (WS)

Whistle-blowers implicated UN peacekeepers in sex trafficking in Bosnia in the late 90s

Sexual Harassment In India20170130

The first time a case of sexual harassment came to court in India.


Hear first hand accounts from the doomed Antarctic expedition which became a legendary story of survival. In 1914, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But before they could land, their ship, SS Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and sank. Marooned on a floating ice field, Shackleton and his men, embarked on an epic odyssey to reach safety. Alex Last has been listening to BBC archive interviews with the survivors.

Photo: Return of the sun over the 'Endurance' after the long winter darkness during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. (Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images)

How a doomed Antarctic expedition in 1914 became a legendary story of survival

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

Shakespeare's Jubilee20160422

How actor David Garrick organised the first national celebration of Shakespeare in 1769

Shambo The Sacred Bull20180731

In July 2007, a standoff between monks and the Welsh government made headlines around the world. At issue was the fate of Shambo, a sacred bull which had tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. Shambo was eventually removed by police during a religious ceremony and taken away for slaughter. Simon Watts talks to Swami Suryananda, one of the monks who fought to keep the bull alive.

PHOTO: Shambo (Press Association)

How a bull's health led to a stand-off between monks and the Welsh government in 2007.

Sharia Returns To Nigeria20160128

In 2000, Zamfara became the first Nigerian state to implement full Sharia law

Shark Attack Survivor20170919

When Rodney Fox survived the jaws of a Great White Shark it inspired him to study them.

Shell Shock20161025

Veterans talk about their experience of 'shell shock' in recordings from the BBC archive

Shenzhen - Special Economic Zone20170508

In May 1980 Communist China allowed capitalist activity for the first time.

Shoah The Film20180524

Shoah, the epic nine-and-a-half hour documentary on the Holocaust by French film director Claude Lanzmann, was first screened in spring 1985. It took Lanzmann 11 years to make, and had taken him to 14 different countries. The film centres on first-hand testimony by survivors, witnesses and by perpetrators and uses no archive footage. On its release, it was hailed as one of the greatest films on the Holocaust ever made. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Irena Steinfeldt, who worked with Lanzmann on the film.

Picture: the original poster for the film, Shoah

Shoah, Claude Lanzmann's epic nine-hour film on the Holocaust was released in spring 1985

Silent Spring: A Book That Changed The World20200122

Silent Spring, written by marine biologist Rachel Carson, looked at the effect that synthetic pesticides were having on the environment. Within years of its publication in 1962, the widespread use of DDT had been outlawed in the USA. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Carson's adopted son Roger Christie about the author and her work.

Image: A copy of Silent Spring (Credit: Science Photo Library)

Silent Spring examined the effect of pesticides on the environment

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

Sir Anthony Blunt - Soviet Spy20190920

Sir Anthony Blunt, a distinguished British art historian and curator of the Queen's pictures was exposed as a former Soviet spy in the autumn of 1979. He was stripped of his knighthood and publicly shamed as a traitor for being part of the Cambridge spy ring. Susan Hulme has been speaking to Christopher Morris who was the BBC reporter sent to interview Blunt when the story broke.

Photo: Sir Anthony Blunt at the press conference in which he explained his motivation in 1979 (Credit: Aubrey Hart/Getty Images)

The distinguished art historian was exposed as a former Soviet spy in the autumn of 1979.

Sir Stanley Spencer20160930

He was one of Britain's most admired 20th century painters. His daughters remember him.

Sister Lotus - Early Chinese Online Star20190620

Sister Lotus was an early online celebrity in China. She first became famous in 2004 after posting pictures of herself on China's early social media sites.
But she was a slightly unlikely star because she became famous not for being exceptional, but for being very ordinary. She has been speaking to Yashan Zhao about the online bullying she experienced and how she got through it.

(Photo: Sister Lotus in a park near Peking University 2003. Credit: Sister Lotus)

Sister Lotus was an unlikely online celebrity because she was famous for being ordinary.

Six Degrees - The First Online Social Network20190531

Six Degrees was the first online social network, allowing users to connect with their real-world contacts by creating a profile within a database.

It was created by entrepreneur Andrew Weinreich.

But Six Degrees never achieved the scale of later social networks like Facebook or MySpace, and Weinreich sold the site in 1999. He speaks to Lucy Burns about the challenges and adventures of setting it up.

Andrew Weinreich founded the first online social network in 1997.

Six Degrees: The First Online Social Network2020040820200409 (WS)

Six Degrees was the first online social network, allowing users to connect with their real-world contacts by creating a profile within a database. It was created by entrepreneur Andrew Weinreich. But Six Degrees never achieved the scale of later social networks like Facebook or MySpace, and Weinreich sold the site in 1999. He spoke to Lucy Burns.

Andrew Weinreich founded the first online social network in 1997

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


In March 1969, the cult American author, Kurt Vonnegut, published his famous anti-war novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The novel is a mixture of science fiction and Vonnegut's experiences as a prisoner-of-war during the fire-bombing of the German city of Dresden at the end of World War Two. Simon Watts introduces the memories of Kurt Vonnegut, as recorded in the BBC archives.

PHOTO: Kurt Vonnegut in the 1980s (Getty Images)

In March 1969, American author Kurt Vonnegut published his cult anti-war novel.

Smiling Buddha: India's First Nuclear Test20180711

The inside story of how India secretly developed and exploded an atomic device in 1974. India called it a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion, though the experimental device was in effect a plutonium bomb. The test was seen as a triumph of Indian science and technology, but it led to the suspension of international nuclear co-operation with India, and spurred Pakistan to speed up development of its own nuclear bomb. Alex Last spoke to S.K Sikka, one of India's leading nuclear scientists, about his role in the secret project, code-named Smiling Buddha.

Photo: A crater marks the site of the first Indian underground nuclear test conducted 18 May 1974 at Pokhran in the desert state of Rajasthan. (PUNJAB PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images)

How India secretly developed and exploded its first atomic device in 1974

Smoking And Lung Cancer20160616

It was not until the 1950s that the link was proven between cigarettes and lung cancer

Smuggling Endangered Birds20161118

In Nov 1996 leading ornithologist Tony Silva was convicted of smuggling endangered birds.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs20160203

In 1938, the first animated feature film was released, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Somalia's Islamic Courts Union20171218

How the Islamic movement brought a brief moment of peace to Mogadishu after years of war

South Africa's 1985 State Of Emergency20160927

In the dying years of Apartheid, the white government was desperate to keep control.

South Africa's First Free Elections20190424

After Apartheid all South Africans, regardless of race, were finally able to vote for the first time in April 1994. Organising the elections was a huge logistical challenge, white supremacists staged terror attacks to try to sabotage the vote and violent clashes between rival political groups threatened to disrupt voting day. Rev Frank Chikane was on the Independent Electoral Commission, the body charged with running the elections, and he explained to Rebecca Kesby how much stress, and joy there was the day all South Africans finally got democracy.

(Photo: Nelson Mandela, leader of the ANC (African National Congress) and presidential candidate, voting in the 1994 general election in South Africa. Copyright: BBC)

After Apartheid all South Africans regardless of race finally won the right to vote.

South Africa's Truth And Reconciliation Commission20180116

When Apartheid was abolished in the 1990's, South Africans had to find a way to confront their brutal past without endangering their chance for future peace. But it was a challenging process for many survivors of atrocities committed by the former racist regime. Justice Sisi Khampepe served on the Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and as she tells Rebecca Kesby, she had to put aside her own emotions and experiences at the hands of the police, to expose the truth about Apartheid.

(PHOTO: Pretoria South Africa: President Nelson Mandela (L) with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, acknowledges applause after he received a five volumes of Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report from Archbishop Tutu. Credit: Getty Images.)

After Apartheid, South Africans tried to come to terms with their brutal past.

South Korea's Summer Of Terror20180723

At the start of the Korean war in 1950, tens of thousands of suspected communist sympathisers were executed by the South Korean military. The regime feared they might support the North Korean invaders. Many of them were political prisoners, who were taken from their cells and shot dead. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Gaeseong Lee, whose father was a prisoner at Daejeon jail when he was killed.

Photo:Gaeseong Lee as a small child with his parents. Copyright: Gaeseong Lee.

How thousands of suspected communist sympathisers were killed in South Korea in 1950.

Soviet Woman Bomber Pilot20161206

Yelena Malyutina was a Soviet female bomber pilot who fought in WW2.

Space Crash20160622

Michael Foale was on board the Mir space station when a resupply vessel crashed into it

Spanish Embassy Killings20160201

In January 1980, 37 people died as police stormed Spain's embassy in Guatemala

Speaking Out Against My Abuser: Daniel Ortega20190306

In March 1998 Zoilamérica Narváez publicly accused her step-father, Nicaragua's revolutionary leader, Daniel Ortega of having sexually abused her since she was a child. The 31-year-old Narváez said that the abuse had continued for almost twenty years. Ortega, who was re-elected as Nicaragua's president for a third consecutive term in 2016, has consistently denied the accusations. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Zoilamérica Narváez about her disturbing story.

Photo: Zoilamerica Narváez announces in a press conference that she is filing a law suit against her stepfather Daniel Ortega, March 1998 (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

How Nicaragua's president was accused of sexual abuse by his step-daughter

Spelling Bee - The Children's Competition That Grips America20180102

The first child of South Asian background to become America's Spelling Bee champion.

In 1985 one of the most famous children’s competitions in the world was won by an Indian-American for the first time. Balu Natarajan was 13 years old when he won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which has been running in the USA since 1925. Balu tells Farhana Haider how he first got interested in competitive spelling and why he thinks people of South Asian background have excelled in the Bee.

Photo: Balu Natarajan poses with his National Spelling Bee championship trophy 1985. Credit: Balu Natarajan.

Spinsters' Rights20160308

Millions of women were left single after the men they would have married died in WW1.

Spying For America In Russia20160729

The story of Russian spy Alexandr Ogorodnik and his CIA handler, Marti Peterson.

Spying On South Africa's Nuclear Bomb20180208

During the Apartheid period, the South African government began developing a secret nuclear programme, culminating in the construction of six nuclear bombs. Anti-Apartheid campaigner, Renfrew Christie, first became aware of this when he was conscripted into the South African Army. He later gained access to details of the nuclear programme and passed them onto the military wing of the African National Congress, ANC. In 1979 Christie was arrested and later tortured. He spoke to Olga Smirnova about his hunt for South Africa's nuclear weapons and his ordeal in jail.

Photo: A restricted area sign close to the Koeberg nuclear power station, South Africa (Getty Images)

Renfrew Christie was jailed and tortured for passing details of the bomb to the ANC

Sri Lanka: A Journalist's Editorial From The Grave20190425

The assassination of newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, shocked the world in 2009. Sri Lanka's civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority was nearing its climax when he was shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes. After his murder his newspaper, the Sunday Leader, printed his final article in which he predicted his own death and wrote that the government would be behind his killing. Farhana Haider has been speaking to his widow, Sonali Samarasinghe, about press freedom in Sri Lanka.

(Photo: Journalists and well wishers light candles in front of a photograph of murdered editor Lasantha Wickramatunga on the first anniversary of his death 8 Jan, 2010. Credit: Getty images)

The assassination of newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickramatunga, in 2009 shocked the world

Star Trek - The Early Years20160907

In September 1966 the cult American science fiction series first went on air.

Steve Biko: Black Consciousness Leader20170925

The activist had died in South African police custody. He was buried on September 25 1977

Stopping The 'shoe Bomber'20181221

On December 22 2001 a British-born man tried to bring down American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami. His plan failed when the bomb didn't go off. He was then overpowered by a group of passengers and tied to his seat. Former professional basketball player, Kwame James, was among those who helped subdue Reid. He has been telling Mike Lanchin about the drama on board.

Photo: One of the shoes worn by Richard Reid on the American Airlines flight to Miami (ABC/Getty Images)

How a passenger helped subdue shoe-bomber Richard Reid on an American Airlines flight.

Storming The Stasi Hq20200114

Just weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall East Germans found themselves able to walk into the communist secret police headquarters in Berlin. The much-feared Stasi agents had kept files on millions of their fellow citizens. Soon people were searching the archives. Jim Frank has spoken to Bert Konopatzky who took part in the demonstration which led to the Stasi opening its gates.

Photo:East Germans streaming into the secret police headquarters in Berlin on the night of January 15th 1990. Credit: Zöllner/ullstein bild/Getty Images.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall East German citizens stormed the secret police HQ

Strictly Come Dancing20190510

One of the most successful TV formats in the world started back in May 2004, bringing ballroom dancing to a new generation. Its format has been sold around the world under the title 'Dancing With The Stars'. Co-creator and executive producer of Strictly, Karen Smith, has been speaking to Ashley Byrne about the show.

Photo: Celebrities and professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing 2018. Credit: BBC.

Strikers In Saris20200304

In 1976 South Asian women workers who had made Britain their home, led a strike against poor working conditions in a British factory. Lakshmi Patel was one of the women who picketed the Grunwick film-processing factory in north London for two years, defying the stereotype of submissive South Asian women. They gained the support of tens of thousands of trade unionists along the way. Lakshmi talks to Farhana Haider about how the strike was a defining moment for race relations in the UK in the 1970s.

(Photo: Jayaben Desai, leader of the Grunwick strike committee holding placard 1977 Credit: Getty images)

How South Asian women workers won the support of the British trade unionist movement

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

Studio Ghibli - Japanese Animation20160817

In August 1986 the first Studio Ghibli film hit Japanese cinema screens.

Submarine Warfare In Ww120170321

The underwater vessels were first used widely in the First World War

Sucked Out Of A Plane20190227

Nine passengers were sucked out of a plane when a cargo door opened mid-flight over the Pacific.

United Airlines Flight 811 was flying from Hawaii to New Zealand in February 1989 when the accident happened.

In 2012 Claire Bowes heard from two passengers on board the plane. This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: The damaged side of the plane. Credit: Courtesy of Bruce Lampert.

Nine people died when a cargo door opened mid-flight over the Pacific in February 1989

Surviving Cambodia's 'killing Fields'20190703

Extremist communists, the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975 and began a social engineering project displacing millions to forced labour camps, and committing class genocide. Conditions in the camps were so appalling they became known as 'the killing fields'. Sokphal Din survived four years in one and told Rebecca Kesby what it was like.

(PHOTO: CHOEUNG EK, CAMBODIA - 1993/02/01: Skulls are piled up at a monument situated outside Phnom Penh to serve as a constant reminder of the genocide under the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot years.. (Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, starting their four year genocidal rule.

Surviving The "auschwitz Of The Balkans"20170801

Croatian fascists killed Serbs, Jews and Roma people in Jasenovac camp during WW2.

Surviving The "death Railway"20180831

During World War Two the Japanese forced prisoners of war to build a 400 kilometre railway from Thailand to Burma. Tens of thousands died during the construction and it became known as the "death railway". A former British prisoner of war, Cyril Doy, told Claire Bowes how he survived sickness, starvation and humiliation while building the famous railway bridge over the River Kwai.

(Photo: Allied Prisoners of War in a Japanese prison camp 1945 British Pathé)

A prisoner of war describes the deadly conditions building the bridge over the River Kwai

Surviving The My Lai Massacre20180313

US troops went on the rampage through a Vietnamese village in March 1968, killing men, women and children in cold blood. 11-year old Pham Thanh Cong survived, but the rest of his family was killed. In 2012 he spoke to Neal Razzell about his memories of the bloodbath.

Photo: Pham Thanh Cong now.

Credit Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images.

One of the worse US military atrocities took place during the Vietnam war.

Sweden's Fishy Submarine Scare2020051520200516 (WS)

Could farting fish have triggered Sweden's Cold War submarine hunts?

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

Swimming The Bering Strait20180424

In 1987, an American endurance swimmer called Lynne Cox swam across the "Ice Curtain" between the USA and the Soviet Union. The Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait are only 2.7 miles apart, but divided by near-freezing water and Cold War rivalry. Lynne Cox spoke to Simon Watts about her swim in 2012. This programme is a rebroadcast.

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.

Swine Flu Shuts Down Mexico City20190226

Mexico City, the world's third largest metropolis, was effectively shut down when a new and deadly virus, swine flu appeared. Soon the virus started to spread and was seen as a massive threat to global health. Experts feared millions of people could become infected and many countries began screening airline passengers for symptoms and suspending flights to Mexico.

Photo: People wear surgical masks as they ride the subway in Mexico City (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

A highly infectious virus appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread round the world

Takeshi's Castle20180502

The hugely popular game show started on Japanese TV in 1986. Contestants were faced with all sorts of physical challenges which often resulted in slapstick failure. It soon became an international success. Ashely Byrne has been speaking to Hayato Tani who played 'The General' in Takeshi's Castle.

Photo: Hayato Tani now. Credit:Yoshie Matsumoto.

A new sort of game show started on Japanese TV in May 1986

Tancredo Neves - Doomed Hero Of Brazilian Democracy20180315

In March 1985, Brazil experienced the most traumatic moment in its transition to democracy when the first civilian president-elect in more than twenty years was rushed to hospital on the eve of his inauguration. Tancredo Neves, who had led political opposition to military rule in Brazil, eventually died 38 days later. He is now regarded as a hero in Brazil. Simon Watts talks to Tancredo Neves' spokesman, Antonio Britto.

PHOTO: Tancredo Neves, centre, on a visit to Spain (Getty Images)

How the politician who led Brazil to democracy died before taking office as president.

Tanzania's Ujamaa Policy20160602

In the late 1960s Tanzania experimented with a new form of socialism called Ujamaa.


In March 1997 the BBC launched one of the most successful children's TV programmes ever.

Tenerife Air Disaster20160309

In March 1977 the worst accident in the history of civil aviation took place in Tenerife.

Tennessee Williams On The Bbc2020042420200425 (WS)

The great American playwright revealed a lot about himself in BBC interviews

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

Teresa Teng20170522

The Taiwanese pop singer who became a superstar in communist China

Testifying Against Oj Simpson20171012

Ron Shipp was a close friend of OJ Simpson's but decided to testify against him in court.

Thai University Massacre20161005

On October 6th 1976 Thai security forces opened fire on student demonstrators in Bangkok.

The "don't Die Of Ignorance" Aids Campaign20160822

In 1986 the British government launched the first ever public health campaign on Hiv Aids

The "godfather Of Gospel Music"20180129

Thomas A Dorsey is credited with developing Gospel music into a global phenomenon. He started his own musical career in jazz clubs and blues bars, but personal tragedy led him back to church, and inspired hundreds of Gospel songs that transformed the genre. Rebecca Kesby has been listening to archive recordings of Thomas A Dorsey and his singing partner Willie Mae Ford Smith, and speaking to Professor Albert J Raboteau from Princeton University.

(PHOTO: Thomas A. Dorsey - 1982. Courtesy of National Endowment For Arts/Humanities/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock. Credit REX)

The \u2018abscam' Corruption Investigation20160202

The FBI sting operation that ensnared corrupt politicians using a fictitious Arab sheikh.

The \u2018blue Eyes/brown Eyes' Anti-racist Exercise2020061920200620 (WS)

A teacher decided to separate pupils according to eye colour to teach them about racism.

The 16th Street Church Bombing2020060920200610 (WS)

Four young black girls were killed in a racist attack on a church in Alabama in 1963

The 1948 French Miners' Strike20161125

How coal miners in France went from post-war heroes to pariahs

The 1957 Flu That Killed A Million People2020042820200429 (WS)

In 1957 a new strain of flu emerged in East Asia and quickly spread around the world

The 1967 Hong Kong Riots20191003

Throughout much of 1967 striking workers and students filled the streets of Hong Kong. They were inspired by the Cultural Revolution in China and demanded an end to colonial British rule. Jasper Tsang Yok-sing was then an idealistic young student and he spoke to Rebecca Kesby in 2014.

(Photo: Left wing workers put up anti-British posters in Hong Kong outside Government House. Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)

How workers and students filled the colony's streets, pressing for an end to British rule

The 1968 Belgrade Student Revolt20180606

In June 1968, Belgrade University was occupied by students protesting against Yugoslavia's system of 'market socialism'. The occupation lasted seven days and was supported by students in other parts of the country. Dina Newman speaks to Sonja Licht who was one of the organisers.

(Photo: Sonja Licht with her fellow protester and later her husband, Milan Nikolic, at the site of the protests. Credit: Nikolic family archive)

In June 1968, students in Belgrade rebelled against Yugoslavia's 'market socialism'

The 1973 Oil Crisis20181016

In October 1973 Arab nations slashed oil production in protest at American support for Israel during it's war against Egypt and Syria. Oil prices sky rocketed. Alex Last heard from former deputy secretary general of OPEC, Dr Fadhil Chalabi, about the struggle for the control of oil in the early 1970s.

Photo: Cars queuing at a petrol station in London, during a petrol shortage, November 1973. (Credit: Aubrey Hart/Evening
Standard/Getty Images)

In October 1973 an Arab oil embargo caused prices to rocket.

The 43 Group: Battling British Fascism20171020

How British Jewish ex-servicemen fought fascists on the streets of Britain after WW2

The Abduction Of Mehdi Ben Barka20161028

In 1965 French agents helped kidnap and disappear the Moroccan dissident in Paris

The Aberfan Disaster20161021

On 21st October 1966, tragedy struck a village in Wales when a landslide crushed a school

The 'aboriginal Tent Embassy'20170126

On 26 January 1972 four Aboriginal men began a protest about land rights in Australia

The Acid Survivors Foundation20190524

In 1999 a charity was founded in Bangladesh that was dedicated to treating and rehabilitating the survivors of acid violence. The majority of the attacks were against young women, the acid was usually thrown at their faces causing life-altering disfigurement and long-term psychological issues. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Monira Rahman who help set up the charity.

Photo: Monira Rahman with survivors of acid attacks 2011. Credit Monira Rahman)

The Bangladesh charity dedicated to treating the survivors of acid attacks.

The Adventures Of Tintin20160118

One of the most famous cartoon characters in history was born in January 1929 - Tintin.

The Aids Memorial Quilt2020032720200328 (WS)

In 1985 activists hand-stitched a giant quilt to commemorate friends and relatives killed by AIDS, and to campaign for more funding and research into the disease. It was the brain child of Cleve Jones, who explains to Rebecca Kesby what it was like to live through the HIV/AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. How the LGBT community had to pull together, as victims of AIDS were ostracised by the wider community during their worst moment of suffering.

(Photo: A section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Getty Images)

In 1985 activists made a giant quilt to commemorate those killed by AIDS in the USA.

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

The Aids Patient Zero Myth20170313

How one man was mistakenly identified as the "Patient Zero" of the Aids epidemic

The Algerian Massacres20180110

In the 1990s, the Algerian military was locked in a brutal struggle with radical Islamists. It's estimated that more than 150,000 people were killed. The conflict was marked by massacres of entire villages. In 2013, Alex Last spoke to Marc Marginedas, a Spanish journalist who reported on the infamous massacre of Sidi Hamed in January 1998. (Photo: Women mourn victims in Sidi Hamed. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The story of one atrocity in Algeria's battle with radical Islamists in the 1990s

The Algerians Who Fought With France20191030

The Harkis were Algerian Muslims who volunteered to fight with France in Algeria's war of independence. When the conflict came to an end in 1962 and France was forced to abandon its former colony, thousands of its Harki allies were left to face persecution and brutal repression. Serge Carel was an Algerian Harki who joined the French army when he was just 18 years old. When the independence war ended, he was imprisoned and tortured by the country's new rulers. He's been telling Mike Lanchin about his ordeal.

Photo: Harki recruits in the French army in Algeria (courtesy of Serge Carel)

When Algeria won independence in 1962 thousands of local French allies faced persecution

The Al-yamamah Arms Deals20190426

A record series of arms sales from the UK to Saudi Arabia was worth tens of billions of dollars. The first al-Yamamah deal was agreed between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. But the deals were dogged by allegations of corruption. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Jonathan Aitken who was involved in later al-Yamamah deals.

(Photo: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and King Fahd in London in 1987. Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

A record series of arms sales by the UK to Saudi Arabia began in the 1980s

The Amritsar Massacre Of 191920160413

On 13 April 1919, the British Indian Army fired on an unarmed crowd, killing hundreds

The Amritsar Massacre Of 191920190409

On 13 April 1919, British Indian troops fired on an unarmed crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in the Punjab. Hundreds were killed. The massacre caused an outcry in India and abroad, and would be a turning point for the growing Indian nationalist movement. Lucy Burns brings you eye-witness testimony from the time.

Photo: Indian visitors walk past the Flame of Liberty memorial at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Credit:Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images.

In April 1919 British Indian troops opened fire on protestors in the city of Amritsar

The Ancient Oak Tree That Taught The World A Lesson20200129

The remarkable Turner's oak in Kew Gardens in London not only survived the Great Storm that ravaged the south of England in 1987, but also changed the way that trees are cared for around the world.

Alejandra Martins has been speaking to Tony Kirkham, head of the Arboretum at Kew. (Photo: Turner's oak. Credit: Alejandra Martins)

A tree in Kew Gardens survived the storm of 1987 and revolutionised gardening.

The Anfal Genocide20190627

In June 2007, an Iraqi court ruled that a 1980s campaign by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds was genocide. More than 100,000 Kurds were killed in chemical attacks and mass executions, and their villages destroyed, during the five-month Anfal campaign. Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was the architect of the campaign, was executed for his part in it in 2010.

Picture: Ali Hassan al-Majid in court during the Anfal trial in Baghdad, November 2006 (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Saddam Hussein's war on the Kurds in the 1980s

The Angel Of The North20180226

A huge steel sculpture, that has become an icon for the north-east of England, was completed in February 1998. Designed by artist Antony Gormley, the Angel of the North was initially met with so much opposition that it was almost never built. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to arts curator Anna Pepperall who was involved in the plans to build the most ambitious piece of public art that Britain had ever seen.

Photo: The Angel of the North (Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

The huge steel sculpture that has become an icon for the north-east of England.

The Antarctic Whale Hunters20181127

A personal account of the huge Antarctic industry which left whales on the brink of extinction. For centuries, whaling had been big business. Whale products were used in everything from lighting, to food and cosmetics. Hunting had decimated the whale population in the north Atlantic so in the early 20th century, Britain and Norway pioneered industrialised whaling in the Antarctic. Soon other nations joined in. At the time, there was little public concern about the morality of hunting whales and they were slaughtered at an astonishing rate. We hear from Gibbie Fraser, who worked on a whale catcher in the Antarctic in the 1950s and 60s, when the impact of decades of hunting finally brought an end to Britain's whaling industry.

Photo: A whale on the flensing plan at Grytviken, South Georgia, 1914-17 (Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images)

Memories of the bloody Antarctic industry which left whales on the brink of extinction.

The Anti-nuclear Protesters Who Won20190731

In 1980 the Bavarian government announced plans to build a nuclear reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf in southern Germany. Eight years later construction on the plant was halted after a sustained protest campaign which saw tens of thousands of demonstrators and sometimes violent clashes with the police.

Lucy Burns speaks to local district administrator Hans Schuierer, who became a figurehead for the protests.

Picture: demonstrators fight against police during a protest at the Wackersdorf construction site (Istvan Bajzat/DPA/PA Images)

The eight year protest campaign which stopped a nuclear plant at Wackersdorf in Germany.

The Apalachin Meeting20180103

In 1957, the chance discovery of a secret gathering of the heads of the American mafia in rural New York state revealed for the first time how powerful the mafia was in the United States. Until then the FBI had refused to acknowledge there was a national mafia network in America. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to the son of the policeman, Edgar Croswell, who came upon that secret meeting in the hamlet of Apalachin.

Picture: mafia man Joseph Barbara at whose country mansion the famous Apalachin meeting of senior mafia bosses was held in 1957, (Credit: Getty Images)

A chance discovery in 1957 revealed how powerful the mafia was in America.

The Arab Spring And Syria20160209

The story of the first protests against the Assad regime in 2011

The Arctic African20190501

Tété-Michel Kpomassie, grew up in West Africa but he was obsessed with the Arctic.
When he was 16 years old he ran away from his village in Togo determined to reach Greenland..
It took him eight years but in 1965, he finally arrived. He then went north to fulfil his dream of living among the indigenous people.
Years later, he wrote an award-winning account of his odyssey, An African in Greenland, which has been translated into eight languages.
Photo: Tété-Michel Kpomassie in Greenland in 1988.(BBC)

Why a boy ran away from West Africa to live in the Arctic in the 1960s.

The Armenian Earthquake20181205

A catastrophic earthquake hit northern Armenia on the morning of December 7th 1988. At least 20,000 people were killed and thousands more injured. Anahit Karapetian was in school when the tremors hit her hometown of Spitak close to the epicentre. She was trapped in the rubble for hours, surrounded by injured and dead classmates. She has been speaking to Dina Newman about what she went through.

Photo: Ruins in Armenia in 1988. Credit: Getty Images

A catastrophic earthquake hit northern Armenia on December 7th 1988, hear from a survivor

The Arnhem Parachute Drop20180919

Thousands of Allied troops parachuted into the Nazi-occupied Netherlands in September 1944. At that point, it was the most ambitious Allied airborne offensive of World War Two. British, American and Polish troops were dropped behind German lines in an attempt to capture a series of bridges on the Dutch/German border.
Mike Lanchin has spoken to Hetty Bischoff van Heemskerck who, as a young woman, watched the Allied paratroopers come down close to her home in the city of Arnhem.

(Photo: Allied planes and parachutists over Arnhem, Getty Images)

In 'Operation Market Garden' thousands of Allied troops parachuted into Nazi-held Holland

The Arrest In London Of Augusto Pinochet20181023

The former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was arrested in London in October 1998. Spanish lawyers wanted him extradited to Spain to face charges of torturing and murdering political opponents in Chile. He claimed immunity as a former head of state. He was held under house arrest in the UK for over a year. Lucy Williamson spoke to public relations expert Patrick Robertson about his efforts to get the General back home to Chile.

Photo: General Pinochet in 1999. Credit: PA

The former ruler of Chile, Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London in October 1998

The Arrest Of James Earl Ray20160606

How the man convicted for killing Martin Luther King was detained in London in June 1968.

The Assassination Of Ngo Dinh Diem20171122

The president of South Vietnam was overthrown and murdered in a coup in November 1963.

The Assassination Of The Mirabal Sisters20161128

3 sisters in the Dominican Republic were beaten to death on the orders of the dictator

The Assassination Of The Un's First Middle East Mediator2020042920200430 (WS)

The first Middle East mediator, Count Bernadotte, was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948

The Assassination Of Trujillo20160530

On May 30th 1961 Rafael Trujillo, the dictator in the Dominican Republic, was shot dead.

The Assassinaton Attempt That Sparked A Middle East War20180605

In June 1982, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov, was shot and critically injured by a Palestinian gunman outside the Dorchester Hotel in London. The attack was the trigger for the start of the devastating war in Lebanon just days later. Simon Watts talks to Shlomo Argov's son, Gideon Argov.

(Photo: Shlomo Argov. Credit: Shutterstock)

In 1982, a Palestinian gunman attacked the Israeli ambassador to London, Shlomo Argov

The Assassinaton Of Medgar Evers20190619

In June 1963 the murder of a prominent black civil rights activist and war hero in Mississippi shook the civil rights movement. Medgar Evers was working to overturn the racist policies in the American south which made him a target for white supremacists. His death caused national outrage and he was given a military funeral at the US national cemetery in Arlington as Farhana Haider reports.

Photo: Roy Wilkins and Medgar Evers Being Arrested 1st June 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. Credit Getty

The American civil rights activist and war hero who was murdered in 1963 in Mississippi.

The Asteroid That Killed The Dinosaurs20190521

65 million years ago an asteroid hit the earth, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs along with three quarters of all species on earth at the time.

The crater where it hit was discovered on the Yucatan peninsula in 1978 during a geological survey for the Mexican state oil company Pemex. It was named Chicxulub.

Lucy Burns speaks to Glen Penfield, who first identified the crater, and Alan Hildebrand, whose research confirmed the discovery.

Image: NASA high resolution topographical map of the Yucatan Peninsula created with data collected in the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and released on March 7, 2003 in Washington, D.C. In the upper left portion of the peninsula, a faint arc of dark green is visible indicating the remnants of the Chicxulub impact crater. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

The Chicxulub impact crater was discovered in 1978.

The Atocha Lawyers Massacre In Spain20170124

In early 1977 far-right gunmen killed five people at a law firm in Atocha Street, Madrid

The Attempt On Ronald Reagan's Life20160330

On March 30th 1981 a man tried to assassinate US President Ronald Reagan.

The Attempt To Kill Khaled Meshaal20160216

In 1997 Israeli secret agents tried to assassinate a Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal.

The Attica Prison Rebellion20160928

In 1971 inmates rioted and seized control of the US jail, taking guards hostage

The Audacious Plot To Kill A Colonel20171128

How El Salvador's leftist rebels led a top army officer into a deadly trap

The 'awakenings' Medical Experiment20191211

In the 1920s a strange epidemic claimed the lives of around a million people. Encephalitis Lethargica or ‘sleepy sickness’ left nearly four million more in what seemed to be a catatonic state for decades - unable to speak or move independently, as if asleep. In the late 1960s British neurologist, Oliver Sacks, tried a new drug that was being used for Parkinson’s disease and brought some patients briefly back to consciousness. What he learned changed our understanding of such neurological conditions and revolutionised patient care. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to leading music therapist, Concetta Tomaino, who worked with Dr Sacks and his patients, in the experiment that became known as “The Awakenings”.

(Photo: Dr Concetta Tomaino (center) with Dr Oliver Sacks (right) and patient (left). Credit: The American Music Therapy Association.)

In the 1960s a new drug briefly woke up patients who'd been catatonic for decades.

The Azeri-armenian Village Swap20180806

At a time of a bitter ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988, two villages managed to escape violence by swapping homes with each other. Bairam Allazov, an Azeri, and Ishkhan Tsaturian, an Armenian, told the BBC about how they managed to guide their neighbours and families to safety as war broke out in the Caucasus.

Photo:Photo: Bairam Allazov (l) and Ishkhan Tsaturian (r). Credit: BBC

How two villages, Armenian and Azeri, managed to avoid ethnic violence by swapping homes

The Back To Africa Movement20160223

In the late 1800s thousands of African-Americans tried to emigrate to escape violence

The Battered Child20180618

An American doctor coined the phrase 'the battered child' to describe unexplained injuries which had been misdiagnosed by paediatricians unwilling or unable to acknowledge abuse. Dr C Henry Kempe published a paper in July 1962 which shocked the medical profession. Some doctors were pleased to finally be able to name child abuse but others refused to believe parents would harm their children that way. Claire Bowes has been speaking to Dr Kempe's daughter, Annie, about the remarkable man who helped save many children's lives.

Photo: Dr C Henry Kempe courtesy of The Kempe Foundation

The American doctor who forced the medical profession to face up to child abuse.

The Battle For Berlin2020050620200507 (WS)

Eyewitness accounts of the final battle for the capital of Nazi Germany in 1945

The Battle For Brick Lane20180904

In 1978 the racist murder of a young Bangladeshi textile worker in east London galvanised an immigrant community. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Rafique Ullah who took part in the protests and community action that followed the death of Altab Ali.

(Photo: Anti-racist protest in east London 1978. Credit: Altab Ali Foundation)

In 1978 the racist murder of a young Bengali galvanised an immigrant community in London.

The Battle For Fallujah20200110

A US Marine's account of the massive US-led assault on the Iraqi city in November 2004. Amid post-invasion chaos in Iraq, the city was seen as a stronghold of insurgents. It was hoped the battle would be a turning point in the fight against the Iraqi insurgency. Alex Last spoke to Colonel Andrew Milburn, author of When The Tempest Gathers, who served as a US military advisor to a frontline Iraqi army unit during the battle.

Photo: US Marines of the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines, clear a houses held by insurgents during the battle for Fallujah November 23, 2004,(Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

A US Marine's account of the massive operation against Iraqi insurgents in 2004

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

The Battle For Mixed Race Marriage In The Us20160610

How a white man and a black woman won the right to marry in America in the 1960s

The Battle Of Algiers20180920

In September 1966, a film was released that has come to be seen as one of the great political masterpieces of 20th-century cinema. Shot in black-and-white, the Battle of Algiers recreates the turbulent last years of French colonial rule in Algeria. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to former Algerian resistance leader, Saadi Yacef, who plays himself in the film and on whose memoirs the film is largely based.

Picture: French paratroop commander Colonel Mathieu (played by actor Jean Martin) in a scene from the film, the Battle of Algiers, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo (Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The film that tells the true story of the Algerians' fight for their capital Algiers

The Battle Of Passchendaele20181105

It was one of the battles which symbolised the horror and futility of WW1

The Battle Of The Airwaves In Latin America20180314

In March 1938 the BBC began its first broadcasts to Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese. The new foreign language service was launched amid rising concerns over the influence of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in Central and South America.

Mike Lanchin has been listening back to archive recordings from the time, including the very first broadcast on March 14th 1938 and the memories of some of the BBC's first Latin American Service presenters and producers.

(Photo: Rehearsals for a feature in the BBC's Brazilian programme, London 1943)

How the BBC began Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts to fight the Nazis in the Americas

The Battle Of The Louvre Pyramid20191209

In 1983 French president Francois Mitterand commissioned a major renovation of Paris' most famous art museum, the Louvre. But the resulting great glass pyramid, designed by American architect IM Pei, caused a storm of controversy, dividing Parisian public opinion as the Eiffel Tower had done a century earlier. Louise Hidalgo talks to IM Pei's colleague and friend, Yann Weymouth, who worked with him on what is now recognised as one of the great landmarks of the city.

Picture: the Louvre pyramid shortly after its opening in 1989 (Credit: Jarry/Tripelong/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

How Paris was eventually won round to the Louvre museum's great glass pyramid

The Battle Of The Potato Beetles20180808

In the summer of 1950, the East German government claimed that American planes were dropping potato beetles over their fields to try and sabotage their crops. But was this the truth.. or just a Cold War rumour? In collaboration with Germany's Memory of the Nation Association, Lucy Burns investigates for Witness.

Photo: A potato beetle. Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images

Communist East Germany claimed US planes were dropping beetles on their crops

The Battle Of Verdun20160218

In 1916, French and German armies began one of the most devastating battles of WW1

The Bauhaus20190508

The groundbreaking Bauhaus school of art and design was founded in Germany in 1919. It would go on to have a huge impact on architecture and design around the world, with the clean lines and minimalist elegance of its distinctive modernist aesthetic influencing everything from skyscrapers to smartphones.

In this interview from the BBC archive, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius explains his goals for the school - and the challenges involved in setting it up.

(Photo: View of one of the wings of the Bauhaus building in Dessau, taken on 30 January 2019. Credit: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)

The groundbreaking school of art and design was founded in 1919

The Bbc At Caversham20180525

For 75 years the BBC ran a monitoring service based in an English stately home. Its job was to listen to foreign broadcasts from all around the world. But in 2018 the BBC decided the building was no longer needed. David Sillito spoke to veterans of the monitoring service before Caversham closed its doors.

Photo: Inside one of the listening huts at Caversham during WW2. Credit: BBC Monitoring Service.

The Beagle 2 Mission To Mars20190719

On Christmas Day 2003, a British spacecraft was due to land on Mars and begin searching for signs of life. The late Professor Colin Pillinger was the man behind the mission, his daughter Shusanah spoke to Rob Walker about Beagle 2 in 2015. This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo:Lead scientist Colin Pillinger poses with a model of Beagle 2 in November 2003. (Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

A failed attempt to search for signs of life on Mars

The Beatles And All You Need Is Love20170615

How the Beatles stole the show on the world's first live TV broadcast in June 1967

The Beatles' Last Gig20190124

In January 1969, the Beatles played together in public for the last time. Their impromptu gig happened on the roof of their offices in London. Filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg was there with them and he has been speaking to Witness.

(Photo:Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison performing, with Yoko Ono and others in the background. 30 January 1969. Credit: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

*This programme is not available as a download for copyright reasons*

In 1969, the Beatles played together in public for the last time, on a London rooftop.

The Beginning Of The Korean War20180612

North Korean communist troops invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950. Initially they were very successful until UN forces (mainly American) helped drive them back. The war lasted until a ceasefire was declared in July 1953, millions of Koreans were killed in the fighting. Dr Yoon Goo Lee was living in a town in South Korea when the invasion started. In 2010 he told his story to Louise Hidalgo.

Photo: Korean refugees fleeing to the south. Credit: Getty Images

The Beilis Case: An Anti-jewish Trial20160722

In 1913, a Russian Jew, Mendel Beilis, was falsely accused of a murder.

The Belfast Blitz20160505

In 1941, Belfast in Northern Ireland was devastated by German bombing

The Best-seller Fear Of Flying20200213

Erica Jong's best-selling book about sex, creativity and love, published in 1973

The Bhagalpur Blindings20191107

WARNING: This programme contains distressing descriptions of violent torture from the beginning.

In 1980 police in a small city in the Indian state of Bihar were revealed to be torturing petty criminals. Iknoor Kaur has been talking to several people with first-hand experience of the disturbing events that came to be known as the Bhagalpur blindings. Ram Kumar Mishra was the lawyer who represented the victims, Amitabh Parashar made a documentary film about what happened, and Umesh Yadav was one of the victims who lost his sight at the hands of the police.

(Photo: Victim of the Bhagalpur blindings, Umesh Yadav. Copyright: Amitabh Parashar)

How Indian police tortured petty criminals, blinding them permanently

The Big Bang20161027

In 1986 London's Stock Exchange underwent one of the biggest shake-ups in its history.

The Birth Of Ebay20170830

The online auction site first went live in 1995.

The Birth Of Speed Dating20170214

In 1998, a Los Angeles rabbi came up with a new way for single people to meet each other.

The Birth Of The People's Republic Of China20190930

On 1 October 1949 Chairman Mao declared China to be a communist state. Zhu Zhende was a young recruit in the People's Liberation Army who marched in the celebrations in Beijing that day. He has been speaking to Yashan Zhao about the optimism and excitement of that time.

Photo: An officer reads a newspaper to soldiers while they are waiting for the announcement of the foundation of the People's Republic of China on Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949 in Beijing, China. (Credit: Visual China Group via Getty Images)

On 1 October 1949 Chairman Mao declared China a communist state

The Birth Of The Water Baby20170802

In 1977 a state hospital near Paris began quietly changing the way women gave birth.

The Birth Of Ukip20170710

In 1993, academic Dr Alan Sked started an anti-EU political party

The Bloody Sunday Shootings20180130

On 30 January 1972 British troops opened fire on a civil rights march in Northern Ireland. Thirteen people were killed that day, which became known as Bloody Sunday. Tony Doherty was nine years old at the time. In 2012 he spoke to Mike Lanchin about his father and the events that changed his life forever.

(Photo: Armed British troop grabs hold of protester by the hair. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Tony Doherty recalls the murder of his father by British troops in Northern Ireland

The Bobbitt Story20160623

On 23 June 1993 a young wife cut off her husband's penis in a frenzied attack

The Bombardment Of Baghdad20190208

The people of Baghdad faced death when the US and its allies began their invasion of Iraq

The Bombing Of Korean Flight 8582018020920180211 (WS)

In November 1987 a South Korean airliner was blown out of the sky, killing 115 people on board. The attack on Korean Air flight 858 is believed to have been the work of agents of the North Korean regime, seeking to disrupt the Summer Olympics in Seoul. Pete Ross has been hearing from relatives of some of those who died that day, as well as from one of the bombers, the North Korean agent Kim Hyun-hui.

(Photo: Former North Korean spy Kim Hyun-hui , who now lives in South Korea. Credit: Kim Kyung-Hoon/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1987, 115 people died in an attack ordered by North Korea to disrupt the Olympic Games

The Bombing Of The King David Hotel20180718

On July 22 1946 an armed Jewish group opposed to British rule in Palestine, attacked the iconic hotel in Jerusalem where the British had their headquarters. 91 people were killed in the bombing, dozens of others were injured. Shoshana Levy Kampos was a 21-year-old Jewish woman who worked for the British as a secretary. She tells Mike Lanchin about her lucky escape.

Photo: Scene of wrecked King David Hotel in Jerusalem after bombing (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The attack by an armed Jewish group on British HQ in Palestine that left 91 dead.

The Bonus Army20170720

In summer 1932, thousands of American First World War veterans marched on Washington

The Book That Changed The Way We Eat2020052520200526 (WS)

The book that highlighted the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet

The Book That Predicted An End To Civilisation2020010120200102 (WS)

The Limits to Growth was published in 1972 and predicted global decline from 2020. It was based on a computer model which analysed how the Earth would cope with unrestricted economic growth. Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology fed in huge amounts of data on population, pollution, industrialisation, food production and resources. They found that if the trends continued, the result would be a sudden and uncontrollable downturn beginning around 2020. Claire Bowes hears from one of the authors of the book, Professor Dennis Meadows.

Image: Front cover of The Limits to Growth, published in 1972

The Limits to Growth was published in 1972 and suggested global decline from 2020

The Boy In The Bubble20180221

David Vetter lived his whole life sealed off from the outside world in a completely sterile environment. He was born with a rare genetic disorder, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease, which made him hugely susceptible to infections. He died from the disease at the age of 12 on 24 February 1984, when a bone marrow transplant failed. Rachael Gillman has been speaking to his mother Carol-Ann Demaret.

(Photo: David Vetter and his mother Carol-Ann Demaret Credit: Carol-Ann Demaret)

David Vetter was born with a disease which meant he lived inside a plastic bubble

The Boy Who Stayed Awake For Eleven Days20180108

California high school student Randy Gardner set the world record for staying awake in 1964, going without sleep for over 264 hours. He was monitored by his school friend Bruce McAllister and Stanford University sleep scientist William Dement - they speak to Lucy Burns about their memories of the experiment.

Photo: Randy Gardner (in blindfold) describes scents offered to him by Bruce McAllister, while Joe Marciano Jr. takes notes, San Diego, California, 1964 (Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

California high school student Randy Gardner set a world record in 1964.

The 'braceros', America's Mexican Guest Workers20181120

During the last years of World War Two, the American government began hiring poor Mexicans to come to work legally on US farms. The scheme was known as the 'Bracero' programme and lasted until 1964. Mike Lanchin presents archive recordings of some of those involved in the programme, using material collected by the University of Texas at El Paso.

Photo: A group of Mexican Braceros picking strawberries in a field in the Salinas Valley, California in June 1963 (Getty Images)

How hundreds of thousands of Mexicans were hired to work legally in US farms.

The Break-up Of The Soviet Union20161226

Hear from two of the key players who brought to an end over 70 years of communism

The Bridge Which United Sweden And Denmark2018092820180930 (WS)

In 1993 work began to build Europe's longest road and rail bridge. The Oresund Bridge links Sweden to Denmark connecting them by land for the first time in thousands of years. In an unlikely twist, it also inspired a hit TV drama which has been broadcast in more than 150 countries. Claire Bowes spoke to Ajs Dam, head of information at the consortium which built the bridge.

Photo: Oresundsbron by night from Lernacken (courtesy of Pierre Mens/Øresundsbron)

The bridge which connected neighbours across the water and inspired a TV hit worldwide.

The Bristol Bus Boycott20191010

In 1963 a small group of British black activists started a pioneering protest against racism within the local bus company in Bristol. It had specified that it did not want to employ black bus drivers. Inspired by the example of the US Civil Rights Movement the boycott ended in victory and led to the passage of Britain's first anti-discrimination laws.

Paul Stephenson and Roy Hackett spoke to Louise Hidalgo in 2013 about their part in the protest.

Photo: Park Street in Bristol in the early 1960s. (Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

How British black activists fought for employment rights in the 1960s

The British Love Affair With Curry20171114

Indian restaurants first became popular in the UK in the 1950s.

The British Sculptor Who Won Over The World20191204

During the 20th century a British coal miner's son changed the world of art. Henry Moore revolutionised sculpture, altering the way we view the human figure and setting his works in natural landscapes. He became internationally renowned and by the 1970s hundreds of his sculptures could be seen outside government buildings, universities and museums around the world. His daughter, Mary Moore, remembers how initially his work shocked his teachers and art critics.

Photo: BBC Henry Moore 1960

With thanks to the Henry Moore Studios and Gardens at Perry Green, Hertfordshire
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019 / www.henry-moore.org

Henry Moore revolutionised sculpture by creating immense works and setting them outside.

The Brompton Manley Ventilator2020042320200424 (WS)

The development of a ventilation system that was a precursor to modern ventilators.

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

The Buddhas Of Bamiyan20160302

In March 2001 the Taliban destroyed huge ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan

The Buenos Aires Herald20170816

The English-language newspaper was credited with standing up to Argentina's dictatorship.

The Burma Uprising Of 198820180810

On August 8th 1988 the Burmese military cracked down on anti-government demonstrators, killing hundreds possibly thousands of people. In the weeks of protest that followed, Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence. The date 8.8.88 has come to symbolise the resistance movement of the time. Ma Thida was a medical student working at Rangoon General Hospital when the dead and injured began to arrive. She has been speaking to Rebecca Kesby about treating gunshot wounds for the first time, and about her political activism and subsequent imprisonment.

Photo: Demonstrators in Rangoon in 1988. Credit: Getty Images.

On August 8th 1988 the Burmese military cracked down on anti-government demonstrators.

The Burning Of The Satanic Verses20161115

The publication of Salman Rushdie's book outraged many Muslims around the world

The Businessman Who Defied The Italian Mafia20190906

In 1991, Palermo businessman Libero Grassi published an open letter in Sicily’s main newspaper denouncing the Mafia for constantly demanding extortion payments. Grassi was hailed as a hero, but his public refusal to pay was intolerable to the Mafia and a few months later he was executed in person by one of Cosa Nostra’s top bosses. Libero Grassi’s defiance is credited with inspiring a new grass-roots movement among businesses in Sicily that stands up to the Mafia. Simon Watts talks to his daughter, Alice Grassi.


In 1991 Libero Grassi was killed in Sicily for publicly refusing to pay protection money.

The Calcutta Killings Of 194620170809

Exactly a year before Indian independence there were deadly riots in the city of Calcutta

The Camp David Summit20170804

In 2000 the US led a major effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Capture Of Abimael Guzman20160916

In September 1992 security forces in Peru arrested the leader of the Shining Path rebels.

The Capture Of Che Guevara20190205

In October 1967 the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was captured and killed in Bolivia. Mike Lanchin spoke to former CIA operative, Felix Rodriguez, who helped track him down.

(Photo: Felix Rodriguez (left) with the captured Che Guevara, shortly before his execution on 9 October 1967. Courtesy of Felix Rodriguez)

How the Marxist revolutionary was captured and killed in Bolivia.

The Capture Of The Uss Pueblo20180123

A US spy ship was caught by North Korean forces in the Sea of Japan on January 23rd 1968. Its crew were held prisoner for almost a year before being released. In 2012 Chloe Hadjimatheou spoke to Skip Schumacher, one of the young Americans on board.

Photo: Members of the USS Pueblo's crew being taken into custody. Credit: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service

A US spy ship was caught by North Korean forces in the Sea of Japan on 23 January 1968.

The Caracazo Protests20160225

In February 1989 new austerity measures sparked days of violent protests in Venezuela

The Carry On Films20190122

The comic film franchise which churned out movie after movie mocking British stereotypes and pomposity. The first Carry On film hit cinema screens in 1958 and the team behind it would go on to make more than 30 movies using slapstick comedy and sexual innuendo to win fans around the world.
Ashley Byrne has spoken to writer John Antrobus and actor Valerie Leon. It was a Made in Manchester Production.

Photo: Two of Carry On's biggest stars, Kenneth Williams(l) and Sid James (r) filming Carry On At Your Convenience in 1971. (Credit: Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images)

The British comic film franchise which found fans around the world

The Case Of Alger Hiss20171127

The conviction of diplomat Alger Hiss was one of America's most notorious spy cases

The Case Of Dr Crippen20190118

How one of the most notorious murderers in Edwardian London was captured as he fled to Canada. Listen to an astonishing BBC archive account of his arrest and hear from Dr Cassie Watson, a historian of forensic medicine and crime, about why the case of Dr Crippen lived so long in the public's memory.
Photo: Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen (Getty Images)

The Case That Saved Sex On The Internet20171102

In 1997 the US Supreme Court ruled against censoring sex on the internet.

The Challenger Disaster20160127

On 28 January 1986 The Challenger space shuttle launch went horribly wrong

The Chappaquiddick Incident20190724

In July 1969, United States Senator Edward Kennedy was involved in a car accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne died. Around 10 hours elapsed before the politician reported the incident to police. In 2014 Paul Schuster spoke to retired police chief Jim Arena who investigated the accident.

(Photo: US Senator Edward Kennedy. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The car accident involving US Senator Edward Kennedy which left a young woman dead

The Cheonan Sinking2020032620200327 (WS)

On March 26th 2010 a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, sank after an explosion on board. 48 sailors were killed in an alleged torpedo attack carried out by North Korea. The North Korean authorities have always denied any involvement. Bugyeong Jung has been speaking to a survivor of the attack about what happened that night.

Photo: A giant floating crane lifts the stern of the South Korean warship to place it on a barge on April 15, 2010. The 1,200-tonne patrol combat corvette PCC-772 Cheonan was split in two by a big external explosion on March 26 2010, near a disputed Yellow Sea border. Credit: HONG JIN-HWAN/AFP via Getty Images

On March 26th 2010 a South Korean naval ship sank after an explosion - 48 sailors died

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

The Children's Crusade20180501

Birmingham Alabama was one of the most segregated cities in the USA in 1963. In May that year thousands of black schoolchildren responded to a call from Martin Luther King to protest against segregation at the height of the civil rights movement. It became known as the Children's Crusade.
Gwendolyn Webb was 14 years old at the time. In 2013 she spoke to Ashley Byrne about her experiences.

Photo: African American children are attacked by dogs and water cannons during a protest against segregation in May 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Thousands of black children protested on the streets of Birmingham Alabama in May 1963.

The Chinese Cure For Malaria2020032020200321 (WS)

In the 1970s, scientists in China used ancient traditional medicine to find a cure for malaria. Artemisinin was discovered by exploring a herbal remedy from the 4th century, and can cure most forms of malaria with very few side effects. It has saved millions of lives all over the world. Rebecca Kesby talks to Professor Lang Linfu, one of the scientists involved.

PHOTO: Professor Lang Linfu (family archives)

How scientists in the 1970s discovered an anti-malarial drug using a traditional remedy.

The Chippendales2019123020191231 (WS)

The Chippendales nightclub in downtown Los Angeles was looking for ways to attract customers on a weeknight – when they hit upon the idea of male strippers. The Male Exotic Dance Night for Ladies Only became wildly successful and inspired imitators all over the world. But there was a dark side to the Chippendales’ story.

Lucy Burns speaks to Chippendales co-founder Bruce Nahin.

Picture: Actress Linda Blair with Chippendales dancers, 1984 (Ann Clifford/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

The male stripper troupe was founded in Los Angeles in 1979

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

The Climbers Of Leningrad2017122820171229 (WS)

Mountaineers risked their lives to camouflage landmarks in the Russian city during WW2.

The Collapse Of Northern Rock20170912

Panicked run on bank signals the start of the financial crisis in the UK

The Collapse Of The Larsen B Ice Shelf20170331

Glaciologist Pedro Svarka recalls the massive ice shelf tumbling into the Antarctic seas.

The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster20190219

The US space shuttle Columbia broke up on its way back to Earth on February 1, 2003. It had been in use since 1981. Iain Mackness has spoken to Admiral Hal Gehman who was given the job of finding out what went wrong. His final report led to the winding-up of the American space shuttle programme in 2011.

Photo: The space shuttle Columbia during take-off. Credit: NASA.

The US space shuttle disintegrated on its way back to Earth on February 1, 2003.

The Columbine Massacre20190419

On April 20th 1999 a mass shooting in the USA shocked the world and started a devastating trend of violence in American schools. 13 people were killed and more than 20 were injured by two armed school students. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Craig Scott, who survived the Columbine massacre but whose sister Rachel was killed that day.

Photo: Students from Columbine High School run under cover from police, following a shooting spree by two masked teenagers. April 20th 1999. Credit: Mark Leffingwell/AFP/Getty Images.

13 people were killed and more than 20 injured in the school shooting on April 20th 1999

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

The Common Cold Unit20190710

The Common Cold Unit was created after World War Two to find the cause of the illness. Its work depended on thousands of volunteers who came to the unit to catch a cold. Given food, accommodation and some pocket money, many volunteers regarded it as a holiday and came back year after year. Witness spoke to eminent virologist, Professor Nigel Dimmock who worked at the Common Cold Unit in the 1960s.
Photo: Two volunteers take part in the clinical trial at the Common Cold Unit in Salisbury, 1958 (PATHE)

The remarkable UK research centre where thousands went on holiday to catch a cold

The Computers For Schools Revolution20200109

In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to give a laptop computer to every child in state primary schools. At the time, only 10 per cent of poor Uruguayan children had access to IT, and the Plan Ceibal initiative is credited with transforming the lives of the students and teachers. Alejandra Martins talks to Miguel Brechner, the man behind Plan Ceibal, and Rocio Martinez, one of the first children to get a computer.

PHOTO: Two Uruguayan children enjoying their laptops (courtesy Plan Ceibal)

In 2009, Uruguay became the first country to give every schoolchild a laptop computer.

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

The Concert That Rocked The Berlin Wall20191108

Former Berlin resident David Bowie was among the performers at a pop concert in West Berlin in 1987 credited with helping to create the atmosphere that led, two years later, to the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the three-day concert, there were riots in East Berlin as East Berliners were prevented by police from gathering near the Berlin Wall to listen. And German journalist Christoph Lanz tells Louise Hidalgo it was the first time shouts were heard of 'the wall must go'.

Picture: David Bowie during the concert beside the Reichstag in West Berlin in June 1987 (Credit:Scherhaufer /Ullstein Bild via Getty Images)

The 1987 rock concert that led to the first shouts in East Berlin of 'the wall must go'

The Conman Who Married His Victims20170213

When Giovanni Vigliotto went on trial he said he'd married more than a hundred women.

The Coronation Of Jean-bedel Bokassa20181204

Jean-Bédel Bokassa crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Republic in a lavish ceremony on the 4th of December 1977. He'd already been President for several years since taking power in a military coup - but he wanted more. Janet Ball has spoken to one of his sons, Jean-Charles Bokassa, and to a French journalist, about the events of that day.
Photo: Jean-Bédel Bokassa, stands in front of his throne after crowning himself. 04 December 1977 in Bangui. (Credit: Pierre Guillaud/AFP/Getty Images)

On 4 December 1977 Jean-B\u00e9del Bokassa was crowned Emperor of the Central African Republic

The Coup, The President And The Embassy20190909

In September 2009 the deposed president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, made a sudden return from exile, seeking refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital. Zelaya had been whisked out of the country at gunpoint after a military coup three months earlier. His unexpected return took the coup leaders totally by surprise. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from two men who spent several months holed up inside the embassy building alongside the Honduran leader.

Photo: Manuel Zelaya with supporters inside Brazil's embassy (Credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

How the deposed Honduran president spent months holed up in the Brazilian embassy

The Creation Of Abuja20191220

Why Nigeria came to build a brand new capital from scratch.and created one of the world 's fastest growing cities. During the 1970s oil boom, Nigeria's military rulers wanted to create a new symbol of national unity and decided to spend billions on constructing a new capital in the geographic centre of the country. Alex Last speaks to Professor John Paden of George Mason University, a veteran political scientist and expert on Nigeria who was hired to advise the American consortium tasked with planning the new city.

Photo: Getty Images

Why Nigeria built a brand new capital city from scratch.

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

The Creation Of The Barbie Doll20190305

Hear from the woman who created the most famous doll in the world.

The Creation Of The Cervical Cancer Vaccine20180926

How a scientific breakthrough led to the invention of the revolutionary cancer vaccine. In the 1980s, it was established that cervical cancer was caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is usually spread through sexual intercourse. In 1989, scientists Ian Frazer and Jian Zhou at the University of Queensland began working on the basis of a possible vaccine for HPV Their solution was to use parts of the virus's own genetic code to create a virus like particle (vlp) which would trigger an immune response.
Alex Last has been speaking to Professor Ian Frazer about their discovery.

(Photo: Electron micrograph of virus like particles formed from the outer protein coat of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The proteins form a virus-like particle that does not contain any genetic material. Credit: Science Photo Library)

The scientific breakthrough that saved the lives of thousands of women

The Creation Of The Mini20160429

In 1959 the British Motoring Corporation unveiled a very small new family car - the Mini

The Cross Border Horse Race20170922

A showdown on the American/Mexican border on September 14th 1958.

The Cuban Five20180918

Five Cuban spies were arrested in Miami by the FBI in September 1998. After a controversial trial, they were given lengthy jail sentences. The last of the five was released in December 2014 as part of a prisoner swap for an American intelligence officer. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to one of the Cubans, Rene Gonzalez, who was released in 2011.

(Photo: Portraits of the Cuban Five. Credit: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

The case of five Cuban spies arrested in Miami in September 1998

The Cuban Writer Who Defied Fidel Castro20191206

On 7 December 1990 the dissident Cuban novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas killed himself in New York after years of suffering from AIDS. Before fleeing Cuba, Arenas had been jailed for his homosexuality, sent to re-education camps and prevented from writing. He left behind his autobiography - Before Night Falls - a powerful denunciation of Fidel Castro’s regime which later became a successful film. Simon Watts talks to Arenas’ friend and fellow writer, Jaime Manrique.

The recordings of Reinaldo Arenas in this programme are taken from BBC archive, and the documentaries Conducta Impropria and Seres Extravagantes.

(Photo: Reinaldo Arenas. Credit: Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images)

In 1990 Reinaldo Arenas died of Aids in New York, leaving behind a powerful autobiography

The Curious Story Of Mary Toft20160923

In September 1726, a woman called Mary Toft claimed she was giving birth to rabbits.

The Curse Of Agent Orange20190220

Millions suffered from exposure to toxic chemicals sprayed by US forces during the Vietnam war. The chemicals were defoliants and herbicides designed to destroy jungles and vegetation which provided cover for communist guerrillas. But the defoliants contained dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to man. The most notorious defoliant was called Agent Orange. Decades later, Vietnamese are still being affected. Witness speaks to Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong about her struggle against the toxic legacy of the war.
Photo: Child suffering from spinal deformity in rehabilitation centre in Saigon.

One woman's battle against the toxic legacy of the Vietnam War

The Cuyahoga River Fire2016062820160702 (WS)

In June 1969 the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River, in Ohio in the USA, caught fire

The Daily Disposable Contact Lens20190813

The contact lens was once a precious and expensive piece of eyewear which had to be looked after and carefully cleaned every night. But that all changed in the 1990s. Ron Hamilton was involved in developing lenses and packaging which could be made so cheaply they could be worn just once and then thrown away. He has been speaking to Ashley Byrne.

Photo: Ron Hamilton (l) with his business partner Bill Seden (r) and their wives with their original contact lens machine. Courtesy of Ron Hamilton.

How the contact lens became cheap enough to throw away after a day

The Dambusters Raid20180514

In 1943, the Royal Air Force attacked a set of dams in Germany's Ruhr valley which were considered indestructible. Flying low and at night, the crews used special bouncing bombs to bring down two of their targets. The Dambusters mission was a huge propaganda success for Britain and later inspired a famous film. In 2013, Simon Watts talked to Johnny Johnson, one of the few survivors of the raid.

PHOTO: Johnny Johnson (far left) with members of his crew, part of 617 squadron (DAMBUSTERS) at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, 22 JULY 1943 (Imperial War Museum).

The famous British raid on German dams during World War Two.

The Dance Theatre Of Harlem20160824

In August 1969, the first classical ballet company to focus on black dancers was formed

The Day Nigeria Struck Oil2018102620181028 (WS)

An eyewitness account of a discovery that changed Nigerian history. Chief Sunday Inengite was 19 years old when prospectors from the Shell D'Arcy oil company first came to his village of Oloibiri in the Niger Delta in search of crude oil. It was there in 1956, that commercial quantities of oil were first discovered more than 3km below ground. It marked the start of Nigeria's huge oil industry, but it came at a cost for villages in the Niger Delta. Alex Last spoke to Chief Sunday Inengite about his memories of those days and the impact oil had on his community.

Photo: An oil worker watches over the drilling at of an oil well in Nigeria (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Day Sweden Turned Right20160902

In September 1967 Swedish traffic changed to driving on the right-hand side of the road.

The Death Of A Matador2019092720190928 (WS)

In September 1984, the famous Spanish matador, Francisco Rivera, also known as Paquirri, was gored to death by a bull during a fight in the small town of Pozoblanco. The bravery he showed during his final moments turned Paquirri into a legend. In 2013 Simon Watts spoke to El Soro, a matador who shared the bill that fateful day, and to Muriel Finer, an American journalist married to a Spanish bullfighter.

Photo: A recent bullfight (Getty Images).

The fatal goring of the legendary bullfighter Francisco Rivera P\u00e9rez - "Paquirri".

The Death Of Brazil's Getulio Vargas20190823

In August 1954 the President of Brazil took his own life rather than quit his post. Getulio Vargas had been one of Brazil’s most influential leaders. But by 1954 the country was saddled with hundreds of millions of dollars of overseas debt and inflation was high. Worse, Vargas had been accused of involvement in the attempted assassination of a political opponent. Julian Bedford spoke to his granddaughter Celina Vargas do Amaral Peixoto. This programme was first broadcast in 2012.

Photo: Getulio Vargas, 1930 (Getty Images)

How the influential Brazilian leader took his own life rather than submit to the military

The Death Of Bruce Lee20160720

The film star and martial arts legend died suddenly in Hong Kong in 1973.

The Death Of Che Guevara20171009

Felix Rodriguez recalls his part in the killing of the Marxist revolutionary in Oct 1967.

The Death Of David Kelly20190729

How the death of a UK weapons inspector intensified arguments over Britain's involvement in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to one of the doctors who signed a letter calling for further investigation of the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death.

Photo: Dr David Kelly during questioning by the Commons select committee, in London in July 2003. Credit: Press Association.

The weapons inspector's death deepened the row over the UK's part in the invasion of Iraq

The Death Of Dele Giwa20171026

An eyewitness to the assassination of the famous Nigerian journalist Dele Giwa in 1986

The Death Of Evita20170731

Remembering Argentina's controversial First Lady Eva Peron, who died on July 26 1952.

The Death Of General Sani Abacha20180607

Nigeria's military ruler died suddenly in June 1998.

The Death Of Hitler20190204

A first-hand account of Hitler from our archives. Traudl Junge worked as a secretary for the German Nazi leader. She was in the bunker in Berlin when he killed himself in 1945 as the Red Army closed in. She spoke to Zina Rohan for the BBC in 1989.

Photo: Hitler and some of his officers. Credit: Getty Images.

A first-hand account of Hitler from one of his secretaries who was there at the very end

The Death Of Hitler2020050520200506 (WS)

First-hand accounts of Hitler's death from the BBC's archives

The Death Of Jawaharlal Nehru20190527

The man who led India to independence and its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, died on May 27th 1964. His niece Nayantara Sahgal spoke to Louise Hidalgo about the great activist and intellectual in 2014.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Jawaharlal Nehru, 1958 (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The man who led India to independence died on May 27th 1964

Photo: Indira Gandhi paying her respects at the body of her father, Jawaharlal Nehru.(Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Death Of Jg Farrell20171017

The writer drowned off the south-west coast of Ireland in 1979.

The Death Of Jonas Savimbi20160222

In February 2002 the controversial Angolan rebel leader was killed by government forces

The Death Of Kim Il-sung20180615

North Korea's communist leader Kim Il-sung died in July 1994. Dr Antonio Betancourt, of the Unification Church, was in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, during the outpouring of national grief.

Photo: Dr Antonio Betancourt meeting Kim Il Sung just months before the leader's death. (Courtesy of Dr Antonio Betancourt.)

The founding father of communist North Korea died in July 1994.

The Death Of King Faisal20170324

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by his nephew in March 1975

The Death Of Neda Agha Soltan20170519

The young woman, killed at a protest in 2009, who became a symbol for opposition in Iran

The Death Of Neda Soltan20190617

In June 2009 after the presidential elections in Iran, millions took to the streets to dispute Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory. A young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, became a symbol of the protest movement after she was shot dead at a demonstration in Tehran. Her death was captured on a mobile phone and uploaded on to the internet. That footage was seen around the world within hours. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Arash Hejazi who tried to save Neda's life as she bled to death on the streets.

(Photo: Supporters of then-defeated Iranian presidential candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, attend a rally in Tehran on June 18th 2009. Credit: Reuters)

How a young woman became a symbol of anti-government protest in Iran

The Death Of Princess Diana20170831

Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash whilst being chased by paparazzi

The Decapitation Of The Little Mermaid20170224

In 1998 someone vandalised the most famous statue in Denmark.

The Deepwater Horizon Disaster2020042020200421 (WS)

A deadly explosion on a drilling rig led to an environmental disaster in the US

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

The Demolition Of The Babri Masjid20191113

Hindu extremists demolished a 16th century mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya in December 1992 prompting months of communal violence across India. Photojournalist Praveen Jain witnessed rehearsals for the demolition the day before the activists stormed the mosque. He has been talking to Iknoor Kaur about what he saw. On November 9th this year the Indian Supreme Court ruled that a Hindu temple can be built on the disputed site.

Photo: Hindu extremists rehearsing the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Copyright:Praveen Jain.

How Hindu extremists demolished a mosque in India prompting months of communal violence

The Destruction Of Iraq's Marshlands20181126

In the early 1990s, Saddam Hussein ordered the draining of southern Iraq's great marshes. It was one of the biggest environmental disasters of the twentieth century and an ancient way of life, dating back thousands of years, was almost wiped out. In 2014 Louise Hidalgo spoke to Iraqi environmentalist Azzam Alwash, and to journalist Shyam Bhatia, who knew the area well. This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photograph: An Iraqi Marsh Arab looks out across a barren stretch of the marshes of southern Iraq. (Credit: Essam al-Sudani/AFP/Getty Images)

When Iraq's marshes became a hiding place for rebels, Saddam Hussein destroyed them.

The Development Of Wifi20171219

Australian scientists were central to the development of wifi.

The Disappearance Of Harold Holt2017121520171217 (WS)

The Australian Prime Minister went for a swim on December 17th 1967 - and never came back

The 'disappeared' Of Lebanon20171116

Searching for the thousands who went missing during Lebanon's brutal civil war.

The Discovery Of Botox20170822

How an ophthalmologist and a dermatologist discovered that a toxin could stop wrinkles

The Discovery Of Dinosaur Eggs20181129

The discovery of a nest of complete dinosaur eggs in Mongolia in 1923 provided the first proof that the prehistoric creatures hatched out of eggs rather than giving birth to live young. The American explorer who found them, Roy Chapman Andrews, became a legend and many consider him the inspiration for the film hero Indiana Jones. Claire Bowes spoke to his granddaughter, Sara Appelbee.

Photo: Roy Chapman Andrews examining first find of dinosaur eggs by George Olsen, Mongolia, 1925 (courtesy of AMNH Research Library)

Audio of Roy Chapman Andrews courtesy of Marr Sound Archives, UMKC University Libraries.

The fossil find in 1923 in Mongolia helped to prove that dinosaurs hatched their young.

The Discovery Of The Aztec Moon Goddess20190320

Electricity workers in Mexico City accidentally uncovered a massive stone sculpture in 1978. It turned out to be the Aztec Goddess of the Moon, Coyolxauhqui.
The sculpture was found in an area where the Aztecs, 500 years earlier, had built the capital of their empire: the city of Tenochtitlán. The discovery changed the face of the Mexican capital.

María Elena Navas spoke to Raúl Arana, one of the archaeologists who identified the sculpture as the Moon Goddess.

Photo: The sculpture of Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec Moon Goddess (Getty Images)

How an accidental discovery in Mexico led to the uncovering of the Aztecs\u00b4 Great Temple.

The Discovery Of Whale Song20171207

Whales were being hunted to extinction until a biologist realised they could sing.

The Discovery Of Whalesong20200123

Whales were being hunted to extinction, when in 1967, a biologist called Dr Roger Payne realised they could sing. It changed the perception of whales and helped found the modern conservation movement. Claire Bowes spoke to Dr Payne about his discovery in 2017. This programme is a rebroadcast.

(Photo: Humpback Whale, courtesy of Christian Miller of Ocean Alliance)

In the 1960s whales were being hunted to extinction.

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

The Disputed Resort Of Taba20170629

Israel and Egypt both laid claim for years to the Red Sea resort of Taba

The Division Of Cyprus20170817

In August 1974, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus for a second time cutting the island in two

The Division Of Kashmir20190812

In October 1947, an invasion of Kashmir by tribal fighters led to the division of the state between India and Pakistan. Andrew Whitehead speaks to victims of the invasion and political leaders in Kashmir to find out more about the roots of a crisis that endures to this day.

PHOTO: Indian troops arriving in Kashmir in October 1947 (Getty Images)

The October 1947 crisis which led to the partition of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

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

The Doomsday Seed Vault20190107

In January 2008, seeds began arriving at the world's first global seed vault, buried deep inside a mountain on an Arctic island a-thousand kilometres north of the Norwegian coast. The vault was built to ensure the survival of the world's food supply and its agricultural history in the event of a global catastrophe. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to the man whose idea it was, American agriculturalist Cary Fowler.

(Photo: journalists and cameramen outside the entrance of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault that was officially opened on 26th February 2008. Credit: Hakon Mosvold Larsen/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2008, the first global seed vault was opened to safeguard the world's crops

The Eames Chair20160105

In 1956, Charles and Ray Eames launched the Eames Chair.

The Easter Rising20160325

How Irish rebels tried to start a revolution against British rule at Easter 1916.

The Ebola Virus20200310

Some 300 people died during the first documented outbreak of the deadly disease occurred in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of Congo - then known as Zaire. The virus was named after the river which flowed close to the village where it was discovered. Two doctors, Dr Jean Jacques Muyembe and Dr David Heymann, were among those who worked to bring the outbreak under control. They spoke to Claire Bowes in 2009.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Image: The Ebola virus under a microscope. Credit: Science Photo Library

The first documented outbreak of the deadly disease occurred in the 1970s in Zaire

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

The Emergency Rescue Committee20180406

The 'emergency rescue committee' was set up by a group of American and exiled German liberals during the Second World War to help save some of Europe's leading intellectuals and artists from the Nazis. Among those the group rescued from German-occupied France were artists Marc Chagall and Max Ernst, surrealist leader Andre Breton and German novelist Heinrich Mann. Louise Hidalgo has been hearing from Justus Rosenberg who worked for the committee and had his own narrow escape from the Nazis.

Picture; Justus Rosenberg on the streets of Marseille in the early 1940s (credit: Justus Rosenberg)

The Emergency Rescue Committee helped save intellectuals and artists from the Nazis

The End Of Apartheid20170202

In February 1990 the South African president announced the dismantling of apartheid

The End Of El Salvador's Civil War20170116

A former Salvadoran guerrilla fighter talks about her experience of war and peace.

The End Of The War In Kosovo20190610

Hundreds of thousands of Kosovan Albanians were forced to leave their homes when NATO started bombing Serb targets in the former Yugoslavia in 1999. By the time the bombing stopped, on June 10th 1999, over 800,000 people had been displaced. Qerim Nuridhini is a Kosovan Albanian refugee who fled first to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and then to the UK. He's been speaking to Rachel Wright.

A refugee from Kosovo confronting a Macedonian Policeman at Blace, Macedonia, April 5th 1999.(Photo By Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Hundreds of thousands of Kosovans fled when NATO began bombing former Yugoslavia in 1999

The Eruption Of Mount Pinatubo20160615

In 1991 one of the largest volcanic eruptions of recent times occurred in the Philippines

The Exam That Changed China20171220

The return of university entrance exams showed the Cultural Revolution had really ended.

The Excavation Of Masada20160809

Nearly two thousand years ago, Masada in Israel was the site of a mass suicide.

The Execution Of Adolf Eichmann20180608

Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was executed just after midnight on June 1st 1962 in a prison in central Israel. Holocaust survivor Michael Goldmann-Gilead witnessed his execution and was one of two people tasked afterwards with scattering Eichmann's ashes at sea. He had been part of the police investigation collecting evidence against Eichmann before his trial, and had lost his parents and sister in the Holocaust. He has been telling Louise Hidalgo his story.

Picture: Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann preparing his defence in his cell at the Teggart Fortress ahead of his trial in Jerusalem in April 1961 for crimes against humanity (Credit: Getty Images)

Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was executed in the early hours of June 1st 1962

The Execution Of Anne Boleyn20160523

In May 1536 the Queen of England was executed on the orders of her husband, Henry VIII

The Execution Of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto20160404

On April 4th 1979 Pakistan's first democratically elected Prime Minister was hanged.

The Exile Of Wolf Biermann2017112420171126 (WS)

East Germany's most famous singer-songwriter was exiled to the West in November 1976.

The Exodus Of Kashmiri Hindus20200107

In January 1990 over 100,000 Hindus fled the Kashmir valley after an increase in tension between the Indian military and Muslim independence activists. Iknoor Kaur has been speaking to Utpal Kaul one of the so-called 'pandits' who was displaced.

Photo: Indian Border Security Forces in Srinigar in 1993. Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Liaison/Getty Images.

In January 1990 over 100 000 Hindus fled the Kashmir valley

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

The Exploding Whale20171113

The story behind one of the most famous viral videos ever.

The Fairy Photos20170905

How two girls' photos convinced Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that fairies exist.

The Fake Ids That Saved Jewish Lives20171025

How tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews escaped the Nazis by using false papers.

The Fall Of Bukhara20160830

In 1920, the Central Asian Muslim kingdom of Bukhara was taken over by Communists.

The Fall Of Emperor Tewodros Ii20160323

In 1868 Tewodros II of Ethiopia prepared to make a last stand against the British army.

The Fall Of Paris20160617

In June 1940, most of the residents of Paris fled as German soldiers occupied the city

The Fall Of Singapore20190311

In 1942, during the Second World War, the British colony of Singapore fell to Japanese forces. Its capture marked the start of Japan's three-and-a-half year occupation of the island state, during which many ethnic Chinese living in Singapore were rounded up and killed. Louise Hidalgo has been listening to the memories of some of those who lived through that time.

Picture: British soldiers surrender to Japanese forces in Singapore in 1942. (Credit: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Image)

Life under Japanese occupation in Singapore during World War Two.

The Fall Of The Berlin Wall20191025

The border between communist East Germany and the West opened on November 9th 1989. It marked the beginning of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Michaela Graichen spoke to two East Germans who believe they were the first people to cross from East to West on the night of November 9th.

(Photo: East Germans climbing onto the top of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate after the opening of the East German border was announced in Berlin. November 9, 1989. Credit: REUTERS/Staff/Files)

The Fat Acceptance Movement20190624

The National Association to Aid Fat Americans, NAAFA, held its first meeting in June 1969. Its first president was Bill Fabrey, a thin man married to an overweight woman who had realised how difficult life was for fat people in the USA. One of NAAFA's first members Sue Morgan, and Bill Fabrey, have been speaking to Lucy Burns about the early days of fat acceptance.

Photo: Participants in the Million Pound March, 1998 in Santa Monica, California. Sponsored by NAAFA. (Credit: Gilles Mingasson/Liaison/Getty Images)

The Fifteen Guinea Special20180917

The train which marked the end of the steam age on Britain's main-line rail network. The Fifteen Guinea Special was a passenger service which ran from Liverpool to Carlisle on August 11th 1968 to commemorate the withdrawal of steam locomotives from the country's main railways. Steam locomotives had worked on British railways since the early 19th century. Thousands lined the route to see the last locomotives in action. Alex Last speaks to rail enthusiast Mark Smith who was on board the special train.
Photo: The locomotive, Oliver Cromwell, was one of four locomotives used on the Fifteen Guinea Special, 11 August 1968 (Mark Smith)

The train signaled the end of the steam age on Britain's main-line rail network in 1968

The Fight To Make Sexual Harassment A Crime20200317

In 1986, the US Supreme Court heard a landmark case which would define sexual harassment as a crime in America. The lawsuit, brought by bank clerk Mechelle Vinson, established that abuse in the workplace was a breach of civil rights. It was built on pioneering legal scholarship by feminist lawyer Catharine MacKinnon, who talks to Sharon Hemans.

PHOTO: Mechelle Vinson in 1986 (Getty Images)

The story of a landmark ruling for women's rights in the United States.

The Final Days Of Sri Lanka's Civil War20190515

In May 2009 the Sri Lankan army finally crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels, ending 25 years of bloody civil war. In the final weeks of the conflict, thousands of civilians were trapped alongside the rebels under heavy shelling as the government forces closed in. Journalists and aid workers were prevented from reaching the war zone. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from one Tamil woman trapped in the siege zone, and from the former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka, Gordon Weiss, who watched on from the capital Colombo as the fighting came to an end.

Photo: Tamil civilians standing on the roadside after crossing to a government-controlled area 2kms from the front-line (Getty Images)

How the army finally crushed Tamil Tiger rebels after 25 years of bloody civil war

The First 24-hour Children's Helpline2020051220200513 (WS)

When a free helpline for kids was set up it showed just how widespread child abuse was

The First 3d Printer2020052020200521 (WS)

The creator of the 3D printer had no idea how revolutionary this technology might become.

The First All-women Peacekeeping Unit20190903

The UN deployed its first all-female contingent of peacekeepers in Liberia in West Africa. The country was still recovering from its long civil war when the Indian policewomen arrived in 2007. Jill McGivering has been hearing from Seema Dhundia of India's Central Reserve Police Force who led the unit.

Image: Seema Dhundia in front of her contingent of Indian policewomen on their arrival in Monrovia, Liberia, in January 2007. (Credit:Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN deployed its first all-female peacekeepers in Liberia in 2007.

The First Alzheimer's Patient20160113

The tragic case that led to the discovery of Alzheimer's disease.

The First Anti-psychotic Drug2019061120190612 (WS)

In the first half of the 20th century, most mentally ill patients were locked away in psychiatric hospitals and asylums. Those suffering from severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, were often sedated or restrained. Shock therapies were standard treatments. Then in France in the 1950s, a new drug was discovered which dramatically reduced psychotic symptoms in many patients. It was called Chlorpromazine. Soon it was being used around the world. Alex Last has been speaking to the psychiatrist Dr Thomas Ban, emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, who witnessed the introduction of Chlorpromazine first-hand in the 1950s.

Photo:Nurses prepare a patient for electric shock treatment in a psychiatric hospital. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Getty Images)

How a 1950s drug helped revolutionise the treatment of mental illness

The First Batman Tv Series20160129

In January 1966 Batman and Robin appeared on the small screen for the first time

The First Bicycle Sharing Scheme20180528

In the mid 1960s a Dutch engineer called Luud Schimmelpennink came up with a scheme to share bikes, and cut pollution. He collected about ten old bicycles, painted them white and left them at different points around Amsterdam. Luud has been speaking to Janet Ball about why that first scheme didn't last, and how he went on to invent an early computerised car-sharing scheme as well.

Photo: Activists with one of the original white bikes from the first scheme. Credit: Luud Schimmelpennink.

In the mid 1960s a Dutch engineer came up with a scheme to share bikes and cut pollution.

The First Black American At Ole Miss20171005

In 1962 the first black American was enrolled at Mississippi University amid riots

The First Black Woman Mp In Britain20191008

In 1987 Diane Abbott became the first black woman elected to the British Parliament. The daughter of first generation immigrants she was one of only four black MPs elected that day. In 2015 Diane Abbott spoke to Farhana Haider about her journey into the political history books.

Photo: Diane Abbott in 1986. Copyright: BBC

In 1987 Diane Abbott became the first black woman to be elected to the British Parliament

The First Budget Flights Across The Atlantic20170626

How a small Icelandic company broke the mould in air travel in the 1950s.

The First Cia Coup In Latin America20160726

In 1954 CIA-backed officers overthrew Guatemala's elected government.

The First Cia Coup In Latin America20180803

In 1954 Guatemala's left-leaning President Jacobo Arbenz was ousted from power by army officers backed by the CIA. In 2016 Mike Lanchin spoke to his son, Juan Jacobo Arbenz, about the events of that time, and the effects on his family.

Photo: Jacobo Arbenz and his wife speaking with a group of French reporters in Paris in 1955. Credit: Getty Images

Guatemala's president was ousted from power by army officers backed by the CIA in 1954.

The First Confirmed Case Of Hiv In America20191129

Robert R was a teenager who died of a mysterious illness in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1969. It was only in the 1980s that doctors studying the Aids epidemic realised Robert had died of Aids. Ned Carter Miles has been speaking to Dr Memory Elvin Lewis was one of the doctors who treated Robert R. She was so intrigued by his case that she kept tissue samples after his death, which later proved that he had contracted HIV/Aids.

Photo: HIV particles, computer artwork. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Credit: Science Photo Library

Robert R was a teenager who died of an undiagnosed illness in Missouri in 1969

The First Democratic Elections In The Ussr20190319

On March 26th 1989, Soviet citizens were given their first chance to vote for non-communists in parliamentary elections. Democrats led by Boris Yeltsin won seats across the country. Dina Newman spoke to Sergei Stankevich who was one of the successful candidates.
This programme was first broadcast in 2014.

(Photo: Boris Yeltsin on the campaign trail. Credit: Vitaly Armand. AFP/Getty Images)

Soviet citizens voted in democratic elections for the first time in March 1989.

The First Diagnosis Of Autism20180507

Autism was first described in 1943 by Austrian-American child psychiatrist Leo Kanner. This condition, which makes it difficult for people to communicate and relate to the world around them, was seen as very rare at the time. Anya Dorodeyko has been speaking to Dr James Harris, Professor of Child Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in America, who was a colleague and a successor to Leo Kanner.

Photo: Leo Kanner in 1955. (Credit: Science Photo Library)

The condition was first described in 1943 by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner in the USA

The First Fleet Lands In Australia20160126

Britain established a penal colony in Australia.In January 1788

The First Foetal Surgery20180510

On the 10th May 1981 a baby was born after having been successfully operated on whilst still in the womb. The paediatric surgeon who developed the technique was Dr Michael Harrison. He has been speaking to Ashley Byrne about the challenges he faced.

Photo: an ultrasound of a foetus in the womb. Credit: Science Photo Library.

On the 10th May 1981 a baby was born after a successful operation while in the womb.

The First Frozen Embryo Baby20180410

Zoe Leyland was born in Australia on April 11th 1984. As an embryo, she'd been frozen for 8 weeks before being successfully implanted into her mother's womb. Dr Alan Trounson was part of the team who pioneered the technology to freeze embryos, he's been speaking to Ashley Byrne.

Photo: In vitro fertilisation technician removing frozen embryos from storage. Credit: Science Photo Library

Zoe Leyland was born in Australia on April 11th 1984 after her mother's IVF treatment.

The First Gay Marriage In The Usa20190614

Long before same-sex marriage became legal in the USA in 2015, one gay couple in Minneapolis got married in 1971. Their names were Jack Baker and Mike McConnell. They'd been issued with a marriage licence and the man who held their wedding ceremony was Methodist pastor Roger Lynn. He spoke to Claire Bowes in 2013. This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Jack Baker and Mike McConnell, photographed by R. Bertrand Heine. Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.

One gay couple in Minneapolis had a same-sex wedding back in the 1970's

The First Home Pregnancy Test20190325

A female designer working for an American pharmaceutical company came up with the idea in the 1960s, but her bosses didn't like it at first. Margaret Crane has been telling Maria Elena Navas how she had to develop her designs on her own after being told that women couldn't be trusted to use a home testing kit properly.

Photo: Margaret Crane's first home testing kit. Credit: National Museum of American History.

A female designer working for a pharmaceutical company came up with the idea in the 1960s

The First Human Cyborg20190819

In 1998, a transponder or silicon chip was surgically implanted into the forearm of a British scientist. It sent identifying signals to a central computer that tracked his movements and allowed him access to his workplace, by opening doors and switching on lights. Professor Kevin Warwick has been speaking to Farhana Haider about becoming a more enhanced version of himself and as a result the world's first Cyborg: a man-machine hybrid.

Photo: Professor Kevin Warwick with chip transponder Credit: Science Photo Library

In 1998 a transponder was implanted into the body of British scientist, Kevin Warwick.

The First Indian To Win Miss World20191115

Reita Faria was the first Indian to win the Miss World beauty competition in 1966. She was studying medicine in Mumbai when a spur of the moment decision to take part in the contest turned her life upside down. Orna Merchant has been speaking to Reita Faria about her win, and whether she believes there is still a place for beauty contests in the 21st Century.

Photo: Reita Faria wearing the Miss World crown in November 1966. Credit: Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

The First Iphone20180109

The touchscreen smartphone changed mobile technology for ever. It was unveiled on January 9th 2007 by the Apple boss Steve Jobs. Within a few years smartphones had changed the way billions of people lived their lives. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Andy Grignon a senior developer on the project.

Photo: Steve Jobs at the iPhone launch in San Francisco in 2007. Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The First Iphone2020040920200410 (WS)

The touchscreen smartphone changed mobile technology for ever. It was unveiled on January 9th 2007 by the Apple boss Steve Jobs. Within a few years smartphones had changed the way billions of people lived their lives. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Andy Grignon a senior developer on the project.

(Photo: Steve Jobs at the iPhone launch in San Francisco in 2007. Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

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

The First Kwanzaa2017122620171227 (WS)

The African-American winter holiday was invented in Los Angeles in 1966.

The First Latin American 'telenovela'20161216

Brazil's Vida Alves starred in the first ever Latin American soap opera in December 1951.

The First Loebner Prize20161108

On 8 November 1991, a competition which judged artificial intelligence was held.

The First Mobile Phone Call2020022520200226 (WS)

In 1973, an engineer called Marty Cooper made the world’s first mobile phone call from a street in New York City. Cooper worked for a then tiny telecoms company called Motorola, but he had a vision that one day people would all want their own personal phone that could be reached anywhere. He talks to Louise Hidalgo.

Picture: Martin Cooper in New York City in 1973 with the first prototype mobile phone (Credit: Martin Cooper)

The American inventor who made the first mobile phone and the first mobile phone call

The First Montessori Nursery20180515

In 1907 Italian doctor, Maria Montessori opened a nursery where young children learnt independently, through practical work and playing with educational toys. The revolutionary teaching method soon spread around the world. Anya Dorodeyko spoke to the Italian educator's great granddaughter, Carolina Montessori and teacher Nan Abbott, who was trained by Dr Montessori in the 1940s.

Photo: Children develop their problem solving skills through play at a Montessori school in 1919. Credit: Davies/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

In 1907 Italian doctor, Maria Montessori, radically changed the way young children learn.

The First Mri Scan20180903

The first magnetic resonance scan of a human body was attempted by Dr Raymond Damadian and two students in 1977. It marked a breakthrough in efforts to develop the medical technology now known as the MRI scanner. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of the inside of the body. Dr Damadian spoke to Ashley Byrne about his early experiments.

Photo: Drs Raymond Damadian, Lawrence Minkoff and Michael Goldsmith and the completed Indomitable scanner.(Courtesy: FONAR Corporation)

Dr Raymond Damadian attempted the first magnetic resonance scan of a human body.

The First Play On Broadway Written By A Black Woman20190416

'A Raisin in the Sun' opened on Broadway in 1959. It had an almost exclusively black cast and a black director too. The playwright, Lorraine Hansberry, based it on her own family's story of being forced out of a white neighbourhood in Chicago. The title is from a poem by African American poet Langston Hughes about a dream deferred - 'does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?'.

Photo: Still from the 1961 film version of the play A Raisin in the Sun featuring Sidney Poitier (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Audio: With thanks to WFMT radio and the Studs Terkel radio archive.

'A Raisin in the Sun' by Lorraine Hansberry had an almost exclusively black cast too.

The First Russian Revolution Of 191720170314

In March 1917 Tsar Nicholas II abdicated ending centuries of autocratic rule in Russia

The First Self-made Female Millionaire20200130

Madam C. J. Walker was the first ever self-made female millionaire. She was born to former slaves in the USA and was orphaned at seven but against all the odds she went on to create her own business selling black hair-care products. By the time of her death in 1919 she'd become a famous philanthropist and civil rights campaigner. Claire Bowes has been speaking to her great great granddaughter A'Lelia Bundles.

Photo: Madam Walker Family Archives/A'Lelia Bundles

Madam C. J. Walker was born to former slaves and created a black beauty business.

The First Starbucks20160412

In 1971 the first Starbucks coffee shop opened in Seattle.

The First Tamil Suicide Bombing20170707

In July 1987 Tamil separatist rebels attacked a Sri Lankan army camp.

The First Tanks20160915

Tanks were first used in warfare on 15 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme

The First Tasers20191118

In the 1970s, an American engineer Jack Cover designed a new experimental stun gun. He called it a Taser. But the device only really became popular when it started to be used by US law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Department were among the first to use the device. Retired police Captain Greg Meyer was then the young officer given the task of evaluating non-lethal weapons for the LAPD. He tells Alex Last about the origins of the Taser and its dramatic impact on the streets.

Photo: Jack Cover with an early version of his Taser. The gun has a flashlight atop and below are two cartridges each containing two darts which can be fired a distance of 15 feet with a stunning 50,000-volt shock.

Why Los Angeles police began using a new weapon in the early 1980s.

The Flavr Savr Tomato - The World's First Genetically Engineered Food20170328

In 1994 the world's first genetically engineered food went on sale. It was a tomato.

The Founding Of Mensa20161003

In 1946, a chance encounter between two men launched the high IQ club, Mensa

The Foxcatcher Story20160226

In 1996 an American multi-millionaire murdered one of the wrestlers he was sponsoring

The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials20170821

A German court put Nazi war criminals on trial 20 years after the end of World War Two

The Freedom Tower In Tehran20160114

Hossein Amanat was the young architect employed to build a tower for Iranian royalty.

The French Army Mutiny Of 191720170505

After enduring years of slaughter during WW1, French army units finally mutinied

The Friendship Train2020061820200619 (WS)

The passenger train service between India and Bangladesh was resumed after 43 years.

The Frozen Zoo20200124

In 1975, San Diego Zoo began placing tissue samples of rare animals in cryogenic storage for the benefit of future generations. Called the Frozen Zoo, the refrigeration system now contains the cells of more than 1000 species ranging from the white rhinoceros to the black-footed ferret. Scientists are now using the collection to try to save species threatened by extinction. Simon Watts talks to Dr Oliver Ryder, who has worked at the Frozen Zoo from the very beginning.

PHOTO: Northern White Rhino cells in the Frozen Zoo (San Diego Zoo Institute For Conservation Research)

Since 1975, San Diego Zoo has been deep-freezing cell samples from rare species

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

The Funeral Of Charles Darwin20160427

The great English naturalist Charles Darwin is buried at Westminster Abbey in April 1882

The Funeral Of Jan Palach20160122

Hundreds of thousands of people mourned the student activist in Prague in January 1969.

The Funeral Of Princess Diana20170901

Diana's brother Earl Spencer remembers the emotional speech he made at her funeral.

The Funeral Of The Duke Of Wellington20181119

A man recorded by the BBC shares his memories of the funeral of the Duke of Wellington in 1852. The Duke was given a state funeral after defeating Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. The British General was credited with preventing Napoleon Bonaparte from establishing a European empire. Frederick Mead was just five when he went with his parents to watch the funeral procession go by.

PICTURE: The Duke of Wellington. Oil on canvas (photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

Recorded memories of the funeral in 1852 of the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon.

The Furies Collective: Lesbian Separatists20180215

A group of feminist activists in Washington DC set up a commune to live independently from men in 1971. They called themselves the Furies Collective, and they were some of the first lesbian separatists. Charlotte Bunch was one of them.

Picture: The Furies, packing and distributing the newspaper at 219 11th St. SE, in 1972. Left to right: Ginny Berson, Susan Baker (not a Fury), Coletta Reid (standing), Rita Mae Brown, Lee Schwing (picture by Joan E Biren)

A group of US feminists set up a commune to live entirely without men in 1971.

The Galapagos Sea Cucumber Dispute2020043020200501 (WS)

How fishermen and conservationists battled in the species-rich waters of the archipelago

The Gay Killing That Changed American Law20171006

The Matthew Shepard murder shocked Americans and helped reform US hate crime law.

The George Wallace Assassination Attempt20170515

How one of America's most controversial politicians was shot while running for president.

The German American Bund20170222

In the 1930s, American Nazi sympathisers held rallies and summer camps across the US.

The German Schoolboy Arrested For Writing A Letter20170914

Karl-Heinz Borchardt was arrested at the age of 18 by East German secret police.

The Germans Occupy Prague20170316

In March 1939, German troops occupied Prague; hear the story of one young boy who escaped

The Gi Who Chose China20180613

When the Korean War ended, a few American prisoners of war chose to go with their captors and try life under communism, instead of heading home to the USA. David Hawkins was one of them. He told his story to Chloe Hadjimatheou in 2012.

Photo: American, and South Korean POWs who refused repatriation. An African-American prisoner is singing a Chinese folk song to entertain his companions at the Songgongni camp while they wait. 1954.(Credit: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

After the Korean war ended a few American prisoners chose to try life under communism.

The Gladbeck Hostage Crisis20180820

An intriguing story from West Germany in August 1988, of a bank robbery, a three-day car chase that had the country holding its breath, and a journalist who got a little bit too close to the story. Tim Mansel has been hearing from one of the people at the centre of this crisis, journalist Udo Roebel.

Photo: Holding a weapon in his hand, kidnapper Hans-Jürgen Rösner calls on journalists and spectators to free the way in the city of Cologne, August 1988 (Press Association)

A bank robbery, a three-day car chase and a journalist who got too close to the story.

The Good Friday Agreement20180330

In 1998, the political parties in Northern Ireland reached a peace agreement that ended decades of war. But the Good Friday Agreement, as it became known, was only reached after days of frantic last-minute negotiations. In 2012, Louise Hidalgo spoke to Paul Murphy, the junior minister for Northern Ireland at the time.

PHOTO: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (L) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) pose with the mediator of the agreement, Senator George Mitchell. (AFP/Getty Images)

The deal which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence.

The Great Fire Of Smyrna20160913

In 1922 a huge fire destroyed the ancient city of Smyrna on the Aegean, thousands died

The Great London Smog20171214

Thousands died as a thick polluted fog engulfed London in 1952

The Great Plague20160629

In the summer of 1665, London was gripped by one of the worst epidemics in its history

The Gurkha Soldiers Fight For Equality20190607

For over 200 years soldiers from Nepal have fought in a special regiment in the British army called the Gurkhas. In 2009 all retired Gurkhas won the right to live in Britain, following a high profile media campaign. The announcement by the British government reversed previous guidelines that prevented all but a small number of Gurkha veterans being granted the right to settle in the UK. Farhana Haider has been speaking to retired Major Tikendra Dal Dewan who was instrumental in the Gurkhas campaign for equality.

(Photo: Tikendra Dewan, chairman of the British Gurkha Welfare Society addresses hundreds of Gurkha soldiers outside the immigration office in Liverpool 01/09 2004. Credit PA)

A Nepalese regiment of the British army won the right to settle in Britain in 2009.

The Gwangju Massacre2020052720200528 (WS)

The South Korean army crushed a popular uprising in the city of Gwangju on 27 May 1980

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

The Hanafi Hostage Siege In Washington Dc20170310

In March 1977 a group of American Muslims took over 100 people hostage in the US.

The Harold Wilson Plot20160329

In March 1976, the British prime minister Harold Wilson unexpectedly resigned. Why?

The Harrier In The Falklands War20160419

A Harrier pilot remembers the air battle over the Falklands in 1982

The Hindu 'milk Miracle'20161214

Millions of Hindus were gripped by reports of their God, Ganesha, 'drinking' milk.

The Hippie Trail20170627

In the 1960s and 70s, thousands of westerners travelled to India by overland bus.

The Hippydilly Squat20170913

A group of hippies occupied a sixty-room mansion in central London in September 1969.

The Holocaust Denial Trial20190905

The controversial historian, David Irving, tried to sue Penguin Books and professor Deborah Lipstadt for libel after she called him a Holocaust denier in one of her books. The case drew intense media interest. Deborah Lipstadt told Rebecca Kesby what it was like to have to defend her work and the memories of survivors of the Holocaust at the High Court in London in 2000. History was on trial.

(Photo: American academic Deborah Lipstadt (C) exults 11 April 2000 at the High Court in London after winning a libel case brought against her and Penguin publications by British revisionist historian David Irving. Credit: Martyn Hayhow/AFP/Getty Images)

The libel case that put history itself in the dock in 2000

The Homebrew Computer Club2020040620200407 (WS)

In 1975 a group of Californian computer enthusiasts began meeting to share ideas. Among those who took part were the founders of Apple.
In those days though, many of them were students or even high school kids. Mike Lanchin spoke to two early members of the group.

This programme is a rebroadcast

Photo: Former Homebrew member Len Shustek.

A group of Californian computer enthusiasts first began meeting to share ideas in 1975.

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

The Hoover Free Flights Promotion20161014

How an advertising campaign for vacuum cleaners went badly wrong.

The Hubble Space Telescope20170420

When it began sending images back to Nasa they were out of focus - Mike Weiss fixed it

The Hungarian Uprising20161026

In October 1956 Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest to protest at Soviet rule.

The 'i Love You' Computer Virus20200316

In May 2000, a virus created by a college dropout in the Philippines caused chaos around the world. Millions of people received - and opened - an email titled I Love You, which then jammed computer networks. Gabriela Jones talks to IT security expert, Graham Cluley.

(Photo: The I Love You email. Credit: Getty Images)

How a virus created by a Filipino college dropout sparked global panic in May 2000

The Imaginary War Heroes20160509

During World War Two, Soviet propaganda promoted a heroic feat that never happened.

The Immortal Cells Of Henrietta Lacks20170302

Cells taken from an African American woman in 1951 revolutionised medical science

The Imprisonment Of Irina Ratushinskaya20170711

The dissident poet was sentenced to 7 years in a Soviet labour camp.

The Indigenous Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Disposal20190705

In 1995 a group of senior, indigenous Australian women started a campaign to halt the construction of a nuclear waste facility in a remote part of South Australia.
Karina Lester, a granddaughter of one of the women and a translator for the campaign, spoke to Rachael Gillman about their unlikely victory against the Australian government.

Photo: Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, the group of senior aboriginal women who led the campaign (Umoona Aged Care)

How a group of senior, indigenous Australian women fought to save their land.

The Invasion Of Afghanistan2019122420191225 (WS)

On 24 December 1979 Soviet troops poured into Afghanistan in support of an anti-government coup. Their first targets were the palace in which the president was staying, and Afghanistan's radio and TV headquarters. Mahjooba Nowrouzi has been speaking to Shahsawar Sangerwal who was a young producer at Afghan National Radio at the time.

Photo: Soviet troops at Kabul Airport in late December 1979. Credit: Getty Images.

On 24 December 1979 Soviet troops started pouring into Afghanistan

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

Photo: Soviet troops at Kabul Airport in late December 1979. Credit: Getty Images.

The Invasion Of Kuwait20190802

Thousands of Iraqi troops and tanks began pouring into Kuwait on 2 August 1990. The tiny, oil-rich Gulf state was immediately taken over by Saddam Hussein's military. Sumaya Bakhsh has spoken to Sami al-Alawi who joined the Kuwaiti underground resistance trying to free the country.

Photo: Soldiers shelter behind a tank during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd 1990. Credit: REUTERS.

The Invention Of Artificial Skin20181003

How a chemist and a surgeon found a way of helping burns to heal. Chemist Ioannis Yannas was working alongside surgeon John Burke when they first made the breakthrough using a membrane made of collagen to cover burns which were too large for skin grafts.

Photo: Professor Ioannis Yannas with some of his collagen membrane. Credit: MIT.

The Invention Of Instant Noodles20180817

In August 1958 the Japanese entrepreneur, Momofuku Ando, came up with the idea of a brand new food product that would change eating habits of people across the world. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Yukitaka Tsutsui, an executive for the company founded by Ando, about the birth of the Instant Noodle.

Photo: 'Space Ram' instant noodles for astronauts (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

The creation in 1958 of a new product that would revolutionise mealtimes worldwide.

The Invention Of Liposuction20170502

It was a father and son team of Italian cosmetic surgeons who created liposuction.

The Invention Of Semtex20180402

The plastic explosive was malleable, odourless and stable. Created in communist Czechoslovakia in the town of Semtin in 1958, it was once the weapon of choice for those seeking to spread terror. Maria Jevstafjeva has been speaking to the brother of Stanislav Brebera, the chemist who invented it.

Photo: Two workers display Semtex, a Czech-made industrial and military plastic explosive at Syntesia chemical plant in Semtin, Credit: Lubomir Kotek/AFP/Getty Images

The Czech plastic explosive that was once undetectable to security services

The Invention Of The Lego Brick2018012620180128 (WS)

The Lego brick, one of the world's most popular toys, was invented in the small Danish town of Billund in 1958. Created by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the plastic bricks can be combined in countless combinations and have sold in the billions. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the inventor's son, was ten at the time. He used to play in the company workshop and helped test early Lego models. Olga Smirnova spoke to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen for Witness.

(Image: Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen with a Lego ship. Credit: Kristiansen family archive)

How one of the world's most popular toys was invented in a small Danish town in 1958

The Ira Siege At Balcombe Street20191210

In December 1975, four members of one of the IRA’s deadliest units were chased by police through the streets of London before hiding out in a small flat owned by a middle-aged couple called John and Sheila Matthews. The resulting six-day siege was covered live on television and radio, and gripped Britain. It ended when Metropolitan Police negotiators persuaded the gunmen to leave the flat peacefully. Simon Watts talks to Steven Moysey, the author of the book and audiobook, The Road to Balcombe Street.

(Photo: Police surrounding the flat in Balcombe Street. Credit: Press Association)

In December 1975, the IRA took a middle-aged couple hostage in Central London.

The Israeli Airlift Of Ethiopian Jews20160525

In 1991 14000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Solomon

The James Bond Theme Tune20161114

In 1962 Monty Norman wrote the music for the first James Bond film, Dr No.

The Jane Fonda Workout20170403

In April 1982 the film star Jane Fonda launched her first workout video.

The Karakoram Highway20190513

In 1979 one of the great engineering feats of the 20th Century was completed and the Karakoram highway between Pakistan and China was finally opened. The highway, known as the Friendship Highway in China, was started in 1959. Due to its high elevation and the difficult conditions under which it was constructed, it is also sometimes referred to as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Major General Pervez Akmal who worked on the construction and maintenance of the highway.

(Photo: The majestic Karakoram mountains on the border of Pakistan and China. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The road between Pakistan and China took 20 years to complete

The Kasztner Affair20160315

In March 1957, an Israeli political scandal ended in an assassination.

The Katyn Massacre20170411

Tens of thousands of Polish officers were executed in the USSR during World War 2.

The Kgb's Whistleblower20181029

Senior KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin risked his life smuggling thousands of top-secret Soviet intelligence files out of KGB headquarters, and bringing them to the West. His archive was one of the largest hauls of information to leak out of a major intelligence service anywhere in the world. Louise Hidalgo talks to Cambridge historian Professor Christopher Andrew, one of the few people let into Mitrokhin's secret who helped him turn his archive into a book.

Picture: Vasili Mitrokhin, taken in March 1992 when he walked into the British embassy in Latvia and announced he had a big haul of KGB intelligence (Credit: Churchill Archives Centre, University of Cambridge)

KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin's top secret archive was smuggled to Britain in 1992

The Killer Whale That Killed20170207

In February 1991, the captive orca, Tilikum, drowned his trainer, Keltie Byrne in Canada.

The Killing Of Amadou Diallo20191212

When police in New York shot a young immigrant 41 times in 1999, thousands of people took to the streets to protest. But Amadou Diallo's mother Kadiatou wanted her son to be remembered for the way he lived, not the way he died. So she flew to the US to speak on his behalf. She has been telling Sharon Hemans her story.

When New York police shot a young immigrant 41 times, thousands took to the streets

The Killing Of Gianni Versace20170719

In July 1997 the Italian fashion designer was shot on the steps of his Florida mansion.

The Killing Of Olof Palme20180227

The Swedish Prime Minister was shot dead on a Stockholm street on February 28th 1986. But the investigation into his killing was never satisfactorily completed. Tim Mansel spoke to public prosecutor Solveig Riberdahl, and police investigator Hans Olvebro, about the case in 2012.

Photo: Portrait of Olof Palme in Stockholm in the 1980s. (Credit:AFP/Getty Images)

The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden20200117

The US tracked down the al Qaeda leader to a city in northern Pakistan in May 2011. Special operations troops were sent to capture or kill bin Laden in a top secret raid in the dead of night. The Americans didn't tell their Pakistani allies about the raid beforehand. Gabriela Jones has been speaking to Nicholas Rasmussen who was in the White House situation room with President Barack Obama and US military chiefs as the raid took place.

Photo: Osama bin Laden. Credit:AFP/Getty Images

The US tracked down the al-Qaeda leader to a city in northern Pakistan in 2011

The US tracked down the al Qaeda leader to a town in northern Pakistan in May 2011. Special operations troops were sent to capture or kill bin Laden in a top secret raid in the dead of night. The Americans didn't tell their Pakistani allies about the raid beforehand. Gabriela Jones has been speaking to Nicholas Rasmussen who was in the White House situation room with President Barack Obama and US military chiefs as the raid took place.

The US tracked down the al-Qaeda leader to a town in northern Pakistan in 2011

The US tracked down the al Qaeda leader to a city in northern Pakistan in May 2011. Special operations troops were sent to capture or kill bin Laden in a top secret raid in the dead of night. The Americans didn't tell their Pakistani allies about the raid beforehand. Gabriela Jones has been speaking to Nicholas Rasmussen who was in the White House situation room with President Barack Obama and US military chiefs as the raid took place.

The Killing Of Pablo Escobar20191202

The Colombian drug trafficker, once one of the richest men in the world, was shot dead by police on 2nd December 1993. He had been on the run from the authorities for over a year. Jordan Dunbar has been speaking to Elizabeth Zilli who worked for the US Drug Enforcement Agency in Colombia and who helped track down Pablo Escobar.

Photo: Colombian police and military forces storm the rooftop where drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot dead just moments earlier during an exchange of gunfire between security forces and Escobar and his bodyguard on 2nd December 1993. (Credit:Jesus Abad-el Colombiano/AFP/Getty Images)

The Colombian drug trafficker was shot dead by police on December 2nd 1993

The Killing Of Poet Roque Dalton20170525

In May 1975 one of Latin America's leading young poets was shot dead in El Salvador.

The Killing Of Robert Kennedy20170606

The Democrat Senator and Presidential hopeful died on June 6th 1968 after being shot.

The Killing Of Steve Biko20180912

On September 12th 1977 the anti-Apartheid activist and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa died from injuries sustained while in police custody. The South African police claimed that Steve Biko had gone on hunger strike and had starved himself to death. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Peter Jones, a fellow anti-Apartheid activist, who was arrested alongside Biko a few weeks before his brutal death.

Photo: Steve Biko Inquest, November 1977 (Credit: Alamy)

The brutal death in custody of the anti-Apartheid activist in September 1977.

The Killing Of The Russian Tsar20180716

The Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, four daughters and young son, were shot in the cellar of a house in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. Olga Romanoff is his great niece. She spoke to Olga Smirnova about his death and eventual reburial in St Petersburg.

(Photo: Nicholas II, Tsar and his family. From left to right - Olga, Maria,Tsar Nicholas II,Tsarina Alexandra, Anastasia, Tsarevitch Alexei and Tatiana. Credit: Press Association

The Russian Tsar and his family were shot in a cellar in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918

The Killing Of Vincent Chin20170622

The movement sparked by the brutal murder of a Chinese-American by 2 white men.

The Kindertransport Children Who Fled The Nazis20190828

In the months leading up to outbreak of World War Two in September 1939, some 10,000 unaccompanied children were sent by their parents out of Germany and Austria, to safety in the UK. Many of them never saw their families again. Dame Stephanie Shirley was just five years old when she and her older sister were put on a train by their mother in Vienna. She has been telling Mike Lanchin about arriving in a foreign land as a little girl.

Photo:Getty Images

How thousands of unaccompanied children were sent to safety by their desperate parents

The King Of Lampedusa20180625

In June 1943 a young Jewish RAF pilot from the East End of London was forced to make an emergency landing on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The Italian forces stationed there promptly surrendered to him. He told his story to the BBC ,and soon he was a hero back home. A musical about his story even became a hit in London. Daniel Gordon has been listening to the BBC's archive, and talking to Arnold Schwartzman who made a film about Flight Sgt Sydney Cohen.

Photo: A Swordfish bi-plane, the type of plane that Sydney Cohen was flying when he landed on Lampedusa. Credit: Alamy.

How 4,000 Italian troops surrendered to a young Jewish pilot from London, during WW2.

The Kitchen Debate20180724

US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had an argument about living standards when Nixon visited Moscow in 1959. They spoke at an exhibition of a 'typical' American house full of modern domestic appliances.

Photo: The two leaders surrounded by press at the exhibition in Moscow, 1959. (Photo credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

When two Cold War leaders argued about living standards in their countries.

The Kray Gang20160812

Maureen Flanagan on her relationship with London's gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

The Lake Nyos Disaster20180829

On 21 August 1986 villagers in the north-west of Cameroon awoke to find that many of their friends and neighbours had died in their sleep. More than 1,700 people and much of their livestock are thought to have perished as a result of unexpected volcanic activity under Lake Nyos, which produced a cloud of deadly carbon dioxide. Tim Mansel spoke to two scientists who went to find out how it had happened.

Photo: Dead livestock near Lake Nyos (Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The mysterious death of villagers and livestock in north-western Cameroon

The Large Hadron Collider20190926

In September 2008, the world's biggest science experiment, the Large Hadron Collider, was started up for the first time at the European Organisation For Nuclear Research, or CERN, in Geneva. Simon Watts talks to Paul Collier, a British engineer whose team built the multi-billion dollar machine designed to investigate the structure of the universe.

PHOTO: Inside the Large Hadron Collider (Getty Images)

In September 2008, the world's biggest science experiment was switched on.

The Lascaux Caves20160912

In September 1940 a group of French schoolboys found a network of ancient cave paintings.

The Last Case Of Smallpox In The Uk20160831

Alasdair Geddes on finding smallpox in Janet Parker in 1978 and the events that followed

The Last Day Of Lebanon's Civil War20161013

In October 1990, Syrian jets ousted their main opponent in Lebanon ending the civil war

The Last Days Of Yasser Arafat20181122

The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in November 2004. French doctors treating him at the military hospital in France where he died said Arafat had an unidentified blood disorder and gave the cause of death as a stroke. Since then there have been allegations that he was poisoned. Leila Shahid was the Palestinian ambassador to France in 2004, and was with Yasser Arafat during his final days. She's been talking to Louise Hidalgo about that time.

Picture: Yasser Arafat attending Friday prayers at his headquarters in Ramallah a year before his death (Credit: Antoine Gyori/AGP/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Last Keeper Of The Light20180419

The lighthouse on Skellig Michael off the south west coast of Ireland was continuously occupied by lighthouse keepers for more than 150 years until its automation 1987. Skellig Michael has now become a tourist attraction since its ancient monastery was used as a location in recent Star Wars films. The last keeper of the light there was Richard Foran who has been speaking to Catherine Harvey about life on the remote island.

Photo: The lighthouses on Skellig Michael. Credit: Alamy

The island of Skellig Michael has lighthouses, and a striking role in Star Wars films.

The Last King Of Bulgaria20180509

In June 2001, more than half a century after being driven into exile by communists, Bulgaria’s former King Simeon II made a dramatic comeback by winning the country’s parliamentary election. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha about his remarkable journey from child king to prime minister.

Photo: King Simeon II 1943 Credit: Bulgarian Royal Family

Bulgaria's former King Simeon II wins the country's parliamentary election in 2001.

The Last Men On The Moon2020041520200416 (WS)

In 1972 the American space agency NASA carried out its final Moon mission

The Last Of The Red Hot Mamas20160208

The larger than life vaudeville star - Sophie Tucker - died on February 9th 1966.

The Last Smallpox Outbreak2018022320180225 (WS)

Tens of thousands of people died in India in 1974 during the world's last major smallpox epidemic. Individual cases had to be tracked down and quarantined to stop the deadly disease spreading. Ashley Byrne has spoken to Dr Mahendra Dutta and Dr Larry Brilliant who took part in the battle to eradicate smallpox once and for all.

Photo: Smallpox lesions on the human body. 1973. Credit: Getty Images.

In India in 1974 thousands of people died in the world's last major smallpox epidemic

The Last Smallpox Outbreak2020022720200228 (WS)

Thousands of people died in India during the world's last major smallpox epidemic. Individual cases had to be tracked down and quarantined to stop the deadly disease spreading. Ashley Byrne spoke to Dr Mahendra Dutta and Dr Larry Brilliant who took part in the battle to eradicate smallpox once and for all.

Photo: Smallpox lesions on the human body. 1973. Credit: Getty Images.

Thousands of people died in the world's last major smallpox epidemic in India in 1974.

The Last Survivor Of The Transatlantic Slave Trade2020042120200422 (WS)

A woman who died in the US in 1940 was captured and enslaved in West Africa as a child

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

The Launch Of The Hubble Space Telescope20200319

In 1990, NASA launched the historic mission which put into orbit the Hubble Space Telescope. The orbiting observatory has revolutionized astronomy and allowed us to peer deeper than ever before into the Universe. Alejandra Martins talks to astronaut, Kathryn Sullivan, about the Hubble mission and the telescope's initial teething problems.

PHOTO: The Hubble Space Telescope (NASA)

How NASA put an orbiting observatory into space in 1990.

The Launch Of The Walkman20190704

The portable cassette player that brought us music on the move was launched in July 1979. By the time production of the Walkman came to an end thirty years later, Sony had sold more than 220 million machines worldwide. Farhana Haider has been hearing from Tim Jarman, who purchased one of the original blue-and-silver Walkmans.

(Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The advent of music on the move in July 1979

The Launch Of Vogue Russia20161229

Aliona Doletskaya remembers starting post Soviet-Russia's biggest glossy fashion magazine

The Legalisation Of Solidarity20191021

When the banned Polish trade union organisation, Solidarity, was legalised in April 1989 it was one of the first signs that communism was about to collapse in Eastern Europe. Within months Solidarity was leading a coalition government in Poland and soon afterwards the Berlin Wall fell. In 2015 Tom Esslemont spoke to the former Solidarity spokesman Janusz Onyszkiewicz about the events of that historic year.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Image: Lech Walesa, pictured in March 1989 (Credit: Marc Deville/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The Polish trade union organisation was banned by the communists until April 1989

Photo: The Solidarity logo (Credit: BBC)

The Leipzig Demonstrations20191024

Mass demonstrations in the East German city of Leipzig in October 1989 shook the communist authorities to their core. The protests are seen as paving the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall just a month later. Lucy Burs spoke to Martin Jankowski who was one of the protesters.

(Photo:A young East German protesting against the communist government flashes the peace sign. Credit: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The Berlin Wall fell just a month after mass protests in the East German city of Leipzig

The Liberation Of Bergen-belsen20180418

In April 1945 British troops discovered the horrors of the Holocaust in a camp in Germany. Among them was a young army officer called Brian Urquhart. He spoke to Lucy Williamson in 2009 about his shock and disbelief at coming face to face with Nazi atrocities for the first time.

Photo: Liberated internees at Belsen concentration camp waiting for soup. (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

The Liberation Of The Channel Islands2020051120200512 (WS)

The only part of the British Isles to be occupied during WW2 was liberated in May 1945

The Life And Thought Of Hannah Arendt20180307

Hannah Arendt was one of the most influential political thinkers of the 20th-century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she fled Germany in 1933 as the Nazis consolidated their power, eventually reaching America, where she published her seminal works on totalitarianism and the human condition She is also remembered for her phrase, the banality of evil, to describe the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Louise Hidalgo talks to Hannah Arendt's former assistant, Jerome Kohn, and listens through the archives to those who knew her.

Picture: Hannah Arendt in 1966. (Credit: Fred Stein/DPA/PA)

The life and thought of the leading 20th-century political thinker, Hannah Arendt

The Little Prince20190605

In July 1944, a plane piloted by the author of the world famous children's story The Little Prince, disappeared over the south of France. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, an experienced aviator, was on a reconnaissance mission for the Free French airforce fighting Nazi Germany. No one knew how or where his plane had come down. French diver Luc Vanrell has been telling Mike Lanchin about finding the wreckage of the missing aircraft off the coast of Marseille almost sixty years later.

Photo: The Folio Society

The mystery surrounding the death of the author of the world famous children's tale

The Lost Manuscript Of Huckleberry Finn20170221

In 1990, the manuscript of Mark Twain's classic novel was found in an attic in Hollywood.

The Love Canal Disaster20191114

In the late 1970s toxic chemicals were discovered oozing from the ground in a neighbourhood in upstate New York. The neighbourhood was called Love Canal. Hundreds of houses and a school had been built on top of over 20,000 tonnes of toxic industrial waste. The disaster led to the formation in 1980 of the Superfund program, which helps pay for the clean up of toxic sites. Farhana Haider has been speaking to former Love Canal resident and campaigner Luella Kenny about her fight for relocation.

Photo Pres. Jimmy Carter, Love Canal resident Lois Gibbs, Rep. John LaFalce and Senator Jacob Javits signing the superfund legislation 1980. Credit Center for Health, Environment & Justice.

How the Love Canal neigbourhood in the US came to symbolise the dangers of toxic waste

The Madagascar Palace Fire20161117

In 1995 one of Madagascar's most historic sites was destroyed by fire

The Major And The Vw Beetle20200306

The story of how a car that had originally been the idea of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was saved by a British army officer at the end of World War Two. In August 1945 the British Army sent Major Ivan Hirst to take control of the giant Volkswagen plant in Germany, built under the Nazis to produce 'people's cars' for the German masses. Ivan Hirst persuaded the British authorities to allow production to restart of the Volkswagen Beetle, which Hitler had had designed before the war as an affordable car for ordinary Germans and which would become one of the most successful cars in the world. Louise Hidalgo has been listening to archive of Major Hirst talking about that time.

Picture: Major Ivan Hirst (right) driving the 1000th Beetle off the production line at Wolfsburg in March 1946 (Credit: Volkswagen AG)

How a British army officer saved Hitler's Volkswagen Beetle at the end of World War Two

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

The Malayan Emergency20190503

In 1948, British colonial authorities declared a State of Emergency in the territory of Malaya, now part of Malaysia. It was in response to the start of a Communist rebellion. From their bases in the jungle, Communist fighters carried out hundreds of guerrilla attacks across the country, targeting Malaya's valuable rubber estates, tin mines, and infrastructure. Alex Last speaks to Gus Fletcher, a decorated former Special Branch officer in Malaya, about his memories of Britain's attempt to combat the communist threat, which became seen by some, as a model for counter-insurgency.
Photo: A photograph taken by a British sergeant on patrol in the Malayan jungle.. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

The struggle against a Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1950s

The Man Who Fed The World20191016

In 1970 the American scientist, Norman Borlaug, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work developing disease-resistant crops. At the time famine and malnutrition were claiming millions of lives across the world, particularly in South Asia. Dr Borlaug’s work meant countries like India were able to become self-sufficient. Critics said the new grain varieties were too reliant on chemical fertilizers, but it’s thought millions of lives were saved. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to Professor Ronnie Coffman, student and friend of Norman Borlaug.

(Photo: Dr Norman Borlaug in a field of wheat. Credit CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre)

Dr Norman Borlaug's pioneering work on disease-resistant grains saved millions.

The Man Who First Published Harry Potter20200211

In 1996, after many rejections, author JK Rowling at last finds a publisher for her first Harry Potter novel. Louise Hidalgo hears from editor, Barry Cunningham, who spotted the boy wizard's potential and helped create a phenomenon that would revolutionise childrens' book publishing, selling more than 450 million copies.

Picture: author JK Rowling holds the sixth and penultimate Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (Credit: AP)
Audio recording © J.K. Rowling

The man who spotted the potential of the boy wizard books in 1996

The Man Who Gave His Voice To Stephen Hawking2019112520191126 (WS)

American scientist Dennis Klatt pioneered synthesised speech in the 1980s. He used recordings of himself to make the sounds that gave British physicist Stephen Hawking a voice when he lost the ability to speak. Friend and colleague of Dr Klatt, Joseph Perkell, told Rebecca Kesby about the man who gave his voice to Prof Hawking allowing him to educate the world in science.

(Photo: BOMBAY, INDIA: World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking answers questions with the help of a voice synthesiser during a press conference at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay, 06 January 2001. Credit AFP)

American scientist Dennis Klatt pioneered synthesised speech using his own voice.

The Man Who Got Delhi On Track20191121

India's capital city built a brand new mass transit system to tackle its traffic jams and air pollution. The first section of the Delhi Metro was opened to the public in 2002. E Sreedharan was managing director of the Metro project and he's been speaking to Prabhat Pandey about the challenges he faced.

Photo: the inside of a Delhi Metro carriage. Credit: Getty Images.

India's capital city built a Metro to tackle its traffic and air pollution problems

The Man Who Inspired Britain's First Aids Charity20181128

In 1982, Terrence Higgins became the first known British victim of a frightening new disease called HIV/AIDS. In his memory, his friends set up the Terrence Higgins Trust - now Europe's leading charity in the area. Simon Watts talks to his former partner, Dr Rupert Whitaker.

PHOTO: Terrence Higgins (Courtesy: Dr Rupert Whitaker)

In 1982, Terrence Higgins became the first known British victim of HIV/AIDS.

The Man Who Invented Wingsuits20190410

The wingsuit is the ultimate in extreme sports clothing. An aerodynamic outfit for BASE jumpers and skydivers it allows them to free-fall for longer before opening a parachute. Skydiver Jari Kuosma developed the first commercial wingsuits and he has been speaking to Jonathan Coates about how exciting, but also how dangerous they can be.

Photo: Jari Kuosma. Copyright: BBC

The wingsuit is the ultimate in extreme sports clothing, for BASE jumpers and skydivers

The Man Who Made Marilyn Monroe Dance20190408

Choreographer Jack Cole had a huge influence on musical theatre and Hollywood films - most memorably with Marilyn Monroe in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But much of his inspiration came from Indian dance. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to the American actress and singer, Chita Rivera, who danced with him.

The Man Who Prosecuted Charles Manson20171121

Charles Manson's followers murdered 9 people on his orders. But how to prove his guilt?

The Mass Exodus Of Algeria's 'pieds Noirs'20190805

Hundreds of thousands of French people who'd been living in Algeria for generations fled for safety to France in the summer of 1962. It was in the last days of the war of independence in the North African nation. Known as the 'Pieds Noirs', the new arrivals were not generally well-received back in France. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Michelle Hensel, who left Algeria for France as a small child.

Photo: French repatriates leaving Algeria May 1962. (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

How thousands of French families fled from Algeria as it won independence

The Mau Mau Rebellion20161019

During the 1950s in Kenya, rebels known as the Mau Mau were fighting against British rule

The Mayak Nuclear Disaster20160929

On September 29th 1957 there was a major nuclear accident in the Soviet Union.

The Mccarthy Era20160428

In spring 1950, an American academic was wrongly named as the main Soviet agent in the US

The Men Who Tried To Warn Us About Smoking20190221

British doctors produced an alarming report in 1962 warning that 1 in 3 smokers would die before the age of 65. The doctors suggested restrictions on advertising and on smoking in public places but the UK government did little except launch a health education campaign.

Credit: Interviews with Sir George Godber and Charles Fletcher courtesy of the Medical Sciences Video Archive, part of a project run by Oxford Brookes University and the Royal College of Physicians.

Photo: 1956 (Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Getty Images)

When doctors said cigarette smokers were dying prematurely the UK government did little.

The Mexican American War20160901

Testimonies from the conflict that changed US-Mexican relations forever

The Miami Riots2020051820200519 (WS)

After four white policemen were acquitted of killing a black man - Miami rioted in 1980

The Millionaire Nazi War Criminal20190318

The story of how one of the wealthiest men in the Netherlands was exposed as a Nazi war criminal. In the 1970s, Pieter Menten was a respected art dealer, but it was revealed that during the Second World War, he had led mass killings in eastern Poland. We hear from Dutch journalist, Hans Knoop, whose investigation into Menten caused a national scandal and finally led to the millionaire's arrest.

Photo: Pieter Menten photographed in 1977.(credit: National Archives of the Netherlands)

How the Dutch art collector Pieter Menten was exposed as a war criminal in the 1970s

How the Dutch art collector Pieter Menten was exposed as war criminal in the 1970s

The Mine Disaster That Devastated Post-war Italy20180830

In August 1956, a fire at a coal mine in Belgium killed 262 people. The tragedy caused grief across Europe, but particularly in Italy because more than half the dead were Italian migrants. Simon Watts brings together the memories of Lino Rota, a rescue worker at Marcinelle, and Rosaria di Martino, whose family moved to Marcinelle from a village in Sicily. The interview with Lino Rota was conducted by Italian journalist, Paolo Riva.

PHOTO: A funeral at Marcinelle in 1956 (Getty Images)

How an accident at Marcinelle in Belgium killed more than 100 Italian migrant workers.

The Mont Blanc Tunnel20170717

In July 1965 an 11-km tunnel dug deep beneath the Alps was opened to traffic

The Montserrat Volcano20170612

In June 1997 a devastating eruption took place on the Caribbean island of Montserrat

The Moon Landing20190717

In July 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the Moon.

The Moscow Show Trials20180312

An eyewitness account of Stalin's purge of top Soviet leaders during the 1930s, when millions of Soviet citizens were executed or sent to labour camps.British diplomat Sir Fitzroy Maclean, spoke to the BBC in the 1980s about his memories of Moscow during the Great Terror, when Stalin's repression was at its height. Maclean attended the show trial of one of the foremost Soviet leaders, Nikolai Bukharin who was accused of conspiracy and was later executed.
Photo: Portrait of Russian Communist leader and theoretician Nikolai Bukharin ,a former editor of Pravda and a member of the Central Organization of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, circa 1920. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

An eyewitness account of Stalin's purge of top Soviet leaders during the Great Terror.

The Mumbai Train Bombings20160711

In July 2006, seven coordinated explosions tore through packed commuter trains in Mumbai.

The Munich Air Disaster20180207

In February 1958, eight players from Manchester United’s famous “Busby Babes” team were among those killed in a plane crash at Munich airport. Goalkeeper Harry Gregg survived the disaster and went back into the wreckage several times to save lives. Simon Watts hears his story.

Photo: Plane wreckage at Munich airport (AFP/Getty Images)

The 1958 plane crash that killed eight of Manchester United's famous "Busby Babes" team.

The Murder Of Archbishop Oscar Romero20170327

The outspoken cleric from El Salvador killed at the altar by a right-wing death squad.

The Murder Of Black Teenager Emmett Till20190826

Emmett Till was an African-American teenager from Chicago who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in America's deep south in August 1955. His lynching was one of the key events that energized the American civil rights movement. An all-white jury acquitted the two white suspects. Emmett Till's mother insisted on an open casket funeral to let everyone see how her son had been brutally killed. Farhana Haider has been listening through interviews with some of Emmett's family to tell the story of the young boy who became an icon in the struggle against racism in America.

Photo: Emmett Till lying on his bed. Chicago US, 1955 (Credit: Getty Images)

How the lynching of an African-American teenager galvanised the civil rights movement.

The Murder Of Brazil's Leading Journalist20171030

Journalist Vladimir Herzog was killed in detention by the secret police in October 1975.

The Murder Of Environmentalist Chico Mendes20200108

In December 1988 the Brazilian environmental campaigner, Chico Mendes, was shot dead by cattle ranchers, unhappy at being prevented from exploiting land in the Amazon jungle. The 44-year-old leader of the rubber tappers union had become a powerful symbol of the struggle to save the Amazon and his death sparked renewed interest in environmental issues world-wide. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from the anthropologist Mary Allegretti, who was a close friend of Mendes and worked alongside him in the jungle.

Photo: Chico Mendes and his family. Credit: Str/AFP/Getty Images)

The killing of the man who'd become a powerful symbol of the fight to save the Amazon

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

The Murder Of Federico Garcia Lorca20160815

How the great poet and dramatist was murdered at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

The Murder Of Journalist Hrant Dink20170117

The Turkish Armenian journalist was shot dead in January 2007 in front of his office.

The Murder Of Naji Al-ali20170808

The acclaimed Palestinian cartoonist was gunned down in London in 1987

The Musical Cabaret20161121

Director Hal Prince remembers the hit musical opening on Broadway in November 1966

The Mysterious Death Of Samora Machel20171019

The socialist leader of Mozambique was killed in a plane crash and many were suspicious.

The Mystery Of The Disappearing Frogs20200120

How scientists discovered that a deadly fungus was killing off amphibians around the world. The chytrid fungus has caused the greatest loss of biodiversity in our time. Alejandra Martins spoke to biologist Dr. Karen Lips, one of the key scientists who unravelled the mystery of the extinctions. Photo: dead frog infected with chytrid fungus. Credit: Forrest Brem

How scientists discovered that a deadly fungus was killing off amphibians.

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

The Nagorno-karabakh War20170404

One man whose family were made refugees during the Nagorno-Karabakh war tells their story

The Nairobi Embassy Bombing20160810

In 1998, al-Qaeda killed more than 200 people in attacks on US embassies in East Africa.

The Naked Ape2017110320171105 (WS)

The book that revolutionised the way we look at human behaviour.

The Native American Casino Boom In The Us2020020620200207 (WS)

In February 1987, a small Native American tribe from California won a landmark ruling at the US Supreme Court granting them the right to conduct gambling activities on their reservation. The campaign by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians led to the creation of a multi-billion-dollar gaming industry on Indian land across the United States. Simon Watts talks to former Cabazon Band president, Brenda Soulliere, and their lawyer, Glenn Feldman.

PHOTO: An Indian-run casino in California (Getty Images)

How a small Californian tribe won the right for Indian communities to host gambling.

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

The Nazi Black Book20181010

During World War Two the German secret service compiled a book listing all the people they wanted to arrest in Britain if it fell to the Nazis. The top-secret 'Special Search Index GB' contained details of politicians and intellectuals and people who had fled Germany before the war - but it also included relatively ordinary British citizens. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to someone whose father appeared in the book, and to historian Terry Charman who published a facsimile edition of the so-called 'Black Book'.

Photo: the front of the 'Black Book' with the German word 'Secret' stamped on it. Credit: BBC

During WW2 Germany listed the people it wanted to arrest should Britain fall to the Nazis

The Nestle Boycott20160712

In July 1977 US campaigners launched a boycott against Nestle over the sale of baby milk.

The Notting Hill Riots20191009

In August 1958 Britain was shocked by nearly a week of race riots in the west London district of Notting Hill. The clashes between West Indian immigrants and aggressive white youths known as Teddy Boys led to the first race relations campaigns and the creation of the famous Notting Hill Carnival. Using voices from the BBC archives Simon Watts tells the story.

Photo: Street scene in Notting Hill at the time the race riots broke out in 1958. Credit: Getty Images.

Inter-racial violence broke out in west London in the summer of 1958

The Nuclear Legacy20161228

The story of how the world was made safe from the former Soviet Union's nuclear legacy

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty20180719

In July 1968 one of the most significant international treaties of the 20th-century was signed. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, obliging signatories not to pass nuclear technology on to others, and was the result of rare cooperation between Cold War adversaries, the United States and the Soviet Union. Louise Hidalgo talks to former Soviet diplomat, Roland Timerbaev, who helped draft the treaty.

Picture: the mushroom cloud created by the explosion of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 (credit: Press Association)

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in July 1968

The Ogaden War20160407

In 1977 Somalia invaded Ethiopia in an attempt to take control of disputed territory.

The Oka Crisis20170714

Indigenous Canadians spent the summer of 1990 in a stand off with police.

The Omagh Bombing20180815

In August 1998, 29 people died and more than 220 were injured in a massive car bombing in the centre of Omagh, Northern Ireland. It was the worst single incident in the decades of sectarian violence. Mike Lanchin hears from Stanley McCombe, whose wife, Ann, was among the victims.

Photo: Omagh town-centre after the bomb attack (AP)

In August 1998, 29 people died in a massive car bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

The Origin Of Nollywood20170227

The story of the 1992 film which launched Nigeria's hugely successful movie industry

The Origin Of The Who2020060420200605 (WS)

How the cold war helped shape the creation of the WHO and what role China played.

The Original Revolutionary Feminist20160311

Alexandra Kollontai was the leading Marxist feminist in Communist Russia.

The Oslo Peace Talks20180425

Top secret negotiations in Norway during 1993 eventually led to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement which became known as the Oslo Accord. Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul was one of the people who helped keep the talks on track. She spoke to Louise Hidalgo for Witness in 2012.

(Photo: Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat at the signing ceremony for the Oslo Accord, September 13,1993. Credit: AFP/Getty Images.)

How secret negotiations in Norway led to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The Outbreak Of World War Two20190902

On September 1st 1939 German forces invaded Poland. Douglas Slocombe, a British cameraman, was there at the time and filmed the build-up to the war. In 2014 he spoke to Vincent Dowd about what he saw in Gdansk and Warsaw, before escaping from the country.

This programme is a rebroadcast

(Image: German citizens in Gdansk (also known as Danzig) welcoming German troops during the invasion of Poland on September 3rd 1939. Credit:EPA/National Digital Archive Poland.)

On September 1st 1939 German troops invaded Poland. Cameraman Douglas Slocombe was there.

The Paedophile Identified By His Hands20190830

In 2009 a paedophile was convicted with the help of a new form of identification - hand analysis. Dame Sue Black of Lancaster University explains how her team developed this tool and how criminal courts in Britain first responded to the evidence. She says vein patterns as well as scars and skin creases suggest hands may eventually be found to be as identifiable as fingerprints.

Photo: Courtesy of Lancaster University

The first conviction of a paedophile using hand analysis.

The Pale Blue Dot20200217

In February 1990, the Nasa space probe Voyager took a famous photo of Earth as it left the Solar System. Seen from six billion kilometres away, our planet appears as a mere dot lit up by the Sun, and the image is credited with giving humanity a sense of our small place in the Universe. Darryll Morris speaks to Nasa planetary scientist, Candice Hansen, who worked on the Voyager programme. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production.

Photo: The Earth seen as a pale blue dot in a band of sunlight (Nasa)

How the Voyager space probe captured a famous image of Earth as it left the Solar System.

The Paris Hotel That Hosted Holocaust Survivors20191029

At the end of the Second World War the grand Parisian hotel, the Lutetia, was allocated to receive thousands of prisoners and Nazi concentration camp survivors returning home from across a ravaged Europe. Louise Hidalgo talks to two people for whom the Hotel Lutetia played a crucial role in 1945: Maurice Cling, a survivor of Auschwitz, and Christiane Umido who, as a young girl, was reunited there with her father.

Picture: concentration camp survivors camps in the Lutetia restaurant in 1945 (credit: STF / AFP Photo )

The Hotel Lutetia became a reception centre for French Holocaust survivors after WW2

The Pergau Dam Affair20181018

In October 1993 news broke about an arms deal with Malaysia that led to the biggest development aid scandal in British history. It became known as the Pergau Dam Affair. Tim Mansel has been speaking to Tim Lankester, a British civil servant, who found himself caught up in the aid deal.

Photo: Roger Briottet, director of the World Development Movement, celebrates with supporters after their High Court victory. The organisation had challenged the right of Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd to authorise £234 million in aid for the Pergau Dam Project. Credit: PA News/Sean Dempsey.

In 1993 news broke about development aid linked to a British arms deal.

The Petrol That Was Poisoning Children20200303

The UK was one of the first in Europe to declare it would ban lead from petrol after a successful campaign showing it was poisoning children and leaving them permanently brain damaged. But it took until the year 2000 to finally remove leaded petrol from sale. Lead was first added to petrol in the 1920s to make the fuel run more efficiently. The latest figures show only three countries worldwide still sell leaded petrol. Claire Bowes spoke to Dr Robin Russell Jones from the "Campaign for Lead Free Air" about the battle to show that lead from petrol was dangerous.

(Photo: a petrol pump in the UK. Credit: Dr Robin Russell-Jones)

The EU finally banned lead in petrol in 2000 - decades after the US, Canada and Japan.

The Pitcairn Sex Abuse Trial20161107

In 2004 a child sex abuse trial on a remote island in the Pacific shocked the world.

The Poisoned Painkiller20161004

In October 1982 seven people in the US died after taking painkillers laced with cyanide.

The Poisoning Of Litvinenko20171130

Former colonel in the Russian secret service Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London.

The Poisoning Of Viktor Yushchenko20160121

In 2004, a Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was mysteriously poisoned

The Polaroid Instant Camera20160301

In February 1947 Edwin Land unveiled his new invention, the first ever instant camera.

The Polio Vaccine20200311

In 1955 scientists in the US led by Dr Jonas Salk announced they had developed an effective vaccine against polio. The poliomyelitis virus had caused paralysis and death particularly amongst children since time immemorial. Louise Hidalgo spoke to Dr Salk's son Peter, who was one of the first children to be vaccinated by his father, and to a nurse who worked on the polio vaccination programme.

PHOTO: Jonas Salk innoculating his son, Peter (Courtesy of March of Dimes)

Scientists in the US led by Dr Jonas Salk develop an effective vaccine against polio

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

The Pope In Syria - 200120160512

In May 2001 Pope John Paul the Second made a historic visit to Syria

The Portable Defibrillator2020060520200606 (WS)

How Northern Irish doctor Frank Pantridge revolutionised heart-attack treatment.

The President And The Gun Lobby20180629

Former President George Bush Senior gave up his lifetime membership of the country's most powerful gun-lobby, the NRA, in 1995. Claire Bowes has been speaking to his speechwriter, Jim McGrath, to find out why the 41st President turned his back on the National Rifle Association, a body so closely associated with political power.

Photo: Portrait Of President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991 (credit: Bachrach/Getty Images)

Former President George Bush Senior's public row with the National Rifle Association.

The Prestige Oil Disaster In Spain20171129

How thousands of volunteers cleaned up after a huge environmental disaster in 2002

The Publisher Who Tried To Change The World20190125

Virago Press opened as a feminist publisher in 1972 to promote women's writing. Its founder, Carmen Callil, says she wanted both men and women to benefit from the female perspective. She tells Witness how she hoped to put women centre stage at a time when she and many other women felt sidelined and ignored at work and at home.

Photo: Carmen Callil, 1983 (Photo by Peter Morris/Fairfax Media)
Music: Jam Today by Jam Today courtesy of the Women’s Liberation Music Archive.

Photo: Carmen Callil, 1983 (Photo by Peter Morris/Fairfax Media)
Music: Jam Today by Jam Today courtesy of the Women’s Liberation Music Archive.

The Raising Of The Mary Rose20171003

King Henry VIII's favourite warship sank in a naval battle in 1545.

The Rebel Nuns Who Left Their Convent Behind2020022620200227 (WS)

A group of Californian nuns left their convent and set up their own independent community in 1970. They’d been inspired by the social change they saw around them in Los Angeles in the 1960s, and the Pope's promise to modernise the Catholic Church. They wanted to stop wearing their traditional habit and abandon their set prayer times, but their conservative cardinal refused to discuss change. So three hundred of the sisters left to set up their own lay community – the Immaculate Heart Community, which is still running today.

Former Sister Lucia Van Ruiten tells Witness History about the crisis they caused in the Catholic church.

(Photo: Nuns from the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary play guitars at the Mary's Day parade, 1964. Courtesy of the Immaculate Heart Community)

A group of Californian nuns left their convent and set up their own community in 1970

The Reburial Of A Hungarian Hero20191022

In 1989 the body of Imre Nagy, Prime Minister during the 1956 Hungarian uprising, was reburied in a public ceremony in Budapest. He had been executed on the orders of Moscow. It marked the beginning of the end of communism in Hungary. Nick Thorpe spoke to Ivan Baba who was master of ceremonies at the 1989 funeral.

Photo: Imre Nagy's coffin and mourners in June 1989.(Credit: Jean Francois Luhan/AFP/Getty Images)

The body of Imre Nagy who had led the Hungarian Uprising was reburied in 1989

The Reclusive Jd Salinger20160803

It's 65 years since JD Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye was published

The Release Of Nelson Mandela20200207

On 11th February 1990 anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela walked free after spending 27 years in a South African jail. It was a day that millions of black South Africans had been waiting for and marked the beginning of the end of white rule. Fellow activist Valli Moosa remembers that day, and the hasty preparations to make it possible and tells Louise Hidalgo how things almost didn't go to plan.

Picture: Nelson Mandela raises his fist in salute as he walks out of Victor Verster prison near Cape Town accompanied by his wife Winnie Mandela (Credit: Reuters/Ulli Michel)

The day that South Africa's anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela was freed

The Release Of The Birmingham Six20160310

In March 1991, six men were freed ending one of Britain's worst miscarriages of justice

The Repeal Of 'don't Ask, Don't Tell'20190917

LGBT servicemen and women in the US armed forces had to keep their sexuality secret until the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy was repealed in 2011. Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack served under the policy for most of her military career. She has been speaking to Rachael Gillman about her experiences.

Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack (l) with her wife Ashley (r) and their two children. Courtesy of Heather Mack

Until 2011 LGBT service people in the US armed forces had to keep their sexuality secret

The Retirement Home For Dancing Bears20180801

In 1998 brown bears were declared a protected species in Bulgaria and the ancient tradition of forcing them to dance for people's entertainment became illegal. Farhana Haider had been speaking to Dr Amir Khalil, a veterinarian who helped establish a bear sanctuary in Bulgaria to look after the retired animals.

Photo: Brown Bear. Copyright: EPA

The Bulgarian sanctuary that cares for bears once forced to dance.

The Return Of The Wolf20190822

Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995. It was the start of one of the most famous and controversial wildlife restoration projects in the United States. Beginning in the late 19th century wolves had been subjected to a mass extermination programme as ranchers feared the wolf was a threat to their livestock. By the mid 20th century, wolves had effectively been wiped out across the country except for a few isolated pockets in the far north. But the loss of this key predator had a profound impact on the ecosystem. Alex Last has been speaking to Doug Smith, Senior Biologist at Yellowstone National Park, and Wolf Project Leader about the return of the wolf.

Photo:.A Yellowstone wolf watches biologists after being tranquilized and fitted with a radio collar during wolf collaring operations in Yellowstone National Park (William Campbell/Sygma via Getty Images)

Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone decades after they were wiped out in the US.

The Revolutionary Head Scan20170828

The summer of 1983 saw a major breakthrough in the treatment of facial deformities.

The Rise Of Hindu Nationalism20190411

In 1990 the president of Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, LK Advani, embarked on a political and religious rally called the Rath Yatra or chariot march. Championing a politics based on Hindutva or militant Hinduism. Farhana Haider has been speaking to RK Sudhaman a journalist who covered the journey and followed the rise of the BJP.

Photo LK Advani during rath yatra 15/10/1990 Credit: Getty Image

The consolidation of the BJP as one of the major powers in Indian politics.

The Rise Of Viktor Orban20190322

Viktor Orban, now the populist Hungarian Prime Minister, was an anti-communist youth leader in 1988. Over the years his party has become increasingly nationalist. His former friend and fellow activist Gabor Fodor shared personal memories of Viktor Orban with Dina Newman.

Photo: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his annual state of the nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, 10 February 2019. Credit: European Press Agency.

Viktor Orban, now the populist Hungarian Prime Minister led a democratic movement in 1988

The Romanian Revolution20191218

Of all the revolutions that swept across Eastern Europe 30 years ago in the winter of 1989, the over throw of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena was the bloodiest. But few communist regimes had been as brutal as theirs, dominating every aspect of daily life. The uprising began in the western city of Timisoara, where a local pastor, László Tőkés, took a stand against the authorities and his loyal parishioners stood with him. László Tőkés tells Rebecca Kesby about the fall of the Ceaușescus and how the revolution started outside his own house.

(Photo: The army join the revolutionaries in Romania 1989. Credit: Getty Images)

In December 1989 a wave of protests finally deposed communist dictator Nicolae Ceau\u0219escu

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

The Roots Of The Rohingya Crisis20180201

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims left their homes in Myanmar fleeing government persecution, in what the UN has called the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. Lucy Burns speaks to Rohingya historian and politician U Kyaw Min to explore the roots of the crisis - and a change in the Burmese citizenship laws in 1982 which left the Rohingyas essentially stateless.

(Photo: Rohingya refugees walk near the no man's land area between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Palongkhali area next to Ukhia on October 19, 2017. Credit: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)

The complex history behind the world's fastest growing refugee crisis.

The Rostock-lichtenhagen Riots20170824

A home for asylum seekers was set on fire in the German city of Rostock in August 1992

The Roswell Incident20170703

It was probably the most famous ever story of an alien spacecraft - on earth

The Rudolf Nureyev Phenomenon20170712

In 1961, one of the world's best ballet dancers, Rudolf Nureyev, defected from the USSR.

The Rules: A Dating Handbook20200214

On Valentine's Day 1995, authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein published a dating handbook called The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr Right. The book advised women that if they wanted to find a husband they should not approach a man first or pay for themselves on dates. Criticised in some quarters as anti-feminist, it soon became a bestseller, with celebrity fans from Beyonce to Meghan Markle. Lucy Burns speaks to Sherrie Schneider about creating a cultural phenomenon.

(Photo: Groom and bride exchanging wedding ring. Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock)

The best-selling dating handbook was published on Valentine's Day 1995

The Russian Empire In Colour20170315

Photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii took the first colour photographs of Russia

The Russian Revolution: The Bolsheviks Take Control20171107

Eyewitness accounts of the Russian Revolution of 7 November 1917

The Sale Of London Bridge20160706

In July of 1967 London Bridge put up for sale. American Robert P McCulloch bought it

The Salem Witches20160502

In 1692 nineteen men and women were convicted of witchcraft and executed in America.

The Sars Emergency20180627

Early 2003 saw a medical emergency sweep across the world. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was a deadly virus which had first struck in southern China but soon there were cases as far away as Canada. William Ho and Tom Buckley were at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic.

Photo: Image of the SARS virus. Credit: Science Photo Library.

The Sars Epidemic20200312

In early 2003 a medical emergency swept across the world. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, was a deadly virus which had first struck in southern China but soon there were cases as far away as Canada. William Ho and Tom Buckley were at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic.

Photo: The SARS virus (Science Photo Library)

How the world battled a deadly respiratory disease in 2003.

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

The Saudi Bombardment Of Yemen2020032520200326 (WS)

On the night of March 25 2015 Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an intense aerial bombardment of the Yemeni capital Sana'a. The attacks pushed one of the poorest countries in the Arab world to breaking point. Sumaya Bakhsh has been speaking to surgeon, Dr Ali al-Taifi, about his memories of that first night of bombing and the suffering that has carried on in Yemen ever since.

Photo: citizens of Sana'a searching through rubble for survivors on morning of March 26th 2015, after the Saudi bombing. Credit: Getty Images.

In March 2015 Saudi Arabia and its allies began an intense aerial bombardment of Yemen

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

The Search For Deep Throat20180702

In July 2005, the identity of one of the most famous informants in American political history was revealed. Deep Throat leaked details of President Nixon's Watergate cover-up to the Washington Post leading eventually to the president's resignation. He was former assistant director at the FBI, Mark Felt. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to the lawyer who helped persuade the elderly Mark Felt to go public after 30 years of silence and speculation.

Picture: Bob Woodward (left) and Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, at their desk, 29th April 1973. They nicknamed their anonymous source Deep Throat. (Credit: Getty Images)

In July 2005, the most famous informant in American history Deep Throat revealed himself

The Search For Iran's Nuclear Programme20180802

In 2003 Iran agreed to let officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency into the country to look at its nuclear facilities. Olli Heinonen was one of the inspectors tasked with trying to establish whether or not Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons. He's been speaking to Tim Mansel about what they found.

Photo:The Iranian nuclear power plant of Natanz, south of Tehran.(Credit:Henghameh Fahimi/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2003 Iran agreed to let the IAEA into the country to inspect its nuclear facilities.

The Secret Diaries Of 'gentleman Jack'20190708

The discovery of the diaries of 19th-century Englishwoman Anne Lister, who wrote in secret code about her love affairs with women and has been called the first modern lesbian. A landowner and a businesswoman, she defied the conventions of the time and was nicknamed by local people in the Yorkshire town of Halifax where she lived 'Gentleman Jack' because of the way she dressed and acted. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Helena Whitbread, who discovered Anne Lister's diaries in 1983 and spent five years decoding them.

Picture: portrait of Anne Lister, of Shibden Hall, Halifax (credit: Alamy)

The secret diaries of 19th-century Englishwoman Anne Lister, the 'first modern lesbian'

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

The Secret History Of Monopoly2019122520191226 (WS)

In 1904, a left-wing American feminist called Lizzy Magie patented a board game that evolved into what we now know as Monopoly. But 30 years later, when Monopoly was first marketed in the United States during the Great Depression, it was an out-of-work salesman from Pennsylvania who was credited with inventing it. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to American journalist Mary Pilon about the hidden history of one of the world's most popular board games, and to the economics professor Ralph Anspach who unearthed the story.

Picture: A family playing a game of Monopoly in the 1930s (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)

The true story of one of the world's most popular board games, Monopoly.

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

Picture: A family playing a game of Monopoly in the 1930s (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)

The Secret Nazi Past Of Kurt Waldheim20190328

Witness History talks to the American lawyer who led the investigation into the secret Nazi past of former United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. Kurt Waldheim was standing for election to the Austrian presidency when the allegations first emerged in the New York Times in March 1986. Lawyer Eli Rosenbaum, on whose information the New York Times story was based, tells Louise Hidalgo how he helped to expose the truth about Waldheim's wartime record and how UN war crimes files naming Kurt Waldheim had lain hidden for decades in the vaults while Waldheim was UN Secretary General.

Picture: Kurt Waldheim talking to voters in Vienna in 1986 during his campaign for the Austrian presidency (credit: Jacques Langevin/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

How former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim's secret Nazi past was exposed

The Shah In Exile20181114

In November 1979, Iranian students seized the American embassy in Tehran after Washington agreed to allow the deposed Shah into the US for medical treatment. It would be more than a year before the US embassy hostages were released and the crisis irreparably damaged American-Iranian relations. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to diplomat Henry Precht, head of the Iran desk at the US state department during those tumultuous months who argued against letting the exiled Shah enter America.

Picture: protestors in New York demonstrate against the admission of the Shah of Iran into a New York hospital (Credit: Michael Norcia/Sygma/Getty Images)

Iranians stormed the US embassy in Iran in November 79 after America allowed in the Shah

The Ship That Dumped America's Waste20180910

In 1988 a ship named 'Khian Sea' dumped 4,000 tons of incinerated ash close to the beach in the town of Gonaives, in northern Haiti. The ash had originally come from the city of Philadelphia, and had been aboard the Khian Sea for more than a year, while it searched for a country that would accept it. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Kenny Bruno, a Greenpeace campaigner who tracked the ship as it sailed across the oceans with its cargo of waste. He recalls the battle to get the ash sent back to the US.

Photo: Campaigner Kenny Bruno photographed in front of the ash pile in Gonaives, Haiti (1988, Greenpeace)

How campaigners fought to stop the 'Khian Sea' from off-loading tons of US waste abroad

The Shooting Of Rudi Dutschke20180413

In 1968 Europe was rocked by student demonstrations calling for a revolution. In West Berlin the protests intensified following the shooting of student leader Rudi Dutschke on April 11th 1968. He would become a symbol for a generation of young Germans. In 2013 Lucy Burns spoke to his widow Gretchen Klotz-Dutschke about the attack.

(Image: Gretchen Klotz-Dutschke(L) Rudi Dutschke(R) Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

The German student leader was shot in April 1968, leading to protests in West Berlin.

The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu20190507

On May 7th 1954, French forces surrendered after a bloody 56-day siege of their base at Dien Bien Phu in the north of Vietnam. Their defeat by the communist independence movement, the Viet Minh, signalled the end of French colonial rule in Indochina. We hear from two veterans who fought on opposing sides in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. (Photo: A French military Red Cross helicopter preparing to land, while French soldiers try to defend their positions in Dien Bien Phu against the Viet Minh, 1954 Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The French surrender at the siege of Dien Bien Phu ended their colonial rule of Vietnam

The Siege Of Mecca20171120

In 1979 Islamic militants took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam

The Siege Of Sarajevo20160229

Twenty years ago the siege of Sarajevo ended, the longest siege in modern history

The Silk Letters Movement20161124

In 1916 the authorities in India uncovered plans to overthrow British rule

The Silver Ring Thing20170217

In 1995 a US campaign started encouraging teenagers not to have sex before marriage

The Sinking Of The Belgrano20190502

The Argentine ship, General Belgrano, was sunk by a British submarine during the Falklands War on 2nd of May 1982. 323 people died in the attack. Dario Volonte, now an opera singer, was one of the survivors and he spoke to Louise Hidalgo about the attack.

Photo: The General Belgrano. Credit: Getty Images

The Argentine ship was sunk by a British submarine during the Falklands war

The Sinking Of The Lancastria20170616

We hear from one of the last survivors of a forgotten World War Two disaster

The Six Day War - A Jordanian View20170608

Captain Nabih El Suhaimat fought to defend East Jerusalem from the Israelis

The Six Day War - An Israeli View20170607

In 1967, Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem on the third day of the Six Day War

The Skull Valley Sheep Kill20180319

In March 1968 more than 6,000 sheep died while grazing close to the Dugway Proving Ground, the US military's leading chemical warfare testing site, located in the US state of Utah. One theory was that they were killed by a nerve agent. Deputy Sheriff William Pitt arrived at the scene as some of the sheep were still in convulsions. He has been telling Mike Lanchin about that strange event, which became known as the Skull Valley Sheep Kill.

Photo: Two farmers checking the corpses of dead sheep on a farm ranch, possibly connected to a chemical and biological warfare testing at Dugway Proving Ground, March 1968. (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Did a nerve agent kill 6,000 sheep close to a US military testing site in 1968?

The Soldier Who Never Surrendered20160120

In 1972 a Japanese soldier was found hiding in the jungle on the Pacific island of Guam.

The Sound Of Music On Broadway20190923

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was first performed on stage in New York in 1959, several years before it was made into a film. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to two people with connections to the original Broadway production. Tim Crouse is the son of Russel Crouse who wrote the book for "The Sound of Music". Lauri Peters played the eldest daughter of the von Trapp family on stage.

Photo: The original Broadway cast of "The Sound of Music" in 1959. Lauri Peters is at the top of the stairs. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was performed on stage before it became a movie.

The South African Army In Lesotho20180924

South Africa sent 600 soldiers into Lesotho to quell political unrest in September 1998. Mamello Morrison was an opposition protestor. She spoke to David Whitty in 2014 about the ensuing violence. This programme is a rebroadcast.
Photo: Members of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed in Lesotho. Credit: Walter Dhladhla/AFP

The Soviet Afghan War Begins2018122620181227 (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)

The world held its breath in December 1979 as Soviet troops poured into Afghanistan

The Soviet James Bond20170509

In 1973, the most successful TV spy series ever to be broadcast in the USSR, went on air.

The Soviet Occupation Of Berlin2020050720200508 (WS)

After Germany's surrender to Allied forces in May 1945, Soviet soldiers occupied Berlin

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

The Soviet Spy Scandal20180412

In 1971 during the Cold War, the UK expelled 90 Soviet diplomats suspected of spying. They'd been allowed into Britain in an attempt to improve relations, but it had been discovered that they'd been carrying out espionage instead. George Walden was a young diplomat on the Soviet desk in the British Foreign Office at the time.

Photo: British Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home (left) shakes hands with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko (right) at Heathrow Airport, 26th October 1970. (credit: Ian Showell/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Soviet Union's Fashion Revolutionary20181004

Slava Zaitsev created the first high fashion collections in the USSR.

The Soweto Uprising20190206

A former schoolgirl remembers the children's demonstration against having to study in Afrikaans that sparked the Soweto Uprising against South Africa's apartheid regime. Bongi Mkhabela spoke to Alan Johnston in 2010 about her memories of the protest.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Schoolchildren demonstrating on June 16th 1976 in Soweto. (Credit:Bongani Mnguni/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A former schoolgirl remembers the demonstration that sparked an uprising in South Africa.

The 'spanish' Flu20200309

In 1918, more than fifty million people died in an outbreak of flu, which spread all over the world in the wake of the first World War. We hear eye-witness accounts of the worst pandemic of the twentieth century.

(Photo: An American policeman wearing a mask to protect himself from the outbreak of Spanish flu. Credit:Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

In 1918 an extremely deadly form of influenza killed millions around the world

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

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic20161011

In 1918, more than fifty million people died in a global flu pandemic.

The Spanish Republic20160415

How writers and artists campaigned to bring culture to every corner of 1930s Spain

The Spiegel Affair20180712

In the early 1960s a magazine article about West Germany's defence capabilities led to the imprisonment of seven journalists, a vehement debate about press freedom and a full-blown government crisis. Tim Mansel has been speaking to Franziska Augstein about her father Rudolf Augstein's part in the Spiegel Affair.

Photo: Rudolf Augstein, the publisher of the magazine 'Spiegel' is escorted by the police. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

How a magazine article about West Germany's defence strategy led to a government crisis.

The Srebrenica Massacre20160719

In July 1995 Bosnian Serb troops murdered thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.

The Staffordshire Hoard20170706

In 2009, a metal detectorist found the largest ever hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver

The Start Of Eco-tourism2020060120200602 (WS)

How Costa Rica's Monteverde cloud forest reserve became a major tourist site

The Start Of The Open University20160104

A new university in Britain offers a radically different approach to higher education.

The Stockholm Syndrome20160823

The hostage who trusted her kidnapper more than the police

The Stonewall Riot20190626

In June 1969, the gay community in New York responded to police brutality and harassment by rioting outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. The protest sparked the creation of the modern LGBT rights movement and the first Gay Pride events. Simon Watts talks to Stonewall veteran, John O'Brien.

PHOTO: The Stonewall Inn today (Getty Images).

How a protest outside New York's Stonewall Inn inspired the modern gay rights movement.

The Story Behind The Man Who Shot Jfk20181121

What did Lee Harvey Oswald do for two years in the Soviet city of Minsk? And why did the American authorities let him return without any fuss in 1963? A few months later he would be arrested for shooting the US President. Vincent Dowd has been listening to archive accounts of Oswald's time in the USSR and speaking to Anthony Summers who has written about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Photo: Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22,1963, during a press conference after his arrest in Dallas. Credit: AFP/Getty Images.

The Story Of George Stinney Jr20200116

How a 14-year-old boy became the youngest person to be executed in the USA during the 20th century. George Stinney Jr was sent to the electric chair in 1944. He had been tried for the murder of two young girls, but when the case was reviewed by a court in South Carolina in 2014 his conviction was annulled. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to George Stinney Jr's sister Katherine Robinson, and to Matt Burgess who was one of the team of lawyers who fought to clear his name.

Photo: George Stinney Jr in 1944. Credit Alamy.

How a 14-year-old boy became the youngest person executed in the USA in the 20th century

The Street Battle That Rocked Brazil20181002

On the 2nd and 3rd of October 1968, students from two neighbouring universities in the centre of São Paulo clashed in a battle which left one dead and many injured. Thomas Pappon talked to two former students who were at the so called 'Battle of Maria Antônia'.

Photo: the 'Battle of Maria Antonia', São Paulo, 1968. Credit: Agência Estado/AFP

A clash between students in 1968 paved the way for a hardening of military rule.

The Sudden Death Of Pope John Paul I20170929

Just 33 days into his reign, Pope John Paul I died unexpectedly in September 1978.

The Suzuki Violin Method20170421

In post-WW2 Japan, Shinichi Suzuki developed a new method of teaching the violin.

The Swedish Warship Restored After 300 Years2020040220200403 (WS)

In 1628, at the height of Sweden’s military expansion, the Swedish navy built a new flagship, the Vasa. At the time it was the most heavily armed ship in the world. But two hours into its maiden voyage, it sank in Stockholm's harbour. It remained there for more than three hundred years, until its discovery in 1961. Tim Mansel hears from the former Swedish naval officer, Bertil Daggfeldt, about the day that the warship was recovered in near-perfect condition.

Image: The Vasa after its recovery (The Vasa Museum)

A Swedish warship, Vasa, sank in the 17th century but was raised from the seabed in 1961

The Takeover Of Ntv In Russia20170414

NTV was the only nationwide independent TV channel in Russia. It was taken over in 2001.

The Tangshan Earthquake20160728

In 1976, one of the deadliest earthquakes in history hit the city of Tangshan in China

The Tehran Museum Of Contemporary Art20171002

Shortly before the Islamic revolution in Iran, a very modern museum opened in the capital

The Thalidomide Trial20160527

In May 1968, executives of the German company that made the drug thalidomide go on trial

The Thalidomide Trial20180529

Executives of Chemie-Grunenthal, the German company that made the drug Thalidomide, went on trial charged with criminal negligence in May 1968. Thalidomide had caused serious, often fatal, birth defects in thousands of babies after their mothers took the drug during pregnancy thinking it was safe. It was one of the biggest pharmaceutical scandals of post-war Europe, and the trial would last more than two years. In 2016 Louise Hidalgo spoke to the wife of the prosecutor in the case, who herself had a child disabled by Thalidomide.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photograph: A Thalidomide child undergoes rehabilitation, 1963 (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

Executives of the German company that made the drug Thalidomide went on trial in May 1968

The Thames Whale20190117

In January 2006, London was entranced by the appearance of a large bottlenose whale in the Thames – the first such sighting for more than a century. Large crowds gathered to watch the whale swimming in front of the Houses of Parliament and many of the city’s most famous landmarks. But the whale’s health began to deteriorate and a team of specialist divers were called in to try – unsuccessfully – to save its life. Simon Watts talks to Mark Stevens, the man who organised the rescue attempt.

PHOTO: The Thames Whale (Getty Images)

In January 2006, millions of Londoners were entranced by the appearance of a whale.

The Toilet20180704

The controversial art installation which upset Russians but is now seen as a masterpiece

The Transatlantic Locust Plague20170918

Millions of African locusts invaded the Caribbean having flown 5,000 kilometres non-stop.

The Treasures Of Sutton Hoo20190730

One of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries in British history was made in the summer of 1939, when a huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold was found at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Lucy Burns presents material from the BBC archives.

Picture: the Sutton Hoo Helmet on display at the British Museum on March 25, 2014 in London, England (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold was discovered in southern England in 1939.

The Treaty Of Rome20200131

The treaty which established the European Economic Community was signed by six countries in 1957 - France, West Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It was hoped that European countries would never go to war again, if they were tied together by economic interests. The treaty formed the basis for what is now the European Union.

Photo: European leaders at the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images

The document which formed the basis for what is now the European Union was signed in 1957

The Trembling Giant2020033120200401 (WS)

Scientists believe that the biggest living organism on Earth is a fungus. But the heaviest organism, and the most massive organism, is a tree, or rather a giant colony of quaking aspen tree stems which has been growing across a hillside in the west of America for thousands of years. The colony - called Pando - was first discovered in the late 1960s. But it wasn't until many years later that scientists proved it was one genetic entity. Two of the scientists involved in researching Pando's story have been speaking to Louise Hidalgo about what they found out.

Photo: Quaking aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) in autumn colours (Credit: Science Photo Library)

Could the biggest living organism on earth be a colony of quaking aspen trees?

The Trial Of Maurice Papon20170512

French minister Maurice Papon went on trial for helping the Nazis to deport French Jews

The Trial Of Slobodan Milosevic20170220

The former Serbian President went on trial for war crimes in 2002. Hear from his lawyers.

The Trojan Room Coffee Pot2020040720200408 (WS)

The world's first webcam went online in 1993. Its camera was focused on a coffee pot so that computer scientists in Cambridge, in the UK, could see if there was any coffee available. Dr Quentin Stafford-Fraser, Martyn Johnson and Paul Jardetzky explained to Rebecca Kesby how they developed it.

This programme is a rebroadcast

(Photo: The Trojan Room coffee pot)

The world's first webcam went online in 1993. Its camera was focused on a coffee pot.

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

The True Story Of Roma20190218

Alfonso Cuarón's critically acclaimed film Roma portrays a student massacre that took place in México City in 1971. The Corpus Christi massacre, known locally as the Halconazo, sent shock waves throughout México. A paramilitary group trained by the Army attacked students as they demonstrated against the government, leaving about 120 people dead. María Elena Navas speaks to Rosa Maria Garza Marcué and Jesús Martín del Campo, who were among the protesters that day.

Photo: The massacre scene in Roma (Netflix)

The student massacre in M\u00e9xico portrayed in Alfonso Cuar\u00f3n's award-winning movie.

The True Story Of Whisky Galore20170209

How a ship laden with bottles of whisky was wrecked off the Scottish Hebrides

The Truth About Crop Circles20180914

In 1991 a mystery was solved when two English men claimed responsibility for the creation of crop circles. The huge patterns had been appearing on farmland across England for years and had scientists puzzled, with explanations ranging from whirlwinds to UFOs. Despite this admission of guilt, many people still refused to accept this simple explanation. So what is the truth about crop circles? Claire Bowes has been speaking to John Lundberg who knew Doug Bower one of the men who came forward in 1991.

Photo: (BBC) 1999 A crop circle made for the BBC TV programme Countryfile.

Thought to be left by UFOs the phenomena was resolved when two men came forward in 1991.

The Tunnellers Of Ww120160318

Archive recordings of the tunnellers who fought underground in WW1

The Tv Series Friends20190910

A new show called Friends hit American TV screens in September 1994. It was based on the lives of six young New Yorkers and became one of the most successful comedies of all time. It sold around the world. Farhana Haider spoke to one of the show's creators, Kevin Bright.

Photo: The cast of Friends in 1994. Copyright: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

One of the most successful TV comedy shows of all time hit US screens in September 1994

The Twin Towers High-wire Walk20160808

Philippe Petit recalls his daring feat high above the New York streets in August 1974

The Uk's Foot-and-mouth Epidemic20160219

In 2001 an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease devastated the British farming industry

The Unabomber20180403

In April 1996 the so-called UNAbomber was arrested. Ted Kaczynski had been carrying out a campaign of attacks against universities and airlines in the USA. He'd been turned in by his brother David. In 2010 David Kaczynski spoke to Lucy Williamson for Witness.

Photo: Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski outside the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, California. January 1998.(Credit: Bob Galbraith/AFP/Getty Images)

On April 3rd 1996 one of the 'most wanted' men in the USA was arrested.

The Unified Korean Table Tennis Team20180614

In 1991, amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to field a united Korean table tennis team at the World Championships in Japan. Previously bitter rivals, players from the North and South spent more than a month training together and eventually bonding. Their experience inspired a hit film in South Korea, where ping pong is a very popular sport. Simon Watts spoke to former South Korean women's champion, Hyun Jung-Hwa about being part of that unified team.

PHOTO: The Korean women's team on the podium (Credit: Getty Images)

How ping pong brought together athletes from bitter rivals North and South Korea.

The University Of Texas Shooting20160801

In August 1966 14 people were shot dead in America's first mass shooting at a university

The Unlikely Pioneers Of Online Shopping2020041020200411 (WS)

In 1984, a 72-year-old grandmother became the first to try a new online shopping system, years before the arrival of the internet. Mrs Jane Snowball had been given new Videotex technology which allowed her to order her groceries using a tv and a remote control. The system was part of a community project to help the elderly and vulnerable in the English town of Gateshead. The technology was the brainchild of Michael Aldrich, head of the communications firm, Rediffusion (later ROCC). Alex Last spoke to John Phelan, who designed the system's online shopping application.

Photo: Mrs Snowball shopping from home using her remote control and tv. (Gateshead Council)

How a 72-year-old grandmother started online shopping before the internet

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

The Unsung Hero Of Heart Surgery20171213

The African-American lab technician whose surgery helped save millions of babies..

The Us Apologises For Wartime Internment20181217

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which gave a presidential apology and compensation to Japanese Americans interned during World War II. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Norman Mineta a former congressman who was instrumental in pushing through the landmark legislation and was himself incarcerated as a child.

Image: Japanese-American child waits with luggage to be transported to internment camps for the duration of WWII 01/07/1942 Copyright Getty Images

Japanese Americans win an apology and compensation for World War II internment.

The Us Judge Accused Of Sexual Harassment20190701

In 1991 the US Supreme Court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas was publicly accused of sexual misconduct by a law professor, Anita Hill. She was called to testify in front of a Senate committee, where her explosive testimony sent shock waves across America. Katy Fallon has been speaking to a close friend of Anita Hill, Shirley Wiegand.

Photo: Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing. (Credit: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

How Supreme Court nominee Judge Clarence Thomas was publicly accused of sexual misconduct

The Usa Enters World War One20170406

America declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917

The Ussr Opens Up To The West20181123

In 1957, just four years after Stalin's death, 30,000 students from 130 countries attended the 6th International Youth Festival in Moscow, a two week celebration of 'Peace and Freedom' with music, dance, theatre and sports. British student Kitty Hunter-Blair remembers a unique moment for young Russians, who were allowed, for the first time, to talk freely to foreigners.

Picture: Participants in the 6th International Youth Festival in Mayakovsky Square, on their way to Lenin stadium for the opening ceremony, July 28, 1957. Credit: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images.

Four years after Stalin's death, Moscow threw a festival for 30,000 foreign students.

The Vege-burger20180125

In 1982, American entrepreneur Gregory Sams launched a product that would help take vegetarianism into the mainstream in the UK. "Vege Burgers" were cheap, tasty and a deliberate attempt to provide a meat-free alternative to one of the mainstays of the fast food industry. Gregory Sams talks to Simon Watts.

(Photo: The Vege Burger range, courtesy of Gregory Sams)

How one of the mainstays of vegetarian cuisine was launched in 1982

The Virgin Lands Campaign20180717

To fight food shortages in the 1950s the USSR embarked on a major agricultural project to develop vast areas of previously uncultivated land in northern Kazakhstan. The project attracted hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic volunteers, but decades later it led to environmental problems. Dina Newman spoke to an agricultural volunteer, Rimma Busurova.

Photo: Rimma Busurova and her classmates outside their dormitory in northern Kazakhstan; credit: Rimma Busurova family archive.

The Walker Spy Ring20180511

In 1985 several members of the same American family were arrested for selling Navy secrets to the USSR. The alleged ring leader, John Walker, had been spying for the Soviets for 20 years. But the FBI suspected that John's elder brother Arthur had been involved in spying even earlier. Dina Newman speaks to Arthur Walker's lawyer, Sam Meekings.

Photo: the alleged spy ring leader John Walker started his career in the Navy on board the USS Forrestal, a US aircraft carrier. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images.

In 1985 members of the US spy ring were arrested for selling Navy secrets to the USSR.

The Wapping Dispute20160125

In January 1986 newspaper owner Rupert Murdoch took on the British print unions.

The War On Drugs20190509

The first 'war on drugs' was launched by US President Richard Nixon in 1971. He described drug abuse as a 'national emergency' and asked Congress for nearly four hundred million dollars to tackle the problem. Claire Bowes has been speaking to one of Nixon's policy advisors, Jeffrey Donfeld, about an approach to drugs which he describes as more 'find them and help them' than 'find them and lock them up'. And how he convinced the President to roll out a nationwide programme of methadone treatment for heroin addicts.

Photo: US President Richard Nixon (BBC)

The Warnings Before 9/1120190814

Throughout 2001 the US authorities were being given warnings that a terror attack was imminent. A Congressional Commission, FBI officers and the CIA were all worried. There were even specific warnings about planes being flown into buildings. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to former Senator Gary Hart who co-chaired the Congressional Commission that tried to convince the government to take action.

Photo: Smoke pours from the World Trade Centre after it was hit by two passenger planes on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Credit: Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

Throughout 2001 the US authorities were given warnings that a terror attack was imminent

The Warsaw Uprising20190801

On 1 August 1944, resistance fighters in the Polish capital rose up against German occupying forces. The uprising lasted for 63 days and some 200,000 people were killed, Warsaw itself was largely destroyed. Zbigniew Pelczynski was one of the young Poles fighting to free Warsaw from the Nazis, in 2014 he spoke to Louise Hidalgo about the battle.

(Photo: Zbigniew Pelczynski in 1946)

On August 1st 1944, Polish resistance fighters rose up against German occupying forces

The Warship Lost For More Than 300 Years20190403

In 1628, at the height of Sweden’s military expansion, the Swedish Navy built a new flagship, the Vasa. At the time it was the most heavily armed ship in the world. But 2 hours into its maiden voyage, it sank in Stockholm's harbour. It remained there for more than three hundred years, until its discovery in 1961. Tim Mansel hears from the former Swedish naval officer, Bertil Daggfeldt, about the day that the warship was recovered in near-perfect condition.

Image: The Vasa after its recovery (The Vasa Museum)

The discovery of a 17th century Swedish warship, the Vasa, in near perfect condition

The Way Ahead Group: Modernising The Royal Family20200127

Prince Harry and Meghan’s announcement that they will step back from their royal duties is not the first time the British royal family has tried to reform itself from within. In 1992 Queen Elizabeth had what she called her “annus horribilis ? It was the year that her sons Prince Charles and Prince Andrew both separated from their wives, while her daughter Princess Anne got divorced - and it was also the year that Windsor Castle caught fire. The Way Ahead group was set up by senior members of the royal family and some of their closest advisors to make sure that Britain’s monarchy stayed relevant in the modern age. Lucy Burns speaks to Charles Anson, who was the Queen’s press secretary at the time.

(Photo: Queen Elizabeth II makes her "annus horribilis" speech at London's Guildhall, November 1992. Credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The Way Ahead group was set up in the 1990s to make Britain's monarchy more relevant

Prince Harry and Meghan’s announcement that they will step back from their royal duties is not the first time the British royal family has tried to reform itself from within. In 1992 Queen Elizabeth had what she called her “annus horribilis”. It was the year that her sons Prince Charles and Prince Andrew both separated from their wives, while her daughter Princess Anne got divorced - and it was also the year that Windsor Castle caught fire. The Way Ahead group was set up by senior members of the royal family and some of their closest advisors to make sure that Britain’s monarchy stayed relevant in the modern age. Lucy Burns speaks to Charles Anson, who was the Queen’s press secretary at the time.

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

The Wehrmacht Exhibition That Shocked Germany2020050420200505 (WS)

An exhibition about the German army's role in WW2 caused a scandal in 1995.

The Welsh Language Act20170724

In July 1967 there was a breakthrough for the Welsh language.

The West Australian Gold Rush20160919

In September 1892 gold was discovered in Western Australia

The Whitewashing Of Zimbabwe's Ancient History20180725

When colonial explorers discovered an ancient ruined city in Zimbabwe, they claimed foreigners must have built it. They denied the probability that it was the work of a great African civilisation that dominated southern and east Africa with its trade in gold. After independence Zimbabwe was able to reclaim its full heritage. Rebecca Kesby spoke to Dr Ken Mufuka - the historian who was tasked with rewriting the history books.

(Photo; The iconic tower in the Great Enclosure of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument. It's one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit; Getty Creative.)

The contentious history of the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe - finally revealed.

The Windmill Theatre20171115

A British national institution closed in 1964.

The 'woman In Gold'20191119

The 'Woman in Gold' was one of Gustav Klimt's most famous paintings. It was a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, but it was taken from her family by the Nazis and only returned to them after a long legal battle. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Randol Schoenberg the young lawyer who took on the case.

Picture: Adele Bloch-Bauer I, or 'The Woman in Gold', painted in 1907 by Gustav Klimt, from the collection of the Neue Galerie in New York. (Credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

How one of Klimt's most famous paintings was returned to the family who'd owned it

The Woman Who Asked Britain To Return The Parthenon Marbles20190307

Melina Mercouri, famous actress turned politician, visited Britain in 1983 as Greek Minister of Culture and made the first official request for the return of the Parthenon marbles.

The marbles were removed in 1801 by Lord Elgin, who was the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time. Lord Elgin, who was based in Istanbul sent his agents to Athens to remove the marbles which he claimed were at risk of destruction. He later sold them to the British parliament who in turn entrusted them to the British Museum where they've been exhibited since 1832.

Photo: The Greek Minister for Culture, Melina Mercouri, inspects the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum in May 1983

Melina Mercouri asked Britain to return the Parthenon marbles removed by Lord Elgin.

The Woman Who Negotiated Peace With A Rebel Group20200115

In January 2014 after decades of violent struggle, a peace deal was agreed in the Philippines between a Muslim separatist organisation and the government. The deal granted largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the government's chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer about the difficulties posed by being a woman negotiating with a Muslim rebel group.

(Photo: MILF peace panel chief Mohagher Iqbal hands over signed documents with Government of the Philippines Peace Panel Chief Negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer 27 March, 2014. Credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

The female negotiator who agreed a deal with Muslim rebels in the Philippines.

The Woman Who Stopped Equal Rights In America20170614

In June 1982 Phyllis Schlafly defeated a law to guarantee gender equality in the US.

The Woman Who Wrote Mary Poppins20181220

Writer 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)

Writer PL Travers created a children's classic when she invented a magical nanny.

The World Festival Of Black Arts20170418

In April 1966 thousands of African artists and performers gathered in Senegal

The Writer With Cerebral Palsy Who Made History20180118

Irish writer Christopher Nolan became the first severely disabled person to win the prestigious British literary prize, the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1988. Nolan was physically disabled at birth by severe cerebral palsy, leaving him paralysed from the neck down. He won for his autobiographical book: Under the Eye of the Clock. Christy wrote by tapping a keyboard with a device strapped to his head. Farhana Haider has been listening to the BBC archives and speaking to the art critic Eileen Battersby about the remarkable writer.

(Photo: The finalists for the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in London Christopher Nolan (seated) (L-R) Bernadette Nolan and fellow finalists Francis Wyndham, Geraldine McCaughrean, Joanna Mackle (representing Seamus Heaney) and Ian McEwan. Credit: PA)

Christopher Nolan became the first severely disabled person to win the Whitbread prize.

The Yangtze Incident20190809

In 1949 a British warship, HMS Amethyst, launched a daring escape after it was held captive for months by Chinese Communists on the Yangtze river. The ship had been badly damaged when it was fired on by Communist forces as it sailed up the river to help evacuate British citizens from Nanking during the final months of China's civil war. Using eyewitness accounts in the BBC Archive, we tell the story of HMS Amethyst.

Photo: The HMS Amethyst (F116) arrives in Hong Kong after it's epic escape down the Yangtse. (Photo Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

How a British warship escaped from Chinese Communists on the Yangtze river in 1949

The Yodogo Hijacking20160401

In March 1970, Japanese left-wing extremists hijacked a plane with samurai swords.

The Yoga Teacher And The Violinist20190621

To mark world yoga day, how a chance encounter between the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin and the yoga teacher, BKS Iyengar in 1952 led to a life-long friendship and played a crucial role in bringing the ancient Indian tradition of yoga to the West. Louise Hidalgo has been speaking to Iyengar teacher and friend of the Iyengar family, Rajvi Mehta, and listening back to archive of BKS Iyengar himself talking about that first meeting.

Picture: BKS Iyengar teaching yoga to Yehudi Menuhin, circa 1954 (Credit:Yehudi Menuhin Saanen Center)

How violinist Yehudi Menuhin and yoga teacher BKS Iyengar helped bring yoga to the West

The Zanzibar Revolution2020060220200603 (WS)

Just one month after gaining independence there was an uprising in Zanzibar in 1964.

The Zimbabwe Massacres20180411

In 1983 Robert Mugabe’s government sent crack troops to put down opposition supporters in western Zimbabwe. The soldiers were nicknamed the Gukurahundi which means 'the wind that blows away the chaff'. Trained by North Koreans, they were zealous in their support for Mugabe and utterly ruthless in their methods. Thousands were killed and many were tortured. For years people were fearful of speaking out. One survivor has been telling Rebecca Kesby what it was like.

Photo: Robert Mugabe. Credit: Getty Images.

Robert Mugabe sent troops to put down opposition supporters in western Zimbabwe in 1983.

The Zimmermann Telegram20170110

How British code-breakers exposed a German plot against the United States in 1917

Theatre In The Sahara20181218

Theatre 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)

Theatre director Peter Brook led a troupe of actors across the Sahara desert in 1972

Three Strikes Law2020061220200613 (WS)

One man's experience of the controversial US law that saw thousands locked up for life

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

Tiananmen Square Escape20190529

On the evening of June the 3rd 1989, the Chinese People’s Army opened fire on thousands of students who had been campaigning for democracy in the middle of Beijing.

Dan Wang was a 20-year-old student leader from the elite Peking University and was one of the most high profile democracy activists. He says the demonstrators never thought their protests would end in bloodshed. He spoke to Witness History about how the Tiananmen Square crackdown changed his life.

(Photo: Dan Wang speaking in Tiananmen Square. Credit: Peter Turnley/Corbis/Getty Images)

Dan Wang was the most wanted student leader after the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

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

To Kill A Mockingbird2017122220171224 (WS)

One of the most successful American films of all time was released at Christmas 1962.

Toy Story - The First Digitally-animated Feature Film20171123

It was a box-office hit and a revolution in the world of animated films.

Trautonium: A Revolution In Electronic Music2018122720181228 (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

Meet the trautonium, the early electronic instrument promoted by the Nazis.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire20160421

An industrial disaster in New York in 1911 led to huge social reforms.

Trivial Pursuit2017122520171226 (WS)

The game has become a holiday tradition with families around the world.

Turkey-greece Island Dispute20161221

How Greece and Turkey almost came to war over a tiny rocky island in the Aegean sea.

Turkey's Headscarf Row20170109

In 1999 a Turkish woman MP appeared in parliament wearing a headscarf. It caused uproar.

U2 Spy Plane20160503

In May 1960 Gary Powers was taken captive by the Soviets when his spy plane was shot down

Ufo Sightings: The Rendlesham Forest Incident2018122520181226 (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)

At Christmas 1980 strange objects and lights were seen over a military base in England.

Uganda's War On Homosexuality20170216

In 2006 a Ugandan newspaper began printing the names of professionals believed to be gay.

Uk Sikhs Fight For Religious Rights20170412

In 1969 Sikh bus drivers in Wolverhampton won the right to wear turbans on duty.

Ukraine's Wartime Ultra-nationalists20160630

In 1941, far-right Ukrainians declared independence, hoping for Hitler's support.

Ulrike Meinhof20170501

In May 1976 the German left-wing extremist Ulrike Meinhof killed herself in prison.

Under The North Pole20190806

In 1958 the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus travelled under the North Pole.

Us Presidential Transitions20170113

What exactly goes on during the months between election and inauguration?

Us Psychological Warfare In Vietnam20170721

How American military PSYOP teams waged war in Vietnam in the 1960s

Ussr Wages War On Alcohol20180822

Sales of alcohol in the USSR were severely limited in 1985 in a bid to fight drunkenness. But the anti-alcohol campaign was abandoned three years later when the Soviet economy was in trouble, and the government need more taxes. Dina Newman discussed the reasons for the campaign's failure with the former advisor to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Alexander Tsipko.

Photo: A Soviet anti-alcohol poster; Credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images.

Sales of alcohol in the USSR were limited in 1985 in a bid to fight drunkenness.

Valentina Tereshkova, Cosmonaut20190716

In June 1963 Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was sent into orbit around the Earth, in a solo voyage which lasted for nearly three days. Lucy Ash went to Russia to find out more about her.

Photo: Valentina Tereshkova before boarding Vostok 6, at Baikonur cosmodrome, on June 16, 1963. Credit:AFP/TASS

The Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to be sent into space

In June 1963 Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was sent into orbit around the Earth, in a solo voyage which lasted for nearly three days. Lucy Ash went to Russia to find out more about her.

Vatican Ii: Reforming The Catholic Church20190123

Pope John XXIII wanted to modernise the Catholic Church. In January 1959 he announced a council of all the world's Catholic bishops and cardinals in Rome. It led to sweeping reforms, including allowing the Mass to be said in languages other than Latin and an attempt to build relationships with other denominations and faiths. But not everyone was happy with the changes. Msgr John Strynkowski was a student priest in Rome at the time and told Rebecca Kesby about the excitement and controversy surrounding the council that became known as 'Vatican II'.

(Photo; Pope John XXIII at the Vatican. Credit: Getty Images)

Pope John XXIII wanted to modernise the Catholic Church, reforms took place in the 1960s.

Ve Day2020050820200509 (WS)

After Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies in May 1945 'Victory in Europe' was declared

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

Venezuela's Oil Bonanza20190225

Rocketing oil prices in the mid 1970s fuelled massive consumer and government spending in Venezuela, earning the South American country the nickname "Saudi" Venezuela. Buoyed by the extra revenue, the government moved to nationalise the iron and oil industries. But by the end of the decade, corruption and nepotism had set in and the economic bubble burst. Mike Lanchin hears from the former Venezuelan oil executive, Luis Giusti and the artist and photographer Frank Balbi, about their memories of those days.

(Photo by Seidel/United Archives/UIG via Getty Images)

The boom and bust years of "Saudi" Venezuela in the 1970s

The boom and bust years of ""Saudi"" Venezuela in the 1970s

Vera Brittain: Anti-bombing Campaigner20180813

During WW2 the feminist and writer, Vera Brittain, spoke out against the saturation bombing of German cities. Her stance won her enemies in Britain and the USA. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to her daughter Shirley Williams about the impact of her campaign.

Photo: Vera Brittain at Euston Station, London, in 1956. Credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

During WW2 the feminist and writer Vera Brittain spoke out against the bombing of Germany

Veronica Guerin - Dying For The Story20180626

In June 1996, the campaigning Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered by a hit squad as she waited in her car at a set of traffic lights. Guerin had become famous in Ireland for exposing the activities of the country's drug barons. Her life was later turned into a Hollywood film. Simon Watts talks to Guerin's friend and fellow journalist, Lise Hand.

(Photo: Veronica Guerin. Credit: Getty Images).

The Irish journalist murdered for her work exposing drug barons in the 1990s


In 1998 a new 'wonder' drug was approved for use in the United States

Vietnam War: Surviving The 'christmas Bombing' Campaign2019122720191228 (WS)

In December 1972 the US military launched its heaviest bombardment on the Vietnamese city of Hanoi. Around twenty thousand tonnes of explosives were dropped in just a few days. Ha Mi was just ten years old and living in the city with her family when the bombs began to fall. She told Rebecca Kesby what is was like.

(Photo: Ha Mi in the summer of 1972. Credit: Ha Mi's own collection)

In December 1972 the US military launched its heaviest bombardment of Hanoi.

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

(Photo: Ha Mi in the summer of 1972. Credit: Ha Mi's own collection)

Vietnam War: The Battle For Hue2018021620180218 (WS)

Communist forces overran the key southern city of Hue triggering one of the biggest battles of the war. The attack was part of the Tet Offensive in 1968, when North Vietnam launched surprise assaults on towns and cities across South Vietnam, with the support of its southern based guerrilla force, the Viet Cong. Alex Last spoke to Nguyen Dac Xuan, a former member of the Viet Cong which fought against American and South Vietnamese forces in Hue.
Photo: American troops watch as a US plane bombs Communist positions in the city of Hue, February 1968 (BBC)

Communist forces overran the key city in 1968 triggering one of the war's biggest battles

Vietnam War: The Cu Chi Tunnels20170103

A Vietnamese war veteran on life in the Viet Cong's tunnel network in South Vietnam

Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive20180131

In January 1968, North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong guerrillas launched a huge surprise attack on towns, cities and military bases across South Vietnam. The American embassy and the Presidential Palace in Saigon was among the targets that were hit. The events had a profound impact on American public opinion and marked a turning point in the war. BBC reporter Julian Pettifer covered the battles in the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon.
Photo: Julian Pettifer reporting under fire near the Presidential Palace in Saigon, 31st January 1968 (BBC)

How a surprise attack became a turning point in the Vietnam war

Vietnam-china Border War 197920160317

Former communist allies China and Vietnam fought a short but bloody war in 1979.

Vietnamese Boat People Arrive In Britain20160101

Some of the first Vietnamese refugees arrive in Britain after a dramatic rescue at sea.

Vikings In North America20190104

The discovery that proved Vikings had crossed the Atlantic 1000 years ago. In 1960, a Norwegian couple, Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad arrived in the remote fishing village of L'Anse aux Meadows on the tip of Newfoundland in Canada. They were searching for evidence of the Norse settlement of North America which had been described in ancient Norse sagas. What they found would make headlines around the world, and turn L'Anse aux Meadows into a World Heritage Site. Alex Last spoke to Loretta Decker who grew up in the village and now works as an officer with Parks Canada.

Photo: Replicas of Norse houses from 1000 years ago at L'Anse aux Meadows. (LightRocket/Getty Images)

The Canadian discovery that proved Vikings had crossed the Atlantic 1000 years ago

Vikings In York20190603

When archaeologists uncovered perfectly preserved evidence of domestic life in Viking York in the 1970s, it changed the way the Vikings were viewed. No longer just violent pirates who terrorised communities all over Europe, they were revealed to be merchants and craftsmen who mostly led peaceful lives. Dr Peter Addyman and Professor Julian Richards worked on the dig in the 1970s and told Rebecca Kesby the significance of what they found.

(PHOTO: The Sea Stallion Timewatch - Viking Voyage follows the world's largest reconstructed Viking ship on its 1,000 mile journey from Denmark to Dublin. BBC)

Archaeologists uncovered perfectly preserved domestic Viking life in York in the 1970s

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

Virginia Woolf20160328

On March 28th 1941 the British novelist Virginia Woolf took her own life.

Voting Against The War On Terror20160920

Only one Congresswoman voted against the 'war on terror'. Her name was Barbara Lee.

Voyager: Around The World On One Tank Of Fuel2017122920171231 (WS)

How two pilots became the first to fly non-stop around the world without refuelling

Walking The Great Wall Of China20170927

It took 508 days to complete the first expedition along the entire length of the wall.

Walking The Great Wall Of China20190520

It took 508 days for three friends to complete the first trek along the entire length of the ancient structure, well over 8000 kms. They began in May 1984 and finally reached their destination at the Jiayu Pass on September 24th 1985, having documented the condition of the wall every step of the way. The three men became national heroes as the press followed their progress. Yaohui Dong spoke to Rebecca Kesby in 2017 about what inspired him to make the journey.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

(PHOTO: Yaohui Dong, Wu Deyu and Zhang Yuanhua. Courtesy of Yaohui Dong)

Three friends set off on an epic trek along the Great Wall of China in May 1984

Wangari Maathai Nobel Prize-winning Environmentalist20191018

Kenyan Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was an environmentalist and human rights activist who founded the Green Belt Movement in the 1970s. She focused on the planting of trees, conservation, and women's rights but repeatedly clashed with the government while trying to protect Kenya's forest and parks. She was arrested and beaten on several occasions. Witness speaks to her daughter, Wanjira Mathai.

(Photo: Kenya's Wangari Maathai (L) challenging hired security people working for developers in the Karura Forest, in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai fought to save forests and protect human rights

Wangari Maathai Wins Nobel Prize20161207

In 2004, the Kenyan ecologist became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

War In Slovenia20160708

In 1991, Yugoslav army tanks moved into Slovenia to try to stop it becoming independent

War Photographer, Dickey Chapelle20161104

Photographer Dickey Chapelle was the first woman war reporter to be killed in Vietnam

Waria Warriors - The Fight For Trans Rights In Indonesia2020042720200428 (WS)

The transgender Indonesians who fought for their rights in the 1970s and 1980s

Weight Watchers20170516

How a New York housewife started a worldwide weight loss business in May 1963.

When Animals Go To War2018122820181229 (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)

In December 1943, a British charity created gallantry medals for animals serving in war.

When Belgium Banned Coca-cola2018101920181021 (WS)

In 1999 Belgian teenagers started to become ill after drinking Coca-Cola. Many ended up in hospital and the government banned the sale of all Coca-Cola products. But the fizzy drink was given the all-clear so what was making the children sick? Claire Bowes has been speaking to Belgian toxicologist, Benoit Nemery, about a country in crisis.

(Photo: A poster saying 'out of order' is stuck on a Coca Cola vending machine in Mouscron, Belgium in 1999. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images).

When Belgian teenagers got sick they blamed Coca-Cola but the truth was more mysterious

When Buckingham Palace Opened Its Doors20180807

Queen Elizabeth II first opened her London home to the paying public on August 7th 1993. Tourists were allowed to look round the palace while the Royal family was staying elsewhere for the summer. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to former Royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter.

Photo: Buckingham Palace. Credit: BBC.

Queen Elizabeth II first opened her home to the paying public on August 7th 1993.

When China Joined The Wto20181211

China had to relax its strict communist system to join the World Trade Organisation. Charlene Barshefsky was the US trade negotiator looking after American interests at the time. Freddie Chick has been hearing from Ms Barshefsky about the years of negotiations that led to the final deal. This is a Made in Manchester production.

Beijing China: US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky (2nd Left), Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng (Right) toast with champagne the signing of bilateral agreements on China's accession to the World Trade Organisation. Credit: STEPHEN SHAVER/AFP/Getty Images

China had to open up its strict communist system to join the World Trade Organisation

When France Said 'non' To Britain Joining The Eec20180111

In 1963, France stopped Britain from joining the European Economic Community, now the EU. The news shocked Britain, which had been in talks to join the EEC for more than a year. Claire Bowes has been speaking to Juliet Campbell, a diplomat who was at the talks in Brussels, about the moment when Britain was shut out of the club which was making Europe prosperous.

Photo: 14th January 1963 Charles de Gaulle, President of France, at a press conference during which he stated that Britain was not ready to join the Common Market except on special terms. (Credit: Central Press/Getty Images)

When Homosexuality Was A Crime20170726

Hear one man's story of living in fear before 1967 when Britain legalised homosexuality

When Irish Pubs Saved The Economy20170524

When Ireland's banks went on strike in 1970, people cashed their cheques in pubs.

When Margaret Thatcher Came To Power20180504

The British conservative politician was the first woman elected to lead a Western European country. She came to power on May 4th 1979. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to Caroline Slocock who worked with Mrs Thatcher as her private secretary, while she was Prime Minister.

Photo: British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, with husband Denis on May 4th 1979. (Credit: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

The British politician was the first woman elected to lead a Western European country.

When Russia's Richest Man Was Jailed20181025

When Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2003, it was the start of President Putin's crackdown on the oligarchs. He shares his memories of that time with Dina Newman.

Photo: former head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaving the courtroom in Moscow, Russia, September 22, 2005. Credit: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003

When Skylab Fell To Earth2020041620200417 (WS)

The space station which was meant to break up and fall into the sea but instead hit land

In 1979 the world held its breath as the American space station Skylab, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. NASA tried desperately to control Skylab's descent, but large fragments hit south-west Australia instead of falling into the sea. Simon Watts heard from two residents of Esperance, a remote coastal town which bore the brunt of the impact.

(Image: Saturn V giant booster used for all the Apollo and Skylab NASA space missions between 1967 and 1972. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

When Stalin Rounded Up Soviet Doctors20190109

In the last year of his rule Stalin ordered the imprisonment and execution of hundreds of the best Soviet doctors accusing them of plotting to kill senior Communist officials. Several hundred doctors were imprisoned and tortured, many of them died in detention. Professor Yakov Rapoport was among the few survivors of what was known as the 'Doctors' Plot'. His daughter Natasha remembers her family's ordeal in an interview with Dina Newman.

Photo: Professor Yakov Rapoport, 1990s. Credit: family archive.

Hundreds of Soviet doctors were imprisoned or shot in the last year of Stalin's rule.

When The Syrian Army Withdrew From Lebanon20170426

On April 26th 2005, Syrian forces finally pulled out of Lebanon after almost 30 years.

When Tunisia Led On Women's Rights20190725

When Tunisia achieved independence it brought in a new equality law that revolutionised women's lives. In August 1956 under the socialist President Habib Bourguiba, the north African country became the first in the muslim world to legalise civil divorce and abortion and to ban polygamy. He also gave women the vote and widened access to education. Nidale Abou Mrad spoke to Saida El Gueyed a founding member of the Tunisian Women's Union who was asked by President Bourguiba to help both men and women understand how the new law would change their lives.

Photo: Courtesy of Saida El Gueyed

When Tunisia introduced divorce, abortion and votes for women ahead of much of the world.

When Tv Came To Bhutan20160613

In June 1999 the tiny Himalayan kingdom broadcast its first TV programme

When Tv Came To South Africa20180816

The apartheid government finally launched a TV service in 1976. For years the Afrikaner dominated government had opposed the introduction of television, believing it would undermine the Afrikaans language, culture and religion. Alex Last has been speaking to two people involved in the launch, presenter Heinrich Marnitz and sound engineer, Dave Keet.
Photo: South Africans gather around their new TV set in 1976 (BBC)

Apartheid South Africa finally launched the country's first TV service in 1976.

Whiskey On The Rocks20180628

In 1981 a Whiskey-class Soviet submarine became stranded on a rock just off the coast of southern Sweden. For years Sweden had suspected the Soviets of patrolling illegally in their territorial waters. Now they had their proof. It took 11 days of tense negotiation before the submarine was allowed to leave. Tim Mansel speaks to Klas Helmerson, who helped interpret on behalf of the Swedish navy.

Photo: The Soviet submarine U-137 that ran aground in Karlskrona archipelago, Sweden in October 1981 (Credit: TT agency via Press Association)

The Cold War stand-off when a Soviet submarine was stranded on a Swedish rock.

Who Killed Luis Colosio?2018032320180325 (WS)

On 23 March 1994 the presidential candidate for Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, was shot dead in the border town of Tijuana. Luis Donaldo Colosio, who was expected to be the country's next leader, was killed when out campaigning. A sole gunman is still in jail for his murder, but Alfonso Durazo, Colosio's former private secretary, tells Mike Lanchin why he believes the murder was part of a wider political plot.

Photo taken from Televisa TV broadcast showing amateur video footage of the moment that Luis Colosio was about to be shot dead during a campaign rally (credit: TELEVISA/AFP/Getty Images)

The murder of a presidential candidate that shocked Mexico.

Why I Slapped The German Chancellor20181101

In November 1968 a young activist hit Germany's leader in public, to draw attention to his Nazi past. The activist was Beate Klarsfeld - the Chancellor was Kurt Georg Kiesinger. Tim Mansel has been listening to Beate Klarsfeld's memories of what happened after she attacked the political leader

Photo: Beate Klarsfeld today. Credit: Tim Mansel

In November 1968 a young activist hit Germany's leader to draw attention to his Nazi past

Wine Shock: 'the Judgement Of Paris'20170511

In 1976, unknown Californian wines beat top French wines in a blind wine tasting in Paris

Winning The Campaign To Stop Nuclear Waste Disposal20190705
Winston Churchill's Doctor2020052820200529 (WS)

Winston Churchill's personal doctor published his memories of the British leader in 1966

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

Winston Churchill's Election Defeat20180726

In July l945 Britain's great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was defeated in a general election. The Labour party's landslide came just weeks after the surrender of Nazi Germany and remains one of the greatest shocks in British political history. How did Winston Churchill, a hugely popular national hero, fail to win? Louise Hidalgo has been listening back through the archives.

Picture: Winston Churchill makes a speech during the 1945 election campaign (Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In July l945 Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill was ousted in a general election

Witnessing The Birth Of A New Language2020020520200206 (WS)

In the early 1980s deaf children in Nicaragua invented a completely new sign language of their own. It was a remarkable achievement, which allowed experts a unique insight into how human communication develops. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to American linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, who documented this process and says "our belief is that you are born with a language-ready brain".

(Photo credit should read INTI OCON/AFP via Getty Images)

In the 1980s deaf children in Nicaragua invented a completely new sign language

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

Wittenoom: An Australian Tragedy20180620

The town of Wittenoom in Western Australia sprang up around a blue asbestos mine in the 1940s and '50s. Asbestos, a natural fire retardant mineral fibre was then in high demand and used in thousands of products. But in Wittenoom, many residents were unaware that asbestos could be lethal. The fibres can cause lung disease and cancer. Thousands of residents died. The town is now almost completely abandoned. Janet Ball spoke to Bronwen Duke, who lived in the town as a child. She is one of the few members of her family still alive.
Photo: Wittenoom (BBC)

How a town built around an asbestos mine made its residents fatally ill.

Women Airline Pilots20190212

Airlines in America finally allowed women to pilot passenger planes in the 1970's. But women like Bonnie Tiburzi and Lynn Rippelmeyer had been fighting for years to be allowed to train as pilots. They tell Maria Elena Navas about their early days in a male-dominated industry.

Photo: Bonnie Tiburzi, 24, is shown in a cockpit of an aircraft shortly after receiving her wings in 1974 when she became the first female pilot for American Airlines. (Getty Images)

Two of the first female airline pilots in the US remember their struggle

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

Women And The Iranian Revolution20190201

Many women supported Iran's 1979 Revolution against the monarchy but some later became disillusioned. Islamic rules about how women dressed were just one of the things that women objected to. Sharan Tabari spoke to Lucy Burns in 2014 about her experiences during, and after, the Iranian Revolution.

Photo: Women on the streets during a May 1st demonstration in 1979.(Credit: Christine Spengler/Getty Images.)

Many women supported Iran's 1979 Revolution but some later became disillusioned

Women And The Sabarimala Temple20191217

Priests reacted with horror when a South Indian actress, Jayamala, admitted she had inadvertently touched a statue of a god at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala - a Hindu holy site. The priests had purified the temple and said that women of childbearing age were banned from setting foot inside it. But a young lawyer, Bhakti Pasrija, decided to take on the religious authorities in the courts. She has been telling Iknoor Kaur what happened next.

PHOTO: Hindu devotees wait in queues inside the premises of the Sabarimala temple. Credit: REUTERS/Sivaram V

How Indian women fought for the right to be allowed into a Hindu holy site

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

Women At West Point20180727

In July 1976, female cadets were admitted to the US Military Academy for the first time.

Women In Britain Get The Right To Vote20180206

On 6th February 1918, women in Britain were given the right to vote for the first time. The campaign for women's suffrage had begun decades earlier. But it wasn't until the final months of the First World War that the British parliament relented and said property-owning women over the age of 30 could vote in a general election. It would take another ten years before women got parity with men. Louise Hidalgo has been listening back to the voices of the women activists known as suffragettes, and talks to politician Shirley Williams, the daughter of an early feminist.

Picture: suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested outside Buckingham Palace, 1914 (Credit: Jimmy Sime/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Womenomics In Japan20200302

One of the toughest challenges facing Japan’s economy is that its population is ageing rapidly and its workforce is shrinking dramatically. But a Japanese investment analyst, Kathy Matsui, came up with a visionary idea to help her country, and she even invented a new word for it: Womenomics. The answer, according to her, was to tap into the talent of half the population. Kathy Matsui speaks to Alejandra Martins.

(Photo: Kathy Matsui. Courtesy of Goldman Sachs)

Japan faces a demographic time-bomb. Could the answer be Womenomics?

Women's Rights In Iran20180213

Iran's first ever minister for Women's Affairs was appointed in 1975. Mahnaz Afkhami was the first person in the Muslim world to hold that position. While she was Minister of Women's Affairs, Iran's legislation granted women equal rights regarding divorce, raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 and supported women's employment with maternity leave and childcare provisions. Farhana Haider has been speaking to her about being the only woman in the pre-revolutionary Iranian cabinet.

Photo: Mahnaz Afkhami at the UN in 1975. Credit: Mahnaz Afkhami

Iran's first ever Minister for Women's Affairs was appointed in 1975.

Wonder Woman20180305

The first major female superhero made her comic strip debut in 1941. Wonder Woman - an Amazonian princess with superhuman strength and agility - was created by psychologist William Marston, who called her "propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world".

Joye Murchison Kelly - then Joye Hummel - was the first female writer on Wonder Woman. She talks to Lucy Burns about her memories of working on the comic with Marston.

(Photo: Mariah Cletus plays Wonder Woman in front of a poster showing Wonder Woman graphics through the years at Comic-Con in San Diego, California, July 2017/ Credit: Bill Wechter/AFP/Getty Images)

The first major female superhero was created by psychologist William Marston in 1941

Woodfall Films20180409

Woodfall Films changed British cinema. First established in 1958, it made films with working class actors about working class lives. The driving force behind it was the producer and director Tony Richardson. Vincent Dowd has been speaking to Rita Tushingham who starred in a classic Woodfall movie 'A Taste of Honey', and to Desmond Davis who filmed 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner'.

Photo: Actress Rita Tushingham in 'A Taste of Honey'. (Credit: Woodfall Films)

The film company which changed British cinema.

World War One: Germany's Spring Offensive 191820180416

In early 1918, Germany launched a huge offensive on the Western Front in a last great gamble to win the war. Following Russia's withdrawal from the war, Germany could move up to a million soldiers from the Eastern Front to the West to launch a decisive attack. Their plan was to break through British and French lines and force an end to the war, before American power could bolster the Allied cause. They came close to succeeding. Using recordings from the BBC Archive, we hear from German and British soldiers who faced each other in the spring of 1918.
Photo: German troops advance in the sector near Villers-Bretonneux during Germany's Spring Offensive 1918. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Germany launched a huge offensive on the Western Front in a last gamble to win the war.

World War One: Ordinary Lives2017111020171112 (WS)

Recordings of two people who felt the cost of war both on the battlefield and at home

World War One: Russia At War2018030220180304 (WS)

Russia's disastrous war on the Eastern Front became a catalyst for revolution at home. In 1914, Russia went to war against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire. But Russia was unprepared for a conflict on such a scale. Millions were killed or wounded at the front. There were chronic shortages at home. Popular anger led to the fall of the Tsar and the start of the Russian revolution. Using archive recordings we tell the story of the war in the East.
Photo: Russian soldiers flee through a village after a provocateur announced that the German cavalry had broken through circa 1916. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How Russia's disastrous war on the Eastern Front became a catalyst for revolution

World War One: The Battle Of The Somme20160701

BBC archive recordings of veterans who fought in one of the bloodiest battles in history

World War One: The Red Baron20180423

Using archive BBC recordings of veterans, we tell the story of one of the most famous figures of World War One. The legendary German air ace Baron von Richthofen who was killed in April 1918.
Photo: German First World War air ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron, with a comrade in front of his famous red tri-plane. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Veterans remember the famous German air ace who was killed in April 1918

Wrapping The Reichstag2019061220190613 (WS)

In June 1995 artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in fabric.

The former German parliament building sat on the border between East and West Berlin. It had been gutted by fire in 1933 and extensively damaged during the Second World War.

The monumental public art project was seen by more than five million people and became a symbol for Berlin’s renewal after the fall of the Wall and the collapse of communism.

Christo talks about the motivation behind the project and explains how they made it happen.

Picture: view of west and south facades of Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin 1971-1995 by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Photo by Wolfgang Volz, copyright Christo.

How a huge public art project entranced post-Cold War Berlin

Ww1: Britain's Conscientious Objectors20180730

In 1916, Britain introduced conscription for the first time. But thousands refused to be part of the war effort. The government allowed people to apply for exemption on the basis of conscience. Those that did faced public hostility and abuse. Many conscientious objectors were pacifists, members of Christian groups, like the Quakers, or those who felt the war was wrong on political or moral grounds. The majority accepted service in non combat roles, But thousands refused to have any part in the war effort and were sent to prison. Hear archive recordings of the men who stood against the war.
Photo: A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during World War I at a special prison camp.(Hulton Archive)

Thousands went to prison for refusing to join Britain's war effort.

Ww1: Revolution In Germany20181108

After four years of war Germany was on the verge of defeat. Its armies were exhausted and in retreat, its civilian population enduring hardship and hunger. As unrest grew at home, the German government and military struggled to maintain control. The German Kaiser was forced to abdicate. Germany became a republic. Hear first-hand accounts from the BBC archive of how the disastrous end to the First World War provoked revolution in Germany.

Photo: Revolutionaries in a truck with machine guns in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, November 1918 (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images)

Eyewitness accounts of the collapse of Germany in the final weeks of war in November 1918

Ww1: The Two Women Of Pervyse20170306

The story of two British nurses who set up a first aid station on the Western Front

Ww2: Prisoner On The High Seas20180503

A surprise attack, a ship sunk, a crew captured - a veteran of the British Merchant Navy remembers his encounter with a German commerce raider in the South Atlantic in May 1940. At the time, Captain Graeme Cubbin was just a 16-year-old cadet on the British merchant ship, SS Scientist when it became the first victim of the German commerce raider, the Atlantis. The crew of the Scientist spent nine months as prisoners on the German raider, as it wreaked havoc on Allied shipping in the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Capt. Cubbin spoke to Alex Last about his memories of the attack and the sacrifices made by the Merchant Navy in World War Two.
Photo: The Atlantis, a German commerce raider, which operated in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean for almost two years. (UK Govt)

A surprise attack, a ship lost, a crew captured - memories of a merchant navy veteran

Wwi: The Hundred Days Offensive20180907

First-hand accounts of the Allied offensive which finally brought the war to an end. The offensive took place on the Western Front in the summer and autumn of 1918. After years of trench warfare, Allied forces managed to break through and force the German army into full retreat. In November 1918, Germany was forced to sign an armistice to end the war. But the human cost of those final battles was immense. The Allies and the German army suffered more than one million casualties each, Using BBC archive recordings of veterans, Alex Last tells the story of the final 100 Days Offensive.

Photo: A British tank rolls through devastated Bapaume, which was shelled during the Hundred Days Offensive in 1918. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

First-hand accounts of the Allied offensive that finally brought the bloody war to an end

Yeltsin And The Chechen Rebels20160526

In 1996, a Chechen rebel delegation negotiated peace with Russia's President Yeltsin.

Yoyes - Woman Leader Of Eta20161212

The life and tragic death of the first woman leader of the Basque separatist group ETA.

Yves Saint Laurent And Morocco20160425

In 1966 the great French fashion designer went to Morocco for the first time