Witness History

History as told by the people who were there

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20190228
2021052120210522 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021052420210525 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021052520210526 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021052620210527 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021052720210528 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021052820210529 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021053120210601 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021060120210602 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021060220210603 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021060320210604 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as told by the people who were there

2021060420210605 (WS)The story of our times told by the people who were there.

History as 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.
11km Down: The World's Deepest Dive2021030120210302 (WS)Don Walsh was the first to go to the very bottom of the deepest part of the ocean in 1960 in a specially designed submarine, the Bathyscaphe Trieste. The water pressure was 800 tonnes per square inch, and the successful mission to "Challenger Deep" in the Mariana Trench under the western Pacific, was a technological breakthrough in marine engineering. Don Walsh describes the dive to Rebecca Kesby, and explains why understanding the deep ocean is crucial in the fight to reduce climate change.

(Photo: The Bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960. Getty Images)

1916: Central Asia Rebels Against The Russian Empire20160714In 1916, Muslims in Central Asia rose up against Russian imperial rule.
1995 Peru-ecuador Border War20170203A former Peruvian army officer recalls the last war between Latin American neighbours.
2001 A Space Odyssey20180405In 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)The best selling book that highlighted the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet. The publication of "Diet for a Small Planet" in 1971 helped start a conversation about the social and environmental impacts of the foods we choose. Frances Moore Lappé has been telling Farhana Haider about the writing of her ground breaking book.

Photo Cover of first edition, first print Diet for a Small Planet 1971. Courtesy of Frances Moore Lappé

A Bitter Divorce: When Guinea Said "no" To France20170928How Guinea became the first French West African colony to declare independence in 1958.
A Black Gi In China20161101How an African American soldier captured in the Korean war, decided to settle in China
A Brief History Of Time20180321In 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 Ghanaian Nurse's Story2021021120210212 (WS)Nurses from outside the UK form a vital part of the country's National Health Service. Many come from African countries. Cecilia Anim - who left Ghana for England in 1972 - became the first black woman to be made president of the Royal College of Nursing. In 2017 she was awarded a CBE by the Queen. She has been speaking to Sharon Hemans for Witness History.

Photo: Cecilia Anim as a student nurse in Ghana in the 1960s. Credit: Cecilia Anim.

Nurses from outside the UK form a vital part of the country's medical workforce

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

A Ground-breaking Change To Treating Breast Cancer20191105In 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 Wedding20160408In a change to tradition Japan's Crown Prince Akihito married a non-royal, in April 1959.
A Kristallnacht Story20181102On 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 Affair20171027How Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met and fell in love in Paris in October 1929
A Mass Shooting In America20160111In October 2006 a man killed five Amish schoolgirls and injured five more in Pennsylvania
A New Approach To Shakespeare20180430The 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 Bombing20180720Two 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 Army20190404After 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

Acid Rain2021022220210223 (WS)In the 1960s, Swedish scientists documented how acid rain was poisoning lakes, killing fish, damaging soils and forests. Crucially they said it was an international problem, because the acid rain was caused by industrial pollution being carried on the prevailing winds from countries thousands of miles away. Acid rain is primarily created by the burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal, which releases large amounts of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air. These particles then mix with moisture in the atmosphere to create sulphuric and nitric acid, which then falls back to earth as acid rain. The phenomenon of acid rain was noticed in the 19th century but the threat was largely ignored. Alex Last spoke to Prof Henning Rodhe of Stockholm University about the research that alerted the world to the dangers of acid rain.

Photo: Forest decline caused by acid rain in the Giant Mountains in Poland - 1998 (Getty Images)

How the world woke up to the threat from acid rain

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

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

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

Adrift For 76 Days2020072920200730 (WS)A remarkable story of survival. In 1982, Steven Callahan was sailing alone across the Atlantic when one night his yacht hit something in the water and began to sink. He managed to get into a life raft but no one knew he was in trouble. For the next two months he drifted 2000 miles across the ocean. How did he survive? He told his story to Alex Last.
Photo: Steve Callahan shows how he hunted fish from his life raft. © Steve Callahan

A remarkable story of survival, alone in a life-raft adrift in the Atlantic ocean

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

Afghanistan's National Museum20160204Since 1989 the treasures in Afghanistan's National Museum have been at risk.
Africa United20180508In 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 One20181106At 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 Chaos20170105How the collapse of 'pyramid' investment schemes caused riots in Albania in 1977
Alexander Hamilton20170518A Broadway musical has made an 18th century American politician famous once more.
Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy20170601Actor Barbara Leigh-Hunt on her role in one of the most controversial Hitchcock movies
Algeria's Berbers20170613In June 2001 hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated for Berber rights in Algiers.
Alva Myrdal - The Woman Who Made Modern Sweden2021031720210318 (WS)In 1982, the Swedish social reformer, writer and diplomat, Alva Myrdal, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on nuclear disarmament. She was only the 7th woman in history to win the award, which she received jointly with Mexican diplomat Alfonso Garcia Robles. In the 1930s and 40s, Alva Myrdal had, with her husband Gunnar Myrdal, developed the ideas behind Sweden's famed welfare state which had transformed Sweden into the modern country we know today. She was also the first woman to be given a senior post at the United Nations. Alva Myrdal's daughter Kaj Foelster has been telling Louise Hidalgo about her mother's life and work.

Picture: Alva Myrdal in 1976 on the publication of her book The Game of Disarmament (credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

The story of Swedish social reformer, Alva Myrdal, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1982

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

American Air Traffic Controllers' Strike20160805In August 1981 over 11,000 air traffic controllers were fired after two days on strike.
Americans Told 'eat Less' To Live Longer20170510In 1977 a US government body first warned Americans that their diet was killing them.
America's 504 Disability Rights Protests20170413In April 1977, US disabled activists occupied a government building for nearly a month.
America's First Communists20170102Husband and wife Bert and Ella Wolfe faced persecution in the movement's early years
America's First Female Rabbi20170602In June 1972 Sally Priesand became the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the USA.
America's First Woman Combat Pilot2020082520200826 (WS)In 1993, Jeannie Leavitt became the first woman to fly a US Air Force fighter plane after the Pentagon lifted its ban on female pilots engaging in combat. After hundreds of F15 missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, Leavitt went on to become the first woman to command a fighter unit. She talks to May Cameron.

PHOTO: Major-General Jeannie Leavitt in a recent picture (US Department of Defence)

How Jeannie Leavitt became the first woman to fly a US Air Force fighter plane in 1993.

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

America's Ww2 Refugee Camp2020111820201119 (WS)In August 1944 President Franklin D Roosevelt agreed to allow nearly one thousand Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe to come to America. They were allowed entry only as "guests", so as not to breach strict US immigration quotas in place during the whole of WW2. The refugees, who arrived on a troop ship from Italy, were housed in a former military barracks, Fort Ontario, near the city of Oswego in upper state New York. For those who'd recently been imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps in Europe, it was a traumatic experience to find themselves once again behind barbed wire. Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of two of the former refugees Elfi Hendell and Doris Schechter.

Photo: A young refugee talking to local American children at Fort Ontario, Oswego, NY, August 1944 (Getty Images)

(Thanks also to USC Shoah Foundation for audio archive)

How nearly a thousand Jewish refugees were housed in an old fort near New York during WW2

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

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 Colombia20170320The murder of left-wing opposition politician Bernardo Jaramillo in March 1990.
An Ethiopian War Hero20190916In 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 Peace20180328In 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 Merkel20160411On April 10 2000, Angela Merkel became the first woman to lead a German political party.
Angela Merkel's Rise To Power20181207Angela Merkel rose to power in German politics after the fall of her mentor, Helmut Kohl. He had accepted secret donations on behalf of their political party the CDU. After the scandal erupted in December 1999 Angela Merkel wrote a newspaper article condemning his actions. Soon she was the party's new leader. Tim Mansel has been speaking to her biographer Evelyn Roll.

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

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.

Anorexia Nervosa2021032920210330 (WS)The American singer, Karen Carpenter, died in 1983 of anorexia nervosa. She was one half of a world famous brother and sister duo called The Carpenters. She was aged just 32. Up until then anorexia nervosa had often been referred to in the media as the "slimmer's disease". Skinny celebrities were seen as both beautiful and successful and anorexia was somewhat glamorised. Claire Bowes has been speaking to Dr Pat Santucci, a psychiatrist who helped set up the world's first national organisation dealing with eating disorders, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorders, known as ANAD. Dr Santucci says wherever western culture has an influence, you will find anorexia nervosa.

Photo: courtesy of Science Photo Library

The death of the singer, Karen Carpenter, showed how devastating the illness could be.

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

Anthrax Attacks20160914Shortly after the 9/11 attacks in the USA someone started posting Anthrax to politicians
Anthrax Leak In The Soviet Union20170329In 1979, an outbreak of anthrax poisoning caused dozens of deaths in the Soviet Union.
Anti-traveller Riots In Sweden20181009In 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 1320190718The 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 820161223How the first mission around the Moon captured the world's imagination at Christmas 1968
Apollo 820181212The biggest audience in TV history watched NASA's Apollo 8 mission beam back the first pictures from an orbit around the moon at Christmas 1968. The broadcast captured the world's imagination and put the Americans ahead of the Soviet Union in the Cold War battle to make the first lunar landing. Simon Watts talks to Apollo 8 commander, Frank Borman.

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

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

Appeasement20180911In 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 191820181109On November 11th 1918, at 11 o'clock, the guns of World War One finally fell silent
Around The World In 20 Days20190327In 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 Balloon20170704In 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 'black Saturday' Bushfires2020072820200729 (WS)The forest fires of 2019-2020 in Australia were the worst the country had ever experienced - but ten years earlier Australia had a foretaste of that disaster when 400 separate bushfires burnt their way across the state of Victoria. At the time they were the worst fires Australia had ever seen. Rachael Gillman has been speaking to one of the firefighters who battled to bring the fires under control.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

How 400 separate bushfires burnt their way across Victoria, Australia in 2009.

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

Australia's Rabbit Plague20170920Rabbits infested huge swathes of the Australian countryside in the 1940s and 1950s.
Austria At War20181011In 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 Vaccine20190321A 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 Art20190417In 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 Exile20190129In 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 Rand20170323The Russian-American philosopher whose novels praising capitalism sold in the millions.
Baba Of Karo20180823The 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

Banksy's First Street Art Mural2021032320210324 (WS)World-renowned street artist Banksy started spray-painting the walls of his home city of Bristol in the 1990s. It is widely believed that his first large mural was a piece called Mild, Mild West painted on a wall next to a record shop. Jim Paine owned the shop and has been telling Bethan Head how he played a pivotal role in getting Banksy to do the artwork in the first place.

(Graffiti street art, entitled Mild, Mild West, by British street artist Banksy, is pictured on the side of a building in Bristol, south west England, on May 8, 2019.. Credit: Geoff Caddick/Getty Images)

It's difficult to pinpoint the first major piece of Banksy street art, could this be it?

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

Banning Alcohol In An Indian State2020091020200911 (WS)Punyavathi Sunkara recalls how she campaigned to stop the sale of alcohol in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to protect women from domestic violence and safeguard family finances. Pressure from women like Punyavathi helped persuade the state's chief minister, NT Rama Rao, to pass the prohibition law in 1995.

Punyavathi Sunkara recalls how the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh banned alcohol in 1995.

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

Banning Landmines2021022620210227 (WS)In March 1999, the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines became part of international law. Over 80% of countries have signed the treaty, which was the culmination of a five-year campaign and which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Jody Williams, who co-ordinated the campaign and was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Picture: Jody Williams at the signing of the Ottawa Treaty, alongside dignitaries including then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. (Credit: Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images)

A landmark treaty banning anti-personnel landmines was agreed in 1997

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

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

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

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

Bata The Shoemaker's Revolution20180619Bata 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 Down20170201In 1993, US forces launched a disastrous raid against the Somali warlord, General Aideed
Battling Soviet Psychiatric Punishment20200305The 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 Concert20170907When the principal singer collapsed, a member of the audience took over his role.
Bee Crisis: Colony Collapse Disorder20191219In 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.

During the early years of Cultural Revolution in China, all European music was banned. Even enjoying traditional Chinese music and art was illegal. Anyone found with old instruments or recordings could be imprisoned. But that didn't stop some musicians and enthusiasts from playing or listening to the music they loved, sometimes as an act of rebellion. A favourite during those times in China was the German composer – Ludwig Van Beethoven. Conductor, Jindong Cai tells Rebecca Kesby how he decided to become a musician after listening to an illegal recording of one of his symphonies.

(Portrait of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) by German painter Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)

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

Behind The Scenes On Sesame Street20190530A 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 Germany20190924Theodor 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

Beirut's Hotel War2020081220200813 (WS)At the start of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, Beirut's luxury hotel district was turned into a battlefield, with rival groups of gunmen holed up in some of the most expensive accommodation in the Middle East. In 2014, William Kremer spoke to two former employees of the Holiday Inn about what came to be known as the Battle of the Hotels.

Photo: The ruins of the Holiday Inn. (Credit: Getty Images)

How the Lebanese Civil War came to Beirut's luxury hotel district in 1975.

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

Benidorm20180827The 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.

Benidorm And The Birth Of Package Tourism2020073020200731 (WS)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 in Benidorm (Reuters)

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

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

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

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

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

Bibles In Us Schools20160816In 1963 a third of schools in the US had to change their rules on Bible reading.
Biosphere 2: Building A New World20170906Eight 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.

In 1966, an all-black team went head-to-head with an all-white team for the National College Basketball championship - one of the biggest prizes in American sport. To much surprise, the African-Americans of Texas Western College defeated the University of Kentucky, then the number one team in the country. The game is now regarded as breaking the colour barrier in US basketball. In 2016 Nija Dalal-Small spoke to Nevil Shed, one of that groundbreaking Texas Western team. The programme is a Sparklab Production for BBC World Service.

PHOTO: Texas Western celebrate their victory in 1966 (Getty Images)

Black Gis During World War Two20191216For 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 Ussr20160620Robert Robinson, a black American engineer, spent 43 years in the USSR against his will.
Black Jesus2021040220210403 (WS)On Easter Sunday 1967 the Reverend Albert Cleage renamed his church in Detroit the Shrine of the Black Madonna. He preached that if man was made in God's image there was little chance that Jesus was white as most of the world's population is non-white. Reverend Cleage also pointed to the many depictions of black madonnas all over the world throughout history. Claire Bowes has been speaking to his daughter Pearl Cleage, a writer and activist, about her father's belief in black representation and self-determination.

Photo: Black Madonna and Child courtesy of BLAC Detroit.
Archive: Thanks to the Chicago History Museum and WFMT for the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.

In 1967 an African American church minister began preaching that Jesus was black.

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

Black Sabbath20160212On Friday 13 February 1970, heavy metal band Black Sabbath released their first album
Blackwater Killed My Son2020092420200925 (WS)On 16 September 2007 private security guards employed by the American firm Blackwater opened fire on civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed, and another 20 injured. The Blackwater guards, who were escorting a convoy from the American embassy, claimed that they had come under attack from insurgents, but eye-witnesses and Iraqi offficials quickly dismissed that version of events. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Mohammed Kinani who was driving through the area at the time, and whose 9-year-old son Ali, was shot dead by the Americans.

Photo: An Iraqi looks at a burnt car on the site where Blackwater guards opened fire on civilians in Baghdad on 16 September 2007 (Credit ALI YUSSEF/AFP via Getty Images)

How US private security guards opened fire on civilians in Baghdad, killing 17 people

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

Bob Marley Survives Assassination Attempt20161202In December 1976 gunmen tried to kill the legendary reggae singer at his home in Jamaica.
Body Worlds Exhibition20170620In 1995 Tokyo University staged the first exhibition to feature plastinated human corpses
Bokassa's Massacre Of The Children20190528Protests 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 Resignation20180101On 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 July20160704Ron Kovic is a former US Marine turned peace activist whose story became a Hollywood film
Bosnia: Rape As A Weapon Of War20170427During 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 Ambedkar20171221The Indian independence leader and campaigner for Dalit rights died in December 1956.
Brazil's Hidden War In The Amazon20181017In 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 Accident20180921In 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.

Bremen's Elephant Statue2020081120200812 (WS)Amid the ongoing debate about how to handle historical monuments which commemorate colonialism and slavery, Witness History hears the story of a giant statue of an elephant in the German city of Bremen.

The port city had played a significant role in Germany's colonial past, and after Germany lost its territories in Africa following the First World War the statue was built there in memory of the period.

But in the 1980s, a group of anti-apartheid activists campaigned to raise awareness of Germany's colonial history - and to rededicate the elephant statue.

Lucy Burns speaks to Professor Manfred Hinz, who was part of the campaign.

Photo: Shutterstock - the anti-colonial elephant monument in Bremen, 08/07/2020

How the German city addressed its colonial past by rededicating a famous monument

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

Bringing Nazi Leader Klaus Barbie To Justice20180205In 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 Black Woman Headteacher2020100620201007 (WS)Yvonne Conolly was made headteacher 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. She spoke to Jonathan Coates about her life.

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

Yvonne Conolly was made head of a London primary school in 1969.

Britain's First Female Black Headteacher20190308Yvonne 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 Government20190304Sayeeda 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 Vegans20190423The 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 Forgotten Slave Owners: Part One2021021520210216 (WS)It wasn't until recently that researchers working in the national archive in London discovered the extent to which ordinary people in Britain had been involved in the slave trade in the 18th and early 19th century. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to Dr Nick Draper, who uncovered volumes of records detailing the thousands of people who claimed compensation when slavery was abolished in Britain in 1834. He and colleagues at University College London set up the Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, documenting this forgotten part of Britain's history.

(Photo: Taken from Josiah Wedgwood's medallion, 'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?''. The inscription became one of the most famous catchphrases of British and American abolitionists. Credit: MPI/Getty Images)

How researchers in London uncovered the story of Britain's forgotten slave owners

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

Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners: Part Two2021021620210217 (WS)How one man used research by historians at University College London into Britain's forgotten slave-owners to track down the descendants of the family who'd owned his ancestors two centuries earlier. Dr James Dawkins tells Louise Hidalgo how his quest led him to the famous evolutionary biologist, Professor Richard Dawkins, author of the Selfish Gene, with whom he shares a name and a past.

Picture: slaves unloaded from slave ship at their destination; from Amelia Opie The Black Man's Lament: or How to Make Sugar, London, 1826 (Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

The story of Britain's forgotten slave owners and the people they enslaved

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

Britain's Land Girls20170926Thousands of women and girls worked on farms throughout WW2 to produce much needed food.
Britain's Little Blue Disability Car20181116For 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 Little Blue Disability Car2020112420201125 (WS)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

For decades disabled people in the UK were offered tiny, three-wheeled cars for transport

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

Britain's National Trust20200113The 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-breakers20160211Witness talks to one of Britain's secret army of World War Two code-breakers
Britain's Secret Propaganda War20191106How 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 Yemen20171205In 1967 Britain's departure from Aden leads to the creation of an independent South Yemen
Britain's World War Two 'brown Babies'20191011The 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.

During times of crisis in the UK, World War Two is often remembered as a period when the country rallied together to fight a common enemy. British politicians still refer to the so-called "Blitz Spirit" when calling for national unity. But as Simon Watts has been finding out from the BBC archives, there was a crime wave during the war years, with a massive increase in looting and black marketeering.

PHOTO: A government poster from World War Two (Getty Images)

Britain's Worst Nuclear Accident20191017Things 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 Referendum20190213In 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 Reality Tv Is Born2020121620201217 (WS)The first British fly-on-the-wall documentary series aired on the BBC in 1974. It was called The Family and followed the lives of the Wilkins family in Reading. Marian Wilkins - now Archer - was the eldest daughter in The Family and has been speaking to Bethan Head about what it was like to be followed by cameras and have her wedding broadcast on television.

Photo: Screengrab from the first episode of The Family (1974).

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

British Troops Take To The Streets Of Northern Ireland20190808In 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-day20190606Hear 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 Vs The Board Of Education20170517In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional.
Brown Vs The Board Of Education2020060820200609 (WS)A landmark case about racial segregation in the USA.

In 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional. The case was a turning point in the long battle for civil rights in America. In 2017 Farhana Haider spoke to Cheryl Brown Henderson, the youngest daughter of Oliver Brown, who was the named plaintiff in the class action against the local board of education.

Photo: African American student Linda Brown, Cheryl Brown Henderson's eldest sister (front, C) sitting in her segregated classroom. Credit: GettyArchive

Buddhists And Death Row2021010520210106 (WS)In the 1990s a practising Buddhist called Anna Cox began visiting a murderer called Frankie Parker in jail. After his execution by lethal injection she carried on talking to prisoners on death row in Arkansas. Anna Cox has been speaking to Ibby Caputo for Witness History.

Photo: Anna Cox and Frankie Parker.

How criminals facing the death penalty in the USA found peace

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

Bugging The Us Embassy In Moscow20161017The row over hi-tech spying in America's new diplomatic building in the USSR
Bulgarian Nurses On Trial In Libya20170223Valya Chervenyashka was accused of mass murder and tortured in a Libyan jail.
Bulgaria's "revival Process"20170424Bulgaria's brutal policy of forced assimilation against its Turkish minority in the 1980s
Burning Man20160829It's thirty years since the birth of the counter-culture festival Burning Man.
Bush V Gore: The 'hanging Chads' Us Election Of 20002020092520200926 (WS)The US presidential election of 2000 was one of the closest and most contested in history. It was more than a month before the result was decided after a Supreme Court decision. It all came down to the vote in Florida, a 'swing-state', where irregularities and technical problems added to the confusion. In the end it's thought there were just a few hundred votes in it, but years later, the result, and the handling of the election in the state, divides opinion. Callie Shell was the official photographer for Al Gore's presidential campaign and documented the dramatic events behind closed doors in pictures. She's been telling Rebecca Kesby what it was like to be there.

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

Cap Anamur: A Rescue That Led To Jail20191112In 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

Captured By Somali Pirates2020111620201117 (WS)In 2008, Captain Colin Darch and his crew were taking a tug boat from Russia to Singapore when they were attacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. They were held hostage for 47 days. In the late 2000s, Somali piracy was starting to become a major threat in the Indian Ocean. Over the next few years there were hundreds of attacks a year until naval forces from around the world deployed to the Gulf of Aden to protect shipping. Alex Last has been talking to Captain Colin Darch about his ordeal.

Photo: An armed Somali pirate keeping vigil on the coast in northeastern Somalia, while the captured Greek cargo ship, MV Filitsa is anchored offshore (MOHAMED DAHIR/AFP via Getty Images)

Captain Colin Darch and his crew were held hostage by pirates for 47 days in 2008

Car Safety And Ralph Nader20161129In the early 1960s there were virtually no laws covering car safety in the USA.
Care In The Community2020090420200905 (WS)In the 1990s Britain closed down many of its long-stay hospitals and asylums and their patients were sent to new lives in the community. But the transition wasn't always easy. Some people had suffered abuse and found it hard to adjust to life outside. Lucy Burns has been speaking to "Michael" who has a learning disability, about his experiences both inside and outside of institutions.

Photo: A now derelict asylum in Colchester, England. Credit: Simon Webster/Alamy Stock Photo

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

Carl Gustav Jung20190618One 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 Rave20170713In the summer of 1992 thousands of ravers and New Age travellers gathered for a festival.
Catch-2220190625Joseph 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'20190815In 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'20190103In 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 Revolution20161102A former communist Red Guard recalls his role in China's Cultural Revolution.
Chairman Mao's Little Red Book20160107How the thoughts of China's communist leader became an unexpected global best-seller
Chairman Mao's Little Red Book20200210In 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 Exile20170419Eugene Chaplin remembers his famous father's love-hate relationship with the USA
Charter 7720170104In January 1977 an opposition movement began in Soviet-era Czechoslovakia.
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster20160426In April 1986 a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine
Chiang Kai Shek: The Man Who Lost China20170727The Chinese civil war remembered by the Nationalist leader's former chief aide.
Chicago's Police Torture20170111A victim of abuse at the hands of the Chicago police tells his story.
Chief Albert Luthuli Wins The Nobel Prize For Peace2020120920201210 (WS)When Chief Albert Luthuli won the Nobel Peace Prize he was living under a banning order in rural South Africa. He won the prize for advocating peaceful opposition to the Apartheid regime. His daughter Albertina spoke to Rob Walker for Witness History in 2010. Also listen to archive recordings of his acceptance speech.

(Picture: Albert Luthuli receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive)

Albert Luthuli was the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

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

Child Refugees From The Spanish Civil War20160713In 1937, Britain took in 4000 Basque children at the height of fighting in northern Spain
Chile Votes Against Pinochet20161012In 1988 Chileans voted to end the brutal 15-year military rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
China And Japan At War20181214Japanese 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 Capitalism20191004In 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 Sale20190709Tampons 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 Doctors20180301In 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 Cure20190313Chinese 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 Gong20170803In July 1999, the Chinese government banned the spiritual movement Falun Gong
China's Democracy Wall2021051420210515 (WS)How a brick wall in Beijing became a beacon for those calling for change. But when Wei Jingsheng posted an essay demanding democracy in 1978, he was arrested and imprisoned for 18 years. He's been telling Rebecca Kesby why he thinks it was worth it.

(PHOTO: BEIJING, CHINA: China's prominent dissident Wei Jingsheng (R) laughs as he talks to reporters at his Beijing apartment 20 September 1993. Wei was arrested again shortly after this and eventually released from prison on medical grounds in 1997. He currently lives in the USA. (credit MANUEL CENETA/AFP via Getty Images)

History as told by the people who were there

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

China's 'kingdom Of Women'2021041620210417 (WS)The Mosuo community in China's Himalayan foothills is matrilineal, so a family's ‘bloodline', inheritance and power is passed down through the female side. There is no such thing as marriage and monogamy is actively discouraged. The women rule and the men don't mind. Rebecca Kesby has been speaking to Choo Wai Hong, a Singaporean corporate lawyer who came across the community as she travelled through her ancestral homeland of China. She liked it so much she learnt the language and built a house there.
(PHOTO: Mosuo Women. Credit Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

An ancient matrilineal society which doesn't believe in marriage and where the women rule

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

China's One Child Policy20190516The 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 Syndrome20190412Diners 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 Apart20160721In 1958 the Nigerian writer published his first book, revolutionising African literature.
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart20180710In 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 Look20160217In February 1947, French designer Christian Dior transformed post-war fashion.
Churchill's 'iron Curtain' Speech2021030520210306 (WS)In March 1946, the UK's former wartime leader, Winston Churchill, gave a historic speech which would come to symbolise the beginnings of the Cold War. Churchill had lost power following a crushing election defeat in Britain in 1945. Encouraged by the US President Harry Truman, Churchill agreed to give a speech on world affairs at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. But why did the speech have such an impact. Alex Last hears from the historian Prof David Reynolds of Cambridge University, author of The Kremlin Letters: Stalin's wartime correspondence with Churchill and Roosevelt.

Photo: Winston Churchill at the podium delivering his "Iron Curtain" speech, at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri, 5th March 1946 (PA)

How the historic speech in March 1946 came to symbolise the beginnings of the Cold War

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

Cicely Saunders And The Modern Hospice Movement20181210In 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.

Citizen Kane20160516Archive interviews with Orson Welles about one of the greatest films of all time
Civil War In Tajikistan20170504In 1992, shortly after the collapse of the USSR, a civil war erupted in Tajikistan.
Cixi: China's Most Powerful Woman20200204The 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.

Cixi: China's Most Powerful Woman2021030920210310 (WS)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".

This programme is a rebroadcast

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

She was the power behind the Chinese throne for decades

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

Colombia's 'lost City'20161201In 1976, archaeologists found the ruins of a huge indigenous settlement hidden in forest
Concordski Plane Crash20160601In June 1973 Russia's supersonic rival to Concorde crashed at the Paris Air Show
Condemned As A Spy In The Ussr20160304Flora 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.

Over a period of four years before his death in December 2004, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the consort and husband of former Queen Juliana, gave a series of secret interviews to two Dutch journalists, on condition that nothing was published until after his funeral. In his conversations with the reporters, the German-born Prince sought to justify a string of extra-marital affairs and a million dollar bribe he had received in the 1970s from the American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed. Prince Bernhard also revealed for the first time the existence of an illegitimate daughter born as a result of an affair in the United States. The publication of the Prince's confessions by De Volkskrantran newspaper shocked the Dutch public, but were met with silence by the Palace. Mike Lanchin spoke to Jan Tromp, one of the journalists who spent hours interviewing the controversial Dutch royalty.

Photo: Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard on the day of their wedding, January 1937 (Getty Images)

Confessions Of A Soviet Alcoholic20190214In 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.

Conflict Over A Tree In The Dmz20160818In August 1976, two US soldiers were killed in the zone between North and South Korea.
Conflict Timber In Liberia's Civil War20190912How 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)

Cornelia Sorabji: India's First Woman Lawyer2021011320210114 (WS)Cornelia Sorabji was the first woman lawyer working in India. She helped women living in purdah or seclusion in the 19th century who had no access to the law. The women were married into royal families and prevented from seeing men other than their husbands or family. This meant they had no way of seeking justice when they received cruel treatment, attempts on their lives or were disinherited by their husbands' families. Cornelia Sorabji was able to visit these women and often helped free them from violent abuse. She was so successful that some royal families tried to kill her. Claire Bowes has been speaking to her nephew, Sir Richard Sorabji, about her life and how she helped pave the way for women lawyers in Britain.

Photo: Cornelia Sorabji in a BBC studio in January1931.

She was the first to graduate from Oxford and was a pioneer for women lawyers in Britain.

Cot Death20161215The 'Back to Sleep' campaign was launched in 1991 to prevent babies dying in their cots
Couch To 5k20180604In 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 Community20190807In 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 Alone20170131Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland was the first person to cross Antarctica alone.
Cs Lewis And The Chronicles Of Narnia20190919The 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 Officers20190711Four 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)

Cuban Missile Crisis: The Governments20171016In October 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis took the world to the brink of nuclear war
Dadaab: The World's Largest Refugee Camp20170118How one young woman fled war in Somalia to grow up in Kenya's massive refugee camp
Date Rape20160603In 1991 Katie Koestner went public with her experience of date rape and divided America.
David Attenborough's First Expedition2021040720210408 (WS)In 1954, the BBC broadcast a new television programme in Britain. It was called Zoo Quest and it launched the career of a man who has since brought the natural world into millions of homes around the world, the broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. Louise Hidalgo has been listening back through the BBC archives to Sir David telling the story of the first natural history expedition for Zoo Quest, to Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Picture: David Attenborough, producer of the BBC wildlife documentary series Zoo Quest, and Jack Lester (right), curator of London Zoo's reptile house, planning their next expedition with the help of Gregory the parrot, March 1955 (Credit: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The BBC programme that launched the career of the famous nature broadcaster

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

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest20180222One 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.

D-day20190604Eyewitness 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 Protest20180306Students 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 Amazon20170106Auca tribesmen killed five American missionaries in the jungle in January 1956.
Death Of An Anarchist20161219Giuseppe 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'20180518How 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 Gay20180621Uzi 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 Tourist20190415In 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 Jarman20161220The experimental film-maker made his first feature film 'Sebastiane' in 1976.
Des Daughters2021020820210209 (WS)DES or Diethylstilbestrol was a form of synthetic estrogen developed in the 1930s, regularly prescribed to pregnant women to prevent miscarriage. But in the 1960s it was discovered that not only did it not prevent miscarriage, it also had dangerous side effects for the daughters of the women who had taken it while pregnant – including reproductive problems and rare gynaecological cancers. Millions of women were exposed all over the world. Lucy Burns speaks to mother and daughter Linda and Katie Greenebaum about their experiences of DES.

Photo: black and white image of smiling baby (H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

A medical scandal which affected millions of women around the world

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

Desert Island Discs At 7520170127The story of the BBC's longest-running radio programme.
Desmond Tutu Wins The Nobel Peace Prize20181022In 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 Britain2020100820201009 (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 for Witness History.

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

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

Desmond's: A Sitcom That Changed Britain20200102
Diary Of Life In A Favela20190110A 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 Favela20200212A 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 Phu20160519The French surrender at the siege of Dien Bien Phu ended their colonial rule of Vietnam
Digging Up The Truth20161205Mercedes Doretti has spent her life uncovering mass graves around the world.
Discovering The Great Pacific Garbage Patch20170807Charles Moore recalls how he came across the world's largest floating rubbish dump.
Discovering The Jet Stream2021040920210410 (WS)The Jet Stream is formed by powerful high-altitude rivers of air which circle the globe and help determine our climate. The existence of these winds was first documented in Japan in the 1920s, but only became more widely known during World War Two, when American airmen encounter high-speed winds on bombing missions over Japan. At the same time, the Japanese military also began to use these powerful transcontinental winds to carry innovative balloon bombs all the way to the West Coast of America. Using archive recordings we tell the story of the discovery and speak to Professor Tim Woollings from Oxford University, the author of Jet Stream: A Journey Through Our Changing Climate.
Photo: B-29 bombers passing Mount Fuji on their way to Tokyo, April 1945 (Getty Images)

Air raids and balloon bombs - the strange story behind the discovery of the Jet Stream

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

Disney Goes To Europe20190207In 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 Brazil20160921In 2006 Brazil passed the ground-breaking "Maria da Penha" law to tackle domestic abuse.
Dr Seuss: The Man Who Taught America To Read20190816The 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 Parliament20190326In 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

Drugs In The Vietnam War2021020420210205 (WS)During the Vietnam war, US commanders grew increasingly concerned about the widespread use of drugs by US troops in Vietnam. Initially the focus was on marijuana. But in the early 1970s, reports began to emerge of the large scale use of heroin by US military personnel. The drug had became widely available in South Vietnam. Alex Last spoke to Dr Richard Ratner, then a psychiatrist in the US army in Vietnam, about his memories of treating soldiers suffering from heroin addiction.

Photo: Two soldiers in Vietnam exchange vials of heroin, July 1971 (Getty Images)

How a heroin epidemic among US troops in Vietnam caused panic in the military

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

Dungeons And Dragons20170120The fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons launched in January 1974.
Dutch Elm Disease20160715In the 1970s Dutch Elm disease killed millions of Elm trees in England, France and the US
Earth Day20180420On 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 Embassy20191023Thousands 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 Punks20200103In 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 Massacre20161116In 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.

Abdul Sattar Edhi built one of the biggest welfare charities in the world. He started with a small pharmacy in Karachi dispensing free medication to the poor in the 1950s. His wife Bilquis Edhi shared his passion for charity and together they built more than 300 health clinics, trained thousands of nurses, took care of tens of thousands of orphans and set up a nationwide ambulance service. Bilquis Edhi tells Rebecca Kesby how she first met Edhi when she was training to be a nurse.

(Photo: Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife and work partner Bilquis Edhi. Credit Getty Images)

Egypt's Facebook Girl20170407Israa Abd El Fattah was one of the first Egyptian activists to use Facebook for protests.
Egypt's Facebook Girl2021012520210126 (WS)A wave of popular anti-government uprisings swept through the Arab world in the early months of 2011. Many of the activists who took to the streets were inspired by social media posts. Israa Abd el Fattah was one of the first Egyptian activists to use social media. In April 2008 she tried to organise a general strike in protest at low wages, and rising prices. She was given the nickname "Facebook Girl". In 2011 she used her experiences with Facebook to help mobilise people before the Egypt's Arab Spring uprising. She spoke to Zeinab Dabaa for Witness History in 2017. She has since been detained by the Egyptian authorities.

Photo: Israa Abd El Fattah in her office in Cairo in 2011. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

How social media was used to organise against Egypt's government before the Arab Spring

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

Eisenhower's Farewell Address20180117American 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 Roosevelt20170303America's longest-serving First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt
Elisabeth Kfcbler-ross And The Five Stages Of Grief2020061520200616 (WS)The remarkable Swiss psychiatrist who changed the way we think about dying.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. When Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her bestselling book On Death and Dying in 1969, she described a series of emotional stages that she had seen terminally ill patients experience – later known as the Five Stages of Grief. But there was much more to her work in end of life care. Her son Ken speaks to Lucy Burns.

Photo: Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Virginia Farm, 1987. Photo courtesy of Ken Ross www.ekrfoundation.org

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

Ellen Comes Out20190429Ellen 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 Army20180320In 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 Therapy20190402EMDR 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 Game20181213In 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 Cuba20160504Alberto Ramos remembers his time working for the great American novelist in Cuba.
Escape From Slavery20170605The story of the Pakistani boy forced into bonded labour at the age of four.
Escape From The South Atlantic20160510In the spring of 1982 Britain and Argentina went to war over the Falkland Islands.
Estonia's Bootleg Vodka Poisoning20160909In September 2001, 68 people died after an outbreak of alcohol poisoning in Estonia.
Estonia's Singing Revolution2021011520210116 (WS)The Estonian rock musician Tõnis Mägi once attracted huge crowds across the USSR with a string of disco hits and a song glorifying the 1980 Olympic Games. He was a poster boy for clean cut Soviet youth with his blond hair and cheeky smile.

But in 1987 Tõnis returned to his native Estonia to write his own songs, in his own language. Times were changing. Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost or openness policy allowed Estonians to talk about things which had been taboo for decades. Tõnis tells Lucy Ash that he could smell freedom in the air.

Like its Baltic neighbours, Lativa and Lithuania, Estonia was independent between the world wars but suffered devastating losses when it was invaded by Stalin then by Hitler's troops and then reconquered by the Red Army.

In the tiny country of 1.3 million, many resented the Russians and longed to escape from Communist rule. People worried that their language and culture were disappearing and they wanted to promote Estonian nationhood, particularly through music. With his rock anthem Koit (Dawn) and other songs, Tõnis became the voice of a generation of Estonians, the voice of the Singing Revolution.

Producer: Lucy Ash
Translator: Tiina Wilder

Photo: Tõnis Mägi in 1987

Rock star T\u00f5nis M\u00e4gi describes how Estonia sang its way out of the Soviet Union.

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

Ethiopia's Red Terror20170410In the 1970s Ethiopia's military regime launched a brutal campaign of repression
Euro Disney20170630In 1992 Disney opened its first theme park in Europe.
Executed For Being Too Capitalist20160414In 1961, in Soviet Central Asia, 21 managers were executed for using capitalist methods.
Executions In Cuba20160707In 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

Ground-breaking work by developmental psychologist Professor Uta Frith has revolutionised our understanding of autism. Beginning in the 1960s, Professor Frith's research has overturned the long-held belief that autism was a social or emotional disorder, showing instead that it's the result of physical differences in the brain. Uta Frith has been talking to Louise Hidalgo.

Picture: Uta Frith at her desk at the Medical Research Council Developmental Psychology Unit in London in the late 60s/early 70s (exact date unknown). From the personal collection of Uta Frith.

Exploring Arabia's Empty Quarter20191122In 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 Church20161006In 1994, a TV programme in Northern Ireland lifted the lid on clerical child sex abuse.
Fania All Stars - Legends Of Salsa20160826How a Latin music supergroup helped spread salsa music from New York to the world.
'fat Is A Feminist Issue'20190111Susie 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 Priest20161018How a controversial Catholic priest had millions of listeners in the 1930s.
Fidel Castro Takes Havana20160106In Jan 1959 leftist revolutionaries ended decades of rule by Cuba's US-backed dictator
Fidel Castro Takes Havana20190108On 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.

Fighting For Castro At The Bay Of Pigs20160420A member of Cuba's communist militia recalls battling US-backed invaders in April 1961
Fighting For Castro At The Bay Of Pigs2021041420210415 (WS)On April 17 1961 a group of Cuban exiles launched an invasion of communist-ruled Cuba in a failed attempt to topple Fidel Castro. After 72 hours of fighting many of the invaders were captured or killed. Gregorio Moreria was a member of the local communist militia who fought against the US-backed invaders. He was injured and briefly captured during the fighting. He spoke to Mike Lanchin for Witness History in 2016.

(Photo: Members of Castro's militia during the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images)

Hear from a Cuban who fought against the US-backed exiles that invaded Cuba in April 1961

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

Fighting For Justice For India's Sikhs2021012220210123 (WS)Anti-Sikh violence erupted in India after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. Looting, raping and killing broke out in Sikh areas. One of those killed was Nirpreet Kaur's father who was burnt to death by a furious mob in Delhi. She spent decades trying to bring to justice a politician she had seen encouraging the violence. She has been telling her story to Ishleen Kaur.

Photo: Nirpreet Kaur's family before the events of 1984. Copyright:Nirpreet Kaur.

Anti-Sikh violence flared in India after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984

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

Fighting For Rural Women In South Africa20161209Sizani 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.

After decades of campaigning in Japan, the pill was finally legalised in 1999. In contrast the male impotency drug Viagra was approved for use in just six months, and legalised before the contraceptive pill for women. Politician Yoriko Madoka pushed hard for the right to take the pill and told Rebecca Kesby that sexism and male dominance in Parliament is why it took so long.

(Photo: A collection of contraceptive pills. Getty Images)

Fighting In The Iran-iraq War20180927The 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 Etna20181015The 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 Racism On The Dancefloor2020100720201008 (WS)New laws were used to stop nightclubs and discos from banning black and ethnic minority customers in 1978. The first club to be taken to court was a disco called Pollyanna's in the city of Birmingham. The Commission for Racial Equality ruled their entry policy racist. David Hinds, vocalist for the reggae band, Steel Pulse, spoke to Farhana Haider for Witness History in 2015 about the racism in Birmingham's club scene in the 1970s.

This programme is a rebroadcast

(Photo: Reggae Band, Steel Pulse performing on Top of the Pops 1978. Credit:BBC)

New laws were used to stop clubs from banning black and ethnic minority people in 1978

Fighting The Islamic State Group Online20190925When 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 Laws20190522In 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 Children20190820At 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 Russia20171206In December 1917 Finland became an independent country for the first time.
First Women On The London Stock Exchange20180326London'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 Ussr20160811After WW2, many Soviet citizens who had ended up outside the USSR, refused to go home.
Flight 655: When The Us Shot Down An Airliner20180703On 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 Nightingale20170810The "lady with the lamp" died on August 13th 1910.
Flying Through A Volcano2020090120200902 (WS)When a British Airways flight carrying 248 passengers took off one evening in 1982 heading from Kuala Lampur to Australia, everything seemed fine. But two hours later all of the jumbo jet's engines shut down and no one knew why. The plane had flown into the ash cloud of the erupting volcano, Mount Galunggung, without realising it. Darin Graham speaks to retired Captain Eric Moody, who flew the plane that night.

How a British Airways jumbo jet flew through a volcanic ash cloud and survived

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

Forced Sterilisation In Peru20160627In the 1990s more than 280,000 women were sterilised in Peru, many against their will.
France's Last Guillotine20170908The last man to be executed by guillotine in France was a Tunisian, Hamida Djandoubi.
France's Muslim Headscarf Ban2020120220201203 (WS)A controversial law banning Islamic headscarves and other religious symbols from French state schools came into effect in 2004. The ban was designed to maintain France's tradition of strictly separating state and religion. It resulted in many Muslim girls being excluded from the classroom. Farhana Haider has been speaking to Ndella Paye a Muslim mother and activist who campaigned against the law.

Photo: 2004 February Demonstration in Paris against the French law forbidding manifestation of religious symbols in schools and workplace. Credit Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images

A law banning religious clothing from French state schools came into effect in 2004

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

Francis Bacon In The Archives2021020920210210 (WS)Francis Bacon painted distorted and disturbing images but his works are now widely considered one of the great achievements of post-war British art. Vincent Dowd has been trawling through the BBC archives listening to Bacon talking about his work, and gaining an insight into his Bohemian, hard-drinking ways.

Photo: Francis Bacon in London in 1970. Credit: Press Association

The painter Francis Bacon was known for his disturbing images and bohemian lifestyle

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

Francis Bacon's Studio20180122In 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 Panthers20190918The 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 Breakfasts With The Black Panthers2021021820210219 (WS)The Black Panther Party hit the headlines in the late 1960s with their call for a revolution in the USA. 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 spoke to Lucy Burns.

(IMAGE: Shutterstock)

How the revolutionary black rights organisation started serving breakfast to children

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

Free Health Care For All20180530In 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 Iran20200228In 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 Petersburg20180906In 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

From Leningrad To St Petersburg2021040820210409 (WS)As the communist system in the former Soviet Union was collapsing in 1991, the people of Leningrad voted to drop Vladimir Lenin's name abandoning the city's revolutionary heritage and returning to its historic name of St Petersburg. Dina Newman spoke to Ludmilla Narusova, wife of the first St Petersburg mayor, Anatoli Sobchak, who campaigned for the hugely symbolic change.

This programme is a rebroadcast - it was first aired in 2018.

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

How the people of Russia's second city dropped the great communist leader's name

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

General Robert E Lee: Us Civil War Rebel2021020520210206 (WS)The US Civil War of 1861-65 left 700,000 troops dead. The Southern Confederate states rebelled against the Union of the North because the Confederates wanted to protect the right to own slaves. The hero of the rebel cause, General Robert E Lee, was charged with treason and had his citizenship revoked. So why did Congress reinstate his citizenship in 1975 more than one hundred years after his death? Claire Bowes has been speaking to former Democrat Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman who was one of just ten members of Congress to vote against the rehabilitation of General Lee and to John Reeves author of the book, The Lost Indictment of Robert E Lee. They describe how the proposal, put forward by a pro-segregationist Senator from Virginia, passed without even the mention of slavery.

Photo: General Robert E Lee courtesy of the Library of Congress

Lee was charged with treason, so why did Congress reinstate his citizenship in 1975?

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

George Orwell And Animal Farm20170829Animal Farm was an allegory about the dangers of Soviet communism and of Joseph Stalin.
Georgia In Crisis20161227After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Georgia found itself on the verge of civil war.
Georgia O'keeffe20170309One of the world's most famous female artists died in March 1986.
German Atrocities In Poland During Ww220200106Towards 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 Rebels20190702In 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 Nudists20170814How East Germans went naked on the beaches despite official communist party disapproval.
Ghana Must Go20180219Over 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 Vibrations20161007In October 1966, the Beach Boys released their "pocket symphony" Good Vibrations.
Hacking The First Computer Password20181219Scientists 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 Jamaica20160418On 21 April 1966 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia arrived in Jamaica
Haiti's Cholera Outbreak2020090820200909 (WS)In October 2010, Haiti was hit by an outbreak of cholera, the first in recent history of the impoverished Caribbean nation. Nepalese peacekeepers belonging to the international MINUSTAH mission were blamed for introducing the deadly disease, but for many years the UN refused to accept any responsability. More than 10,000 Haitians have died from cholera, and thousands more were infected. The UN finally apologised to the Haitian people in December 2016. Mike Lanchin speaks to the French specialist in tropical medicine and infectious diseases, Dr Renaud Piarroux, whose investigation helped force the UN's hand.

Photo: Haitians wait for medical treatment for cholera, Oct 22 2010 (REUTERS/St-Felix Evens)

Haiti was cholera-free until UN peacekeepers brought it to the Caribbean country in 2010

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

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.

Hands Across America20160524The day millions of Americans formed a human chain to try to end poverty and homelessness
Happy Beer Day!20190301On March 1st 1989 Icelanders were allowed to buy beer for the first time in decades
Harry Houdini20161031How a performance in London made the reputation of the world's greatest escape artist
Helen Keller2020112320201124 (WS)was born in Alabama in the USA in 1880. A childhood illness left her deaf and blind, but she still learned to speak and read and write. She wrote several books, graduated from college, and met 12 US presidents. By the end of her life she was famous around the world. Lucy Burns spoke to her great-niece, Adair Faust for Witness History.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

(Photo: Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968). Credit: Hulton Archive)

The deaf and blind American writer who became famous around the world

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

Helmand Convoy20160825An 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

When an atomic bomb was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and injured. Despite many survivors believing nothing would grow in the city for decades, 170 trees survived close to the epicentre and are still growing 75 years later. Green Legacy Hiroshima is a project which sends seedlings from those trees around the world, spreading a message of hope. Rachael Gillman has been speaking to Teruko Ueno who survived the bombing of Hiroshima, and her daughter Tomoko Watanabe who is a co-founder of the project.

Photo: one of the trees which survived the atomic bomb. Credit BBC.

Hitler's Architect20180824Among 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 Beer Hall Putsch2021011920210120 (WS)Adolf Hitler made his first attempt to overthrow democracy in Germany in Munich in 1923. It started at a beer hall called the Bürgerbräu in Munich, so it has become known as the "beer hall putsch" or the "Munich putsch". It ended with 16 Nazis and four policemen dead. Although the coup failed, Hitler's trial allowed him to raise his profile on the national stage, and within ten years he became chancellor of Germany.

PHOTO: Nazi members during the Beer Hall Putsch, Munich, Germany 1923 (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Adolf Hitler made his first attempt to take power in Germany in 1923

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

Hitler's League Of German Girls20180828The 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 Programme20160506Nazi Germany had a nuclear programme, which could have given Hitler an atomic bomb
Hitler's Stolen Children20190517During 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 A Worm Helped Explain Human Development2021041320210414 (WS)After the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA in the 1950s, South African biologist Sydney Brenner was searching for a model animal to help him tease out the genes involved in human behaviour and human development from egg to adult. Brenner chose a tiny nematode worm called caenorhabditis elegans (c.elegans for short), whose biological clockwork can be observed in real time under a microscope through its transparent skin. The worm has since been at the heart of all sorts of discoveries about how our bodies work and fail. Sue Armstrong has been speaking to people who knew and worked with Sydney Brenner.

This programme is a Ruth Evans Production.

Photo: the c. elegans worm. Credit: Science Photo Library

The nematode worm c. elegans has enabled all sorts of discoveries about human biology

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 Amsterdam Became The Cannabis Smoking Capital Of Europe2021050320210504 (WS)How Amsterdam became the home of cannabis coffee shops.The Mellow Yellow Café set a pattern in 1973 of attracting customers, which hundreds of others would follow. Although selling and smoking the drug was illegal, possession of small quantities of cannabis was tolerated by the Dutch police. Bob Howard talks to the café's owner, Werner Bruining.

Photo: Mellow Yellow Cafe, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Credit: Alamy

History as told by the people who were there

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

How British Women Helped Win World War One20180115For 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

The artist Christo died on May 31st 2020. Famous for wrapping landmarks in fabric and plastic, one of his most ambitious projects was the former German parliament building which 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. In June 1995 Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude completed the monumental public art project which was seen by more than five million people and became a symbol for Berlin's renewal after the collapse of communism and the reunification of Germany.

Christo spoke to Lucy Burns in 2019. This programme is a rebroadcast.

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 Club Med Changed Holidays2020071420200715 (WS)Holidaymakers arrived at the first Club Med resort on the Spanish island of Majorca in summer 1950. The French company - full name Club Méditerranée - was founded to offer a new kind of post-war holiday by Belgian water polo player Gérard Blitz, who believed that "the time to be happy is now". The facilities were initially rudimentary, with guests sleeping in huts and sharing tables at meals - but the all-inclusive holiday model they pioneered soon spread all over the world.

Lucy Burns speaks to Pierre-Xavier Bécret, whose parents worked on that first Majorca holiday and went on to be involved with Club Med for many years.

Picture: postcard image of the Club Med resort in Corfu, 1970s (Editions Intercolor, with thanks to www.collierbar.fr)

Holidaymakers arrived at the first Club Med resort in Majorca in summer 1950

How Environmental Campaign Group Greenpeace Was Formed20190523The 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 Ethiopian Rebels Took Power In 19912020113020201201 (WS)In May 1991, the brutal Ethiopian dictator, Colonel Mengistu and his miltary regime were on the verge of collapse after years of civil war. The end came when a Tigrayan-led rebel movement advanced on the capital Addis Ababa and took power. They would rule for Ethiopia for decades. In 2014, we spoke to an American diplomat who witnessed the end of Ethiopia's civil war. Photo: EPRDF rebels in Addis Ababa, 28 May, 1991.

Photo: Rebels in Addis Ababa (BBC)

In 1991 a Tigrayan-led rebel movement took power in Addis Ababa ending years of war

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

How Europe Won Over The British Left20160908A speech by Jacques Delors helped change British trade unionists' attitude to Europe
How I Survived A Fire On A Plane20180913Ricardo 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 Liberia Wrote Off Its Debts2020092220200923 (WS)How the Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf negotiated to write off billions of dollars of debt, accumulated over two decades of civil war. Coming to power in 2006, Johnson Sirleaf had to govern the West African country with little tax revenue and owing large sums to countries and institutions it could never hope to pay back. After four years of intensive negotiations and even support from the Irish rock star Bono, in 2010 the World Bank and International Monetary Fund announced they would forgive 4.6 billion dollars of the country's debt.

How Liberia negotiated to write off billions of dollars of debt.

How Little America Was Built In Afghanistan20190315In the 1950s, US engineers were sent to Afghanistan to build a dam.
How Meditation Changes Your Brain20200218In 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 Started20190418In 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 Traffickers20170417Hear from the American who survived being shot down in his plane over the Amazon jungle
How Science Ended The Search For Josef Mengele20190222An 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 South Africa Banned Harmful Skin Lightening Creams2020070320200704 (WS)In 1990, South Africa banned skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone

In 1990, South Africa became the first country in the world to ban skin-lightening creams containing the chemical compound hydroquinone. For years the creams had caused an irreversible form of skin damage called ochronosis for the black and Asian South Africans using the products. Rachael Gillman has been speaking to Dr Hilary Carman, one of the activists who worked to ban the creams and Dr Ncoza Dlova who became one of the country's first black dermatologists.

Photo: A woman applying a skin-lightening cream to her face. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

How South Africa Banned Skin-lightening Creams2020070320200704 (WS)In 1990, South Africa became the first country in the world to ban skin-lightening creams containing the chemical compound hydroquinone. For years the creams had caused an irreversible form of skin damage called ochronosis for the black and Asian South Africans using the products. Rachael Gillman has been speaking to Dr Hilary Carman, one of the activists who worked to ban the creams and Dr Ncoza Dlova who became one of the country's first black dermatologists.

Photo: A woman applying a skin-lightening cream to her face. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

In 1990, South Africa banned skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinone

How The Brazilian Dictatorship Made My Father Disappear20181112On 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 Out20200121A 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 Nra Became A Us Political Lobbying Giant2021042220210423 (WS)The National Rifle Association represents gun owners in the USA. In 1977 it faced a turning point when its members revolted against the organisation's leadership to concentrate on political lobbying in Washington. Would the gun lobby in America be as strong as it is, without the 1977 turnabout? Bob Howard talks to John Aquilino, a former NRA spokesman, who was at the historic meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio.

National Rifle Association Holds Its Annual Conference In Dallas, Texas. DALLAS, TX - MAY 05 2018. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

How the National Rifle Association turned into a US political lobbying colossus.

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

How The World Woke Up To Global Warming20180622Professor 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.

How Us 'smart Bombs' Hit An Iraqi Air Raid Shelter In The First Gulf War2021021220210213 (WS)More than 400 civilians were killed when two US precision bombs hit the Amiriya air raid shelter in western Baghdad on the morning of 13 February 1991. The Americans claimed that the building had served as a command and control centre for Saddam Hussein's forces. It was the largest single case of civilian casualities that ocurred during Operation Desert Storm, the US-led campaign to force Iraq to withdraw from neighbouring Kuwait. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from one Iraqi woman whose four children were inside the air raid shelter the day it was bombed.

Photo: Inside the Amiriya air-raid shelter following the US bombing (Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

More than 400 civilians died when US bombs hit the Amiriya air raid shelter in Baghdad

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

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'20180212In 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 Ancestor20190726In 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 Son20171211How an American hypnotist went to Iraq to treat Uday, the eldest son of Saddam Hussein.
I Helped Liberate Paris From The Nazis20190821On 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 Children20180104On 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 Just Wanted To Be White'2020110320201104 (WS)In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, thousands of children were born to white German women and black American soldiers who were stationed in Allied-occupied Germany. The mixed-race infants were viewed with contempt by many Germans and endured constant abuse and racism. Black activist and author Ika Hügel-Marshall was one of the so-called "occupation babies". She tells Mike Lanchin about the painful struggle to discover her own identity as a result of the racism she experienced growing up black in post-war Germany.

Photo: Ika as a young girl (Courtesy of Ika Hügel-Marshall)

Growing up as a black child in post-war Germany

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

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings20190405Maya 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 Priests20191120In 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 Bankers20190211The 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"20170530In 1968 Dr Bindeshwar Pathak began his mission to improve toilet facilities for the poor.
India's Affirmative Action Controversy20190911In 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 Campaign For Disability Rights2020112520201126 (WS)In December 1995, the first disability rights legislation was passed by India's parliament. An estimated 60 million people, almost six percent of India's population, are affected by physical or mental disabilities. Farhana Haider spoke to Javed Abidi who led the campaign to change the law.

Photo: Disability rights campaigners protest in Delhi, December 19th 1995. (Credit: Javed Abidi)

How activists forced through the first law to help tens of millions of disabled Indians

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

India's City Of The Future: Chandigarh20161130World 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 Centre20190121Pramod 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 Quarantine20190904When 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

Inventing James Bond2020083120200901 (WS)The author Ian Fleming created the fictional super-spy, James Bond, in the 1950s. Fleming, a former journalist and stockbroker, had served in British naval intelligence during the Second World War. Using interviews with Fleming and his friends from the BBC archive, Alex Last explores how elements of James Bond were drawn from Ian Fleming's own adventurous life.
Photo: Ian Lancaster Fleming, British author and creator of the James Bond character, in 1958. (Getty Images)

How author and former intelligence officer Ian Fleming created the British super-spy

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

Iran Hostage Crisis20190130In 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 Delegation20191104On 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 Mission20190131In 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 - 199120160324At the end of the First Gulf War thousands of Iraqis rose up against Saddam Hussein
Iraq's Pioneering Feminist2020120120201202 (WS)Dr Naziha Al-Dulaimi became the first woman to hold a ministerial office in the Arab world when she was appointed to head Iraq's Municipalities Ministry in 1959. As a minister, Dr Al-Dulaimi set about clearing some of Baghdad's slum areas, creating the first public housing projects. A leading feminist, she was also the driving force behind a secular Civil Affairs Law, that liberalised marriage and inheritance laws for Iraqi women. Mike Lanchin has been hearing about her from Mubejel Baban, a friend and former colleague of Dr Al-Dulaimi - and from her nephew, Dr Layth Al-Delaimy.

Photo:Dr Naziha Al-Dulaimi, 1950s (courtesy of the Al-Dulaimi family)

Dr Naziha Al-Dulaimi was the first woman to hold a ministerial office in the Arab world

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

Iraq's Secret Nuclear Programme20160609In 1981 Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor; it began Iraq's secret nuclear programme
Ireland's Bank Bailout2021022320210224 (WS)In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis Ireland had to borrow billions to stop its banks from going under and to keep its economy afloat. The IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank provided the money. Matt Murphy has been speaking to Patrick Honahan, who was Ireland's central banker at the time of the bailout.

Photo: Protesters take to the streets of Dublin in November 2010 to oppose savage public spending cutbacks needed to secure an international bailout. Credit:Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

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

Irina Ratushinskaya20161010The dissident poet was released from a labour camp on the eve of a US-Soviet summit
Isaac Asimov And Science Fiction20180531In 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 Pioneer20180925Sometimes 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 Gaza20171004One woman's account of life on the front-line of Israel's occupation of Gaza.
Israel's Secret Peace Envoy20180809In 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 Divorce20170215In May 1974, Italians defied the Catholic Church and voted overwhelmingly for divorce.
Italy's 'ghost Shipwreck'20180713In 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 Fighters20160905The brother and sister who took part in the struggle to free Italy from fascism in WW2.
Italy's Shame: The Massacre In Ethiopia20170623In 1937 Italian forces occupying Addis Ababa murdered thousands of Ethiopian civilians
Italy's 'state-within-a-state'20170619In 1982 Italian banker Roberto Calvi was found dead in London in mysterious circumstances
It's A Wonderful Life2020122520201226 (WS)In December 1946, the classic Christmas film "It's a Wonderful Life" had its premiere in Hollywood. Starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie's message of hope and redemption is loved by millions. Simon Watts talks to former child star, Karolyn Grimes, who played six-year-old Zuzu Bailey. The programme was first broadcast in 2015.

PHOTO: Karolyn Grimes with Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" (Getty Images)

A former Hollywood child star remembers filming the classic Christmas movie in 1946.

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

Jack Ma: The Founder Of Alibaba20190506The 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 Rescue20160621An oil spill in June 2000 threatened tens of thousands of African penguins.
Jacqueline Du Pre20160802makes one of the most famous classical recordings of the 20th Century
Jamaica's 'drug Lord'2021031620210317 (WS)The Jamaican government issued a warrant for the arrest and extradition of the drug lord Christopher Coke, otherwise known as “Dudus” in May 2010. The United States wanted him extradited to face charges of racketeering and bringing drugs and guns into America. Coke controlled an area of the Jamaican capital Kingston, called Tivoli Gardens. Dozens of people in the district he dominated were killed as the police and military stormed the stronghold, even using mortar bombs to try and disperse the gunmen protecting Coke. Human rights attorney Jodi-Ann Quarrie talks to Bob Howard about the events and their impact on Jamaica.
(Jamaican police on patrol after a frenzy of gang and drug violence in Kingston, May 24 2010. Credit: Anthony Foster/Getty Images)

The hunt for the Jamaican drug lord which left dozens of civilians dead

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

Jamaica's Worst Train Accident20170904A survivor recalls the Kendal train crash in September 1957 when more than 200 died.
Jana Andolan - Nepal's People Power Movement2020062920200630 (WS)A people's movement brought an end to Nepal's absolute monarchy in 1990.

A people's movement called Jana Andolan brought an end to Nepal's absolute monarchy in the spring of 1990. Political parties worked together with students, workers and civil society groups to organise strikes and street protests – but although the king eventually agreed to their demands, it was the beginning of a long period of political instability. Lucy Burns speaks to activist and writer Devendra Raj Pandey about his memories of the first Jana Andolan.

PHOTO: Jubilant protesters take to the streets on April 9, 1990 in Kathmandu after the government announced an end to the 30-year ban on multi-political parties. (DOUGLAS CURRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

'jane' - The Underground Abortion Service20191031A 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.

Jane: The Underground Abortion Network2021031020210311 (WS)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.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo courtesy of Martha Scott

How feminists ended up performing abortions for women in 1960s America

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

Japanese Murders In Brazil20181115When 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 Prison20191205A 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 Russia20181113Pearl 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 Grace20180220In 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

Joan Littlewood, 'mother Of Modern British Theatre'2020102020201021 (WS)The working class woman who shook up the British theatre establishment in the 1950s and 60s. Joan Littlewood introduced improvisation and helped break down class barriers. She set up a theatre in a working class area in the east end of London which put on plays written by amateur writers and actors, many without classical training. She delighted in the fact that the laziest person in the company might be working class and the poshest the one scrubbing the stage. She went on to create successes such as 'Oh! What a Lovely War' and 'A Taste of Honey'. Claire Bowes has been talking to her friend and biographer, Peter Rankin.

Photo: Joan Littlewood outside the Theatre Royal Stratford in 1974 (Press Association)

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

John Muir And America's Wild Places20160819The Scottish-born naturalist considered the father of the National Parks in the USA.
Judy Garland's Final Shows20190114Judy 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 Highway20160531In 1979 the Karakoram Highway between Pakistan and China was opened to the public
Kenya's Hit Record: Jambo Bwana20170208The story of a 1980 Kenyan pop song which became an unlikely global hit.
Kenya's Ivory Inferno20190712Twelve 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

Kenya's Pioneering Publisher2021012120210122 (WS)When Dr Henry Chakava became Kenya's first African book editor in 1972, there were virtually no books or educational material published in African languages, even in Kiswahili. He made it his priority to translate work by African authors into African languages, he also commissioned original work in several of Kenya's many languages, and published hundreds of textbooks. A champion of cultural diversity across East Africa, Dr Chakava tells Rebecca Kesby why he devoted his life to preserving and enriching the region's languages, and why he believes even more must be done to make sure they survive and thrive in the future.

(Photo: Dr Henry Chakava. From his private collection)

Dr Henry Chakava made it his life's mission to publish in African languages.

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

Khrushchev's Soviet Housing Programme20170725In the 1960s, many Soviet families moved to a flat of their own for the first time.
Kia Ora: Maori Rights Breakthrough In New Zealand20160520Telephone operator Naida Glavish became known for saying good morning to callers in Maori
Kidnapped On An Orchid Hunt2021040120210402 (WS)In March 2000, two young English travellers, Tom Hart-Dyke and Paul Winder, were kidnapped by Colombian guerrillas while attempting to cross the notoriously dangerous Darien Gap region on the border with Panama. Hart-Dyke is a gardener who was on a mission to collect orchids, and he survived a nine-month ordeal by building a nursery in the cloud forest and planning his own dream garden for the family castle back home in Kent. He talks to Simon Watts.

PHOTO: Tom Hart-Dyke (l) with Paul Winder shortly after their release (Press Association)

How two Englishmen were seized by Colombian rebels while crossing the lawless Darien Gap

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

Kim Philby: The Third Man20160511In May 1988, the death was announced in Moscow of the English spy Kim Philby.
Kolkata Sex Workers.20170317In March 2001 thousands of Indian prostitutes united to fight for their rights.
Korea Divided20180611At 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'20180706When 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.

A unique way of life came to an end in Hong Kong in 1993 when Kowloon Walled City was demolished. When the rest of Hong Kong was a British colony, the seven acres of the Walled City were still nominally under the control of mainland China – but it became a lawless world of its own, a haven for gang crime and illegal dentistry. At one point it was one of the most of the most densely populated places the world has ever seen.

Lucy Burns speaks to Albert Ng, who grew up in Kowloon Walled City, and urban designer Suenn Ho, who studied it before its demolition.

PICTURE: Kowloon Walled City in January 1987 (Photo by South China Morning Post staff photographer via Getty Images)

Kurdish Singer Ahmet Kaya20161111The widow of the famous folk singer recalls the night that changed her husband's life.
Kuwaiti Women Secure The Vote20170307In 2005 an unprecedented protest by Kuwaiti women won a historic change
Laika The Space Dog20171108The Russian street dog was the first living creature to orbit the Earth.
Laika, The First Dog In Space20190715The 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

Landing On Titan2021011420210115 (WS)The story of the remarkable mission to land on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. The large mysterious moon has a thick orange atmosphere. No-one had ever seen the surface. In the late 1990s, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was sent on a 7 year, 3.5 billion km journey through space to explore Saturn and Titan. Alex Last spoke to Prof. Emeritus John Zarnecki of the Open University who worked on the mission.

Photo: A flattened (Mercator) projection of the Huygens probe's view of Titan. Taken by the Huygens probe on 14th January 2005 (ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

The remarkable mission to explore one of the moons of Saturn in 2005

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

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.

Le Corbusier And Chandigarh20201230Shortly after Indian independence Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru persuaded the maverick Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier, to help reinvent a newly independent India by building a new capital city for the province of Punjab.

Le Corbusier had revolutionised architecture and urban planning in the first half of the twentieth century. He was loved and hated in equal measure for his modernist approach, favouring flat roofs, glass walls and concrete.

Nehru said this new city would be "symbolic of the freedom of India, unfettered by the traditions of the past".

Starting in 1950 the city of Chandigarh was built from scratch on farmland and is unlike any other city in India. The broad boulevards, pedestrianised plazas and green spaces were designed to encourage a feeling of order and of being close to nature.

Claire Bowes spoke to Sumit Kaur, former Chief Architect and lifelong resident of Chandigarh, about the legacy left by Le Corbusier.

Photo:The Chandigarh Legislative Assembly building. 1999 (AFP PHOTO / John Macdougall)

The modernist architect Le Corbusier agreed to build a 'city of the future' in India

Learie Constantine - Fighting Racism In The Uk20191007The 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 Festival20160804The Middle East's oldest arts festival, in Baalbek in Lebanon, started 60 years ago
Legalising Contraception In Ireland2021051120210512 (WS)Contraception wasn't easily accessible in Ireland until 1985. Activists spent years fighting for the right to control their fertility but faced opposition from the Roman Catholic church which traditionally played a central role in Irish society. Paul Moss has been hearing from Betty Purcell who was a teenager when she first started campaigning.

Photo: a woman holding up a condom and some contraceptive pills. Credit: Getty Images.

Contraception wasn't easily accessible in traditionally Roman Catholic Ireland until 1985

History as told by the people who were there

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

Lenin And The Deadly Mushrooms20190312As 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 Notebooks20180214In 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 News20180523On 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 China20190723LGBT 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.

Libya's Arab Uprising2021012820210129 (WS)In the early months of 2011 demonstrators took to the streets across the Arab world in what became known as the Arab spring. In February, protests in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi soon turned into an armed revolt seeking to overthrow the dictator, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Six months later, following fierce fighting, Libyan rebel forces swept into the capital, Tripoli. After more than 42 years the Libyan leader was forced from power. He was later captured and killed. Farhana Haider has been speaking to BBC Arabic correspondent Feras Kilani, who was detained and beaten while covering the uprising.

Photo: Libyan anti-Gaddafi protesters wave their old national flag as they stand atop an abandoned army tank in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on February 28, 2011.(Credit PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2011 protests soon turned into an armed revolt seeking to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi.

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

Life With America's Black Panthers20181030Eldridge 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 Gaddafi20180905In 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 Nationalism20171010The Catalan leader who was executed by a Spanish fascist firing squad in October 1940.
London's First Black Policeman20200203Norwell 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 Planet20170628The travel guide that helped tourists make their way around the world on a budget.
Look Back In Anger20180517The 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 Mammoth20180601In 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 Union20190215In 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 Cjd20160316How a disease affecting cattle was transferred to the human population in Britain.
Madonna's First Single20171013Everybody was released in 1982 - it was the first step on Madonna's journey to stardom
Magellan And The First Voyage Around The World20190913In 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 Photos20170503The legendary photographic cooperative, Magnum, was founded 70 years ago
Makaton - The Signing System That Changes Lives2020111020201111 (WS)In the 1970s, British speech therapist Margaret Walker invented a revolutionary system of communication for children and adults with special needs. Makaton uses simple signs to reinforce spoken speech and make it easier for people with learning difficulties to understand the meaning. Makaton is now used by millions of people in around 40 countries around the world; it helps everyone from children with Down's Syndrome to pensioners with dementia. Margaret Walker talks to Simon Watts.

PHOTO: A Makaton user (credit: The Makaton Charity)

The creation of a communication system for people with learning difficulties in the 1970s

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

Mallory On Everest20160406In 1999 the body of legendary British mountaineer, George Mallory, was found on Everest.
Mamma Mia!20190722The 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.

Mao's Cultural Revolution20191002In 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 Secrets20180329The 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 Virus20200313A 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 Fountain20161020The story of the great French conceptualist artist Marcel Duchamp and his art
Marcus Garvey20160517In 1916 Marcus Garvey arrived in the US urging black people to unite in a new nation.
Margaret Ekpo - Nigeria's Feminist Pioneer2020082420200825 (WS)One of the leading figures in Nigeria's fight for democracy was Margaret Ekpo, a feminist politician and trades union leader. After Nigerian independence in 1960, Ekpo became an MP and a hero to a generation of Nigerians - men and women. Rebecca Kesby tells the story of her life.

PHOTO: Margaret Ekpo in London in August 1953 (ANL/Shutterstock)

The trades union activist and politician who fought for Nigerian independence.

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

Margaret Thatcher's Anti-europe Speech20191028The 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 Pioneer20160303In March 1921, Marie Stopes opened Britain's first birth control clinic in London
Marie Stopes: Birth Control Pioneer20180308In 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

Mars-500 Isolation Experiment2021031820210319 (WS)In 2010, six men were locked inside a simulated spacecraft on earth for 520 days. It was part of an experiment to see how humans would cope if cooped up together for the duration of a potential trip to Mars. The crew were monitored throughout and were treated as if they were on a real mission in space, though the spacecraft was actually housed in a warehouse in Moscow. They even performed a simulated space walk on the surface of Mars. The project was set up by Russia, China and the European Space Agency. Alex Last has been speaking to Diego Urbina (@DiegoU) who took part in the mission.

Photo: The six crew members of the Mars-500 mission. (From Left) Russia Alexey Sitev, France's Romain Charles, Russia's Sukhrob Kamolov, Russia's Alexander Smoleevskiy, Diego Urbina from Italy and China's Wang Yue. (Getty Images)

Why six men were locked inside a spacecraft on earth for 520 days

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

Martin Luther's 95 Theses20171031How German monk Martin Luther started a religious revolution
Marvel Comics And 'the Fantastic Four'20161024In 1961 a new generation of comic-book super heroes was launched in the US
Mary Wilson2021021920210220 (WS)The Motown group The Supremes had a string of number one hits in 1964. They would become the most popular girl group of the 1960s. One of the three original singers, Mary Wilson, spoke to Vincent Dowd about growing up in Detroit, commercial success, and civil rights.

Photo: The Supremes, (left to right) Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, on a visit to London in 1964. Credit: PA Wire.

The American singer died on 8th February 2021

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

Mash20180228On 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 Estonia20170322In 1949, Moscow arranged the deportation of tens of thousands of Estonians to Siberia.
Maximilian Kolbe: 'the Saint Of Auschwitz'20181024In 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 Riots20180516In 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.

Medicare20160718In July 1966, the US government health insurance programme Medicare came into force.
Medicine In World War One20170823Veterans tell the story of how medical care dealt with the horrors of WW1
Meeting Osama Bin Laden2021042720210428
20210428 (WS)
20210429 (WS)
When the Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan agreed to go and interview Osama bin Laden in 1996 he was apprehensive. By the time he reached the Al-Qaeda leader's mountain hideout - he was shaken and scared - but what was the man himself really like? Claire Bowes reports.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Osama bin Laden. Credit:AFP/Getty Images

One man's story of his journey to talk to the Al-Qaeda leader in 1996

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

Meeting Picasso20160727In the summer of 1951 art historian John Richardson met Pablo Picasso for the first time.
Memories Of Wilfred Owen20191111Wilfred 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 Use20191015By 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 Use20170308How Mexico City's bold plan helped reduce dangerously high pollution levels.
Mexico's Female Serial Killer2021040620210407 (WS)Former female wrestler Juana Barraza was found guilty in March 2008 of murdering at least eleven elderly women in Mexico city over a period of seven years. Barraza, who became known as the "little old lady killer", admitted to murdering three women, and told investigators that it was because of her lingering resentment for the abuse that she'd suffered as a child at the hands of her alcoholic mother. Mike Lanchin has been hearing from Mexican neuro-psychologist Dr Feggy Ostrosky, who spent days interviewing Barraza in jail, trying to understand what had turned her into a serial killer.

(Photo: Former female wrestler Juana Barraza. Credit: David Deolarte/AFP/Getty Images)

Juana Barraza was found guilty of murdering at least eleven elderly women in Mexico city

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

Mexico's Miracle Water20190115Thousands 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 Women20190827In 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 Crisis20160119In January 1995 Mexico was forced to seek a multi-billion dollar bailout from the US
Microwave Ovens20170123for domestic kitchens first became widely available in 1967.
Mindfulness For The Masses20190329In 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.

Montreal's 'night Of Terror'2020070820200709 (WS)When Montreal's police force went on strike for one day over pay in 1969, there was looting and rioting in the streets. But the city's problems leading to the unrest had been building for more than a decade. Organised crime, militant separatists and commercial rivalries all erupted on 7th October, just as police officers decided to protest that their pay was much lower than officers in other Canadian cities. Sidney Margles was a local reporter, and described the scene, and the underlying problems, to Rebecca Kesby.

(PHOTO: The scene at the Murray Hill Limousine garage as rioting left several buses on fire and damage to property, following a police strike in Montreal. Getty Images)

When the city's police force went on strike there was looting and rioting in the streets.

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

Moral Majority20160614In June 1979 the Moral Majority was launched and changed the course of American politics
Moscow Theatre Siege20171018Svetlana Gubareva recalls her ordeal when Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theatre in 2002.
Mother Teresa - The Nun Who Became A Saint20170301In March 1997 Mother Teresa retired from her charity work in India.
Mount Rushmore20171204Construction on one of America's most famous monuments started in 1927.
Mrs Thatcher's Ground-breaking Soviet Tv Interview2021033120210401 (WS)How Mrs Thatcher shook up the Soviet media with a landmark interview in Moscow in 1987 focusing on nuclear disarmament. It was broadcast unedited and helped bring in the era of “glasnost.” Bob Howard talks to Boris Kalyagin, one of the three Soviet journalists who interviewed the British prime minister.

Margaret Thatcher, circa 1993. copyright Jeff Overs / BBC

How Mrs Thatcher shook up the Soviet media with a landmark interview in Moscow.

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

Musicians Of The Iranian Revolution20190128During 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 Mao20191001American 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 Independence20160321In 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.

Nasa's Pioneering Black Women2020102320201024 (WS)Usually it is the names of astronauts that people remember about the space race. But less celebrated are the teams of people working on how to put a rocket into orbit. only in recent years have stories come to light of the contributions of the black women involved.

Many were recruited as 'computers', meaning that they carried out complex mathematical calculations by hand, before machines were invented that could do the job.

Christine Darden started her career in the computer pool, helping the engineers work out the trajectories needed to bring the Apollo Capsule back to Earth. Finally, she broke through the hidden barriers facing women at the time, gaining a promotion to engineer.

(Photo: Dr Christine Darden at a desk in Nasa's Langley Research Center, 1973. Credit: Bob Nye/Nasa/Getty Images)

The mathematicians who worked behind the scenes on the American space programme

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

Nato Bombs Serbian Tv20190422In 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.

Neanderthal Cave Mystery2020121020201211 (WS)A teenage potholer discovered a cave system near the town of Bruniquel in France in 1990 which contained a mysterious circular structure. It turned out to be nearly 200,000 years old, and built by Neanderthals – transforming our understanding of Neanderthal culture and society. Lucy Burns speaks to Bruno Kowalczewski, who discovered the cave, and geologist Sophie Verheyden, who was part of the research project which discovered the structure's incredible age.

Picture: taking measurements for the archaeo-magnetic survey in the Bruniquel Cave. Image: Etienne Fabre - SSAC via the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

A remarkable discovery in a cave at Bruniquel in southern France in 1990

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

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 Coup20160115In 1966 a small group of Nigerian army officers launched the country's first ever coup
Nike And The Sweatshop Problem20170815In the 1990s Nike got a bad name after being linked to sweatshops in Asia.
Nina Simone Moves To Liberia20190829The 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 Computer20170718The home gaming console was a breakthrough in the world of computer games.
No Sex In The Ussr20170705Why a Russian woman blurted out "We have no sex in the USSR" on international TV.
Nok Terracottas: Nigeria's Ancient Treasure20170911When West African tin miners unearthed evidence of a lost civilization
Norway's Eu Referendum20181130At 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 Riot20170825The racial disturbances in west London which shocked Britain in 1958.
Obesity20170228In 1997 obesity was first recognised as a global problem by the World Health Organisation
Occupy Wall Street2020082620200827 (WS)In 2011, the Occupy movement staged demonstrations against financial inequality across the world. The biggest was in New York, where a retired police officer called Ray Lewis became one of the best-known protestors when he was arrested in his old dress uniform. He talks to Robbie Wojciechowski.

PHOTO: Ray Lewis at the Occupy Wall Street protest (Getty Images)

How former policeman Ray Lewis joined the anti-inequality demonstrations in New York

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

Octavio Paz20161103In October 1990 the Mexican poet and essayist was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Operation Breakthrough: Fighting To Save Three Whales2020100120201002 (WS)Three Californian gray whales got caught in ice off Alaska in October 1988. Indigenous people, environmentalists, oil companies and even the Soviet Navy joined forces to try to free them. Rich Preston has been hearing from Cindy Lowri who was working for Greenpeace and who joined the battle to save the whales.

Photo: Local indigenous children watch a gray whale nosing up through the ice. (Credit: Taro Yamasaki/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images)

Three gray whales got caught in the ice off Alaska in October 1988

Operation Lifeline: Canada's Refugee Revolution20170529In 1979 Canadians began a revolutionary scheme to aid thousands of Indochinese refugees
Osama Bin Laden's Last Interview20171106Osama bin Laden spoke to journalist Hamid Mir as US-led forces closed in after 9/11.
Oscar Niemeyer's Forgotten Masterpiece20171101In the Lebanese city of Tripoli there is an exceptional architectural site.
Otis Redding20171212The great soul singer who was killed in a plane crash in December 1967
Our Bodies, Ourselves2020111920201120 (WS)Some have described Our Bodies, Ourselves as “obscene trash” – for others it's a vital source of information about women's health and sexuality. First published in 1973, this radical, and sometimes controversial, book has become a best-seller and a global phenomenon. Josephine Casserly talks to one of the authors, Joan Ditzion.

The story of a radical book about women's health and sexuality.

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

Outback Internment20160926During WWII, Britain deported some civilians classed as 'enemy aliens' to Australia.
Pablo Picasso20180427The 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 Alcohol20160331In the spring of 1977 the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced a ban on alcohol
Pakistan's First Nuclear Test20170526In May 1998 Pakistan responded to an Indian nuclear test with an explosion of its own
Pakistan's Theatre Revolution20180522In 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 Station20160210In 1994 Pakistan opened the country's first all-female police station
Palomares Nuclear Accident20160108How two US military planes, one carrying nuclear weapons, crashed over a Spanish village
Paris Is Burning2021031520210316 (WS)The documentary Paris is Burning was released in 1991 The award winning film showed a glimpse of the thriving underground ballroom and drag scene in New York City in the 1980s and the black and LatinX LGBTQ+ communities at the heart of it. The United States in the 1980s was a difficult place to be different, with homophobia and racism running rife. Pairs is Burning was filmmaker Jennie Livingston's first documentary and she has been telling Bethan Head about the lengthy process of bringing the film to the screen.

The groundbreaking film about drag queens and LGBTQ+ people in New York

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

Paris Protests Of 196820160518How student protests and workers' strikes threatened to bring down France's government.
Patty Hearst The Rebel Heiress20190401Patty 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 War20170621In 1950, tens of thousands of Christians were persecuted during the Korean War.
Philippines People Power Revolution20160224In 1986, Filipinos took to the streets to overthrow the regime of Ferdinand Marcos
Photographing Martin Luther King And His Family20180814In 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 Divers20170728In the 1970s, deep sea divers were at the sharp end of the North Sea oil boom
Plane Spotters Arrested In Greece20161122In Nov 2001 a group of British tourists was arrested in Greece and charged with spying.
Playgrounds Made Of Junk20180705Post-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 Kosovo20160307How Roma Gypsies, who fled ethnic violence in 1999, were settled in a camp on toxic land
Prague Spring20180821A 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 Crash20190514In 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 Resigns20180521On 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 Patient20170405In April 1987 Princess Diana opened the UK's first purpose built HIV Aids unit
Princess Diana's Minefield Walk20170112How Britain's most famous Royal brought the danger landmines to the world's attention.
Princess Margaret And The War Hero20181031In 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 Eye20171024A new satirical magazine called Private Eye was published in London in October 1961.
Proving Climate Change: The Keeling Curve20191014How 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

Prozac20160205In the spring of 1988 a new kind of anti-depressant went on the market.
Puerto Rican Attack At The Us Capitol2021011220210113 (WS)In March 1954, a group of Puerto Rican militants opened fire from the public gallery of the US Congress in an effort to promote their fight for independence for the American territory. Five members of the House of Representatives were wounded in an attack which made headlines around the world and turned its leader, Lolita Lebron, into a nationalist heroine on the Caribbean Island. Simon Watts has been listening to archive accounts of the incident.

PHOTO: Lolita Lebron and two Puerto Rican colleagues are arrested after the attack (US Congress/Corbis/Getty Images)

How independence campaigners opened fire in Congress in 1954, wounding five US law-makers

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

Quarantined In A Tb Sanatorium2020070120200702 (WS)The life of a nine-year-old girl quarantined in a TB sanatorium for 4 years in the 1950s

What it was like to be a child quarantined in a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in the 1950s. Ann Shaw was nine when she was first admitted to the Craig-y-nos sanatorium in Wales and 13 when she was finally allowed home. Until antibiotic treatments came along, to stop the disease spreading, TB patients were kept apart from the general population and their families, often for years. This included babies and children, leaving many traumatised. Ann Shaw tells Louise Hidalgo about the half-life they lived in the sanatorium.

Picture: boys on the balcony of the Craig-y-nos TB sanatorium; fresh mountain air was regarded as one of the best treatments for TB (Credit: from the private collection of the family of Mari Friend, a former patient at Craig-y-nos)

Rabindranath Tagore20170818The "Bard of Bengal" died on August the 7th 1941.
Race Riots In Liverpool20160725In 1981 police used CS gas for the first time in mainland Britain to control race riots
Racial Equality In Britain - Learie Constantine20181001The 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

Radar And World War Two2020081020200811 (WS)During World War Two, British women were employed as operators of a top-secret radar system for detecting aircraft. The new technology had helped shift the balance of power in the air war with Nazi Germany. Laura Fitzpatrick talks to Margaret Faulds, who was stationed at a Royal Navy Air Station during the war.

PHOTO: Margaret Faulds in naval uniform during World War Two (Personal Collection).

How British women operated secret radar technology during World War Two

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

Radiocarbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud20160314In 1988 scientists performed a carbon dating test on the Shroud of Turin.
Radiocarbon Dating Of The Turin Shroud20180322The 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 Joke20170811We 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 Towers20180417After 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 Mice20161208Scientist Elizabeth Fisher created a new strain of mouse to help understand Down Syndrome
Red Hollywood20200318In 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 Lords20181008Britain'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 Laws20200128In 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.

Refugee Island2021030220210303 (WS)In 2001, boats carrying hundreds of, mainly Afghan, refugees arrived on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. This marked the beginning of the “Pacific Solution” – a policy by the Australian government to establish offshore centres for processing asylum claims. The policy was intended to act as a deterrent, discouraging people from travelling to Australia. Many of the refugees lived in the cramped conditions of Nauru for years.

In this Witness History, Josephine Casserly speaks to Yahya, an Afghan refugee who left his home country as a school student when the Taliban gained control of his local area. Yahya was one of the first refugees to arrive at Nauru's detention centre. Like many, he was hopeful that his stay in the makeshift camp would be a temporary measure, and he'd be quickly resettled in Australia. But that was not to be.

(Asylum seekers on their first day in the compound at Nauru after their long voyage, Sept 2001. Credit: Angela Whylie/Getty images)

How a tiny Pacific Island became a limbo for asylum seekers

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

Remembering Chairman Mao20160906On September 9th 1976 the founding father of Chinese Communism, Mao Zedong, died.
Resisting 'europe's Last Dictator' In Belarus2020091420200915 (WS)For more than 20 years, people in Belarus have been protesting against the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko - who's been dubbed Europe's last dictator. Lukashenko came to power in a landslide election victory in 1994 but he soon changed the constitution to give himself sweeping new powers. He has remained in office ever since, winning elections which observers say are rigged. Opponents of the regime have faced harassment, violence and arrest. Some are believed to have been kidnapped and murdered by the state. Alex Last has been speaking to the exiled dissident and co-founder of the Belarus Free Theatre, Nikolai Khalezin, about the origins of the protest movement in Belarus.

Photo: A banner compares Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to Stalin and Hitler, during a protest march in Minsk, Belarus, March 15, 2000 (Getty Images)

Exiled dissident Nikolai Khalezin on the origins of the protest movement in Belarus

Restoring 'the Last Supper'20160608In 1999 Italian art experts completed an ambitious restoration of da Vinci's masterpiece.
Returning Ethiopia's Looted History2020071520200716 (WS)The Stele of Axum, a 4th century Ethiopian treasure, was finally returned by Italy in 2005. It had been taken from the ancient town of Axum in northern Ethiopia by invading Italian fascist forces in 1937. The huge 24 metre tall stele was originally erected to mark the site of a royal tomb during the Kingdom of Axum. The Axumites were a powerful and sophisticated civilisation which emerged in northern Ethiopia more than 2000 years ago. Alex Last spoke to Ethiopian archaeologist Tekle Hagos of Addis Ababa University about the return of the great monument.

Photo: The Stele of Axum , now re-erected back in Axum, northern Ethiopia.(Getty Images)

The Stele of Axum, a 4th century Ethiopian treasure, was returned by Italy in 2005

Revolutionary Psychiatrist Rd Laing20170425The 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.

In the 1990s the Democratic Republic of Congo, then Zaire, was in the grip of a violent civil war. The conflict reached the remote area of the Ituri forest in the north-east of the country - an area with enormous biodiversity but also rich in minerals and diamonds.
Dedicated conservationist Corneille Ewango hid in the forest from armed groups to try and protect the area's plants and animals, despite repeated threats to his life. He spoke to Rachael Gillman for Witness History.

(Photo: Corneille Ewango in the Ituri forest. Courtesy of Corneille Ewango)

Ritalin20160607The drug Ritalin was developed in the 1940s - it's now used to treat ADHD.
Riverdance20160513Irish dance sensation Riverdance debuted at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin
Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory20170125Roald Dahl's book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, was published in January 1964
Robert Mapplethorpe - Photographer20180709The 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 Chernobyl20170531In 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

People took to the streets of Los Angeles in fury after police, who had assaulted a black driver called Rodney King, were acquitted in 1992. His assault had been captured on video and played repeatedly on US television. In 2012 Nina Robinson spoke to Rodney King about the beating, the trial of the police, and the anger and mayhem that followed their acquittal.

Photo: Rodney King in 2012. Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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

Rolling Stone Magazine20161110Writer and musician Michael Lydon recalls the birth of an iconic magazine.
Romania's Abortion Ban20171023Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu made abortion illegal in October 1966.
Romania's Orphans20160405In 1989 news began to emerge of terrible conditions in Romania's orphanages.
Ronald Reagan And The Moral Majority2020102920201030 (WS)In June 1979 the Moral Majority was launched and changed the course of American politics. It was set up to promote family values by religious conservatives from Catholic, Jewish and evangelical Christian communities. It urged protestants in particular to go against the tradition of separating politics and religion and register to vote, and to vote Republican. Richard Viguerie was one of the driving forces behind the movement. He spoke to Claire Bowes in 2016.

(Photo: Ronald Reagan with Richard Viguerie in Atlanta, Georgia, 1975, courtesy of ConservativeHQ.com)

How US religious conservatives organised in the 1970s to get Republicans elected.

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

Roots - The Tv Series20170119The epic mini-series about slavery in the USA hit TV screens in January 1977
Rosalind Franklin Dna Pioneer20170206The scientist produced an x-ray photograph in 1951 that helped show the structure of DNA
Roselle - The 9/11 Guide Dog20170921The inspiring story of how a Labrador led her blind master out of the World Trade Center.
Rupert Brooke20190430In 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 Capitalism20180404Chaos 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 Bitter Taste Of Capitalism2020062620200627 (WS)Chaos and hardship hit Russia with the sudden market reforms of early 1992.

Chaos and hardship hit Russia with the rapid market reforms in early 1992, just weeks after the collapse of the USSR. In 2018 Dina Newman spoke to one of the architects of this “shock therapy” - Andrei Nechaev, who was then the Minister for Economic Development.

This programme is a rebroadcast.

Photo: Old women selling cigarettes on the streets of Moscow in 1992. Credit: BBC.

Russia's 'dog Man'20161230How conceptual artist Oleg Kulik posed as a dog, attacking passers-by in Moscow.
Russia's Forbidden Art20160112The Russian painter who created a world-famous collection of forbidden Soviet art
Rwanda At The Paralympics2020112620201127 (WS)In 2012, the Rwandan sitting volleyball team became the first Paralympians from their country. The sport began in Rwanda after thousands of people were mutilated during the genocide of 1994, and there were emotional scenes in London when the Rwandan side eventually won a match. Bob Nicholson talks to Rwanda's captain, Emile Vuningabo, and the side's Dutch coach, Peter Karreman. The programme is a Whistledown Production.

PHOTO: The Rwandan team blocking a shot at the 2012 Paralympics (Getty Images)

In 2012, Rwanda's sitting volleyball team became their country's first Paralympians

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

Sabah: The Songbird Of Lebanon20171109The singing star and actress was one of the most popular celebrities in the Middle East.
Sabra And Shatila - A Massacre In Lebanon20170915A doctor working in Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon recalls the massacre there
Saddam Hussein's Big Movie Project2020101620201017 (WS)In 1980 the Iraqi strongman, Saddam Hussein, tried to launch his country's entry into the world of movie making. He spent millions of dollars on an epic movie called Clash of Loyalties, filmed almost entirely on location in Iraq, and staring some of Britain's leading actors , including Oliver Reed, Helen Ryan and James Bolam. But soon after shooting of the film began, war erupted between Iraq and neighbouring Iran. Mike Lanchin speaks to the film's Iraqi-born British producer Lateif Jorephani and the Iraqi actor, Fatima al Rubai, about the ambitious project.

Photo Credit: Jorephani Productions

Behind the scenes at the Iraqi-funded, Clash of Loyalties

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

Saddam Hussein's 'supergun'20200220An 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 Dali20180124The 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 Beckett20161222The great Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett died on 22nd December 1989
Sanctuary Cities In The Usa20170210How American cities like San Francisco became safe havens for undocumented immigrants
Sara Ginaite Lithuanian Jewish Partisan20161213A young Jewish woman escaped from the Kaunas Ghetto in Lithuania to fight the Nazis.
Sarajevo: Singing For Peace20180327After 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.

Satyajit Ray - India's Master Of Film2020122320201224 (WS)Bengali film director Satyajit Ray has been described as one of the most influential directors in world cinema, with acclaimed US director Martin Scorsese among those crediting him as an inspiration. Early on in his career, Satyajit Ray released the classic Apu trilogy, which followed the life of a character called Apu from his childhood in rural Bengal to adulthood. Soumitra Chatterjee, the actor who played the title character in the final film, spoke to Farhana Haider. Soumitra Chatterjee died in November 2020.

(Photo: Satyajit Ray in 1989: Credit AFP/Getty Images)

An actor's memories of working with the Bengali director on the classic Apu trilogy

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

Saving Antarctica20200221In 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 Ww220171011Italy's great works of art were threatened by bombing and looting during World War Two.
Saving Orphaned African Elephants20161123How a Kenyan woman, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, first raised orphaned baby African elephants
Saving The Great Barrier Reef20191101In 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.

Saving The Great Barrier Reef2020123120210101 (WS)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

In the 1960s the Queensland government wanted to mine and drill for oil on the reef

Science City In Siberia2017120120171203 (WS)Thousands of scientists moved to deepest Siberia to dedicate their lives to research.
Scoring A Victory For Women's Rights In Turkey2020081320200814 (WS)In 2004 feminist campaigners in Turkey forced a radical change in the law on crimes against women. The overhaul of the country's 80-year-old penal code meant a redefinition of crimes such as rape and sexual assault; references to chastity, honour and virginity were also removed from the legislation. It was a major victory for a group of women who had been pressing for reform for years and was also one of the conditions for Turkey's accession talks with the European Union. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Pinar Ilkkaracan, who led the successful campaign for legal change.

(PHOTO: TARIK TINAZAY/AFP via Getty Images)

How Turkish campaigners forced a radical change in the law on crimes against women

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

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 Experiment20180426A 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 Disappeared20170428How 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.

Sequencing The Ebola Virus Genome2021010720210108 (WS)When the deadly Ebola virus broke out in West Africa in 2014, scientists in the USA set to work analysing it. What they discovered would eventually lead to a treatment. Pardis Sabeti is a virologist at Harvard University and leads the team who sequenced the Ebola virus genome - she has been speaking to Ibby Caputo for Witness History.

Photo: Pardis Sabeti (front row, right) with some of the team who sequenced the virus in the lab.

When the deadly Ebola virus broke out in West Africa scientists in the USA set to work

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

Seven Years In Tibet20160215The 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

In the late 1990s, whistle-blowers implicated UN peacekeepers and international police in the forced prostitution and trafficking of Eastern European women into Bosnia, which was just emerging from a bitter civil war. Louise Hidalgo has been talking to one of those who sounded the alarm, British human rights lawyer, Madeleine Rees, who was then working for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bosnia.

Picture: the United Nations Peacekeeping Force patrols the Bosnian capital Sarajevo in March 1996 (Credit: Roger Lemoyne/Liaison/Getty Images)

Sexual Harassment In India20170130The first time a case of sexual harassment came to court in India.
Shackleton20191203Hear 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 Jubilee20160422How actor David Garrick organised the first national celebration of Shakespeare in 1769
Shambo The Sacred Bull20180731In 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 Nigeria20160128In 2000, Zamfara became the first Nigerian state to implement full Sharia law
Shark Attack Survivor20170919When Rodney Fox survived the jaws of a Great White Shark it inspired him to study them.
Shell Shock20161025Veterans talk about their experience of 'shell shock' in recordings from the BBC archive
Shenzhen - Special Economic Zone20170508In May 1980 Communist China allowed capitalist activity for the first time.
Shirley Chisholm - The Black Woman Who Tried To Be President2020102720201028 (WS)In January 1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party black candidate to make a bid for the US Presidency. She was also the first black woman elected to Congress. In 2015, Farhana Haider spoke to former Congressman Charles Rangel who worked with Shirley Chisholm.

(Photo: Shirley Chisholm at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Credit: Getty Images)

The pioneering politician who launched a run for the US presidency in 1972.

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

Shoah The Film20180524Shoah, 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 World20200122Silent 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 Spy20190920Sir 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 Spencer20160930He was one of Britain's most admired 20th century painters. His daughters remember him.
Sister Lotus - Early Chinese Online Star20190620Sister 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 Network20190531Six 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.

Slaughterhouse-five20190314In 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 Test20180711The 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 Cancer20160616It was not until the 1950s that the link was proven between cigarettes and lung cancer
Smuggling Endangered Birds20161118In Nov 1996 leading ornithologist Tony Silva was convicted of smuggling endangered birds.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs20160203In 1938, the first animated feature film was released, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Somalia's Islamic Courts Union20171218How the Islamic movement brought a brief moment of peace to Mogadishu after years of war
South Africa Takes On Big Pharma2021032520210326 (WS)At the end of the 1990s, tens of millions of people across Africa had been infected with HIV and in South Africa hundreds of thousands of people were dying from AIDS. People were demanding cheaper drugs, but the big pharmaceutical companies didn't want to play ball. They took the South African to court over the right to import cheap drugs in a case which would last three years and which would pit the big pharmaceutical companies against Nelson Mandela and the rainbow nation. Bob Howard talks to Bada Pharasi, a former negotiator at South Africa's department of health.

SANDTON, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 17: HIV/AIDS activists demonstrate in front of the American consulate on June 17, 2010. Credit: Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

The fight between Big Pharma and South Africa over the right to import cheap drugs.

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

South Africa's 1985 State Of Emergency20160927In the dying years of Apartheid, the white government was desperate to keep control.
South Africa's First Free Elections20190424After 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 Commission20180116When 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 1980s Prison Camps2020071720200718 (WS)A so-called Social Purification project led to thousands of ordinary citizens being imprisoned under the military government in South Korea in the 1980s. Under the pretence of clearing the streets of vagrants and undesirables, people were sent to camps disguised as 'social welfare centres' where many of them suffered torture, forced labour, and physical and sexual abuse. Bugyeong Jung has been speaking to Seung-woo Choi who was taken to a centre in the port city of Busan when he was just 13 years old.

Photo: Seung-woo Choi talking to reporters outside South Korea's National Assembly. Credit BBC.

A so-called Social Purification project led to thousands of citizens being imprisoned

South Korea's Economic Miracle2020062320200624 (WS)How a poor, war-ravaged nation became a global economic powerhouse

An eyewitness account of how a poor, war-ravaged nation became a global economic powerhouse. We hear the memories of Dr Kongdan Oh, who grew up in South Korea in the 1950s, in the aftermath of the Korean War. The country had been left devastated by the conflict. Then, in the early 1960s, South Korea's new military leader, General Park Chung-hee, launched an ambitious national drive for rapid economic growth. For many, it marked the start of South Korea's economic transformation.

Photo: South Korean labourers balancing baskets of coal, while working inside the grounds of a factory. Busan, 1967 (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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

South Korea's Summer Of Terror20180723At 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 Pilot20161206Yelena Malyutina was a Soviet female bomber pilot who fought in WW2.
Space Crash20160622Michael Foale was on board the Mir space station when a resupply vessel crashed into it
Spanish Embassy Killings20160201In January 1980, 37 people died as police stormed Spain's embassy in Guatemala
Speaking Out Against My Abuser: Daniel Ortega20190306In 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 America20180102The 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' Rights20160308Millions of women were left single after the men they would have married died in WW1.
Spying For America In Russia20160729The story of Russian spy Alexandr Ogorodnik and his CIA handler, Marti Peterson.
Spying On South Africa's Nuclear Bomb20180208During 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 Grave20190425The 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 w