Documentaries

Documentaries

United Kingdom

The best of BBC World Service documentaries and other factual programmes.

Episodes

Albania's Cannabis Boom  

Linda Pressly and Albana Kasapi investigate the 'Green Gold' rush in the Balkan nation

Interview with the CIA Director, John Brennan  

The BBC’s Security Correspondent, Gordon Corera, interviews the CIA Director, John Brennan.

The Taboo of Feminism  

The BBC’s Katy Watson travels to Los Angeles and asks why feminism is still regarded by many as a word to avoid. Despite an ongoing gender pay gap, and a lack of female business-leaders, why does the word continue to raise an eyebrow?

Jobs for the Girls - Part Two  

Divya Arya meets the women from rural parts of India who are bucking the trend and working in jobs traditionally done by men. She meets the 'Solar Mamas' learning solar engineering, a widowed railway porter taking on the tough job her husband used to do, the women in rural Karnataka finding a voice in local radio, and those learning the male-dominated trades of boat building, masonry, carpentry and farm management.

The Life of President Fidel Castro  

Cuba's iconic leader has died - we look back over his life

Checkmate for the King of Chess?  

The bizarre tale of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov - master or pawn in the great game of chess?

Candela: The Lives of Cuban Women  

From a Bolero concert to a cancer ward, and from the apartment of a guy who helps Cubans get foreign visas to an Afro-Cuban Santeria ceremony, reporter Deepa Fernandes finds out how ordinary Cuban women have lived, loved and invented their way through dwindling resources and political isolation.

Jobs for the Girls - Part One  

Unemployment rates in India have shot up in recent years, and around twice as many women are out of work compared with their male counterparts. Divya Arya travels across India meeting some of the women who are challenging gender stereotypes and breaking down social taboos in order to find work in areas traditionally the preserve of men.

Cleansing Turkey  

Public employee one day, enemy of the state the next. The post coup reality in Turkey.

Country Down Under  

Country music is commonly associated with downtrodden, lovelorn, white inhabitants of America’s rural south, but it has also long been a significant form of expression for Australia’s Aboriginal peoples. Country music became popular 'down under' during the first half of the 20th Century. Thanks to gramophone recordings, wind-up radios and touring bands, it even reached the bush where most Aboriginals lived, often more or less imprisoned on missions and government-controlled reserves. At a time when their own cultural heritage was being systematically erased, country music became a medium through which they could maintain their practice of sharing stories via the oral tradition. Its resonance was enhanced by melodies which tended towards the melancholic. As one musician put it “country music was all about loss, and we’d lost everything”. Through country music, Aboriginal people were able to give voice to their personal experiences and ongoing struggles for justice. Songs describe, for example, how babies and land were stolen, incidents of racism, poor living conditions, and high levels of incarceration. Country music, far from its origins, has thus become a deeply moving and powerful Aboriginal activism art form. With contributions from Auriel Andrew, Kev Carmody, Roger Knox, Sue Ray, Glenn Skuthorpe and Clinton Walker.

How to Win a US Election  

After one of the most extraordinary and unpredictable US Presidential election campaigns, Americans have voted for their next President, choosing Donald Trump to take his place in the White House. Before the first Presidential debate, polls indicated that the candidates were neck and neck. Then the momentum of the campaign changed, with Donald Trump rocked by the leaked tape of his lewd comments and repudiation by some Republicans. Following an astonishing second debate, Trump fought to keep his campaign on the road, returning to the tactics which had originally secured his nomination, firing up his core support with anti-Washington rhetoric and increasingly bitter attacks on Hillary Clinton. For Hillary Clinton lingering doubts remained in voters’ minds about her trustworthiness, clouding her bid to become the first woman president. With the result still resonating, Katty Kay takes a post-election view from the perspective of the winning side. She hears why Trump supporters in the key swing state of Pennsylvania were so motivated to vote for Trump and explores the key moments and turning points from the campaigns.

Searching for Tobias  

In Mississippi in 2008, Chloe Hadjimatheou met a 15-year-old black boy with dreams of being a policeman. Eight years later, Chloe goes in search of him to find what became of him. Did he prosper in Obama's America?

The Story of the Bamboo Club  

The Bamboo club was built for the people of St Pauls, in Bristol, England - the people who were victimised or not welcome elsewhere because of the colour of their skin. We hear from dozens of people who were members, musicians, or simply occasional visitors. They all share the same idea that there were two themes running through the club – community and music.

The History of Rhythm  

Acclaimed percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has a lifelong passion for understanding how we are impacted by rhythm. She explores the evolution of musical rhythm over several millennia through different cultures, demonstrating how migration has impacted many different styles of music across generations and regions, and how the resulting fusions gave rise to new rhythms in contemporary music.

Prisons for Rent in the Netherlands  

There’s a shortage of criminals in the Netherlands. What are the Dutch doing about it?

The Response - Turning Point  

For Dan Jeffries, an act of kindness proved to be a turning point that saved his own life. Robert Maxim, faced homelessness but found a way to survive for three months, and Alan Pickard turned his social life around – with dance. Also, Festo Michael Kambarangwe who lived with 50 siblings and 14 stepmothers; Oladipupo Adeola meets a Muslim for the first time and Pam Hawley finds love in an unexpected way. With contributions from Alla Salah, Misha Anker, Saba Fahim, Jean Richter.

Iceland Rescue  

A family stranded in a snowfield. A woman with vertigo on a mountain. A hiker falling in lava. These are just some of the jobs for Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg (Ice-SAR): the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue. Ice-SAR is an elite national emergency militia with a gallant reputation in Iceland. In place of an army, its skilled volunteers, all unpaid, are expertly trained, well equipped, self-financed and self-sufficient.

Change in America  

How has the US changed since 2008? As the world chews its nails, waiting to see how the US election story ends, Lizzie O’Leary tries to do something a little different: looking at data to figure out how America is different now, in November 2016, from the country which elected its first black president eight years ago. Lizzie – from the US radio show Marketplace – is joined in New York City by the political analyst Amy Holmes, demographer Bill Frey and the journalist Meghan McArdle. She’s also armed with audiographs, illustrating some surprising data in sound.

The last days of the Calais Jungle  

Gavin Lee documents the final days of France’s notorious migrant camp, meeting inhabitants from as far afield as Gambia and Afghanistan to ask what the future holds for them now.

African Books to Inspire  

A panel of writers talk to Audrey Brown about the African books which have had the biggest impact on them, their writing and the wider world. What makes a great book? On the panel are black British rapper-poet Akala; Abdilatif Abdalla, the Kenyan poet and activist; Nigerian novelist Sarah Ladipo Manyika; and Yewande Omotoso, South African poet and academic.

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