From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

United Kingdom

Insight, wit and analysis as BBC correspondents, journalists and writers take a closer look at the stories behind the headlines. Presented by Kate Adie and Pascale Harter.

Episodes

Getting Out  

Birthday cakes, icons of cool and the candidate coining new words in the French election. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. On the campaign trail in France, Hugh Schofield finds visions of a new world and calls to ‘“get em out’ ahead of the election on Sunday. Alastair Leithead asses the political turmoil in South Africa - not by speaking with protesters, but by mingling with party-goers at a presidential birthday-bash. In Argentina, Newsnight’s Stephen Smith meets Che Guevara’s younger brother and discovers that the revolutionary's legacy is probably not what he would have hoped for. As President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office Shaimaa Khalil has been on a road trip across middle-America, visiting the states that helped get him elected. And in Kabul Nanna Muus Steffensen meets that young student asking herself ‘should I stay and be part of Afghanistan’s future or get out while I can?’

Stamina of the Strongmen  

Controversial votes in Turkey and Kashmir, and a university challenged in Hungary. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Justin Rowlatt is in Kashmir on election day where he sees plenty of police and protestors, but where are the voters? In Turkey Mark Lowen finds that paranoia has reached the level of absurdity ahead of the country’s referendum. Not only are TV chefs accused of being spies, but our own correspondent comes under suspicion of being a foreign agent, though thankfully not for long. In Cuba Linda Pressly meets the scientists behind a cancer vaccine now being trialled in the US; they owe everything to Fidel Castro, they tell her. As part of the World Service Life Stories season, Sahar Zand meets the Toraja people of Eastern Indonesia for whom death doesn’t always mean goodbye. And in Hungary Nick Thorpe dips his toe into the stream of controversy that surrounds the government’s ongoing war against liberalism.

Excitement and disgust  

Pastry police, pardoned bulls and pricey pigeons. Correspondents’ stories with Kate Adie. Stephen Sackur's visit to Venezuela ends rather more abruptly than he'd intended, foreign journalists are rarely welcome he discovers. In Spain the debate about the ethics of bullfighting has started its annual dance and Antonia Quirke finds both excitement and disgust. One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, a President Lenin will soon take office in Ecuador. Joe Gerlach watches election day unfold from an airport lounge in the capital. Flora Bradley-Watson is among the pigeon fanciers of Istanbul talking politics and feathered friends. And Owen Bennett-Jones finds himself answering, rather than asking, questions as he gets to know the Somali Americans living in Minneapolis.

Tumbling Down  

Robbery, extortion, kidnapping; bananas with everything; and a monkey cascade. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Tom Stevenson is in the Libyan capital Tripoli, where the lights are out, the militias are enriching themselves, and chaos reigns. Matthew Brunwasser tells the story of the man fighting for justice in Serbia, 17 years after his three brothers were murdered. Gemma Newby tucks into bananas for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dominican Republic as she visits a now crumbling town built by one of the banana giants; Kieran Cooke is in the town in the West of Ireland which used to have the highest pub to people ratio in the country. That, and much else, has changed but the spirit remains undiminished. And in Ethiopia's Highlands, the writer Tim Butcher witnesses the extraordinary and heart-warming spectacle of the great African monkey cascade

Saying It Straight  

Tall stories, strange names, ancient giants and linguistic confusion. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Colin Freeman, in the Pakistani city of Quetta, wonders if it is still a Taliban stronghold. Chris Haslam, in Zambia, is shocked by some of the strange names given to children. Tim Ecott is among giants on Mexico's Baja Peninsula - both in the ocean and on land. Sodaba Haidare visits a special restaurant in the Afghan capital Kabul which is empowering women victims of domestic abuse. And Joanna Robertson reaches for the NervenTee in Italy's South Tyrol region - but which language should she use? More tea please!

Chips and Mayonnaise  

Rancid fried onion, a great wall of iron, chips and mayonnaise with a healthy sprinkle of identity. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Lucy Ash is in northern France, in Denain, scene of Emile Zola's Germinal. The poverty may be less extreme today but it's part of the "forgotten France" being targetted by the Front National. Gabriel Gatehouse grew up in Amsterdam in a time when questioning immigration would label you a racist. That's all changed as, it seems. And if the famous Dutch tolerance has gone, what's left? The vast region of Xinjiang, in western China, is home to 10 million people from the Uigher minority. The government says it's also the front line in its war on terror. It's not a place which the authorities like journalists to visit. But Carrie Gracie did get there. Lebanon has a million and a half Syrian refugees - the most per capita of any nation. Martin Bell is in the Bekaa Valley, where the refugees have become a profitable source of cheap labour. Many would like to return home but their chances of doing so are slight. And Kevin Connolly's mother is proud of the name she chose for him. But he's not so sure anymore - especially when he heard about "The Curse of Kevin" in a French magazine.

Political Distractions  

Pets and Politics; football and narcotics; and building a country with a flag. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. South Korea is in political turmoil but, as Steve Evans explains, people seem more concerned with the fate of the now ex-president's pets. The narcotic plant Qat and Premiership football provide a welcome distraction from boredom in the Horn of Africa, says James Jeffrey. And governments are quite happy with that. How do you unify a country? That was a challenge faced by Kyrgystan's flag designers, as Caroline Eden discovered. The village of Deià, on Mallorca's north shore, is where the poet and novelist Robert Graves lived and died. Graeme Fife used to be a frequent visitor. Now he wonders how much the place has changed. Belize is one of the countries that still has the death penalty on its statute books. But it hasn't executed anyone for decades. And now others, including a woman with the nickname of the anti-Christ, are having their life sentences reduced. Charlotte McDonald explains why.

Cutting Through  

The duffel-coated outcast; from bomb factory to museum; icy cooperation; singing for home; greening sands. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Hugh Schofield meets a defiant - and chipper - Jean-Marie Le Pen, the outcast founder of the France's Front National; in north-west Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, Colin Freeman is shown a bomb-making factory - just the latest evidence of the violence that has dominated the region for more than a century; in the icy seas off Finland, fears of Russian 'little green men' are put aside as a Finnish icebreaker - with Horatio Clare on board - introduces a moment of peace and cooperation. Singing for home and a lost culture - Nicola Kelly hears how Nubians in Egypt are trying to reconnect with their lost homeland. And, in Oman, it's not golden sands that Antonia Quirke sees in the desert but a carpet of green.

The Unsolved  

Voting with your husband, unsolved murders, cooking on the centre spot, shamans and mud. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Melissa Van Der Klugt is in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, where a giant exercise in democracy has been taking place but where illiteracy and political ignorance remains high. Peter Walker, in Malawi, comes across worrying signs that the police are ready to sweep murder under the carpet. In China, they're spending a fortune on football but will it bring world cup glory, as the President wants. Richard Dove has his doubts. In Peru, Simon Parker comes face to face with an Andean Shaman for the first time and hears concerns that too many tourists are more interested in bragging rights and profile pictures than in the sacred heritage of Machu Picchu. And in Vermont, winter is fading and they're on the cusp of spring - it's time to get dirty, says Christine Finn, because it's Mud Season.

A Journalist's Best Friend  

Lost confidence, fake seeds, masked assignations, steaming glory and animal insights. Humphrey Hawksley is in a fishing village in the Philippines, hard hit by China's expanding maritime claims. Adam Shaw is in rural Kenya where a precarious existence for farmers is made even worse by crooks selling counterfeit seeds. In Venice, it's a time to dress up in your feathers and mantillas and, of course, masks - to look your very Carnivale best - but not if you're a local. Petroc Trelawny takes the slow train through Germany's Harz mountains, once the frontline between east and west. And Andrew Harding has travelled far and wide as a correspondent, experiencing the excitement, the tension, and the vets.

Too Many Ways to Talk  

How do you keep your audience listening if the story's so hard to hear? That's what Alastair Leithead grapples with in South Sudan's civil war. Warsaw was all but destroyed in the Second World War, and the repercussions of that are still being felt today; Anna Meisel tells the story of the "property cleansers" who have pushed thousands out of their homes, and of the woman who tried to fight back. In New York's subway, John Mervin gets caught up in a rescue - and there's a message for those too attached to their phones. If Pelicans are your thing, Albania is the place to go because, as Elizabeth Gowing explains, these are philopatric birds. Tourism across North Africa has taken a hit because of terrorism; but Nick Redmayne, heads to Egypt's highest mountain, in Sinai, and hears how the old ways gave people a story to tell.

Hidden Dangers  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Colin Freeman sees the devastating consequences of IS mines and booby traps, left behind for civilians anxious to return to their homes. Elisabeth Kendall hears how social media have broadened the horizons of Yemeni tribesmen armed to the hilt. British citizens living and working in Germany are worried about what might happen to them once the UK leaves the EU; Damien McGuinness hears how many of them are rushing to town halls to become German. The new Gambian president has vowed to improve his poor nation's economy; Andy Jones argues that tourism - and brightly painted murals - could be part of the answer. And Margaret Bradley sees and hears the destruction trail of a red peril that's invaded Portugal.

Digging In  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents's stories. Vincent Woods on the whistleblowing scandal that has threatened the Taoiseach and what it says about modern Ireland. Cathy Otten is with the gravediggers of Mosul, in Iraq, as they ignore the missiles overhead and continue their work with death. Owen Bennett Jones is in Ukraine, where the memory of a meeting with a political dissident during the Cold War pushes him to search him out. Puerto Rico has a conflicted relationship with the United States. On the island of Vieques Datshiane Navanayagam hears about a love-hate tussle. And in southern Chile Rob Crossan joins the local community in a feast that has existed for thousands of years.

The All-Seeing Eye  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. With President Putin enjoying sky-high approval ratings, Sarah Rainsford travels to the hear the verdict in the trial of a man hoping to replace Mr. Putin. Just how difficult is it to be in opposition in Russia? In Turkey, there have been tens of thousands of arrests, numerous terrorist attacks, and the government is planning to hold a referendum, aimed at giving the President more powers. Its a time of instability. As a result, as Louise Callaghan has found, people are flocking to the psychics. The scale of the sex trafficking trade is hard to determine, though many governments have now admitted they need to do more about the problem. Often the victims are reluctant to talk. In south east Nigeria, Colin Freeman finds that the belief in a slave goddess is now being exploited by traffickers to instill fear into trafficked women. In Indonesia, Rebecca Henschke is invited to a judge in the annual transgender beauty contest. But amid all the glamour and glitter, there is an underlying worry about growing intolerance in the country. And our man in Paris, Hugh Schofield, says sometimes the cliche that a teacher can change your life is actually true. He reminisces about a man called "Mush" who taught him French, in 1960s Dublin.

From the Vatican to Vienna  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Christopher Lamb on the opposition to Pope Francis within the Vatican - visible for all to see in the streets. Humphrey Hawksley, on the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, hears how President Trump must understand the importance of face to China. Pay respect and give compliments because no-one wants it to end in blood. Diana Darke is in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, the birthplace of Queen Dido, where the different communities have grown weary of war and are now seeking to build together. Daniel Pardo marvels at the resilience he witnesses in Chile, in the face of the worst forest fires the country has faced in its recent history. And Bethany Bell, with an intoxicating sense of giddiness, on why the Blue Danube Waltz - now 150 years old - is Austria's second national anthem.

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Andrew Harding, in South Africa, says the word "sorry" hasn't had much air time in recent years, despite numerous incidents of corruption and poor governance. Nick Thorpe, with the protests in Romania, remembers earlier - and recent - revolutions in Europe. Lyse Doucet is in Saudi Arabia, where the collapse in the oil price is bringing about some changes - could that include introducing more fun? John Sweeney meets Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party in the Netherlands and feels distinctly uncomfortable. And Phoebe Smith spots something in the trees in Alaska that traces its roots to more difficult times.

Radio Baa Baa  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today, Mike Thomson speaks to an extraordinary man in Idlib, north-west Syria, as he responds to demands from extremists by broadcasting animal noises on his radio station. Amid an escalation of settlement activity in Israel, Yolande Knell sees one Jewish settlement bulldozed while others are given the green light by the Israeli parliament; James Coomarasamy is reminded of characters from 19th century Russian literature as he visits rural Russia. Olivia Acland partakes in a slightly boozy breakfast in Sierra Leone where palm wine is the drink of choice; and Andy Jones is in Loveland, Colorado, with the silver-haired Valentines' elves as they stamp away to bluegrass music.

It's Just Not Cricket  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. Jon Sopel asks if we have got it all wrong about Donald Trump. He's not just a deal maker, he has ideologues standing right behind him. Will Grant, in Mexico City, muses on how President Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border and yet a distinctly unsavoury Mexican has been sent back across that border, to the US. North East Nigeria is still in the grip of violence as the military continues its operations against Boko Haram. But Katerina Vittozzi visits a zoo where life is more peaceful and where young lovers can meet - but don't touch. Lucy Daltroff is in Japan, where modern life and screens are getting in the way of getting together, so babies are not being born. And Huw Cordey struggles to find sleep in West Papua because of a pesky insect; and matters soon turn sinister.

"Beautiful, Beautiful Chaos"  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories. Today, Tim Hartley hears how politics are forgotten amid the colour and friendship of the African Cup of Nations in Gabon. Nick Sturdee has a fantastical tale of intrigue and murder in Turkey - but where does the trail lead? Hywel Griffith, in Sydney, Australia, is with the 90 year old who is keeping the developers at bay. Emma Levine hunts down Albania's elusive rail network; and phoning home may have been difficult during the Kosovo conflict but Andrew Gray remembers fondly the opportunities and advantages of not being connected.

Mission Accomplishment  

Bridget Kendall introduces correspondents' stories: Justin Rowlatt sees the high cost Afghanistan's soldiers are paying to fight off the Taleban and hears how important American troops are to the NATO mission in the country. The US Marines are training the first female recruits to be deployed to combat units; Hannah King witnesses the gruelling training and hears the ditties. Andrew Harding is in Somalia, where Al-Shabab have launched more attacks this week; he wonders if the country is turning a corner. Jenny Hill is in the Netherlands and Germany, where far right groups hope to make significant gains in elections this year. She hears how the promise of a patriotic spring is being welcomed. And Simon Busch is in Northern Cyprus, where the turtles come ashore and the coast has yet to be covered in concrete. Could that all change with reunification of the island?

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