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.


A Closed Notebook  

People spotting, chance encounters, briefings in the pub - trying to decipher how Brexit negotiations are progressing. Kate Adie introduces this and other correspondents’ stories. In Brussels, Adam Fleming is following negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union, but finding out what is going on is not easy, he finds. In Uganda, Catherine Byaruhanga visits the place that has become home to more than 250,000 people who’ve fled war in South Sudan. Bidi Bidi is now one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Jake Wallis Simons spots signs of cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and asses an unlikely Middle-Eastern alliance. Megha Mohan meets a Belarusian model hoping to make it as an online star in China. And in Spain, Andy Jones tries not to look down as he edges along Malaga’s scary Caminito Del Rey.

The Battle For Our Beliefs  

Retaking Raqqa, revulsion in South Africa, and remembering an attempted coup in Turkey. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from around the world. From Syria, Gabriel Gatehouse brings a tale of two women. One is a young Kurdish fighter trying to drive out the so called Islamic State from their de facto capital Raqqa. The other is an unrepentant jihadi bride. One year on from the failed coup in Turkey, Mark Lowen finds a nation divided and defensive. In Russia, the men who killed the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov may be behind bars, but that doesn’t mean we know the whole story, says Sarah Rainsford who was in court for much of their nine-month long trial. There is no shortage of scandal in South Africa, says Andrew Harding, who has the latest on ‘state capture’ and corruption. And Carrie Gracie reveals all about her 7,500-mile journey from China to the UK, following the route of the new Silk Road. Scorching sands, smelly camels, and dodgy lodgings are just some of the challenges she and her team faced.

The Fight Goes On  

Myanmar’s drug vigilantes, on the front-line in Mosul, and the mystical music of Morocco. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from around the world

Talk of War  

Nuclear fears in South Korea, a homeless tour of Athens, and a porcupine hunt in Tanzania. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. Talk of war is worrying Steve Evans in the South Korean capital Seoul - he now fears for the future of his home city. In Italy, Nick Sturdee finds plain-clothes policemen following anti-migrant campaigners, while a TV drama is being filmed about the mayor opening up his town to Syrians, Bangladeshis and others. ‘Migrants wanted’ is the message Mark Stratton finds on Pitcairn Island – the British Overseas Territory with a dwindling population in the southern Pacific Ocean. Heidi Fuller-Love takes a tour of the Athens; guided by a former homeless drug addict, she’s introduced to sights of Greece most tourists are oblivious to. And in Tanzania, Dan Saladino joins one of the last remaining groups of hunter-gathers as they search for lunch.

Building A Better Future  

A nightmare ferry journey in The Gambia, a musical metro ride under East Berlin and a Shakespearean train journey in Russia. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. In Pakistan, Secunder Kermani explores why the university student Marshal Khan, who was accused of blasphemy, ended up beaten to death by an angry mob on campus. In The Gambia, Shaimaa Khalil makes the long and arduous commute across the River Gambia. The ferries – which are often over-crowed and much delayed - are the only way for many people to reach the capital Banjul. As Brexit negotiations continue, Kevin Connolly recalls his first trip to ‘The Continent‘ in the year that Britain joined what was to become the European Union. In Russian, Kirsty Lang finds that cultural ties to Britain remain strong, despite souring diplomatic relations. And despite attempts to keep Western music out of East Germany during the Cold War, Chris Bowlby discovers that, in strange locations and in free minds, many refused to dance to the communist tune.

Building A Better Future  

Narcopolitics in Paraguay, demolitions in Moscow and the incessant barking of feral dogs in Seychelles. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. In Moscow, Polina Ivanova visits one of the thousands of Soviet-era housing blocks earmarked for demolition as part one of the biggest urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. While many residents support the plans, others suspect it’s a ruse to divert money to construction companies. In Paraguay, Laurence Blair meets the journalist who relies on an around the clock police guard, as he to tries to stay safe reporting on the country’s violent drug trade. In Seychelles, Tim Ecott is met by barking dogs, loud music and some selfish-driving – some of the more unwelcome signs of growing social freedom. Dave Lee joins the queues of people willing to wait for hours to get the chance to play the latest computer games before almost anyone else - even if only for a brief moment. And Sara Wheeler takes an architectural tour of Sri Lanka discovering that modernisation on the island often means working with what you’ve got – however ancient, rather than starting again.

From Our Home Correspondent 25/06/17  

Mishal Husain presents four dispatches, including Annalena McAfee on a Cotswold utopia, Ed Smith on leadership in cricket and John Ashton on the diabetes he, like his father, has.

Dressed For Success  

Tight-fitting briefs in Mongolia, matching Donald Trump t-shirts in Iowa, NATO camouflage and some cut-off jeans in Romania. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories. In Romania, Emily Unia watches NATO put on a show of force; 4,000 troops, drawn from nine different countries, backed by helicopters and armoured vehicles – serious stuff, or so she was expecting. In America, Rajini Vaidyanathan meets the Trump fans willing to sleep on the pavement in order to bag a prime spot at one of the President’s rallies. Jonathan Fryer finds entrepreneurial spirit, criminal enterprise, and death in Madagascar. In Indian-administered Kashmir, Melissa Van Der Klugt discovers an unlikely, but remarkable, archive of the region’s troubled history. And Rajan Datar finds himself face to face with a 15 stone Mongolian wrestler who is dressed in small, tight-fitting briefs, long leather boots and a collarless shirt that leaves his chest exposed.

Identity Politics  

A blood sausage, a clockwork orange and a glass of dirty water. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world.

Kill A Chicken To Scare The Monkey  

Tales from Thailand, Morocco, Myanmar, Kenya and the US-Mexico border. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories. In a Chang Mai prison, Jonathan Head meets a woman facing more than a decade in jail, convicted of insulting the monarchy and sentenced under Thailand’s lèse majesté laws. Colin Freeman wonders whether change might be coming to Morocco as protests spread across the country – the largest since 2011, the era of the Arab Spring. Jonah Fisher looks back on his three and a half years in Myanmar and wonders how he went from eating cake with Aung San Suu Kyi in her home, to shouting questions at her at public rallies. Harriet Constable joins the roller-blading cool kids of Nairobi and finds a welcome distraction from warnings of violence ahead of Kenya’s upcoming general election. And on the US/Mexico border, Victoria Gill goes in search of the Sonoran Pronghorn as researchers try to assess what impact President Trump's plan for an "impassable barrier" might have on wildlife.

Village People  

From the Valley of Peace in Belize to a Libyan militia base, Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. In Tripoli, Tom Stevenson is given a tour by one of the country’s many militias and gets a rare glimpse of how the armed groups operate. In North Korea, Steve Evans learns that answering back may mean you never get to go back, despite his best efforts at reconciliation through whisky. Nina Lakhani reports from the Belizean village that became home to those fleeing violence in Central America in the 1980s and is now attracting a new wave of migrants. Graeme Fife returns to the place he once called home in rural French and, to his surprise, finds new life flowing into a once-moribund village. And animatronic wise men and a robotic Adam and Eve greet Heidi Fuller-Love as she takes a tour of a religious theme park in trans-gender friendly Argentina. Producer: Joe Kent

Looking For Trouble  

From the barricades of Venezuela’s street protests to the security scanners in an Egyptian airport - Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. Gideon Long joins protestors in Venezuela, finding the threat of violence is never far away. From Dublin, Vincent Woods reflects on Ireland’s response to the London Bridge terror attack and takes comfort in his memories of an English Imam singing traditional Irish songs. A pat-down by security staff in Cairo Airport leads to an unexpected lesson in women’s emancipation for Claire Read. Ed Davey goes in search of both good and bad voodoo in Benin, and in southern India, Andrew Whitehead stumbles across a tragic love story and one of the last remnants of the Jewish presence there. Producer: Joe Kent

Hard To Stomach  

Tea with the Taliban in Afghanistan, radioactive wild boar goulash in the Czech Republic, and past its best parsley in Denmark. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories. Auliya Atrafi gained rare access to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and found a group keen to give the impression that there is more to it than military muscle. Claire Bolderson meets the women fighting back against machismo in Peru, and James Jeffrey watches the flow of refugees that continue to cross the Eritrean border into Ethiopia. In the Czech Republic, Rob Cameron takes a trip to the national park where wild boars roam free – some of them radioactive. And in Denmark, Christine Finn finds wrinkled mushrooms and wilted parsley on sale in a shop that wants us to think differently about food that’s past its best before date. Producer: Joe Kent

Love Those Shoes  

The sounds of protest, popping champagne corks and the piercing shrieks of megabats. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. Aleem Maqbool watches a confederate monument fall in America’s south, and wonders what difference statues and symbols really make. In Egypt, activists tell Orla Guerin that while previous leaders may have tried to restrict the space for civil society, President Sisi wants to eliminate it. They claim their strongman leader has been emboldened by Donald Trump who has praised his work - and his shoes. In Australia, Phil Mercer finds that residents of Sydney are not too happy with their new neighbours. Megabats or flying-foxes fly in gothic squadrons, emit a piercing cacophony and leave behind a lingering stench. In the shadow of towering glass and steel skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Rob Crossan has lunch in the traditional Malay village trying to resist the tides of gentrification and modernisation. And Juliet Rix has a drink in France, as she meets the women shaking up the champagne industry. Producer: Joe Kent

Finding The Right Words  

A president pursued, a preacher accused and a social media star. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, and Spain. Amidst calls for the Brazilian President to resign, Katy Watson finds that political slogans have taken on a life of their own – no longer simply scrawled on placards but found in some unusual places. In Indonesia, Rebecca Henschke tries and tries to get a word with the controversial hard-line cleric accused of breaking the anti-pornography laws that he once campaigned for. In Germany, Amol Rajan meets the Syrian selfie fanatic at the heart of the battle against fake news. And in Japan, Mark Stratton finds himself lost for words as he attempts to describe the sights to the partially-sighted.

A Haircut and a Pedicure  

A trendy haircut in Maipur, baby-blue painted nails in Athens and the authentic taste of a South Pacific superfood. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has sparked repeated international criticism, but Colin Freeman finds support in surprising places: drug users, or ex-drug users, for Duterte. Secunder Kermani gets a haircut in Mirpur, and a lesson in relations between British Pakistanis and their cousins back home. While Louise Cooper gets her nails done in Athens and finds the ugly face of recession, in a Greek beauty parlour. In Moscow, Steve Rosenberg watches as thousands of Russians queue for a chance to glimpse a golden ark. Inside it are fragments of St Nicholas’ rib, on loan from Italy. And Simon Parker swims in the clean seas around French Polynesia and samples the silky, mustard-coloured gonads of a sea urchin.

Men On A Mission  

White candles for a murdered Mexican journalist, purple glitter for an Iranian President and the Pope's modest blue car. Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. On his first full day in office, the recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron was in Berlin to “breathe new dynamism" into Franco-German relations. But what does Germany make of Macron? Damien McGuinness has been finding out. Purple was the signature colour of President Rouhani’s re-election campaign in Iran and, following his victory, Nanna Muus Steffensen finds it everywhere; purple glitter, headbands, t-shirts, even hair dye. In Mexico Juan Paullier is among the journalists protesting the murder of one of their own – the committed chronicler of the country’s drug wars, Javier Valdez. While the Pope wants a simpler, humbler Church, he’s also very willing to use the grandeur of the Vatican to his advantage, finds Christopher Lamb as President Trump meets Pope Francis for the first time. And in America, could a good walk help heal a divided country? Phoebe Smith goes for a hike along the Appalachian Trail.

Pride and Prejudice  

Patriotic clubs in Uganda and gang violence in America. Kate Adie introduces correspondent’s stories from around the world. In America, Lucy Ash visits Long Island – not the opulent and extravagant mansions of The Great Gatsby but the other Long Island. The site of several murders linked to MS-13 - the street gang President Trump has vowed to crush. In Uganda, a teacher stands bolt upright, legs apart, with a rather stern expression. The words ‘Belief’ and ‘Determination’ are emblazoned on the wall. Mike Thomson attends a class in patriotism. Nicola Kelly meets the Yazidi families who fled violence in Iraq, only to find they are not always welcome among the Yazidis of Armenia. We take tea in Malawi as Nick Redmayne visits one of the country’s traditional tea estates trying to reinvent itself in response to changing tastes and falling prices. And in Goa, Paul Moss finds talk of body rebalancing, tantric imitation and a reptilian elite.

A Funny Old Game  

A diplomatic dance, football playing politicians, mountain music and robotic sex dolls. Kate Adie introduces correspondent’s stories from around the world. In Germany - he almost became a professional footballer now he wants to be Chancellor - Jenny Hill meets a former teammate, and childhood friend, of Martin Schulz. In Sierra Leone Bob Howard meets the ‘friends of the dead’ as young entrepreneurs seek any way they can to escape the country’s staggering levels of unemployment. Micky Bristow reflects on the diplomatic games being played out between China and Taiwan. Special number plates and invitations to Swiss summits may seem insignificant to some, but not when on you’re an island that few nations recognise as an independent country. In Peru, Robin Denselow samples the sounds of mountain music at a reconciliation concert high in the Andes. And in San Marcos, California, Jane Wakefield takes a tour of a rather unusual factory offering the latest in AI equipped, robotic sex dolls.

Enemies of Old  

Somalia faces famine, ethnic conflict continues in Myanmar and the ‘She-Wolf’ retires. Kate Adie introduces correspondents’ stories from around the world. On a rare trip into the remote Northern Shan State of Myanmar, Nick Sturdee meets one of the ethnic militias still at war with the military. There are harrowing sights for Mary Harper in Somalia and Somaliland, as she sees for herself the toll that severe drought and threat of famine are taking on the population, particularly the children. In contrast Will Grant finds something to celebrate for Cuba’s socialist leadership. As the annual May Day workers’ march took place, the US Congresswoman described by Fidel Castro as the ‘big bad she-wolf’ announced her retirement. Elizabeth Hotson reflects on tales of the Cold War spies and challenges to press freedom, as she joins the Ski Club of International Journalists in France. And in India, Melissa Van Der Klugt watches a tent being cleaned. Rajasthan's Royal Red Tent, which is taller than a double bus and made from exquisite silk, velvet and gold, is being given its first proper spring clean in 350 years.

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