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.


Memento Mori  

In a week of remembrance and recollection, Jannat Jalil explains how the French authorities - who are preparing to remember those killed in last November’s Paris attacks - find other deaths on the capital’s streets more than fifty years ago far more difficult to commemorate. Adam Easton in Warsaw reflects on how Poles saw their country’s recent history in the life and work of one of their leading film directors, Andrzej Wajda, who died this week. Carrie Gracie in Beijing joins one of the Chinese Communist Party’s new pilgrimage tours to revolutionary martyr sites from the civil war era of the twentieth century which President Xi Jinping wants party members to attend in order to rekindle ideological fervour. Robin Denselow reports on how Turkey’s volatile political situation is having an effect on Islamic cooperation even at Sufi festivals, like the famous one he visited at Konya. And we remember Chris Simpson, a long-standing and distinguished contributor to "From Our Own Correspondent", who died suddenly this week. We hear again a characteristically witty and perceptive dispatch he recorded in the Central African Republic in 2010.

A Sense of Place  

Recollections of working in Warsaw thirty years ago prompt Kevin Connolly to consider how life there then informs Poles’ support now for freedom of movement within the European Union. Bethany Bell visits the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, the town of Braunau, and discovers Austrians are divided over whether or not his childhood home should be torn down. James Longman finds that Lebanon’s capital exerts a special attraction for him as Beirut Correspondent – even though he already knows it well. Adam Shaw visits one of the world's wealthiest men, Carlos Slim, in Mexico City and finds migration very much on the telecoms mogul’s mind. And Jane Labous gets parenting advice from her Senegalese mother-in-law. The programme is introduced by Kate Adie.

Treading Carefully  

We travel to Hawai'i, The Gambia, France and India-administered Kashmir this week. The programme begins in Australia where the plans of the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to hold a national plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage have run into difficulties. Phil Mercer explains why, although his opponents agree with the premier’s objective, they don’t support his approach for achieving it. Chris Simpson is in The Gambia, the smallest country on the African mainland. Elections are due in December and the opposition parties agreed only yesterday to field a single candidate against the sitting president. But what are the prospects of the long-serving head of state losing power? Chris Bockman is in Toulouse following the story of a plane and its erstwhile owner. Colonel Gadaffi of Libya, the fifth anniversary of whose death falls next Thursday, hated flying but nevertheless acquired and fitted out in grand style an Airbus A340. But disagreements between the new Libyan authorities and creditors claiming that bills racked up by the former leader have been left unpaid in France mean the plane is parked at Perpignan airport. What will happen next? Kashmir is one of the most militarised regions of the world with India and Pakistan administering parts of it while both claiming all of it. Melissa van der Klugt journeyed to Attari to meet the station superintendent who manages the daily routine of journeys between Delhi and Lahore under the shadow of nuclear weapons held on both sides. And Simon Parker is fascinated by the active volcanoes on Hawai'i, particularly Kilauea. He decides to get up close and personal with the lava-spewing natural wonder – but will his feet be able to endure the trek

Battle Lines  

Today, twenty years after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Kate Clark, who was the only Western reporter in the country during their final years in power, reflects on what has changed there during the last twenty years. In Ethiopia, the government has this week declared a six-months-long state of emergency after violent protests in one of the nine ethnically-based states. James Jeffrey in Addis Ababa has been looking at the ethnic tensions which beset the country. The US presidential election campaign has been full of melodrama and incident more befitting a reality television show than a political debate. Gabriel Gatehouse passed through Washington en route to the rustbelt to gauge how far reality and the peculiar 2016 campaign are in alignment. Albania wants to be on everyone's tourist destination list after ending its long period of reclusive communist dictatorship. But Rob Stepney has found some national habits are so ingrained that making such a radical change isn't straightforward. The tentacles of corruption have inveigled their way deep into Mexican life, in part thanks to the drug trade. Antonia Quirke has been to the Caribbean coast to discover just how far they now reach and what effect they have on daily life.

Bitter Harvests  

Kate Adie introduces tales of fear, bravery and love from around the world. Justin Rowlatt is in Bangladesh, asking whether security is as important to the country’s leadership as going after its political enemies. In Michoacán state, one of the centres of Mexico’s war on drugs, Linda Pressly visits a community which rebelled against intimidation and organised crime to protect its forests as well as its people - and decided to shut out national police and political parties too. As Milton Nkosi has reported on South Africa’s student protests this week, he’s been moved to reflect on how young people’s political goals have changed since the apartheid era. Stephen Evans is staying calm under pressure, just like his South Korean neighbours - whether they’re navigating the nightmarish road traffic in Seoul or studiously refusing to be panicked by nuclear threats from Pyongyang. And Juliet Rix has some myths to dispel in Verona, as she sifts history from legend in the courtyard which many tourists believe really was the setting for Romeo and Juliet’s great romance.

Peeling Back the Layers  

Stories of surface image - and underlying reality - from around the world, introduced by Kate Adie. In Moscow, the alleged killers of liberal politician Boris Nemtsov are on trial, but questions remain about who was really responsible for his murder. Sarah Rainsford, who remembers Nemtsov as one of the poster boys for the newly democratic Russia of the 1990s, describes seeing the legal process unfold in court. In Ethiopia, some of the country's finest farmland is drying out as drought threatens the food supply for almost 18 million people - and Nicola Kelly's left unsure that traditional methods of weather forecasting, like reading signs in the livers of slaughtered goats, can work in these conditions. While travelling in Costa Rica's verdant forests, Tim Hartley also dug into the causes of a rot creeping across the country: corruption, on both the small and large scale. Bob Walker's been trudging a pilgrimage path in the footsteps of St Olaf through rural Sweden, and stepped into some ongoing debates about how many migrants the country could or should shelter. In Morocco, it's not easy for women to walk unmolested and Morgan Meaker hears from some who'd like to put an end to the endemic harassment on the streets.

The Last of the Founding Fathers  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from around the globe. This week, Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem recollects his last meeting with Shimon Peres, and assesses the late president’s legacy; John Sweeney, trying to cover the bloody conflict in Syria, calls on unorthodox sources in Aleppo to do it; Mary-Ann Ochota explores the reality of contemporary life amid the yaks and motorbikes in the thin air and vast expanses of Tibet; Nick Thorpe in Budapest considers this Sunday’s referendum in Hungary on EU migrants and how likely it is the country’s prime minister will win the vote he has called; and Mary Margaronis travels to the Western Pyrenees to learn about the language which has so many words for rain.

The Wilder Shores  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. In this edition: Tim Ecott reports from the Seychelles in the week the president shocked the affluent island nation by his resignation; amid the growing lawlessness in Venezuela, Jake Wallis Simons is taken to the lair of a gangland boss who explains why he orders so many kidnappings in the district of Caracas where his group's writ runs; Chris Simpson in Mauritania considers the reasons for the persistence of the historic racial divides which characterise its society; Jane Labous reflects on the splendid September spectacle of gathering shell-fish on the Normandy shores - and the colourful characters who do it; while Philip Sweeney samples both the cuisine and the political temperature in Iran now that direct flights between London and Tehran have resumed.

Barriers and Borders  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week, Lyse Doucet reports from her native Canada on the country’s sponsorship scheme for refugees; Joe Miller considers the major impact there has been on a Texas border town of many months of migration from Central America by women and unaccompanied children; Lucy Ash travels to the Loire Valley to visit France’s first centre for deradicalisation and discovers what local people think of it; Kamal Ahmed considers whether the Swiss, who have negotiated a bespoke deal with the European Union, offer a model for the United Kingdom to emulate in the Brexit negotiations; and Chris Terrill joins a British ex-soldier who is training wardens in one of South Africa’s private nature reserves to resist poachers.

Higher Powers  

Kate Adie presents the first in a new series of eight programmes. In this edition, John Murphy reports from Najaf on the mounting death toll among Iraqis from the conflict with so-called Islamic State; Olivia Crellin tells the remarkable story of a transgender couple in Ecuador who are challenging some local assumptions by seeking to become parents; as South Africa's athletes return from Rio, Lindsay Johns in Cape Town reflects on the extraordinary impact that Olympic success is having there on coloured South Africans more than twenty-five years after the end of apartheid; Caroline Davies in Cairo discovers how, despite the growing intolerance Copts face in Egypt, they are enjoying great success in the country's recycling business; and Hugh Schofield in Paris ponders the world of Anglo-French mathematics as he studies for his A level in the subject and his son works on his baccalauréat.

It's Not What It Was  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week: Kevin Connolly reports from Bratislava as EU leaders have a perfectly normal get-together - except someone's missing; Sebastian Usher chronicles the war of words between Saudi Arabia and Iran during the Hajj; Jenny Hill visits Hamburg to discover if Mrs Merkel is right to say Germany "can do it" as it tries to absorb its large influx of migrants; Stephanie Hegarty tells the story of shocked shop owners in Lagos and their dramatic tussle with the local authorities; and what Adam Shaw learnt when he met aspiring techies in St Louis.

Rites of Passage  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week: Yolande Knell reports on the boom in civil marriages on Cyprus - for couples from Lebanon and Israel; Roger Hearing reveals what happened when he fell foul of the Russian authorities at the border with North Korea; Jannat Jalil speaks to townspeople in Calais about the impact of the continuing crisis at the so-called Jungle migrant camp; Monica Whitlock considers how lasting Islam Karimov’s influence will be in Uzbekistan; and Nick Thorpe assesses what the Turkish and Hungarian celebrations of the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Szigetvar say about relations between the two countries.

Follow the Leaders  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week: As the latest summit of the Group of 20 leading nations takes place in China this weekend, Carrie Gracie profiles the historic city of Hangzhou which will host the meetings of the heads of government and central bank governors. Wyre Davies considers the vote of the Brazilian Senate to impeach Dilma Rousseff and whether the change at the top of the country's politics amounts to a coup. Katerina Vittozzi reports from the Central African Republic on her meeting with the victim of a brutal sexual assault. With Pyongyang holding its first international beer festival, Stephen Evans considers how the drink is a surprisingly unifying facet of life in North and South Korea. And David Willis in Los Angeles ponders whether errant American Olympian, Ryan Lochte, may yet be rehabilitated by dancing with the stars.

Drug Wars  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week: a special insight into the extraordinary number of recent deaths in the Philippines as Jonathan Head talks to one of the country's hired killers; Mark Tully discovers how the "war on drugs" - particularly heroin - in Punjab is going; in the United States, Linda Pressly goes on call with an Ohio coroner dealing with the explosion in the number of deaths resulting from overdoses of prescription drugs and heroin supplied on the street; Justin Rowlatt gets early warning of a possible coup in the Maldives and heads for the island paradise; and Caroline Juler discovers how to improve medical care in Romania as doctors and nurses are drawn to jobs in other countries.

What's in a Name?  

Kate Adie introduces dispatches from writers and correspondents around the world. This week: Mark Lowen gauges the mood in Turkey today - and detects a hardening of public opinion against anyone thought to be associated with the attempted coup in July as well as an anti-Western backlash. Seref Isler was part of the BBC team covering those events and recalls what it was like to witness "the night no-one slept". Stephen Sackur's been to Attawapiskat and Calgary to hear of the very modern challenges threatening the survival of Canada's historic First Nations people: can the new Canadian Prime Minister's promises to help these communities be kept? In a Dakar nightclub, Nicola Kelly meets some aspiring DJs and hears their ideas on how to keep Senegalese young people from risking their lives on risky emigrant routes. And Martin Buckley is on the beaches of Corsica to learn why this island - along with the rest of France - has been convulsed with concern over the burkini.

Rebels with a Cause  

India and Pakistan have often confronted each other - but each nation also has to deal with domestic security problems. In Indian-administered Kashmir, Justin Rowlatt hears from restive crowds who have been silenced by neither days of curfew nor a news blackout, and witnesses the police tactics used to try and tamp down their protests. Over the border in Pakistan, Shaimaa Khalil explains why the troubled province of Baluchistan is such a headache for central government - and why the violence which plagues it is now being turned against local lawyers. Lucy Ash hears how drama itself can play a role in reconciling Colombians with their past, as former left-wing rebels, ex-right-wing paramilitiaries, and the victims of their crimes meet on stage. Rayhan Demytrie recently saw a different kind of political theatre unfolding on the streets of Armenia's capital, Yerevan, as veterans of the war with Azerbaijan mounted an armed attack against their own state - and were applauded for it by many Armenians. And far from all the madding crowds, Justin Marozzi joins a scientific mission a thousand feet below the surface of the Sargasso Sea hoping to unlock some of the mysteries of the deep ocean.

Democracy and discontent: South Africa and Germany  

Kate Adie introduces reports on South Africa's elections, Germany and migration, Kosovo's Olympic debut, Gujarat's Dalits march against discrimination and old meets new in Samoa.

A Tale of Two Men in a City  

Two friends reunited in Baghdad, hot cuisine in Chengdu and slow traffic in Serbia.


Kate Adie introduces analysis, reflection and reporting from correspondents around the world. As Turkey recovers from last week's attempted coup, Mark Urban finds that in Ankara the conspiracy theories are burgeoning. Could these events be the pretext (or a catalyst) for Turkey snubbing the EU, walking away from its relationship with the US or even distancing itself from Nato? Karen Allen's been at the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban to get a global picture of the HIV epidemic; while there have been some notable advances on treatment and prevention, she sees South Africa's still struggling to deal with the virus. Despite the heavily-reported warming up of its relationship with the USA, Cuba still has a hidebound economy and is warning its people to tighten their belts and prepare for austerity - again - says Will Grant in Havana. Martin Patience reaches some resentful corners of Nigeria's Delta region the only way anyone can: by speedboat, and with an entourage of local dignitaries. And Antonia Quirke treads in the footsteps of giants, seeing how the beautiful, creamy marble which once inspired Michelangelo is still being quarried from a site in Tuscany.


John Sopel on what to expect from Donald Trump’s coronation party. Cowboy country in Argentina - but where have all the cows gone? We meet the Aboriginal activists trying to make native title to land actually mean something, in Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York. A new wall in the West Bank – our correspondent gets kitted out for rock climbing in Ramallah. And nudity and birch twigs in the Karelia region in Russia

Video player is in betaClose