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

This Mortal Coil  

Emily Buchanan introduces correspondents' stories. John Beck meets the policeman who used a special disguise to escape from ISIS killers in Iraq; Rebecca Henschke is outside court to hear why some think Jakarta cannot have a non-Muslim Governor. The first president of Seychelles is given a special burial; Tim Ecott explains why it could be the start of reconciliation in the archipelago. Helier Cheung was right there, singing, when Hong Kong was handed back to China; she hasn't forgotten the sandwiches, even if the politics are now more on her menu. Simon Parker is in a Bolivian market, struggling amid the sights and smells of animal flesh, hearing how the meat trade has survived during the country's worst drought in thirty years.

Striving for Clarity  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from around the world. John Sudworth is doing his best to tape up the windows of his Beijing flat as he tries to protect his family from the city's dangerous smog. Thomas Fessy remembers his days in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fondly. But now the dancing in this lively city is more mechanical and there's anxiety that a full-blown insurgency may be about to break out once again. Phoebe Smith is in one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, Svalbard, where the miners have been packing up their picks but new opportunities are opening up. The battle between fact, fiction and "truth" is being fought in the American media. Robert Colls says it's increasingly difficult to tell one from the other. And we have the story of a cat called Django from Will Grant in Havana, Cuba, where being a pet owner is an expensive business; but if you don't do it, who will?

"May it Pass"  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Mark Lowen takes the increasingly well-trodden path to the mosque for another funeral in Turkey; Vin Ray visits the secretive airbase at the centre of the US's drone warfare, and he speaks to the pilots who juggle family life and fighting; Linda Pressly is in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where heightened security and fear intermingle, and meets up with an old friend and colleague; Richard Dove is in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where you can find everything - as long as you're rich; and with a deep chill in relations between the White House and the Kremlin, Deirdre Finnerty takes shelter from the Washington DC's cold wind in a Russian cafe.

Cooking up 2016  

By any standard, 2016 has been a momentous year, right across the world: unexpected election results, disastrous wars, huge flows of migrants and refugees, major terrorist attacks, the death of memorable people. Some of our correspondents reflect on their region. The BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, comes across - of all things - a cookbook that, for him, sums up so much of what has been lost in Syria. Carrie Gracie, the BBC's China Editor, is struck by the growing number of Chinese who seem prepared to go against the government's flow and to take the consequences. Nick Thorpe, who has reported extensively on Europe's migrant crisis, and who lives in Budapest, examines Hungary's reaction to the crisis. Karen Allen has been reporting from Africa for 12 years but she's now leaving; she describes some of the memorable changes she's seen. Cuba is one place that's seen a lot of change - and not just because of the death of Fidel Castro. Our man in Havana, Will Grant, goes fishing for what it all means to ordinary Cubans.

Hollywood Smiles and Sweet Memories  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents stories: Mary Harper goes to the Syrian dentist bringing Hollywood smiles to Somaliland; Guy Hedgecoe travels to the highlands of Spanish Catalonia, a stronghold of calls for independence; Melissa Van der Klugt is in clouds of flour in Pune, in western India, where they can't get enough of an English biscuit; Andrew Dickson has gone to the Urals and comes across a new presidential museum asking people to re-consider Russia's wild 90s, when a red-faced Boris Yeltsin was in charge; and Joanna Robertson is in the City of Light, amid thousands of bulbs, spreading their magical fairytale twinkle across Paris.

Rwandan Echoes  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Memories of Rwanda return to Alastair Leithead in northern Uganda as he watches refugees fleeing from South Sudan's civil war; Gideon Long tries not to lose all his money as he changes cash in Venezuela; President Obama described the new UN Secretary General as having "an extraordinary reputation." Alison Roberts, in Portugal, says he's a man who likes to talk and talk and talk. Uzbekistan has just elected only it's second president in a quarter of a century. Peter Robertson sees some signs that this autocratic country might be changing. There's a cash crisis in India too. Horatio Clare retreats to one place where you're not supposed to need money, though you do have to pay for that privilege.

Vigilantes, Strongmen and Mannequins  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Jill McGivering investigates the cow protection squads in northern India, some of which have been accused of extreme violence against Muslims. Colin Freeman gets a Blue Feeling moment in Gambia as he explores why so many young men are leaving the country. Turkmenistan has one of the world's most repressive governments, with the president promoting a personality cult and now he's encouraging a nationwide health kick as well. Abdujalil Abdurasulov asks if that means everybody has to jump to it. And Katie Razzall is in West Virginia, in the coal mining areas, where people voted in droves for Donald Trump. They're hoping he'll re-open the mines and bring jobs back to the area but will real life return to the bars and hotels?

Real or Fake?  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Katerina Vittozzi is in northeastern Nigeria, where assassinations, bombings and kidnapping are now combined with starvation. But amid the bleakness she also finds ingenuity and survival. Emma Jane Kirby goes to the source of much of the fake news that swirled around social media sites during the US presidential election - and it's nowhere near America. In Nicaragua, Nick Redmayne is shown the proposed route of another huge canal, akin to the Panama canal; and he hears how the country's revolutionary fervour, as symbolized by the Sandinistas in the 1980s, is hard to find nowadays. Austrians could be about to elect the EU's first far right head of state. "I'm not a fighter, I'm a calm man," the far right candidate tells Bethany Bell. But others believe he's a wolf in expensive sheep's clothing. And in California, where anything can happen, Kieran Cooke is invited to a wedding. The catch is....he has to do the marrying.

Real or Fake?  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents stories: Katerina Vittozzi is in northeastern Nigeria, where assassinations, bombings and kidnapping are now combined with starvation. But amid the bleakness she also finds ingenuity and survival. Emma Jane Kirby goes to the source of much of the fake news that swirled around social media sites during the US presidential election - and it's nowhere near America. In Nicaragua, Nick Redmayne is shown the proposed route of another huge canal, akin to the Panama canal; and he hears how the country's revolutionary fervour, as symbolized by the Sandinistas in the 1980s, is hard to find nowadays. Austrians could be about to elect the EU's first far right head of state. "I'm not a fighter, I'm a calm man," the far right candidate tells Bethany Bell. But others believe he's a wolf in expensive sheep's clothing. And in California, where anything can happen, Kieran Cooke is invited to a wedding. The catch is....he has to do the marrying.

Changing Fortunes  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. The move to bigger offices makes Mark Lowen ponder the huge changes in Turkey. In Iraq the army, Kurdish forces and various militia groups have common cause now, to oust Islamic State, but Richard Galpin asks: what happens next? Linda Pressly hurtles through the Albanian countryside and is confronted by the pungent smell of one of the biggest drugs seizures yet. Simon Broughton discusses the power of poetry and literature to encourage free thinking in Bangladesh, all the while surrounded by armed guards. In Uzbekistan, reds bleed into greens, and blues into yellows, as silk weavers revive the art of carpet making.

Neither Love Nor Money  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories: Dan Isaacs is on Aleppo's frontline with the last shopkeeper of the Old City; Soutik Biswas is thwarted in his search for cash in India; Tulip Mazumdar has an uncomfortable encounter with a "cutter" and undergoes a demonstration of what really happens during FGM. A year ago four Italian banks collapsed on the same day; Ruth Sunderland hears how thousands lost their life savings and even those who didn't find little hope in the future. South Korea is a technological giant, seemingly hurtling into the future, but Steve Evans observes how old-fashioned sexism persists across society.

A Crack in Everything  

Kate Adie lets the light in with stories of post-trump shivers in Ireland, with Vincent Woods; Katy Watson describes dejection and keen memories in Mexico; democracy of sorts and state-building in southern Somalia, as witnessed by Alastair Leithead; Searching for a libertarian utopia in the Balkans, with Jolyon Jenkins; and Anand Menon remembers his interrailing years as he takes to the tracks again across a post-Brexit Europe.

Constitutionally Capable  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories from China, Venezuela, Italy, Cote d'Ivoire and Kosovo. As the news of Donald Trump's victory in the US Presidential election sinks in around the world, former China correspondent Celia Hatton reflects on how the whole story of his campaign has been spun in the Chinese media - and whether it's dampened or sharpened the public's appetite for more democracy at home. James Copnall takes in the new air of bustling, business-friendly Cote d'Ivoire - a country which seems keen to leave its recent political crises behind it. The eclectic, insurgent Five Star Movement has shaken the political landscape of Italy and Helen Grady weighs up what it's offering voters as they prepare for a referendum on changing the Italian constitution. Amid the escalating chaos and often-alarming news in Venezuela, Daniel Pardo concentrates - for once - on the nation's brighter sides. And Andrew Gray gets on the supporters' bus with the passionate fans of Europe's newest national footaball team: Kosovo.

Reading the Signs  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Justin Rowlatt, in the smog of Delhi, hears how Theresa May's hopes of brokering a free-trade deal with India could be much harder than the government would admit to. Gabriel Gatehouse is shown a decades old piece in St Petersburg as the authorities tell people to prepare for the worst. Alexander Beetham, on the US-Mexico border, comes face-to-face with some of those Donald Trump says he will keep out of the US. Hugh Schofield wonders about the decline in the art of sign-painting in France and what it says about small-town life. And Christine Finn is in a forest of colours, with the leaf-peepers of Vermont.

Too Hot To Think  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: On a flight to Las Vegas, Rajini Vaidynathan strikes up conversation with what turn out to be mainly Trump supporters and concludes that, wherever you are in the US, it's difficult to get agreement across the aisle. How a trip to Northern Ireland gave Nick Thorpe some new vocabulary to describe politics back home, in Hungary. In the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Tom Shakespeare discovers why a brand new fleet of buses is simply parked up and failing to provide a service. And we indulge in some food and drink - in Georgia with Rob Crossan, involving singing, toasts, hugs, more toasts, more singing - you get the picture; and in southern California, where Sarah Wheeler walks through the heat slowly, in search of ice cold refreshment - anything to cool the brain.

Awkward Questions  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Today: Karen Allen is caught up in the anger of the student protests in South Africa. After the latest terror attack in Pakistan, Shahzeb Jillani wonders why no-one wants to ask the difficult questions. Bill Law, from Canada, tells us how despite a fascination with the US Presidential race, it's sometimes best to leave politics aside and stick to the diving. Gavin Lee, who has been reporting from the Jungle migrant camp for several years, explains about the dog and the wolf, and the sights and scents that will linger. And, watch out on the hillsides of Montenegro - you really might catch your death, as Elizabeth Gowing hears.

Linguistic confusion and mass killers  

Kate Adie introduces correspondents' stories. Damien McGuinness is in Berlin where the politicians are frustrated that British politicians don't seem to understand that no means no. Jake Wallis Simons returns to the scene of the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. James Jeffrey is in Addis Ababa, under a state of emergency, where there's confusion about what really is going on but people are partying as hard as ever. Lindsay Johns travels from Harvard to Harlem in a divided America. And Chris Carnegy meets one of the world's most prolific killers, in the South Atlantic. But his targets are mice.

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

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