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.


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

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.

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