Seriously...

Seriously...

United Kingdom

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, presented by Ashley John-Baptiste and Andy Brooks.

Episodes

A Brief History of Lust  

Does what makes the heart beat faster really make the world go round? Oh yes. Welcome to a new history of lust presented by the American satirist Joe Queenan. From Helen and Paris of Troy to Bill and Monica via Rasputin, Edwina Currie and John Major, this is a tale of life as a bunga bunga bacchanal. With contributions from historian Suzannah Lipscomb, classicist Edith Hall, plus Agnes Poirier, Joan Bakewell (of course), Caitlin Moran and Richard Herring on Rasputin; a specially composed new poem on lust from Elvis McGonagall; and music from Prince, T Rex, Bessie Smith and Cole Porter. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

Two Poets  

The poetry of Australian Les Murray opens up a new world for Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant for whom words are filled with colour and numbers have become friends. "Belonging is something that other people decide for you," says the internationally acclaimed author Daniel Tammet, who is on the highly functional end of the autism spectrum. "I wanted desperately to belong when I was growing up." This feature is about the power of poetry. And about seeing the world differently from everyone around you. In Daniel's world, four is shy, six a little sad. Numbers and words come easy to him. And he never forgets - once, he recited 22154 digits of Pi from memory. On another occasion, he learned Icelandic in a week. We meet Daniel in Paris where he lives as an author, poet and translator. We hear about his early life in suburban London, about getting lost in his own mind while walking to school, trying to learn social skills as he would later learn a language. Then, one day, he stumbles across a book by the Australian poet Les Murray. It transforms his life. Les Murray's poetry gives him a language he understands. He recognises himself completely in Murray's words and sets about translating his poems into French. As a consequence, there's suddenly the possibility of the two poets meeting up, in person in Paris, when Les Murray asks Daniel to translate a poem about autism. Presented and produced by Martin Johnson A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

A Brief History of Failure  

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal," said Winston Churchill. The American satirist Joe Queenan thinks he might be wrong. In this archive hour follow up to his previous programmes on Blame, Shame, Anger and Irony, Queenan rails against the very idea of failure. His sharpest attack is reserved for the supposed romance of defeat. From Braveheart in Scotland via the heretic Cathars in France to the pretend soldiers in Virginia still re-enacting the American Civil War, Queenan explores whether there may be something noble about losing a war. "I'm in the south, at one of the many re-enactment battles of the American civil war that go on every year. Thousands have turned up to re-fight a war they lost. We don't do this in the north - it would be odd, and divisive, perhaps even inflammatory. But the memories of a conflict that took place over 150 years down here - they don't go away." This is the first of two archive programmes from Joe Queenan, with A Brief History of Lust coming next week. Failure features archive contributions from classics professor Edith Hall; historian Geoffrey Regan; writer Armando Iannucci; former political correspondent and Strictly star John Sergeant; plus music from Laura Marling, Viv Albertine of the Slits and rock and roll's greatest failure, John Otway. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde.

Late Returns  

The writer Nicholas Royle is a passionate supporter of libraries and a devoted bibliophile. As a young man his passion for books was so strong, in fact, that some of the books he borrowed from libraries didn't manage to find their way back to their homes on the library shelves. Now, over three decades on, Nicholas is finally doing the right thing and returning the books to the places he first encountered them - Manchester, Paris and London - hoping to avoid any hefty fines in his attempt to straighten his accounts. Along the way he considers his evolving relationship with both books and libraries, meeting other writers such as Vahni Capildeo and Polar Bear to hear about books they have neglected to return because they loved them so much; he also speaks with others who would never dream of failing to take their books back, such as AL Kennedy. Nicholas also meets a successful journalist who went to the same school as him and was one of the last to borrow the novel before Nicholas himself took it on extended leave. Producer: Geoff Bird.

Tunes from the Trash  

Just outside the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion lies the town of Cateura. It's an impoverished settlement ranged along the banks of a stinking, polluted river, in the shadow of a giant landfill site. Many of its inhabitants scratch a living by reclaiming objects from the endless ocean of garbage to sell. Recycling of a kind. But for the last ten years the residents of Cateura have been part of a recycling project of a much sweeter sort. La Orquesta de Instrumentos Reciclados de Cateura -- the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura -- use materials from the landfill site to create musical instruments. An oil drum for a cello, a pipe for a flute, a tin can for a guitar. They've toured the world and recorded with the likes of Metallica. As the Orchestra leader Favio Chávez says, "The world sends us garbage. We send back music." The BBC's South America Correspondent Wyre Davies visits Cateura, meets Favio Chávez and other members of the Recycled Orchestra and learns how trash, and lives, are being transformed by music. Readings by: John Norton James Murphy-Johns Lila Smith Yahlini Smith Producer: Martin Williams For more information about the Recycled Orchestra: http://www.recycledorchestracateura.com/ The Recycled Orchestra have been the subject of a recent documentary film: http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/ And an illustrated children's book: http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Adas-Violin/Susan-Hood/9781481430951.

Meet the Cyborgs  

Frank Swain can hear Wi-Fi. Diagnosed with early deafness aged 25, Frank decided to turn his misfortune to his advantage by modifying his hearing aids to create a new sense. He documented the start of his journey three years ago on Radio 4 in 'Hack My Hearing'. Since then, Frank has worked with sound artist Daniel Jones to detect and sonify Wi-Fi connections around him. He joins a community around the world who are extending their experience beyond human limitations. In 'Meet the Cyborgs' Frank sets out to meet other people who are hacking their bodies. Neil Harbisson and Moon Rebus run The Cyborg Foundation in Barcelona, which welcomes like-minded body hackers from around the world. Their goal is not just to use or wear technology, but to re-engineer their bodies. Frank meets the creators of Cyborg Nest, a company promising to make anyone a cyborg. They have recently launched their first product - The North Sense - a computer chip anchored to body piercings in the chest, which vibrates when it faces north. "I'm a 51 year old bald guy, with no tattoos or piercings" says co-founder Scott Cohen. "This was never a place I thought I'd end up in. Everyone's talking about machine learning, but what we're trying to do is make our brains smarter." Of course, the marriage of technology and biology is commonplace in medicine, from pacemakers to IUDs. But now 'citizen hackers' are modifying their medical equipment to add new functions. Dana Lewis from Seattle has created her own 'artificial pancreas' to help manage her Type 1 diabetes and released the code online. But should limits be placed on self-experimentation? And will cybernetic implants eventually become as ubiquitous as smart phones? Features music composed for The North Sense by Andy Dragazis. Presenter: Frank Swain Producer: Michelle Martin.

Generation Grime  

Radio 4 explores why the music genre of Grime has blown up in the UK in the last few years by following Wales' Astroid Boys on their recent UK tour. Once just the sound of the London underground, Grime's popularity has spread all over the country and is now the biggest youth culture since Punk. Cardiff's Astroid Boys are set to become Grime's next big thing - they've just signed a record deal with Sony imprint Music For Nations and their track Dusted has been picked up by wrestling giants WWE as their new anthem. The band and their fans tell us in their own words how this very British music scene has influenced their lives and given them a much needed voice.

Laura Mvula's Miles Davis  

Singer-songwriter and composer Laura Mvula meets jazz musicians Jason Yarde and Laura Jurd, and music broadcaster journalist Kevin Le Gendre, to discuss her musical inspiration, the visionary American jazz musician Miles Davis. 'He has always been and will always remain one of the greatest inspirations of my musical life. To me he was and is an icon, a pioneer, the unique innovator. He never held himself back - maybe that's what first attracted me to him and his sound'. Picking up on these opening remarks, and in the company of three contributors with contrasting perspectives on the man and his music, Mvula and her guests consider the impact and legacy of Miles Davis, a unique musician who repeatedly reinvented himself musically, and single-handedly shape-shifted the language of jazz, for nearly half a century. With glimpses of music from Miles Davis's vast discography, the programme paints a unique and personal portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest musical creators and iconclasts. Laura Mvula is one of the most exciting music talents to emerge in Britain in recent years. Growing up in Birmingham's Kings Heath to parents from Jamaica and St Kitts, Mvula cut her musical teeth singing in and directing local church and gospel choirs, and performing with soul group Judyshouse, before going on to Birmingham Conservatoire to study composition with, among others, composer Joe Cutler. After working as a music supply teacher in Birmingham schools, she sent demo recordings of her songs to record labels; the result has been spectacular international success that ranges from touring the world with her band, to composing for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Laura Mvula cites Miles Davis as one of her greatest influences - first urged by her father to watch documentaries about him, then given albums by a relative, her initial puzzlement grew into unbounded admiration for a black musician who refused utterly to be bounded by musical style or social position. His appetite for musical innovation and experiment, his dismissal of the idea of musical mistakes, his vision for successful creative collaboration - all of these characteristics and more combined to create a template for the sort of musician Laura Mvula has aspired to become. In this documentary feature, Laura sounds out her thoughts in the company of three guests, all of whom are equally great admirers of Miles Davis, but who approach him from different perspectives. Mvula's guests are: Kevin Le Gendre is a journalist and broadcaster with a special interest in black music. Deputy editor of Echoes, he contributes to a wide range of publications that include Jazzwise, MusicWeek, Vibrations and The Independent On Sunday and also appears as a commentator and critic on radio programmes such as BBC Radio 3's Jazz On 3 and BBC Radio 4's Front Row. Laura Jurd is a British award-winning trumpet player, composer and bandleader and BBC New Generation Jazz Artist for 2015-2017. Highly active throughout the UK scene, Laura has developed a formidable reputation as one of the most creative young musicians to emerge from the UK in recent years. In 2015 Laura received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for 'Instrumentalist of the Year' and in the past has been shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award, received the Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition and the Worshipful Company of Musician's Young Jazz Musician of the Year award. Her band Dinosaur is one of the most vital and creative new ensembles in the UK today, and in September 2016, the band's debut album 'Together, As One' was released on Edition Records. Jason Yarde is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, producer, and musical director who writes music across various styles including jazz, classical, hip-hop, fusion, free improvisation, broken beats, R&B, reggae, soul, song writing and for a variety of media: his BBC Proms compositional debut 'Rhythm and Other Fascinations' won the first ever BASCA award for 'Contemporary Jazz Composition' in 2010. Yarde began playing alto and soprano saxophones with the Jazz Warriors while a teenager, and went on to MD this landmark orchestra. He is a longtime sideman of Louis Moholo, and has appeared in the big bands of Sam Rivers, Hermeto Pascoal, McCoy Tyner, Manu Dibango, Roy Ayers, and Andrew Hill. Producer: Lyndon Jones for Music Department, BBC Wales.

I, by the Tide of Humber  

BBC coverage of Hull City of Culture will be extensive across 2017. At its very start, the award-winning poet Sean O'Brien reflects upon why his native city, its waterscape and landscape, have inspired poets past and present. The programme features a specially commissioned new poem from Sean - a three-part memory-piece, which is also a love-song for Hull, its surroundings and their metaphorical resonance: ........The great void Where the land loses track of itself, And the water comes sidling past at the roadside Awaiting the signal to flood, is a kind of belief Where there is no belief, is the great consolation Of knowing that nothing will follow but weather and tides, Yet also that when the world ends There must be a Humber pilot keeping watch As the great ships are passing silently away Through the estuary's mouth and the saw-toothed marriage Of river and sea, and out past the fort at Bull Island And over the edge, and away............. Sean also celebrates the work of poets who have made the city their home: Andrew Marvell, a line from whose 17th Century poem, To His Coy Mistress, gives this programme its title; Philip Larkin, Stevie Smith and others. He brings in an eclectic range of music, including his personal favourite, Dirty Water, by local band The Fabulous Ducks. He hears from the Hull-based geographer Chris Skinner, and poet Sarah Stutt. Starting with memories of digging holes in the garden of the house where he grew up, via flood-cellars, culverts and drains, the smaller river Hull and the great estuarine river Humber itself, this highly-textured programme culminates with Sean at the top of the disused lighthouse at Spurn Point, gazing out into the North Sea. Producer Beaty Rubens.

On a Knife Edge  

This hospital based youth violence work is taking place in the four London major trauma centres and Producer Sue Mitchell was given exclusive access to follow what happens. The charity, Redthread, now has teams in each of the trauma centres and their youth workers will be alongside victims from the point that they walk, or are stretchered, in. They're away from their communities and alienated from peers and this surreal period - 'the teachable moment,' as it's known - is seen as being an effective time because the young person is vulnerable, shocked and forced to confront assumptions of invincibility. Becky Calnan is a Redthread team leader at one of the London trauma centres and allows listeners to follow her work with nineteen year old Liam. He's been attacked on the street and turns up at Accident and Emergency with blood soaking into his coat and trousers. He tells her that he's been punched, kicked and stamped on as he was making his way to court for a scheduled appointment. She knows him already: just months earlier he was stabbed in his legs in a planned attack. Becky's been working with Liam ever since. His latest injuries don't surprise her: "He doesn't eat properly; he doesn't sleep as he's out at night, and he's paranoid because of how he's living: this all feeds into making these incidents much more likely to happen." Liam tells listeners about his life of court appearances, street violence and lack of ambition. He traces the start of his problems back to 2010, when he moved to a new area of London with his Mum and sisters. He knows he could make something of himself if he puts his mind to it, but there's too much daily pressure for him to even try: "I don't know what can happen next. There are young youth running around with big knives and my Mum and Nan are scared. I'm not scared. I spat blood on them when they attacked me." But Liam's bravado cracks slightly as he acknowledges the work that Becky's doing: "She's helped me, I do appreciate that. If there are things I need to get off my chest she listens and she doesn't judge me. I don't have anyone else like that to talk to." For Redthread the work is aimed at interrupting the cycle of violence which all too often sees the victim become the perpetrator. Liam describes being stabbed, jumped on and other attacks with a calm that would be more normally placed describing a shopping trip, say, not repeated street violence. He thinks he will end up dead unless he can change, but it's a hard task. Alongside Liam, Becky is helping others admitted every day. There's George, stabbed as he sat in his car, there are two victims who have yet to regain consciousness and a youngster who appears to have been paralysed in an attack. His long hospital stay provides a good opportunity to both tackle any possible acts of retribution and to begin considering the changes as he adapts to a very different life. Redthread's hospital programme launched in 2006 and the idea has been in play in America for longer. There is an international network of hospital based intervention programmes and the idea is gaining ground, with Nottingham and Basildon being the latest areas for this approach. In London alone there were more than 1,236 victims of knife crime under the age of 25 in the year ending April 2016 according to the Metropolitan Police. The workers are called as ambulances are en route and will be there from the start, getting alongside the young person and helping them navigate the hospital system. They're trying to build the kind of relationships which many of these young people won't have had in their communities and the organisation also offer gang exit work and mental health support. Dr Emer Sutherland, consultant clinical lead for the Emergency Department at King's College Hospital, said: "We set up the scheme at King's because we wanted to do more than just patch young people up and send them on their way. Hospitals have a unique opportunity to help try and stop the victim-perpetrator cycle. This is why talking to young people, at this key moment in their lives can help steer them away from the world of gang violence many find themselves in." Once they're in hospital they have a very private space for very private conversations: "Pain in some ways is a great mind opener. "It's so powerful to the medical team, we can remember before we had Red Thread, we would see some of these young people who come in with trivial injuries and then come back with more severe injuries. We see youth violence as like any other disease, so we might see them on their way to school when they've been mugged or beaten up, then what could happen is they could join a gang to try and make them safe, even though the exact opposite is the case, then we see them going from stabbed in arms or legs to being quite viciously targeted and very vicious attacks - we find those very worrying.

Making the Grade  

Why are more and more older people taking up instruments and putting themselves through music exams? Presenter and terrible musician James Peak follows the stories of several candidates as they try for their ABRSM piano exam. James is aiming for Grade 1 piano and discovers that everyone has their own reasons for trying to make the grade. Along the way he meets Carroll who has Parkinson's Disease and Nicola who suffers from stage fright. Written and presented by James Peak Produced by Lucinda Mason Brown A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.

Exonerated  

John Toal meets former death-row inmates Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle at the retreat they have set up in rural Ireland to offer restorative treatment to other victims of wrongful conviction in order to help them back to a normal life. Peter Pringle was sentenced to be hanged in Ireland in 1980. Sonia 'Sunny' Jacobs was sentenced to the electric chair in the United States in 1976. Sunny was accused of killing two police officers at a highway service area in Florida. Peter was accused of killing two police officers in rural Ireland during a botched bank robbery. Both had their sentences commuted to life and were later exonerated of their crimes. Peter and Sunny spent over 15 years each in prison for crimes they didn't commit. After their release, life in the outside world was tough. They struggled to re-integrate into society. Practical things like crossing roads, opening doors or even being touched joined a long list of everyday challenges. Neither could escape the feeling that they had re-joined a society that had moved on without them. In 1998 Peter heard Sunny give a talk about her death-row experience. Traumatised by her story and shocked by how similar their experiences were, Peter offered to drive Sunny to her next speaking engagement and their relationship grew from there. Now married, Peter and Sunny run the Sunny Centre in rural Connemara, a retreat for people from around the world who have been wrongfully convicted and who are trying to retrace a path back into normal life. For this programme, John Toal travels to the depths of the Irish countryside to hear Sunny and Peter's story. He hears how a combination of yoga, meditation, healthy food and the freedom to share their experiences with people who have been through similar trauma can assist those exonerated of dreadful crimes on their path back to normality ...and whether or not an exoneree can ever truly feel free again. Producer: Jennifer Goggin.

Acting Disabled  

BBC Disability Correspondent Nikki Fox looks at the way disability is portrayed on television and in film, and asks if enough opportunities are being offered to disabled actors, particularly in roles where disability is irrelevant. Actors Lisa Hammond of EastEnders, Mat Fraser from American Horror Story, Julie Fernandez from The Office and Eldorado, and Liz Carr from Silent Witness share their experiences. We also hear from the Chairman of the Casting Directors Guild Andy Pryor, agent Louise Dyson, film critic Nick Duncalf, and Alison Walsh, the BBC's Disability Lead. Presenter: Nikki Fox Producer: Phill Brown An Alfi Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Out in Africa  

Charles Adesina explores what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in Africa. Africa has been called the world's most homophobic continent. In the majority of African countries, homosexual activity is illegal, with long jail sentences or worse awaiting those who break anti-gay laws. Charles Adesina, a filmmaker and gay man with Nigerian roots, goes on a personal exploration to discover how deep homophobia really runs in families and communities. He hears about Africa's own rich heritage of same-sex relationships (including female healers who explain their lesbianism by saying that they are possessed by a male ancestor) and examines how colonial history and religion have influenced social attitudes to LGBT people in Africa today. The role of parents in helping their LGBT children find acceptance, he discovers, is key. In South Africa, Charles meets a group of courageous grandmothers ("Gogos" in Zulu) who have taken it upon themselves to learn what it means to be lesbian or gay, and defend their LGBT grandchildren from family hostility. He visits Mpho Tutu-van Furth, daughter of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who famously said that he would never worship a homophobic God. Mpho, herself an Anglican priest, married a woman last year - and argues that a God of love cannot be opposed to the kind of loving relationship she shares with her wife. Charles also visits Cape Town's People's Mosque to hear the story of openly gay Imam Muhsin Hendricks, who works with LGBT Muslims and their parents to convince them that a compassionate understanding of Islam embraces people regardless of their sexuality. Yet it becomes clear that cultural change will be inevitably slow. A CTVC Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

The Kids Who Decide What All the Other Kids Talk About  

Journalist Paul Mason reports on a group of university dropouts who are using social media to influence young people on a huge scale. In an old cotton mill in Manchester, the one-time students have created a new kind of business. They claim to be able to make any topic the number one trend on Twitter in under 30 minutes. The CEO of this company - Social Chain - is Steve Bartlett. At 24 years old he's one of the oldest at the company. He appears to have cornered a new market, buying up social media accounts with enormous numbers of followers, and then using them as a means to advertise. Most of these accounts were started by students in their bedrooms - doing it for the fun of it. But Steve realised their influence was enormous and went about persuading the owners of the accounts to join him in growing his business. Unlike traditional advertising, the message comes through a secondary source. It's 'word-of-mouth marketing' - the Holy Grail for advertisers. Nothing has more impact on our shopping habits than a friend or someone we trust recommending a product to us. Social Chain now owns over 400 of the most popular Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Collectively they have over 300 million followers. After just two years, the company now employs over a hundred young people in offices in Manchester, Berlin and New York. The average age of staff is just 22. £1.25 billion went on marketing on social media alone in 2015. Paul Mason examines this new economy - the commodification of influence. He considers the ethics of this way of advertising and how it affects trust in the information we're given. Social Chain closely follows regulations laid down by the Advertising Standards Authority, but Mara Einstein, author of Black Ops Advertising, argues that just as the military has moved from face to face action to covert operations, so advertising has moved from being obvious to more hidden - in particular through social media. Paul explores the concerns with some of the people who use social media more than any other - the so-called 'millennial generation'. A PRA production for BBC Radio 4.

Reimagining the City: Reykjavik  

The musician John Grant on Reykjavik, a city he fell in love with on tour. "In 2011 I was asked to come and play in Reykjavik... three months later I was living here... I go where I feel welcome and safe, and this is one of those places for me." John Grant is an accomplished linguist - he speaks German, Spanish, French and Russian, amongst others. Icelandic, however, has been a real challenge. "The combination of sounds, the phonetics of Icelandic, are beyond evil...I get giddy about synthesisers and language grammar." But it soon becomes clear that John is now fluent. Talking with the owner of one of his favourite coffee shops, she reminds him that within two days of living there he could make himself understood. John guides us around his adopted city, paying particular interest to book shops, architecture and interesting stair wells. It's a very different landscape from Michigan, where he grew up: "The world was hostile and there was a lot of nastiness directed at me because people thought they could see I was gay...'Look at that faggot', that kind of thing. So I developed a fear of leaving my nest." Reykjavik is the first city he has called home for a long long time. Produced by Rachel Hooper A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

The Many Faces of Ebenezer Scrooge  

Christopher Frayling explores how Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol has endured in popular culture for over 170 years. Victorian families sat around the fire to read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, over the festive season. It became an annual ritual. Now we might sit around the TV and watch It's A Wonderful Life - an Americanised version of the story. In between, there have been countless takes on the book - adapted for public readings, radio, television, film and stage. Cultural historian and writer Christopher Frayling considers how this short novel has shaped Christmas as we know it today, and discusses the circumstances in which it was written. Hearing from Dickens performers Simon Callow and Miriam Margolyes, as well as historians and fans, Christopher examines how the book's potent mixture of nostalgia, social concern and celebration has become part of the cultural bloodstream. He assesses versions starring everyone from Alastair Sim to the Muppets, via Blackadder and the Goons, getting to the very heart of Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens wrote of his novel, "may it haunt your house pleasantly". It has done so - in ways he could not have imagined - for over 170 years. Producer: Jane Long A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.

Burn Slush! The Reindeer Grand Prix  

Competitive reindeer-racing is a popular sport in the Arctic Circle. In Finland, the season runs from November to April and good jockeys are local celebrities. They need strong biceps and serious guts - strapped onto cross-country skis they're hauled behind reindeer at up to 60km/hour. Cathy FitzGerald travels to Lake Inari in the snowy north of Finland to find out more about the sport. Presented and produced by Cathy FitzGerald. A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.

The Prince Monolulu Quandary  

Stephen K Amos investigates the incredible true story of Ras Prince Monolulu, the first black man ever to appear on British TV screens. Standing tall in his billowing robes, lions paws swing from his neck and ostrich feathers adorn his hair. He shouts his catch phrase to an eager crowd, "I gotta 'Orse, I gotta 'Orse to beat the favourite." His smile is wide, his eyes full of spark and secrets, and the crowd is captivated. Monolulu made his fame on the race courses of England in the 1920s but soon became a national treasure enchanting the nation until his death in the 1960s. But today his story has fallen through the cracks of history. There's no blue plaque and no museum. So who was this man? Where did he come from? What drove him to fame and how did he charm the nation for over forty years? Comedian Stephen K Amos sets out to discover the incredible truth behind this mystical character, meeting people who remember the Prince and the vigilant detectives striving to get to the bottom of his story. The tale takes us from Ethiopia to Honolulu, from Germany to Soho. Lifting the gossamer webs of Monolulu's carefully woven stories, Stephen reveals the truth of this man and finds than it's even stranger than fiction. It's a story of invented exotic identities and the struggle for survival. Producer: Claire Crofton A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

It's Obscene!  

Matthew Syed of the Times explores the vexed role of money at the pinnacle of contemporary sport and challenges the popular notion that leading sportsman pay is obscene. It's obscene, Syed argues, that many of the top jobs in this country are based on privilege rather than merit. It's obscene that much of the world's population are born into hardship. But saying it's obscene for a football player to be earning a lot of money, working in the most fiercely meritocratic environment imaginable? That's just prejudice, he says, and it deserves to be challenged. Pointing out that entry costs to a career in football are almost non-existent and the opportunities broad, Syed will visit players and managers such as Claudio Ranieri and Joey Barton to make the case that the joy of sport is in its transparency, and that football more than any other sector holds a torch up to the covert networks, cosy alliances and hidden hand-ups that characterise other industries. Alongside fellow journalist Alyson Rudd and tennis player Janko Tipsarevic, Syed aims to take an axe to one of the holiest totems of consensual opinion. Producer: Sean Glynn A Resonance production for BBC Radio 4.

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