Witness: Archive 2014

Witness: Archive 2014

United Kingdom

The story of our times told by the people who were there.


The Biggest Rock Concert Ever  

What does rock megastar Rod Stewart remember most about playing to 4 million people on Copacabana beach on New Year's Eve 1994? Well... it's not nice. Photo: Rod Stewart at the BBC.

The Beginning of Reality TV  

In December 1999 a young Dutch man, Bart Spring in't Veld, won the first ever Big Brother reality TV show. It was to be the start of a global television phenomenon. But for 22-year-old Bart the victory proved to be a mixed blessing. Photo: Big Brother winner Bart Spring in't Veld, Credit: Endemol

The Casa Pia Scandal in Portugal  

In 2004, some of the most high-profile people in Portugual went on trial on charges of sexuallly abusing boys from a children's home called Casa Pia. Six defendants were eventually found guilty, including a famous televison presenter. Simon Watts talks to Pedro Namora, a lawyer who campaigned for the Casa Pia victims. Photo: Getty Images.

The Battle of the Bulge  

Fought during the winter months of 1944, it was the last major German attack on the Western Allies in World War II. Witness speaks to Keith Davis, an American survivor of the Battle of the Bulge. Photo: American tanks in Belgium in January 1945. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Radio Caroline  

In 1964 a 'pirate' radio station began broadcasting from a ship off the coast of England, in defiance of British law. Keith Skues was one of the first DJs on Radio Caroline. He tells Witness about the difficulties, and the fun, they had on board. Photo: Radio Caroline's ship Mi Amigo at anchor off East Anglia, Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images

The Christmas Truce  

On Christmas Eve 1914 the guns fell quiet over the trenches of World War One. Soldiers from British and German regiments exchanged gifts and sang carols. Hear first hand accounts from the BBC archives. Photo: German and British troops in Belgium in December 1914. Credit: AP/Imperial War Museum

Two Years Living up a Tree  

Julia Butterfly Hill lived in an ancient redwood tree in northern California for 738 days to protect it. Her bed was a tiny platform. She speaks to Witness about the challenges and the beauty she experienced during her remarkable solo protest. (Photo: Julia Butterfly Hill in the ancient redwood tree she called Luna. Credit: AP)

Nepal Peace Deal  

In 2006 the Nepalese government and Maoists signed a peace accord ending 10 years of civil war. Witness has been speaking to the UN envoy to Nepal at the time and to one of the Maoists' lead negotiators. (Photo: Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koiral (L) and Maoist Chairman Prachanda shake hands after they exchanged documents following the signing of a landmark peace agreement, in Kathmandu 21 November 2006. Credit: Devendra M Singh/Getty Images)

The Disappearance of Glenn Miller  

In December 1944, American bandleader Glenn Miller went missing over the English Channel. Witness speaks to trombonist Nat Peck, who played in Miller's band. Photo: Nat Peck (left) with other members of the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band

The US Breaks Ties with Cuba  

It was in January 1961 that the USA first broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba. Wayne Smith was one of the last diplomats to leave the US embassy in Havana. (Photo: An advert on the Miami waterfront after Fidel Castro came to power. Credit: Graf/Getty Images)

Goan Independence  

In December 1961, Goa became the last part of India to break free of colonial rule. The rest of India had become independent in 1947 when the British had left - but Goa had been a Portuguese colony, and Portugal did not want to give it up. Witness speaks to Libia Lobo Sardesai, who worked on the radio station Voice of Freedom, campaigning for Goan independence.

The Timisoara Uprising  

Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania, and the death of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, began on 16 December 1989. Followers of an opposition Hungarian priest, Laszlo Tokes, had gathered to support him in the town of Timisoara - but their protest prompted a violent response from the Romanian military. Zsolt Szilagy was there when the shooting started. (Photo: An old man greets a soldier after the uprising in Timisoara. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Gone With The Wind  

The premiere of one of the most successful films ever made, was held in Atlanta on 15 December, 1939. A sprawling romantic epic it was set during the American Civil War. Years later some of the cast and crew spoke to veteran Hollywood reporter Barbra Paskin. (Photo: Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, the stars of Gone With the Wind. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Baboon Aids Experiment  

Aids patient Jeff Getty was given a bone marrow transplant, from a baboon, in December 1995. It was the first time a human being had been given baboon cells. Witness speaks to Dr Steven Deeks, the doctor who oversaw the transplant. Photo: Jeff Getty is surrounded by the press and well wishers following his release from San Francisco General Hospital after the baboon bone marrow transplant, Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The Kyoto Protocol  

On 11 December 1997, delegates from 160 countries worked through the night in Kyoto, Japan, to agree the first international treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries present did not ratify it, notably the United States. But it was the first agreement of its kind. We talk to two people who helped make it possible - a young UN intern, Joanna Depledge, and her boss, the chair of the negotiations, Raul Estrada-Oyuela. (Photo: Delegates at the opening session of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Credit: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Miles Davis and Kind of Blue  

Drummer Jimmy Cobb recalls playing with Miles Davis on the album that changed jazz for ever. Kind of Blue was recorded in just two sessions by Davis' sextet at the 30th St Studios in New York City in 1959. Photo: Miles Davis. Credit: Don Hunstein/AP Photo/Sony/Legacy)

The Hunt for BRCA2  

In 1995, a frantic search was under way for a crucial 'cancer gene' called BRCA2. Scientists knew it was linked to hereditary cases of breast cancer. Professor Sir Mike Stratton was one of those racing to identify the gene. Annmarie Blomfield was one of the first women to be tested for it. (Photo: A Scientist looks through a microscope: Credit: Science Photo Library)

The 'Execution' of Oliver Cromwell  

In 1661, following the restoration of the monarchy, the body of Oliver Cromwell was dug up for ritual execution. Cromwell had overthrown King Charles I and ruled Britain during its only period as a republic. We hear from civil war historian Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer. (Photo: The death mask of Oliver Cromwell, 1599 - 1658. Credit: Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

The Holiday Inn in Beirut  

During the Lebanese civil war the hotel district in Beirut was turned into a battlefield. Hear from two hotel workers who worked at the luxury Holiday Inn, and who lived through what came to be known as The Battle of the Hotels. Photo: The ruins of the Holiday Inn. Credit: Getty Images

The Release of Terry Anderson  

The American journalist Terry Anderson was freed after nearly seven years in captivity on 4 December, 1991. He had been kidnapped by Shia militants in Lebanon during the country's civil war. Terry talks about his time in captivity. (Photo: Terry Anderson and daughter Sulome, Credit: AP)

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