Episoder

  • Cakes Da Killa is in Atlanta, the epicentre of hip-hop and home of trap music. The success of southern queer artists like Lil Nas X and Saucy Santana has brought more diversity into the genre, but boundaries and prejudice are still strong. Despite differences in their backgrounds, lives and music, the performers Cakes speaks to are driven by a common goal – to be creative on their own terms without bowing down to pressure from labels and the industry to conform. Will they succeed to build a more inclusive hip-hop for the future? Featuring artists Latto, Omeretta, Ripparachie and Jamee Cornelia.

  • All banks in Lebanon have been shut indefinitely. They say it is for safety reasons following a string of raids by customers demanding access to their own money. In one incident, a woman armed with a toy gun staged a bank hold-up to pay family medical bills. Although the authorities have condemned the raids, they have drawn widespread public support. Since the 2019 collapse of Lebanon's financial system, 80% of the population is struggling for money. There are water shortages and frequent power cuts. We speak to Ghida who backs the bank raids because, she says, people are desperate. We hear from Elize, a cancer patient who shares her experiences of trying to get the drugs she needs to stay alive. Her doctor, professor Fadi Nasr, reminds us how hospitals in Lebanon used to be the best in the Middle East but they have now run out of basic supplies.

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  • Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is struggling to come to terms with high-profile sex abuse scandals. In the past year, two of its leading lights were accused of taking advantage of their status to sexually assault vulnerable women, men, and children. What has added to the shock is how, after one of the alleged attackers committed suicide, religious leaders in this insular, devout community defended him and even blamed his victims for causing his death by speaking out.

    The response sparked anger and triggered an unprecedented wave of activism to raise awareness of hidden sex abuse within the ultra-Orthodox world. Some are describing it as a “me-too” moment. The BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Yolande Knell hears from survivors of sexual assault and the campaigners within the ultra-Orthodox community working towards lasting change.

    Presenter: Yolande Knell
    Producers: Gabrielle Weiniger and Phoebe Keane
    Editor: Penny Murphy

    Photo: A child sex abuse survivor prays at the grave of his alleged abuser)

  • In August 1972, Idi Amin publicly condemned Ugandan Asians as ‘the enemy’, enforcing a brutal policy that ordered them to leave the country within 90 days. It is estimated between 60-70,000 South Asians left Uganda in fear for their lives. On the 50th anniversary of the expulsion, BBC reporter Reha Kansara follows her mum and aunt as they return to Uganda together for the first time.

  • Homophobia and misogyny are ingrained in hip-hop. But a new generation of women and queer artists are determined to challenge the status quo. Cakes Da Killa is an openly gay rapper who has been recording for more than a decade. In this two-part series he talks to female stars like number one artist Latto, and queer rappers like Ripparachie to find out how far they have come, the issues they still face and where they are going next.

  • The Queen is lying in state in Westminster Hall in the UK Parliament. Tens of thousands of people have been queuing to pay their final respects. The line has stretched several kilometres along the River Thames. We talk to some of the mourners who have been waiting overnight, sometimes in the rain, to have the opportunity to view the late monarch’s coffin. We hear from three people who have met the Queen during her 70 years on the throne.

  • Historic levels of flooding in eastern Kentucky in August caused 37 deaths. The State’s governor described it as the worst natural crisis Kentucky has seen. River levels on the North Fork Kentucky River in Whitesburg reached 21ft (6.4m) compared with the previous record of 14ft (4.2m). The floods have tested the resilience of the people in the former coal-mining region of Appalachia. In towns like Whitesburg, where 56-year-old Val Horn runs a community kitchen - huge numbers of people have lost their homes and Val’s kitchen has been preparing 1500 meals a day.

  • UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has set out a plan to help with people’s soaring energy bills, food and petrol prices. And then there is the challenge of strikes over pay and a record number of people waiting for treatment by the country’s national health service. Host James Reynolds brings together two public sector workers – Kailee, a care home nurse in Lincoln and Alice, a music teacher in Hertfordshire. Kailee says she can no longer always afford treats for her children and drives slower to save a little money on fuel. Alice, meanwhile, seeks discounts and has begun teaching privately to help make ends meet. James also hears the conversations in the city of Derby – once the heart of the industrial revolution but now facing harsh economic challenges. A hairdresser, ice cream maker and striking postal worker share their experiences of tightening budgets. And three small business owners – who run a shop, a pub and a restaurant – discuss the prospect of fewer customers.

  • The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community--even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells.The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it's changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run.Produced by David Goren.Photo credit (Michael Starghill)

  • Samburu county, in northern Kenya, is one of many places where it is normal for girls as young as 11 to be married, often to men more than three times their age. These marriages are additionally traumatic because the child brides are forced to undergo female genital mutilation the day before the wedding. For this documentary Lisa-Marie Misztak meets Josephine Kulea, a remarkable Samburu woman on a quest to stop these practices deeply embedded in her culture. Lisa-Marie also meets the girls Josephine has taken under her wing, who are now rediscovering childhood and getting an education.

  • It has been called "a monsoon on steroids" by one United Nations chief after record-breaking rainfall and floods destroyed over a million homes in Pakistan leaving many homeless. Buildings, crops and vital infrastructure have been damaged, destroyed or submerged in water affecting about 33 million Pakistanis. Nauroz Jamali helped start a group to support those in the flooded villages. Abraham Buriro is also a volunteer and host James Reynolds hears what the situation is like for them and where they need the most help.

  • As Boris Johnson prepares to stand down as UK Prime Minister, the BBC’s Ritula Shah asks what his premiership has meant for Britain’s standing in the world. In just three years in office he was a key player in world events – Brexit, the COP 26 climate summit, the war in Ukraine. He championed an idea of ‘Global Britain’ – what did that mean and how will his colourful and controversial leadership be judged in countries around the world?

  • Max, Alyona, Serhiy, Oleg, Alina and Vladyslav are leaving school this year - six 17 year olds full of dreams. Serhiy plans an epic bike ride; Max pours his heart into music - and they’ve all turned up for the prom that marks their passage into adulthood.

    But their school, School no. 20 in Chernihiv, has been shelled badly by the Russian army, and the school leavers face a future with none of the old certainties. In the early morning of February 24th, ’My mother came in and said that the war had begun… it was unreal,’ Alyona says ‘I just went back to bed thinking it was cool that I didn't have to go to school and could sleep in. And then, when I finally realised… it was as if someone took the ground from under your feet, and now you’re kind of weightless.’ Alina tells us of the weeks she spent in the cellar, sleeping on a shelf meant for jam and trying to revise by candle light. When the fighting died down, she made her way across her bombed city to charge her phone at a special park bench fitted with solar panels.

    All six have found themselves changed forever by the last few months. They are thinking deeply about what will happen next. Vlad is still planning to study IT, but who knows? ‘If my country needs me, then so be it. I’ll serve in the army.’ Yet despite it all, they are teenagers still. Toffee popcorn, model dragons, and dresses all feature in a documentary full of life.

    The teenagers plan to stay in touch with one another in the years to come, even if their lives are scattered. And Assignment plans to stay in touch with them too. Alyona reaches out in this first episode to other teens in Ukraine and the wider world.

    ‘I want to say to all the people who are safe - don’t feel bad about it. It’s fine that you can eat, or smile, or just go for a walk and enjoy your life in peace. You must live your life!’

    With special thanks to Vladyslav Savenok and the staff and pupils at School no. 20, Chernihiv.


    Presenter: Olga Betko
    Producer: Monica Whitlock
    Editor: Penny Murphy
    Studio Managers: James Beard and Graham Puddifoot
    Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman

    (Image: Leavers from School no 20, Chernihiv, Ukraine. Credit: Vladyslav Savenok)

  • By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.

  • August 24 is always a significant date for Ukraine, as it marks official independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year, however, it also marked six months since Russia invaded the country. Russian officials initially predicted a short campaign but the fighting shows no sign of ending soon. The human cost has been immense – thousands of lives have been lost on both sides. Three women share what it is like to have family members involved directly in the war. We also hear messages from a Ukrainian military sniper, a 20-year-old volunteer military interpreter and a former US marine who is now one of thousands of volunteer fighters in the country. Meanwhile, a Russian woman in Riga describes the impact of the war on her family and a Russian man living in Moscow is calling for truce.

  • Why are Native Americans striving to ‘reclaim’ the game of lacrosse?

    Lacrosse may have the reputation as a white elitist sport, played in private schools. In fact, it was originally a Native American game, practiced across North America before European colonisers arrived.

    As white settlers pushed westwards, taking land and resources, they also took lacrosse as their own. They stopped Native Americans from playing it, alongside prohibiting other spiritual and cultural practices.

    But now a Native American grassroots movement is aiming to 'reclaim' what they call "the Creator's game". In doing so they want to promote recognition for their peoples and nations.

    Rhodri Davies travels to Minnesota, in the American Midwest, to talk to Native Americans about how lacrosse is integral to their identity.

    Producer: John Murphy
    Editor: Penny Murphy
    Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar
    Production Coordinators: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman

    (Image: A game of traditional lacrosse begins with sticks raised and a shout to the Creator. Credit: Rhodri Davies/BBC)

  • What are people looking for online within the world’s major war zones? By examining internet search data, Ben Arogundade discovers the surprising stories of how, from the tiniest villages under attack to major cities hosting thousands of refugees, people are navigating their difficult circumstances and managing to live in the spaces between conflicts.

  • Odesa, legendary Black Sea port city and vital geo-strategic nexus of global trade, is living through Russia's war against Ukraine. Always fiercely independent, both from Moscow and Kiev, its legendary past has given the city a reputation of possibility and promise.

    A quarter of a million people have left Odesa. Its beloved holiday beaches are closed and mined, yet life has gradually returned to its performance spaces: concerts, opera, spoken word. Recordings made since the first days of the war interweave with the fabulously rich cultural history of the city.

    Founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great as part of her expanding empire of Novo Rossiya, Odesa began as a dusty boom town of enormous opportunity and possibility that connected the chill of Imperial Russia to the warmth of the wider world. In some ways nothing has changed. A port city possessed of a unique argot - 'Odesski Iazyk' (a fusion of Yiddish and Russian); eternal optimism; a wicked sense of humour; more violinists than you can shake a bow at; poets and writers galore; and a gallery of rogues, real and imagined.

    Perhaps its most beloved literary son is Isaac Babel. Raised in the Moldovanka- still a place of liminal existence, his Odessa Tales of gangster anti-heroes like Benya Krik are forever interwoven with how Odesites and the wider world imagine the city - beautiful and bad! It is of course only partially true. Film-maker Sergei Eisenstein's Battle Ship Potemkin also put the city on the world map and the first film studios in Russia sprang up there. with its ready supply of sunlight. From foundational boom town days onwards its streets and people could make you rich, or ruin you. In the crumbling days of the Soviet empire it was a place to dream of escape to a world beyond.

    Babel and Eisenstein are just two among many who, since the 19th Century have helped created the myth of Old Odessa -poets and writers, musicians and comedians who flourished in what was a largely Jewish city until 1941 and the Nazi invasion of Russia. Legendary violinists ever since David Oistrakh are forged there at the Stolyarsky School, now closed due to war.

    Musician Alec Koypt, who grew up in the mean streets of Molodvanka, shipping proprietor Roman Morgenshtern, journalist Vlad Davidson, translator Boris Dralyuk, poets Boris and Lyudmila Kershonsky and others are our contemporary guides as the voices of the past bring forth their very Odesan genius.

  • In August 2021, the Taliban entered the capital Kabul, unchallenged, to take control of Afghanistan, 20 years after the Americans toppled them from power.
    The country was turned upside down.

    One year on, the list of challenges is long, including the millions who are facing hunger amid a dire economic and humanitarian situation. As well as warning about malnutrition, the United Nations has urged the world not to forget the plight of the country's women and girls.

    Three Afghans still living in the country discuss the changes to their lives with host Anna Foster. Two are young women and they reveal the severe restrictions to their rights, education, freedom and choice of clothes.

    Tens of thousands also fled the country last August, and we bring together Afghans who escaped and are now living in Poland, Germany and the United States. Although grateful for their safety, the emotion and pain remains at having often left loved ones behind.

    “I miss my home. I miss my mother. I miss my room. I miss my bed,” says Laleh in Berlin. “I miss everything about my country.”

  • Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic of Moldova has recently been awarded EU candidate status.

    In an echo of what happened in Ukraine, Moldova lost a chunk of its eastern territory to separatists in a short war 30 years ago. The separatists were backed by elements of the Russian army. Since then Transnistria has remained a post-Soviet “frozen conflict.”

    In recent months almost 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Moldova – the highest per capita influx to a neighbouring country. Up to 90,000 have remained in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. The republic’s president has warned that President Putin has his sights set on her country. Tessa Dunlop travels to Moldova to hear what Moldovans think about the war in Ukraine and their country’s future.

    Produced by John Murphy

    (Image: A Russian armoured vehicle at the border crossing with the breakaway enclave of Transnistria in the village of Firladeni, Republic of Moldova. Credit: BBC/John Murphy)