184 episodes

Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

The Compass BBC

    • News

Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

    How modern life affects our sleep

    How modern life affects our sleep

    For two million years we evolved in synch with our environment and our bodies were perfectly adapted for a physically rigorous outdoor life. That all changed when the Industrial Revolution brought about a transformation in how we lived and worked for which our bodies were unprepared.

    Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid, describes how the great move indoors to a more comfortable but sedentary experience was changing our feet, our faces and our backs. In this second series he considers how modern life has impacted on the whole body experience, specifically on our sleep, our height and our longevity.

    In the first episode about sleep, he learns that sleep is not just good for us but the bedrock of our health. The modern world has helped us sleep better in some ways; our homes are more secure, our beds more comfortable and we can control our sleeping environment more effectively than in the past.

    But, we live in a noisy world. The electric light has banished true night, our jobs mean many of us are at work when we should be asleep and we have become dependent on personal devices that make it harder for us to drop off and to get a good night's sleep.
    Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid speaks to some of the world's leading researchers about how sleep has changed and learns what we can do to achieve a good night's sleep and thus a longer life.

    (Photo: Young sleepy female using mobile phone, yawning late at night, lying in bed. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Poland: Men and gender relations

    Poland: Men and gender relations

    It is a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989 and the end of communism. And gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with the ruling Law and Justice Party holding up LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' as being enemies to the Polish way of life. Anything that goes against traditional values has the potential of being held as a threat to Polish identity.

    Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw and meet a young man who is struggling to get custody of his son because of what he sees as the prioritising of mothers over fathers; they look at why the far-right is on the rise among young men in Poland, and they go to a Legia Warsaw game to find out what men in Warsaw are really thinking about at this pivotal point for gender relations in Poland.

    (Photo: A man holds a sign reading We are Polish, we have Polish duties, during the March for Life, an anti-abortion march in Warsaw. Credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Poland: Women

    Poland: Women

    Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Warsaw to find out what's on the minds of men and women. It's a time of political change in Poland. The recent general election saw the biggest turnout since 1989. Gender has become one of the most fraught political issues, with LGBT rights and so-called 'gender ideology' being held up by prominent politicians as threats to the Polish way of life. It has been a challenging time for many women, with a proposed tightening of abortion laws and many women's organisations under threat.

    We go door to door with the social workers implementing Law and Justice's controversial 500+ policy that pulls women out of poverty while reinforcing traditional family values, we travel out of Warsaw to meet a paramilitary troop, and we look at the changing complexion of dating in a country where relations between men and women are subtly shifting.

    Producer: Ant Adeane and Barney Rowntree

    (Photo: Protesters with banner that reads - Freedom - in Gdansk, Poland, 2018. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Mexico City: Men

    Mexico City: Men

    Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City. As parts of the world go through something of a gender reckoning, have these forces made much of a dent in Mexico? Last time, Anna spent time with women in this sprawling metropolis, hearing how the ever-present threat of violence lingers below the surface for many. In this episode she hears from men. The first wisps of the MeToo movement have belatedly started to blow into Mexico, but this is unlikely to be fertile soil for an outburst of equality. This is a country where six out of 10 women say they have experienced some kind of violence. We hear from a teacher working in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of Mexico City, a psychologist, the editor of a men’s magazine and the father of a girl who was murdered by her boyfriend.

    Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane

    (Photo: Men holding a Mexican flag tinted in red symbolising blood during a march for peace and to protest against a wave of violent crimes. Credit: Pedro Pardo/AFP)

    • 27 min
    Mexico City: Women

    Mexico City: Women

    Mexico has always felt like a country where men live on their own terms. A place where women strive for equality - and safety. More than nine are murdered in the country every day, according to UN Women. Tim Samuels and Anna Holligan travel to Mexico City and hear from a sports commentator, a domestic worker, journalists, newspaper editors and aspiring actresses. Mexican women are marching, calling on authorities to do more to combat the high rates of femicide - the murder of a woman because of her gender. Accusations of discrimination and harassment, most of them anonymous and in creative industries, have spread online. But what impact will the #MeToo movement have?

    Producers: Barney Rowntree and Ant Adeane
    Editor: Gloria Abramoff

    (Photo: Feminist students protest against femicide and violence against women in Mexico, Ibero University, Mexico City. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Chinese Dreams: India

    Chinese Dreams: India

    India and China have a complex and troubled modern history – including a fully-fledged war in 1962. Today Indian consumers seem to love all things Chinese, from the cheap plastic toys to smartphones and apps like Tik Tok. Some Indians think this success is a result of unfair trade. They think that Chinese imports are taking advantage of the relatively open Indian economy, while Indian companies are prevented from getting a foothold in China. This creates a huge trade imbalance between the two Asian giants. These flames are fanned by Indian perceptions of Chinese support for both Pakistan and Kashmiri ‘separatists’. An affiliate of the governing BJP party has called on consumers to boycott Chinese goods. And India has refused to sign a regional economic trade agreement to prevent China using it as a backdoor to the Indian market. Shabnam Grewal, a British BBC journalist of Indian descent, investigates the complex feelings that Indians have towards their increasingly rich and powerful neighbour – a combination of admiration, envy and even anger.

    Producer: Shabnam Grewal
    Editor: Hugh Levinson

    (Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP/Getty Images)

    • 27 min

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