8 episodes

In the early 70s, Debbie Gayle was one of Britain’s most promising young ballerinas. At the age of 17, she was chosen to go to the Soviet Union and become the first Westerner to train at Russia’s finest ballet academy. It was a dream come true for her, but just a few months later, things took a near deadly turn for her. She made it out of the country thanks to a young girl named Natasha who she never saw or heard from again.

In Finding Natasha, Debbie’s son Jake Warren – a journalist and podcaster – sets out to understand the story of his mum’s past, and to find the woman who saved her 50 years ago.

Finding Natasha is a Message Heard production.

Finding Natasha Message Heard

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 51 Ratings

In the early 70s, Debbie Gayle was one of Britain’s most promising young ballerinas. At the age of 17, she was chosen to go to the Soviet Union and become the first Westerner to train at Russia’s finest ballet academy. It was a dream come true for her, but just a few months later, things took a near deadly turn for her. She made it out of the country thanks to a young girl named Natasha who she never saw or heard from again.

In Finding Natasha, Debbie’s son Jake Warren – a journalist and podcaster – sets out to understand the story of his mum’s past, and to find the woman who saved her 50 years ago.

Finding Natasha is a Message Heard production.

    Part 1: A Myth and a Dream

    Part 1: A Myth and a Dream

    Jake Warren explores a family myth about a mysterious woman in his mum’s past, and begins his search for her. Debbie Gayle recounts her difficult childhood and her dreams of ballet stardom. 
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    • 29 min
    Part 2: Enter Natasha

    Part 2: Enter Natasha

    Debbie travels to Russia and things go downhill quickly. Jake makes an important discovery. 
     
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    • 26 min
    Part 3: Isolation

    Part 3: Isolation

    A simple mistake marks the beginning of the end of Debbie’s dreams in Russia. Jake gives his mum some much-needed good news. 
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    • 21 min
    Part 4: Home Sweet Home

    Part 4: Home Sweet Home

    Debbie returns home and renounces her past. Fifty years later, Jake prepares his mum to confront it. 
     
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    • 22 min
    Part 5: Don’t Cry, Debbie

    Part 5: Don’t Cry, Debbie

    Debbie hears the other side of the story, and Jake has one more surprise for her. 
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    • 29 min
    Bonus Episode: The Reunion

    Bonus Episode: The Reunion

    Over a year ago, Jake Warren set out to find Natasha – the mysterious teenager who helped his mum Debbie escape from the USSR in 1974. And still to this day, Natasha and Debbie have not met in person… until now. In this special episode of Finding Natasha, Jake and Debbie travel over 1000 miles away to Helsinki. Debbie prepares to meet Natasha face to face for the first time in nearly 50 years, while also coming to terms with the fact that in just 36 hours she’s going to have to say goodbye again, possibly forever. 

    Listen to the full first miniseries of Finding Natasha again
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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
51 Ratings

51 Ratings

golongandshite ,

James

Simple , effective lovely yarn , throughly enjoyed

TashaYar88 ,

Captivating

What a wonderfully heartwarming story also providing fascinating insight into the Cold War era. I was engrossed from start to finish and thoroughly moved.

Billy neil ,

Thrilling!

I absolutely loved this story, thank you for sharing! Your mums voice is wonderful - tell her we want more ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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