300 episodes

Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

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    • Personal Journals

Extraordinary first person stories from around the world

    My part in a historic hostage rescue

    My part in a historic hostage rescue

    In June 1976, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by militants. The plane and its 248 passengers were flown to Entebbe airport in Uganda, where all the Israeli and Jewish passengers on board were held hostage in an old terminal building. The hostage takers were members, or allies, of a Palestinian armed group, and the hijacking was tied to the on going Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Back in Israel, Rami Sherman, who was an officer in an elite military unit, started making plans to get the hostages back. The situation was challenging, and they knew they needed the element of surprise to pull off a rescue. The idea they came up with involved a low altitude flight across East Africa, and a fake presidential motorcade.

    Picture: Commando team in aftermath of Entebbe raid
    Credit: Getty Images, Keystone, Stringer

    • 22 min
    Behind the doors of the lockdown museums

    Behind the doors of the lockdown museums

    Today we're travelling to the places you can't get to right now, like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Brazil's National Museum and a treasure trove of cinema memorabilia in London. We meet the incredible people who devote their lives to caring for these places of culture and who are now working hard to keep them alive during lockdown.

    Presenter: Emily Webb
    Producer: Alice Gioia

    Picture: Florence Museum
    Credit: AFP photo, Florence Museum press office handout

    • 22 min
    The Australian who woke up speaking Mandarin

    The Australian who woke up speaking Mandarin

    Ben McMahon from Melbourne, Australia, has had an unlikely career in Chinese reality TV after waking up from a coma speaking Mandarin. When he was 18 years old, Ben suffered a head injury during a car crash. During his early recovery he was unable to speak his native English, and could only communicate with confused doctors in Mandarin, a language he’d studied in high school. Ben regained his English but his Mandarin stayed strong and helped him secure a spot on a Chinese dating show he was obsessed with.

    • 26 min
    Students by day and hostage negotiators by night

    Students by day and hostage negotiators by night

    In 1994 Robert Clerx was studying in Colombia, when an old school friend, Miles Hargrove asked him for a very large favour. To help him buy back his father. The boys had been friends since Miles and his family had moved to Colombia from America for his dad’s job. Then Miles’ dad was kidnapped by the Farc guerrilla group, who demanded a six million dollar ransom and would only negotiate with family, or a friend. But the family didn’t feel confident that their Spanish was good enough to take on such a delicate and risky task. So they asked for Robert's help. Miles' film about their ordeal is called: Miracle Fishing.

    Picture: Miles Hargrove and the team planning his dad's hostage negotiations
    Credit: Miles Hargrove

    • 39 min
    The weird world I was warned to keep secret

    The weird world I was warned to keep secret

    Pauline Dakin is a Canadian journalist, broadcaster and a professor of journalism in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, her childhood was marked by many mysterious incidents and unexplained getaways - where her family suddenly had to flee at a moment's notice and she couldn't talk to anyone about what was going on. Pauline tells Jo Fidgen how she managed to uncover her family's extraordinary secret - including a hidden community called the 'weird world'.

    This interview was first broadcast in December 2017

    Presenter: Jo Fidgen
    Producers: Becky Vincent, Thomas Harding-Assinder, Maryam Maruf

    Picture: Pauline Dakin
    Picture credit: Penguin

    • 40 min
    My search for my sister, the "keeper of memories"

    My search for my sister, the "keeper of memories"

    Nakuset only goes by one name and it means "The Sun" in her indigenous Canadian culture. Born into an abusive household, her early days were difficult and it wasn't long before she and her sister Sonya were taken into care by social services. This was the 1970s, and there was a widespread policy of taking indigenous children and putting them up for adoption with white families, removing them from their culture in the process. Nakuset was adopted, her sister wasn't. It was a painful process for Nakuset, but her eventual reunion with Sonya as an adult helped her get in touch with her heritage. The two sisters became close, but sadly their respective childhood experiences had left them scarred, and the reunion didn't have a fairy-tale ending.

    Presenter: Jo Fidgen
    Producer: Harry Graham

    Photo credit: Nakuset

    • 23 min

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