300 episodes

Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

The Documentary Podcast BBC World Service

    • News
    • 4.2 • 675 Ratings

Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

    A short history of sadness

    A short history of sadness

    How do humans cope with sadness? Is it something to be avoided at all costs or part of the human condition? Should we dwell on our sadness, or flee from it? Author Helen Russell explores humanity's history of gloom, and the cultural differences in our approach to tackling it. Helen goes to Lisbon to explore their relationship with melancholy, communicated through a uniquely mournful genre of music called Fado, and an untranslatable word "saudade". She learns about the service which sends a handsome man to wipe away tears in Japan, and hears about joy, sadness and mourning with a Ghanian poet.

    • 48 min
    Babies and families

    Babies and families

    Several countries are experiencing a fall in the number of babies being born and this has potentially serious consequences. Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society. The problem is an increasingly elderly population and not enough younger people to keep the country ticking over. China is seeing record low birth rates and South Korea has the lowest rate of women having babies in the world. Youtubers Sarah and Kyuho in the South Korean capital Seoul, describe some of the pressures and reactions they experienced when they said they are not planning to have kids.

    • 24 min
    Cuba–United States relations

    Cuba–United States relations

    Cuba and the United States share a long, complex history. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 to Fidel Castro's Cuba, these neighbours have often had an uneasy relationship. Claire Graham speaks with Ana Maria Roura, a BBC World Service journalist and Cuban native, to understand the history between the two nations.

    • 18 min
    Iran Protests: Tales from the frontline

    Iran Protests: Tales from the frontline

    Why did people take to the streets, risking arrest and a barrage of bullets?
    After protests turned violent and hundreds of people were killed, four Iranians tell the story of why they risked their lives. What has been happening in Iran to drive them out onto the streets to face bullets?
    ‘Agrin’ tells Phoebe Keane she’s tired of being objectified as a woman, and having no faith that the authorities will take sexual assault seriously when the police themselves are accused of raping prisoners.
    Mahsoud tells how he was shot during a protest but feared going to the hospital in case the authorities put him in jail. When plain clothed police loitered outside his family home, he decided to leave Iran. Still bleeding and with a metal pellet lodged in his ear impairing his hearing, he finally made it across the border to Iraq.
    ‘Nazy’ tells of being arrested by the morality police while walking to work and being shoved in a van as the heels on her shoes were too high. She started to protest every day and now walks through the streets with her hair blowing in the wind, an act of defiance.
    ‘Farah’ remembers a time in Iran when women could dance and sing in public and protests because she wants her daughter to live a life without fear.

    Presenter: Phoebe Keane
    Producers: Ed Butler, Ali Hamedani, Khosro Isfahani and Taraneh Stone
    Series editor: Penny Murphy

    • 26 min
    Sierra Leone's children of war

    Sierra Leone's children of war

    In 2002 photojournalist Caroline Irby and former BBC reporter Tom McKinley arrived in Sierra Leone to cover the fallout from the country’s brutal conflict. They travelled with children caught up in the fighting; as they were reunited with their families. Now, just over two decades on, Caroline returns to West Africa to track them down.

    • 28 min
    The Black Book

    The Black Book

    As the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union swept over vast areas of Ukraine and Belorussia from the summer of 1941, over three million Jews were deliberately targeted for annihilation. Shot, hung, butchered, a million and a half Jewish souls were buried in vast pits in Babi Yar, Rumbula, Mariupol, Minsk, Kyiv and Riga. Many accounts began to flood into the Soviet Union where journalist and writer Ilya Ehrenburg began gathering testimonies of the mass murder. This became The Black Book, a chronicle of the Nazi extermination of Soviet Jews. Historian Catherine Merridale travels to Riga, Latvia and Yad Vashem, where the Black Book was smuggled, to uncover this complex story of loss, silence and rediscovery.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
675 Ratings

675 Ratings

shannon rebekkah ,

Excellent

The series on HIV is outstanding

ayxhouhgfufcctufytigggvvccxtry ,

One of the best

Very good definitely would recommend

Sonorific ,

MTV 40th podcast

Omitting Michael Nesmith (of the Monkees) from the MTV creation myth is worse than weak. Nesmith sold the idea to Warner. Letting those smarmy suits (unchallenged!) take credit for another person’s idea - it diminishes the BBC.

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