Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.
Nigeria’s kidnapped children
Since December, gangs have seized more than a thousand students and members of staff from schools in armed raids across northern Nigeria. The wave of abductions is having devastating consequences for the country, which already has the highest number of children out of education anywhere in the world. Parents face extortionate financial demands in exchange for the freedom of their sons and daughters, and many families in Africa’s most populous nation are now too afraid to send their children to class. Some have decided to flee rural areas for the relative security of cities, adding to demographic pressures and threatening food supplies as crops go untended. For Assignment, the BBC’s Mayeni Jones travels across north-western Nigeria, meeting those who have been affected by the crisis in order to understand why it has arisen – and what the authorities can do to stop it.
Producers: Naomi Scherbel-Ball in Lagos and Michael Gallagher in London
Sound mix: James Beard
Production Co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Mrs Sani shows a photo of her two daughters Rejoice and Victory. They were kidnapped from their school in March and were finally released after being held in captive for almost two months. Credit: BBC)
Guru: A dark legacy
For the last year, BBC journalist and passionate yoga teacher Ishleen Kaur has been investigating allegations of sexual and emotional abuse at the heart of an organisation she once called home.
Fellow practitioners share with her their stories of cruelty, rape and even the sexual assault of a child - but she wasn't prepared for what she uncovered next.
Join Ishleen on her deeply personal journey into the dark legacy which haunts Sivananda Yoga, one of the world’s most revered yoga schools.
The life of Kenneth Kaunda
Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia was a unique African leader. He led the African continent’s fight against Apartheid, gaining a peaceful transition to power in his own country. He was influenced by reading Mahatma Gandhi yet ruled with ‘an iron fist in a velvet glove’. He loved to sing and play guitar, particularly to his wife of many years Betty and in his 27 years as president. In the end he was voted out of office but left with dignity when he admitted defeat in a multi-party election. Audrey Brown charts the rise and fall of former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.
Deepwater Horizon oil spill
In the evening of 20 April 2010 disaster struck at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig when a blowout caused by a surge in methane gas from the oil well exploded engulfing the platform. For the next 87 days, BP engineers tried to staunch the flow of crude oil gushing out of the well on the ocean floor. An estimated 184 million gallons were spilt, 18 times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez, making it the largest accidental marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in US history.
Women in Iran
Iran has voted for a new president and BBC Persian Service presenter, Rana Rahimpour, hears from different women in conversation on what life is like in the country. Three young women, including one 17-year-old, join Rana to discuss their fears, frustrations and hopes for the future. A pharmacist and doctor share their experiences in two hospitals after the country underwent a fourth wave of infections. They describe the long days and the financial challenges in the health sector, including the relatively low pay. Rana is also joined by two of her colleagues from BBC Persian to discuss the difficulties of reporting on your homeland from thousands of miles away in London.
Syria’s decade of conflict: The many colours of Raqqa
Syrian born reporter Lina Sinjab presents a special series from Assignment’s award winning archive on the ten years of civil war in her country.
In the final programme from the season Lina hears from BBC foreign correspondent Tim Whewell who spoke to Abood Hamam, perhaps the only photojournalist to have worked under every major force in Syria's war - and lived to tell the tale. At the start of the uprising he was head of photography for the state news agency, SANA, taking official shots of President Assad and his wife Asma by day - and secretly filming opposition attacks by night. Later he defected and returned to his home town, Raqqa, where various rebel groups were competing for control. Other journalists fled when the terrorists of so-called Islamic State (IS) took over, but Abood stayed - and was asked by IS to film its victory parade. He sent pictures of life under IS to agencies all over the world - using a pseudonym. As the bombing campaign by the anti-IS coalition intensified, Abood moved away - but returned later to record the heartbreaking destruction - but also the slow return of life, and colour, to the streets. For months, he roamed through the ruins with his camera, seeing himself as ”the guardian of the city." Raqqa's future is still very uncertain, but Abood now wants everyone to see his pictures, which he posts on Facebook, and know his real name. He hopes the colours he's showing will tempt the thousands of families who've fled Raqqa to return home, and rebuild their lives, and their city.
Producer: Mohamad Chreyteh
Sound mix: James Beard
Production coordinator: Gemma Ashman
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Children running in Raqqa, 2019. Credit: Abood Hamam)
The podcasts are almost every time informative and well researched, but on some politically delicate matters you can definitely spot biased views, for example in the podcast silent wounds.
I really enjoy listening to „The Documentary Podcast“ to improve my English Skills and to learn something new every day!
The “Compassion Fatigue” Episode. WOW.
Such a clear moment of genius for this moment and the future. Unbelievably well done to Marie Keyworth, Sarah Treanor. I hope the whole world listens to it. (also keep them coming team at the bbc, the episodes are always great)