A window into our world – investigating, exploring and telling stories from everywhere. Original BBC documentary storytelling, bringing the globe to your ears. Award-winning journalism, unheard voices, amazing culture and “unputdownable” audio.
New episodes every week from our teams: documentaries, Assignment, Heart and Soul, In the Studio and OS Conversations.
In the Studio: Kengo Kuma
Kengo Kuma has a philosophy: to enrich the connection between buildings and nature, “almost tuning-in” to the materials. His architecture is inspired by traditional Japanese design, and he is a serious critic of the global dominance of concrete. Kuma’s mission has manifested in iconic buildings including China’s Folk Art Museum, the V&A in Scotland, and Japan’s National Stadium, built for the 2020 Olympics. Broadcaster Nick Luscombe follows Kuma to Japan’s oldest and largest lake, and to the ancient capital of Otsu, where Kuma is attempting to represent the history of the area not by constructing a new building, but by creating a monument to a legendary cow.
Taiwan's Balancing Act
Former BBC Taiwan correspondent Cindy Sui meets to young Taiwanese voters, Shirley Lin and Dennis, who have very different views about the island, its future and its relationship with Mainland China. While one is a committed peace campaigner and seeks to reduce antagonism between Taiwan and China, the other has signed up to train with a citizen's army, to be ready for Chinese aggression. We follow them in their work, with their friends and hear their differing reflections on a place and an electorate being watched by a global audience.
BBC OS Conversations: Climate change and the young
World leaders are currently meeting in Dubai for the United Nations’ COP23 climate summit to discuss how to cope with a changing global climate. At the same time, a new study has suggested that air pollution from using fossil fuels is responsible for 5 million avoidable deaths around the world every year.
Host James Reynolds brings together three young people in India, Uganda and Bangladesh to hear their concerns and what it’s like to live in a country struggling with air pollution.
“I got up, I looked out the window, nothing. I couldn’t even see my own lane. It was extremely sad,” said 12 year old Myra in Delhi, India. “I was getting ready to go to the school. I was going to my bus and I couldn’t see anything. Almost all days smog is covering the entire city. It’s suffocating.”
Three women from the United States, India and the UK - all in their twenties - also share why they decided to not have children in order to help save the planet.
“Every year has become more significant,” says Melissa in London, “and of course making changes in my own life to help the climate like being plant-based and not having children seems to be quite a good decision in that regard as well.”
A co-production between the BBC OS team and Boffin Media.
Heart and Soul: The Sarajevo Haggadah
Sarajevo’s most famous artefact, a 700 year-old Jewish prayer book called the Haggadah, captures the story the city wants to tell about itself. But is it accurate? In Sarajevo, Farrah Jarral joins members of the Jewish community to find out. In a city devastated by conflict in the 1990s, she hears stories about living together, and the wish that Jews and Muslims can still live alongside one another, as they had for hundreds of years. And the story of the Haggadah seems to capture that. Saved from the Nazis by a Muslim and a Catholic, and then again from destruction in the 1990s by another Muslim, it captures the possibility of living together, caring for one another's treasures.
Assignment: Cyprus and the battle over songbird slaughter
Cyprus is one of the main resting stops for songbirds as they migrate between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. For centuries, Cypriots trapped and ate a small number of migrating songbirds, as part of a subsistence diet. But over recent decades, the consumption of songbirds became a lucrative commercial business and the level of slaughter reached industrial levels. Millions of birds were killed each year as trappers employed new technologies to attract and capture birds. The methods used by the trappers are illegal under both Cypriot and EU law. In the last few years, both the Cypriot authorities and environmental groups have been fighting back, dramatically reducing the number of birds being trapped. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent sees the trappers in action, and meets those determined to stop the mass killing of birds.
The Children of Paradise: Without hope you're dead
Three decades after the momentous transition from Apartheid to a democratic South Africa, Fergal Keane returns to see what happened to the hopes and promises of a better nation.
In a famous speech thirty years ago, as he collected the Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela spoke of a “common humanity” in which all South Africans would live “like the children of paradise.”
In this final episode, in which Fergal Keane and Milton Nkosi re-visit some of the places and people they encountered 30 years ago, they are in the Western Cape, around Cape Town. They visit a school in the sprawling Khayelitsha township, and the university in Stellenbosch, once the centre of white and Afrikaner intellectual thought.
With the country’s high crime rates, lack of jobs, violence and intense corruption, is all lost or can South Africans still hold onto hope?
Truly an amazing experience. Highly recommended.
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