Meet the humans behind the BBC News headlines. This exclusive, interactive storytelling series, grounded in our journalists’ lived experience, is sure to inspire, amuse, and move you.
Buy Now Pay Later
More than 17 million UK customers have now used a buy now pay later company to make an online purchase. And experts say the payment method is also set to have its biggest Christmas yet. BNPL firms allow people to manage their shopping, either by postponing their bill for a short while, or splitting it into more manageable chunks over time, interest free. But critics say users too easily end up in debt and tougher rules are needed.
The biggest provider in the UK, Klarna, has seen its customer base double to 15 million since early 2020. The market's other main players, Clearpay and LayBuy, are also expanding fast. Growth is fastest among users in their 40s and 50s, showing BNPL is no longer just a millennial and Gen Z trend.
So is it a helpful way of managing money, or will more people end up with mounting debt? For 5 Minutes On, the BBC's Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Colletta Smith, is in the Arndale Centre in Manchester chatting to shoppers and industry experts.
Barbados - becoming a Republic
Barbados is becoming the world's newest republic. The island nation will remove the Queen as its head of state and swear in its first ever Barbadian president. Celestina Olulode has Barbadian heritage. She lived in Barbados when she was a child and is travelling back for the first time since then to find out what people there make of the move.
The new Covid variant - your questions answered
We're back in familiar territory - growing concern about a new variant of coronavirus. The latest is the most heavily mutated version discovered so far. James Gallagher is the BBC's Health and Science Correspondent - but for the past two years, his job has been almost exclusively about covering the pandemic. He's been speaking to scientists about this latest variant - one of whom has described it as "horrific" because of its long list of mutations. Another has told him it's the worst variant he's seen.
It's early days and the confirmed cases are still mostly concentrated in one province in South Africa. Immediately, there are questions around how quickly the new variant spreads, its ability to bypass some of the protection given by vaccines and what should be done about it. Jonny McGuigan from the BBC's Social Media Team has a list of the most searched questions to put to James for our 5 Minutes On podcast - The new Covid variant.
Zara McDermott - uncovering rape culture
Zara McDermott is a successful fashion model who found fame on Love Island in 2018. She has millions of followers on social media and travels the world working on glamorous photo shoots. In recent years, though, Zara has been on a very personal journey. When she was 21, a schoolboy tried to sexually assault her. Zara is now looking into sexism and ‘rape culture’ in Britain. The assault left her with many unanswered questions. Why did it happen? Why did he think he could do it? And where did he learn that? Speaking to her friends, it quickly became clear that they all had their own stories - and many believe the problem starts at school.
In Spring 2021, the website Everyone’s Invited was flooded with thousands of anonymous testimonies from schoolgirls sharing stories of sexual assault and harassment. An emergency Ofsted report said that rape culture has been raging unchecked in our schools and that urgent action is needed to tackle it.
For 5 Minutes On, Zara speaks to young women, girls and boys about their experience of rape culture to understand first-hand how these toxic behaviours happen, and what can be done to bring about change.
Kevin Sinfield - the extra mile
Rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield has completed a run of 101 miles in 24 hours in support of motor neurone disease research and his great friend and former teammate, Rob Burrow - who has MND. He set off from Welford Road, where he is a Leicester Tigers coach. The route ended at Headingley, home of rugby league club Leeds Rhinos, where he played for 18 years. Sinfield raised £2.7m last year by running seven marathons in seven days. This was another epic challenge which pushed him to his limit.
"It's been a real team effort from all the crew and I wouldn't have got it done without them," Sinfield told BBC Breakfast after finishing at Headingley. "The support along the route has been incredible right from the start. It was certainly a battle - we wanted a battle and we certainly got one."
For 5 Minutes On, we take you along the route with Kevin as he completes another remarkable challenge.
Meet my troll - an investigation into online abuse
Marianna Spring is the target of a lot of abuse online. Her job as the BBC’s specialist disinformation reporter involves investigating online conspiracies and fake news. This in turn makes her the target of a lot of abuse - with misogynistic hate directed at her on a regular basis.
Research, shared with the BBC, suggests women are more likely to receive this sort of abuse than men. And it's getting worse - often being combined with racism and homophobia. To understand why this is happening - Marianna has made a film for Panorama - setting up a fake troll account on the five most popular social media platforms, to see whether they're promoting misogynistic hate. Social media companies say they take online hate against women seriously - and they have rules to protect users from abuse - including suspending, restricting or even shutting down accounts sending it.
In this edition of 5 Minutes On - Marianna reveals her findings and shares the reaction to her investigation.