6 episodes

In the early 70s, Debbie Gayle was one of Britain’s most promising young ballerinas. At the age of 17, she was chosen to go to the Soviet Union and become the first Westerner to train at Russia’s finest ballet academy. It was a dream come true for her, but just a few months later, things took a near deadly turn for her. She made it out of the country thanks to a young girl named Natasha who she never saw or heard from again.

In Finding Natasha, Debbie’s son Jake Warren – a journalist and podcaster – sets out to understand the story of his mum’s past, and to find the woman who saved her 50 years ago.

Finding Natasha is a Message Heard production.

Finding Natasha Message Heard

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 54 Ratings

In the early 70s, Debbie Gayle was one of Britain’s most promising young ballerinas. At the age of 17, she was chosen to go to the Soviet Union and become the first Westerner to train at Russia’s finest ballet academy. It was a dream come true for her, but just a few months later, things took a near deadly turn for her. She made it out of the country thanks to a young girl named Natasha who she never saw or heard from again.

In Finding Natasha, Debbie’s son Jake Warren – a journalist and podcaster – sets out to understand the story of his mum’s past, and to find the woman who saved her 50 years ago.

Finding Natasha is a Message Heard production.

    Part 1: A Myth and a Dream

    Part 1: A Myth and a Dream

    Jake Warren explores a family myth about a mysterious woman in his mum’s past, and begins his search for her. Debbie Gayle recounts her difficult childhood and her dreams of ballet stardom. 
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    • 29 min
    Part 2: Enter Natasha

    Part 2: Enter Natasha

    Debbie travels to Russia and things go downhill quickly. Jake makes an important discovery. 
     
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    • 26 min
    Part 3: Isolation

    Part 3: Isolation

    A simple mistake marks the beginning of the end of Debbie’s dreams in Russia. Jake gives his mum some much-needed good news. 
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    • 21 min
    Part 4: Home Sweet Home

    Part 4: Home Sweet Home

    Debbie returns home and renounces her past. Fifty years later, Jake prepares his mum to confront it. 
     
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    • 22 min
    Part 5: Don’t Cry, Debbie

    Part 5: Don’t Cry, Debbie

    Debbie hears the other side of the story, and Jake has one more surprise for her. 
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    • 29 min
    Why are we trying to find Natasha? Series Trailer

    Why are we trying to find Natasha? Series Trailer

    In 1974, a young woman saved the life of up-and-coming prima ballerina, Debbie Gayle – never to see each other again. Fifty years later, Debbie’s son, journalist Jake Warren, sets out to find her. 

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    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
54 Ratings

54 Ratings

2929073 ,

Friends

Thank you Jake. I’m so glad this story was not lost. Both girls made courageous choices of different sorts. It is nice to know the bonds of two teenagers endured through all those years.

ElizaJane17 ,

Ridiculous

This is a ridiculous podcast. It’s offensive to Natasha. It’s offensive to Russia. It’s the attention seeking narrative of a victimy - glass half empty - delusional seeming drama queen. The host’s mom just made her youthful thoughts into her truth. Bonkers.

Darbybow ,

So sweet!

Short but very sweet…I was crying the whole time…What a good son he is to do this for his Mamma.

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