228 episodes

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, introduced by Rhianna Dhillon.

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    • News

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, introduced by Rhianna Dhillon.

    Universal Basic Income: Alaska Style

    Universal Basic Income: Alaska Style

    There is growing interest in the idea of giving every member of society a Basic Income, as a way of tackling extreme poverty and the loss of jobs caused by automation.

    Pilot projects have been seen across the world - from India to Finland and Namibia to Canada - and there is talk of a one possibly happening here in the UK, in the city of Hull.

    So, attention is being paid to the Alaskan model. The Arctic American state has been paying out an annual dividend to every one of its permanent residents - man, woman and child - for almost 40 years. They don’t have to do anything to get the money, and they can use it in any way they like.

    The money comes from the state’s Permanent Fund, which invests a substantial share of the profits of oil production for the benefit of all its citizens. As a result of this dividend, arguably a form of Basic Income, its supporters say Alaska is the least unequal state in the whole USA.

    But in the last three years, Alaskan politics has been dominated by an unresolved crisis. The State government has been trying to use money earmarked for the dividend for other purposes, and many claim that this is illegal.

    Mark Whitaker reports from Alaska on a unique scheme, explaining its history and discovering why it has become so controversial.

    A Square Dog Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

    • 37 min
    Preview: Girl Taken - Episode 1

    Preview: Girl Taken - Episode 1

    Across the world people were presented with what appeared to be a heart-breaking but straightforward story of a father and his motherless daughter struggling to get to Britain. But behind those headlines lay a far more sinister truth. BBC Journalist Sue Mitchell and former soldier Rob Lawrie discover that the little girl appears to have simply vanished. Can they find her in time?

    Girl Taken is a 10-part hunt - across closed borders and broken promises - for the truth and to find a little girl, taken.

    Listen to the rest of the series on BBC Sounds.

    Producer: Sue Mitchell
    Studio Production and Sound Design: Richard Hannaford

    • 24 min
    The Book of Polyamory

    The Book of Polyamory

    Since its first publication 20 years ago, The Ethical Slut has informed and changed opinions about non-monogamous lifestyles. Comedian Sophie Duker traces its journey in challenging perceptions of polyamory and follows one specific copy that has travelled the world while being shared among enthusiastic readers.

    Hearing modern stories of love and polyamory, Sophie questions opinions of openness and sees first hand the struggles and complications that non-monogamous groups face. She asks if society is yet ready for complete acceptance of their lifestyle.

    Producer: Simon Jarvis and Lauren Armstrong Carter
    Executive Producer: Anishka Sharma

    A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

    • 28 min
    Faith On The Move

    Faith On The Move

    A railway chaplain may sound quaint - romantic even - harking back to the days of steam travel when the Railway Mission was first established in the 1880s. Back then, train travel was new and men of the cloth respected. But these days the chaplain’s role is a stressful 24/7 job on the front line of society.

    Faith on the Move looks at the work of the chaplains who support railway staff on the near-10,000 miles of Britain’s railway. Dylis George, a Pastor in South London, is our travelling companion and guide. Since becoming a railway chaplain five years ago, Dylis has supported staff on London Underground as well as the British Transport Police. Last year, she took over as chaplain on South Eastern Railway, to the Kent and Sussex coast.

    Every day is different and demanding as Dylis offers friendship and a listening ear to those facing life and work issues - including increasingly abusive and sometimes violent passengers. She has also been there to offer support through the very worst of times, from attacks by extremists to deaths on the track.

    A mother of two, Dylis finds her faith is often tested, but she also finds solace in her family and cooking dishes which bring back happy childhood memories of Sierra Leone. Along with the stories of railway workers and passengers, the programme features Andrew Buchanan who was once a train driver, but is about to start as a chaplain on the West Country network. He has his own experience of a track suicide. Other voices include Dylis’s predecessor John Robinson who has taken time out from chaplaincy to look after his family, and CEO of the Railway Mission Liam Johnston.

    Narrator: Eleanor Rushton
    Producer: Sara Parker
    A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4.

    If you’re affected by the issues in this programme, help and support is available at BBC Action Line.

    • 28 min
    My Amey and Me

    My Amey and Me

    The bond between mother and child is perhaps the most natural and the most profound relationship we can experience. But for Zakia Sewell and her mother - who she's always called Amey - this relationship has been far from straight-forward.

    Now, after many years of disconnection and words unspoken, they're collaborating on a theatre piece, a kind of 'curated conversation', to understand better the issues they have had to overcome.

    Some are near, intimate and specific to the two of them - Amey's mental health and her own experience of motherhood - but they are entwined with stories from the past, submerged deep beneath the surface, evoking the ghosts of distant ancestors whose experiences under the brutal tyranny of slavery in the Caribbean find expression through the generations.

    With contributions from theatre-maker Cathy Sloan and Sonya Welch-Moring, a specialist in trans-generational therapeutic practice.

    Presented by Zakia Sewell
    Produced by Alan Hall
    A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

    • 28 min
    Good Vibrations

    Good Vibrations

    With an imminent book deadline, a tax return to complete and a hectic family life revolving around two young children, comedian and actor Isy Suttie is feeling stressed. Neither meditation nor massage has helped her relax, so she decides to explore sound therapy. Practitioners believe sound and music can be used to improve our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

    Isy meets Lyz Cooper, principal of the British Academy Of Sound Therapy and experiences treatments involving gongs and Himalayan singing bowls. She also attempts to chill out by listening to“the most relaxing piece of music in the world”. It’s a track called Weightless by Manchester band Marconi Union, one of whose members, Richard Talbot, explains why it’s so soothing.

    Next Isy tries on some wearable tech that pumps vibrations directly into the body. It’s called vibroacoustic therapy and she likens it to “having a friendly, vibrating creature on my back.”

    But the real mood-lifter is when she sits in as 85-year-old Gina, who has dementia, enjoys some music therapy. What might seem, on the face of it, to be a simple singalong to some old favourites has a remarkable effect on Gina - and on Isy too.

    A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4

    • 28 min

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