294 episodes

An hour of historical reporting told by the people who were there.

The History Hour BBC World Service

    • History
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

An hour of historical reporting told by the people who were there.

    Hong Kong: 25 years since the handover from British to Chinese rule

    Hong Kong: 25 years since the handover from British to Chinese rule

    Stories from Hong Kong, 25 years on since the handover from British to Chinese rule. We hear from the last governor of Hong Kong, a pro democracy campaigner and about life in Kowloon Walled City.

    (Photo: Chris Patten at the handover ceremony of Hong Kong from Britain to China. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 51 min
    Egypt's first democratic Presidential election

    Egypt's first democratic Presidential election

    In June 2012, Egypt held its first ever free democratic Presidential election. Mohamed Morsi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, emerged victorious. Ben Henderson spoke to Rabab El-Mahdi, Chief Strategist to one of Morsi’s rival candidates. She described what it was like to be involved in the first election of its kind, how Morsi tried to recruit her, and the personal impact of political campaigning in such a polarised country.

    In June 1982 a young Chinese-American engineer was murdered with a baseball bat by two white men in the US city of Detroit. The lenient sentences the perpetrators received sparked an Asian-American activist movement with protests across the US. At the time, America was going through an economic depression and many blamed Japan, which was perceived to be flooding the US with its cars. For Asian-Americans, it was a time of fear. Farhana Haider spoke to Helen Zia, one of the activists who led the fight for justice. This programme was first broadcast in 2017.

    In 2003, Dr Nayana Patel, who ran her own fertility clinic in the state of Gujarat in India, carried out her first surrogacy procedure. It involved a surrogate mother and her own daughter. Dr Patel's clinic would go on to become one of the biggest in India attracting Western couples. It was legalised in 2002 but due to growing criticism, the government banned couples from the West from paying Indian surrogates to bear their children in 2015, arguing that the industry was exploiting poor women. Reena Stanton-Sharma spoke to Dr Nayana Patel.

    In 1985, the first robot-assisted medical surgery took place in Vancouver, Canada. It’s now become a standard feature of operating theatres worldwide. The original gadget was named Arthrobot. A member of the original project team, Geof Auchinleck, told his story to Kurt Brookes. A Made in Manchester production.

    The UK’s first official gay Pride march took place 50 years ago – on 1st July 1972. Alex Collins talked to Ted Brown, who took part in the London march.

    • 51 min
    Cambodian genocide trials

    Cambodian genocide trials

    In 2009, Rob Hamill testified in the trial of Comrade Duc, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison during the Cambodian genocide. Josephine McDermott spoke to him.

    It is 50 years since Kim Phuc's village in Vietnam was bombed with napalm. The photograph of her, running burned from the attack, became one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War. Kim Phuc talks to Christopher Wain, the man who helped save her.

    In 2001 a violent, sectarian dispute took place outside Holy Cross Primary School in Belfast. Loyalist protesters tried to block the school run for Catholic pupils and their parents for months. Rachel Naylor spoke to one of the parents, Elaine Burns.

    This year is the 100th anniversary of Ulysses by James Joyce, one of the most influential novels of the 20th Century. Ulysses is the story of one day in the life of a young Irishman in Dublin; that day, June 16th, is now known as Bloomsday. To mark Bloomsday, Simon Watts brought together the memories of some of Joyce’s friends. The programme was first broadcast in 2012.

    In 1985, a unique High School opened in New York to provide a safe environment for LGBT students needing specialised education. The publicly-funded Harvey Milk High School was founded by former social worker, Steve Askinazy. Alex Collins talked to Steve Askinazy.

    (Photo: Kang Kek lew (Comrade Duc) as Director of Tuol Sleng Prison, c.1976-8. Credit: Getty images)

    • 51 min
    How Sri Lanka's president survived a suicide bombing

    How Sri Lanka's president survived a suicide bombing

    Max Pearson introduces first-hand accounts of the 2006 suicide bombing attack on Sri Lanka's president, the 75th anniversary of Anne Frank's diary and the 1968 assassination in the US of Bobby Kennedy. Plus, the birth of a crime fighting women's rights group in India and the moment the President of Gabon was shown the treasures of the rainforest.

    • 50 min
    The Syrian civil war

    The Syrian civil war

    Max Pearson introduces first-hand accounts of the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria and the opening of a refugee camp for Syrians fleeing the civil war. Plus, how lynching was finally outlawed in America, the opening of the Sydney Opera House and the Queen's coronation.

    PHOTO: A UN inspector at work in Ghouta, Syria in August 2013 (Reuters)

    • 55 min
    Artists who made history

    Artists who made history

    Max Pearson introduces the memories of people who knew Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe; plus, how a collector in the Soviet Union managed to open a museum for Russian artists banned by Stalin, and how a festival in Senegal in the 1960s inspired artists across a newly-independent Africa.

    PHOTO: Pablo Picasso in 1955 (Getty Images)

    • 49 min

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