9 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
    • 4.8 • 66 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.

    Introducing: Who Robs a Banksy?

    Introducing: Who Robs a Banksy?

    Hey Finding Natasha listeners, we've got a brand new show for you!
    From Podimo and Message Heard, 'Who Robs a Banksy?' is the story of a man who kidnapped one a Banksy’s statue in broad daylight from the middle of central London, and held it to ransom. The fact that someone would kidnap a Banksy statue is pretty absurd already, but the story of why it happened, how the statue vanished again after it was kidnapped, and how it was mysteriously put up for auction over 10 years later is even wilder. It all comes down to 1 man, and a 2 decade long vendetta. It's a story will take us on a journey through UK’s most subversive sub-cultures: from art heists and art terrorists to 80s football hooliganism, the 90s illegal rave scene, and even fetish parties. While all the while, we try to track down one of the most elusive anonymous artists in the world. All to discover…who robs a Banksy??
    Learn more
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    • 4 min
    Bonus Episode: The Reunion

    Bonus Episode: The Reunion

    Over a year ago, Jake Warren set out to find Natasha – the mysterious teenager who helped his mum Debbie escape from the USSR in 1974. And still to this day, Natasha and Debbie have not met in person… until now. In this special episode of Finding Natasha, Jake and Debbie travel over 1000 miles away to Helsinki. Debbie prepares to meet Natasha face to face for the first time in nearly 50 years, while also coming to terms with the fact that in just 36 hours she’s going to have to say goodbye again, possibly forever. 

    Listen to the full first miniseries of Finding Natasha again
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    • 43 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
66 Ratings

66 Ratings

Lvanwinkle ,

What a great story! Worth every moment.

This is such a great story and going on the journey is amazing. Trying not to give too much away from the podcast. I have so many thoughts. I hope the main character knows how brave she truly was to have gone on this journey. I was 17 in 1984 and the USSR was a mysterious, scary place. For her to have taken the leap and then have the chance to revisit her story.

Hope to find more podcasts by this host. Cannot recommend enough.

Bayou*Girl*318 ,

This was lovely

You are a great storyteller. I hope you do more.

Bee Kimura ,

Lovely story, well told

I enjoyed listening to this story - I wish there was more details about Natasha’s life - perhaps another episode?! Wishing all the best to Debbie and Natasha♥️

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