119 episodes

Have you ever locked eyes with a stranger and wondered, "What’s their story?" Step into someone else’s life and expect the unexpected. Extraordinary stories from around the world.

Lives Less Ordinary BBC World Service

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 409 Ratings

Have you ever locked eyes with a stranger and wondered, "What’s their story?" Step into someone else’s life and expect the unexpected. Extraordinary stories from around the world.

    Dead Man Walking: The US nun who took on the death penalty

    Dead Man Walking: The US nun who took on the death penalty

    When Sister Helen Prejean agreed to write to a convicted murderer on Louisiana’s death row in 1982, she had no idea what was coming. She would end up becoming his spiritual advisor, eventually accompanying him to his execution two years later. The experience changed her profoundly. She wrote a book about what she'd witnessed on death row, Dead Man Walking, which was turned into a major Hollywood movie in 1995. Forty years later, she has witnessed six more state executions - and is still tirelessly fighting to end them.
    Presenter: Jo Fidgen
    Producer: Zoe Gelber
    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784

    • 45 min
    My father Faiz: Pakistan’s revolutionary poet, part 2

    My father Faiz: Pakistan’s revolutionary poet, part 2

    Salima Hashmi is a pioneer of political satire on Pakistani TV. But after the dictator General Zia took power in the 1977 military coup, she faced new and dangerous challenges when her show was banned. It was a troubling time for Salima’s family but from exile, her father Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote his most famous poem, Hum Dekhenge, a battle cry for liberation.

    Presenter: Mobeen Azhar
    Producer: Maryam Maruf
    Archive from the Faiz Foundation

    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784

    • 40 min
    My father Faiz: Pakistan’s revolutionary poet, part 1

    My father Faiz: Pakistan’s revolutionary poet, part 1

    Salima Hashmi grew up in Lahore witnessing the radical poetry of her celebrated father, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It inspired her own path into art and performance, creating Pakistani TV’s first ever political satire show, Such Gup.
    Presenter: Mobeen Azhar
    Producer: Maryam Maruf
    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784

    • 40 min
    The man who finds water in the desert

    The man who finds water in the desert

    Alain Gachet quit a lucrative career in oil to search for water underground. Colleagues told him he was a 'crazy donkey', but he eventually developed an algorithm that allowed him to 'peel the earth like an onion' and detect water beneath the surface. Soon, he was asked to train his talents to help pinpoint areas of life-saving reserves of water for desperate refugees escaping the conflict in Darfur.
    Presenter: Jo Fidgen
    Producer: Anna Lacey and Hetal Bapodra
    Editor: Munazza Khan
    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784

    • 36 min
    Kill or be killed: a climber’s dilemma, part 2

    Kill or be killed: a climber’s dilemma, part 2

    Beth Rodden escaped her kidnappers, and pushed her body to its limit, following the climber code of whatever hurts makes you stronger. She married her boyfriend Tommy Caldwell, who had saved them by pushing their captor off a cliff in the Kyrgyz mountains. They became the first couple to free climb the Nose in Yosemite National Park. To the world she was a record-breaking athlete, but inside she was crumbling, haunted by that moment in the mountains. It would take her 15 years to face it head on, and in doing so she redefined what it meant to be a climber.
    Beth's book A Light Through the Cracks: A Climber's Story is out now.
    Clips are from NPR and the Associated Press.
    Presenter: Emily Webb
    Producer: Louise Morris
    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784

    • 31 min
    Kill or be killed: A climber’s dilemma, part 1

    Kill or be killed: A climber’s dilemma, part 1

    Beth Rodden was on a dream climbing expedition in Kyrgyzstan when she was kidnapped by Islamist militants. She and her friends spent days moving between hiding places in the mountains, fearing for their lives as food supplies dwindled. Then, six days in, the group found themselves at the edge of a cliff with a single young guard. They had a chance to escape, but it came with a huge ethical dilemma.
    Presenter: Emily Webb
    Producer: Louise Morris
    Get in touch: liveslessordinary@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp: 0044 330 678 2784
    Audio for this episode was updated on 6 June 2024.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
409 Ratings

409 Ratings

Beh kids ,

Great Podcast, exceptional people

I’m so glad I can across this podcast! I’m completely hooked! Everyone’s stories are so interesting and shed light on how you never really know what someone has gone through. Recommend it to everyone!

IlikeTriviaCrack! ,

Top 3 podcasts

I love this show so much.
I don’t know where they find these extraordinary people with such harrowing, unique or gripping life stories.
Even those whose titles I find a bit tepid are still great!
This show always exceeds my expectations.
Keep going. I look forward to hearing from you every week.

justin-time ,

In the end the best stories are human ones

My favorite podcast by far

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