300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC

    • History

History as told by the people who were there.

    Spies or plane-spotters?

    Spies or plane-spotters?

    In November 2001 a group of British aircraft enthusiasts were arrested and put on trial in Greece. Unfamiliar with their hobby, the Greek authorities had assumed they must be spies. The plane-spotters were initially jailed but later released after their case turned into a diplomatic incident. In 2011, Chloe Hadjimatheou talked to Paul Coppin, who was one of the group.

    PHOTO: The plane-spotters returning to the UK (PA)

    • 9 min
    The V2 rocket

    The V2 rocket

    Using eyewitness accounts from the BBC archives, we hear how the Nazis developed the world's first modern ballistic missile that killed thousands during World War Two. The Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was the principal architect of this revolutionary secret weapon. After the war he was recruited to work for the United States to develop its own missile programme and famously built the NASA rockets which put men on the Moon.

    Photo: The launch of a captured German V2 rocket at the US military test site at White Sands, Nevada in 1946 (PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

    • 14 min
    Fighting 'virginity tests' in the Indonesian police

    Fighting 'virginity tests' in the Indonesian police

    In the early 2000s, Sri Rumiati, a brigadier-general in the Indonesian police, began campaigning against intrusive examinations of female recruits to her force. Rumiati had experienced a so-called "virginity test" herself when she joined up two decades earlier. She spoke to Petra Zivic.

    (Photo: Indonesian policewomen in 2007. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 8 min
    Derek Jarman

    Derek Jarman

    One of the first high-profile artists to speak openly about having Aids was the British experimental film-maker, Derek Jarman. Jarman had made his name in the 1970s by directing Sebastiane, the first openly gay film in British cinema history. Vincent Dowd speaks to Keith Collins who lived with Jarman during his final years, and cared for him up to his death in 1994.

    (Photo: Derek Jarman. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 10 min
    South Africa and Aids drugs

    South Africa and Aids drugs

    At the end of the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa were still dying from HIV/Aids because effective drug treatments were prohibitively expensive for a developing country. Under pressure from Aids activists, the government of Nelson Mandela took the big international pharmaceutical companies to court over the right to import cheaper versions of Aids drugs. Bob Howard talks to Bada Pharasi, a former negotiator at South Africa’s department of health.

    (Photo: HIV/Aids activists demonstrate in front of an American consulate in South Africa in 2010. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 10 min
    AZT: The breakthrough treatment for Aids

    AZT: The breakthrough treatment for Aids

    In 1987 the first successful drug treatment was developed for Aids. AZT went from initial test to approval in just over two years - at the time it was the fastest approval in US history. Claire Bowes talks to Dr Samuel Broder, the co-developer of AZT.

    Picture: Dr Samuel Broder and President Ronald Reagan. Credit: Ronald Reagan Library

    • 10 min

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