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

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A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds, introduced by Rhianna Dhillon.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2018-12-14 13:09
last episode published
2018-12-14 05:00
publication frequency
5.21 days
BBC owner  
BBC Radio 4 author  
Number of Episodes
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Trust Me, I'm a Scientist

Presenting his first programme for Radio 4, the evolutionary biologist, author and former Professor for Public Understanding of Science, Richard Dawkins, investigates trust in science. It's an issue of concern for scientists as well as others. Despite ...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Art of Living: Elvis - A Tribute in Dance

Claire Cunningham is a Scottish choreographer and contemporary dancer who performs with crutches. We join her in the studio during the research period for a new work, Thank You Very Much, which draws on Claire’s current fascination with Elvis Tribute A...
BBC Radio 4 author

Pursuit of Beauty: The Spider Orchestra

The Berlin-based Argentinian artist, Tomás Saraceno, trained as an architect. He was struck by the beauty of spider webs, their structural intricacy and began making them into sculptural works. Then he realised that every time a spider tugs a string as...
BBC Radio 4 author

Lights Out: A Sense of Quietness

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen. This episode follows a line of connection through four women across two referendums to explore the unexpected consequences of talking about abortion. Starting on live television at a be...
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Joni Mitchell Taught Me How to Feel

Music writer and broadcaster Ann Powers explores Joni Mitchell’s impact on her fans and on songwriting. "Even the songs of hers I’ve heard a thousand times can still give me the weird feeling that she knows me personally," she says. In the month of Jon...
BBC Radio 4 author

A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea

Singer-songwriter Emma Lee Moss (aka Emmy the Great) returns to the playground to re-explore one of her earliest musical influences, the clapping game. Emma finds the playground very much alive with song, new and old . So how is this seemingly old-fash...
BBC Radio 4 author

Pursuit of Beauty: Dead Rats and Meat Cleavers

The sounds of casting, chiming, singing and clanging are fused together to make a magical sound track to the story of how meat cleavers have been used as musical instruments for over 300 years.. Growing up in Suffolk, Nathaniel Mann, heard stories pass...
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The Black Footballer’s Dilemma

Forty years ago this month, Viv Anderson made his debut for England against Czechoslovakia - the first black player to play for his country. Former footballer Clark Carlisle looks back at the challenges black players faced at a time when racist abuse f...
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Pursuit of Beauty: Art Beneath the Waves

Artist Emma Critchley meets filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and painters who are drawn beneath the sea to create underwater art. Julie Gautier performs a graceful, lyrical ballet on the floor of the deepest pool in the world. Without a tank of air...
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Thankful Villages

A Thankful or ‘Blessed’ village is a place where every soldier returned alive from World War One. Songwriter Darren Hayman heard about ‘Thankful Villages’ and knew that he had his next album title. He then embarked on a three year odyssey to visit all ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Un-forgetting Julius Eastman

Experimental vocalist and movement artist Elaine Mitchener remembers the life and music of the brilliant New York composer-performer, Julius Eastman, whose work, she feels, has been wrongly overlooked. Born in 1940, Eastman was black and gay when there...
BBC Radio 4 author

Guy Garvey: Recording Dad

Guy Garvey spent a decade recording his dad’s stories and now he wants you to do the same. When Elbow singer Guy Garvey began to record his father Don's anecdotes, he already knew a lot of the stories he was capturing. What he didn't know was his fathe...
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Would You Go To Bed With Me?

Forty years after the infamous 'would you go to bed with me?' experiment, what are the social repercussions of biological inequality if men have a higher sex drive than women?
BBC Radio 4 author

Ghosts in the Machine

Laurie Taylor investigates the people who hear the voices of the dead in recorded sounds - and uncovers the strange and haunting world of auditory illusion. Believers in EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena think they're hearing the voices of the beyond ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Witnessing the Worst

On the fields of battle, and in conflict zones, women reporters are now commonplace but, in the past, the female perspective was much harder to find. War reporters spend their careers giving voice to the survivors of violence, but the reporter's own ex...
BBC Radio 4 author

Class Act

Lenny Henry on how to get more young working-class and BAME actors into the industry. Of course, acting is one of the most difficult careers to crack no matter what your background. But the hurdles are certainly higher for aspiring actors from low inco...
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The Supercalculators

Alex Bellos is brilliant at all things mathematical, but even he can't hold a candle to the amazing mathematical feats of the supercalculators. Alex heads to Wolfsburg in Germany to meet the contestants at this year's Mental Calculation World Cup. Thes...
BBC Radio 4 author

Right Click: The New Online Culture Wars

Gavin Haynes, editor-at-large of VICE UK, goes in search of this new wave of political thought. On the internet, and on YouTube specifically, a huge new political movement is taking shape in the shoes of a very old one. Some are calling it classical li...
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Behind the Scenes: Kwame Kwei-Armah

Backstage access to director Kwame Kwei-Armah's debut at the Young Vic - his version of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. Kwame Kwei-Armah is facing high expectations as the new Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre...
BBC Radio 4 author

Mamma M.I.A.: Influence of an Icon

Rapper, mother, director, refugee and activist - Maya Arulpragasam is one of Britain's most successful and provocative working-class artists - M.I.A. Ten years on from the release of M.I.A’s single Paper Planes - a global hit blending agitprop pop, sat...
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The Art of Now: Border Wall

Donald Trump's pledge to build a "big beautiful wall" along the US-Mexico border has inserted a political urgency into the mainstream art world and made the Latino experience a point of inspiration for many. Seven artists working on either side of the ...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Cod Wars Revisited

When a country unilaterally takes back control of its waters, the results are dramatic. This isn't a prediction about Brexit. It's a statement about our recent history. The modern cod wars were a series of disputes (starting in the late 1950s and endin...
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The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle

How instant noodles, now 60 years old, went from a shed in Japan to global success. What is the most traded legal item in US prisons? Instant Noodles. According to the World Instant Noodles Association, 270 million servings of instant noodles are eaten...
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The Ballad of the Blade

The story of knife crime, told in verse by the weapon itself. Why do teenagers carry knives? How does it feel to live in a world where that's normal? How should we respond to the moral panic generated by the current wave of youth crime? Momtaza Mehri, ...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Sound Odyssey: Nadine Shah travels to Beirut

The Sound Odyssey is a new series in which Gemma Cairney takes British artists for musical collaborations in different countries around the world, hearing the musicians in a new light, and exposing their artistic process as they create something new in...
BBC Radio 4 author

Intrigue: The Ratline

A story of love, denial and a curious death. Philippe Sands investigates the mysterious disappearance of senior Nazi, Otto Wachter, and journeys right to the heart of the Ratline.
BBC Radio 4 author

The Art of Now: Outsiders

"Art saved my life", says David Tovey. He experienced homelessness, homophobia, and despair so deep that he killed himself - twice - before being resuscitated. His ongoing recovery is intertwined with his stunning visual and textile work, which has bee...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Lightning Field

In 1977 the sculptor Walter De Maria erected a field of stainless steel poles in the New Mexico high desert, where lighting frequently strikes. The only way to see this electrifying art work, one of the largest sculptures on earth, is to spend the nigh...
BBC Radio 4 author

The New Age of Consent: Part 2 - Re-writing the Rules

Actress and broadcaster Jameela Jamil tackles the explosive conversation around sexual assault to determine what consent in sex and relationships should look like in a modern, digital world. The recent sexual assault allegations that have surfaced from...
BBC Radio 4 author

The New Age of Consent: Part 1 - Crossing the Line

Actress and broadcaster Jameela Jamil tackles the explosive conversation around sexual assault to determine what consent in sex and relationships should look like in a modern, digital world. The recent sexual assault allegations that have surfaced from...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Persistence of Analogue

Technology writer Leigh Alexander explores the growing popularity of analogue culture in a digital world. For 30-something technology writer Leigh, the digital world is just a part of her everyday life - there's no logging off. But despite all the boun...
BBC Radio 4 author

Being Gerry Adams

Thirty years ago the British government took an almost unprecedented decision - to ban the voices of Sinn Fein and other groups in Northern Ireland associated with terrorism from being heard on television and radio. The Belfast based broadcaster Stephe...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Ballads of Emmett Till

Emmett Till, 14 & black, was put on the train from Chicago by his mother Mamie in August 1955. She got him back in a pine box. His corpse mutilated & stinking. He had been beaten, shot and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for supposedly whistli...
BBC Radio 4 author

What Happened Last Night in Sweden?

In February 2017, President Trump made a speech to his supporters. He moved on to the topic of immigration and Sweden. "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," he told the crowd at a rally in Florida. "They took in large numbers; they're ha...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Architecture of Incarceration

As Britain opens the latest in a series of large new jails, architect Danna Walker looks at the unique tensions in architecture's relationship with the judicial system - where the go-to design for prisons is 250 years old, and where ideological conflic...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Five Foot Shelf

According to Charles W. Eliot - President of Harvard and cousin of T.S. - everything required for a complete, liberal education could fit on a shelf of books just 5-feet in length. In 1909 the first volume of the Harvard Classics were published - and g...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Deep State

Donald Trump and his supporters have spoken of a Deep State in America, undermining his presidency from within - a shadowy coalition of security and intelligence services, hidden from plain sight, bent on sabotaging an elected government. The term has ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Game Changer: Fortnite on 4

If you are a parent, you probably do not need an introduction to Fortnite Battle Royale. It's the online video game that's been absorbing the minds and time of millions of children and young adults since its launch last September. To the uninitiated, i...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Infinite Monkey Cage

In a special edition of the science and comedy podcast to mark the 100th episode, Brian Cox and Robin Ince reminisce about their favourite moments from the show.
BBC Radio 4 author

Out of Line

Horizontal stripes have been used to draw the eye and sign-post the audacious for centuries - from Medieval miniatures to the films of Tim Burton. Whether used on a lighthouse or a zebra crossing, stripes grab our attention and in the very same moment ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Pop Star Philosophy

Broadcaster and comedian Steve Punt scours the archives to exhume the often pretentious and opinionated philosophical outpourings of pop stars through the ages. With the help of music journalists Paul Morley, Kate Mossman, DJ and record producer Ra...
BBC Radio 4 author

In Search Of Sovereignty

The American satirist Joe Queenan goes in search of sovereignty. He wants to know what it is, what's it for, and how old it is "Now I know this is a big issue for you all right now. Over here we've been fighting over sovereignty since the eighties....
BBC Radio 4 author

The Silence and the Scream

Donegal is an Irish county where silence is a virtue. You can find it in the desolate landscape, the big skies and far horizons - but silence can be found in the people too. Maybe it's discretion or reticence. It could be shyness or a kind of wisdom. ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Could the PM Have a Brummie Accent?

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason examines the changing accents of politics and politics of accents, with help from politicians, language experts and an impersonator. The programme examines the ways that stereotypes and prejudices can be loade...
BBC Radio 4 author

Black Girls Don't Cry

Journalist Marverine Cole explores why some black women in the UK are more prone to anxiety and depression. Research suggests that women of African-Caribbean heritage living in the UK are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks...
BBC Radio 4 author

No Sex Please

Why are the Japanese having less sex? Chie Kobayashi and Ruth Evans investigate. Kunio Kitamura, the head of Japan's family planning association is worried he may soon be out of a job. The birth rate, condom use, the pill, abortions and sexually tra...
BBC Radio 4 author

A Hack's Progress

Journalist and author Jonathan Freedland looks at how journalists and newspapers have been depicted in fiction from the advent of the mass popular press to the present day, examining the changing public image of the fourth estate and its practitioners....
BBC Radio 4 author

Spitting Blades

Former gang member Simeon Moore (aka Zimbo) sets out to explore, challenge and understand the complex relationship between certain urban art forms and knife violence. The recent increase in incidents of knife crime has flooded our media, yet for Sim...
BBC Radio 4 author

The Cult of Aphex Twin

Music writer John Doran ventures into the strange world of Richard D James. Over the course of three decades James, known to his legion of hardcore fans as Aphex Twin, has achieved the primary but evasive aim of most serious musicians - the invention, ...
BBC Radio 4 author

Out of Tredegar

Michael Sheen explores Aneurin Bevan's roots in Tredegar. A spectre is haunting Tredegar. It feels a little like that at least. This town high in the South Wales Valleys is understandably proud of its most famous son and makes the most of his memory...
BBC Radio 4 author