Rank #1: Finance
Producer: Ben Carter
(Photo: Tech Globe on hand. Credit: Shutterstock)
Mar 23 2017
Rank #2: Depression in Japan
Producer: Keith Moore
(Photo by Tori Sugari)
Aug 11 2016
Rank #3: On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins
Producer: Monica Whitlock
(Photo: Istanbul panorama Credit: Tony Jolliffe/BBC
Jul 19 2017
Rank #4: The Cold War Legacy: Czechoslovakia
Three decades on, Chris Bowlby, who knew Czechoslovakia before and after its revolution and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, returns to see how that change looks now. How far have the hopes of the 1989 revolutionaries been fulfilled? What role has nationalism – which split Czechoslovakia in two – come to play? What do new generations of Czechs, now on the streets fighting their own political battles, feel about the future as well as the communist past? And as Russian and Chinese influence grows – while the West’s commitment seems more uncertain – how do places like this now fit into a world few could have imagined as the Cold War ended?
(Photo: Members of Diky, ze muzem (Thanks That We Can), celebrating 30 years since the fall of communism in Narodni Street, Prague, scene of pro-democracy protests in 1989. Credit: Lukáš Bíba /Reportér magazín)
Oct 23 2019
Rank #5: Dams
Scores of dams already span the Mekong River, the great waterway linking China to Vietnam. They’ve brought power and jobs to some of the most undeveloped parts of South-East Asia and the building boom shows no sign of ending. But the impact of the massive building programme on those living in the Mekong Delta and along the river is immense: silt deposits are disrupted and fish populations are displaced, as are many of the millions of people that depend on them.
Reporter Peter Hadfield sails up the Mekong to meet those communities living with the dams on their doorstep and discover how their lives are impacted.
Meanwhile, presenter Didi Akinyelure is in western Europe to find out why the countries that pioneered hydro-power are now turning their backs on it. In Switzerland they are releasing floodwater from their dams to bring life back to a tamed mountain wilderness. In France dams are actually being dismantled to revive fish life on Normandy’s rivers.
So how should we feel about dams? Do developing countries need the reliable low-carbon electricity they provide? Can they be built in less damaging ways or should we call a halt to the age of the mega-dam?
(Photo: Ota Khami, 55, stands where his home use to be before it was bulldozed to make way for the Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Credit: Getty Images)
Apr 25 2018
Rank #6: Technology
Producer: Sandra Kanthal
(Image: Child fixing robot, Credit: Shutterstock)
Apr 06 2017
Rank #7: The Cold War Legacy: India
As two superpowers fought for power and influence during the Cold War, India played a game of diplomacy, moving between the USA and Soviet Union, whilst trying to prioritise its’ own interests. The Non Aligned Movement was founded in a newly independent India, by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the position that India took when it formed a coalition of countries which refused to pick a side, instead remaining friendly with both. Nehru believed that in an atomic age, peace was the only guarantee of survival. This stance was tested during the 1950s and 1960s; India signed a quasi-military agreement with the Soviet Union but trade liberalisation has brought India closer to the USA more recently. How is India navigating international relations today? Does it bend to the will of the USA or can it continue to choose its own path as it did during the Cold War?
Presenter: Divya Arya
Producer: Nina Robinson
(Photo: Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra (M K Rasgotra) is an Indian diplomat and former Indian Foreign Secretary under Indira Gandhi)
Credit: Nina Robinson, BBC
Nov 13 2019
Rank #8: The Cold War Legacy: Brazil
In this sharply divided country, some say Brazil is reliving the Cold War. Through history, culture and the classroom, the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson explores Brazil’s Cold War legacy.
Presenter: Katy Watson
Producer: John Murphy
(Photo: Brazilian army tanks arrive at Guanabara Palace, on 01 April 1964 in Rio de Janeiro during the military putsch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Oct 30 2019
Rank #9: The Battle of Ideas in the Middle East - Part One
Through social media sites, a network of sympathetic preachers is promulgating a jihadist vision of Islam and recruiting fighters from across the Middle East. Tunisia and Libya are among the key recruiting grounds and the largest providers of ‘foreign fighters’ in Syria and Iraq.
From the markets of Morocco to the boulevards of Beirut, Kevin Connolly talks to those who are engaged in the frontline of this battle of ideas. He asks if educational systems are helping to promote positive narratives of Islam to combat the underground appeal of IS. He visits a university in Jordan where a touring theatre company is staging a comedy show to fight back against extremism.
In Jordan he meets the imams who have been arguing directly over the internet with representatives of the so-called Islamic state. He also meets the parliamentary speaker left broken hearted when his son was recruited to become an IS suicide bomber. And, after years in which western analysts have talked about the slickness of IS online propaganda, we ask young people in the Arab World what they think of the videos that glorify violence.
Mar 17 2016
Rank #10: Europe’s Challenges: The Road to Rome
The interviews for this series were recorded ten years ago and many of the interviewees have since died.
(Photo: Foreign Ministers of France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy signing two treaties establishing the European Common Market and the atomic energy community at Campidoglio, Rome, 25 March1957. Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)
May 19 2016
Rank #11: On the Black Sea: Truckers
The truckers are mainly from the former Soviet Union, many have known each other for years, and once all belonged to one country. The truckers are endlessly inventive as they navigate the fraught geopolitics that shape their lives. The war in Syria, the annexation of Crimea, European visa rules, are just some of the obstacles they overcome. As the they relax for the thousand-kilometre crossing, they make merry, and tell stories of the road.
Producer: Monica Whitlock
Truckers set off by ferry from Istanbul to Odessa. Credit: Monica Whitlock
Aug 02 2017
Rank #12: UK: From Syria To Yorkshire
(Photo: Owen in front of the Bradford factory)
Jul 21 2016
Rank #13: My Perfect Country: Estonia's Digital Society
Estonia’s digital services have revolutionised the country since its independence from the Soviet Union with 600 services now being available online. E-Estonia has the fastest broadband speeds in the world, was the first to allow online voting in a general election, all classrooms are online, all medical records online, and it has more start ups per person than Silicon Valley in California. But does the networked society come at a price?
(Photo: People gathered on 20 August 2010 in Toila, Estonia for the world's first ever digital song festival. Credit: Raigo Paulla /AFP/Getty Images)
Feb 04 2016
Rank #14: Ocean Stories: The Indian Ocean
We travel around the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Mauritius and North West Australia via the Indonesian island on the edge of the Indian and Pacific oceans to meet people who are developing enterprising ways of profiting from the ocean, whilst being careful not to further damage the fragile Eco systems that have been depleted over decades through over-fishing and climate change.
A fascinating underwater commentary is provided by oceanographer, Jon Copley from Southampton University, explaining the geology and currents that link the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Photo: Coral reef in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya Credit: Tony Karumba//AFP/Getty Images
Nov 29 2017
Rank #15: Turkey:The Lost Generation
Tim Whewell meets children as young as nine employed up to 14 hours a day in textile sweatshops - and also a Syrian teacher who has helped rescue some of them from sweatshops by opening a special school for refugee children in Istanbul. Increasing educational opportunities for Syrians in Turkey may persuade some of them to give up their ambition of migrating to Europe but huge investment will be needed.
(Photo: Shaza Barakat and pupils)
Jun 30 2016
Rank #16: Islam, People and Power: The Sunni Traditionalists
Presenter Safa Al Ahmad travels to Egypt to meet Dr Abbas Shouman, one of the most senior scholars at Islam’s most famous seat of learning, Al Azhar University. She also tells the story of Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti, a famous Syrian Islamic scholar whose stance on the uprisings cost him his life.
(Photo: Anti-Government protesters in Cairo. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Nov 17 2016
Rank #17: The Cold War Legacy: Indonesia
Rebecca Henschke travels across Java to meet some of the killers, those still seeking justice and brave members of the young generation who are seeking out the truth and trying to come to terms with what happened in one of the darkest periods of Indonesia’s history.
(Photo: Pipet’s daughter holding a photo of Pipet’s mum Ani, with others at the detention camp where they were held in the 1960s and 70s) Photo credit: Anindita Pradana – BBC Indonesia
Nov 06 2019
Rank #18: America, Laboratory of Democracy: Drowning Government in a Bathtub
In this episode, he goes back to the framing of the US Constitution. This gave only limited powers to the federal government, but by the mid-19th Century, Americans wanted it to do more. Because the Constitution was virtually impossible to change, those who wanted to enlarge the government had to use “secret weapons.” One of these was the Post Office, which as well as delivering mail, was called on to do things like enforce a ban on porn. Another was a Constitutional clause that allowed the government to regulate inter-state commerce.
An Ohio farmer, Roscoe Filburn, challenged this in a key 1942 Supreme Court case, and lost. Since then, the government has relied on the Commerce clause to vastly increase its control over many new areas, such as civil rights.
The subsequent huge expansion of the government has so enraged conservatives that they talk about drowning it in a bathtub. Liberals insist that the use of “secret weapons” offer America its only hope of effective governance. Both sides have powerful arguments. Will they ever be able to compromise, and allow the government to function properly in the interests of all?
(Photo: The farmhouse of Roscoe Filburn, the Ohio farmer at the centre of a 1942 Supreme Court case)
Oct 25 2017
Rank #19: Europe’s Challenges: The Union in Crisis
(Photo: Families gather at the barbed wire fence at the Greek-Macedonia border 2016. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Jun 03 2016
Rank #20: The History of Wastefulness: The Tipping Point
Alexandra joins blogger Kathryn Kellogg to find out more about San Francisco’s growing zero waste ambitions. Encased in one single mason jar, Kathryn describes the tiny amount of waste she created over two years and how living without a trace has changed her life.
Then, Alexandra meets the inventor Veena Sahajwalla, who shares her belief that we should consider our rubbish to be a resource for the future. As Alex discovers, this attitude and Veena’s engineering skills have stopped millions of tyres from ending up in rubbish dumps, and could lead to cities around the world being built from recycled materials.
Producer: Chelsea Dickenson and Ben Cartwright.
(Photo: A jar full of all the garbage blogger Kathryn Kellogg threw away in two years. Credit: Audio Always)
Jan 23 2019