How the Australian swimmer Susie O'Neill took gold in Sydney in the 2000 Olympics and became a star of her sport despite a constant battle against nerves.
Trapped in an unhappy marriage and provoked by her husband's obsession with her younger sister, Nan disappears from the family home for a night – with devastating consequences...
Lucy Ejike is Nigeria’s most successful female paralympian and the winner of gold medals in para-powerlifting at three different Paralympic Games.
Returning series on dialect poetry in different parts of the UK.
An MIM production for BBC Radio 4
In August 2008, the weightlifter Matthias Steiner created one of the most emotional moments of the 2008 Olympics when he sank to the floor in floods of tears after winning a gold medal.
A special programme to mark Sir Tom Jones' 80th birthday. In 'The Day I Met Tom Jones' people who have been touched in some way by meeting Sir Tom, recall encounters they've never forgotten.
At the 2000 Olympics, American Rulon Gardner pulled off the greatest shock in the history of modern Greco-Roman wrestling when he beat the Russian Aleksander Karelin.
As the coronavirus affects the whole world, leading virologist Professor John Oxford presents a three part series on the origin, spread and reaction to the Pandemic that devastated much of the planet just over 100 years ago.
Country fan Kerri Mcilroy from Ballymena meets some of the biggest names in country as she goes in search of the history and roots that inspired young artistes like Nathan Carter, Lisa Mchugh, Catherine McGrath and Derek Ryan.
In December 2012, Maria Toorpakai Wazir reached the top 50 of women’s squash after an extraordinary struggle to become a professional player. Born in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Maria’s family disguised her as a boy until she was a teenager so she could try sport.
As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, Professor John Oxford, one of the world’s leading virologists, examines how the last truly global pandemic affected Wales.
In 1991, Wade Leslie stunned the world of professional rodeo by becoming the first – and only – cowboy to achieve a perfect score of 100 points for a bull-ride.
25 year old Timothy Evans from Merthyr Tydfil was hanged in March 1950 after being falsely convicted of the murder of his daughter at their flat in Rillington Place in London's Notting Hill district. Three years after his execution, his downstairs neighbour John Christie was found to be a serial killer who had killed six women in the same house.
As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, Professor John Oxford, one of the world’s leading virologists, examines how the last truly global pandemic affected every corner of the world.
Former Blue Peter presenter Tim Vincent who was born and grew up in North Wales takes a nostalgic look back at 60 years of children's TV - from shows set in Wales like Ivor the Engine to those made in Wales like Fireman Sam and Super Ted.
In 1995, the Scottish driver Colin McRae became the youngest ever winner of the World Rally Championship after a dramatic victory in the last race of the season in North Wales. McRae’s no-holds-barred driving style later inspired a video game that brought rallying to a wider audience.
Three decades after devastating floods wreaked havoc in North Wales, journalist Tracy Cardwell returns to the epicentre to recall the events of February 26th 1990 with local people.
In February 1990, the Nasa space probe Voyager took a famous photo of Earth as it left the Solar System. Seen from six billion kilometres away, our planet appears as a mere dot lit up by the Sun, and the image is credited with giving humanity a sense of our small place in the Universe.
In February 1968, the Canadian skier Nancy Greene pulled off a flawless performance at the Winter Olympic Games, winning the Giant Slalom by a record-breaking margin of 2.6 seconds.
How a 14-year-old boy became the youngest person to be executed in the USA during the 20th century. George Stinney Jr was sent to the electric chair in 1944.
In January 2010, a guerrilla group in Angola opened fire on the buses carrying the Togo football team as they travelled to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The machine-gun fire lasted 30 minutes and killed two members of the Togolese delegation.
In November 1989, the USA qualified for the football World Cup for the first time in the modern era with a nail-biting 1-0 away win in Trinidad and Tobago. The winning goal was a 30-yard screamer scored by Paul Caligiuri, one of the few professionals in the American team.
Francine Jones was a young attaché at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal when John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their week-long bed in for peace there 50 years ago. She was one of dozens of young people who were inspired by the bed in protest and here she hears from several who joined John and Yoko for that week in spring 1969.
The end of the Cold War in 1989 spelt the demise of a little-known, but surprisingly popular sport behind the Iron Curtain – high-speed telegraphy competitions.
In Louisiana, home to Cajun and Creole culture and cuisine, schools are fighting to keep the French language alive. The dialect emerged in the late 1700s, but today only about 5% of the state speak it.
It's exactly 50 years in November since the first international tournament for women's football was played in Italy. Although it was an unofficial event that only featured four competing teams, its success helped push the governing bodies of football to finally embrace the women's game.
Reita Faria was the first Indian to win the Miss World beauty competition in 1966. She was studying medicine in Mumbai when a spur of the moment decision to take part in the contest turned her life upside down.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest running children's TV shows in the world. Sesame Street has delighted generations of kids, with colourful puppets teaching them about numbers and letters in songs many remember all their lives.
In 1968, the Carry On gang took a rare trip away from Pinewood to film the outside scenes of Carry On Up the Khyber. And in this special programme, Welsh actor Steve Speirs, who played Bernard Bresslaw in the TV film Cor Blimey tells the story of When Carry On Came To Wales.
An estimated 3.6 million EU-born migrants live in the UK. But as Britain prepares for BREXIT, EU citizens must apply for a new legal lifeline to remain, known as settled status.
In October 1980, Muhammad Ali came out of retirement in an attempt to regain a world heavyweight title at the age of 38. Ali’s opponent in a fight dubbed “The Last Hurrah” was his former sparring partner, Larry Holmes.
In 1994, the legendary Irish middle-distance runner Eamonn Coghlan came out of retirement in a bid to become the first person over forty to run a sub-four minute mile.
With the possibility of renewed border checks after Brexit, many people worry about a return to violence in Northern Ireland. Musicians on both sides of the border are also becoming more vocal, with the uncertainty fueling a creative surge.
On the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, German writer Timur Vermes examines how the BBC used humour throughout the war to counter Nazi propaganda.
It's been 80 years since Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo wrote what would become one of the most popular pieces of classical music of the modern era — the Concierto de Aranjuez.
Academic and broadcaster Alice Roberts presents series of programmes looking at health care development research in Wales.
On August 25 1944 General Charles De Gaulle, who had been in exile in London for the majority of World War 2, finally entered Paris at the head of the Free French forces. But the French capital was far from secure.
The late 1960s were a time of social upheaval in the West and, perhaps fittingly, the era that gave birth to one of the most famous peace protests of all time: Woodstock.
The contact lens was once a precious and expensive piece of eyewear which had to be looked after and carefully cleaned every night. But that all changed in the 1990s. Ron Hamilton was involved in developing lenses and packaging which could be made so cheaply they could be worn just once and then thrown away.
Guardian Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner charts the story of the infamous Peterloo Massacre - a devastating event 200 years ago in Manchester, which would have a huge impact on how Britain was run.
In July 2001 a team of palaeontologists led by Michel Brunet discovered a seven million year-old fossilised skull in the Djurab desert in Chad. Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye was the member of the team who first uncovered the skull which has been nicknamed Toumai.
In 1989, American Greg Lemond won the Tour de France by just eight seconds – the narrowest margin in the 100-year history of the race. Lemond took victory by beating local hero Laurent Fignon in the final time trial on the Champs-Elysees.
From her home in LA, singer-songwriter Michelle Phillips tells the story of the group that made her famous, the Mamas and the Papas. It is 50 years since the quartet known for its cheery sound finally split up but their songs still endure to this day.
On July 20 1969, millions tuned in to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. But those astounding images on TV didn't come from NASA space headquarters in the US. Instead, they were beamed by a radio telescope in the middle of an Australian sheep farm.
In June 1999, the US skateboarder Tony Hawk made history by becoming the first person to perform a trick that was thought to be virtually impossible. At the X Games in San Francisco, Hawk successfully completed a “900” – flipping round two-and-half times before landing safely back on his board.
Russia's rap scene is still reeling after authorities canceled a wave of concerts across the country last year. Bureaucrats and police justified their actions by calling the music immoral. But rapper Ptakha says artists are only documenting social realities in Russia, and that it'll take more than political pressure to silence them.
On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops backed by tanks opened fire on student-led protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Thirty years on, we hear from former student activists about the brutal crackdown that brought the democracy movement to a tragic end.
Protests about expensive school uniforms in the Central African Republic eventually led to Jean-Bédel Bokassa's fall from power in 1979. The demonstrations started with school children, but soon widened to involve university students. Bokassa ordered brutal reprisals and within months his regime had lost its international support and French troops had invaded.
On May 26, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held the second of their famous Bed-Ins for Peace in Montreal, Canada. It was part of their infamous protest against the Vietnam War. Before reporters arrived in droves, a local 16-year-old named Gail Renard decided to break into the hotel for an interview for her school paper.
One of the most successful TV formats in the world started back in May 2004, bringing ballroom dancing to a new generation. Its format has been sold around the world under the title 'Dancing With The Stars'.
The internet of things, devices that communicate with each other across networks are becoming increasingly part of everyday life – controlling the heating systems in our houses, or entertainment provided by voice activated assistants. What is the potential, and what are the potential pitfalls, of living in this world of ‘things’ which talk to each other, as well as to us?
In April 1980, South African racing driver Desiré Wilson became the only woman to win a Formula One event when she took the chequered flag at Brands Hatch. But despite her obvious talent, Wilson faced opposition from some male drivers
In vitro fertilization — IVF for short — has been around since 1978. Fertility issues affect one in seven couples, and this method of conception has changed lives. And not just for parents. In some cases, conception is only possible via egg, sperm or embryo donation. So what does it mean for a child growing up knowing they have one or more donor parents they've never met?
On April 20th 1999 a mass shooting in the USA shocked the world and started a devastating trend of violence in American schools. 13 people were killed and more than 20 were injured by two armed school students. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Craig Scott, who survived the Columbine massacre but whose sister Rachel was killed that day.
Owen Money tells the story of Ricky Valance, the first Welshman to top the singles charts with 'Tell Laura I Love Her' In 1960. 'Tell Laura I Love Her' became a soar-away hit in 1960 for Welshman Ricky Valance.
Legendary snooker champion Stephen Hendry presents this exploration into how snooker became so popular in China and why its future is looking young, cool and Chinese.
He’s a legend who’s recognised the world over and across the generations as the pioneer of electronic dance music. And here singer, songwriter and producer Giorgio Moroder invites us into his home in the Italian Alps to talk to us about his amazing career, demonstrate his art on his home studio keyboard and remember decades at the top of groundbreaking music production.
EMDR is a form of psychotherapy which works for many sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. The 'eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing' technique was first developed in the USA in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro.
In 1983, the ultra-runner Ron Grant became the first person to run around Australia. On a 13,383 kilometre jog that took seven months, Grant overcame injuries, crew mutinies and serious financial debt, before being greeted by huge crowds at the start/finish line in Brisbane.
Armed left-wing extremists held off Japanese police for 10 days during a hostage crisis in the mountains in February 1972. Young members of the so-called United Red Army had hoped to bring about a communist revolution in Japan. Their hideout was discovered and most of them were arrested but five extremists took over a mountain lodge and held a woman hostage in a final stand-off.
DJ Gabriel Prokofiev is tired of Bach and Beethoven being seen as music for the culturally elite. His nonclassical movement is bringing classical music to new audiences. And yes, he is related to the famous Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
The US space shuttle Columbia broke up on its way back to Earth on February 1, 2003. It had been in use since 1981. Iain Mackness has spoken to Admiral Hal Gehman who was given the job of finding out what went wrong. His final report led to the winding-up of the American space shuttle programme in 2011.
In 1859, a 19-year-old man named Kossola was captured, chained and brought on the last US slave ship from West Africa to Alabama. He would eventually regain his freedom at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Near the end of his life in the 1920s, he recounted his experiences of the trans-Atlantic slave trade for a book — which lay unpublished until just last year.
In 1982, the first ever Gay Games were held in San Francisco. Attracting a large crowd and featuring more than 1000 athletes from more than 100 countries, the event was organised by a group of LGBT activists, including former Olympians, to raise awareness about homophobia in sport. The Gay Games are now held every four years at venues around the world.
The comic film franchise which churned out movie after movie mocking British stereotypes and pomposity. The first Carry On film hit cinema screens in 1958 and the team behind it would go on to make more than 30 movies using slapstick comedy and sexual innuendo to win fans around the world.
On the 16th of January 1969, a Czech student called Jan Palach set himself on fire in the middle of Prague. This shocking act helped awaken many Czechs to the oppression they were under and the need to fight for their freedom. Fifty years later, WorldLink has been talking to those who remember the impact Palach’s death had on a nation.
In January 1976, the virtually unknown Mark Edmondson pulled off one of the greatest shocks in tennis history by winning the Australian Open on home soil. Ranked number 212 in the world, Edmondson had been working as a part-time hospital cleaner just weeks earlier. In the final, he defeated the all-time Aussie great, John Newcombe, and he remains the last Australian to win the Open title.
Scientists at MIT in the 1960s had to share computer time. They were given passwords to access the computer and could not use more than their allowance. But one man, Allan Scherr, found a way to hack the system.
Over two programmes Cerys Matthews tells the story of how Welsh women won the battle for the right to vote 100 years ago this year. The struggle to be granted the vote had been a long and hard one - and the women who had campaigned for change became known as the suffragettes.
Hollywood actor Michael Sheen charts the life and times of his political hero Anuerin Bevan, the man who introduced Britain's National Health Service in 1948.
Our lives are consumed more and more by the online world whether it be for entertainment or every day activities. For some people it becomes too much – and here, musician turned broadcaster Ana Matronic meets some young people whose online use has quite literally taken over their lives.
China had to relax its strict communist system to join the World Trade Organisation. Charlene Barshefsky was the US trade negotiator looking after American interests at the time.
Colomendy Camp in North Wales has been a destination for generations of Liverpool schoolchildren for nearly 80 years. For many it was a rite of passage - their first time away from home without their parents and a first taste of the countryside. Actor and writer Catherine Harvey speaks to some of those who’ve stayed at Colomendy, including actor Ricky Tomlinson
In November 1994, George Foreman shocked the sport of boxing by winning a second world title at the age of 45. Written off by the critics, Foreman held off a rain of punches from Michael Moorer, a man 19 years his junior, before landing a knockout punch in the tenth round.
In Happy Birthday Blue Peter, presenters from six decades of the longest running children’s series in the world reveal some of the secrets of its success. Former presenter Barney Harwood is host for an hour of unbridled nostalgia as he charts the Blue Peter story from its birth in 1958.
British grandmother Eddie Brocklesby has changed not only her life, but thousands of others, through exercise. Though she discovered her passion later in life, she's completed six iron man triathlons and neither age nor wear and tear will slow her down.
In November 1995, Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen suffered one of the most dramatic crashes in Formula One history when his rear tyre exploded during the Australian Grand Prix catapulting his car into the air and leaving him severely injured. Hakkinen was saved by the roadside medical team who performed an emergency tracheotomy.
It's been 50 years since the film musical masterpiece Oliver! brought the murderous melodrama of Charles Dickens' famous novel to life. Winner of five Academy Awards, nominated for 11, this mammoth production about the world's most famous fictitious orphan remains a must-see. Ashley Byrne went to meet Mark Lester, the boy who played Oliver
In 1978, the first international sporting event was held for athletes who'd undergone organ transplants. The brainchild of a British surgeon called Dr Maurice Slapak, the Transplant Games aimed to convince the public that patients could go on to live active lives. Caroline Heywood talks to Dr Slapak and to John Murray, who took part in the Games after a successful kidney transplant.
How a chemist and a surgeon found a way of helping burns to heal. Chemist Ioannis Yannas was alongside surgeon John Burke when they first made the breakthrough using a membrane made of collagen to cover burns which were too large for skin grafts.
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 ending in 1976) between Britain and Iceland over fishing rights in the waters surrounding North Atlantic island.
Back in 2014 when Russia introduced counter-sanctions to Europe and America banning all Western food following the annexation of Crimea, Oleg Sirota saw an opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming a cheesemaker, while revitalising the Russian countryside
In 1956, the Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina wowed the world when she won four gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics. She went on to dominate the sport for the next decade, becoming a Soviet hero in the process, and she is the second most successful Olympian of all time – beaten only by Michael Phelps.
In August 1958 the Japanese entrepreneur, Momofuku Ando, came up with the idea of a brand new food product that would change eating habits of people across the world. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Yukitaka Tsutsui, an executive for the company founded by Ando, about the birth of the Instant Noodle.
Queen Elizabeth II first opened her London home to the paying public on August 7th 1993. Tourists were allowed to look round the palace while the Royal family was staying elsewhere for the summer. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to former Royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter.
It's 40 years since the first IVF baby was born, bringing hope to millions of people around the world unable to conceive naturally. But what does it mean for the children who are the products of this relatively new process?
World-class cyclist Jens Voigt famously completed one of the final stages of the 2010 Tour de France stage using a bright yellow, children’s bicycle. Here he talks to Ashley Byrne about his determination to stay in the competition.
Journalist Marverine Cole explores why some black women living in the UK are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks and OCDs than white women.
As the Beano prepares to celebrate 80 years of comic fun, Two Doors Down star Elaine C Smith takes a fun look back at the British institution and remembers its naughty older sibling The Dandy.
Hollywood actor Michael Sheen tells the story of his political hero, the man who built Britain’s world famous and highly regarded National Health Service, Anuerin Bevan, often known as Nye Bevan.
Professor James Hansen finally got US politicians to listen to his warnings about climate change in June 1988 after years of trying. He and fellow NASA scientists had first predicted global warming in 1981. Professor Hansen spoke to Ashley Byrne about his discoveries.
The 1962 World Cup in Chile saw what was probably the most violent match in the history of the tournament. Described by BBC commentator David Coleman as a "stupid and disgusting exhibition", the confrontation between Chile and Italy was marred by spitting, kicking and punch-ups between the players. It's now known as the Battle of Santiago. Richard Murie talks to the former Chilean defender, Humberto "The Cheetah" Cruz.
New Yorker Huey Morgan examines the life, work and enduring appeal of a poet and musician known as Moondog who lived and worked on the city's streets in the 1950s and 60s.
Why did Bobby Kennedy leave such a lasting impression on US politics and society? Fifty years after becoming the target of an assassin in the Ambassador’s Hotel in Los Angeles, Stephen Sackur speaks to some of the people whose lives were changed forever that day.
Sporting Witness goes back to 1998 and a politically-charged showdown between the USA and Iran. Despite fears of a diplomatic incident, the match went smoothly, ending with an Iranian victory and warm handshakes between the rival players.
On the 10th May 1981 a baby was born after having been successfully operated on whilst still in the womb. The paediatric surgeon who developed the technique was Dr Michael Harrison.
The hugely popular game show started on Japanese TV in 1986. Contestants were faced with all sorts of physical challenges which often resulted in slapstick failure. It soon became an international success.
Birmingham Alabama was one of the most segregated cities in the USA in 1963. In May that year thousands of black schoolchildren responded to a call from Martin Luther King to protest against segregation at the height of the civil rights movement. It became known as the Children's Crusade. Gwendolyn Webb was 14 years old at the time.
Tennis champion Monica Seles was stabbed during a match in Germany on April 30th 1993. She was world number one but the attack set her career back for some time. Jens-Peter Hetch of the German Tennis Federation was there and he has been sharing his memories of the day with Ashley Byrne.
The lighthouse on Skellig Michael off the south west coast of Ireland was continuously occupied by lighthouse keepers for more than 150 years until its automation in 1987. Skellig Michael has now become a tourist attraction since its ancient monastery was used as a location in recent Star Wars films. The last keeper of the light there was Richard Foran who has been speaking to Catherine Harvey about life on the remote island.
Zoe Leyland was born in Australia on April 11th 1984. As an embryo, she'd been frozen for 8 weeks before being successfully implanted into her mother's womb. Dr Alan Trounson was part of the team who pioneered the technology to freeze embryos, he's been speaking to Ashley Byrne.
In April 1986, the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus made history by becoming the oldest player ever to win the Masters. Aged 46, the "Golden Bear" took the lead with just one hole to go. Ashley Byrne talks to Tsuneyuki Nakajima, a Japanese golfer who was in contention throughout one of the most exciting tournaments ever played at Augusta.
In 1974, the Tanzanian Filbert Bayi won one of the greatest 1500-metre races of all time at the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. Bayi led from the front and held off a strong field to win gold and set a world record. Bayi is a legendary figure in Tanzania, where he now runs an AIDS charity. He talks to Ashley Byrne.
In the 1970s, historian Sir Brian Harrison embarked on a huge project to record the experiences of women who had been part of the UK suffrage movement in the early part of the 20th Century. Jane Garvey listens through some of the 205 tapes to get an idea of their lives as well as the risks and sacrifices the women made in their fight for equality.
Tens of thousands of people died in India in 1974 during the world's last major smallpox epidemic. Individual cases had to be tracked down and quarantined to stop the deadly disease spreading. Ashley Byrne has spoken to Dr Mahendra Dutta and Dr Larry Brilliant who took part in the battle to eradicate smallpox once and for all.
The touchscreen smartphone changed mobile technology for ever. It was unveiled on January 9th 2007 by the Apple boss Steve Jobs. Within a few years smartphones had changed the way billions of people lived their lives. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Andy Grignon a senior developer on the project.
The game has become a holiday tradition with families around the world since its launch in 1981. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to the designer of Trivial Pursuit, Michael Wurstlin, about how it was first created.
How about spending Christmas in a tropical paradise, with sun, palm trees and calypso music? Christmas in the Caribbean, like Christmas anywhere, has traditions which are unique to the people who live there.
In December 1995, the journeyman Belgian midfielder, Jean-Marc Bosman won a European court ruling that transformed his sport. The European Court of Justice declared that players had the right to negotiate transfers when their contracts expired, and ended limits on the number of European footballers per club. The ruling created the modern transfer market and fuelled the power of players – but ruined the career of Bosman himself.
Six months ago, Manchester was struck by one of the deadliest terror attacks carried out on British soil. For DW, Ashley Byrne travels to Bradford in the UK to meet one family who were caught up in the Manchester Arena Bombing.
The buddy movie about a cowboy doll and a toy astronaut used computer-generated images to tell a story that appealed to audiences around the world. Animator Doug Sweetland has been speaking to Ashley Byrne about his work on the Pixar film.
Doctor Bill Frankland remembers Europe's catastrophic flu pandemic of 1918, narrowly survived a Japanese POW camp in World War II, worked with Alexander Fleming on penicillin, and treated Saddam Hussein. And at 105, he's not ready to retire yet.
In November 1993, eight fighters from a range of martial arts disciplines took part in the first ever “Ultimate Fighting Championship” in Denver, Colorado. The controversial and often bloody event was a huge success and marked the beginning of one of the world’s fastest growing sports. Ashley Byrne talks to the promoter, Art Davie.
November 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine. The American publication became an instant hit, finding an audience among a generation that was inspired by the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Over the last half century, it has chronicled pop culture, and earned a reputation for its unique mix of music coverage and political journalism.
In October 1989, the bitter feud between Brazilian Ayrton Senna and Frenchman Alain Prost boiled over onto the track when the two drivers collided in a now infamous edition of the Japanese Grand Prix. The two men were supposed to be team-mates but their barely concealed mutual loathing gripped motor-racing audiences and led to controversy on and off the circuits.
To mark the 20th anniversary of her untimely death, people from across the UK recall meeting Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana married Prince Charles in 1981 and was a fixture of British life for nearly two decades. And in this special programme, people who got to know her well, as well as those who only met her very briefly, reflect on their connection with the Princess.
The last man to be executed by guillotine in France was a disabled Tunisian murderer, Hamida Djandoubi. He was beheaded on September 10th 1977 at the Baumettes prison in Marseille. Ashley Byrne has spoken to the daughter of lawyer, Emile Pollak, who defended Hamida Djandoubi and who was present at his execution. The death penalty was outlawed in France in 1981.
It's 20 years ago this week since Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris. The anniversary has seen a wave of commemorations and remembrance in the UK - where two decades on from her death she is still a figure that looms large in the nation's psyche.
The online auction site first went live in September 1995. Initially, it targeted collectors of antiques and memorabilia. Soon, you could sell virtually anything on eBay. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Jim Griffith one of the company's first employees.
Phone-ins are a harmless part of many radio shows, but not on Alghad Radio, a rebel broadcaster set up in Mosul to challenge the so-called Islamic State who controlled the Iraqi city for three years from June 2014. As Ashley Byrne reports, one caller paid with his life.
More and more people are identifying as bisexual yet bi-phobia is rife and the world's media remains guilty of regular bi-erasure. Journalist and writer Nichi Hodgson who is openly bisexual herself, examines what it is like to be bisexual for both men and women in different parts of the world.
Paul O'Grady celebrates life before Radio 2 with the first of a two-part series on the history of The Light Programme. The Story Of The Light looks back at more than 20 years of ground-breaking variety from 1945 to 1967 - a time when comedy and light entertainment mixed with music and drama to create a truly British take on the post-war world.
Having fought to keep their musical traditions alive amid years of conflict, musicians from Syria are now continuing their work abroad. Ashley Byrne went to Manchester's Celebrating Syria festival to meet one of the artists boosting Britain's Arab music scene.
In August 1991, the maverick golfer John Daly became a superstar overnight by winning the US PGA tournament as a rookie. Daly's ferocious hitting and hard-living lifestyle had not been seen in the sport before and earned him a legion of fans. Ashley Byrne talks to two golfers who were on the course with the most controversial player in golf.
Actor Huw Garmon goes on a journey across Wales to rediscover the young poet Ellis Evans, better known as Hedd Wyn who was killed in the First World War and posthumously awarded the National Eisteddfod Chair in 1917 - Wales' highest honour for poetry. Huw portrayed Hedd Wyn in the Oscar-nominated Welsh language film of the same name produced in 1992 and exactly 100 years after his death charts Hedd Wyn's story from shepherd, to poet and eventually to soldier.
The Famicom gaming console was a breakthrough in the world of computer games. Launched in Japan in 1983, it brought games out of arcades and into people's living rooms. When it reached markets in the West it was renamed the Nintendo Entertainment System. Lead designer Masayuki Uemura discusses how it was developed.
In 1997, Sheryl Swoopes became one of the first stars of the newly-formed Women's NBA in America. Regarded as one of the greatest female basketball players of all time, Swoopes is also an Olympic gold medallist and a trailblazer for the women's game.
In 2002 Steve Fossett succeeded in flying solo around the world in a hot air balloon. He touched down in Australia on the 4th of July. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to his chief engineer and project manager, Tim Cole, about the man and his record-breaking journey.
Top Irish crime journalist Paul Williams presents Europe’s Drugs Wars. Paul is a friend and colleague of Veronica Guerin the Irish journalist murdered 21 years ago for her work in uncovering the crimes of drugs gangs in Dublin. Two decades on from Veronica’s assassination and Dublin is once again besieged by gangland violence with journalists receiving death threats and needing police protection. But the bloodshed in Ireland has its tentacles across Europe where law enforcers struggle to contain an out of control drugs problem.
In 1973, seven teams of women cricketers took part in the first ever Women's Cricket World Cup in England. The successful tournament changed perceptions of the women's game and blazed a trial for the men's version of the World Cup. Ashley Byrne talks to June Stephenson of England and Dorothy Hobson of the West Indies.
How are men affected by abortion? There are around 200,000 legal abortions carried out in England, Scotland and Wales every year and it's estimated that 1 in 3 women will have a termination at some point in their lifetime. Women are offered support and counselling through the process - but do we do enough to help the many men affected by the experience? Fifty years after abortion was decriminalised in most of the UK, Aasmah Mir discovers there's still a lot of stigma around it and the experience of men is often a closed topic.
Senator Robert Kennedy died in the early hours of June 6th 1968. He had been shot the day before in a Los Angeles hotel as he prepared to celebrate winning the California primary in the race to become the Democratic Party's nominee for President. His labour adviser Paul Schrade, who was standing next to him, was also injured in the attack.
As a black boxer in Europe during the 1920s, you were not just fighting your opponents in the ring, but also racism at pretty much every turn, as the Afro-Italian boxing champion Leone Jacovacci could testify if he were still alive. The story of Leone has been largely forgotten until now. Thanks to the Italian professor Mauro Valeri the fascinating story of Leone Jacovacci is finally being told.
New York housewife, Jean Nidetch, started by simply talking to her friends about how to lose weight. They weighed each other and swapped dietary advice, but soon Weight Watchers had turned into a franchise. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Lauren Cohen who joined in the 1960s and eventually became a 'trainer' leading her own Weight Watchers group.
Journalist and former Sky News presenter Marverine Cole looks at how gambling is becoming increasingly popular among women in the UK. A reformed problem gambler herself, Marverine embarks on a rather personal journey to find out why more and more women are taking to gambling.
In 1978, a US naval officer and his wife invented an extreme form of triathlon which is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Called Ironman, John and Judy Collins' creation consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle ride and a 26.2 mile running marathon. They talk to Ashley Byrne about how the event was first launched in Hawaii.
With the continuing terror threat from Islamic State it's easy to forget those ordinary people in the Middle East who have lived in constant fear of the extremists for many years. One German psychologist has been putting his life on the line to help the victims of IS in Iraq including many children drawn into their grip.
In May 1985, Hong Kong inflicted an unexpected defeat on their neighbours and rivals China in a World Cup qualifying game in Beijing. The disappointed Chinese fans rioted and the Hong Kong team had to flee to the safety of their hotel. They later returned home to a heroes' welcome. Ashley Byrne talks to Hong Kong captain, Lawrence Kee Yu Kam.
After 22 people were killed by a suicide bomber as they left the Manchester Arena, Made in Manchester tells the story of one of the heroes of the night. MIM's Richard Murie meets Phil Dick at his work in Bradford. Phil and his wife saw the devastation at first hand and helped save the life of one of the victims.
The epic mini-series about slavery in the USA hit TV screens in January 1977. It revolutionised perceptions about African-Americans and their history. Leslie Uggams who played the character Kizzy in the series recalls making the series.
Author, journalist and academic Diane Roberts examines the impact of one of the most successful Hollywood movies of all time, 75 years after its release. Using previously un-broadcast extracts from archive interviews with cast and crew, conducted by the veteran Hollywood correspondent Barbra Paskin, Diane looks at how the book and film came about, the reaction it received across America, and its lasting legacy.
Could this be the happiest care home ever? Humanitas near Amsterdam has found a novel way to bring excitement, gossip and joy to the lives of the elderly residents by allowing young people to live side-by-side, rent-free in exchange for the pleasure of their company.
Father and son, Arpad and Giorgio Fischer, were the Italian cosmetic surgeons who spent years developing the modern technique of liposuction, which involves sucking out fat from under the skin. Ashley Byrne has spoken to Giorgio Fischer about how they perfected their invention.
Icelandic commentator Gudmundur Benediktsson tells the story of how sports commentary developed in different parts of the world. Gudmundur, whose excitement over a late goal by Iceland against Austria at Euro 2016 sent his own commentary viral, hears from a variety of commentators and experts as he charts the history of commentating.
US mobster Al Capone died 70 years ago having spent several years in the notorious prison of Alcatraz for tax evasion. Of all that's known about the original scarface, many won’t have heard the story of a woman who was related to Al Capone and who went to extraordinary lengths to keep the stigma of her family under wraps.
In April 1966 thousands of artists and performers from all over Africa descended on the Senegalese capital, Dakar, for the first World Festival of Black Arts. Ibrahim el-Salahi and Elimo Njau are two leading African artists who took part in that first festival.
A sentence that might fill you with dread: spiders can hear you coming across the room. New research from Cornell University in New York has found evidence that the perceived wisdom they could only sense vibration may not be true. For Spectrum, the arachnaphobic Ashley Byrne has been speaking to them about their findings and how it could be used in the real world to help us all.
Despite both liberal and conservative reforms in different countries being hailed as the answer to stamping it out, Europe seems to be losing the battle against sex trafficking. Why do these countries, which work successfully together against other crimes, struggle to combat sexual exploitation and forced prostitution?
In February 1968, the aboriginal fighter Lionel Rose was cheered by Australians of all races when he won the world bantamweight boxing title. Ashley Byrne talks to Rose's rival and later friend, Noel Kunde.
In the 1970s, historian Sir Brian Harrison embarked on a huge project to record the experiences of women who had been part of the UK suffragette movement in the early part of the 20th Century. Presenter Dan Snow, whose great, great grandfather was Liberal Prime Minister Lloyd George, listens through the tapes.
In the early 2000s, competitive computer-gaming, or eSports, began to take off in South Korea before spreading to the rest of the world. Ashley Byrne talks to e-gamer, Lim Yo-hwan, nicknamed Boxer, one of the biggest names in the new sport.
Northern Soul is often thought to be firmly rooted in place and time but four decades on from the opening of the Wigan Casino, Annie Nightingale discovers how it's capturing the imagination of people as far east as Japan. She looks back at the roots of Northern Soul before hearing from DJs spinning their discs in Kobe, a Northern Soul band in Tokyo and regulars at night spots in several Japanese cities.
In November 1967 an iconic popular culture magazine was launched in the US. It quickly became known for its music coverage, interviews with stars and in depth political reporting. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to Michael Lydon, the first managing editor of 'Rolling Stone' Magazine.
Tom Robinson was the first rock star to be out-and-proud from the off and in early 1978, at the height of his fame he released the song 'Glad To Be Gay'. It reached the Top 20 and made him an overnight gay icon. But then in the mid 80s something happened which changed Tom's life overnight - he fell in love with a woman! The tabloid press had a field day and he was booed when he appeared on stage at the 1987 London Gay Pride Festival. In this programme, Tom assesses his own changing attitudes to bisexuality and asks if it's still a bit of a taboo in Britain today?
It's more than 60 years since the frog puppet first appeared on an American children's TV show. His creator Jim Henson became famous, and Kermit became the star of the Muppets franchise. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to veteran puppeteer Bob Payne.
Irish Times journalist Fintan O'Toole takes a look at some of the 2,000 letters crowdsourced by Maynooth University as part of a special project in Ireland, marking the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. There are love letters penned by a couple starting a romance amid the backdrop of the troubles in Dublin, there are letters from soldiers on the Western Front confused at the events back home, there are lost letters and there are last letters from people eventually condemned for their part in the Rising.
On 26 January 1972 four Aboriginal men began a protest for land rights in Canberra, Australia. First they erected a beach umbrella on the grass outside Parliament House and labelled it an 'embassy'. Soon they were joined by other activists with tents. Gary Foley, an aboriginal activist talks about his part in the demonstration which lasted until July.
Journalist, broadcaster and author Nichi Hodgson attempts to get to the heart of an issue which divides as many as it unites.This programme looks at the making of porn by and for consenting adults. Nichi explores the arguments for whether the watching and making of it could be policed to ensure standards and best practices.
The Monkees were the world's first 'manufactured' boy band - created especially for a TV show. Hear from the man who directed that show - Bruce Kessler.
Historian Helen Castor presents a 5-part series about the History of the Midlands. Helen, herself a Midlander, argues that England has largely been shaped historically by the people and places of its Middle counties.
In 1998 someone cut the head off the most famous statue in Denmark. Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, it's a bronze figure of a girl sitting on a rock in Copenhagen harbour. After a police search to find the head, it was Peter Jensen's job to reattach it to the mermaid's body.
Tala Raassi is an Iranian-American Fashion designer currently based in Virginia, whose clothing has been seen on red carpets and some of the most famous people on the planet. She specializes in swimwear which is not something you would necessarily expect for a girl who grew up in ultra-conservative Muslim Iran.
On 8 September 1966 the cult American science fiction series first went on air. Herb Solow, the original producer of the series, speaks to Ashley Byrne about how the first Star Trek was made.
Boston in Lincolnshire is home to many settlers from Eastern Europe and has a long history associated with immigration and migration. But the UK media focus in recent years has been on how the people of the Boston of the 21st Century struggle to live side by side. Poet Benjamin Zephaniah, himself a son of immigrants visits Boston to hear, via poetry and interviews with the different people who live there, what Boston means to them.
Stephen Sackur chairs a debate on BBC Radio 4 about the role of prison in the 21st century, at the Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham. Is incarceration still fit for purpose in a digital age? Are there other ways to punish and rehabilitate people?
When Giovanni Vigliotto went on trial for fraud and bigamy in the USA, he claimed he'd married more than a hundred women. Dave Stoller was the Arizona prosecutor who brought him to trial. He's been telling Ashley Byrne the story of the man who would first charm women, then marry them, then cheat them out of their savings and possessions.
Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Ruzickova endured three Nazi concentration camps and persecution under communist rule. Now turning 90, she says her love of Bach's music gave her strength and hope in the bleakest of moments.
On 20th July 1973 the film star and martial arts legend Bruce Lee died suddenly in Hong Kong. He was just 32 years old. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to his friend and fellow martial arts expert Dan Inosanto about his life, and sudden death.
The island of Ibiza has subtly influenced British youth culture and the nation's night-time economy for more than 20 years. The Balearic attitude to nightlife and entertainment was first adopted in Britain during the late 80s and soon many young Brits would no longer be divided by class, race, football allegiances or even sexuality, instead becoming united by their devotion to house music, recreational drug taking and warehouse parties or raves.
In November 1996 the renowned international ornithologist Tony Silva was convicted of smuggling endangered birds into the US. Some of the animals had been stuffed into cardboard containers for the journey from South America; others were hidden in false-bottom suitcases. Silva argued that he was trying to protect the birds from extinction. Ashley Byrne has been speaking to federal prosecutor Sergio Acosta, who worked on the high-profile case.
Brass bands were originally conceived during the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain to prevent workers becoming preoccupied with politics during leisure time. Stephen Tompkinson, famous for his part in the classic British film Brassed Off in the 1990s, examines the origins of brass bands and looks at how they evolved and developed in different parts of the world.
In this programme, leading virologist Professor John Oxford tells the dramatic story of how Scotland coped with the flu pandemic which swept the country 100 years ago.
A special one-off programme for BBC Radio 5Live about the people who rebuilt Manchester United in the days, weeks, months and years following the Munich air disaster which left 8 of the famous Busby Babes dead.