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1959 documentary showing images of a Liverpool still recovering from the post-war gloom.
Denis Mitchell's 1959 documentary is full of evocative images of a Liverpool still recovering from the post-war gloom.
Denis Mitchell's 1959 documentary is full of evocative images of a Liverpool still recovering from the post-war gloom.
This BBC film won the award for the best television documentary film in the Italia Prize Contest, 1959.
The story of the portrait of a private soldier's sweetheart, painted for him in Auschwitz.
Peter Lewis tells the story of the object he added to the BBC History of the World website, a sweetheart's portrait painted for his Uncle Bryn at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
When Peter Lewis heard that the BBC were inviting people to nominate personal objects that helped tell the story of the history of the world, he thought immediately of his Uncle Bryn.
The invitation was intended to complement the award-winning Radio 4 series 'A History of the World in A Hundred Objects', made in partnership with the British Museum. Those objects told of mankind's origins, of dynasties, of trade and economics, of science and engineering, war, peace, growth and development.
The many thousands of contributions to the BBC website threw vivid personal light on those broader subjects, but perhaps none more than Bryn's portrait of his World War Two sweetheart, and later wife, Peggy.
The picture, which still hangs in his living room, was painted in oils from a Red Cross postcard photograph that Peggy had sent him when he was a prisoner of war in Poland. He'd been captured in April 1940 and, in spite of twelve unsuccessful escape attempts, he wouldn't see Peggy again until 1945.
His life as a prisoner is an extraordinary story of a private soldier gifted with an iron will, a wicked optimism and an unshakeable survival instinct.
Many of the camps in which he was held are familiar to historians: Thorn, Stalag VIIb Lamsdorf, Terezin - but it's Auschwitz that leaps most agressively from the page.
Bryn was never held with the Jewish prisoners in the main camp. As a British soldier, he had rights they could only have dreamt of. But he was a labourer in the metal workshops alongside the main camp, and he saw the brutality meted out over the several months of his incarceration there.
It was during this period that a fellow worker, a Polish Jew, told him that he could get the tired photograph of Peggy painted for him in oils.
Bryn was uneasy about losing such a treasured possession - but when he learnt about the Nazi policy of employing Jewish craftsmen and artists to copy stolen art treasures in the camp next door, he relented.
A couple of weeks later, his postcard photo was returned, along with a beautiful portrait of Peggy. For obvious reasons, it was unsigned.
So Bryn would never discover the name of the person who painted it, but he treasured it beyond any other possession and kept it taped to his stomach or back for the remaining two years of the war.
Bryn is now in his nineties. He's always been reticent about telling the stories of his imprisonment, but here he talks to Peter Lewis about his survival, his escapes, and the portrait from Auschwitz that he brought home safely to the woman who was to become his wife.
PRODUCER: Tom Alban.
Martha Kearney and guests revisit 1980 through previously classified government documents.
Secret files, released today, reveal government thinking on the main events of 1980. Martha Kearney and guests discuss the issues which faced the Thatcher Government.
On the day that previously secret government files from 1980 are released to the public, Martha Kearney and guests discuss what they reveal about government thinking at the time.
It was a year of government cutbacks, high unemployment and economic gloom. The newly-released papers highlight the astonishing resonance with today.
Martha and guests will examine the Prime Minister's personal papers, complete with handwritten notes in the margins, and memos from trusted aides; transcripts of conversations between Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders; and vivid accounts of arguments in cabinet that show what individual Ministers were really thinking.
As well as shedding light on what we know happened, the papers also reveal what didn't happen, as we hear accounts of policies or actions that were considered but later abandoned.
It was the year that Polish workers won trade union rights, while in the UK steel workers went on strike. The government failed to secure a boycott of the Olympic games in Moscow, and Zimbabwe elected a new leader: Robert Mugabe.
War broke out between Iran and Iraq and a group of American hostages in Tehran remained in captivity. President Jimmy Carter lost out to Ronald Reagan in the American elections and Michael Foot became leader of the Labour Party.
These are just some of the stories that dominated 1980. This programme will reveal the issues that dominated the minds of Ministers at the time.
Producer: Deborah Dudgeon
A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.
Episode 2: What We Feared
Series 6 Episode 4: The Great Depression in the USA
Michael Portillo compares the myths and reality of America's Great Depression.
Michael Portillo asks whether our popular memory of the past conceals forgotten truths, comparing the myths and reality of the Great Depression in 1930s America.
Michael Portillo revisits landmark moments in history, asking whether our popular memory of the past conceals forgotten truths. In this edition, Michael looks back at the Great Depression and compares the myths and reality of 1930s America.
Producer: Julia Johnson.
Episode 1: Advance Britannia
Andrew Marr revisits Britain in 1945 and finds the country victorious but nearly bankrupt.
Andrew Marr revisits Britain in 1945 and finds the country victorious but nearly bankrupt, beginning a battle against the odds to retain its world power status.
Andrew Marr revisits Britain in 1945 and finds the country victorious, but badly beaten up and nearly bankrupt. With astonishing archive and telling anecdote, he tells the story of Britain's extraordinary struggle for national and cultural survival in the post-war world.
As the newly elected Labour government sets out to build 'New Jerusalem', Britain is forced to hold out the begging bowl in Washington. Back in Britain, Ealing Studios attempts to hold back the tide of Hollywood with a series of very British comedies.
There is a spirit of hope and optimism in the air, but the shortage of consumer goods and the British people's growing impatience with austerity threaten to take the country from bankruptcy to self-destruction.
A stirring story of Britain's battle against the odds to retain its world power status.
Vanessa Collingridge pulls together more objects from A History of the World.
Vanessa Collingridge pulls together more objects from A History of the World, including the nurse's uniform worn by one of only eight women to land with the troops on D-Day.
The Bombing of Hiroshima
A Japanese schoolgirl tells her story of surviving the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima
A Japanese schoolgirl tells her story of surviving the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima in August 1945.
On 6 August 1945 an American bomber dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Tens of thousands of people were killed immediately. Witness presents a vivid first-person account from the BBC archives, of a young Japanese schoolgirl who survived the attack.
(Photo: The destruction left by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Plot to Kill Iranian Writers
In August 1996 in Iran, there was a plot to kill 21 writers on a bus jouney to Armenia
In August 1996, a group of Iranian writers were invited to a literary event in Armenia. But there was a plot to kill them all on the way to their destination.
In August 1996, a group of Iranian writers were invited to a literary event in neighbouring Armenia. They boarded a bus to take them to Yerevan - but there was a plot to kill them all before they reached their destination.
The scandal has been linked to a bigger plot known as The Chain Murders of intellectuals in Iran in the 1990s.
Shahryar Mandanipour, one of the writers on the bus, remembers.
(Photo: Iranian writer Shahryar Mandanipour, courtesy of S. Mandanipour)
In August 1945 Korea is split along the 38th parallel.
After the Allied victory in 1945, Korea is split along the 38th parallel.
After the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Korea is split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces in the north and the US military in the south. Shin Insup tells Witness what happened in the northern city of Pyongyang.
(Photo: Korea 38th parallel. Credit: Getty Images/AFP)
First Cochlear Implant
In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant.
In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant to a patient. It was a breakthrough moment for deaf people around the world.
In August 1978 an Australian doctor successfully fitted a multi-channel cochlear implant to a patient. It was a breakthrough moment for deaf people around the world. The doctor, Professor Graeme Clark, had a deaf father, and dedicated his professional life to helping people hear again.
Photo: the first patient, Rod Saunders (left) and Graeme Clark with the implant. Credit: The Bionic Institute.
The Timisoara Uprising
Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania began on 16 December 1989
Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania, and the death of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, began on December 16th 1989.
Protests which led to the collapse of communism in Romania, and the death of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, began on 16 December 1989. Followers of an opposition Hungarian priest, Laszlo Tokes, had gathered to support him in the town of Timisoara - but their protest prompted a violent response from the Romanian military. Zsolt Szilagy was there when the shooting started.
(Photo: An old man greets a soldier after the uprising in Timisoara. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Series 6 Episode 3: 3. The Violent Side of Indian Independence
Michael Portillo revisits the Indian struggle for independence.
Michael Portillo looks at the Indian struggle for independence in the early twentieth century and finds that there was violent as well as peaceful protest.
The struggle for Indian independence is remembered most for the peaceful protests inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. In this week's Things We Forgot To Remember Michael Portillo discovers the seam of violence that ran alongside the peaceful civil disobedience. In particular he looks at the pivotal role played by India House, a villa in North London that became a base for those plotting against British rule in India. He also investigates how in the First World War , Germany tried to destabilise the British Empire by exploiting Indian disaffection.
Producer: James Crawford.
Dark Arcadias Episode 1
Adam Nicolson explores ideas of Arcadia in the work of Hesiod, Virgil and Horace.
Adam Nicolson presents an exploration of humankind's relationship with ideas of Arcadia, as seen in the work of work of Hesiod, Virgil and Horace.
Adam Nicolson presents the first of a two-part exploration of humankind's relationship with nature, told through the cultural accounts of the arcadian wild we have made. This is a journey from the cave paintings of Chauvet in France to the Cape Farewell - artists as eco-warriors - project. To be human is to construct arcadias: of the mind and for real, escapes and escape routes. Culture is made in the recognition of the gap between wildness and the self. But accounts of the gap are made on and of the earth, and they cannot be heavenly. So arcadia is always dark. Death lives at its heart. This is what the cave paintings describe and the melting ice maps tell. Et in Arcadia ego.
Producer: Tim Dee
First broadcast in July 2011.
John Arlott: Cricket's Radical Voice
Mark Whitaker investigates the life of the cricket commentator and political campaigner.
4 Extra Debut. Mark Whitaker investigates the life of the cricket commentator and powerful political campaigner. From January 2012.
It is not an exercise in nostalgia about a man universally considered to be the greatest cricket commentator and 'the voice of an English summer' it is an exploration of Arlott as a political figure both inside and outside the world of cricket.
John Arlott's politics can best be summed up as those of a radical liberal, and he twice stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Party. But he would have found obedience to the party whip difficult, and he rarely adopted a party political stance during the many years that he appeared on the panel of the BBC Home Service's Any Questions. He appeared with such people as Richard Man, Michael Foot and a young Margaret Thatcher; and he attacked the political orthodoxies of both left and right. He always championed the 'common man' against the power or money or privilege.
His political bravery was most obvious within the deeply conservative world of English cricket. He challenged its leaders prejudices on both race and class. He was responsible for bringing Basil D'Oliveira to England, and we broadcast - for the first time - the correspondence between the two men in 1960. He refused to commentate when white South African teams came, and he was centrally involved in the Stop The Tour campaign in 1970. We interview Peter Hain about Arlott's influence. He also supported the Professional Cricketers Association - the players' trade union - and said that being elected its first President was the greatest honour ever shown him.
The programme uses archive from the BBC and beyond. Written and presented by Mark Whitaker.
Producer: Mark Whitaker
A Square Dog Radio production for BBC Radio 4.
BrandArchive on 4
Tim McGarry looks at Scots from the 18th century through to the present day.
Tim McGarry explores the history of the Scots language. In this second part, Tim looks at the 18th century through to the present day.
Tim McGarry continues his quest charting the history of the Scots language from the 18th century to the present day. As the language declined, it was still able to throw up literary geniuses who saved Scots from obscurity and obliteration. Scottish poets like Robbie Burns and Hugh MacDiarmid kept Scots literature burning bright. In Ulster, Tim explores the genius of James Orr, the largely forgotten Ballycarry poet who many literary experts regard as the equal of Burns.
With contributions from former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, Martin O'Muilleor MLA, Laura Spence and other Scots and Ulster Scots Language experts, the programme also asks what the future is for Ulster Scots and Scots.
SeriesMinding Our Language
Tim McGarry goes back to the origins of the Scots language.
Two-part documentary in which Tim McGarry explores the history of the Scots language. In this first part, he begins his quest by going back to its origins.
Tim McGarry wants to find out if Scots really is a language, or if it's "just English with a few Scots words thrown in." Tim begins his quest by going right back to the origins of the Scots language in dark-ages Northumbria.
We learn how this minority Anglo Saxon language in an overwhelming Gaelic-speaking Scotland became the dominant one in Scotland by the 14th century. By the 15th and 16th centuries, Scots was the language of the Scottish Royal Court. In the early 17th century the Plantation brought the Scots language to Ulster.
However, the Union of the Scottish and English Crowns, along with the Act of Union, started the decline of the Scots language. This episode also explores the rich literary tradition of the Scots language from Barbours the Brus through to the high water mark of the Makar Poets. With contributions from former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and Martin O'Muilleor MLA, Laura Spence and other Scots and Ulster Scots language experts.
SeriesMinding Our Language
Series 1 Episode 1: 1969
A bad moon arisin - the civil rights struggle and the outbreak of the Troubles.
Series looking at key years in the history of Northern Ireland accompanied by the chart hits of the time. 1969: A bad moon arisin - from Civil Rights to the Troubles.
Series looking at key years in the history of Northern Ireland accompanied by the thumping chart hits of the time.
1969: A bad moon arisin - from Civil Rights to the outbreak of the Troubles.
Series 2 Episode 1: 1971
A look back at 1971 using footage, archive and the musical hits of the year.
Series looking at key years in the history of Northern Ireland using footage, archive and the musical hits of the time. This episode takes a look back at 1971.
Pop Goes Northern Ireland blends news footage, archive and the musical hits of the time to provide an enthralling and entertaining potted history of Northern Ireland dealing with our difficult past in a way that is entertaining, informative, fresh and accessible to all.
This episode focuses on 1971. Events take a darker turn when the first British soldiers die in the Troubles, Brian Faulkner becomes prime minister of Northern Ireland, and the government introduces internment without trial.