Programme Archive

Features, readings and documentaries – welcome to our treasure trove of past programmes…
Crossing the Border
Matthew Sweet explores the overlooked history of poetry in film.
As the number of mixed families in the UK increases, we investigate the cultural mash-up.
The End of the Rope
Capital punishment was abolished in 1965. What changed in our society?
The Hang Drum Phenomenon
Dame Evelyn Glennie explores the extraordinary story of The Hang.
Who Wants to be A Nurse?
What attracts young people to nursing today?
Drags to Riches
We follow three drag acts who are part of a booming industry.
Listen in to barber banter and salon secrets and from around the nation.
African Students Abroad
Bola Masuro follows four African students at British universities.
A Story I Am In
A 90th birthday tribute to James Berry OBE – poet and cultural pioneer.
360 Arts
A 360 degree look at the process of placing art in a public space.
Zola in Norwood
Michael Rosen traces novelist Emile Zola’s exile in England, as he escapes imprisonment.
The Invisible Age
Matthew Sweet meets over 85s and asks why are we anxious about aging?
A Cultural History of the Plague
Laura Ashe explores the cultural legacy of plague, from the Black Death to Ebola.
Gangland Mediators
Paul Peachey explores the secret world of civilians who negotiate truces between rival gangs.
The Birth of Love
Laura Ashe reveals how our ideas of romantic love were born in the 12th century
Imagining the Audience
Imagine a world before polling or audience research - who did the early BBC think it was talking to?
D-Day: A Family Affair
Paddy O'Connell meets veterans who served with his father and asks 'what is remembrance'?
Disabled and Broody
Julie Fernandez on an agonising decision: whether to have children, if it means passing on disabilities?
Shopping with Mother
Reports from tills and changing rooms explore the relationship between the generations
Where Are You Going?
Catherine Carr charts the course of a day in the lives of people making journeys across the globe.
The Value of Failure
Five people from different spheres of life reflect on what failure has taught them
Whatever Happened to Community?
Giles Fraser thinks our presumptions about community should be challenged
Friends With My Ex
Some couples manage to separate and not hate each other. How and why do they do it?
Greg James meets listeners who've lost control of their online image
Singing for Britten
John Bridcut tracks down amateur singers to share their experiences of singing for Benjamin Britten
Our Dreams; Our Selves
Lucy Powell discovers how our interpretation of dreams has changed from ancient cultures.
The Slow Coach
We follow three busy people on an experiment to slow down their lives.
Loud Wars
Zane Lowe tells the story of the Loudness War, a phenomenon which changed the sound of music forever.
Disability: A New History
Peter White reveals the lives of physically disabled people in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Spring Clean Symphony
A composed feature exploring the musicality, rituals and personal stories of the spring clean.
Living in the Memory Room
A radical new approach to dementia: encouraging patients to live in the past.
Like Father, Like Son
Seani B meets the dads determined to be there for their kids
My Lover, My Carer
Julie Fernandez asks what happens to long-term relationships when a lover becomes a carer?
Going Home?
Gemma Cairney follows three young Brits as they travel across the world to discover their roots.
The Language of Lullabies
Exploring lullabies from around the world and their role in child development.
God Bless Our Contradictions
Can our inner contradictions ever be helpful?
A Joy Forever
Elizabeth Adekunle explores the idea of lasting beauty.
Pound Shops R Us
Jonty Bloom takes a behind the scenes look at a retail explosion.
Music and Silence
Composer Michael Berkeley talks frankly about his hearing loss.
Inside a Tree
Mark Tully asks why are trees important to us?
Eddie Goes Country
Eddie Mair returns to Scotland to explore his deep affection for Country Music.
A Place for Us
A moving insight into the experience of teenagers arriving alone to seek asylum in Britain.
Dads Who Do
David Lammy meets fathers who are serious about parenting.
Revolutionary Radio
For 90 years radio has been a potent political force in revolutions – Fi Glover investigates.
This is My Vigil
Mark Tully asks why people hold and participate in vigils.
The Keys to the Street
Ruth Rendell’s thrilling crime novel. Read by Claudie Blakley.
And now an urgent SOS message
Eddie Mair hears from listeners whose lives were affected by SOS messages.
Amanda Vickery on Men
Amanda Vickery explores the history of masculinity.
Southern Tracks
DJ Joe Fletcher tracks down forgotten records from the American South.
Looking for Ruritania
Comedian Tony Hawks goes in search of the mythical land of Ruritania.
Think Negative
Patrick McGuiness celebrates the virtues of negative thinking.
Prayer Before a Five Pound Note
Mark Tully explores our relationship with money and looks at its real role.
A Life In Seminary
Mark Tully explores the past and present of life in a Roman Catholic Seminary.
James Joyce's Playlist
An exploration of author, James Joyce’s favourite music.
Poet Stewart Henderson celebrates the sensory power of true darkness.
Archive On Four: Lunch is for Wimps
Matthew Sweet on the lost tradition of the lunch break.
William Shakespeare's Playlist
An exploration of the Bard’s favourite music.
New Life, New Views
Kurdish poet, Choman Hardi, explores how children help us to see things in a different, more positive light.
Friends Through Thick and Thin
A moving exploration of three enduring female friendships.
Starting Over
Ugandan born journalist Paul Bakibinga explores the idea of loss and how to get going again after a major setback.
Reasons to be Cheerful Series 3
Three different presenters rally against doom and gloom.
For New Year’s Eve, John Sergeant celebrates the ancient art of toasting.
Giles Fraser reveals the surprising truth behind the origins of Christmas.
The Last Jews of Iraq
Alan Yentob uncovers the hidden history of Baghdad’s jewish community.
Escape From The Deep
Louis de Bernières tells the most controversial submarine escape story of WW2.
The Unresolved
Poet Stewart Henderson questions whether the unresolved can ever be silenced, bringing the individual to a resolution.
Archive on Four: The Parting Glass
Fintan O'Toole tells the story of Irish migration.
Traitor's Purse
Roger Allam reads Margery Allingham’s celebrated detective novel.
Caring Too Much
A look at the complex relationship between disabled child and parent carer.
How to Write a Personal Statement
Imogen Stubbs on how to write the perfect personal statement.
Voices From The Old Bailey: Series II
Amanda Vickery explores 18th century Britain through its dramatic court cases.
The Long Firm
Jake Arnott’s tale of the rise, fall, and eventual escape of Harry Starks.
Mark Tully explores our relationship with animals.
Rabindranath Tagore: Unity in Diversity
Mark Tully explores polymath Rabindranath Tagore's vision of the unity of all creation.
The Ice Cream Van Cometh
Jim Carey celebrates the great British ice cream van.
Mark Tully celebrates the healing power of gardens.
Taboo De Doo
Terence Blacker on the fine line between offensive and funny in music.
The Root of All Evil
Giles Fraser on the complex relationship between Christians and money.
Mark Tully explores the history and enduring power of hymns.
Professor Peter King explores how openness enables us to empathise, love and be fully human.
Book of the Week: Vesuvius
Emma Fielding reads Gillian Darley’s homage to the most famous Volcano in the world.
Book of the Week: Manhood for Amateurs
Jason Butler Harner reads from Michael Chabon's warm and witty memoir about life as a husband, father and son.
Mothers and Sons
An exploration of the special bond between mother and son.
Mark Tully explores how many artists have found freedom and inspiration in rail travel.
No East or West in our Round World
Dr Nabil Mustapha explores the idea that "the earth is but one country and we are all its citizens."
A Short History of Five Notes
DJ Rita Ray traces the history of the 'clave’.
One Two Buckle My Shoe
A look at how music and rhymes help children learn to count.
Endnotes: David Foster Wallace
Geoff Wallace on the legacy of tragic author David Foster Wallace.
Hey Mr Salinger!
Joanna Smith Rakoff remembers her year of answering JD Salinger's fanmail.
Widowers' Tales
We hear the inspiring stories of four men who are rebuilding their lives alone, and finding a new direction.
Shrodinger's Quantum Kitten's
Comedian and writer Robin Ince on the quantum mysteries of Schrodinger's Cat.
The Playlist Series
David Owen Norris and guests imagine the playlists of famous historical figures.
I Don't Believe in Being Lost
Broadcaster Anita Rani explores the significance of being lost, both physically and spiritually.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Kerry Shale reads Phillip K Dick’s story about post-apocalyptic bounty hunter Rick Deckard.
Finding Your Voice in a Foreign Country
Serbian writer Vesna Goldsworthy asks how emigres and exiles Find their Voices in a Foreign Country.
Midlife Relaunch
Is it possible to start a new career in your fifties? We ask people who've tried.
How to get an A-Star
Imogen Stubbs investigates what it takes to achieve the new A* grade.
Voices From The Old Bailey
Professor Amanda Vickery brings 18th century criminal history to life.
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Series 2
Three different presenters rally against doom and gloom.
Finding My Father
British based Gospel singer and broadcaster Muyiwa Olarewaju tells of his search for a father.
The Sea
Mark Tully discusses our longing for the sea with National Poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis.
The e-Sportsmen
The young men at the heart of the new social scene driven by the computer games industry.
Mark Tully talks to Father Nicholas King about the process of translating the New Testament.
Westminster Abbey
The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, guides Mark Tully through the "prayer-soaked walls" of Westminster Abbey
The Great Writ
Crime writer Frances Fyfield discovers how the ancient legal principle of Habeas Corpus is still one of our most fundamental rights
Mark Tully considers the spiritual inspiration poets and musicians have found in birds.
The Essay: Mentors
Five writers reflect on their experiences with illustrious mentors.
Pilgrim or Tourist?
Satish Kumar explores the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim.
Mothers And Daughters - Lost And Found
We asked listeners of 'Woman's Hour' to tell us about their experiences as mothers and daughters.
The Ballet Russes in England
A look at the surprising success of Sergei Diaghilev's riotous ballet company with London audiences.
Too White To Be Black
Kim Normanton talks to three people from black or Asian backgrounds who live with albinism.
Jane Austen's iPod
David Owen Norris gains new insight into the life of Austen, through a discovery of her favourite music.
The Sound of Snow and Ice
A discovery of how visually-impaired children can gain confidence by learning to explore the world through sound.
A History Of Private Life
Amanda Vickery reveals the hidden history of private life in Britain over 400 years.
Book of the Week: Family Britain
Dominic West reads David Kynaston’s history of ordinary people through letters, diaries and memories.
Words My Mother Taught Me
Jewish storyteller Pamela Marre looks at how ancient wisdom is passed down through families:
Now Wash Your Hands
The story of Izal Medicated, in the words of people who have a soft spot for hard toilet paper.
The Consolations of Autumn
Writer and broadcaster Hazhir Teimourian asks whether youth, as with spring and summer, is overrated.
Merry Widows
Women of a certain age talk about discovering a new lease of life on their own.
Accepting Jack: Six Years On
Kim Normanton revisits parents that are coming to terms with having a child with special needs.
Mark Tully celebrates cricket, and ponders why it has become the symbol of an ideal society.
Buying And Selling
Mark Tully examines the troubled relationship between buyer and seller.
The Job Clinic
Liz Barclay tracks the progress of a group of unemployed men and women as they look for work.
Mark Tully investigates the danger and usefulness of charm, with guest Tony Benn.
Mark Tully explores homesickness, a yearning more complex than nostalgia for homeland.
The Many Lives Of Roald Dahl
Sophie Dahl looks at the life, writing and passions of the children's author, Roald Dahl.
Mark Tully explores weaving as a metaphor for how we should live our life, beginning in Gandhi's house.
A Tale Of Two Emirates
Jenny Clayton looks at the credit crisis in Dubai and the rise of its wealthy neighbour, Abu Dhabi.
Leland's Travels
Professor David Wallace tells the extraordinary story of antiquarian scholar John Leland, Henry VIII's librarian, topographer and sometime ghostwriter.
What's In Your Head
We hear stories of courage and survival - and how people kept themselves alive by remembering words and music.
Reasons To Be Cheerful
Peter White, Stephen K Amos and Diana Quick rally against doom and gloom.
For Palm Sunday, Mark Tully explores the deeper spiritual meaning of hospitality.
Head In The Clouds
This programme traces the (shifting, drifting) role of clouds in art, architecture and the cultural imagination.
Dr Robert Beckford leads us in a spiritual search 'on-line' and looks at the effect the internet having on religion.
Book of the Week: Bluebird
Gemma Arterton reads the touching and funny memoir of Bosnian asylum seeker Vesna Maric.
Too Many Santas
Heidi Mikalson investigates Iceland’s thirteen santas.
How Far Would You Go For A Dance
Judith Mackrell looks at how far dancers and choreographers will go for their art.
Between The Ears: Mole Jazz
A look at the man behind the world's greatest ever second hand jazz record shop.
Talking About Lionel
Eddie Mair tells the story of the sensitive, talented and troubled Lionel Bart.
Between The Ears: When Silence Sings
A sonic reflection on Venice, portrayed through the ears of its residents.
Don't Sleep There Are Snakes
Colin Stinton reads the extraordinary story of linguist Daniel Everett, who lived among the Piraha tribe of in central Brazil.
Mark Tully explores the complexities and dangers of Ambition.
Travels on the Dancefloor
Grevel Lindop reads from his own account of pursuing his passion for Salsa in Latin America.
In Pursuit Of The Dalai Lama
Charles Wheeler remembers covering the story of the Dalai Lama's flight from Lhasa.
Mark Tully weighs up contrasting perspectives on ‘limbo’ - a state in which time stands still and we cannot move on.
Wrestling With The Iranians
Dominic Byrne goes to Iran to try to understand the passion behind their national sport, wrestling.
Mark Tully considers how people cope when they are forced to downsize through financial necessity.
Mark Tully ponders the role of committees in our lives - are they good or bad for us?
Walking A Stick Back Home
James Crowden goes for one last outing with writer Thomas de Quincey’s walking stick.
I Don't Know What To Say
Barbara Want tries to find out why people are so afraid to talk about death and loss.
Postcards From The White City
Robert Elms celebrates the glories of the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition.
Clearing the House
Funny, sad, and surprising stories about clearing out your parent’s house.
The Past
Mark Tully explores the different ways in which we view the past.
Havens In A Storm
Allan Urry tells the inside story of the global struggle for tax regulation.
Voices At 40
Judith Palmer celebrates the 40th anniversary of “Voices”, a series of poetry anthologies.
Mark Tully considers our need for privacy and how we balance this with our responsibilities to others.
The Simulated Patient
Documentary looking at an unusual aspect of medical training.
The Message From China
Dr Anne Marie Brady looks at the past and present of the Chinese communist propaganda machine.
Teacher Flower
English teaching sensation "Teacher Flower" returns to China.
Three Men In A Float
Three men embark upon a journey from Lowestoft to Land's End in a second-hand milk float.
Mobius Strip And The Confidence Trickster
Holding the Mobius Strip in our hands, we hear the concept in sound and voice.
Wide Awake At Bedtime
We follow groups of children enjoying sleepovers in four venues around the UK.
Thank You
Different people get a chance to publicly thank a person who changed their lives.