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Beyond Today


News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.

News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.
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News built to last from the BBC. Tina Daheley and Matthew Price ask one big question of one big story every weekday. A space to figure out what’s going on.




Emma Barnett: why talk about periods?

Emma Barnett’s becoming one of the most respected broadcasters in the country. She presents for 5 Live and Newsnight, and can make her interviewees - often politicians - feel very awkward just by asking them simple questions they stumble around trying to answer. Emma got in touch to ask us if we wanted to talk to her about periods, because she’s just written a book about them. And we said “yes please”. Presenter: Matthew Price Producers: Philly Beaumont and Jessica Beck Mixed by Nicolas...


Cryptoqueen: why did she disappear?

Dr Ruja Ignatova is the founder of the cryptocurrency One Coin that promised to change money forever. Within two years of launching the company she claimed to have 3.5 million members and hundreds of thousands of investors, with offices all round the world holding events and seminars in major cities. She even packed out Wembley Arena. But in 2017 Dr Ruja got a plane to Athens and hasn't been seen since. Georgia Catt, a BBC producer, and technology writer Jamie Bartlett have been on the...


Did one family create the opioid epidemic?

Purdue Pharma is the company that has become synonymous with the opioid epidemic in the United States. The firm, which is owned by the wealthy Sackler family, produces the highly addictive and highly profitable drug OxyContin. This week the company filed for bankruptcy. We trace the rise and fall of the dynasty from New York to Kentucky via Glasgow with Chris McGreal, author of “American Overdose: a Tragedy in Three Acts”. Presented by Matthew Price Producers: Jessica Beck and Harriet Noble...


Sam Smith: what’s the problem with ‘them’?

Over the weekend the singer Sam Smith released a statement which read: “I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM.” Coming from a pop artist who has sold over 20m records, this felt like a moment where non-binary hit the mainstream. Sam’s post sparked a debate about gender, identity and language. Tom Rasmussen is a drag queen, writer and actor who identifies as non-binary, and Sam Smith credited Tom for helping them understand what it is to be this. We invited Tom into the Beyond...


Syria: why bomb hospitals?

Eight years ago, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began his brutal crackdown on opponents of his regime. Air strikes have long targeted hospitals, and in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib medics are being forced underground to survive. Waad Al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist who lived through this in the city of Aleppo. She filmed what it was like surviving as bombs rained down, living in her husband’s hospital and bringing her daughter, Sama, into a war-torn world. Now, with co-director Ed...


Top Boy: what’s the story behind the comeback?

Six years since it last aired, the TV series Top Boy is back. Although the show, which revolves around an east London estate and the people who live there, is entirely fictional it was lauded for depicting the reality of inner-city life. But even though its second series premiered to critical acclaim, Channel 4 cancelled Top Boy. It was only after an intervention by the Canadian rapper Drake that Netflix decided to bring it back. The creator Ronan Bennett came to the Beyond Today studio to...


Vaping: can it kill you?

Fruit Medley, Cotton Candy and Buttered Popcorn may sound like options on a dessert menu, but they are actually vape flavours. President Trump has just said he wants to ban the sale of all non-tobacco flavoured e-cigarettes in response to an outbreak of a vaping-related illness that has caused the deaths of six people and made 450 ill. We hear from one of them Simah Herman, who shared a photo of herself in a hospital bed as an attempt to warn others of the dangers of vaping. The BBC’s health...


Femicide: is one student’s murder changing South Africa?

On the 24th of August, 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana went missing in Cape Town. She had gone to fetch a parcel at the post office. A week later her body was found. She had been raped and murdered. Her death spurred a movement across the country with thousands of people protesting after the most deadly month for violent crimes against women the country has ever seen. Rebone Masemola is a women’s rights activist in Johannesburg. She talks about the daily struggles of being a woman in South...


The Handmaid’s Tale: could it happen in real life?

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale , originally released in 1985, has become a modern-day phenomenon thanks to the recent TV series and explosion of feminist politics. Its sequel The Testaments was released this week with a Harry Potter-esque book launch on Monday, which saw fans queuing round the corner to get their hands on a copy. We hear from Deborah Frances-White of The Guilty Feminist about how close Margaret Atwood’s story gets to reality. And Marnie Chesterton from...


How does slavery work now?

In July eight people were convicted for their part in Britain’s biggest ever modern slavery prosecution. The gang were part of an organised crime group from Poland which enslaved hundreds of people. The victims were tricked into coming to the UK with the promise of work. When they arrived they were forced into menial labour, had no access to their wages and housed in rat-infested accommodation while the gang made an estimated £2m over five years. We speak to BBC Panorama’s Duncan Staff who...


Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell seems to be everyone’s fantasy dinner guest. Also a contender for America’s greatest intellectual, he’s a Canadian with roots in the UK. The writer and host of the Revisionist History podcast is back with a new book: “Talking to Strangers”. In it he explores what we should know about the people we don’t - and how some of the most infamous cases of recent history stem from people misreading each other. He came to the Beyond Today studio to talk about the importance of slowing...


Brexit: what happens next?

MPs came back from their summer break on Tuesday and it already feels like months ago. A lot of politics has happened since then and what with the betrayals, the tears, and the memes it’s become the biggest reality show since Love Island. It’s difficult to figure out who is really in charge of events at the moment since MPs voted to take over the Brexit process from the Prime Minister. To help us understand what’s happened and to prepare us for what seems like an inevitable general election,...


What’s the problem with only eating chips?

Amid the Brexit chaos, there’s another story that went viral this week. A teenage boy in Bristol has lost his eyesight because of his poor diet. Since leaving primary school, he had been eating only French fries, Pringles and white bread, as well as an occasional slice of ham or a sausage. The story provoked strong opinions about what we should and shouldnt be eating. We speak to author and journalist Eve Simmons about our complicated national relationship with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food. Robbie...


What’s it like to have “gay conversion therapy”?

A recent government survey found that 5% of gay people in the UK had been offered conversion therapy in order to “cure” them, and that 2% had undergone it. It’s a small percentage, but it’s still pretty shocking that the practice happens here at all. For a documentary for Radio 1 and 1Xtra, James Barr and Dan Hudson from the “A Gay and A NonGay” podcast travelled to Northern Ireland to find out more about life for LGBTQ+ people there. As part of the trip James had a taster of what it’s like...


Brexit: are we all radicals now?

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers have a plan for staying in power and getting us out of the EU. They are picking their way through it and today they held a special cabinet meeting to discuss calling an election. Tomorrow, MPs are back in parliament with a chance to stop them taking us out of the EU without any deal. While the politicians figure out their next moves the anger is growing on both sides and, whatever happens over the next two months, there seems no prospect of...


Sara Pascoe: why does gender matter?

Sara Pascoe’s first book explored the anatomy of the female body. Now the comedian has turned her attention to masculinity. Sara came to the Beyond Today studio to talk about her new book, what RuPaul’s Drag Race can teach us about gender roles, whether sex workers should be prescribed on the NHS and why men shouldn’t have to pay the bill on a first date. Producers: Alicia Burrell and Philly Beaumont Mixed by Weidong Lin


Brexit: what just happened?

The prime minister's decision to suspend parliament prompted an angry backlash from MPs and opponents of a no-deal Brexit. It sparked protests across the country, a legal challenge and a petition with – at the time of writing - around one and a half million signatures. The government claims the five-week suspension in September and October will still allow time for MPs to debate Brexit. It’s another of those moments in the Brexit saga, and there seem to have been loads of them, that leaves...


Who does the Amazon belong to?

Wildfires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are burning at a record rate. It’s caused global anger and anxiety with more than three million people sharing the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia. Criticism has been directed at the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for failing to protect the rainforest and rejecting $22 million of aid money. In this episode we look at who has ownership over the Amazon and other places of environmental importance like the Arctic. We speak to Jon Lee Anderson, a journalist...


Will Greta save the planet?

One year ago, a 15-year-old girl from Sweden started protesting outside the Swedish parliament, urging the government to pay attention to the world’s climate crisis. Now Greta Thunberg has become the face of environmental activism. Two weeks ago, when Greta set sail to America on a zero carbon boat, the internet exploded with some fairly vicious commentary. She was called a ‘pig-tailed school drop-out’ and climate change advocates rushed to, sometimes just as viciously, defend her. This week...


Louis Theroux (again)

In this re-release of one of our favourite recent episodes, Tina speaks to filmmaker Louis Theroux. Back in July he came in to tell us about his documentary Surviving America’s Most Hated Family and why, 13 years on, he’s still interested in the Westboro Baptist Church. We also talk to him about nudity, why he’s not into hallucinogenic drug rituals, the problem with no-platforming and how he became the most widely meme-d journalist in Britain.