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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.




What’s wrong with ayahuasca tourism?

The psychedelic powers of a traditional Amazonian plant medicine called ayahuasca are attracting more and more tourists. It’s becoming big business in countries such as Peru where backpackers and travellers, as well as rich Silicon Valley types are spending weeks and sometimes thousands of dollars to drink an indigenous cocktail. It makes them vomit and hallucinate, but is said to bring spiritual enlightenment and help with addiction, depression and trauma. But a string of allegations...


Can a new leader save Labour?

It was a pretty grim general election for Labour last year. As a result Jeremy Corbyn announced he would be stepping down. There are now just four MPs in the running to replace him: Jess Phillips dropped out while we were making this episode. The ultimate task of any leader of the opposition is to get their party back into power. In this episode Bex Bailey, a producer from the BBC’s politics team, profiles the contenders. We also hear from The Times columnist Rachel Sylvester about where...


Is Blue Monday bad for our mental health?

Blue Monday is supposedly the saddest day of the year. 15 years ago that idea was debunked, yet every year in the UK #bluemonday trends on Twitter and the internet is flooded with deals for holidays, ‘wellness’ deals and products offering to boost our mood. In this episode we look at the discomfort around brands adopting mental health awareness as part of their marketing strategy with psychiatry researcher Melisa Kose. We unpack the mythical origins of the Blue Monday with the BBC’s head of...


What’s left out of Sex Education?

Sex Education, the delightfully uncensored drama about the life of a sex therapist’s awkward teenage son, has landed on Netflix for its second series. Last season the show racked up 40 million views in the first month after release. Why? Perhaps because it tackles all the topics adults and teenagers alike have been too embarrassed to discuss. From chlamydia in the eye, to excessive masturbation, it isn’t afraid to go there. Its stars, Otis, Eric and Ola, played by Asa Butterfield, Trish...


What happened when Iran fired back?

After the US killed one of Iran’s senior generals in a drone strike some people were worried we were on the brink of World War 3. Iran threatened revenge, and fired on a US air base in Iraq. But in doing so it made a colossal mistake, downing a commercial aircraft and killing the 176 passengers and crew on board. The BBC’s Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville, who has just returned from the Al Asad air base in Iraq, and the BBC Persian Service’s Rana Rahimpour join us to explain how...


How do they really decide an Oscar?

This year's Oscar nominations have reignited the row about representation in Hollywood. 19 of the 20 acting nominees this year are white - the highest number since the #OscarsSoWhite outcries of 2015 and 2016. No women have been nominated for best director. That means that over the past 10 years, 49 out of the 50 best director nominees have been men. That's despite huge support for Greta Gerwig for her adaptation of Little Women. Are the Academy Awards changing fast enough? In this episode...


Could AI do your job?

Over the past decade a tension has emerged between Big Tech’s utopian vision of an AI future and the reality that many jobs are being threatened by data-driven automation. Many of us may suspect that artificial intelligence is going to transform the world of work, but exactly how isn’t always clear. The economist Daniel Susskind has written a book called ‘A World Without Work’ which considers how technology is shaping the economy. He spoke to Tina Daheley about how we overestimate our own...


How did Britain’s worst serial rapist get away with it?

This month Reynhard Sinaga was found guilty of drugging, raping and sexually assaulting 48 men. The judge told the 36-year-old student from Indonesia that he will “never be safe to be released”. Sinaga targeted young men on nights out in Manchester and lured them back to his flat where he would spike their drinks with GHB, a date rape drug, filming the attacks on his phone. Sinaga was offending for over two years before he was caught. Many of his victims were unaware they had been raped...


Should doctors tell you how to live?

We know that the NHS is under immense pressure, especially this time of year when it’s at its busiest. But January is also the month of resolutions, often health-focused ones such as giving up booze and getting fit. Even though these easily-adopted behaviours help to keep us away from the doctor, sticking to them can be difficult. Dr Rangan Chatterjee might have the solution. He is a GP, author of the new book ‘Feel Better in 5’, and he presents the most popular health podcast on iTunes. We...


Harry and Meghan: can you quit the royals?

Yesterday Prince Harry and Meghan announced they will be stepping back from their roles as senior royals. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their announcement on Instagram, stating that they plan to split their time between the UK and North America and want to become financially independent. Their decision has come as a bit of a shock, not least to the Queen, who apparently wasn’t consulted before their statement was made. We speak to Jonny Dymond, the BBC’s royal correspondent, who...


Ayia Napa: how can she be guilty?

A British teenager has been given a four-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of lying about gang-rape in Cyprus. The 19-year-old was convicted following a trial after recanting a claim that she was raped in a hotel room in July. The woman has said Cypriot police made her falsely confess to lying about the incident at a hotel - something police have denied. Human rights groups and lawyers say she’s been failed by the Cypriot legal system. Some of the men and boys she first...


Iran: how bad is it?

Millions of Iranians have flocked to the funeral of their top commander who was killed in a US drone strike at the weekend. The killing of Qasem Soleimani has raised fears of a conflict between the US and Iran and the hashtag World War Three has been trending. We speak to the BBC’s Rana Rahimpour who covers Iran for the Persian Service. We also caught up with the BBC’s Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen in the region who told us about the wider implications. Presenter: Matthew Price Producers:...


Australian fires: who is to blame?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that the devastating bushfires raging in the country might go on for months. At least 26 people have died since the fires began in September. Air quality in the capital Canberra was, this weekend, rated the worst in the world. In this episode Beyond Today producer Heidi Pett tells us the personal cost of the fires in Merimbula, a coastal town in New South Wales. We also speak to climate scientist Michael Mann who explains how a specific...


2010s: how did they sound?

We listen in on the big moments, memes, and the music that defined a decade: from the Arab Spring to Greta via the Olympics. The rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the memes they have generated - from Kim Kardashian to #MeToo, via the Peru Two – it’s all in there. Let us know what you think and what we missed #BeyondToday Producer: Seren Jones Mixed by Nicolas Raufast Editor: John Shields


Putin: man of the millennium?

In 2000 a relatively unknown man called Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia. While his European and American counterparts have come and gone, Putin has stayed in the Kremlin for the past 20 years. In this episode we speak to Vitaly Shevchenko from the BBC Russian Monitoring Service to find out how Putin came to power and how he has kept it. We also talk to Maria Korienko and Katherine Zeveleva from the BBC’s bureau in Moscow to find out what life is like for young Russians who have grown...


Raheem Sterling: is he the next Beckham?

Raheem Sterling is one of the best footballers in the world. But 2019 has proved that he’s even more than that, becoming a key voice in the fight against racism in football. With deals with big brands like Nike and H&M, his reputation is expanding beyond football. We speak to one of Raheem Sterling’s former coaches, Steve Gallen, who tells us what makes him tick, and to Danny Rogers from PR Week, who explains what Sterling needs to do to make the jump from sporting superstar to global icon....


Did Trump kill the Kurdish dream?

The Kurds are an ethnic group living in the north of Syria and in neighbouring Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Since the conflict in Syria started almost nine years ago they’ve been fighting to establish their own state in northern Syria. The US allied with the Kurds to defeat ISIS and supported the Kurdish cause. That was until President Trump announced he was pulling US troops out of Syria leaving the Kurds exposed to the threat of the Turkish army, the Kurds’ political enemy. In this episode we...


Amazon: is there any escape?

It’s hard to escape Amazon at Christmas. Even if you haven’t been using them for last minute shopping you will most likely have interacted with the company in some other way. Amazon Web Services is now the most valuable part of the business, and whether you know it or not, you probably used it. In this episode, we speak to two people who have been tracking Amazon’s relentless growth: Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, and Alan Selby, a Sunday Mirror...


Tory win: why are you surprised?

It was a result not many people predicted: the Conservatives won their largest majority since 1987, and Labour lost seats in its northern heartlands, despite social media suggesting there would be a ‘youthquake’ at the polls. There was also an array of bizarre moments from the TV coverage. So, what exactly happened last night? In this episode BBC 5 Live’s Scott Bryan takes us through the TV highs and lows of the night. We also speak to Marianna Spring and Joey D’Urso from BBC Trending, who...


Hannah Fry: how scary are algorithms really?

The mathematician Dr Hannah Fry is on a mission to improve the PR of maths. Hannah presents radio and TV shows on how maths runs the world, how data underpins everything we do, and on Boxing Day she’s giving the prestigious Royal Institution’s Christmas Lecture on the hidden secrets of maths. Hannah has also written a book about the inner workings of algorithms, and she came into the Beyond Today studio to talk the power of maths and how algorithms can help us live better. Presenter: Matthew...