True life stories. Join Matthew Bannister, Monday to Thursday. Includes our daily history programme Witness. Or join us for the best of Outlook on Saturdays.

True life stories. Join Matthew Bannister, Monday to Thursday. Includes our daily history programme Witness. Or join us for the best of Outlook on Saturdays.
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True life stories. Join Matthew Bannister, Monday to Thursday. Includes our daily history programme Witness. Or join us for the best of Outlook on Saturdays.






BBC World Service Bush House Strand London WC2B 4PH


Being the Mother of a Sociopath

11 years ago Charity Lee's four-year-old daughter was murdered by her teenage son Paris, who was later described by doctors as a sociopath. Paris won't leave prison until he's in his 50s, but Charity has stayed in contact, balancing her fear of him with an unconditional love. Image: Paris with his arm around his sister Ella looking at the sea Credit: Charity Lee


Life Without a Womb

British woman Tasha Bishop was born without a womb meaning she would never have a period, would never be able to carry her own children and having sex would be difficult. She was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome and struggled to come to terms with her condition. However, she decided to turn her experiences into something positive by launching a business called ‘The Pants Project’ that uses underwear to empower women. Image: Tasha Bishop Credit: Natassja Thomson


The Elephant Whisperer of Thailand

Lek Chailert spent her childhood in a small hill village in northern Thailand, where she lived surrounded by animals. She's since become an activist working to improve the welfare of working elephants, some of which are trained using cruel methods. She's raising the profile of her work with a new documentary, made with the help of Hollywood star Ashley Bell. Being a fisherman can be a very dangerous profession. If you’re lucky, you live somewhere that has organisations who will help if you...


How I Grew Up in a Cave

Christina Rickardsson grew up in extreme poverty in Brazil. From hunting animals for food while living in a cave to being part of a tragic incident on the streets of Sao Paolo, her early life was fraught with pain. After being adopted by a family in Sweden, Christina has had to come to terms with her two contrasting identities. Image: Christina Rickardsson Credit: Dan Jama


The Transy Book Heist

In 2004, American college students Spencer Reinhard and Warren Lipka - along with two other friends - hatched an elaborate and oddball scheme to steal some of the world’s rarest and most valuable books. Inspired by Hollywood heist thrillers and a desperate urge to escape their mundane suburban lives, they disguised themselves as old men and prepared to inflitrate the treasured archive of their university library. However, everything that could go wrong, did. And what started as an exciting...


Dream Holiday that Ended in Tragedy

In 1977 Chris Farmer and his partner Peta Frampton set off to travel around the world. They sent regular letters to their family back home. But one day the letters stopped. Chris' sister Penny spent almost 40 years trying to find out what happened to them. Image: (L) Peta Frampton and (R) Chris Farmer Credit: Courtesy of Penny Farmer


From a Remote Jungle Tribe to LA

When he had to flee his isolated community in Vietnam, Rich ended up in the big city. He tells Matthew Bannister about discovering the Backstreet Boys and meeting his wife. (Image courtesy of Rich and Faith.)


Travelling Home Next to My Coffin

Ugandan celebrity Moses Supercharger was so ill due to HIV, his family was convinced he would die. He was put on a pickup truck that was travelling to his home village for burial. How he survived and continued singing. (Image courtesy of Moses Supercharger.)


Sex Trafficked by My Friend

Grizelda Grootboom is an activist fighting to end sexual exploitation and trafficking in South Africa. Her determination comes from her personal story. When she was 18 years old, she experienced horrifying abuse on the streets of Johannesburg. Grizelda told Outlook her remarkable story of survival. (Photo credit: Equality Now Tara Carey.)


The woman who woke up in the future

In 2008, Naomi Jacobs went to bed as a 32-year-old woman. When she woke the following morning, her world had changed. Overnight, her memories had gone. She didn't recognise her home, or her life. Instead, she believed she was a teenage schoolgirl living in 1992. And she was utterly bewildered by how she had ended up in the future. Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Maryam Maruf Image: Silhouetted woman opening curtains in the morning Credit: p saranya/Getty Images


Uncovering My Father’s Hidden Past

Louisa Deasey is a writer and journalist based in Melbourne. She is the youngest of three siblings and she was only 7 years old when her dad, Denison Deasey, died of cancer. He had separated from Louisa's mum and was considered the black sheep of the family. As she grew up, Louisa didn't know much about him. But then, decades later, a complete stranger from Paris got in touch and started Louisa on an emotional journey of discovery. Louisa wrote a book about her experiences called "A letter...


Looking for Vietnam's Fallen Soldiers

In 1967 Bob Connor, a sergeant with the U.S. Air Force, flew out to Vietnam to join the many American soldiers based there. He saw action in some of the most challenging battles of the war. 50 years later, back in the US, Bob's granddaughter asked him to help her with a school history project... Image: Veteran Bob Connor (second from left) standing on the site where hundreds of Vietcong were buried in 1968 Credit: Martin Strones


Going Undercover for My Son

Doreen Giuliano is a New York mother who went to staggering lengths to try to get her son out of jail. Her story involves a false identity, hot pants, and an operation she called The Sting. The crime that started it all happened in October 2003. A 19-year-old college football star called Mark Fisher was found shot dead on a street in Brooklyn early one morning. He had been at a party nearby hosted by 20-year-old John Giuca - who was arrested, along with a teenage friend, Antonio Russo. Both...


Running for My Life and My People

Julius Achon’s talent for running took him from a poverty-stricken village in Uganda to the Olympics. But his life changed when he found a group of children sleeping under a bus while out running. Image: crossing the finishing line Credit: nico_blue/Getty Images


From Prison Kitchen to Celebrity Chef

Jeff Henderson, also known as Chef Jeff, is something of a culinary pioneer. He was the first African American Chef de Cuisine at the swanky Las Vegas restaurant Caesar's Palace, he's starred in a cookery TV show and he's a best selling author. But unlike his fellow chefs, Jeff learnt to cook in a prison kitchen, when he was serving a sentence for drug dealing. Image: Chef Jeff Credit: David Becker Stringer/Getty Images


Soni Sori – India’s fearless tribal leader

The famous novelist and social activist Arundhati Roy has said of Soni Sori: "she is absolutely extraordinary, fearless and tremendously articulate. She speaks up for those who are being crushed." But tribal activist Soni hadn't intended to become a public figure. In the early 2000s, she was living a quiet life with her family in Bastar, a district in the Central Indian state of Chattisgargh - but when her husband was arrested and imprisoned, everything changed. (Photo credit: Saikat...


'I Remember when I was a Newborn'

Australian Rebecca Sharrock can remember everything she's ever said, done or felt. She’s one of just 60 or so people in the world who’ve been diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, or HSAM. Her condition’s been verified by researchers at the University of California Irvine. Not only can Rebecca recall what she was doing on any particular day, the memory is so strong that it’s like she’s there in that moment all over again. So does she think of her memory as a blessing or a...


First he gave his liver, then his heart

Heather Krueger was dying of liver disease when a stranger overheard her cousin talking about her condition. The stranger was Chris Dempsey and he asked if he could help out. He ended up donating 55% of his liver and saved her life. But their relationship didn’t end after the surgery...as they told Jo Fidgen. Image: Heather Krueger and Chris Dempsey. Courtesy of Heather Krueger.


Saving Lives on Chicago's South Side

Chicago’s South Side has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the US, and to make matters worse, gunshot victims often have to travel miles to get life-saving medical treatment. Local doctor Abdullah Pratt was determined to change that. Reporter: Daniel Gross Producer: Maryam Maruf Image: Abdullah Pratt Credit: Courtesy of Abdullah Pratt


Guatemala's Accidental Revolutionary

Lucia Mendizabal became an accidental revolutionary when her social media complaint about a corruption scandal in Guatemala helped to spark huge protests. Image: Protesters demand the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez, May 2015 Credit: Johan Ordonez/ AFP/Getty Images