A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.

A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.
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A rich selection of documentaries aimed at relentlessly curious minds. Presented by Ashley John-Baptiste, this twice weekly podcast replaces the Radio 4 Documentary of the Week.




Martin Morales' Peruvian Road Trip

Peruvian-born chef and record producer Martin Morales heads back to his homeland to explore the inherent link between food and music in Andean culture. For the first part of his trip, Martin is accompanied by his 10 year old son and budding radio producer Felix, 8 year old daughter Tilly and his wife Lucy. He shows them round his family's favourite haunts - from the famous La Chomba restaurant in Cusco where musicians queue up to serenade the diners, to the tiny village of Lamay where they...

Duration: 00:32:01

Who's Looking At You?

Once upon a time, total surveillance was the province of George Orwell and totalitarian states, but we now live in a world where oceans of data are gathered from us every day by the wondrous digital devices we have admitted to our homes and that we carry with us everywhere. At the same time, our governments want us to let them follow everything we do to root out evil before it can strike. If you have nothing to hide, do you really have nothing to fear? In Who's Looking At You , novelist...

Duration: 00:58:57

Dads and Daughters

The relationship between fathers and daughters has been the subject of countless cultural explorations down the centuries, from Elektra's distress to Bonjour Tristesse. Some of them are idealised ('To Kill A Mockingbird', 'All the Lights We Cannot See'); some highly damaging and dysfunctional ('This is England', 'The Beggar's Opera'); some, as any A'Level pupil who's studied 'King Lear' can attest, are both. What is clear in all these cases is just how particular and powerful the...

Duration: 00:31:11

It's Just a Joke, Comrade: 100 Years of Russian Satire

The Russian Revolution unleashed a brand of humour that continues to this day. In this two-part series, comedian and Russophile Viv Groskop explores a century of revolutionary comedy and asks how it continues to shape the national psyche. The series will rediscover comedy of the Revolution: Bolshevik satire, early Communist cartoons and jokes about Lenin, as writers, satirists and comedians recall the jokes and cartoons shared by their parents and grandparents. Viv will investigate the...

Duration: 00:30:22

Hull 2017: The Spirit of Hessle Road

Hessle road is an infamous working class district in Hull. But to those who live and work there, it's much more than that - it's a place of character, community but also hardship. This montage documentary pieces together the ghosts of Hessle Road's past through some of its most colourful characters. It's a collection of moving, funny tales over a bed of traditional folk music from the beating heart of Hull, crowned as City of Culture 2017. Hull's heritage is anchored in the sea. Its...

Duration: 00:30:55

Passing Dreams

A portrait of singer, songwriter and truck driver Will Beeley. The myth of the road is deeply rooted in America - it's the thing that delivers escape, promises freedom, fuels new hopes and, once upon a time at least, thoughts of a new nation. And it provides its own opening onto the vastness and variety of the country today. The distances can be dizzying. And these days Will Beeley spends more time on the road than he does at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city in the desert, with...

Duration: 00:30:27

My Muse: Lynne Truss on Joni Mitchell

Not everyone appreciates the tonalities, lyrics or even the shrieky voice of Canadian artist and musician Joni Mitchell but in a dusty class room in 1971 Lynne Truss decided she loved the writer of Woodstock, Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now. It was a bond forged in the face of the frosty indifference of fellow pupils in Miss Cheverton's music class at the Tiffin Girls School in Kingston Upon Thames. Even Lynne is slightly mystified when she was asked who was her muse that, as a person...

Duration: 00:29:43

Art in Miniature

Tiny bathers relax in a puddle of oily water on a pavement; a galleon sails on the head of a pin, a dancer twirls next to a mote of dust under a microscope - Dr Lance Dann, lover of miniature worlds, crouches down on hands and knees to better observe the world of tiny art. Prompted by advances in technology, and the enduring wonder of things created on a really, really tiny scale, Lance Dann follows his own obsession with the miracle of miniature art. Knocking on the tiny doors of creators...

Duration: 00:31:03

My Secret Wig

Lots of people wear wigs, and go to great lengths to keep them secret - but why? Perhaps it's because the hair on top of our heads means so much to us. It's a crucial part of our identity, the person we see when we look in the mirror, so what happens when it's not there? It's a question Brian Kernohan has asked himself. Yes, his hair's thinning a bit on top, but it's his secret - until his hairdresser points it out. Brian wouldn't dare suggest a wig - even though he's always wondered if he...

Duration: 00:30:05


With more than 30 million presentations being given around the world every day, PowerPoint has become the single most ubiquitous tool for presenting ideas. Yet it's the software many of us love to hate - vilified for simplifying the complex and complicating the simple. 30 years on from its commercial launch, Ian Sansom asks, 'What's the real point of PowerPoint?' as he embarks on what surely must be a world first - a PowerPoint presentation for the radio. How do I move this on to the next...

Duration: 00:31:58

Queens of Chapeltown

After the violence directed at black people in Nottingham and Notting Hill in the 1950s, and the naked racism expressed in Smethwick during the 1964 general election, a group of pioneering West Indians came up with a simple and defiant riposte: Carnival. In Queens of Chapeltown, Colin Grant goes behind the scenes of Carnival to its Leeds West Indian HQ in Chapeltown - amidst the glue guns, sequins and feathers - to capture that moment of extraordinary transformation, 50 years on: the birth...

Duration: 00:29:56

Diana: A Life Backwards

Marking the 20th anniversary of her untimely death, Archive on 4 presents a unique and moving portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales - her life documented in reverse chronology. Diana, Princess of Wales was arguably the most famous - and most photographed - woman in the world. Her life has been exhaustively discussed and disassembled in the media both before and since her untimely death on 31st August 1997. As the anniversary of that tragic event approaches, is there anything truly new for...

Duration: 00:58:48

The Edge of Life

Suicide is the number one killer of men under-50 in England and Wales. A 'zero suicide' approach to prevention first devised in Detroit is now changing attitudes to care in the UK. Merseyside is leading the way. Radio 4 gains exclusive access to a healthcare authority being transformed from the inside-out in a bid to treat suicide as a preventable condition and to bring lives lost down to 0% by 2020.

Duration: 00:39:01

Grayson Perry: En Garde

Grayson Perry goes backwards in the archive in search of the moment the avant-garde died. It's a century since Marcel Duchamp submitted his artwork called Fountain to an exhibition staged by the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Fountain was a urinal -- not a painting of a urinal or a sculpture, just a urinal, bought from a Manhattan hardware store and signed R.Mutt. The Society of Independent Artists rejected Duchamp's provocation and the original object was lost. Nowadays...

Duration: 00:59:33

Driving Bill Drummond

Bill Drummond is many things. As well as an artist, a writer and former pop-star - he's the owner of an old curfew tower in Northern Ireland which he runs as an artists' residency. Last year some poets from Belfast's Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry stayed there and Bill published their collected work in a little black book called The Curfew Tower is Many Things. Except for a poem the award-winning Belfast poet Stephen Sexton wrote. Apparently that one went missing. So Bill has left two...

Duration: 00:30:45

A Brief History of the Truth

It's time to travel down the rabbit hole of truth as American satirist Joe Queenan explores a murky world of fake news, prejudice and alternative facts. "Recent politics have shown that the truth is no fun," he explains. "It's like a vegetable your mother makes you eat. Yes it may be nourishing, but it tastes terrible." With archive contributions from Donald Trump, Doris Lessing, Jeremy Corbyn, Peter Mandelson and Theresa May; plus new interviews with Mark Borkowski, Edith Hall and Julian...

Duration: 00:59:14

The Pigeon Whistles

The sound of music flying through the air, carried on the tails of pigeons. "I knew it was a noise maker, but it was the only thing in the museum that I had no idea what it might sound like. Because it works in a way no other instrument does. No other instrument physically moves around you in space, flying overhead, and that seemed like magic". Inspired by the Chinese pigeon whistles in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Nathaniel Robin Mann decided he wanted to revive the ancient art of...

Duration: 00:30:01

And Then There Were Nun

What is life like for nuns and monks today? With a lack of new blood coming into the traditional monasteries and convents, Bishop Martin Shaw supports some of these aging communities in their painful final days as they are forced to leave their homes. His role as an official visitor, is also to receive the vows of any new nuns and monks joining religious orders, and to hear the concerns and complaints from each community. Sister Giovanna, Sister Clare and Brother Samuel, who are all from...

Duration: 00:30:28

999 - Which Service Do You Require?

999 was the first emergency telephone number in the world when it was launched on June 30th, 1937. Within the first week, more than a thousand calls were made to the service with one burglar arrested less than five minutes after a member of the public had dialled 999. Impressive stuff. But there were teething problems... In the early days, only those wealthy enough to own a telephone could hope to avail of the service. Exchange room operators complained of stress caused by the raucous...

Duration: 00:58:23

Port Talbot Paradiso

Actor Michael Sheen explores the history of Port Talbot's Plaza Cinema. A beautiful art-deco building , first opening in 1940, the Plaza was the heart of cinema entertainment for the people of Port Talbot for decades - a place where Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins watched everyone from George Formby to Bogart and Cagney and where, growing up in Port Talbot in the 1970s and 80s, Michael Sheen had his early encounters with the film industry in which he would thrive. But as well as...

Duration: 00:31:01

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