Seriously is home to the world’s best audio documentaries and podcast recommendations, and host Vanessa Kisuule brings you two fascinating new episodes every we... Ver más
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The Boy in the Peking Hotel
When 8 year old Kim Gordon set off for China in 1965, it set in train a tale of passion, imagination and still unanswered questions. Kim’s parents were committed communists in the thick of Mao’s cultural revolution.
Kim became a Red Guard, one of an army of children and teenagers marshalled in support of Mao and he had a ringside view of the vast rallies in Tiananmen Square. But when the political tide turned against foreigners, the family was imprisoned for two years in a tiny hotel room, Room 421.
The Gordon family had no contact with the outside world for two years and their families back in Britain had no idea where they were. With only a block of paper and a wild imagination for company Kim passed the time by writing letters that could never be sent, and thrilling plays which he’d act aloud playing all the parts himself. His story reveals much about families and loyalties; on the grip of ideology; and the ingenuity of a child shut in an empty room.
A rich and strange reminiscence not just of China but of the human heart. Charlie Brand plays young Kim in this dramatic, intimate documentary.
Producer: Monica Whitlock
Photo by Eric Gordon.
'Kim Gordon in Peking, 1966'
Does the Irish Republic Want Reunification?
25 years since the people of both Northern Ireland and the Republic voted to accept the Good Friday Agreement, another potential referendum looms on the distant horizon. That Agreement, though primarily to end the violence of the Troubles, allows for a future border poll that would determine whether Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom, or re-joined the south. But crucially, few people realise that it’s not just up to Northern Ireland voters: consent is required on both sides of the border. And for voters in the Republic, it’s more complicated than you might think.
Andrea Catherwood investigates what the new, highly-educated, liberal, European-focused Irish Republic thinks about the possibility of its northern neighbours, from whom they were parted more than 100 years ago, re-joining their country. Polls suggest a number of issues; symbols, violence, economics. Can Ireland afford it, and does it want to? Is it just too much trouble?
With contributions from the main Irish political parties, as well as economist David McWilliams and Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy, the assumption of a yes vote from the republic isn’t as straightforward as many assume.
Presented by Andrea Catherwood
Produced by Sarah McGlinchey
Executive Editor Andy Martin
A BBC NI production for BBC Radio 4
Supersenses - Episode 1
We've been building computers to think like us for years, but our ability to replicate human senses has been impossible. Until now. This technological revolution is starting to profoundly change not only how we interact with the world around us, but is allowing us to see, hear, smell, taste and even touch things we never imagined possible before.
An Artificial Intelligence revolution is super-charging sensing technology, promising us eyes with laser precision, ears that can distinguish every sound in a mile's radius and noses than can sniff out the early signs of forest fires before the first flame forms.
Evolutionary biologist and broadcaster Prof. Ben Garrod, is off to meet some of these sensory innovators and technological pioneers. The archaeologists, ecologists and medics, who are turning our world upside down and inside out.
In episode one, Ben tries seeing further. The visible world to us is tiny, and we are able to detect just a fraction of the light spectrum that is out there. But new technology is pushing the boundary of what is visible. Ground penetrating LIDAR arrays are helping us to peel back the layers of planet Earth, and see the remains of ancient civilisations, previously invisible to us. The same technology is being used on the moons of Jupiter to provide 3D maps of the craters of faraway worlds. In the forests of west Africa, we meet the psychologists using infrared to monitor the stress levels of silverback gorillas being returned to the wild. And in a lab in central London, we meet the extraordinary animals that see hidden patterns in the natural world and perhaps even fields that are entirely invisible to us.
Could these new technologies be redefining what it is to see, hear, smell, and feel? Ben takes us through the amazing adaptations and development under the bonnet, and speculates where else these all seeing eyes may yet gaze.
Produced by Robbie Wojciechowski
Presented by Professor Ben Garrod
Is Psychiatry Working? - Anxiety Special
In a special episode to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, writer Horatio Clare and psychiatrist Femi Oyebode consider the purpose of anxiety, and how it can manifest in different ways. They look at where it comes from, and hear from firefighter Jonny about his journey with panic attacks and his techniques for coping with them.
Buying a British Dad
You can buy almost everything on social media – how about a British dad for your child? A year long BBC investigation has uncovered a brazen illegal immigration scam in which pregnant migrant women who are in the UK without a visa are paying British men thousands of pounds to pose as fathers to their children.
The women gain British citizenship for their child, which means they may be able to get the right to remain themselves. The fake fathers receive hefty sums of money. And a network of criminal 'fixers' and translators are also cashing in.
Divya Talwar reports.