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Programs BBC Docs & Specials

Each month, the BBC World Service offers new documentaries and specials selected specifically for U.S. audiences, with in-depth, relevant reporting. Typically one-hour, or two half-hours on a similar topic, they offer great content for any time of day, and satisfy audiences' needs for deeper narratives and more reflective listening.

Monthly offerings are available via ContentDepot, complete with promos and billboards. Click on individual titles to visit and subscribe to unique ContentDepot pages, where you can access programs as air windows open.

Air Windows: The BBC World Service has blanket contractual arrangements in place, typically offering a seven-day rebroadcasting window for non-news programs. If you would like to request an air window extension, please contact your Station Relations Representative. Extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis and may be granted subject to rights.

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Media Front
September 4–October 15
Two one-hour episodes

Episode one: September 4–October 15
Episode two: September 18–October 15

In India, the Philippines, Ukraine and the U.S., Andrea Catherwood investigates the new world in which media and journalism must work, the challenges to independent journalism around the world, and how journalists are adapting to a new future.

October 3–November 13
Two one-hour episodes

Episode one: October 3–November 13
Episode two: October 17–November 13

Set in Holland, Zimbabwe, India and Scotland, and building on J.M. Coetzee's story The Lives of Animals (1999), this series explores attitudes to non-human animals at a point in history when it is more important than ever to consider the human impact on the natural world.

Cuba's Digital Revolution
October 13 - 19
One hour

This program explores how people are using the internet in Cuba, one of the most censored countries in the world, and how the government is reacting to it.

In some ways, the online debate has mirrored the country's existing system. Among the new Twitter users are supporters of the regime who are using the government's favorite hashtag #SomosContinuidad (We are for continuity). Others, who call for change and see the government a dictatorship, organize under the hashtag #AldeaTwitter (Twitter village) and are among some of the savviest social media users in the world.

October 20 - 31
One hour

In 1979 a young girl named Melissa Rich asked her mother Lois why there were no female trading cards. So Lois decided to produce her own set called "SuperSisters", 72 trading cards highlighting inspirational women, many of whom were athletes and on whose shoulders today's female sport stars stand.

Forty years later we reunite Melissa, Lois and some of the SuperSisters together for a discussion based on the cards, and the importance and establishment of icons in women's sports, in front of a live audience at the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York.

Rocking the Stasi
November 2 – December 13
One hour

Did music help to end the Berlin Wall conflict? For the first time, we hear recordings of secret meetings in which Stasi chief Erich Mielke discussed the threat of punk and heavy metal. Against the backdrop of a stellar soundtrack, we hear from those who organized secret and illegal concerts in East Germany and from a former member of the Stasi who tried to stop them. Chris Bowlby uncovers this fascinating aspect of Cold War history.

World Questions: Houston
November 9 – December 6
One hour

As the United States of America starts to gear up for the 2020 Presidential election, World Questions goes to the city of Houston for a Texan perspective on some of the great issues convulsing the nation. Jonny Dymond and a panel of Republicans and Democrats debate questions raised by the audience on impeachment, immigration, the economy and President Trump's wall.

My Perfect City: Oslo
November 17 – 23
One hour

Oslo is now the fastest-growing major city in all of Europe. Its growth is attributed to high birth rates and migration. Oslo is keenly aware that as the city expands, it is important to do so in a sustainable way.

As a result, they have made a commitment to reduce carbon use and emissions as they grow, which some would say is an impossible challenge. The My Perfect Country team – including Fi Glover, Dr Ellie Cosgrave and Professor Greg Clark –  will assess whether Oslo's plans will work and if they can avoid urban pitfalls that may lead to segregation and inequality.

The Arts Hour on Tour: Sao Paulo
November 23 – 29
One hour

BBC presenter Nikki Bedi is at Teatro Gamaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she will be joined on stage by the leading lights of the city's arts and cultural scene for an evening of entertainment including live stand-up comedy and music from the  hottest local bands.

Visit BBC Partners for detailed program descriptions, new program rundowns, content downloads, and more.

Program image use

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