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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.

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Coming soon to ContentDepot, complete with promos and billboards:

Me, the Refugee
May 18-August 10, 2019
One hour

Reporter Sahar Zand became an Iranian refugee at the age of 12. It was a devastating experience for Sahar, her sister and her mother, who had to leave after her father got into political trouble with the regime – and who had to fend for themselves as they sought a new life.

From months of limbo in a Danish refugee center, to days on the run across Europe, to life in the United Kingdom, Sahar explores the complex roles, deceptions and sacrifices she and her female family members experienced during those often desperate days.

Amar: Alone in the World?
May 25-August 17, 2019
One hour

After a bombing in Iraq, an "orphaned" Amar is taken to the U.K. His mother Zahra survives, and her search begins.

One day, clutching a picture of her missing boy, she interrupts a live TV report to share her story, which generates appeals on social media and a message to Amar, who is living alone, unemployed, in South West England.

BBC News Correspondent Jon Kay joins Zahra and Amar as they search for the truth – and discover if they are really the missing mother/son they've each yearned for over three decades.

Remembering Afghanistan's Elvis
June 16-22
One hour

With his dark shock of hair, sultry voice and overwhelming stage presence, Ahmad Zahir more than earned the nickname 'The Afghan Elvis.' He remains Afghanistan's most beloved musician, even though he died in 1979 after a short, dazzling career. Monica Whitlock hears how a new generation of musicians interpret some of Zahir's classics.

The Evidence: Vaccination
June 19-July 16
One hour

Vaccination is considered one of the 20th century's biggest public health successes. But in Western Europe, Japan, Kenya and Indonesia, concerns about vaccines have resulted in outbreaks of disease. The Evidence debates new research which reveals global attitudes to vaccination.
The program looks at the factors which influence vaccine hesitancy and examines the attitudes in different countries that impact vaccination rates, including new data from the Wellcome Global Monitor, which gives a snapshot on whether people think vaccines are safe and effective. Shaimaa Khalil explores the past and future of vaccination around the world.

The Arts Hour on Tour in Nashville, Tennessee
June 23-29
One hour

Across the American Heartland, the songs played on country radio stations reflect the stories the country is telling itself. But with controversy over songs like Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" and Kacey Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow," what songs can be sung and broadcast?

Nikki Bedi is joined live on stage by top artists and high-profile figures from the local scene to explore what 'country music' really means in Nashville right now.

The Engineers: Space Flight Engineering
July 13–August 9
One hour

From liftoff to landing, rapid innovations are radically changing what's possible and bringing us much closer to outer space.

Presenter Kevin Fong is joined by three of the world's greatest space flight engineers – Adam Steltzner of NASA, Anuradha TK of ISRO and David Parker of ESA – to discuss space travel with a large public audience at Imperial College in London.

13 Minutes to the Moon: Live from Houston
July 20-26
One hour

On July 20, 1969, billions of people watched or listened as Mission Control in Houston approved the final phase of America's first Moon landing. In the 13 minutes before touchdown, two astronauts aboard a spacecraft named the Eagle descended 50,000 feet to the lunar surface – the culmination of eight turbulent years of breakneck scientific and technological development, historic firsts in spaceflight and a devastating accident.

Fifty years to the day, the series finale of BBC World Service's 13 Minutes to the Moon podcast will mark that historic event with a panel discussion recorded in front of an audience at Rice University in Houston.

Music to Land on the Moon By
July 21-27
One hour

Beatriz De La Pava charts mankind's journey to the Moon, and space travel more generally, via the lyrics of popular songs. She explores Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" (1954) – which uses faraway and barely imaginable planets as the epitome of romantic love – to the exploration of Mars, a new reality reflected in contemporary music.

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