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BBC World Service - Documentary Archive

The Documentary Podcast

Download the latest documentaries investigating global developments, issues and affairs.

The Documentary Podcast

  • Only bleeding: How Swedes opened up about periods
    “It’s alright (I’m only bleeding)”. In 2017, these words were emblazoned on the Stockholm subway or tunnelbana, alongside a giant poster of an ice-skater with a red-stained crotch. The deliberately provocative image was the work of Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist, who was on a mission to destigmatise periods. But even in one of the most feminist countries in the world, showing images of menstrual blood in a public space offended many, and triggered a national debate. Stockholm-based broadcaster Maddy Savage meets the artist, and discovers some of the taboo-busting initiatives in culture, business and education that have ridden on the coat-tails of her impact.

  • Poison: Jacob Zuma's toxic obsession
    Jacob Zuma, South Africa's former president, believes the world is out to poison him. He has claimed that the CIA, MI6, local traitors, and perhaps even one of his wives, have tried to kill him. No wonder he has ordered toxicologists to test everything he eats. But is Zuma the victim of an elaborate international conspiracy that has its roots in the Cold War and South Africa’s liberation struggle? Or is he simply trying to distract attention from a mountain of corruption allegations?

  • Understanding Iran: Reconciling religion and democracy
    Anu Anand talks to Rana Rahimpour about how decades of turbulence have shaped Iran, and why religion, democracy and ideals all combine to explain Iran today.

  • Coronavirus: Omicron
    At this time of the year, many people traditionally begin to think about coming together for gatherings of family and friends to celebrate events such as Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. But for millions of people, their festive plans are in upheaval after the World Health Organisation identified Omicron "a ‘variant of concern" resulting in travel bans and restrictions across a number of countries. The WHO has since told nations they must prepare for coronavirus surges linked to Omicron.

  • America’s abortion divide
    The US Supreme Court has heard arguments in the most important abortion case in a generation. It is the biggest challenge to a 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationally, and could change reproductive rights in the country. Ros Atkins looks at the abortion debate in the US and asks why this case is happening now.