How did an estimated 900 million people come to witness Her Majesty the Queen apparently parachuting from a helicopter with James Bond? Frank Cottrell-Boyce who wrote the scene for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games explains how it came about. Josephine McDermott hears how corgis, a clothes line and the Queen’s dresser all played important parts.
Despite facing malnutrition, starvation and disease, Christopher John Huckstep’s father set up a school in the Japanese internment camp where his family was sent in 1943. Herbert Huckstep ensured the 350 children of Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre were taught a wide range of subjects using brown paper bags to write on. The school was called Lunghwa Academy and it had its own badge, motto and certificates. A syllabus was followed, exams were taken and there were even evening classes for adults.
To mark the 90th anniversary of the BBC World Service, we trace the development of the Caribbean Service.
Its beginnings go back to the early 1940s when the BBC’s first black producer, Una Marson was employed. She created Caribbean Voices, which gave future Nobel laureates such as Derek Walcott their first international platform.
In 1969, one of the UK’s best known newsreaders, Sir Trevor McDonald, left Trinidad to join the BBC Caribbean Service as a producer. He reflects on its legacy.
Over the last 50 years an estimated 46 million girls have been aborted in India.
The cultural preference for boys and the development of pre-natal sex determination tests like ultrasound in the 1980s, meant an increase in the number of girls being aborted.
Activist Manisha Gupte describes how she campaigned, as part of the feminist movement, against sex-selective abortion – including the use of sit-ins and rallies – eventually raising enough awareness to bring about a national law in 1994 – the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act.
When drug kingpin Pablo Escobar died in 1993 having built a billion dollar cocaine empire, he left behind a zoo. While his rhinos, giraffes, elephants and kangaroos were re-housed, the hippos were left in Escobar’s abandoned ranch in the Colombian countryside.
In 2007 they started turning up 100 kilometres away, frightening fishermen. Vet Carlos Valderrama was called in to tackle the problem. He describes to Josephine McDermott his experience of the first ever castration of a hippo in the wild.
In 1937, Japanese forces entered Shanghai – spelling the end of a period when the Chinese city had been a thriving commercial centre governed by international powers and known as the “Paris of the East”. Under the Japanese occupation, local people in Shanghai endured starvation and brutal treatment; while foreigners scrambled to escape as their lifestyle of servants and glamourous parties slowly disappeared. Josephine McDermott speaks to Liliane Willens, who lived through the Japanese invasion and occupation.
In the 1980s, the minority Uyghur community in China staged some of the first protests against the all-powerful Communist Party. The Uyghurs were demanding that the Chinese government keep its promises to protect their culture and grant them political autonomy in Xinjiang region. In 1989, many Uyghur students enthusiastically supported the pro-democracy demonstrations centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. One of them was Aziz Isa Elkun, who talks to Josephine McDermott.