Witness

The story of our times told by the people who were there.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t1hd

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      The Siege of Mecca


      In 1979 Islamic militants seized control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam. Hundreds were killed as Saudi security forces battled for two weeks to retake the shrine. The militants were ultra-conservative Sunni Muslims who believed that the Mahdi, the prophesied Redeemer, had emerged and was a member of their group. The BBC's Eli Melki spoke to eyewitnesses who were inside the Grand Mosque during the siege. Photo: Fighting at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after militants...


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      9m
       

      Botswana's Diamonds


      Manfred Marx was the man who discovered the diamonds which transformed Botswana's economy. As a young geologist in 1967 his find in the Kalahari desert completely changed the country's fortunes after independence. Photo: Uncut diamonds. (Credit Getty Images)


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      The 'Disappeared' of Lebanon


      Thousands of people went missing during Lebanon's long and brutal civil war. But in 1982 a group of women started an organisation to try to track down their family members. Nidale Abou Mrad has been speaking to Wadad Halawani whose husband was taken from their home by two gunmen and never came back. Photo: West Beirut under shellfire in 1982.(Credit:Domnique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)


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      The Windmill Theatre


      A British national institution closed in October 1964. The Windmill Theatre had been one of the few places where it was possible to see naked women on stage, due to a loophole in the censorship laws. Lucy Burns speaks to former Windmill Girl Jill Millard Shapiro about her memories of performing at the theatre. Picture:


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      The British Love Affair with Curry


      Curry first became popular in the UK in the 1950s with the arrival of immigrants from South Asia. They introduced spicy food to the British diet. Nina Robinson has been speaking to Nurjuman Khan, an early pioneer of the Indian restaurant business in the English Midlands. His story also forms part of the 'Knights of the Raj' exhibition in Birmingham by Soul City Arts. Photo: A youthful Nurjuman Khan (Credit: Nurjuman Khan)


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      9m
       

      The Exploding Whale


      A dead sperm whale washed up on a beach in Florence, Oregon in November 1970. It was so big that the authorities decided to blow it up - with disastrous consequences. Years later, a local news report about the story resurfaced in the early days of the internet, and became one of the most famous viral videos ever. Lucy Burns speaks to Paul Linnman, the reporter behind the story. Picture: a sperm whale washed ashore in Skegness, England in January 2016 (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


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      World War One: Ordinary Lives


      Remarkable recordings from the BBC archive of two people who felt the cost of war first-hand. Their experiences were tragically common, but for many years, were rarely recorded or voiced in public You'll hear from a German soldier, Stefan Westmann, who tried to come to terms with the act of killing. And the story of Katie Morter, a British civilian from Manchester, and the man she loved, Percy. Photo: Katie Morter (BBC)


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      9m
       

      Laika the Space Dog


      The Russian street dog was the first living creature to orbit the Earth. She was sent into space in November 1957. She died after orbiting the Earth four times. Professor Victor Yazdovsky was nine years old when his father brought Laika back from the laboratory to play with him. He has been speaking to Olga Smirnova for Witness. Photo: Laika the dog. Credit: Keystone/Hulton/Getty Images.


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      8m
       

      The Russian Revolution: The Bolsheviks Take Control


      On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik revolutionaries overthrew the provisional government set up in Russia after the fall of the Tsar earlier that year, and created the world's first communist state - a state that would become the Soviet Union. Louise Hidalgo has been listening back to eye-witness accounts of that tumultuous time. (Photo: Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin addressing crowds in the capital Petrograd during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


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      9m
       

      Osama Bin Laden's Last Interview


      Days before Kabul fell to anti-Taliban forces in November 2001, Osama bin Laden met Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir in a secret location before going into hiding. It would be 10 years before he was discovered and killed in Pakistan. Hamid Mir tells Rebecca Kesby about their last conversation and how they were both nearly killed in an airstrike. (PHOTO: Osama bin Laden (left) with Pakistani Journalist Hamid Mir (right) at an undisclosed location. Credit Getty Images)


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      9m