Mishal Husain introduces dispatches from writers and journalists which reflect the range of contemporary life in the United Kingdom.
Writer and broadcaster, Ian McMillan, embarks on a high summer stroll along the bridle path that links his home with the post-industrial landscape of South Yorkshire, taking in a flattened colliery, a screaming mandrake, Peter Falk, the X19 bus to Barnsley and a magpie - or is it two?
Journalist and part-time canoeist, Bob Walker, embarks on a "Three Men in a Boat"-style progress on the river Wye - which for much of its course marks the border between Wales and England. He quickly finds out that, just as in Jerome K. Jerome's time, there is often ferocious competition among the different users of the water space for access. And money often lies at the heart of the wrangling...
With mental health issues finally commanding more attention at home, work and in society generally, Christine Finn returns to her home town of Deal to discover how those managing conditions are being helped by the use of allotments. Along the way, she realises that old-style denial of mental health problems had gone on much closer to home than she had previously thought.
As the nation's gargantuan appetite for soft fruit reaches its apogee, John Murphy journeys to the poly-tunnels of the garden of England to learn how this demand is satisfied and how berry farmers' costs may yet force radical changes to the way strawberries, raspberries, loganberries - and all the rest - reach our tables. He also hears how the poly-tunnels can be unexpectedly romantic locations.
And Ayo Akinwolere ponders how and when the relationship between fathers and sons alters, their roles invert and how well-prepared both are for the change.
Producer: Simon Coates
A World of Brandished Kippers
Jacob Zuma, the former South African president, has been in the spotlight all week – live on television responding to questions at a judicial inquiry investigating corruption at the highest level. Andrew Harding reflects on truth in the age of brandished kippers.
The town of Kirkenes in northern Norway is a stone’s throw from the border with Russia. It’s now become the focus for a major spy scandal, as Sarah Rainsford has been finding out.
Martin Patience was recently part of a BBC team that received a rare invitation to visit Iran, at a time when relations with Britain are strained. He says he was warmly received, although filming at a pop concert provided a moment of uncertainty.
There’s been a long-running conflict in California over access to the beaches. On one side, the surfers, who need to be able to get to the ocean; on the other the tech millionaires, who’ve been putting up fences to keep people out. Sally Howard says the very soul of the Golden State is at stake.
And Petroc Trelawny has been aboard the QE2 for a trip down memory lane. No longer plying the high seas, she’s moored in Dubai as a floating hotel; bri-nylon and formica among the glass and steel.
Freedom of speech in Algeria
Algerians have been celebrating the fact that their football team has made it to the final of the African Cup of Nations. But in Algeria, football is more than a sport. It was in the country’s stadiums that the desire for political change emerged. The nation’s autocratic leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika was ousted earlier this year and since then people have been getting to grips with new levels of freedom of expresssion, as Neil Kisserli has found.
In the United States President Trump’s tweets about four non-white members of congress have caused uproar among his opponents. Mike Wendling has been to a pro-Trump gathering in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he encountered some unusual supporters of the president: “monarchists”.
Chile is home to one of South America’s fastest growing economies. The agricultural sector plays a significant role, and exports include fruit, wine and fish. Salmon farming has become a big industry, but it can also sometimes be a dangerous one for those who work in it, as Grace Livingstone has learned.
Over the next three decades, New Zealand hopes to rid itself of invasive species. Its Predator 2050 plan aims to eradicate stoats, rats, possums and other pests, in the hope of protecting the country’s indigenous wildlife. As Christine Finn has discovered, the project has garnered wide support.
In China for centuries, the dominance of tea drinking may now be facing a challenge. Many young people are acquiring a taste for coffee, which may partly explain why foreign coffee shop chains have recently opened thousands of branches across the country. Andy Jones has been to Shanghai to hear why coffee may be poised to mount a challenge to tea.
Deadliest Day – a new investigative series from Beyond Today
Claire Read introduces her special series about the impact of one day of the war in Afghanistan on the troops who were there and the families they left behind.
Download the Deadliest Day series from the Beyond Today podcast.
The battle against the gangs of El Salvador
The President of El Salvador is calling on young men to leave the country’s criminal gangs, or perish with them. He said the gangs have terrorised the country for decades, and would be dismantled. Orla Guerin has been to the capital, San Salvador, to see how the gangs menace the city.
Greece has a new Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the centre-right party New Democracy, defeating the socialist Alexis Tsipras. Mark Lowen was based in Athens at the height of the financial crisis, which led to Greece experiencing one of the worst peace-time depressions of the last hundred years. He returned to watch the old conservative party being brought back to power.
Five years ago, Russian-backed forces seized control of the Crimean peninsula. Ash Bhardwaj gained permission to enter Crimea, to find out what’s changed in five year’s of Russian rule.
A hundred years ago, the passing of the Addison Act spurred a huge expansion in council housing across the UK. Austria too has been remembering when it began building social housing around 100 years ago. In Vienna today more than half of its population live in subsidised apartment blocks. Some of these are of vast scale, such as Karl Marx Hof, more than half a mile long. Caroline Davies has been finding out what lessons policy makers can learn from the Viennese approach to housing.
The end of the Cricket World Cup is drawing near, and the final match, between England and New Zealand, will be watched by fans from all over the world. But what would they make of how the game is played in the Trobiand Islands, located off the coast of Papua New Guinea? The people there have a passion for cricket that borders on the extreme, as Mark Stratton has discovered.
Presenter: Kate Adie
Producer: Neil Koenig