World Service

Why do we still use the Qwerty keyboard layout and not Dvorak?

4 May 2019 9:00 am

‘Can you fly down this evening?’ she was asked by her boss in the Delhi office of the BBC. ‘Yes,…

Is the increasing secularisation of funerals a good thing?

23 March 2019 9:00 am

‘You’re thinking these girls all wrong,’ Miss Mai tells Enid in Winsome Pinnock’s play Leave Taking, adapted from the recent…

Yemen's capital Sana'a after another airstrike, where Aziz H's award-winning new play is set. Photo: Mohammed Huwais / AFP

Why the BBC International Playwriting Competition really matters

26 January 2019 9:00 am

We don’t know whether ‘Aziz H’ listened to radio plays as he grew up in Yemen. In fact we don’t…

Henry Williamson and Charles Carrington, two of the soldiers featured in Radio 4's Voices of the First World War

When the first world war ended, many soldiers were left with ‘a terrible empty feeling’

10 November 2018 9:00 am

‘It was so unreal,’ said one of the first world war veterans about the long-awaited Armistice. It was the most…

When haddocks flirt, they sound like a motorbike revving up

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Flies buzzing, strange rustling, crunching sounds, and then the most chilling screech you’ll have heard all week. Vultures were feeding…

A warning to those who argue that we live in a visual society

7 July 2018 9:00 am

‘Can one person really grasp the significance of what another person has been through?’ asks Dr Rita Charon in this…

BBC Arabic’s version of Woman’s Hour is rather different to Radio 4’s

10 February 2018 9:00 am

When the BBC’s Arabic-language network went out on air for the first time 80 years ago, on 3 January 1938,…

Why talking about death is a essential part of living

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Mandy was 38 when she was told she was ‘in the end stage’, suffering from COPD and finding it more…

In praise of Radio 2

23 September 2017 9:00 am

‘You can’t lie… on radio,’ says Liza Tarbuck. The Radio 2 DJ was being interviewed for the network’s birthday portrait,…

Reviving the death mask

16 September 2017 9:00 am

The inimitably pukka voice of Jacob Rees-Mogg echoed through Radio 4 on Thursday morning. He was not, though, talking about…

Will Radio 3’s bold new season find new listeners – or alienate their core audience?

9 September 2017 9:00 am

As Classic FM celebrated its quarter-century on Wednesday with not a recording but a live broadcast of a concert from…

How Scott Walker created music out of a dead pig

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Summer nights, hot and humid, mean just one thing — it’s Proms season again. Sore feet, sweaty armpits, queuing outside…

I wish radio was more like I remember it as a child

24 June 2017 9:00 am

This week’s column is dedicated to my mother who loved her radio and encouraged us to be listeners. Without her,…

The country full of teenagers

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Imagine living in a country where the average age is under 16 (in the UK it’s currently 40 and increasing)…

Knowledge, experience, taste, are not enough to make a great radio DJ

25 February 2017 9:00 am

This weekend Brian Matthew will present his last-ever Sounds of the 60s show on Radio 2. Now 88, he’s been…

How singing helped the people of Aberfan overcome a tragedy

22 October 2016 9:00 am

‘I went in at seven and came out aged 22,’ said Brian as he looked back on the day in…

What it was really like to be at the 1966 World Cup

30 July 2016 9:00 am

It cost just £4/10s for 19-year-old Alan Dryland to buy a season ticket that would take him inside the stadium…

The World Service programme that gave birth to ‘soft’ journalism

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Fifty years ago on Monday the World Service programme Outlook was launched as an innovative news and current affairs programme…

Radio 4's bold challenge to government policy

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Monday’s ‘World on the Move Day’ on Radio 4 was a bold challenge to government policy and proof that radio…

Might Eurovision determine the outcome of the EU referendum?

14 May 2016 9:00 am

You might not think that the Eurovision Song Contest (screened live from Stockholm tonight) could have any connection with how…

Devastation after the collapse of the Twin Towers (Photo: Getty)

How trauma is passed down through the generations in our DNA

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Sue Armstrong’s programme on Radio 4 All in the Womb (produced by Ruth Evans) should be required listening for anyone…

Could radio save Syria?

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Could radio, and in particular a weekly soap, have a role to play in the Syrian crisis? You might think,…

Why the World Service is worth every penny

5 March 2016 9:00 am

What makes the World Service so different from the rest of the BBC? I asked Mary Hockaday, the controller of…

Could a change of body language make a difference to American policing?

9 January 2016 9:00 am

One of the most shocking items of recent news has been the bald statistic that the number of people shot…

A gripping Start the Week from a Paris on the edge

21 November 2015 9:00 am

It was as if Andrew Marr and his guests on Start the Week on Monday morning were standing on the…