Newsletter October Newsletter

Worth Watching

Life and Death Row

This 20-episode BBC documentary series tells the story of capital punishment through the eyes of young people whose lives have been shaped or ended by it in the USA. Covering the crimes committed, experiences of family and community violence, and long legal battles, the series shows how youngsters on death row live each day as it comes, never quite knowing which will be their last. Some have profound learning difficulties and severe mental health challenges, yet they have been sentenced to death. The individual stories are deeply moving, the moral battles played out in court-rooms disturbing, the clamour for execution from some parties intensely worrying. There are no winners in some of these stories, but they certainly make us question countries’ execution policies. Watch at

World War II – Behind Closed Doors

This six-part BBC documentary is the story of Stalin’s meetings with Churchill and Roosevelt and their enormous impact on World War II and post-war Europe. It shows how Stalin struck deals with Hitler, as well as Churchill and Roosevelt, enabling him to take over much of eastern Europe. With access to new material only available following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the series challenges what we think we know about history, demonstrating how close the war was to favouring the Axis if the Soviet Union had joined forces with Hitler. With the benefit of this hindsight, the background to the war today in Ukraine becomes so much clearer. Watch at The series is also available on DVD.

Escape from Kabul Airport

This BBC documentary focuses on the evacuation of American and ‘at risk’ Afghans in August 2021. After the Taliban’s arrival in Kabul on the 15th, what was expected to be an orderly process became a scene of panic and desperation with thousands of Afghans trying to leave and eventually over-running the airfield. Hitherto unseen footage, mainly from phone videos, shows children being separated from parents, people being trampled, CS gas and rubber bullets being fired into the crowd. There are interviews with US military personnel, the Taliban and Afghans, including women. Incredibly, 124,000 people were successfully evacuated. Watch at

Channel Crisis: Can People Smuggling be Stopped

This Panorama investigation asks whether the government’s plans to ‘break the business model of people smuggling’ by sending refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda is likely to work. It includes interviews with a people smuggler, asylum seekers, a local MP, a lawyer and a representative of the UN Refugee Agency, plus footage from Istanbul (the apparent people-smuggling capital of the world with c. 10mn asylum seekers living there) and Calais. Thirty thousand asylum seekers have crossed the Channel so far this year, but only a few hundred can be sent to Rwanda. These statistics alone seem to answer the question. Watch at