South

South

On 13th January 2016 I’m due to fly from London to Cape Town, alongside a BBC TV crew and BBC presenter Peter Gibbs. There we’ll join the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton, for a two-week voyage south across 2,500 miles of the roughest seas in the world, to reach the British Antarctic research station Halley in the…

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Naked diplomacy – digital in Beirut

Naked diplomacy – digital in Beirut

I was lucky to visit Beirut recently to make a documentary for BBC World Service radio about the remarkable outgoing British Ambassador, Tom Fletcher. You can listen to it here, or alternatively, download it as an MP3 podcast here (or via iTunes here). I wrote an accompanying piece for the BBC News website – click here to read it. Full…

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BBC Front Row on Theeb

BBC Front Row on Theeb

After a few tweets and a bit of pestering, I was lucky enough to be invited by presenter Samira Ahmed onto Front Row, the main daily arts programme on BBC Radio 4 in the UK, to talk about Theeb, a new and – in my entirely humble opinion – brilliant film by Jordanian director Naji…

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BBC stories: hot (Doha) and cold (Antarctica)

BBC stories: hot (Doha) and cold (Antarctica)

A couple of my stories went out on the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent programme this summer. First – a hot place. My story from Doha looked at how sudden extreme wealth hasn’t necessarily been a wholly positive experience for Qatar and Qataris. Radio 4 audio here starts 17’27” (a slightly edited version went out on World Service…

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Sandhurst and the Sheikhs

Sandhurst and the Sheikhs

THE CHASE: My half-hour documentary for BBC Radio 4 on Britain’s contradictory military relationship with allies in the Gulf was broadcast August 27th, 2014. Full audio here or here, related article here.   BACKSTORY: On March 5th last year, 2013, while discussing possible ideas for the BBC Radio 4 commissioning round, I sent an independent production company,…

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A historic flight along the Nile

Late last year, I was tweeting with Tom Fletcher, Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon – that’s the great thing about Twitter, it’s such a leveller: anyone can tweet with anyone. He mentioned in passing that his great-grandfather took part in the first-ever aeroplane flight along the River Nile, exactly one hundred years ago. That sounded like…

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BBC World News interview

Last night I was on BBC World News and BBC4 in the UK, interviewed by Philippa Thomas on the aftermath of the Luxor balloon disaster and its immediate impact on the Egyptian tourism industry. Video here and below:

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BBC Wild Arabia

BBC Wild Arabia

After the epic that was David Attenborough’s Africa series, which ran on BBC TV in the UK recently, their next big nature extravaganza is Wild Arabia – due later this month on BBC2 in the UK (episode 1 airs 9pm on 22nd Feb, I believe). The three-part series was filmed over almost two years in…

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“Of course the government is reading my tweets”

“Of course the government is reading my tweets”

My latest for the BBC radio programme From Our Own Correspondent, from Oman, looking at issues of protest, self-censorship and social media. Audio here (my bit begins around 11’25”). Transcript as BBC news feature here. I woke to the roar of total silence. Issa, an Omani bedouin of the Al-Maashani tribe, made tea as the…

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A Wadi Runs Through It

A Wadi Runs Through It

Late in 2010, a US magazine editor gave me a tip about an environmental scheme in the Saudi capital Riyadh that was up for a major international prize, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. They were keen for me to do a story. The scheme – which has transformed Riyadh’s main Wadi Hanifah watercourse from…

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Tracks of my tears

Tracks of my tears

I couldn’t resist the headline, sorry – even though I’m not crying and it means I’ve had two consecutive posts headlined with ‘tears’. Thrilled and delighted this weekend to have another piece on BBC radio’s From Our Own Correspondent, after ones earlier this year on Saudi Arabia and Cairo. This time I’m talking about Jerusalem’s…

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Still not a correspondent

Still not a correspondent

If I was chuffed a fortnight ago to have my radio piece from Cairo aired on From Our Own Correspondent on BBC World Service, I’m even more chuffed today to have a follow-up piece aired so soon – and this time on the BBC’s domestic Radio 4 network as well. For my schizophrenic tale from…

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From (Not) Our Own Correspondent

From (Not) Our Own Correspondent

Very chuffed today to have a piece from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the BBC World Service radio programme From Our Own Correspondent – click on this link to hear it. The piece as aired was edited slightly and cut down to fit the running time. Here’s the original, as submitted. My favourite Cairo graffito of the…

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Top Gear, sour grapes

Top Gear, sour grapes

It was last January – Jan 2010, that is – when I first heard that a BBC researcher from Top Gear was interested in having a chat with me about a Christmas special they were planning, where the three presenters – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – would drive across the Middle East….

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Journalist as communicator

Journalist as communicator

Acknowledgement for a worthy award-winner. Yesterday Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, was presented with the Charles Wheeler Award 2010 for achievements in broadcast journalism. Amid the screech of grinding axes that characterises much coverage of events in the Middle East, Jeremy Bowen has, to my mind, always maintained a calm, old-school approach to reporting –…

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Excess Baggage

Excess Baggage

Chuffed and delighted to have been invited to appear as a studio guest on this week’s Excess Baggage, the Saturday-morning travel show on BBC radio’s speech network Radio 4 – recorded, thankfully, instead of going out live, as it usually does. All rather nerve-wracking, but I was on to talk about the plans for rail in the…

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Frankincense Trail: travel notes

Frankincense Trail: travel notes

I blogged in detail here about Episode One of the BBC’s travelogue The Frankincense Trail, where Kate Humble travels across the Middle East. Episode Two was, I thought, much better – an absorbing (and probably unique) hour of prime-time terrestrial TV devoted to showcasing Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination. There was, fortunately, much less…

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Frankincense and camel-jumping

Frankincense and camel-jumping

I settled in last night to watch the BBC’s new travel series The Frankincense Trail, in which presenter Kate Humble lugs a sack of frankincense fresh from the tree in Dhofar, southern Oman, all the way along the ancient trade routes across Arabia to the Mediterranean port of Gaza (or tries to). I had high…

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Congrats Aleem!

Congrats Aleem!

Just wanted to acknowledge the fact – a few weeks late, sorry – that BBC journalist Aleem Maqbool won the Gaby Rado Memorial Award at the 2009 Amnesty International Media Awards last month, for his reporting from Gaza after taking over the BBC’s bureau there following Alan Johnston’s kidnap. I was going to link to…

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