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Podcast Witness

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  • The man who lived in an airport
    In 1988, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, from Iran, flew into Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris intending to transfer onto a flight to London. But he wasn’t allowed to board, as he didn’t have a passport. Caught in diplomatic limbo, he ended up staying at the airport for 18 years. Rachel Naylor speaks to his biographer, Andrew Donkin, who spent nearly three weeks with him at his ‘home’, in the departures lounge of Terminal 1. (Photo: Mehran Karimi Nasseri on his red bench at the airport in 2004. Credit: Eric Fougere via Getty Images)
  • DDLJ: India’s longest running movie
    In 1995, Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released to critical acclaim. It premiered at the Maratha Mandir cinema in Mumbai. It's been screened there every day since then for the past 27 years, stopping only briefly because of the Covid pandemic, and has become the longest-running film in Indian cinema history. Actress Kajol starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan; following its release, they became superstars overnight. Kajol, who played Simran in the film, spoke to Reena Stanton-Sharma about her memories of shooting the iconic movie. (Photo: Kajol (r) in Hindi film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Credit: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Alcatraz: The strangest escape
    In June 1962 three prisoners escaped from the maximum security US jail on the island of Alcatraz. They achieved this using a homemade raft, papier-mâché and... spoons. In 2013, Ashley Byrne spoke to Jolene Babyak who was living on the island at the time. A Made in Manchester production for BBC World Service. (Picture: Alcatraz. Credit: Getty Images)
  • Kieu Chinh: A real Hollywood story
    In 1974, legendary Vietnamese actress Kieu Chinh found herself on a farm in Canada cleaning up after chicken. She had narrowly escaped the fall of Saigon and a jail sentence in Singapore but Kieu was determined to get back to doing what she loved... making movies. How would she do it? Well, it involved Hollywood stars Burt Reynolds, William Holden and Tippi Hedren! Kieu tells Anoushka Mutanda-Dougherty of her cinematic survival. (Picture: Kieu Chinh and Tippi Hedren. Credit: Getty Images)
  • Iraq War: US security guards killed my son
    It has been 20 years since the start of the Iraq War. On 16 September 2007, private security guards employed by the American firm Blackwater opened fire on civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed, and another 20 injured. The Blackwater guards, who were escorting a convoy from the American embassy, claimed that they had come under attack from insurgents, but eye-witnesses and Iraqi officials quickly dismissed that version of events. Mohammed Kinani's nine year old son, Ali, was one of the victims. In this programme, first broadcast in 2020, Mohammed shares his story with Mike Lanchin. (Photo: An Iraqi looks at a burnt car on the site where Blackwater guards opened fire on civilians in Baghdad. Credit: Ali Yussef/AFP via Getty Images)

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