Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Outlook: inspiring stories

One of my favourite programmes on BBC Radio is Outlook, which comprises human interest stories from around the globe: glimpses into the inconspicuous lives of people who are far away from media glitter and spotlight. Most of the episodes are unsung inspirational true stories; tales of fight against adversity and hardship.

Outlook has been running for 52 years, since its first broadcast on July 4, 1966. I began listening to it around 1980, when John Tidmarsh and Colin Hamilton were the presenters. John was the more famous of the two. I used to particularly like the programme when John was the presenter, because of his characteristically pleasing voice and modulation. John presented Outlook continuously for more than 30 years, until he retired in 1998, after his 70th birthday. He is now close to 90 years.

The one-hour programme was aired at 7.30 pm, immediately after the 1400 GMT news bulletin. I used to be a regular listener until I left Kerala. After that, professional commitments made me an irregular radio listener, except for news.

Now that I have rediscovered the radio (via the phone and laptop), on almost all days I listen to Outlook at 8.30 am. The presenters are mostly Mathew Bannister or Jo Fidgen.

One of the episodes on yesterday's programme was about John Corcoran, who had a very peculiar problem: he was unable to read and write. But kept that a secret, and amazingly managed to graduate and even become a high school teacher.

Another episode was about Amit Madheshiya, who has been tracking the 'cinema travellers' in India, who go to remote villages showing movies to the people there. His documentary by that name, traces the impact of modern technology.

On the 50th anniversary of the programme, BBC announced the Outlook Inspirations, 50 amazing stories of unsung heros chosen by the listeners. Three of them, chosen by a panel of judges, receive the Outlook Inspiration Awards. This year's nominations just closed. The list will be announced in May. Read about it here.

Kudos to the BBC for putting together such heartwarming stories of ordinary people from around the world, everyday. It is a great programme. You can listen to it either live or recorded on the BBC Outlook website. Or you can download the BBC iPlayer app, for iOS or Android.

The iPlayer app has all the BBC stations, so go to the World Service. I usually listen to Outlook at 8.30 am. It is broadcast at other times too. Or you can listen to the podcast.

Happy listening!

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018.")

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