Inside North Korea

Inside North Korea

A BBC Radio Documentary Collection
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Summary

A compelling collection of programmes exploring one of the world's most repressive and dangerous nations

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a highly secretive totalitarian state - and one that poses an increasing threat to the West due to its rapidly expanding nuclear weapons programme. This unique 3-part collection takes an in-depth look at the country, encompassing its history, the human stories behind the regime, and its possible future.

Part 1: Inside North Korea examines the politics, economy and leadership of this isolated nation. The Real Story: How dangerous is North Korea? discusses whether the country's increasing military belligerence rules out any hope for engagement with the rest of the world, while The Inquiry: Is North Korea broke? investigates how the state makes its money, from coffee shops to counterfeiting. And in two illuminating Profile programmes, David Torrance and Becky Milligan scrutinize the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, and his sister and closest confidant Kim Yo-jong.

In Part 2: The People, North Koreans and Westerners recount their experiences. Assignment: Escape from North Korea talks to the forgotten survivors who made it across Asia's iron curtain, while The Documentary Podcast: North Korea's celebrity defectors discovers how these escapees have become a valuable commodity in South Korea. Seven fascinating Outlook documentaries focus on the extraordinary stories of ordinary individuals, including a defector interrogated for playing Western music; a young man who led a street gang; a female soldier; an author who befriended dictator Kim Il-sung; a former spy; a woman who fled North Koreat twice - and another who claims her defection was a terrible mistake. Trending: North Korea's YouTube Stars looks at the vloggers uploading footage from inside the hermit kingdom, and in an episode of HARDtalk, American missionary Kenneth Bae tells of his arrest and imprisonment in a Pyongyang labour camp.

Part 3: Looking Forward asks, what next for North Korea? Three engrossing episodes of The Inquiry delve into the regime's missile capability and its global repercussions; reveal the conversations inside the war rooms; and consider whether China may hold the key to getting North Korea to step back from its nuclear ambitions. Finally, A Korean Thaw revisits the 2018 Winter Olympics, when North and South Korea competed under a single banner, and poses the question, could sports diplomacy stop a war in the peninsula?

Cast and credits
The Real Story: How dangerous is North Korea?
Presented by Ritula Shah. First broadcast BBC Radio World Service, 16 October 2020
The Inquiry: Is North Korea Broke?
Presented by Celia Hatton. First broadcast BBC Radio World Service, 24 May 2018
Profile: Kim Jong-un
Presented by David Torrance. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 14 April 2012
Profile: Kim Yo-jong
Presented by Becky Milligan. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 2 May 2020
Assignment: Escape from North Korea
Presented by Chris Gunness. First broadcast BBC World Service, 14 May 2003
The Documentary: North Korea's celebrity defectors
Presented by Jonathan Griffin and Natalia Zuo. First broadcast BBC Radio World Service, 26 March 2020
Outlook: I fled North Korea for playing the wrong song
Presented by Rajan Datar. First broadcast BBC World Service, 26 March 2020
Outlook: I led a street gang in North Korea
Presented by Matthew Bannister. First broadcast BBC World Service, 13 October 2016
Outlook: A Woman Inside North Korea's Army
Presented by Matthew Bannister. First broadcast BBC World Service, 28 September 2017
Outlook: My Time with North Korea's Dictator
Presented by Matthew Bannister. First broadcast BBC World Service, 4 April 2018
Outlook: I Spied for North Korea
Presented by Lucy Ash. First broadcast BBC World Service, 21 October 2013
Outlook: Escaping North Korea Twice
Presented by Jo Fidgen. First broadcast BBC World Service, 5 March 2018
Outlook: I Want to Go Back to North Korea
Presented by Matthew Bannister. First broadcast BBC World Service, 30 September 2015
Trending: North Korea's YouTube stars
Presented by Jonathan Griffin. First broadcast BBC World Service, 6 April 2018
HARDtalk: Former North Korea Detainee - Kenneth Bae
Presented by Stephen Sackur. First broadcast BBC World Service, 28 August 2017
The Inquiry: North Korea Deep Dive
Presented by Ruth Alexander. First broadcast BBC World Service, 22 December 2017
The Inquiry: What Would War with North Korea Look Like?
Presented by Neal Razzell. First broadcast BBC World Service, 27 July 2017
The Inquiry: Can China Solve the North Korea Problem?
Presented by Neal Razzell. First broadcast BBC World Service, 21 September 2017
A Korean Thaw
Presented by Jean Lee. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 12 February 2018
©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the authors

Becky Milligan

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David Torrance

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Sara Jane Hall

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