A meditation on the events of one night in Saigon over 50 years ago and the aftershocks that are felt still - most strongly in the hearts of a 17 year old schoolboy in London and his American-born mother.
During the evening of March 31st, 1966, an Army Captain billeted in the Victoria Hotel, Saigon recorded a tape to send back to his wife Susie and his three young children in Seattle. David Davies had been in-country for seven months and was counting down each day until he could return home. While he recorded, the Overture to West Side Story started to play on the radio, with Davies singing along to Somewhere (There's a Place For Us).
In London, early in 2020, a London schoolboy is working on an essay project about the factors that shaped US policy in Vietnam. Aged 17, Charlie has inherited a family connection to the war - his grandfather's medals, including his Purple Heart. David Davies was killed in a bomb explosion shortly after finishing his tape-letter and retiring to bed - but ripples from that explosion play out over the decades through Captain Davies' daughter, Tricia, and her young son Charlie, who embark on a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington DC.
Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
The Science of Dad
Whilst most men become fathers, and men make up roughly half the parental population, the vast majority of scientific research has focused on the mother.
But studies have started to reveal the impact of fatherhood on both dads themselves and on their children. We're seeing how fathers play a crucial role in children's behaviour, happiness, and even cognitive skills.
Oscar Duke, a doctor, new dad and author of How To Be A Dad, discovers how pregnancy, birth and childcare affect the father, bringing about profound physiological and hormonal changes. Only 5% of mammal fathers invest in their offspring, and human males have evolved to undergo key changes when their children are born.
Involved fathers can expect their levels of the 'love hormone' oxytocin to rise, nature's way of helping parents bond with their children. At birth, a dad's testosterone levels dramatically fall, increasing affection and responsiveness, and discouraging polygamy.
With more fathers taking on a hands-on role in bringing up their children, how can these new discoveries about the science of dad help support them, and inform social and healthcare policies?
Presented by Dr Oscar Duke and produced by Melanie Brown and Cathy Edwards
The Californian Century: A Twist of Fate
Stanley Tucci continues his history of California with the story of Silicon Valley's troubled founder, William Shockley.
Shockley was the man who first brought silicon to Silicon Valley in the 1950s. He was an undoubted genius. But he was also a hideous boss and an irredeemable racist.
California wants to dazzle you with its endless sunshine and visions of the future – but that’s just a mirage. Stanley Tucci plays a hard-boiled screenwriter uncovering the full, sordid truth. He knows exactly where all the bodies are buried.
Academic consultant: Dr Ian Scott, University of Manchester
Written and produced by Laurence Grissell
The Ugly Truth
The value society places on physical appearance has never quite made sense to blind presenter Lyndall Bywater and yet she's intrigued to discover why it matters so much to those of us in the sighted world. How much of an advantage is it to be beautiful? And what is physical beauty anyway?
We've heard about the gender bias, the age bias, and the racial bias but few people talk about the beauty bias and yet it's one of the very first judgements we make when we meet someone. In this programme Lyndall explores this invisible force that controls how we behave - and reveals that when it comes to physical beauty, we all unconsciously discriminate.
Producer: Sarah Shebbeare
Researcher: Robbie Wojciechowski
Universal Basic Income: Alaska Style
There is growing interest in the idea of giving every member of society a Basic Income, as a way of tackling extreme poverty and the loss of jobs caused by automation.
Pilot projects have been seen across the world - from India to Finland and Namibia to Canada - and there is talk of a one possibly happening here in the UK, in the city of Hull.
So, attention is being paid to the Alaskan model. The Arctic American state has been paying out an annual dividend to every one of its permanent residents - man, woman and child - for almost 40 years. They don’t have to do anything to get the money, and they can use it in any way they like.
The money comes from the state’s Permanent Fund, which invests a substantial share of the profits of oil production for the benefit of all its citizens. As a result of this dividend, arguably a form of Basic Income, its supporters say Alaska is the least unequal state in the whole USA.
But in the last three years, Alaskan politics has been dominated by an unresolved crisis. The State government has been trying to use money earmarked for the dividend for other purposes, and many claim that this is illegal.
Mark Whitaker reports from Alaska on a unique scheme, explaining its history and discovering why it has become so controversial.
A Square Dog Radio production for BBC Radio 4.