In January 2006, London was entranced by the appearance of a large bottlenose whale in the Thames – the first such sighting for more than a century. Large crowds gathered to watch the whale swimming in front of the Houses of Parliament and many of the city’s most famous landmarks. But the whale’s health began to deteriorate and a team of specialist divers were called in to try – unsuccessfully – to save its life. Simon Watts talks to Mark Stevens, the man who organised the rescue attempt.
PHOTO: The Thames Whale (Getty Images)
Strikers In Saris
In 1976 South Asian women workers who had made Britain their home, led a strike against poor working conditions in a British factory. Lakshmi Patel was one of the South Asian women who picketed the Grunwick film-processing factory in north London for two years, defying the stereotype of submissive South Asian women. They gained the support of tens of thousands of trade unionists along the way. Lakshmi talks to Farhana Haider about how the strike was a defining moment for race relations in the UK in the 1970s.
(Photo: Jayaben Desai, leader of the Grunwick strike committee holding placard 1977 Credit: Getty images)
Mexico's Miracle Water
Thousands of people flocked to the village of Tlacote in central Mexico in 1991. They were hoping to be cured by 'magical' water after rumours spread that it had healing powers. Maria Elena Navas has been speaking to Edmundo Gonzalez Llaca who was an official in the local environment ministry in 1991 and who was sent to Tlacote to check out what all the fuss was about.
Photo: Hands under a stream of water (Getty Images)
Judy Garland's Final Shows
Judy Garland ended her long and glitzy stage and screen career at a London theatre club in January 1969. She was booked for five weeks of nightly shows at the 'Talk of the Town', but by that time, the former child star of the 'Wizard of Oz' was struggling with a drug and drink addiction. Mike Lanchin has been hearing the memories of Rosalyn Wilder, then a young production assistant, whose job was to try to get Judy Garland on stage each night.
Photo: Judy Garland on stage in London, December 1968 (Larry Ellis/Express/Getty Images)
'Fat is a Feminist Issue'
Susie Orbach's best-selling book Fat is a Feminist Issue led many in the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s to rethink body-image from a feminist perspective. Millions of people have read the book, which is still in print four decades later. Susie Orbach explained to Rebecca Kesby how she came up with the idea, and why she is devastated that it is still selling copies.
(Photo: Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue. Credit: Getty Images)