BBC Radio 4 launches major new podcast Mayday: Investigating The Life & Death Of James Le Mesurier


BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 is releasing a major new podcast and radio series exploring the true story behind the man who organised the Syrian White Helmets.
Part of the Intrigue strand and building on the success of The Ratline and Tunnel 29, Mayday will launch on 9 November as a 10-part podcast series on BBC Sounds and with 15 episodes on BBC Radio 4 at 1.45pm.

On 11 November 2019 James Le Mesurier was found dead in a street in Istanbul. He was the latest casualty in a very unusual war – one fought not on the battlefield, but online.

Le Mesurier was a mysterious figure with a taste for the finer things who served in the British Army in several of the world’s hotspots before focusing his energies on war-ravaged Syria from 2014. He co-founded the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defence force who filmed themselves pulling survivors and bodies from the rubble of bombed out buildings.

Soon, the White Helmets - and Le Mesurier - found themselves at the centre of a global race to control the narrative in the Syrian War. Presenter Chloe Hadjimatheou talks to the people who knew James, including his widow Emma, his ex-wife and former army colleagues, as well as those on the ground in Syria still working as White Helmets today in an effort to piece together James’ story and that of the White Helmets. She speaks to some of the White Helmet’s detractors and follows up accusations about the organisation to try and understand the truth surrounding them.

Chloe Hadjimatheou says: “Making this series has been an extraordinary experience, as listeners will discover. It started out being an investigation into the story of a man with an astonishing life and a mysterious death but it ended up taking me on a bizarre journey down rabbit holes of misinformation. Ultimately this is a story about how truth functions in modern warfare.”

Mohit Bakaya, Controller of Radio 4, says: “In our Intrigue podcast and radio series Radio 4 tells gripping human stories that shine a light on fascinating history and politics. Mayday follows hits like Tunnel 29 and The Ratline, combining brilliant journalism with nail-biting audio to tell important stories that both enthral and deepen our understanding of the world we live in. This time we investigate the life and death of James le Mesurier, who found himself at the heart of two wars: the devastating conflict in Syria and a ferocious battle over truth and information.”

Intrigue is a Radio 4 current affairs strand that aims to pull back the curtain on how the world works. It began in 2017 with Murder At The Lucky Holiday Hotel, in which Carrie Gracie explored a mysterious murder that changed the course of Chinese politics, and was followed in 2018 by The Ratline, Philippe Sands’ investigation into a senior Nazi indicted for mass murder, who managed to escape justice after the Second World War. In 2019 Helena Merriman presented Tunnel 29, which explored the true story of an escape tunnel that was dug underneath the Berlin Wall.

TX Details

Intrigue: Mayday
From 9 November
1.45pm on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds
Producer and presenter: Chloe Hadjimatheou
Editor: Emma Rippon
Researcher: Tom Wright

Source BBC Radio 4

November 4, 2020 7:10am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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