Heart and Soul-logo

Heart and Soul


Whether examining religious faith or any other belief-system, the programme talks to believers and non-believers, and tries to get beyond superficial notions of spirituality and religion.

Whether examining religious faith or any other belief-system, the programme talks to believers and non-believers, and tries to get beyond superficial notions of spirituality and religion.
More Information


London, United Kingdom




Whether examining religious faith or any other belief-system, the programme talks to believers and non-believers, and tries to get beyond superficial notions of spirituality and religion.




Alabama: America’s battleground

The American state of Alabama, is the new fault-line in the country's battle over abortion. Two Christian women are on polar opposites of the argument. Sarah Howell resolutely opposes abortion. The Reverend Traci Blackmon is just as resolute in her belief that abortion should be legal. In Alabama, a virtual ban on abortion is due to become law in November. It is one of a wave of States that wants control of the procedure to be given back to them. Despite the law on abortion getting tighter...


A believer’s guide to atheism

Michael Symmons Roberts is a Catholic who thinks his faith would be a lot worse off if it were not for atheists. He says all faiths need atheists - after all, you can only strengthen and deepen your belief if you have got someone to challenge your beliefs. Michael also argues that atheism and religion have a common enemy. As religious belief declines in many countries, it is being replaced by new-age beliefs rather than clear and thought-through atheistic positions. As the English writer...


Jewish and returning to Germany

Eighty years ago, just days before the outbreak of the Second World War, a young woman, Kaethe Berliner, fled Nazi Germany. She made a new life in Great Britain and like many others was determined to leave the evils of Nazi Germany firmly behind her. Naomi Scherbel-Ball is the granddaughter of Kaethe Berliner, and after years of deliberation, she has decided to reopen that door to the past. Naomi will be the first in her family to apply to reclaim German nationality and she is being joined...


Saving Ethiopia’s church forests

An estimated 95% of the native forest has already lost in northern Ethiopia, yet from the sky it has always been possible to see small green circles of hope across the country – the church forests of Ethiopia. Kalkidan Yibeltal travels to Bahir Dar to meet a man whose faith has led him to a lifetime working to preserve these oasis of calm and fertility. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church teaches the value of nature and the small forests surrounding each place of worship offer sanctity and healing...


Our daily bread

The Holy Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner hosts a unique community of Orthodox nuns from across the globe that have made the 500-year-old mountain monastery in Greece their home. In this programme we are transported by the mesmerising Byzantine chanting of the sisters and the musical bells of mountain goats, to a world far removed from the frenzied pace of modern life. Rachel O’Connell has lived as part of this community for the last year, and she guides us through this unique and...


The pilgrim paths of Ireland

Manika Bébhinn Ramsay’s husband, Alastair, died suddenly in 2007. Walking along an ancient pilgrim path, St.Kevin’s Way in County Wicklow, Bébhinn recalls the horror of coping with a sudden bereavement and tells presenter Regan Hutchins how pilgrimages helped her to cope with her grief and how they have brought a new meaning to her life. These old Ways of the Saints are being restored as increasing numbers of people - believers and non-believers alike - seek them out. Traditions and rituals...


The Last Supper

This year is the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo Da Vinci and marks that start of a major series of international exhibitions celebrating his life and work. In this edition of Heart and Soul we’ll explore the creation and continuing impact of one of the most important and famous religious paintings in the world – Leonardo’s masterpiece – The Last Supper. Da Vinci began The Last Supper around 1495, the fact that it’s survived more than 500 years is a miracle in itself. Da Vinci...


My faith and my large family

Colin Brazier is a Catholic and with six children, has long promoted the benefits of a large family. Colin looks at this very personal issue and examines what part religion plays in how many children makes a family The idea of religious people being told that re-populating the earth is part of their faith is a strong one - but environmentalists foresee problems for the planet if the population grows as it is doing, especially in parts of the world where religious teachings are very...


Walking on a hot coil

Being hung from tall trees on sharp hooks attached to flesh and piercing body parts with hot iron rods; it's a painful, almost sadistic way of praying for the harvest from the Hindu god Shiva in West Bengal to be a good one. Although they’re already experiencing some of the effects of climate change, they do not know about the catastrophe that awaits them in a future not so far away. West Bengal is amongst the areas in the world where scientists estimate climate change will hit the hardest....


A spiritual awareness from space

There has always been a synergy between spirituality and space, even before man first escaped the boundaries of our home planet. Once they did, astronauts in orbit reported feelings of awe and wonder. Viewing the Earth from on high, they were transfixed by the magic such a perspective brings. Astronaut Charlie Walker, one of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery, takes a close-up look at the phenomenon that’s become known as the 'overview effect'. It was writer Frank White who first coined...


Rwanda’s Muslims 25 years after the genocide

Rwanda has been remembering the 100 days of Genocide which led to hundreds of thousands of its people were slaughtered. Twenty five years on from that and to mark the end of the 100 days of mourning, Audrey Brown tells the story of a relatively unknown result of that time – the rise in Islam in Rwanda. She will hear how in the worst days of the genocide, Muslims shielded, saved and harbored Tutsis as they were chased down by Hutus. At that time, there were just a handful of Muslims here but...


Religion and climate change in Nairobi

For the BBC World Service, Nairobi based journalist and broadcaster Ciru Muriuki brings together young people of different faiths, together with a live audience, at the National Museum in Nairobi, Kenya, to hear what people want from their religious leaders and hear how faith motivates their activism. We’ll hear from young people in Kenya who are putting themselves on the front lines of the battle to save the planet. Some are helping farmers and communities find sustainable ways to earn...


Rebuilding Notre Dame

In the hours after the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, French President Macron said France would rebuild Notre Dame to be “more beautiful than ever". In the days that followed, some of Frances wealthiest people promised millions of Euros to ensure that actually happened. But the fire has awoken this country. Even some atheists have suddenly realised what this means to its Christian heritage. The French word is ‘patrimoine’ from ‘patres’ – fathers and ‘monere’ memory, the memory of our fathers....


Football and belief for Egypt's Copts

Mina Bendary is a good footballer, once thought to be one of the better players in Egypt. As his country hosts the African Cup of Nations, Mina won’t be involved because, he believes, he is a Coptic Christian. Egypt are attempting to win AFCON with a team that is made up of Muslims. Perhaps, because Copts only make up only 10% of Egypt’s population, the lack of Copts in this year’s squad might be pure coincidence. But Mina says that discrimination against Copts in the country’s national...


The wind phone

When an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, 30ft (9.14m) waves obliterated coastal communities. The small town of Otsuchi lost everything including 2000 residents. One resident, Itaru Sasaki, was already grieving his cousin before the tsunami hit. He had the idea of nestling an old phone booth on the windy hill at the bottom of his garden which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. This would be a place he could go to speak to his cousin - a place where his words could ‘be carried on the...


A female rabbi in training

Miriam Camerini is in training. It’s a three year course, and at the end of it, if she is successful, she will become one of the world's first female Orthodox Jewish rabbis. Ever since she was a child, Judaism has been part of her life, and now she has immersed herself further in her faith to eventually be able to lead prayers and call herself a rabbi. Rabbis in Orthodox Judaism have been men, and Miriam tells us about her journey so far. In Milan, Miriam introduces Geoff Bird to some of the...


Kaka'i: Our fight to survive

Farhad al-Kake tells the story of his people, the Kaka'i of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose faith has put them under threat from Islamic fundamentalists. Persecution has made them secretive about their beliefs and practices, but for the first time they tell of the danger they face – how places of worship have been destroyed and believers kidnapped, attacked and murdered by Isis, who hold the Kaka'i’s egalitarian, peaceful religion to be a ‘false cult’. Despite the danger, we hear how the Kaka'i are...


Beauty and belief: The story of a Brooklyn salon

For Heart and Soul, American journalist Noor Wazwaz takes us into the private world of New York’s first hijab-friendly hair and beauty salon. Based in Brooklyn, Le'Jemalik - which means For Your Beauty in Arabic - is owned and run by Yemeni-American Huda Quhshi. A hair and beauty expert with an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s been Huda’s life-long ambition to create a beautiful, bright, enclosed women-only space where clients can let their hair down, in every sense of the word. Modesty is the...


Pick up your stretcher and walk!

Like many disabled people, Damon Rose is regularly approached by Christians who want to pray for him to be healed. Would-be healers claim they’re simply doing what Jesus himself did and what he instructed his followers to do. They may mean well, but the experience can leave disabled people feeling judged as ‘faulty’ and in need of repair. Is this really what Christianity teaches about disability? In this programme, Damon (a blind journalist and open-minded non-believer) investigates...


New York Stations of the Cross

For Easter weekend Rosie Dawson joins a group of the faithful in New York as they follow a very different Stations of the Cross - a series that bears witness to the scourge of sex trafficking - a modern form of slavery - that every year traps thousands of young girls and women in the city. It marks the start of a campaign against hugely controversial plans to make New York the first state in America to completely decriminalise the sex industry. Rosie travels New York’s Via Dolorosa (The Way...