WHO are ISIS, otherwise known as Daesh? They claim to be fighting for Islam, but most Muslims would surely recoil at their atrocities, so who do they represent, and what message are they trying to send us with their brutality?

The historian Tom Holland looks back into the past to find their origins, and why they glory in violence. It’s a deeply personal journey for Holland who is warned by a Daesh refugee that he might be in danger, and at one point he halts in a ruined Iraqi street, overcome by horror, and loosens his bulletproof vest so he might lean over and vomit.

The Daesh strategy is to raise violence so high that their opponents might think twice about engaging with them. They burn prisoners alive in cages and then dump rubble on the remains. Dogs eat corpses. Prisoners are garrotted. We hear the screams from the Bataclan. But “what has this got to do with Islam?”

Holland goes to Paris, Cairo, Istanbul, Jordan and Iraq to find the source of the barbarism.


I NORMALLY find these programmes impossible to watch.

This documentary speaks to 12 people who’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and asks what they intend to do with the time they have remaining.

Death is coming to all of us. Sometimes it is sudden and unexpectedly cruel, taking away the best people far too soon, but in other circumstances a person may receive a warning that the end is approaching and they can choose to live their last weeks with a particular care, courage and intensity.

One participant, Kevin, who’s 69, declares he and his wife have enjoyed some of the best times of their lives since he was given his diagnosis. Others say they intend to have fun and how the diagnosis has been “a gift” by making their lives more dear and precious.