8:10  The Trial - could an experimental drug reverse Parkinson's?

British neurosurgeon Professor Steven Gill is trying to halt, or even reverse, the development of the progressive neurological condition Parkinson's with an experimental drug: GDNF.

Medical trials for the drug were the subject of the BBC Two documentary The Parkinson's Drug Trial: a Miracle Cure?

Filmed over six years, the show follows some of the 42 people taking part in this groundbreaking study. Even though the results so far seem to be inconclusive, some subjects report miraculous changes in their range of movement and quality of life. So can GDNF bring hope to the 10 million people affected by Parkinson's worldwide?

The Parkinson's Drug Trial: a Miracle Cure? will screen on Sky TV's BBC Earth channel on Saturday 9 November at 9:20pm.

Professor Steven Gill and his team in theatre

Professor Steven Gill and his team in theatre Photo: supplied / Passionate Productions.

8:35  Sarah Boseley - British American Tobacco faces child labour test case

The Guardian's health editor Sarah Boseley's campaign to highlight the plight of child labourers working in the tobacco industry in Malawi has prompted human rights lawyers working for UK law firm Leigh Day to prepare a landmark class action highlighting the labour practices of British American Tobacco.

Meanwhile, the US has suspended all tobacco imports from the African country over the child labour allegations.

Other multinationals will be closely following the lawsuit to see how far it could impact on their own operations.

Side view of a pack of cigarettes with faded filter

Photo: 123RF

9:05 Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea

cover of the book "Acid for the Children" by Flea

Photo: supplied

Born in Australia and transplanted to the US, Red Hot Chili Peppers' co-founder and bass guitarist Flea ended up escaping from a violent, alcoholic household to become an Los Angeles street rat aged 14.

Soon afterwards he met Anthony Kiedis, another social outcast who became his best friend, and together they created a band that went on to win six Grammy awards and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Now 57, Flea's just released a memoir of his coming of age in LA: Acid For The Children.


Flea Photo: supplied

9:40 Shakti NZ founder Farida Sultana on arranged marriage

Trans-national arranged marriage has been in the news this week with debate over immigration policy and recent comments from New Zealand First MP Shane Jones.

Many community leaders have defended the cultural practice but others believe it is time to scrutinise how these marriages can increase women's vulnerability to abuse.

Farida Sultana is the founder of the New Zealand branch of Shakti which provides "culturally appropriate domestic violence intervention services to women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin".

From a Muslim Bangladeshi background she had help from Shakti Women’s Aid in Scotland to leave an emotionally abusive arranged marriage.

10:05 Are plastics a threat to human health?

Dr John Peterson 'Pete' Myers is a US environmental scientist acknowledged as a pioneer of research looking at how plastics in food packaging and in the environment could be affecting health.

He's the founder and chief scientist of not-for-profit organisation Environmental Health Sciences, and was co-author of the 1996 book Our Stolen Future which explored how synthetic chemicals could be disrupting the hormone and endocrine systems of both people and animals.

Dr Myers has been in New Zealand this week, giving public talks.

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Photo: Michael Walter / unsplash.com

10:40 A dark sky reserve for Wairarapa?

Becky Bateman

Becky Bateman Photo: supplied

Becky Bateman is an astro-tourism operator involved in plans to turn Wairarapa into New Zealand's second dark sky reserve after the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, and alongside dark sky sanctuaries on Great Barrier and Stewart islands.

She wants to bring more local and international visitors into the area to stare at the stars.

The establishment of the South Island reserve in 2012 is credited with giving the local economy a major boost. And there are even ambitious plans to turn the whole of New Zealand into the world's first 'dark sky nation'.

This topic was recently discussed at a national Starlight Conference with representatives from the US National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association, the international body responsible for deciding whether an area qualifies as a true dark sky area.

Star Field, Ruakokoputuna

Star Field, Ruakokoputuna Photo: www.andybateman.com

11:10 Alice Cooper, Godfather of Shock Rock

Alice Cooper was originally the name of a band. Then singer and harmonica player Vincent Damon Furnier took the name for himself and went solo.

In the Seventies he became a bona fide rock legend and carved out his own distinctive style: blending heavy metal stylings with the trappings of horror...think snakes, lashings of fake blood, leather trousers and heavy make up. And there was cocaine too: lots of cocaine. Shock Rock was born! And the act's been working for him ever since.

Now a tee-totalling golfer, Alice Cooper returns to New Zealand on the "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" tour in February 2020 for gigs in Auckland and Christchurch.

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Photo: supplied

11:30 How Aotearoa New Zealand was mapped

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Photo: supplied

A new book tells the story of Aotearoa New Zealand through the maps that guided our first inhabitants and the explorers and settlers that followed.  

Singing the Trail digs back into the history of the maps, the map-makers, and those who were using them.

From the oral maps made by early Polynesian and Maori settlers, in songs, karakia and stories, to Abel Tasman's early efforts, to James Cook's more detailed maps that helped him circumnavigate Aotearoa.

Author John McCrystal has written, co-written or ghost-written over 50 non-fiction titles on a diverse range of subjects, including biography, social history, travel, sport and economics.

Books mentioned in this show

Acid for the Children
By Flea
ISBN: 9781472230829
Published by Hachette

Our Stolen Future - Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?-A Scientific Detective Story
by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, John Peterson Myers
ISBN: 978-0452274143
Published by Penguin

Singing the Trail - The story of Mapping Aotearoa New Zealand
by John McCrystal
ISBN:  9781760633592
Published by Allen & Unwin

Music played in this show

Song: Higher Ground
Artist:  Red Hot Chili Peppers
Played at: 9:07

Song: Under the Bridge
Artist:  Red Hot Chili Peppers
Played at 9:41

Song: School's Out
Artist: Alice Cooper
Played at 11:04

Song: Looking for America
Artist: Lana Del Ray
Played at: 11:28