#DeleteMonday with Tunnel 29

by Radhika Viswanathan

To line up with the thirtieth-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the BBC released a story set in Berlin as part of its Intrigue series.

It’s the fantastic story of West Berlin university students who came together to dig an underground tunnel to help East Berliners escape. This was a time when the Berlin wall had just been erected, and suspicion and fear defined the lives of the local people. The tunnel was a high stakes endeavour fraught with risk, twists and turns (literal ones too!).

Designed as a ten-part series and narrated by journalist Helena Merriman, the episodes are superbly sound designed, and as a listener you feel transported back to those days in the 1960s. The music isn’t too much and stays very much in the audio space, it never gets too cinematic (as heavy designed audio shows can be). As tense as the story gets, the music nudges you to moments of reflection and levity, and most of all heart. Heart and hope.

I prefer to listen to produced shows over interview formats; these are the kind of shows we love to make (like City of Women!). But it takes real skill to make a good show. And I thought Tunnel 29 was superb. I ended up binge-listening to the whole series in a day. The other series in the Intrigue feed are great too. If you want to be transported away from where you are, I recommend you listen to it.

You can listen to Tunnel 29 Omnibus 1 here and Omnibus 2 here.

You can also read Helen Merriman’s The Story of Tunnel 29.

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