BBC to release podcast with first-hand account of Shamima Begum’s life story

Investigative journalist Josh Baker recounts conversations with Begum in season 2 of I’m Not A Monster

BBC Radio 5 Live’s documentary podcast I’m Not A Monster is coming back for a second season in 2023, this time looking at the life story of Shamima Begum. 

The 10-part series will be presented from the perspective of investigative journalist Josh Baker who has been speaking to Begum for over a year in order to get her full first-hand account on how she went from disappearing as a teenager in London to reappearing as part of the Islamic State group four years later. 

"There are different ways to tell the Shamima Begum story,” said Baker. “There’s the one about a 15-year-old schoolgirl who was groomed and lured to a war zone by ISIS and now needs saving from a Syrian detention camp and there’s the one about a traitor, who fled Britain to join ISIS and became known the world over as a terrorist and must be stopped from coming back to Britain.

“As Shamima challenges the removal of her British citizenship by the UK government, I’ve examined her accounts to give listeners a definitive narrative on this complex, nuanced and shocking story."

I’m Not A Monster premiered in November 2020 and was named as the BBC’s most-awarded podcast to date, winning 11 awards across 10 different international competitions. The first series told the story of Sam Sally who moved with her family from the US to the heart of an Islamic State group..

Episode one of the new series will premiere 11 January on BBC Sounds, with Baker meeting Begum for the first time at a Syrian detention camp in his quest to find the truth about her life journey. Following episodes will be broadcast weekly and an accompanying documentary titled ‘This World’ will later be released in February on BBC 2 and BBC iPlayer.