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Monday, August 3, 1998 Published at 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK

Britain from a foreign viewpoint

By Alenka Lawrence - Series Editor

Letters from Britain is a new departure for the BBC World Service. Journalists from the 43 foreign language services, most of whom have come to the BBC in London from abroad, are used to reporting about Britain for their own audiences at home. Now they have the chance to do the same in English.

We've asked them to choose aspects of Britain they find interesting, funny, amusing - annoying or just plain strange! And they can be as honest as they want.

[ image: Presenter - Maja Samolov]
Presenter - Maja Samolov
The idea came to me initially when Yura Brengauz, a travel editor with the Russian Service, brought me a piece about walking round London. He seemed to spot so many things that a British reporter would probably just ignore. And Yura starts the first programme with a reflection - complete with jazz music and fireworks! - on strolling through London's parks.

There's a very mixed group of "Letters" in the six programmes in the series - with subjects ranging from having a baby at forty (quite usual in Britain, but not in Albania, where Julia Goga-Cooke comes from) to a hilarious look at cricket from a Brazilian football fan. There's a a day in the life of a rubbish skip, and thoughts from the Ukraine on whether the "Cool Britannia" concept is really good for Britain. Anything goes.

The programmes are presented by Maja Samolov, a former head of the BBC's South Slavonic section, who's delighted to get back to broadcasting!

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