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Bad People

Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen dissect the criminal cases that shock, intrigue and scare us the most.

About this audio series

Bad People is the first BBC Sounds-exclusive podcast The Open University has co-produced with the BBC, and it's not one for the faint-hearted. From grisly murders to sadistic rituals, no topic is off-limits for Julia and Sofie, as they discuss some of the most heinous and disturbing criminal cases in modern history, and ask the difficult questions about the psychology that motivated them.

You can listen to this series and find more associated content from the BBC programme page.

Discover the range of qualifications from the OU related to this programme:

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Copyright: BBC

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Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Read more from Bad People's OU experts

Dr Zoe Walkington and Dr Camilla Elphick were both contributors to Bad people, and even appeared on the programme as expert consultants. 

Articles they wrote as companion pieces for their episodes are live on the BBC website:

Meet the experts

Dr James Munro - Technical Lead in Psychology and Counselling / Associate Lecturer in Psychology The Open University
Dr James MunroTechnical Lead in Psychology and Counselling / Associate Lecturer in PsychologyVIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr James Munro - Technical Lead in Psychology and Counselling / Associate Lecturer in Psychology The Open University
Dr James MunroTechnical Lead in Psychology and Counselling / Associate Lecturer in Psychology

Dr James Munro graduated in 2011 with a BSc (hons) in Psychology from the University of Abertay, Dundee. In 2012 he started his PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Roehampton, London. His PhD studies involved an investigation into a controversial system in the brain called the mirror neuron system, using functional MRI. He subsequently carried on his work with MRI, exploring the role of anxiety in decision making, memory and other cognitive factors and neural correlates. James submitted his PhD in December 2015 and graduated with his PhD in January 2017. 

He's currently interested in exploring the different sources of bias that, eventually, converge on jury or other forms of decision making. I am enthusiastic about supporting research which requires technical support to become feasible, and in a supporting role I have very broad interests.

As a lead technician, he's incredibly enthusiastic about supporting teaching in Psychology with the development and teaching of appropriate new technology and software.

Dr Lara Frumkin, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University
Dr Lara FrumkinSenior Lecturer in PsychologyVIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr Lara Frumkin, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University
Dr Lara FrumkinSenior Lecturer in Psychology

I started at The Open University in January 2018 as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology.  I am a chartered psychologist, fellow of the Higher Education Academy, associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and international affiliate of the American Psychological Association. 

My research is centred around applying psychological principles to law enforcement and security services.  Within that there are a number of different strands to my work.  One programme of research is in detecting deception. Here I assess non-verbal behaviours to see how they may be indicators of those who are engaging in nefarious activities. Another thread of my work looks at the impact of extralegal factors on case outcome. I have run a series of studies to determine whether accent, race, and other seemingly irrelevant factors impact perceptions of witnesses in courtrooms.  Also in the courtroom I have studied how lawyers prepare and interact with clients with mental health difficulties. A third aspect of my research is looking at community responses to terrorism and extremism.  My investigations into how people feel about extremism are conducted by having people think about those who are different to themselves within their community.  I have also looked at how people catastrophise, prepare and think about a terrorist attack affecting them. Most recently, I have started to look at the role of human interaction on cybersecurity.

Dr Zoe WalkingtonSenior Lecturer, Psychology - Deputy Director for Learning, Centre for Policing Research and Learning. VIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr Zoe WalkingtonSenior Lecturer, Psychology - Deputy Director for Learning, Centre for Policing Research and Learning.

I have worked as a full time psychology lecturer since 2003, and I started working with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2004. In 2013 I obtained my PhD in Forensic Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and I obtained a position working full time for the Open University as a Staff Tutor in late 2014.

I am currently working on the Citizen Forensics project grant which looks at how Citizens can collaborate with police and other services through online tools. 

My other research interests include; how narrative strategy and interviewee bias can influence investigative interviewing - and the impacts that reading can have on individuals psychologically, and how story can be used to 'create' or inform individuals identity. For example, how police identity is created and shaped on Facebook sites. 

A photograph of Dr Camilla Elphick
Camilla ElphickLecturer in Psychology & CounsellingVIEW FULL PROFILE
A photograph of Dr Camilla Elphick
Camilla ElphickLecturer in Psychology & Counselling

I work with Graham PikeZoe Walkington and Lara Frumkin for a citizen forensics project. This aims to improve communications between citizens and institutions (e.g. police). In this capacity, I conducted research to inform the creation of future digital policing that serves citizens appropriately, while also conforming to police values. I was also involved in the conception and development of an online Gratitude Tree, which was inspired by the NHS “Clap for Carers”. It aims to create a positive online space where people can share feelings and expressions of gratitude and support.

I am also interested finding ways to minimise issues with eyewitness memory and identification accuracy.

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For over 50 years The Open University and the BBC have worked together; co-producing hundreds of hours of programming and bringing learning to life for millions. Find out more about our unique partnership.

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