Radio

A View Through a Lens Series | BBC Radio 4 September 2011

BBC Radio 4, Mon – Fri, 26 – 30 Sept, 15- 45-16.00

Wildlife cameraman John Aitchison often finds himself in isolated and even dangerous locations across the globe filming wildlife. In this series he reflects on the uniqueness of human experience, the beauty of nature, the fragility of life and the connections which unite society and nature across the globe.

1.Taking the Plunge
On a remote island close to the Antarctic Circle, hungry leopard seals patrol the waters where young Adelie penguins are learning to swim.

2. Funky Chickens
In Kansas, land of the prairies and the ‘wild west’, John discovers some very funky chickens.

3. Patience
John travels to Svalbard to film polar bears hunting for food and reflects on what it means to be patient.

4. Fur Seals
On a very small island in the South Atlantic, amidst the noise and aggression of battling male fur seals, something very beautiful and tender happens.

5. Shearwater Hurricane
John travels to the Aleutian islands to film one of Nature’s greatest feeding spectacles.
Written and presented by wildlife cameraman John Aitchison
Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson and Miles Barton

Produced by Sarah Blunt

The Shining Guest | BBC Radio 4 12th September 2011

Afternoon Play: The Shining Guest

BBC Radio 4, Mon 12 Sept 14.15

Following an anonymous tip off, a body is discovered in the Welsh hills. At first its thought to be recent murder victim because of items found with the body, but analysis reveals it to be thousands of years old. A series of events are triggered which appear to reveal a parallel world. Like the Shining Guest ants which inhabit Wood ants’ nests and seem invisible to their highly aggressive hosts, the inhabitants of this secret world, the guests, have existed at the edges of our reality throughout time.

Recorded on location, this haunting and atmospheric drama is written and narrated by Paul Evans, with wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson.

Off the record | ABC (Australia) 30th July 2011

‘Off the Record”s radio program which Chris pre-recorded with ABC Radio National ‘s New Music Up Late program was aired on the 30th of July, it will remain online for the next few days.

A Guide to Farmland Birds | BBC Radio 4 August 2011

Mon-Fri, 15-19 August 2011
15.45-16.00

A series of five practical and engaging guides to help you identify Britain’s commonest farmland birds.

Brett Westwood is joined by keen birdwatcher Stephen Moss on an arable farm in Wiltshire, whilst wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson provides high quality recordings of the calls and songs of the birds under discussion. Each programme focuses on birds of a different habitat and not only is there advice on how to recognise birds visually, but also how to identify them from their calls and songs.

This series complements previous series : A Guide to Garden Birds, A Guide to Woodland Birds, A Guide to Water Birds and A Guide to Coastal Birds.

The Radio Times:

rt7” />

Midnight at the Oasis on Late Junction | BBC Radio 3 1st June 2011

RTkalahari

Chris Watson’s & Marcus Davidson’s “The Bee Symphony” was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction on 1st June 2011.

“Midnight at the Oasis” is released on the CD Cross-Pollination, which was released on 30th May 2011 and can be ordered from the TouchShop.

Jules Verne’s Volcano | BBC Radio 4 14th July 2011

Jules Verne’s Volcano
1130 14th July 2011
BBC Radio 4

It’s a year since a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded air travel over Europe, and the skies fell silent. But it’s another Icelandic volcano which has always obsessed world renowned sound recordist Chris Watson. Snaefellsjokull , the glacier which conceals the fictional passage to the Centre of the Earth.

For BBC Radio 4, with a trunk full of those hi-spec microphones, (see photos below from the trip) he shares his passion for the Icelandic landscape with the many artists, painters and musicians who live in this unique environment. He also gains privileged access to cult Icelandic band Sigur Rós’s recording studio, to share his sounds and talk to Kjartan, the band’s keyboardist.

An expert in recording wildlife, for this programme Chris takes on the perils of this often hostile landscape to record its sounds from above and beneath the surface, in his own sonic adventure in the shadow of “Jules Verne’s Volcano”.
Producer and photos below: Rose de Larrabeiti

from The Radio Times 9-15 April 2011

and you can read a review in The Guardian.

roselab1

roselab3

Elegies from a Suburban Garden | BBC Radio 4 March 2011

Mon – Fri , 28 March – 1st April
15.45-16.00

Presenter: Phil Gates
Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt

“If we’re lucky”, says botanist Phil Gates” we gardeners get to experience the seasonal rollercoaster of gardening emotions about 70 times. Just 70 spring, summer, autumn and winters in a lifetime … and with each passing cycle those that remain become even more precious”. This series, recorded over a year, explores the relationship between a gardener and his garden and the emotions evoked by each season. In a modern, high-tech consumer society cultivating a garden remains perhaps the most direct way in which we can maintain an emotional and sensual link with the natural world.

The Wire | BBC Radio 4 2nd January 2011

The Guardian reviews the broadcast:

wiredlab

Sunday 2 January, 2011
13.30-14.00

Chris Watson visits The WIRED Lab project in Australia, which is inspired by the work of biomedical scientist and composer Alan Lamb, who has long been fascinated by the extraordinary sounds created when the wind and the weather interact with telegraph wires or fencing cables stretched across the landscape. Here, Chris not only meets Alan and his colleagues Sarah Last and Dave Burraston to find out more about the history and evolution of their work with wire structures, but also records for himself the music of the wires.

Presenter Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt

El Tren Fantasma (The Ghost Train) | BBC Radio 4 30th October 2010

BBC Radio 4
Saturday 30 Oct, 2010
20.02 – 21.00

Sound recordist and Narrator: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt

A thrilling acoustic journey across the heart of Mexico from Pacific to Atlantic coast using archive recordings to recreate a rail passenger service which no longer exists.
Ride the train from Los Mochis to Veracruz and soak up the atmosphere of Mexico in this immersive acoustic journey.

It’s more than a decade since the Mexican State Railway System operated its last continuous passenger service across country. Sound recordist Chris Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel this route. He was part of a film crew working on a programme in the BBC TV series Great Railways Journeys. Now, in this ARCHIVE on 4, based on the original sound recordings, the journey of the ‘ghost train’ is recreated; evoking memories of a recent past, capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sounds of human life and wildlife along the tracks of one of Mexico’s greatest engineering projects.

The Sunday Telegraph:

Sometimes, radio can awaken the mind and sharpen the senses like no other medium. This ‘sound portrait’ of a now-abandoned railway line that used to run between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico is a good case in point. Captured by sound recordist Chris Watson more than a decade ago, it jostles with human, animal and mechanical life, and is more richly evocative of Central America than any TV travel show I’ve seen. [Pete Naughton]

The Observer:

It is over a decade since the Mexican state railway system operated its last continuous passenger service across the country but here sound recordist Chris Watson recreates its atmospheric journey with the help of the train recordings he made while working on the BBC television series Great Railway Journeys. His luxurious trip took him through desert and city, but it is the rocking rhythms of the train itself that prove most memorable. [Stephanie Billen]

The Financial Times:

El Tren Fantasma (8pm) is Archive on 4’s recollection of a trans-Mexico rail journey by sound recordist Chris Watson. From desert to rainforest, hummingbirds’ wings to the boom of heat rising from the Copper Canyon, it recalls a beloved passenger train system abandoned by privatisation. **** [Martin Hoyle]

The Daily Telegraph:

Sometimes, radio can awaken the mind and sharpen the senses like no other medium. This “sound portrait” of a now-abandoned railway line that used to run between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico is a good case in point. Captured by sound recordist Chris Watson more than a decade ago, it jostles with human, animal and mechanical life, filling the room with an atmosphere that is more richly evocative of Central America than any TV travel show I’ve seen. Diesel engines thrum, cicadas chirrup and passengers chatter, sing and argue. Close your eyes and go on holiday for an hour. [Pete Naughton]

A Guide to Coastal Birds (repeat) | November 2010

BBC Radio 4
8-12 November
14.45-15.00

Presenter: Brett Westwood
Contributor: Stephen Moss
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson
Producer : Sarah Blunt

In A Guide to Coastal Birds, a series of five programmes, Brett Westwood is joined by keen birdwatcher Stephen Moss on the north coast of Devon, and with the help of wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson they offer a practical and entertaining guide to identifying many of the birds which you’re likely to see and hear around Britain’s coastline.

A Guide to Coastal Birds, complements three previous series A Guide to Garden Birds (2007), and A Guide to Woodland Birds (2008), and A Guide to Water Birds (2009).

OWLS (repeat) | BBC Radio 4 1st October 2010

Friday 1st Oct, 2010
14.15 -15.00

A fictional story written and narrated by Paul Evans and based on an island legend about a brother and sister who were bound by a wish sworn on a barn owl feather, which in turn became a curse that proved fatal. Recorded on location in Scotland; isolation, human desire and the supernatural are explored in this unsettling drama about the relationship between hope and desire, Man and Nature.

Old man / young boy …. Jimmy Yuill / David McLellan
Old sister / young girl …. Alyth McCormack / Michaela Sweeney

WILDLIFE SOUND RECORDIST: Chris Watson
SOUND ENGINEER : Michael Burgess
PRODUCER / DIRECTOR: Sarah Blunt

A Guide to Coastal Birds | BBC Radio 4 August – September 2010

BBC Radio 4
Sun 8 Aug – Sun 5 Sept, 2010
14.45-15.00

Brett Westwood is joined by keen birdwatcher Stephen Moss on the north coast of Devon, and with the help of wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson they offer a practical and entertaining guide to identifying many of the birds which you’re likely to see and hear around Britain’s coastline.

Each week, the series focuses on a different habitat and the birds you’re likely to find here, starting with Estuaries, and birds such as Redshank, Dunlin, Curlew and Knot, then Sandy Shores (and birds including Common and Sandwich Tern), Rocky Shores (Rock Pipit, Turnstone), Sea Cliffs (Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill) and Off-shore islands (and Puffin, Manx Shearwater and Arctic Tern). Not only is there advice on how to recognise birds visually, but also how to identify them from their calls and songs .…. after all, often you’re more likely to hear a bird and than see it.

A Guide to Coastal Birds, complements three previous series A Guide to Garden Birds (2007), and A Guide to Woodland Birds (2008), and A Guide to Water Birds (2009).

Producer Sarah Blunt

Hunt for the Nightingale’s Song | BBC Radio 4 5th August 2010

Thursday 5th August
21.02-21.30

When he was 14 years old, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson read about a bird that sings at night. The bird was a Nightingale; and since first reading about it, Chris has been fortunate enough to hear Nightingales both in Britain and Europe but always as part of a chorus of birds.

Now, in this programme, he tries to get a microphone really close to a lone Nightingale to record its remarkable song; a rich, mellow series of notes.

Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds, and one bird in particular decides to play a game of Hide and Seek and switch song perches. But over the course of several nights, and using different microphone techniques, Chris is able to get closer and closer to a singing male bird. The result, after several sleepless nights, some unexpected recordings and a battle with brambles and nettles is the most astonishing clear, beautiful recording of the song of a Nightingale.

Producer Sarah Blunt

Jarvis Cocker’s “Sunday Service” | 25th July 2010

BBC 6 Music – Live from Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall
“Sunday Service”, presented by Jarvis Cocker from 1600 on Sunday 25th July 2010

You can listen here for 6 more days

The Ditch wins Best Drama at BBC Radio Awards | February 2010

The Afternoon Play, The Ditch, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 1st February, won ‘BEST DRAMA’ Award at the BBC Audio and Music Awards last week.

A sound recordist is enticed by the disturbing aural landscape of Slaughton Ditch with terrifying and fatal consequences.

Writer: Paul Evans
Wildlife sound recordist:Chris Watson
Sound engineer: Mike Burgess
Producer: Sarah Blunt

(Unfortunately its no longer available to listen to on iPlayer if folk are interested in hearing it.)

TouchRadio 49 | A Journey South

Chris Watson contributes his third piece for TouchRadio.
8.02.10 – A Journey South – 50:21 – 192 kbps

south2

Chris Watson journeys to the South Pole for the forthcoming David Attenborough series ‘The Frozen Planet’ (BBC, 2011). Here he reports back with his experiences…

Photos by Chris Watson & Jason Roberts.
McMurdo Sound, Cape Evans, Ross Island (approx 78º S).

You can hear his earlier pieces from the Galapagos islands here.

Subscribe to the TouchPod podcast of TouchRadio via the iTunes Music Store
Play “A Journey South”

NATURE: A Local Patch | BBC Radio 4 February 2010

NATURE: A Local Patch (part 1)
BBC Radio 4
Tuesday 2 February 11.02 (rpt Wednesday 3 February, 21.02)

In the first of two programmes exploring our relationship with the landscape and the value of getting to know ‘a local patch’ three wildlife enthusiasts share their experiences of their own ‘local patch’.

For wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, the local patch is his suburban back garden in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the recordings he has made over the years chart not only the changes in the landscape and the wildlife, but also trigger memories of the past. For wildlife cameraman, John Aitchison, it’s the sea loch which lies just beyond his home on the west coast of Scotland which is his local patch; a place which he shares with sea otters, curlew and migrating geese. The local patch of wildlife artist and writer Jessica Holm, is the woodland on the Isle of Wight where she spent four years studying red squirrels.

Recordings from each location are weaved together highlighting the value of getting to know a patch of landscape so well that its ‘like having a second skin’, says Jessica Holm. It’s a revealing and fascinating insight into the power of experience and the relationships between people and place, between Man and Nature.

Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt

(NATURE: A Local Patch (part 2) is on BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 9 February 11.02, rpt Wed 10 Feb 21.02)

The Ditch | BBC Radio 4 1st February 2010

BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play – The Ditch on Monday 1st Feb

“A sound recordist is enticed by the disturbing aural landscape of Slaughton Ditch, with terrifying and fatal consequences. Written and narrated by Paul Evans.” (The Radio Times)

This play uses recordings taken from the CD “The Ghost Orchid: An Introduction to EVP” which is available from the TouchShop here. You can read more about EVP at parc.web.fm.

Wildlife Sound Recordist: Chris Watson
Produced & Directed by Sarah Blunt

ditch

Bridging the Gap | BBC Radio 4 27th January 2010

BBC Radio 4, Wed 27 January at 11.02

The sounds of the river, the wind and the wildlife are combined with local voices to tell the story of the Tyne Bridge, which spans the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead; providing a link between north and south, past and present. The Bridge is both an engineering triumph and an icon of the North East.

Sound recordist: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt

Shingle Street | BBC Radio 4 26th January 2010

NATURE: Shingle Street

BBC Radio 4, Tue 26 January at 11.02 (Rpt : Wed 27 January at 21.02)

An unusual and haunting sound portrait written and narrated by Paul Evans about the watchers and the watched on the shingle spit of Dungeness.

Dungeness is place to listen and to watch. It’s a place to watch new land being made by the sea’s shovelling of shingle; a place to watch the manufacture of power, a place to watch migrating birds and moths find a transitory refuge. But watching is about far more than just looking, as writer and naturalist Paul Evans reveals in this powerful and haunting sound portrait of one of Britain’s most unsettling landscapes; the shingle flats of Dungeness

Sound recordings by Chris Watson and Andrew Dawes
Producer Sarah Blunt