Part One: The winds catching the conifers – and the secrets of the dawn chorus, Aug 26 2019. Chris Watson, president of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, joins David Oakes in this episode of Trees A Crowd
Part Two: If a podcast is recorded in a forest, and no one is around to hear it… Sept 9 2019. Chris Watson, president of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, joins David Oakes in this episode of Trees A Crowd
A signalman on a remote stretch of East Yorkshire railway is visited by a lone traveller in this drama-documentary written by poet Ross Sutherland. Inspired by a Charles Dickens ghost story, and featuring nature recordings by renowned wildlife recordist Chris Watson.
The Oxmardyke Gate Box is one of the last in the UK to use antiquated mechanical bells to carry semaphore-style messages up and down the line. Soon this system of “absolute block signalling” will pass into history, as computers take over. The bells, like the humans who listen for them, will no longer be needed.
In this feature fusing fact and fiction, the poet Ross Sutherland visits Oxmardyke to meet Dave Beckett, one of the last operators to use the bells. From their elevated position, the pair gaze out over the hinterland near the muddy Humber estuary. It’s an area of villages with Anglo-Saxon names: Gilberdyke, Broomfleet and Saxfleet, with remains of the monastery where the Knights Templar would return after international travel. The flat, reclaimed land has an eerie quality, accentuated by a strange local phenomenon known as a temperature inversion (where high density cold air becomes trapped by warm wetter air) causing sound to carry further, meaning passing trains loom larger and echo further than they ordinarily would.
Writer: Ross Sutherland
Contributor: Dave Beckett
Producers: Jack Howson and Joby Waldman
Sound Design: Chris Watson and Steve Bond
A Reduced Listening Production for BBC Radio 3
Wildlife recordist Chris Watson begins a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution
Does a second feel the same for a fly, a bird, or a swordfish, as it does for me? Geoff Marsh drills into the science of time perception within and between species.
24.00 – 00.30
Sound recordist Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape from dawn to dusk in the Kalahari Desert in south western Africa. As the light fades, you can see very little but hear everything; from the close up sounds of insects to the far-carrying contact calls of spotted hyenas. Producer Sarah Blunt.
Made for 4 Extra. Wildlife recordist Chris Watson examines some of the ways technology has changed the radio we listen to, from early experiments in sound to the podcast explosion.
BBC Radio 4 New series begins 10th July 2018 for 12 weeks
Broadcast Tuesdays 1102 and repeated on Mondays at 2102
PIKE – 10th July 2018. Brett Westwood journeys into dangerous waters to explore our relationship with the fearsome and predatory Pike. Wildlife sound recordings Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt
NARWHAL – 14th August 2018. Brett Westwood explores our relationship with an Arctic Legend, the Narwhal. This Unicorn of the Sea is not only extraordinary in appearance, but tantalising difficult to study! Additional sound recordings Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt
SHORT WORKS – As I Walked Out One Morning in May
BBC Radio 4 Fri 27th July 1545, rpt Sun 30 July 0030
Death meets the Lady in this short ghostly story written and narrated by Paul Evans which is inspired by a 19th Century ballad, local folklore and the sounds of a woodland. The singer is Elizabeth Counsell. Sound Recordings Chris Watson. Produced by Sarah Blunt.
THE COMPASS – Living with Nature
BBC World Service
The world as you’ve never heard it before. Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson presents a guide to the sounds of four very different global habitats; the Plains, Desert, Mountain and Forest and explores the relationship between these soundscapes in Kenya, Namibia, Norway and India, the wildlife and the local people. Producer Sarah Blunt
25th July – Plains
1st August – Desert
8th August – Mountain
15th Aug – Forest
Graham Duff interviews Chris Watson, about his groundbreaking work with the experimental music groups Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, his career as one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife recordists, his albums of field recordings released on the Touch label and his new site specific sound installation ‘No Man’s Land’. Contains extensive examples of both Watson’s music and field recordings. Headphone listening recommended throughout.
There’s another chance to hear A River of Steel which was first broadcast in 2016, on BBC Radio 4 on Tue 1 May at 11.02am and Monday 7 May at 21:02.
Chris Watson returns to Sheffield, the city of his birth to follow the course of its rivers across landscape and time in a tale of industrial development, little mesters and steel blades. Producer Sarah Blunt.
You can listen to Chris’s hour-long podcast on ABC here:
BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 6 June at 11.02am, repeated Monday 12 June at 9pm
The first of a new series of Natural Histories includes an interview and recordings by Chris Watson. A murmuration of starlings is one of our great British wildlife spectacles and never ceases to inspire and amaze as Brett Westwood and Tony Whitehead discover in a reed bed on the Somerset Levels. The programme also includes sound recordings by Tony Whitehead. Producer Sarah Blunt
Sarah Walker with Chris Watson
Sarah’s guest this week is one of the world’s leading sound-recordists, Chris Watson. Chris started out as a musician, he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group, Cabaret Voltaire, but he soon put the microphone to other uses enjoying a career recording sound for film, tv and radio. He has specialised in recording wildlife and natural phenomena, striving, in his words, to put the microphone where you can’t put your ears. He has contributed to a number of David Attenborough documentaries in the Life and Frozen Planet series and has released albums of his field recordings. As well as discussing his work and life, Chris will be sharing some of his favourite classical music by composers including Britten, Messiaen and Felix Mendelssohn.
BBC Radio 4, Fri 14 April, 3.30pm
Another chance to hear this sound portrait in which Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape of an oak woodland in Northumberland as the seasons pass.
Producer Sarah Blunt
15-19th August 1.45pm
A series of five illustrated talks which explore our relationship with Rivers. Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson
Monday 15 August: A Salmon struggles on a weir as writer and naturalist Paul Evans reflects on Sabrina and the fish of no return.
Tuesday 16 August: Alan Read, Professor of Theatre at Kings College London recalls a childhood influenced by the Essex estuary.
Wednesday 17 August: Martin Palmer, Secretary General of The Alliance of Religions and Conservation reflects on the significance of rivers in religious stories and traditions.
Thursday 18 August: The relationship which writer and essayist Kathleen Jamie has with the River Tay changes when some Bronze Age swords are dredged out of its waters.
Friday 19 August: The sounds of the River are captured by Chris Watson when he follows the course of the North Tyne from the summit of Peel Fell in Northumberland to the sea at Tynemouth.
Matthew Sweet and his guests explore Jacques Cousteau’s The Silent World.
Produced by Lisa Davies
Here you can find a very helpful selection of radio progammes and soundscapes for BBC Radio 4 featuring sound recordist Chris Watson.
BBC Radio 4, Mon 30 May – Fri 3 June, 13.45-14.00
Narrator and Sound Recordist: Chris Watson
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson narrates five immersive soundscapes; each of which is a time compression; a spectacular natural event which has been recorded over hours, days, weeks or even months but which is presented here in less than 15minutes
Mon 30 May, BBC Radio 4, 13.45-14.00, The River Crossing
Sound recordist Chris Watson joins the annual migration of wildebeest in the first of a series of audio postcards capturing spectacular sound events in the natural world.
Tue 31 May, BBC Radio 4, 13.45-14.00 The Oak Woodland
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape of an oak woodland over the four seasons.
Wed 1 June, BBC Radio 4, 13.45-14.00 Cima Verde
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson captures a journey in sound from the summit to the valley floor of Cima Verde in Northern Italy.
Thurs 2 June, BBC Radio 4, 13.45-14.00 The Lek
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson captures the sounds of an extraordinary dawn performance when he joins a group of male black grouse at a traditional courtship site.
Fri 3 June, BBC Radio 4, 13.45-14.00 The Reed Bed
Reed beds are magical places as wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson discovers when he spends a night capturing the sounds of a reed bed in Suffolk in the last of this series of immersive soundscapes.
Producer: Sarah Blunt
NATURE BBC Radio 4 Wed 13 July 21.02 The Fen Raft spider
Sound recordist Chris Watson gets up close and personal with the Fen Raft Spider when he tries to record the male’s courtship behaviour, but it proves far from easy.
Presenter Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt