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
BBC Radio 4 Sundays 19.15. 26 June – 10 July 2016
A series of very funny tales written and introduced by Lynne Truss in which the residents of an old house attic reveal what life is really like between the rafters and the floorboards
Sunday 16 June
In the first of three tales written by Lynne Truss, the Death Watch Beetle (Bill Paterson) and a bossy Queen Wasp (Alison Steadman) reveal the funny side of life in an attic.
Sunday 3 July
In the second of three tales written by Lynne Truss, a House Fly (Lee Mack) and a Soprano Pipistrelle Bat (Pam Ferris) reveal the funny and warm sides of life in an attic.
Sunday 10 July
In the last of three tales written by Lynne Truss, an Edible Dormouse (Hugh Dennis) and a Peacock Butterfly (Amanda Abbington) reveal the truth about what really goes on an attic of an old house in Amersham.
Sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt
BBC Radio Wed 22 June, 9pm NATURE – The Joiker and the Echoes
Andé Somby is a Sami and a yoiker. When Andé invited sound recordist Chris Watson to record him yoiking near Kvalnes in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, Chris had no idea what an extraordinary and challenging experience this would be; not only to travel north of the Arctic Circle to record these ancient chants but also to gain an insight into the culture and beliefs of the Sami People.
BBC Radio Wed 29 June, 9pm NATURE – James and the Peregrines
An intimate and revealing audio diary recorded over a year by James Aldred following the lives of a pair of peregrines and the family they raise in a disused quarry near his home.
NATURE Wed 29 June, 9pm NATURE – The Rainforest Canopy
With a two metre wingspan, strong hooked beak and four inch talons, harpy eagles are one of the most powerful birds of prey in the world and have been known to attack people who get too close to their nests, so when wildlife cameraman John Aitchison agrees to spend a month on a tiny platform high up in rainforest canopy in Venezuela to try and film a young eagle chick hunting for the first time, it was with some intrepidation at what might lie ahead.
NATURE Wed 10 July, 9pm NATURE – Fen Raft Spider
Fen Raft Spiders as their name implies are water-loving spiders. Chris Watson gets up close and personal with these spiders when he tries to record their courtship behaviour as well as explore the extraordinary world of underwater sound in which these spiders live and hunt for food in the fenland ditches.
BBC Radio 4, March 2016
Mon 28 March – Fri 1 April 2016, 13.45-14.00
Brett Westwood is joined by naturalist Phil Gates in this informative and entertaining guide to some of our common coastal wildlife. Recorded last summer along the coast of Northumberland, each programme focuses on a different coastal habitat; rock pools, sandy beaches, sea cliffs, strandlines and saltmarshes. The series offers helpful advice on the appearance, behaviour and sounds of some of the typical species you’re likely to find, and reveals how they’re adapted to survive in some of our most hostile coastal habitats.
Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt
For the current Resonance FM fundraising programme, there are two offerings:
1 A previously unreleased recording from Kielder forest – surround version.
2 The opportunity to come out recording with Chris in Northumberland on May 15th.
John McCarthy explores the sacred and profane place of birds in our daily lives.
He considers the many spiritual meanings birds have for humans. From doves as biblical heralds of the Holy Spirit to ravens in the Qur’an, birds are at the iconic heart of almost all world religions. But how did they get there? Is it their ability to fly which grips us? Or the apparent purity and beauty of (many) of their songs and calls?
Along the way, John explores the parallels between listening to Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending, hearing a dawn chorus in Kielder Forest and seeking a personal pathway to the divine. He also recalls a bird-inspired moment of hope during his time in captivity in Lebanon – a memory triggered by the music of the singer Fairouz.
John’s conversation with keen birdwatcher and author Stephen Moss reveals that the international bird of peace is not nearly as pacifist as it seems, and uncovers the true meanings of birdsong, which prove to be both paradoxical and far more profane than sacred.
The programme includes poetry from John Clare, prose from Gerald Durrell, and music from Canteloube, Respighi and Chris Watson.
The readers are Madeleine Bowyer and Peter Marinker.
Producer: Matt Taylor
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
Chris Watson describes using the beam of the lighthouse to record seals on the Farne Islands at night – and remembers the curious slow motion aggression between the fighting tortoises of Dassen Island, off the western coast of South Africa. Also in this programme, Melissa Murray re-reads ‘To The Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf and Dermot Bolger remembers inviting Salman Rushdie to the Baily Lighthouse at the height of the fatwa.
Presented by Luke Clancy.
Chris Watson – Field Recording at Its Finest
“This week I had the absolute honour of talking with field recordist, musician, and audio ace Chris Watson. For those unfamiliar with Chris, he is considered one of the top field recordists in the world. He’s worked on Frozen Planet, The Life of Birds, Big Cat Diary, Life in the Undergrowth, Nature, Autumnwatch, and many more. If you want a bigger impression of this amazing artists work check out his website at www.chriswatson.net and you’ll get an even better picture. Needless to say, he’s had and is still pursuing a stunning career that many of us only dream of!”
Another chance to hear six characters in and around a garden pond, reflect on what life is really like between the lily pads and the buttercups. Written by Lynne Truss. Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
BBC Radio 4, Tue 25 Aug, 23.02 We hear from the tadpole (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and the dragonfly (Alison Steadman)
BBC Radio 4, Tue 1 Sept, 23.02 We hear from the water boatman (Sandi Toksvig) and the Great Diving Beetle (David Ryall)
BBC Radio 4, Tue 8 Sept, 23.02 We hear from the garden spider (Amanda Root) and the Great Pond Snail (James Fleet)
There’s another chance to hear SOUNDSTAGE on BBC Radio 4
Mondays at 09.30am, 17 Aug – 14 September
Monday 17 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45, Midnight at the Oasis
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson narrates the first in a series of audio postcards capturing spectacular wild sound events, beginning in the Kalahari desert.
Monday 24 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 St James Park
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the sounds of the city on Match Day in Newcastle upon Tyne in the second in a series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 31 August, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 The Wash
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the extraordinary sounds which accompany the movement of the tides on the Wash, in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 7 September, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 Glacial Melt
The extraordinary and powerful sounds of a glacier calving are captured by wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Monday 14 September, BBC Radio 4, 09.30-09.45 Dawn Chorus
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the sounds of a dawn chorus recorded near Aldeburgh in Suffolk in the last in this series of immersive soundscapes.
Narrated and recorded by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Hear and Now this Saturday 4th April at 10pm, in the Composers’ Rooms series.
Radio 3’s primary contemporary music programme, featuring live performances and studio sessions from the best new groups, and premiering works commissioned by the BBC
BBC Radio 4, Mon- Fri, 23-27 March 2015, 13.45-14.00
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.In the first programme, Chris visits the Kalahari Desert to capture the sounds of midnight at the oasis. Newcastle upon Tyne is the location of the second programme where Chris records a city soundscape following the changing character of St James’ Park and the neighbouring Leazes Park on match day. The thunder of wings as tens of thousands of birds are driven from the vast expanse of mud by the encroaching tide on The Wash is in sharp contrast to the quietness of the landscape at low tide which is captured in the third programme. Chris then travels to Antarctica and follows the extraordinary transformation as the Barne glacier calves. The series ends with a dawn chorus recorded in Suffolk, featuring a beautiful solo performance by a nightingale, a duet with a robin and a bewitching finale from a group of curlew as they fly overhead from the coastal marshes.
Narrator & Recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Martha – an Endling’s Tale
BBC Radio 4, Tue 10 March 2015, 11.02am (rpt Mon 16 March at 21.02)
When Europeans arrived in America there were some 3-5 billion Passenger Pigeons. The last one, a bird named Martha died in captivity in 1914. A century on, wildlife filmmaker, writer and broadcaster, John Aitchison reflects on what lessons we have learned from the birds’ demise and explores the possibility of bringing the passenger pigeon back from extinction using genomic technology and a living relative, the band-tailed pigeon. It’s a fascinating and sobering journey. As John says when he comes face to face with Martha, “Extinction is a terrible thing”.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
BBC Radio 4
Mon – Fri, 12-16 January 2015, 13.45-14.00
Naturalist, writer and broadcaster Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15 about his ‘local patch’, an area of some 5 square miles near his home in Stourbridge. Some 40 years later, he’s still making notes and updating his records about the area. In this series, we join Brett as he returns to his local haunt and reflects on a lifetime of changes.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson’s evocative and powerful sound portrait of Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.
Built in the 14th century as a piece of political theatre, the magnificent ruins have been reclaimed by nature. Swallows and rock doves nest in the gatehouse, kittiwakes and fulmars guard the sea walls, seals patrol the beaches and skylarks man the approach. The sounds of the sea, the wind and the waves are ever present.
BBC Radio 4, Monday 27 October, 16.02
Paul Evans narrates a ghostly tale inspired by the true story of Alice Glaston who at eleven years old was the youngest person to be hung. She was hung from the gallows tree in Much Wenlock in Shropshire in 1545. When writer Paul Evans who was born here, later returned to live here and discovered the story of Alice Glaston from a passing reference in a local history book, he was both shocked and intrigued. The more he thought about the story, the more he felt a responsibility to tell the story as a way to free Alice’s ghost. It is the landscape and its stories which have inspired this poem, and this landscape is powerfully evoked through sound recordings by Chris Watson.
Alice is played by Bettrys Jones. Producer: Sarah Blunt
BBC Radio 4, Sundays 7, 14 & 21 September 2014, 19.15-19.45
Nestled between the clipped hedges and the neatly mown lawn, the garden pond might seem a tranquil even rather dull place, but nothing could be further from the truth as revealed in this very funny series of tales from a highly sexed Dragonfly, a hotly pursued Water Boatman, a ferocious Diving Beetle, a Tadpole who doesn’t want to grow up, a timid Spider and a self-righteous Snail as the residents of the pond reveal the truth about life between the ripples.
Written and introduced by Lynne Truss.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson
Produced by Sarah Blunt