Rumblings from the Rafters | BBC Radio 4 July 2016

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

NATURE Series | BBC Radio 4 June – July 2016

Close encounters and personal experiences in the Natural World

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.

A Guide to Coastal Wildlife | BBC Radio 4 March – April 2016

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

Resonance FM fundraising programme

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.

A Wing and a Prayer | BBC Radio 4 February 2016

Something Understood

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

Lighthouse Stories | RTÉ Radio 1 8th November 2015

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.

Sound Design Academy (Podcast) | September 2015

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 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!”

Gossip from the Garden Pond | BBC Radio 4 August 2015

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)

Gossip from the Garden Pond

Soundstage | BBC Radio 4 August – September 2015

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 & Now | BBC Radio 3 4th April 2015

Hear and Now this Saturday 4th April at 10pm, in the Composers’ Rooms series.

Composers’ Rooms collection
Hear & Now homepage
Photo gallery

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

Soundstage | BBC Radio 4 March 2015

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

All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer

Martha – an Endling’s Tale | BBC Radio 4 10th March 2015

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

The Diaries of Brett Westwood | BBC Radio 4 January 2015

The Diaries of Brett Westwood

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

The Castle: A Portrait in Sound | BBC Radio 4 December 2014

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.

The Spirit Child | BBC Radio 4 27th October 2014

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

Gossip from the Garden Pond | BBC Radio 4 September 2014


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

Pick of the Week | BBC Radio 4 10th August 2014

Chris Watson presents Pick of the Week on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 10th August at 6:15pm

For further information –

Nature Series | BBC Radio 4 February 2014

A new series of Nature starts on BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 4 February, 11.02am, presented by and featuring wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson.

Nature, BBC Radio 4 Tue 4 Feb, 11.02am Islands of Ice and Fire

In the first of new series of Nature, we join wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson in Iceland. When it comes to dynamic landscapes, there’s perhaps nowhere in the world more exciting than Iceland; with it vast groaning glaciers, spouting geysirs, thundering glacial waterfalls, hissing thermal vents and erupting volcanoes – and it’s the sounds of this landscape which Chris is keen to capture. But there are other sounds too; and on a hillside behind Husavik on the North coast Chris is astonished by the density of birds ; snipe, whimbrel, redwing, golden plover and redshank “ At first, it’s not apparent when you just look round, but what you really need to do is just listen” he says.

Presenter Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

Nature – BBC Radio 4 Tue 11 Feb, 11.02am Arctic Terns at 66 degrees North
In the second of three programmes about the natural history of Iceland, Chris goes in search of Arctic Terns – which travel to Iceland from Antarctica to breed; the longest regular migration of any animal. Some birds travel even further – to the Arctic circle, and so on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, Chris takes a 3 hour ferry journey to the island of Grimsey which lies on the Arctic Circle to see and record some of these remarkable long distance migrants; birds which see more daylight than any other creature, as they enjoy a southern summer and then a northern summer each year.

Presenter Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE BBC Radio 4 Tue 18 Feb 11.02am In search of Humpback whales
Every year between January and April, Humpback whales from all around the North Atlantic Ocean gather in an area called Silver Bank 100km north of the Dominican Republic to breed. After calving, the whales migrate north from these lower latitudes to their high latitude, summer feeding grounds.

In June, Chris travelled to Husavik on the north coast of Iceland where he joined a whale watching trip to look for Humpback whales on their summer feeding grounds – and perhaps even see some of the same animals which he had recorded on their breeding grounds earlier in the year.

Presenter Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

David Attenborough: My Life In Sound

In an exclusive interview for BBC Radio 4, David Attenborough talks to Chris Watson about his life in sound.
Monday 16 December

You can now here this episode on iPlayer

One of Sir David’s first jobs in natural history filmmaking was as a wildlife sound recordist. Recorded in Qatar, Sir David is with Chris Watson (a current wildlife sound recordist), and is there to make a film about a group of birds he is passionate about, The Bird of Paradise. It is in Qatar where the world’s largest captive breeding population is and it is in this setting Chris takes Sir David back to the 1950s and his early recording escapades, right through to today where Sir David narrates a series of Tweet Of The Days on Radio 4 across the Christmas and New Year period.

Presenter/ Chris Watson, Producer/ Julian Hector for the BBC

In Britten’s Footsteps | BBC Radio 4 November 2013

BBC Radio 4, Fri 15 Nov at 11.02am

To mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson follows in the footsteps of the composer, presenting a soundscape based on the daily walks which Britten took around Aldeburgh to reflect on his morning’s work.
Presenter and wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt