Saturday Live: In St Cuthbert’s Time | BBC Radio 4 September 2013

You can listen to the programme here – Lindesfarne package starts at 32m56s
(and also mentioned on Chris Evans’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show was “Inside the Circle of Fire” – see below)
6th July 2013 – 30 September
10am – 4pm daily, Holy Cross Chapel, Durham Cathedral

Throughout human history artists have been influenced by their surroundings and the sounds of the landscape they inhabit.

When Eadfrith, the Bishop of Lindisfarne, was writing and illustrating the Lindisfarne Gospels on that island during the late 7thCentury and early 8thCentury he would have been immersed in the seasonal sounds around the island.

For ‘In St Cuthbert’s Time’, a collaboration with Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study, and other Durham-based researchers, artist Chris Watson has created a sound installation that reflects the acoustic landscape of that island during the time that the Lindisfarne Gospels were being considered, written and illustrated.

Durham Cathedral’s Holy Cross Chapel provides an inspiring location for quiet reflection and meditation on the sounds St Cuthbert and the other monks would have experienced for themselves.

The installation will run continuously on a loop lasting around forty to fifty minutes and reflect the seasonal changes of a year out on the island. It will be played at a very discrete level as the intention is to create an atmosphere within the Chapel as if the Chapel was on the island and the natural sounds of that place were percolating inside through the two large unglazed windows. The replay level and spatial representation of the work is key to its success.

Visitors will be able to engage in conversation without having to raise their voices, as the sounds will be audible simply at the level they would be experienced in reality. Those who choose to listen will be able to engage with the work in a way which encourages a creative thought process regarding the spirit and sense of place.

The Installation will run from 06 July 2013 – to 30 September 2013, daily between 10am and 4pm.

You can read about it in the Newcastle Journal here, and Living North here.
There is also out now a new album released on Touch to coincide with this event.

The CD is now sold out

A View Through a Lens (repeat) | BBC Radio 4 August 2013

Programme link, 19-23 Aug, Mon- Fri, 14.45- 15.00

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 as he films Adelie penguins taking their first plunge, encounters some funky chickens in Kansas, discovers the art of patience in the company of polar bears, learns to feel empathy amongst a colony of aggressive fur seals and films one of Nature’s greatest feeding spectacles in the Aleutian islands..

Written and Presented by wildlife cameraman John Aitchison.
Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson and Miles Barton. Produced by Sarah Blunt.

A Guide to Garden Wildlife | BBC Radio 4 8th July 2013

Brett Westwood presents a practical, informative and entertaining guide to help you identify the birds in your garden at this time of year.

Programme link

Monday 09.30am starting Monday 8 July
5 x 14mins

Brett Westwood is joined by naturalist Phil Gates in this informative and entertaining guide to some of our common garden wildlife. Recorded near Bristol, each programme focuses on a different garden habitat; log piles, ponds, hedgerows, trees and shrubs and finally stones. The series offers helpful advice on the appearance, behaviour and sounds of some of the typical species you’re likely to find, their value in the garden, and how to encourage them into your own garden.

The series features wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson. Producer: Sarah Blunt

The Daily Telegraph (UK):

It’s a jungle out there! Among the bedding plants and hardy perennials of the domestic garden there seethes a busy host of little creatures. Presenter Brett Westwood and naturalist Phil Gates, accompanied by the peerless wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, venture into a garden near Bristol to meet some of them. Who knew that the humble woodlouse or the froghopper larva (that little green thing that lives within the bubbles of cuckoo spit) could be so engaging? The soundtrack of garden birds is exquisite, and there’s a tremendous predatory flourish at the end. [Jane Shilling]

David Attenborough to Launch Tweet of The Day on BBC Radio 4


On 6 May David Attenborough will launch Tweet Of The Day, Radio 4’s new year-long celebration of the wonder and poetry of birdsong. Just before the Today programme, early risers will be treated to a different call or song of a British species, followed by a fascinating story of ornithology specific to the tweet in question.

In Britain there are now 596 species on the official bird list, of which 286 are recorded as rare. The BBC will be collaborating with brilliant wildlife sound recordists such as Chris Watson, Geoff Sample and Gary Moore to track down the songs of some of these much-loved birds, from the nightingale to the swift, the greenfinch to the garden warbler. The series will begin with the cuckoo – the song of the male is familiar to many, but how many of us can say that we have seen the bird itself?

The Listeners | BBC Radio 4 February 2013

BBC Radio 4, Tue 19 & 26 Feb at 11.02am
(repeated Thur 21 and 28 at 21.02)

Presenter Patrick Ayree
Producer Sarah Blunt

“I suppose for me listening is the most important thing I can do,” says acoustic biologist Katy Payne in this series. “ I just wish we were as good listeners as elephants are”.
In this two-part series, we discover that listening is about much more than just we meet individuals whose professional lives are spent listening and interpreting the sounds they hear. The first programme focuses on sounds within the human hearing range and the second programme, explores ultrasound and infrasound; sounds above and below the human hearing range.

In the first programme we hear from Julie Ryan a volunteer with the International Rescue Corps, an organisation which specialises in urban search and rescue, Cardiac surgeon Jonathan Pitts Crick, piano tuner Davis Powell, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson and acoustic biologist Katy Payne

In the second programme we hear from acoustic biologist Katy Payne, Brian Baptie, a seismologist with the British Geological Survey, astrophysicist Tim O’Brien, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson and bat ecologist John Altringham.


A Guide to Mountain and Moorland Birds | BBC Radio 4 January 2013


BBC Radio 4, Mon – Fri, 7-11 January, 13.45-14.00

Brett Westwood in conversation with Stephen Moss
Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

Which bird sounds like a coffee percolator and moves like a clockwork mouse? Well, the answer can be found in the first of a new series of Radio Guides to our commonest upland birds. Surrounded by the go-back-back-back calls of Red Grouse, Brett Westwood joins keen bird watcher Stephen Moss on the magnificent rolling hills of the Long Mynd in Shropshire. With the help of recordings by wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, they offer a practical and entertaining guide to the birds which you’re most likely to see and hear on heather moors in Upland Britain.

This series complements five previous series; A Guide to Garden Birds, A Guide Woodland Birds, A Guide to Water Birds, A Guide to Coastal Birds and A Guide to Farmland Birds and is aimed at both the complete novice as well as those who are eager to learn more about our upland visitors and residents.

Chapel of Skins | BBC Radio 4 22nd January 2013

Afternoon Drama : Chapel of Skins
BBC Radio 4, Tue 22 January 2013, 14.15

Recorded high up in the Shropshire hills of the Welsh Marches, and inspired by a living landscape and its history, Chapel of Skins is a fictional story about a ghostly meeting of ways, written and narrated by Paul Evans with wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson.

Phone Box: Paul Evans
Trebrodier: Liza Sadovy
Anchor: Ben Crowe
Quabbs: Alex Tregear

Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson
Director / Producer: Sarah Blunt

Celebrating 90 Years of Radio Broadcasting…

Celebrating 90 years of BBC radio – short features marking some memorable radio moments. Here is Chris’s selection:

1924: The Cello and The Nightingale
Duration: 01:34

Cellist Beatrice Harrison duets with nightingales in a Surrey garden – or does she? Sound recordist Chris Watson investigates.

HY-BRASIL | BBC Radio 4 5th September 2012

BBC Radio 4, Wed 5 Sept, 11.02am

Writer and narrator Paul Evans, Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

Hy-Brasil is a phantom island which features in many Irish myths. It appears on a map in 1325 off the south west coast of Ireland and said be cloaked in mist except for one day every seven years, when it becomes visible but still cannot be reached. There are rumours of strange creatures and a lone magician who inhabit it.

Written and narrated by Paul Evans, with sound recordings by Chris Watson, Hy-Brasil tells the story of a journey across a sea of imagination in search of this phantom isle.

Cricket Cabaret | BBC Radio 4 14th July 2012

Sat 14 July, 15.45 -16.00

An unusual cabaret of sound inspired by the songs of crickets. Created from field recordings of the insects, electronically treated sounds (by Chris Watson) as well as music and human voices, Cricket Cabaret is a celebration of the songs of crickets; a quirky, sound-rich composition inspired by ancient traditions.

Producer Sarah Blunt

Markets to Maggots | resonancefm 17th June 2012

Sunday 17 June, 11pm,

The Estonian-based Framework FM project (Patrick McGinley) will broadcast this selection of field recordings made by students from the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University over the past three years working with Alan Dunn and the sound recordist Chris Watson. Each year a group of students work with Chris around Leeds, building their own contact microphones, experimenting with hydrophones or working with bat detectors to create unique new audio portraits of Leeds at various times of the day. In this selection we hear numerous original recordings and edited compositions ranging from the sound of inside a pinball machine, night-time acoustics under the rail bridge by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the microscopic sounds of maggots.


The Cave | BBC Radio 4 JUne 2012

BBC Radio 4, Mon- Fri, 25-29 June 2012,13.45-14.00
A series of five illustrated talks inspired by ‘THE CAVE’

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt


A drawing scratched onto a wall comes to life as writer and naturalist Paul Evans reflects on the significance of The Cave Horse.
Actor : Adjoa Andoh, Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson


Illustrated with recordings made on location, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson recalls his experiences in two dramatically different cave systems: the limestone caves of Waitomo in New Zealand, and the Kverkfjöll ice caves in Iceland.


Alan Read, Professor of Theatre at Kings College London takes a philosophical approach when he reflects on Plato’s Cave.
Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson


Martin Palmer, Secretary General of The Alliance of Religions and Conservation reflects on the role of caves in religious stories and traditions.
Reader; Adjoa Andoh, Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson


A dramatic finale to this series ventures inside the human cave; the mouth, in a virtual journey around the senses.

Written by Patricia Reynolds specialist in oral surgery and Director of Flexible Learning at Kings College London.

Joe is played by Harry Livingstone
The Oracle is played by Gerard McDermott
The Oracle Lady is played by Adjoa Andoh
The reader is Christine Hall

Tidal Talk from the Rockpool | BBC Radio 4 May 2012

BBC Radio 4, 1st May 2012 11pm

The first of three nautically themed tales by Lynn Truss, written for and performed at the BBC More than Words Festival.

Periwinkle: Bill Wallis
Hermit Crab: Geoffrey Palmer
Contributor: Chris Watson
Sound recordings by Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt
Radio Times Pick of the Week:

The Ice Mountain | BBC Radio 4 April 2012

BBC Radio 4, Friday 20 April, 11.02a

Haunted by the sinking of RMS Titanic one hundred years ago, this fictional soundscape tells the story of an iceberg and its journey south after calving from a glacier in Greenland.

Narrated by Adjoa Andoh
Sound recordings by Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE: James and the Giant Redwoods | BBC Radio 4 February 2012

NATURE: James and the Giant Redwoods (part 1)

BBC Radio 4, Tue 14 Feb 11.02, rpt Thur 16 Feb 21.02

James Aldred has long dreamt of seeing the world’s biggest trees, but their location is a well-kept secret, and then James is introduced to Michael Taylor, the man who found Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree, and so begins an adventure to the Giant Redwood forests of California in search of the some of the biggest living organisms on the planet, and an incredible climbing challenge.

Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt
NATURE: James and the Giant Redwoods (part 2)

BBC Radio 4, Tue 21 Feb 11.02m rot Thu 23 Feb 21.20

James Aldred encounters some of the world’s biggest trees in The Grove of Titans and a childhood dream comes true when he’s not only taken to see Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree, whose location is a well-kept secret, but also gets the chance to climb it.

Additional sound recordings by Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE: Painting in Sound | BBC Radio 4 February 2012

NATURE: Painting in Sound

BBC Radio 4, Tue 7 Feb 11.02, rpt Thur 9 Feb 21.02

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson spends much of his time listening and recording the sounds of the natural world. When the National Gallery invited him to create a sound piece inspired by a painting of his choice, he chose Constable’s ‘The Cornfield’. This was the start of a creative and exciting project, which also involved students from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design and other professional musicians and sounds artists. The project began with audio guides for paintings selected by the artists, and then later developed into an evening event involving a live sound mix in the gallery to accompany a tour of the paintings with an art historian. NATURE uses these events to explore how painters use a range of techniques to excite the viewers senses; not only the visual sense, but the senses of smell, touch and perhaps most poignantly, hearing. The programme also explores how sound installations and sound guides may help some viewers, especially people who might feel intimidated by paintings, to engage with these works of art.

Producer Sarah Blunt.

NATURE: In Search of the Tiger’s Roar | BBC Radio 4 January 2012

BBC Radio 4, Tue 31 Jan 11.02, rpt Thur 2 Feb 21.02

Chris Watson leads a team of wildlife sound recordists to Corbett National Park in India, in the hope of capturing the sounds of the forest and the roar of a Bengal tiger.

Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE: Emma Turner; a life in the reeds | BBC Radio 4 January 2012

NATURE: Emma Turner; a life in the reeds

BBC Radio 4, Tue 24 Jan 11.02, rpt Thur 26 Jan 21.02

Drawing on extracts from her book, ‘Broadland Birds’, NATURE tells the remarkable story of Emma Turner, a pioneering bird photographer who lived for many years on a houseboat in the reed beds at Hickling Broad. It was here that she took a remarkable photograph which provided evidence that Bitterns which had been driven to extinction in Britain in the late 1800s were breeding in Norfolk once again.

Wildlife sound recordist: Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE: The Ghost Roost | BBC Radio 4 January 2012

NATURE: The Ghost Roost

BBC Radio 4, Tue 17 Jan 11.02, rpt Thur 19 Jan 21.02

More than ten years ago, sound recordists Chris Watson and Thor McIntyre-Burnie recorded the sounds of tens of thousands of starlings when they came into roost for the night in the derelict remains of the concert hall on the West Pier in Brighton. Today the West Pier no longer exists, having been destroyed by storms and fire, what remains are the sounds of a Ghost Roost.

Producer Sarah Blunt

NATURE: The Water Boatman’s Song | BBC Radio 4 January 2012

NATURE: The Water Boatman’s Song

BBC Radio 4, Tue 10 Jan 11.02, rpt Thur 12 Jan 21.02

Writer Paul Evans accompanies sound recordist Tom Lawrence on a journey in sound across Pollardstown Fen to hear the extraordinary sounds of an underwater orchestra of aquatic insects.

Additional sound recordings: Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt