The sounds of the BBC’s Wild Isles
This Slow Radio experience features sounds from the BBC television programme Wild Isles: a chance to revel in the extraordinary sounds recorded and created for the series, without voice-over or music.
Using an aural collage of clips, the half-hour soundscape takes a journey from mountain stream to the sea, around Great Britain and Ireland. It utilises sounds from the Freshwater and Oceans episodes and begins with a specially recorded introduction by Sir David Attenborough.
From there, the sounds of cascading streams and waterfalls give way to the call and shuffle of a common toad. Around the caves of County Cavan bats use sonar to navigate. Their ultrasonic clicks can be heard, slowed down. A cuckoo sings beside a chalk stream while a spider catches a pond skater in its web.
The distinctive low call of the bittern introduces the Suffolk reed beds, where great crested grebes perform a mating dance, beaks clashing. Further towards the sea, a colony of knot are scattered by a peregrine falcon, and in the Shetland Isles, a sea otter grunts and snorts around the rocks.
A thunderstorm at sea heralds a seal colony at Blakeney Point, Norfolk, where two males fight. Then the eerie calls of Manx shearwater, who visit each year from South America, are followed by the chatter of many gannets, in and out of water.
The Corryvreckan Whirlpool in Scotland pulls us under for an array of fantastical subaquatic sounds: cuttlefish, sea gooseberries, melon comb jelly; the squelch of a royal flush sea slug, spider crabs leaving their shells, and the scream of a scallop, devoured by a starfish. Dolphins break the surface, and a bluefin tuna skims across the waves before we sail out into Cardigan Bay.
Audio post-production: Wounded Buffalo
Slow Radio producer: Sam Hickling
Wild Isles sound team:
Sound Editors – Kate Hopkins, Tom Mercer
Dubbing Mixers – Oliver Baldwin, Dan Brown, Olga Reed, Graham Wild