Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Big Tex2018111220200817 (R4)Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

Dallas is a city built on creeks and streams and, in the 1970s, the children of Dallas often roamed a secret landscape of culverts, waterways and tunnels. Meanwhile, above ground, adults in the city were reckoning with a local court order to desegregate the city's schools. Almost twenty years after Brown v Board of Education ruled that racial segregation violated the US Constitution, Dallas began bussing minority students into majority-white schools.

The change brought conflict and strife, but also opened up new worlds for children in a city isolated by race. In classrooms and playgrounds, an osmosis of experience, perspective and rumours took place. Julia Barton, who is white, heard a murky legend of a tunnel to Fair Park, home of the bombastic and beloved State Fair of Texas. Much later (and buttressed by a local basketball star's biography), Julia's black classmate Sam Franklin helps her track the legend down.

But the children of Dallas have a new legend now. The story of desegregation itself has become a distant myth as white families fled the city's schools, leaving new patterns of isolation in their wake. Only the Fair's iconic Big Tex - a 55-foot tall, talking statue of a cowboy - seems to stay the same in Dallas from year to year. But even he may be more changeable than locals want to admit.

With Julia's classmate Nikki Benson, former teenage tunneller Melvin Qualls, local historian Donald Payton, retired teacher Leonard Davis and Sixth Graders from Alex Sanger Elementary School.

Presented by Julia Barton
Additional research by Paula Bosse
Produced by Hannah Dean and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

0102Deep Time And The Sparrowhawk2018111920200818 (R4)After a decade photographing The Oldest Living Things In The World, New York photographer Rachel Sussman said she began thinking of deep time as deep water: “The more time I spent in the depths, the more I could stay in that space longer ?

What can we glean from spending time in the company of those who fix their gaze on longer timeframes, whose work entails inhabiting expanded notions of time, who seek both to ask and answer questions about our bounded place in that which is boundless?

This is a sonic deep-dive into deep time and ‘the long now': a series of close encounters via philosophy and science, literature and nature, art and the lived life, which delves into how we can think long-term and hold something of deep time as we move through our days. With musings and moments that connect the speaker to the infinite at one time or another - to the deep past, the long future, or the ‘bigger’ present. Perhaps, if we can better inhabit an expanded view of time, we might also expand how we can live its mysteries and exigencies.

Featuring interviews with philosopher and author David Wood; NASA astrophysicist and research astronomer Natalie Batalha; Brooklyn-based photographer Rachel Sussman; Australian writer and philosopher Christina McLeish; and Danny Hillis, an American inventor, scientist and designer of The Long Now’s 10, 000 Year Clock.

Acknowledgement with thanks to NASA’s sound archive and the University of Iowa’s Space Sounds.

Produced by Jaye Kranz
A Falling Tree productions for BBC Radio Four.

A sound-led dive into deep time and \u2018the long now'.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

After a decade photographing The Oldest Living Things In The World, New York photographer Rachel Sussman said she began thinking of deep time as deep water. “The more time I spent in the depths, the more I could stay in that space longer. ?

This is a sonic deep-dive into deep time and "the long now" - a series of close encounters via philosophy and science, literature and nature, art and the lived life, which delves into how we can think long-term and hold something of deep time as we move through our days. With musings and moments that connect the speaker to the infinite at one time or another - to the deep past, the long future, or the bigger present.

Featuring interviews with philosopher and author David Wood, NASA astrophysicist and research astronomer Natalie Batalha, Brooklyn-based photographer Rachel Sussman, Australian writer and philosopher Christina McLeish, and Danny Hillis, an American inventor, scientist and designer of The Long Now’s 10, 000 Year Clock.

With thanks to NASA’s sound archive and the University of Iowa’s Space Sounds.
Including extracts from poems by Alice Oswald and Edna St Vincent Millay.

Produced by Jaye Kranz
A Falling Tree productions for BBC Radio 4

After a decade photographing The Oldest Living Things In The World, New York photographer Rachel Sussman said she began thinking of deep time as deep water. “The more time I spent in the depths, the more I could stay in that space longer.”

0103A Sense Of Quietness2018112620200819 (R4)Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen. This episode follows a line of connection through four women across two referendums to explore the unexpected consequences of talking about abortion.

Starting on live television at a beauty pageant, we hear from a journalist, a radio producer, the founder of a woman's clinic and a woman travelling from Ireland to the UK - and discover the quiet power and hidden dangers of speech itself.

Featuring the voices of Brianna Parkins, Siobhan McHugh and Anne Connolly.

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree poduction for BBC Radio 4

Featuring the voices of Brianna Parkins, Siobhan McHugh and Anne Connolly. With additional recordings courtesy of Zoë Comyns and Regan Hutchins

Featuring the voices of Brianna Parkins, Siobhan McHugh and Anne Connolly. With additional recordings courtesy of Zoë Comyns and Regan Hutchins

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

0103Talking20181126In this feature we follow a line of connection through four women across two referendums to explore the unexpected consequences of talking about abortion.

Starting on live television at a beauty pageant, we follow a journalist, a radio producer, the founder of a woman's clinic and a woman travelling from Ireland to the UK, and discover the quiet power and hidden dangers of speech itself.

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

0201The Space Between Stories2020031620200820 (R4)Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

Inhabiting the ideas of author and speaker Charles Eisenstein, this edition of Lights Out explores our current historical moment in the West as a "space between stories", embracing the state of not-knowing and the ways in which certain kinds of questions can lead us towards the creation of a more beautiful world.

For thousands of years, for many people on earth, The Story of Separation has dominated our way of being. According to this story, we are separate individuals whose purpose is to maximise rational self-interest and conquer nature and death in a universe of atoms and void. At a time of social polarisation, ecological collapse and political crisis, this story is unravelling, and with it our sense of who we are in the world.

Propelled out of the old story, we enter the unknown, a space of bewilderment into which a new story, a new reality, can come.

Produced by Phil Smith
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Produced by Phil Smith
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

0202The Saigon Tapes2020032320200821 (R4)A meditation on the events of one night in Saigon over 50 years ago and the aftershocks that are felt still - most strongly in the hearts of a 17 year old schoolboy in London and his American-born mother.

During the evening of March 31st, 1966, an Army Captain billeted in the Victoria Hotel, Saigon recorded a tape to send back to his wife Susie and his three young children in Seattle. David Davies had been in-country for seven months and was counting down each day until he could return home. While he recorded, the Overture to West Side Story started to play on the radio, with Davies singing along to Somewhere (There's a Place For Us).

In London, early in 2020, a London schoolboy is working on an essay project about the factors that shaped US policy in Vietnam. Aged 17, Charlie has inherited a family connection to the war - his grandfather's medals, including his Purple Heart. David Davies was killed in a bomb explosion shortly after finishing his tape-letter and retiring to bed - but ripples from that explosion play out over the decades through Captain Davies' daughter, Tricia, and her young son Charlie, who embark on a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington DC.

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Ripples from an explosion in Saigon in 1966 are felt in the soul of a 17-yr-old in London.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

0203Into This World2020033020200824 (R4)Two new parents-to-be contemplate what it means to navigate the limitations of the identities their son will inherit.

The desire to protect and shelter is fraught with the anticipation that one day he will move in a world having to know in some way what it means to be racialised as black, gendered as a man and everything in between.

Featuring the voices of Kate Williams, Dean Atta and Ansel Wong.

Produced by Axel Kacoutié with Maz Ebtehaj
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

One of a new series of documentaries that encourage the audience to take a closer listen.

0204Speaking Sabar2020040620200825 (R4)Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

The N'diaye Rose family of Senegal are masters of Sabar drumming. They are the descendants of Doudou Ndiaye Rose, the late legendary Sabar drummer who propelled these deep and complex Senegalese rhythms across the globe.

Today, in the capital, Dakar, electronic musicians Beatrice Dillon and Nkisi attempt to interpret and translate the encoded language of the drums.

Produced by Zakia Sewell
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

A griot family teaches the language of Sabar drumming in Senegal.

The N'diaye Rose family of Senegal are masters of Sabar drumming. They are the descendants of the late Doudou Ndiaye Rose, the legendary griot drummer famous for sharing the deep and complex rhythms of Sabar with the rest of the world.

Today, in the capital, Dakar, electronic musicians Beatrice Dillon, Nkisi and LABOUR try to interpret and translate the encoded language of the drums.

With thanks to the N'diaye Rose family and Berlin Atonal
Photo credit: Sandhya Ellis

0205Prison Sentences2020041320200826 (R4)The UK prison population has risen by 69% in the last 30 years.

Lots of people have lots of opinions about prison - politicians, newspapers, artists and, of course, former prisoners themselves. Prison Sentences offers a meditation on the efficacy of prison through opinions, statistics, statements of policy and the testimony of those who've experienced it first hand.

24% of prisoners were brought up in care
29% of prisoners were abused as children
42% of prisoners were excluded from school
62% of prisoners have a reading age of 11 or under
15% of prisoners were homeless before entering prison
33% will be homeless when they leave

"We know not whether laws be right
Or whether laws be wrong
All we know who lie in gaol
Is that the walls are strong
And each day is like a year
A year whose days are long.”
The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde

With music from The Clash, Olivier Messiaen, Sam Cooke, Zimbo Freemind, Johnny Cash, The Band, Remtrex, Fox, Lady Unchained, Malvina Reynolds and Nina Simone. And archive from Porridge, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Cool Hand Luke, Rupert Everett reading Wilde, Benjamin Zephaniah, The Shawshank Redemption, Hooked, John Cooper Clarke and Midnight Express,

Produced by Josie Bevan and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

The things people say about prison.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

"We know not whether laws be right
Or whether laws be wrong
All we know who lie in gaol
Is that the walls are strong
And each day is like a year
A year whose days are long. ?
The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde

0206The Outside World2020042020200827 (R4)Audio-makers reflect on the sonic worlds they want to inhabit in this moment in time.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

Slow radio which weaves together tropical thunderstorms in Australia, lapping waves on the shores of Puerto Rico, singing in the rain in Germany and erupting applause amidst the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Audio-makers reflect on the sonic worlds they want to inhabit in this moment in time.

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

One of a new series of documentaries that encourage the audience to take a closer listen.

Slow radio which weaves together tropical thunderstorms in Australia, parrots heard through a window in Italy and erupting applause amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

Audio-makers reflect on the sonic worlds they want to inhabit in this moment in time. With contributions from Daria Corrias in Italy, Ariana Martinez and Benjamin Riskin in America and Caddie Brain in Australia.

Featuring recordings from the archive of the Field Recordings podcast, including:
Starling Murmuration, Nobber, Co. Meath, Ireland in January 2019 by Zoë Comyns
42nd St and 1st Avenue, New York, USA on 7th April 2020 by Benjamin Riskin
Hollow Tree, Sergiyev Posad, Russia on 11th March 2011 by Vladimir Kryuchev
Frogs, Hilo, Hawaii, USA in 2018 by Helen Zaltzman
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire April 2018 by Axel Kacoutié
Backyard storm, Darwin, Australia by Nyah Bertschi and Caddie Brain
Sinharaja tropical rainforest, South West of Sri Lanka, at daybreak by Alannah Chance
Hogsback, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, last summer by Neroli Price
Terrace, Rome, Italy, during the lockdown by Daria Corrias
Combate, Puerto Rico by Ariana Martinez.

Slow radio which weaves together tropical thunderstorms in Australia, parrots heard through a window in Italy and erupting applause amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

Audio-makers reflect on the sonic worlds they want to inhabit in this moment in time. With contributions from Daria Corrias in Italy, Ariana Martinez and Benjamin Riskin in America and Caddie Brain in Australia.

Featuring recordings from the archive of the Field Recordings podcast, including:
Starling Murmuration, Nobber, Co. Meath, Ireland in January 2019 by Zoë Comyns
42nd St and 1st Avenue, New York, USA on 7th April 2020 by Benjamin Riskin
Hollow Tree, Sergiyev Posad, Russia on 11th March 2011 by Vladimir Kryuchev
Frogs, Hilo, Hawaii, USA in 2018 by Helen Zaltzman
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire April 2018 by Axel Kacoutié
Backyard storm, Darwin, Australia by Nyah Bertschi and Caddie Brain
Sinharaja tropical rainforest, South West of Sri Lanka, at daybreak by Alannah Chance
Hogsback, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, last summer by Neroli Price
Terrace, Rome, Italy, during the lockdown by Daria Corrias
Combate, Puerto Rico by Ariana Martinez.

Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

One of a new series of documentaries that encourage the audience to take a closer listen.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.

0301Black Noise20201019

The impact of one song on the black American community is unravelled in this episode of the series that invites a closer listen.

NWA’s F*** tha Police was first released in 1988. It's a bold imagining, where the tables are turned and a roll call of police harassment is aired in a courtroom where five young black men hold the power. The song started an institutional and media-led fight against gangster rap and crowned the rappers “the world’s most dangerous group”.

Scenes of protest, community organising, and thoughts of those who have a relationship with the song fuse with archive, news reports and bustling city soundscapes. The song’s form and codes, layered under the simplicity of the lyrics, peel back and reverberate with the truth of lived experience of those joined together in joy and anger.

Interviews with writer Nikole Hannah-Jones (of 1619), music writer Hanif Abdurraqib, Black Lives Matter activist Melina Abdullah and academic Donna Murch, who unpick the song’s resonance, power and continued prominence as the soundtrack of protest throughout the United States, since the Los Angeles uprising of 1992, Ferguson in 2014 and most recently during the George Floyd protests.

Produced by Shanida Scotland with creative associate James T Green
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

The impact of one song on the black American community, NWA\u2019s F*** tha Police.

Documentary adventures that encourage you to take a closer listen.