Singing the Stones

7th March, BBC Radio 4, 11.30am



Tootsie Daniel, Yindjibarndi elder with producer Kirsti Melville


Kirsti Melville hears from indigenous people about the importance of the ancient rock carvings and songlines in the Dampier Archipelago in Australia.

Described as “the largest outdoor art gallery on the planet”, the rock carvings here tell the story of fifty thousand years of human existence – of how the Yaburara people who created the art lived and how the world changed around them. Kirsti discovers how the carvings act as the “score” for one of the earliest songlines, starting here in Murujuga – the indigenous people’s name for the Dampier Archipelago and Burrup Peninsula – and travelling right through to Uluru, the heart of Australia.

Now, after years of lobbying, Aboriginal traditional custodians, archaeologists and government are, for the first time, working together to gain World Heritage listing. Will this sacred site finally receive the protection it deserves?




Dorothy Cross: Shark

3rd February, BBC Radio 4, 4.30pm



With fossil records dating back 400 million years, sharks have outlived most life forms on the planet. They are essential to the natural order of marine ecosystems, but so little is really known about them. Dorothy Cross is fascinated and inspired by these majestic fish. She’s shared a canoe with a shark caller in the South Pacific, swum beneath Hammerheads in the Galapagos and, in this programme, she’s out on a boat off Malin Head, the northern most tip of Ireland, in search of basking sharks and poetry.

Poems include Norman MacCaig’s Basking Shark, Mirror by Silvia Plath, Flying Fish: An Ode by Charles Wharton Stork, Herman Melville’s Maldive Shark and Behind Me Dips Eternity by Emily Dickinson. The poems are read by Eleanor Bron, Bill Paterson and Fiona Shaw.



Weird England


17th – 21st December, BBC Radio 3, 10.45pm


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In this series of Essays, we usher you into a secret world of hidden folklore. Five young writers explore the odder, darker corners of English tradition: this is not an England of bluetits, roses and white cliffs, nor of country lanes and thatched cottages, but an invitation into a compendium of bizarre and sometimes creepy rural rituals.  Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is in Combe Martin, Devon for the Hunting of the Earl of Rone, David Barnes attends Lewes Bonfire in Sussex, Naomi Booth heads over the pass to Allendale for Tar Bar’l in the North Pennines, Laura Joyce searches for Jack Valentine in Norfolk and Lila Matsumoto takes her parents, visiting from Japan, to a Horn Dance in Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire.

Contagious Cities

26th – 30th November, BBC Radio 3, 10.45pm




BBC Radio 3 and the Wellcome Trust have collaborated to commission this series in which five writers each explore a disease in the city in which they live or work. They take inspiration from a walk with a medical expert or historian who shows them the city in light of the disease, leaving them to trace the role of the infection in shaping the physical and psychological community.

SARS in Hong Kong by Dorothy Tse, TB in London by Frances Wilson, HIV AIDS in Nairobi by Okwiri Oduor, Polio in New York by Dava Sobel and Zika in Maceió by Debora Diniz

The Sun, Our Star

Weekly from 28th November, BBC World Service




To know the Sun is an age-old dream of humankind. For centuries astronomers contented themselves with analysing small sips of Sunlight collected through specialized instruments. They chased after eclipses that exposed otherwise hidden layers of the Sun’s substance. And they launched Earth- and Sun-orbiting observatories to monitor our star from space. Today, we’re closer than ever to knowing the Sun.

In five programmes brilliant science writer Dava Sobel explores the incredible relationship between the Earth and the Sun through science, history and ancient beliefs. She orbits the Sun, our Star, the source and sustainer of all life on Earth… and a death star in the making.

Body of Essays at The Wellcome Collection
Live event to be recorded for BBC Radio 3
Wednesday 12th September 2018
19.00 – 20.30



Join us to listen to five writers as they read moving and comical personal essays, each focusing on a different body part. All the 15-minute readings will be recorded for later broadcast as part of ‘The Essay’ series on BBC Radio 3.

About the performers

Kayo Chingonyi chooses the blood, and reveals a tragic personal story of HIV AIDS and his native Zambia.

Patrick McGuinness explores the grottiness of the labyrinthine ear.

A L Kennedy homes in on the ability of our nose to conjure memories.

Abi Curtis considers how our eyes both connect us to and alienate us from the world.

Imtiaz Dharker casts the liver as the true seat of our feelings.