May 26 2016

BBC Newcastle and Tyneside Cinema document Town Moor Life

In a unique commission, BAFTA-winning sound recordist Chris Watson has spent the last year working alongside BBC Producer Murphy Cobbing and local photographers Jacky Longstaff and Kaleel Zibe to document a year in the life of Newcastle’s Town Moor.

Chris has meticulously detailed the sounds of one of Newcastle most beautiful green spaces from April 2015 to April 2016 and, this weekend, BBC Newcastle will broadcast the first of his four special programmes marking the seasons with the birds, beasts and people who frequent this vast piece of land. Year In The Life Of The Town Moor – Spring can be heard at 2pm on Sunday 29 May (and again on Bank Holiday Monday at 6.35am).

Some of the highlights of this project include the powerful beauty of the dawn chorus on Newcastle United golf course (which is part of Town Moor); the nosy cows who wander around Town Moor; insects communicating underwater in Exhibition Park; and Chris also fulfilled an ambition to record dung flies in a cow pat. These wildlife sounds will be interspersed with events such as the audio complexity of the Hoppings; the Great North Run; football crowds at St James’s and a police helicopter landing on the Moor.

To follow on from the bank holiday radio broadcast, BBC Newcastle will share a selection of the best sounds in a special Minute On The Moor each day from 31 May and throughout the month of June just before 7am. For more info follow @bbcnewcastle

All Watson’s material has also been woven into a four-part series available on BBC Newcastle online, which follows each of the seasons:bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02vk0z2. There is also a gallery of images to accompany the sounds.

BBC Producer, Murphy Cobbing, says: “Chris Watson is one of the world’s most innovative and inspirational wildlife sound recordists and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. Together, we have created a wealth of radio content, a wonderful online archive, and I am particularly excited about the digital sound installation at The Tyneside cinema. It’s a great testimony to both Chris and BBC Radio Newcastle that we can create and collaborate on a project of this scale and quality.”

Doug Morris, Managing Editor of BBC Newcastle, adds: “I was delighted to commission this unique opportunity for BBC Newcastle to capture a space that lies at the heart of one of the three cities we serve in a way that works for the digital and radio audiences. Nothing like this has been attempted before and it’s a genuine delight to see Chris Watson’s work taken one step further in our collaboration with the Tyneside Cinema.”

As a culmination to the project, The Tyneside Cinema will premiere an exhibition from Chris Watson called The Town Moor: A Project In Sound. Chris has reworked all the recordings for The Gallery as a 40-minute ‘dark’ cinema experience that is presented in full-sphere ambisonic sound to create an incredibly rich and immersive sonic experience. The exhibition will open on 21 June and run until 24 July. For more info about the exhibition go to: tynesidecinema.co.uk

There is also a selection of the sounds and images from A Year In The Life Of Town Moor available in the reception of the BBC Newcastle building on Barrack Road, and this has also been incorporated into the BBC Tours.


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