Between the Ears-logo

Between the Ears


Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.

Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.


London, United States




Innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers.




Songs of the Mojave Desert

A collaboration with Natalie Diaz, celebrated Mojave American poet and language activist. Her award-winning poetry collection, When My Brother Was An Aztec, draws on her experiences growing up on the Fort Mojave Indian reservation, a 40,000 acre stretch of desert spanning California, Arizona and Nevada. Her hotly anticipated second collection, Post Colonial Love Poem, will be released in June. Natalie brings us to Mojave Valley, to the home of her uncle Hubert McCord. At 91, Hubert is the...


My Mother and Me

The Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson grew up in the theatre with an actress-mother who attuned him to what he calls "the realness of fakeness." The story goes that Ragnar was conceived during the filming of a sex scene involving his actor-parents, quaint footage of which was part of an installation during his acclaimed retrospective at the Barbican in 2016. And Kjartansson's mother has been central to his work, in a series of films recorded every five years, called 'Me and My...


Almost Gone

An ear floats off to the galaxies, listening in on Earth from a cosmic vantage. An audio-collage written and composed by Heather Phillipson, summoning the listener into a deranged sonic landscape, addressing the Earth as an eruption, on the verge of termination. Mixing bucolic lyric poem, music-sampling, the cut-up, weather forecasts, psychedelic literature and astronomic travelogue with the tone of a pre-recorded message from the beyond, Heather Phillipson’s feature proposes the ear as an...


Diorama Drama

Before the magic of photography, the dazzle of cinema - there was the Diorama. Frenchman Louis Daguerre is known primarily as one of the inventors of photography - but before the magic of light fixed on paper there was the Diorama, which some call the precursor to the moving image, and cinema. The Diorama offered the well-heeled audience a glimpse into other worlds… where volcanos would erupt on the hour, Roman ruins explored, mountain peaks ascended… not unlike a modern Las Vegas but in the...



There’s nothing more cathartic than shouting into gale-force wind, or more “cleansing” than ducking below the surface of the freezing-cold sea. The Victorians were wrong about a lot of stuff (truly, so much stuff), but oh mate, were they were right about the Sea Cure—being on the beach feels great, even, when the weather sucks (especially when the weather sucks?). Blending vocalisation, song, text and field recordings of wind and waves, [BREATHE] [WAVE] is a soundscape that absorbs human...


Hidden Sounds of Coastal Arcades

Piers and arcades are distinctly English shrines to the act of play, which dot the English coastline. Steeped in heritage, they still hold a place in many hearts to this day. Through a series of binaural recordings, interviews and musical composition, sound artist Frazer Merrick explores the infectious energy of Walton Pier in north Essex and uncovers its hidden sounds, including those of the people, the place and even the electromagnetic fields produced by the machines. Composed of three...


The Escape of the Zebra from the Zoo

War is often described as a dehumanising process. But what happened to Britain’s non-human inhabitants in this terrible conflict? In a painting in Manchester City Art Gallery, a zebra rears up, black and white striking against the terrible night scene. The sky reddens in the distance from a vast explosion in 1940. War artist, Carel Weight painted the zebra that galloped out of the zoo in to the maddened city. The animal escaped unscathed, but thousands of animals didn't. Four panels show the...


Pregnant Pause

Not poetry, not conversation, not a story - but all of them at once. Interwoven interviews, music and sound design to re-create the experience of pregnancy and birth.


The M1 Symphony

The dynamic, often dramatic, life of the M1 in words, sounds and a thrilling new work performed by the BBC Philharmonic, as Britain’s first major motorway marks its 60th anniversary. In a powerful composition specially commissioned by BBC Radio 3, The M1 Symphony depicts how the M1 has transformed the British landscape and millions of lives. A place of routine and drama, where a momentary lapse can change everything, with terrifying speed. Documentary producer Laurence Grissell and composer...


The Virtually Melodic Cave

To view the VR experience in 360 on your smartphone paste the following link into your search browser: For the first time, a virtual reality experience and radio documentary will bring to life the ethereal magic of Fingal's Cave - the awesome natural structure on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Using cutting-edge technology, which captures not only the acoustics of the melodic cave, but its awe-inspiring visual scale and...


Container Ship Karaoke

Is karaoke the modern sea shanty? Containers are the nearly invisible carriers of 90% of the goods on earth – yet we know so little about them, or the people on board. The crew who power globalisation, are unsung heroes. Now we hear them sing, and capture something of that strange, lonely, heroic life. Sea shanties are a relic of the past – today it’s far more likely to be karaoke soothing the soul and powering the arm of the modern sea farer. Instead nearly all ships have a karaoke machine...


The Letter

Julia Hollander, her brother Tom and father Tony tell the story of a letter from the BBC which saved their family, spawning a rich legacy of Czech music in the UK. March 1939. Broadcaster Hans Hollander, grandfather of writer and musician Julia and actor Tom, receives a letter that becomes his family's passport to freedom. The BBC's K. A. Wright invites Hans to come to London to discuss 'Janacek and the whole of question of Czech music' asking 'How soon do you think you could come, and how...


The In-Between Land

The magical North Pennines landscape of deaf shepherd-poet Josephine Dickinson, which inspires her life and work and is the fertile backdrop to her real and imagined sound world. Welcome to her remote hill farm near Alston – near the highest market town in England – where Josephine looks after her sheep and writes her poetry. It’s her in-between land, a place between hearing and deafness, art and reality, home and you listening to the programme. It’s a challenging environment, too: in 2018...


The NHS Symphony

The patterns and flows of life in the NHS captured in immersive stereo, with specially commissioned music sung by NHS staff and The Bach Choir. In the maternity unit at Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital, the heart rate of an unborn child gives cause for concern. Across town at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, patients with critical heart conditions are closely monitored hour by hour. Downstairs in A&E, staff begin their shift not knowing what awaits them. Between the Ears marks the 70th anniversary...


The Mind's Eye

You can never see through someone else's eyes, but can we, by stealth, tap into people's visual imaginations? The mind's eye is something most of us take for granted - the 'secret cinema' inside our mind, turning sounds into shapes, characters into faces - it sometimes seems like a sixth sense. For those who have it. Constantly viewing our own personal visuals, we are powerless to control it, and no one else can see it but us. "A man hitting his head with a bible" or "A tree being chopped...


Right Between the Ears

When Ken Hollings underwent surgery at Moorfields Hospital for a detached retina he experienced an unexpected symphony inside his head, right between the ears. The sounds have haunted him ever since. Musician Martin McCarrick also found himself in a terrifying and unsettling world of head noise that began with a perforated ear drum and ended in a rare medical condition. He too has never forgotten the unexpected world of noise he heard between his ears and has set about recreating it. In this...


The Sheep of Art

What's the difference between the sheep found in art and real sheep? In a sheep bell rich melange, we go in hunt of the real thing, with sheep farmer, author of world best-sellers "Driving Over Lemons" and ex-Genesis member, Chris Stewart, and academic, writer and potential Bo-Peeper Alexandra Harris. Those famous shepherds watching their flocks by night were, of course, following in a great tradition - guarding sheep, leading them to pasture, and then probably killing their babies - just...


Drever, Ligo

The detection of Gravitational Waves in 2015 was hailed as an astounding breakthrough in the world of physics and a triumph for the. LIGO project, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. But the discovery was also a triumph for the men and women who had worked at LIGO during tumultuous times. DREVER, LIGO, is the poet Robert Crawford's meditation on the Scottish physicist Ronald Drever, and his role in the search for Gravitational Waves. Music by Jeremy Thurlow. Producer:...


The Three Second Rule

The three second rule - once more like folklore or hearsay - has been discovered to be the happiest condition for the human brain. In this imaginative journey through the synapses a work, rest and play - Susan Aldworth, Artist in Residence at York University, slips inside a scanner, under the suprvision of neuroscientists Professor Miles Whittington, and Dr Fiona LeBeau, who she has been working with on a project exploring sleep, to discover whether paying heed to the three second rhythm of...


Between the Ears: The Plot for Karl Marx

Karl Marx's penultimate journey was as a corpse in a coffin being trundled up the very steep hill of Highgate to what should have been his last resting place - a three-guinea plot in Highgate's East Cemetery - in March 1883, buried alongside his wife Jenny von Westphalen. The next year a memorial procession to his grave was turned away, but ever since then the Socialist world and the curious began to beat a path to his grave site. But then, in 1954, they dug Karl Marx up and turned him into...