Wednesday, 8 May 2013
The Sound of Summer
Eighty-seven today - and still very much in harness - is Sir David Attenborough. I've had my reservations about some of his recent work and utterances, but this is not the time to rehearse them. Attenborough has been our greatest TV naturalist (as well as, for a while, a remarkably creative TV exec) and can still turn out brilliant documentaries - his recent two-parter on Madagascar, for example, or Attenborough's Ark. His radio series of essays, Life Stories, was (literally) wonderful - and now he's back on Radio 4, presenting the first month of an epic project, Tweet of the Day. Each of these 90-second programmes showcases a fine recording of the song of a British bird, with Attenborough giving a thumbnail sketch of the species and its habits. It's no substitute for the much-missed Birdsong Radio, that endless dawn chorus that made for such restful nighttime listening - but it's a lovely thing to find if you happen to be awake at two minutes to 6 in the morning. Happily I caught this morning's Tweet: it was the thin aerial scream of swifts - the sound of summer!