Wireless Nights

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Overnight Delivery2012040520140503

Jarvis Cocker prowls the dark, finding stories of the night people in a Prix Italia winning series.

Tonight, in an edition which won the Prix Italia for Extraordinary Originality and Innovation - a top European radio prize - the theme is Overnight Delivery. Jarvis boards the red-eye, taking a transatlantic flight of the imagination - peering down at the human dramas beneath as the world slowly rotates - accompanied by Jarvis' own musical selections.

As Jarvis reaches cruising altitude, he finds himself gripped by the compelling life and death stories of a shepherdess in the midst of a very difficult birth, a transplant nurse on late shift and a priest who performs the role of deliverance ministry - in layman's terms: exorcism.

But this dark night is not without light relief, as Jarvis muses on the trying experience of long haul air travel, revealing his own antidote to a fear of flying: Hugh Grant.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

A new series in which Jarvis Cocker prowls the dark, finding stories of the night people...

Tonight, the theme is Overnight Delivery as Jarvis boards the red-eye, taking a transatlantic flight of the imagination - peering down at the human dramas beneath as the world slowly rotates - accompanied by Jarvis' own musical selections.

Jarvis presents the dramas of a shepherd, a nurse, a priest and a transatlantic pilot.

0102They Only Come Out At Night2012041220140510

Continuing his new series of nocturnal meditations, Jarvis Cocker prowls the nation's night.

This evening's theme is 'they only come out at night'. Jarvis slips between the shadows to find punks, poets, poker dens and an alcohol fuelled badger watch and eavesdrops on a series of nocturnal dreams and dramas.

His guide to the dark is poet, author and explorer of the night Al Alvarez. In this trip through the night Al points him towards a gambling club where players never see daylight and nerves begin to fray around the card table; to a feminist punk gig where other more exotic identities emerge under cover of darkness; and to an allotment in Hastings where a man's mind unwinds whilst drinking beer, feeling 'the wild' and entertaining notions of sabotage.

Jarvis is our roving eye and ear entering these nocturnal worlds to shine a light whilst contemplating what it is that we search for once night falls.

Producer: Neil McCarthy.

From dusk til dawn he searches for the people and things that only come out at night. Weaving his way between short features, he eavesdrops on an all night poker game where nerves begin to fray as the hours roll on; on a feminist punk gig giving musical expression to the call centre generation; and on an alcohol fuelled badger-watch where a man's mind unwinds and thoughts of sabotage begin to enter.

Jarvis eavesdrops on an all-night poker game and an alcohol-fuelled badger watch.

0103Behind Closed Doors2012041920161003 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker takes to the streets to peer through stained windows, cold steel bars and Japanese paper screens, to find out just what goes on Behind Closed Doors at night time.

He joins a lock-in where the time bell is never rung, and peers into the deepest recesses of a lock-in brain that belongs to Jack, reliving the night when the doors shut in his brain.

On his nocturnal sojourn Jarvis recalls old times, on the streets of post-industrial Sheffield, and shares the loneliness of the long sentenced prisoner who dreams of empty streets under a full moon.

Take a night walk with Jarvis Cocker; bring a torch. You might find yourself in a dark corner, but you've got a good guide.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Jarvis Cocker goes on a city night walk to find out what goes on behind closed doors.

0104Night Manoeuvres2012042620150804 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker continues his prowl through the dark in the last of his new series Wireless Nights.

This evening he invites you on a curb crawl around the seamy side of town as he explores the theme 'night manoeuvres'. Driving through London he weaves his way in and out of the lives of other night riders who are always on the move. He joins a private investigator in Nottingham on a car chase and stake out on the trail of a man suspected to be having an affair; he finds a minicab driver lost in the Mersey fog between fares, haunted by an eerie bell; and is encircled by street skaters who spin around the neon-lit West End and dark car parks seeking thrills on wheels.

The ride might get a bit hairy at times, but he promises to drop you off safely at the end.

Produced by Neil McCarthy and Laurence Grissell.

0104 LASTNight Manoeuvres20120426

Jarvis Cocker continues his prowl through the dark in the last of his new series Wireless Nights.

This evening he invites you on a curb crawl around the seamy side of town as he explores the theme 'night manoeuvres'. Driving through London he weaves his way in and out of the lives of other night riders who are always on the move. He joins a private investigator in Nottingham on a car chase and stake out on the trail of a man suspected to be having an affair; he finds a minicab driver lost in the Mersey fog between fares, haunted by an eerie bell; and is encircled by street skaters who spin around the neon-lit West End and dark car parks seeking thrills on wheels.

The ride might get a bit hairy at times, but he promises to drop you off safely at the end.

Produced by Neil McCarthy and Laurence Grissell.

Jarvis Cocker invites listeners on a curb crawl around the seamy side of town.

0201Night Of The Hunter2013050920161007 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker returns to Radio 4 with his award-winning feature series exploring the human condition after dark. Tonight is the 'Night of the Hunter' and Jarvis turns his eye to the starlit sky with his mind on hunters and their quarry.

Taking his bearings from Orion, he follows a lamper across farmland hunting foxes by torchlight. A soldier takes him on a top secret mission behind enemy lines when the hunter became the hunted. He accompanies a young man nervously preparing for his first date, in pursuit of love. And a party of friends go out on the pull in Hull, with mixed results.

Join him on an aural journey of the imagination as he tunes into the wireless night.

Producer Neil McCarthy

Contributor recordings by Sara Parker, David Reeves and Laurence Grissell.

0202Nightwatch2013051620140517

Jarvis Cocker becomes a nightwatchman in a high rise office block as he continues his nocturnal exploration of the human condition.

Decked out in regulation uniform and armed with a powerful torch, Jarvis starts his rounds protecting London's 36 storey Euston Tower. Along the way, he hears tales from others keeping watch during the dark hours.

Among those who share their stories of late night vigilance are the parents of a young girl with a rare condition which causes her to stop breathing when she falls asleep; a man at a control centre in Portsmouth who monitors the Indian Ocean for Somali pirates and a former spy recalling a dangerous meeting with a Middle Eastern agent.

For Jarvis, the strain of this late lonely night starts to takes its toll as he attempts to play table tennis - with himself.

As ever, the stories in tonight's dark vigil are accompanied by Jarvis' own musical selections.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0203Nights Of Passage2013052320140524

Tonight, Jarvis Cocker's award winning nocturnal exploration of the human condition takes to the sea. Join him on the midnight sailing of a Channel ferry as he contemplates night crossings mythic and modern.

As he moves across dark waters he hears the miraculous story of Jeni, a castaway lost and found in the North Sea whose epic struggle took place at night. He meets Sean, a young wrestler who slips through the ropes of the ring for his first fight night and embarks on his own rite of passage. Also on board, a wise old man of the sea, Swilly Billy, keeps Jarvis on course.

The ferryman of dead souls across the ancient River Styx also shadows the vessel but fear not, sea sickness tablets are available the lights of Calais are not far off.

Produced by Neil McCarthy.

As he moves across dark waters he hears the miraculous story of Jeni, a castaway lost and found in the North Sea whose epic struggle took place at night. He meets Sean, a young wrestler who slips through the ropes of the ring for his first fight night and embarks on his own right of passage. Also on board, a wise old man of the sea, Swilly Billy, keeps Jarvis on course.

Charon, the ferryman of dead souls across the ancient River Styx makes an appearance but, fear not, sea sickness tablets are available the lights of Calais are not far off.

0204 LASTThe Darkest Hour2013053020161006 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker stars in his own horror movie as he continues his nocturnal examination of the human condition, exploring the battle between the forces of darkness and light.

He hears from horror movie goers at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham, keen to turn the lights off and let the scares begin; the National Grid control room which is charged from keeping the lights on; and Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel - where the electricity switches off at midnight.

What is lurking in the basement as Jarvis approaches the darkest hour?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0301Bbc Philharmonic Presents2014101320141221 (6M)
20141225 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker brings his award winning series Wireless Nights to Salford, forming part of this year's BBC Philharmonic Presents... series, a celebration of orchestral music in its many different forms.

In front of a studio audience, Jarvis Cocker and the BBC Philharmonic weave tales of insomnia, nocturnal inspirations and dark imaginings from the world of classical music - against the backdrop of a President embroiled in the Vietnam War. There's also a special performance from Jarvis himself.

Jarvis tells stories of an insomniac German Count who supposedly had Bach compose his Goldberg Variations as a sleeping aid, and a wired President Nixon listening to Rachmaninov in the small hours when he felt the urge to go on a bizarre excursion in the presidential limo.

He also conjures up music that came in dreams and revelations - from Stravinsky's wild visions in the Rite of Spring to Schumann's once forgotten Violin Concerto, which apparently re-emerged during a séance many years after the composer's death.

Maxime Tortelier conducts the BBC Philharmonic led by Yuri Torchinsky. Anthony Marwood plays solo violin and Peter Donohoe plays solo piano. The programme was recorded on 1 October.

Producers: Laurence Grissell and Neil McCarthy.

0302Reaching For The Moon2014102020141221 (6M)
20150805 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker attempts to fly to the moon, with the aid of astronaut Chris Hadfield - famous for his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity on the International Space Station.

En route he hears stories of those touched by the moon in its many manifestations.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and repeated on 6 Music to mark the Winter Solstice.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

0303Iceland Underworld20141027

In the first of a double-bill, Jarvis Cocker wanders the lava fields of Iceland in search of the unseen forces of night. In the midnight shadow of Snaefellsjokull, the volcano featured in Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jarvis considers the timelessness of the landscape. That is until he bumps into some sheep on the beach and learns about sheep time. Leaving them, he ventures into a hole in the lava floor and finds himself on his own journey through a magma underworld, complete with symphony orchestra, only to emerge in a farmhouse where a night of singing is taking place in honour of a deceased relative.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0303Lava And Ice2014102720141221 (6M)
20150806 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker wanders the lava fields of Iceland in search of the unseen forces of night. In the midnight shadow of Snaefellsjokull, the volcano featured in Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jarvis considers the timelessness of the landscape, until he discovers sheep time. His sheep guides only lead him further into the unknown, through a hole in the lava floor and on a journey through a magma underworld, finding there a symphony orchestra, human seals and a wake.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0304Bright Nights2014110320150807 (R4)

In the second part of his nocturnal Icelandic adventure, Jarvis goes on a journey through the long, light summer night. He meets Megas, the island's best known poet and rock and roll legend, who warns of wandering demons as he embarks on an overnight road trip.

Along the way he stops to hear ghost stories in Reykjavik's oldest cemetery, meets an elf seer in a lava field and is led to a sacred waterfall, behind which he makes a wish. But will he make it back before the hour of the wolf?

Producer Neil McCarthy.

0304 LASTBright Nights2014110320141221 (6M)

In the second part of his nocturnal Icelandic adventure, Jarvis goes on a journey through the long, light summer night. He meets Megas, the island's best known poet and rock and roll legend, who warns of wandering demons as he embarks on an overnight road trip.

Along the way he stops to hear ghost stories in Reykjavik's oldest cemetery, meets an elf seer in a lava field and is led to a sacred waterfall, behind which he makes a wish. But will he make it back before the hour of the wolf?

Producer Neil McCarthy.

04Keep On Truckin'2015113020161004 (R4)

Jarvis meets an unlucky trucker, a hopeful hitchhiker and a host of Scottish ghostbusters.

Jarvis Cocker continues his nocturnal exploration of the human condition.

Tonight: an unlucky trucker, a hopeful hitch-hiker and a host of Scottish ghostbusters.

As Jarvis climbs up into the Wireless Nights monster truck, he hears from a long distance lorry driver who received a nasty surprise, a hitcher trying to make it to Liverpool and he travels along the most haunted stretch of road in Scotland.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

04Snowbound2015120720161005 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker is snowed in for tonight's nocturnal exploration of the human condition. With the snow piling high outside his farmhouse and long hours to kill, Jarvis's mind drifts to other snowbound dramas and dilemmas as he tries to distract himself from a creeping solitude. But as night draws on, can he be sure he's really alone?

Producer Neil McCarthy.

04The Nightclub20151214

Jarvis Cocker invites you to a night out in Soho on his nocturnal exploration of the human condition. Below street level he finds drama and delirium as clubbers play out their lives after dark.

From a dimly lit ska joint to an after hours speakeasy, Jarvis is night guide to the smoke and mirrors of underground Soho - brushing shoulders with a club angel, a psychic mod and a singing waitress in among the shadows.

(Free dance lesson included)

Producer Neil McCarthy.

04Underwater At The Proms2015112320151231 (R4)

Jarvis Cocker's nocturnal exploration of the human condition takes him beneath the waves in this special edition of Wireless Nights.

Accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic at this year's Proms, as Jarvis drifts off to sleep he soon finds himself on an underwater voyage down to the endless night of the ocean bed. En route, he meets psychoanalyst Carl Jung, two submariners called Roger trapped in a tiny submersible and a free-diver experiencing "the rapture of the deep".

The BBC Philharmonic creates a sonic seascape as Jarvis goes deeper and deeper - but will he make it back to the surface in time to wake up?

Producers Laurence Grissell and Neil McCarthy.

05Berlin20170403

Jarvis Cocker's nocturnal exploration of the human condition leads him to Berlin. Walking in the shadowlands of the Wall he reflects on a once divided city and hears stories of the nacht.

Between East and West, he encounters a 1930's musical salon run by a cabaret diva; a ballroom dancing escapee from East Berlin; an underground den of iniquity and vice; and Iggy Pop, held prisoner.

Amid the street-lit ruins of the Berlin Wall, he considers the scar left behind.

05Joujouka20170313

Jarvis Cocker returns to Radio 4 with his nocturnal explorations of the human condition.

In tonight's Wireless Night, Jarvis travels to a remote village in the Rif Mountains of Morocco to join the Master Musicians of Joujouka. Their ancient Sufi trance music is said to heal crazy minds. Jarvis wonders if his own troubled mind can find tranquillity there but encounters the wild living embodiment of the God Pan, half man and half goat, who has other ideas.

The Master Musicians of Joujouka were first discovered by Western ears in the 1950's when beat writers and artists like Brion Gysin and William Burroughs, living in Tangier, were lured up to the hills and had their minds blown by the healing power of the music. Rolling Stone Brian Jones also made a recording of their music shortly before his death calling it The Rites of Pan in Joujouka. This ritual lives on in the village, where somebody dressed in goatskins takes on the mythical character Bou Jeloud, enters a trance, whirls around with branches of willow and anyone he brushes with is blessed with fertility.

For one night only Jarvis joins the musicians and Bou Jeloud under a starlit sky in North Africa where unexpected things happen after dark.

This programme was recorded "Binaurally". This is a special, immersive way of recording whereby you'll hear things the way Jarvis was hearing them and can best be appreciated by listening on headphones.

Producer Neil McCarthy.

05Megahertz20170327

Jarvis Cocker navigates the ether as he continues his nocturnal exploration of the human condition.

On a night voyage across a sea of shortwave he meets those who broadcast, monitor and harvest electronic radio transmissions after dark.

Paddy McAloon, founder of the band Prefab Sprout, took to trawling the megahertz when he was recovering from eye surgery and the world around him became dark. Tuning in at night he developed a ghostly romance with far off voices and abnormal sounds.

Artist Katie Paterson and 'Moonbouncer' Peter Blair send Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back, to find sections of it swallowed up by craters.

Journalist Colin Freeman was captured by the Somali pirates he went to report on and held hostage in a cave. But when one of them loaned him a shortwave radio, the faint signal to the outside world gave him hope as he dreamed of freedom.

And "London Shortwave" hides out in a park after dark, with his ear to the speaker on his radio, slowly turning the dial to reach all four corners of the earth

Jarvis sails in and out of their stories - from the cosmic to the captive - as he wonders what else is out there, deep in the noise

Producer Neil McCarthy.

05Night Tube20170320

Jarvis Cocker rides in the driver's cab of a late night Tube train, hearing tales of nocturnal travellers across London.

With Beyonce-loving Night Tube driver Kylie at the controls, Jarvis is whisked along the Victoria line late into the night. En route he hears from a cast of characters embroiled in their own dramas as they make their way around the capital in the small hours - including a late night reveller who fell sleep on the train and got more than she'd bargained for.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.