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What is Forest 404?

Can you feel loss for something you’ve never known?

Welcome to BBC Radio 4’s innovative new podcast – Forest 404. Set in the 24th Century in a world where forests have been erased from history, Forest 404 is an immersive sci-fi thriller starring Pearl Mackie, Tanya Moodie and Pippa Haywood – with original music by Bonobo

So, what is it all about?

Pearl Mackie plays Pan in Forest 404

The Thriller (9 x Episodes)

Forest 404 is set in the 24th century, after a data crash called The Cataclysm. Pan, our protagonist, is a young woman with a boring job sorting and deleting old sound files that survived the crash. She uncovers a set of sound recordings from the early 21st century that haunt her.

What are we willing to lose, and who are we willing to become?

They are recordings of rainforests – places which no longer exist – and Pan feels compelled to hunt down the truth about how the forests of the old world died. All the time she is pursued by the agents of the new world’s ruling powers.

The drama will provoke you to imagine the world we know today as a thing of the ancient past, to picture a scenario where all we have left of the earth’s verdant ecology is a few audio files. The big question at the centre of the tale is: what are we willing to lose, and who are we willing to become?

Listen to the drama: Ep1 Life in the Fast Times

The Talks (9 x Episodes)

Each drama episode has an accompanying talk which looks at the issues and questions around the themes, with a diverse range of speakers: musicians, bio-futurists, anthropologists and tree-climbers.

Each talk, in turn, riffs off the themes explored in the drama. Titles range from Why should I listen to trees? to Would you vote for an AI government? and What is death in the digital age?

Listen to the Forest 404 Talks: Why should I listen to trees?

The Soundscapes (9 x Episodes)

Each drama episode also comes with an immersive soundscape of natural world environments, mixed in binaural for a 3D headphone experience.

Would you vote for an AI government?

You can hear the sound of the Sumatran Rainforest, the songs of whales, a chorus of frogs, and a full playout of Bonobo’s specially-composed theme tune within this line-up.

Listen to Bonobo's Theme

The Experiment

Stressed or tired after a long day? Listening to nature might help you feel better.

This podcast has been produced alongside The Forest 404 Experiment, a survey built in collaboration with Exeter University and the Open University.

The aim of the experiment is to assess the effects that different natural sounds have on mental health and well-being. The survey will be drawing on many of the natural sounds featured in the podcast.

You can take part in the 10-minute experiment and help us understand how people respond to the sounds of the natural world.

Take part in The Forest 404 Experiment now

Forest 404 was written by Timothy X Atack.

Produced and Directed by Becky Ripley.

The theme music was by Bonobo.

Sound Design by Graham Wild