Main content

Message in a Bottle

Chris Ledgard uncorks a message in a bottle to see how this humble missive has bobbed its way through ancient wars, naval history, Elizabethan espionage and maritime science.

Chris Ledgard uncorks the subject of message in a bottle.

Sending a message in a bottle across the ocean to be rediscovered by someone in a far off land is an idea as old as Ancient Greece. Christopher Columbus did it, Jules Verne wrote about it and The Police sang that song. There's romance and adventure in the endless possibilities of interacting with the unknown.

As Chris explores the oblique and whimsical nature of this form of communication he hears modern day stories about people who have been saved by sending out an SOS, formed friendships across the water and found scientific value in the pastime.

However, amongst the tide of approval for this historical tradition a dissenting voice lurks.

Produced by Stephen Garner

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 28 Jul 2014 23:00

The Word of Mouth Message in a Bottle

The Word of Mouth Message in a Bottle

Launching the bottle in Liverpool Bay

Richard Gordon Smith

Richard Gordon Smith

Richard Gordon Smith plays his violin on Crosby Beach


Featured in...

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

Keywords for Our Time

Series of programmes examining key phrases in public debate.

Smiley face: Seven things you didn't know about emoji

Some facts about emoji - possibly the world's first truly global form of communication.

The funny words that kids invent

Have a look at some of the fantastic words that children invent and reimagine.