Former Doctor Who co-star, Pearl Mackie, is now playing the leading role in Forest 404 an experimental sci-fi thriller from BBC Radio 4. 

As part of an all-female cast, Mackie is also joined by Tanya Moodie (Sherlock) and Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard). Written by Timothy X Atack the drama is set in the 24th century, ‘in a world where forests have been erased from history’. 

In the nine-episode thriller, Mackie plays Pan, a young woman who is haunted by sounds from the early 21st century in her job sorting through sound files that survived data crash known as ‘The Cataclysm’. After finding recordings of the now extinct rainforests Pan is being hunted down by the ruling powers for trying to find out why they no longer exist.

The podcast series is unique in that not only does it contain the audio drama but it is also accompanied by ‘The Talks’, which involves musicians, anthropologists, bio-futurists and others to discuss the issues explored in the drama. ‘The Soundscapes’ also accompany the episode which mixes sounds from the natural world binaurally to create an immersive 3d experience when listening with headphones.

In addition, The Forest 404 Experiment is a survey built in collaboration with Bristol, Exeter and the Open University alongside the podcast. The experiment aims to assess how the sounds of nature affect people’s mental health and well-being. The survey takes around 10-minutes to complete and draws upon the sounds featured in the podcast.

The complete Forest 404 podcast (with the episode, talks and soundscapes) can be listened to on the BBC Sounds website by clicking the link here. To take part in the Forest 404 Experiment, follow the link to the survey here. 

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