The sound of the sea runs through this year’s programme, with topics ranging from ancient Norse navigation to tidal power in Ushant. We have stories of lost ships of the Spanish Armada and lost lands beneath the sea, and underwater photographs from Scapa Flow and the Arctic.

There will be insights on traditional boatbuilding and modern bridge construction, including the new Queensferry Crossing. We will hear of the quest for new products from bacteria and for the first living cell, and of the mysterious lights in the Norwegian valley of Hessdalen – could they be linked to ball lightning?

It’s the 50th anniversary of Orkney’s North Isles air service, and we’ll feature the story of Loganair and the rugged Islander aircraft and its effect on island life.

It’s also the 40th anniversary of the opening of Orkney’s North Sea oil terminal, and we’ll hear about the people who brought the oil ashore. We’ll also hear about the latest developments in 3D printing, and ways in which communities can build their own printers and recycle waste plastic.

You can see stunning images of the night sky, you can hear about gravitational waves and their Orkney connection, you can learn about string theory via rock guitar and about the life of the amazing Nikola Tesla – and you can sample an ancient cereal whose origins go back 6,000 years.

A concert in the 12th-century St Magnus Cathedral will look back to a great springtime of knowledge in the western world, and there will be an opportunity to walk on part of the new St Magnus Way.

The programme is close to completion and we are hoping to post it up here in mid-April, with tickets on sale by the end of that month. We will post updates on progress.