Episode 1 The One Show - Best of Britain

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Hello and welcome to The One Show, the best of Britain. Matt Baker and


Alex were on a well-earned holiday so we're out on the road, taking in


the nation's best loved Today we come to Cheddar gorge, one


of the Morse natural phenomenon is in Britain. Over 3 million years in


the making. Spectacular views from the air, as I was in The One Show


hot-air balloon last year. These 450 ft-high cliffs make the


scorch in Somerset, the deepest in Britain. Said to have inspired a


token when he was writing Lord of the Rings, it begins its epic


journey a mile away up in the hills. For hundreds of years, people have


speculated about how this enormous land for mission was created but if


I'm going to get to the bottom of this mystery, the first clue is not


up here, but deep within the ground. Beneath the gorge are further


mysteries which were only discovered as recently as the 19th


century by a Victorian explorer. He first clambered through the tiny


foot high passageway behind me and emerged into this enormous cave


system which stretches for nearly a kilometre. As he went further,


social life. This is his cave, deep inside the limestone bedrock of


cheddar and it is this rock that is the key to understanding how a this


was formed. Chris Castle has been studying the caves and knows more


than most about their origins. is all to do with the rock we are


surrounded by, limestone. It will dissolve in water, the water


becomes more acidic and chemically reacts with the limestone and


dissolves it, makes a bigger opening, a cave, then water can get


in and you get a cave system forming. All this water, where does


it go? It comes here to decade. It once flowed through here but with


the passage of time, it has formed another system below us. The loss,


it is one of the biggest in Britain. The Victorians were so impressed


that they became convinced of the gorge must have been formed by the


collapse of a much older Cavan. This theory persisted for over a


hundred years until recent research revealed the truth. Satellite


mapping illustrates how the limestone, shown in blue, forms a


Channel and his combination of this unique rock type and its location


close to the mountains which led to the gorge's Foundation. To


understand how, I need to get a proper view and the best way to do


Joining me is Andrew from the British Geological Survey. From the


calm of the billing, we can finally see all the pieces of the puzzle,


starting with the Mendip Hills and stretching all the way down to the


Somerset Levels. This would have been under a tropical warm sea.


They be like the Great barrier Reef in Australia. Lots of sea creatures


living there, now they are fossils formed in the limestone. Today,


many of us worry about cannot challenge -- climate change, but


here, this has been shaped by the process of many years before.


the last million years, the climate has changed from very warm to very


cold and during the cold periods, although the glacier has never got


this far south, Mendip would have been very cold and covered in snow.


In the summer months, they would have been a short period when the


snow melted. The water would have roared down the valleys, cutting


the gorge as it went. That has happened many times over the last 2


million years. The history of how our world has been shaped by


climate change is written all over the face of the gorge. It is a


sobering thought that to 300 million years ago, the landscape


beneath me would have been a thriving grief of shellfish and are


there hundreds of millions of years, the face of the planet has changed


beyond all recognition. That is certainly the way to see that, I


was very jealous. Imagine having that you every day and you would if


you were at peregrine falcon. There are lots of them here with lots of


prey to feed on. Blink, and she will miss them because they can


sweep at speeds of up to 200 miles an hour. Absolutely amazing


creditors but even they would struggle in the dark a bit. Funny


you say that because that is one area where human beings have the


edge, all thanks to an inventor in the 1820s.


Most of us only think about a light bulbs when they break but the light


bulb is one of the most important inventions ever. It is changing


shape and material now but a light bulb is still a fundamental part of


our everyday life. This is Mosley Street in the centre of Newcastle


and in February at 1879, it was the first street in Britain to be lit


by electric light bulbs but if you ask anybody around here who


invented the Bible, they are most likely to say this. I think it was


Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison got all the glory but


we have another man to thank for this brilliant invention, a Brit,


Joseph Swan. Eager to explore this great invention further, I ventured


across Newcastle to the university to take part in a brilliant


experiment involving a replica of one of his original bolts that he


produced in 1879. This is not the original, a replica? Yes, made in


19 Sunday nine, the 100 anniversary. Does that light up? We don't know,


we never tried. This has never been that the former. Talk me through


the process as you do it. And when to turn the power on, gradually


increase the wattage that has been delivered to the bulb. I see some


tiny sparks. Stop. We have 34 faults and the glowing filaments.


And not going to be able to do much with that light? We can take it


higher. It's almost 50 false and that is the kind of level that he


would have produced. For him and the people in that year, this was a


breakthrough? Indeed. Family ticket at that higher? Oh! I think it has


burnt out. For a moment, it was brilliant. That was a really


brilliant white. Incredibly, 113 years on, his original light boat


design is similar to what we use today. Born and bred in Gateshead,


he first revealed his liable to the world some 10 months before Thomas


Edison at this building in Newcastle on 3rd February 1918


Sunday nine. An audience of 700 were enthralled by the dazzling


invention. The bold burned for 30 yards but it also ignited a heated


debate. What happened after this first public demonstration?


didn't take out any patterned for a light bulb until much later. In the


meantime, on 10th November 1879, Thomas Edison, who had been working


on the idea, had to come out at British hadn't. After Swan formed a


new company, Thomas Edison brought proceedings against that company.


However, Thomas Edison's infringement application was too


late. Thomas Edison must have realised that he had a problem on


his hands and the parties entered into discussions and they came to


an agreement which resulted in the formation of a joint company, the


Edison and Swan United Electrical Company. White has sworn not get


any credit for this? Being the man he was, he was not interested in


personal publicity. In contrast, Thomas Edison, as is very well-


known, was very keen on publicity and indeed was publicising the


invention of the light bulb before he had done it! So there is the


answer as to why most of us think Thomas Edison invented the light


bulb. Be believed the American's publicity and hype. They have been


many inventors of are the last century but it is now apparent to


me that just of Swan is one of Britain's great unsung inventors.


There is a small thing but the next time you turn on the light bulb,


think of the great man who invented it. Just a swan. Be proud to be


British. You got to let the electric lights


especially when they let you see these caves another Majesty. They


are totally extraordinary. Amazing, we were surrounded by these amazing


for missions. These caves are stuffed with minerals and that is


why everyone has been so desperate to explore them. The different


colours, the green from the pan and brown and the copper makes it a


beautiful colour in this Cavan we are sitting in at the moment.


Initially, there was thought to be diamonds in here. Imagine the


Victorian explorer tunnelling through for seven years and imagine


coming through with just a flickering candle and seeing these


beautiful for missions, he thought he had discovered diamonds.


would have been an extra bonus, we now know that neolithic man was in


here 40,000 years ago and my favourite fact is that we have


Britain's oldest complete skeleton here. 9000 years old, he was found


in his cave. Cheddar was the first place in Britain to discover


evidence of cannibalism. This skeleton remains intact. He was not


cannibalised. When he was here being eaten was considered as a way


of transporting your soul to the after life so Cheddar man had upset


someone as he was left in one piece. He is not the only cave dwelling


man around here, Cheddar is famous for its bats and as a colony down


the road which are very own Mike Dilger discovered.


There's nothing quite like being out and about in nature. It's such


a century experience but it's not just your eyes you need to make the


most of it, the Major years, too. Have a listen to that. When we stop


and tune in, there is a whole cacophony of sound and there. But


as sensitive as our ears are, human hearing is limited compared to one


animal. And hoping to demonstrate the Super Sense other creature who


is very success in life is based on its ability to hear a range well


beyond our reach, it's a badge. This is not Somerset and very soon,


it will be teeming with bats. Providing the perfect opportunity


to illustrate my point. There are certain frequencies of sound that


humans are completely deaf to. If I click on 14 kilohertz, I can hear


that really high-pitched annoying frequency but if I click on 20


kilohertz, I cannot hear a single thing because that is the upper


limit of the human hearing range. That is called ultrasound and that


is the domain of bats and the only way I can hear those calls is with


one of these, at bat detector. That's live and feed at night to


avoid daytime predators and they have evolved a precise navigation


system based around their hearing called Eco location. As it flies,


at that constantly sent out a series of short, high-pitched


sounds which travel away from the bat and bounce of any object in the


pack creating an echo. By listening to this returning echo, that's a


target and home in on their prey. Tonight I'm hoping to show you how


brilliantly accurate they are. With all these insects about, it would


be long before they come out to hunt. Listen to that. That was the


sound of bats echo locating the right above my head. What I'm


trying to do is captured the moment about swoops down to catch his prey


and to help me out, I'm going to use a court. It gets more high-tech


than that, we've brought an entirely new slow-motion camera


that films in infra red along with special infra-red lights to avoid


disturbing the that's what that means I remain Byett in total


darkness. All I can do is throw up Wow! Did you see that?! It looked


pretty good to me, but let's take a closer look.


Right, here we go. Up goes the cork. 12 times slowed down. In comes the


bat, really long wings. It went right past it. Watch this. It is


turning around on a six pence. It is hearing for the cork, not seeing


it. It scoots past the cork. It realises it is not food. It got so


close to it. You know it can see that image in its mind's eye and


decided there is food to be had eldwhere. All with its ears. This


is one of the fiercest night time predators. If you are a moth, a


beatle or any type of night flying insect. I'm chuffed to bits. I've


never, ever seen footage like this. Our experiment shows that with


echolocation bats are aware of everything around them, even in


pitch darkness. With this supersense, they really are kings


You know, Miranda, I could really get into the wildlife stuff. The


bats are incredible. The rarest bat of all, the Great Horseshoe bat


live in this cave. 10% much the entire bat family live in these


caves. That's right. Other bats tend to land close to the cave and


then fly in, but the horseshoe bats, they fly right N


What are the chances of seeing one? You may see the odd blob, but I


have not seen any today, unfortunately. You may listen, but


no, you are not going to hear them. They echo locate.


But that is not in our audible hearing range. I tell you what is,


that is Edgar Elgar. I love listening to hem. So does Giles,


who is going to find out more. In the shadow of the more van hills in


the summer of 1857, the son of a piano tuner was born. He was to


become one of Britain's greatest composers, Edgar Elgar. Elgar's


music was inspired by this tremendous countryside. I'm


climbing the Malvern hills with to the west, Shropshire, and to the


east, you can see as far as the Cotswolds. This extraordinary


countryside and Elgar's life are intertwined. The young Elgar spent


hours in the hills. He received little formal music education, but


on summer days he would take music scores from his father's shop into


the hill Is to study them. Years later, Elgar recorded the childhood


days. He said he was still at heart the dreamy child to be found in the


reeds by the Severn side with a piece of paper in his hands, trying


to fix the sounds and longing for something very great.


That child's appreciation of nature, would later be reflected in his


music. One of his favourite compositions was the Woodland


Interlude. I mean this music really evokes


woodland doesn't it? Well, it is this. One of the things that is


strike being this, apart from the prevalence of grown is that there


are no colours or lights that stand out. Everything is blending. There


is a dapled light effect. Elgar is a genius at that kind of dapled


scoring. Everything, the strings, he mixs in the colours of the wood


winds and at one point the horns so that you can hear them Minging in


and out like the light. Did he listen to nature? Oh, yes,


he said he listened to the sound of the trees. Was he writing their


music or singing his? He felt that whole question of nature atmosphere


was what gave him the sounds that he created.


So, it is a partnership between Elgar and nature? He would have


seen it that way, definitely. In 1889 Elgar married and married


well. To Alice Roberts, the daughter of a general. The couple


moved to London with hopes that Elgar would succeed as a composer,


but they struggled. Elgar didn't get the recognition he so despitely


craved and penniless, they returned to the Malverns. Such failure could


have marked the end of his career, but moving back to his beloved


Malverns, the Malverns of his youth, proved, in fact, to be a new


beginning. In 1901, Elgar conducting here, composed a tune


which propelled him to the forefront of English music. His


Pomp and Circumstance March Number 1. At King Edward's request, words


were added, the result was London much Hope and Glory, but it became


a rallying rally. It disturbed Elgar. He felt it was not in


keeping with the huge loss of life. The war depressed Elgar deeply, his


last major work, reflected the despair that he felt. He was


mourning a vanished era. Where better to hear this masterpiece


than here in the very hills that To the end, the relationship


between Elgar's music and this landscape remained. On his death


bed he hummed this haunting tune to a friend and said if ever you are


walking on the Malvern hills and hear that, don't be frightened,


it's only me. I don't know how they got those


musicians up that hill? I am tkwhrad I left my harp behind today.


Now, we have a great view of the caves in inside, but up here, the


view is splendid. I feel like an adventurer, climbing up and


abseiling down it is lovely to feel the carniverous rocks as well. Here,


it is easy to get to the access point, but I was working up in


Derbyshire making a film and there was a lot of climbing! Few, if any


conchers of Britain remain unexplored. Even the wilder areas


like the Derby shire Dales are mapped out in the greatest detail,


but under ground it is a different story and a few metres beneath my


feet there is a whole network of caves and tunnels and under ground


rivers. For men like Mr Dixon, the unexplored is a challenge that must


be faced, whatever it takes. The story of, "Moose's" Biggest


find began with an obscure 18th century document.


Many years ago, there was an account written by a chap called


Pompry. That was describing this mine, but the mine that we know has


a blockage in it. The mine he described described what was beyond


the blockage. The remnants of the old led mine is


entered by a speedwell cavern. A tourist attraction in the


Derbyshire Dales. Moose became obsessed with what laid behind the


blockage. He set about exploring. So, this was the boat journey you


have to make. As Moose and his team went deeper,


tantalising clues emerged as to what was up ahead.


Wow, what happened? We are deep in the old cave, this is the old


graffiti from the 18th century. October, 20th, 1781?! So, these are


clues in piecing together who was mining the various caves and mines


at what time? That's right. The marks on the wall convinced the


team it was worth pressing onment over months and years they cleared


tonnes of rock and mud it meant shoring up passages and diverting


an under ground river. You are literally digging by hand,


blasting the odd rock away, slowly edging forwards until you break


through. Six year after the work began, they finally broke through


to the gigantic antic cavern. The break through came on New


Year's Day, 1999. We finally broke through into the chamber and looked


up at it, it was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Once in a


lifetime. What is up here? That is a different way, that is the hard


way. We are going an easier way. took another five years to create a


safer access to the cave, that's the route I'm using today.


Very few people have done this trip, let's hope I'm up to it.


At 141 metres, the cave is taller than the live. I'm dropping on to a


ledge at the top of Titan. I will be able to look down into the sheer


drop of the abyss. Wow! I cannot even begin to see the


other side of the bottom. It is a huge black void.


But you can sense there is a big space out. There$$NEWLINE And this


is what Titan looks like, illuminated by powerful lights.


I cannot believe we are in Derbyshire. I thought I was going


to feel Claus ow -- claustrophobic, but actually, I feel exposed. That


is like nothing I have ever seen. Looking at it from here is one


thing, going down it is quite another.


If you want to bowl out, now is the time.


It had occurred to me. Don't look down! Yes, don't look


down! Looking up, there are incredible stalactites and all of


the waterfalling down. It is amazing. We are about a quarter of


the way now, Dan. A quarter of the way?! The only


thing I have ever experienced like this is a cathedral. A massive


grand space hewn out of the rock. Halfway down is a ledge. It is as


far as I can go. It is far enough. I thought I would never feel my


legs again. Before ascending back to the lights I wanted a glimpse of


the darkness below. That's a long way.


I'm not looking forward to this much.


It's back up the hard way, using a mountaineering technique called


produce yacking. It is heaving yourself hand over hand back up the


rope. It is exhausting. The final stretch of the man-made


shaft is thankfully winch-assisted. Well, I doubt I'll ever have the


chance to do anything like that again ever in my life. Without the


sheer bloody mindedness of Moose and his mates, I would never have


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