Browse content similar to Episode 4. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Welcome to The One Show: Best Of Britain with Gyles Brandreth.
-And Anita Rani.
Rani is the Hindi word for queen. This is my princess for today.
We've got a right royal selection of our favourite One Show films.
Today, we're in one of the UK's most distinctive landmarks, the Giant's Causeway,
which is made up of 40,000 basalt columns thrusting out of the sea.
What is a basalt column?
It's lava that's come from a volcanic eruption that's solidified slowly.
I knew that. I was just testing.
We're in a World Heritage Site here
that was discovered by the Bishop of Derry in the early 1700s.
Then there was an artist from Dublin called Susanna Drury
who did some wonderful watercolours all set around here.
These became famous pictures,
so popular that people began to come to the site
to see if it could be as beautiful as the pictures were, and it is.
It is. It's extraordinary, and if you look at the coastline, it's perfect for seabirds.
These rock formations have quite a lot of unusual plants growing on them,
and if you are lucky, Gyles, in the water on a good day,
-you can see porpoises...
-..Seals and dolphins.
But Miranda Krestovnikoff, not far from here,
spotted something a lot more exotic.
Well, as long as it isn't a conger eel, I'll be all right.
The fish I'm hoping to find today can provide anglers with unforgettable battles,
and few sea fish can match its raw fighting power.
They're found in waters all around the UK,
but here in Northern Ireland is one of the best places to dive with them.
There are a staggering 15,000 shipwrecks in the waters surrounding Ireland,
and many of them are found here around Rathlin Island, off the North Irish coast.
These wrecks provide the perfect habitat for the creature I'm hoping to find.
Jim Delaney is my man in the know.
He's been diving these waters for 25 years,
and never tires of the underwater treasures the Irish Sea has to offer.
This is one of my favourite sites in all of Ireland, if not all the world.
There's so much life about here, both above the surface and below.
-And these waters are littered with shipwrecks.
-Yeah, there's thousands of wrecks around.
In its day, it was more or less like a battlefield of the sea,
and there's many, many shipwrecks round here. Fantastic.
For me, the reason I have come here is to try and come face to face with a conger eel.
What are the chances of doing that?
Well, I think you've come to the right place.
The wreck we're heading for is in a secret location
and is unmarked to stop the conger eels being over-fished.
But Jim knows just where to take me.
This is conger heaven, isn't it, a place like this?!
Even though the wreck hasn't broken up.
This is just an ideal dream home for a conger.
It's beautiful. It's encrusted.
Every single surface is covered with algae and dead man's fingers.
Lots and lots of beautiful kelp.
We're down here about 18 metres deep.
Normally, they're nocturnal creatures.
You never see them swimming around during the daytime as well.
Those great big menacing eyes!
There's no sign of congers anywhere.
Let's go and have a look over there.
You've got to shine your torch into every little hole, haven't you?
They can get so big. You normally only ever see their face
as their poking their head out.
'They can reach up to three metres in length
'and weigh as much as 160 kilograms.'
Look at these massive holes here.
They love these dark holes and they can just hide away
and wait for something to swim past for their dinner.
Oh, my God! There's a huge, huge, blue conger eel in here.
That is absolutely fantastic. Take a look at him.
He is brilliant.
Now he's not going to come out.
He's quite happily sitting there looking at me.
'And later, as dusk set in, they did come out.
'And to me, it seemed more curious than ferocious.'
They can be distinguished from other eels by the long continuous dorsal fin
that runs the length of their body.
Perhaps most fascinating about them is their mysterious life-cycle.
They go on a long migration to the centre of the Atlantic to spawn,
and then die soon afterwards.
It's believed that the offspring travel back to the same coast their parents are from,
meaning the wrecks of Rathlin could provide a home for the offspring of these two for generations to come.
THEY SING THE CONGA
Now that is my idea of a Conga.
Time to be serious for a minute, whilst I give you some facts about this extraordinary place.
Now, 60 million years ago in a time just after dinosaurs,
but right before man, even older than you, Gyles, right here, the landscape was very different.
This used to be a river bed.
The tectonic plates under the Earth moved,
lava came up and created these columns.
In fact, the lava bubbled away at over 1,000 degrees centigrade,
creating layer upon layer of this wonderful formation,
with most of these columns being hexagonal in shape.
Over the centuries, these stones have stood the test of time,
and actually continue out under the sea, and year after year,
tourists come from all over the world to marvel at the wonder of them.
This is called the Giant's Causeway,
and I prefer the story based on the old Irish legend concerning Finn McCool,
the Irish giant who built these stones as stepping stones to take him from here to Scotland,
when he wanted to get into combat with the Scottish giant Benandonner.
-And did he win?
-He didn't actually go.
He was a no-show, and what happened is that Benandonner,
came over to Northern Ireland to find Finn McCool,
didn't find him, instead found Finn McCool disguised as his own son, dressed up as a baby,
and Benandonner thought, "Oh, my gosh, this is quite a big, big baby.
If this is the baby, what will the father be like?
And so, shocked, he fled back to Scotland,
tearing up the stones so he couldn't be followed.
What an incredible story! It's got it all. Tactics, deception, disguise.
Sounds like a Dan Snow history moment.
And that sounds like a very clever link.
April, 1943. A body was dumped at sea
off the coast of Spain.
It was dressed in British uniform.
Attached to his belt was a briefcase crammed with top secret invasion plans.
The secret documents were, of course, false,
designed to hoodwink the Nazis, and that's exactly what they did.
The body was found by fishermen,
and the decoy invasion plans were soon in German hands.
The deception was so convincing that Hitler was fooled into believing
Greece was the Allies' invasion target, leaving the real target of Sicily vulnerable.
Operation Mincemeat has been hailed as the most successful wartime deception plan ever attempted.
It saved thousands of lives, but very little is known about its silent hero.
Examining the body, Nazi spies were convinced he was the high-ranking Major William Martin.
But they were wrong.
The planners of Operation Mincemeat worked out if they could convince the Germans
this was a real character,
they would be much more likely to believe what was in his briefcase,
all these fake documents they've made, so they created this completely false personality,
this person who never existed.
And here he is. William Martin of the Royal Marines. And there's his identity card.
Who's the picture of?
The picture is of an MI5 officer, who just happened to look a bit like the dead man.
Here you have his watch, his cigarettes, his keys,
but the tour de force was the creation of a love life for him.
So here they have Pam, who was actually a secretary in MI5,
whose photograph was thought to be just saucy enough to put in his wallet.
And then we've got a completely bogus receipt for a diamond ring
costing £53, ten shillings and sixpence.
-A generous man. She's a beautiful woman.
These are the love letters he was carrying on his person when he was found.
"That lovely golden day we spent together, oh..."
"I know it's been said before,
-"but if only time could sometimes stand still for just a minute."
I've got this funny mental image of a leather trench coat-wearing Gestapo officer reading this out.
I think that's right.
But this was the kind of grain and the grit that convinced them
that, yes, this had to be a living, real person.
Although the body appeared to be that of a rich and well-loved hero,
the reality couldn't have been further from the truth.
It was in fact Glyndwr Michael
a vagrant from Trealaw in South Wales.
Now this is the house where Glyndwr Michael lived
with his mother at the start of the war.
Not just his mother but his sister
and a brother all crammed into one tiny room.
-This one here?
-Yes, this one.
Now this was originally divided into two rooms.
There were four of them in here. That would have been the bedroom
-and the sort of living area in here.
-Four people in this space?
They lived in conditions of absolutely extraordinary poverty.
They had absolutely nothing.
-And there was no father to help bring in money?
Here we have the only evidence of Glyndwr Michael's
and it's on his father's death certificate.
In Angleton Mental Hospital and it appears Glyndwr Michael
himself may also have suffered from mental illness.
His mother died in 1940 and he sort of slipped through the cracks.
There was no-one to look out for him and so he wound up destitute,
homeless and really desperate.
He was found having poisoned himself with rat poison in a disused warehouse in King's Cross.
This shows this young man, he was 34,
on a mortuary gurney dressed in British uniform
just before he's about to set sail on Operation Mincemeat.
Glyndwr Michael was the perfect hero for Operation Mincemeat.
He was a nobody and nobody would miss him.
Did anyone ask permission from his nearest surviving relatives
to actually use his body?
There's no evidence that anyone asked anybody's permission to use the body.
It was simply expropriated for a wartime operation.
Operation Mincemeat played a vital part in the successful
invasion of Sicily.
Just two months later, Mussolini had fallen and Italy had surrendered.
An unknown vagrant had helped to change the course of World War II.
In life he'd been abandoned by his country,
but in death he'd done Britain proud.
Did your grandfather serve in the Second World War?
He did, with the Indian Army.
And my grandfather was also in the Indian Army.
I often think, you know, if it weren't
for the Second World War what would the Snow family do for a living?
We're not the only people here today.
Thousands come every year to the Giant's Causeway.
Some 700,000 a year visitors now.
That's busy. But even in the 1800s it was so busy
that they built the world's first hydroelectric tramway
to get the tourists here.
-Nine and a half miles.
-Nine and a quarter.
-All the way from Portrush.
And you got a reward. You could have a glass of water
-that sent you home feeling quite tipsy.
-Why, what was in it?
Because, well, the local women put some alcohol into it.
-Just to perk it up a bit.
-Why didn't they just serve it?
-They didn't have a licence to do so.
I think they might have been
on something stronger than whiskey
when they made this album.
It's the Giant's Causeway.
-Led Zeppelin, very famous band, your sort of music, Led Zeppelin?
-It isn't my kind of music. I am more of an opera buff.
I'm going to enjoy this film presented by Marty Jopson.
Ah, the unmistakable tones of legendary opera singer
His fans said he could hit a note so pure
and loud, that it would shatter a wine goblet.
Whether he could do it or not, the idea's certainly stuck
in the popular imagination when it comes to singers.
Can they shatter a glass with their voice?
SHE SINGS AN ARIA
I've brought professional soprano Sarah Estill to Manchester's
Trafford Centre to find out.
I've never been asked to break a glass but I do get asked a lot,
especially by children, if I CAN do it.
-So you've never tried this before?
Here's my glass. I'm going to polish it up.
Let's hope Sarah's successful but not too successful
because up there is Europe's largest chandelier.
LONG RINGING TONE
OK, Sarah, that's the note you've got to hit to make the glass wobble
and flex and hopefully break.
Give it a go.
SINGS HIGH OPERATIC NOTE
SINGS HIGHER NOTE
Well, that's not working so far. The theory is simple enough.
Everything makes its own particular note. This glass, if I tap this,
it has its own particular resonant frequency.
All that means is that's the note it really wants to make.
And this swing has a resonant frequency, too.
If I push the swing at its resonant frequency, gradually,
Sarah swings more and more but if I push faster than its resonant frequency,
nothing happens because I'm pushing and there's no swing to push.
That's why Sarah has to sing the exact same note
as the glass makes when you ping it.
Push harder and harder, like singing louder and louder,
and, well, in theory, I get Sarah right over the top...
..or in the case of the glass, shatter it.
We've come to the University of Salford
to try our experiment in their acoustic lab.
To give Sarah a bit of a boost,
we're going to use a microphone and then amplify it.
SHE SINGS A SERIES OF NOTES
This is what makes the sound,
the loudspeaker that you find in a PA system.
We're using Mark's special high-speed camera because hopefully,
if we get the glass to go, it will go in a fraction of a second and we want to capture that.
Sarah is outside warming up her voice.
Any sound you make in here completely dead. There is no echo.
That means that we'll be able to get our sound into the glass
Here's the glass. And that's the note.
SHE SINGS A SUSTAINED NOTE
Sarah has been given a set of headphones that are playing her the correct note
so she can hear that and reproduce it.
If she keeps the needle in the red, she knows she's got the right note.
You're getting there and you can see where the glass is going.
It is kind of whoa, whoa, you can see it.
SHE SINGS A SUSTAINED NOTE
You did it! Well done!
That made me jump.
-Come and look at the damage you have caused.
You really made a mess of that glass. That was your voice, with just a little bit of help.
-Shall we do it again? That was great.
-That was cool.
SHE SINGS A SUSTAINED NOTE
MUSIC: Carmina Burana
-Oh, my God.
-Come on, let's do it again.
SHE SINGS A SUSTAINED NOTE
We did it again.
Brilliant. I'm on a roll, now. Give me a whole box of them!
-I hope those glasses weren't expensive. Gyles, you've got your gloves on.
-I've got my gloves on
because it is quite cold and I could do with a mug of something hot.
I've got some cocoa but we've got to finish working, first.
The truth is, for a summer's day, it is quite chilly.
But I don't mind because here, the views are so breathtaking,
it is an amazing place to be. Truly beautiful.
You must come one day and if you do, and you are an artist,
bring your easel and your paints with you. Are you an artist?
No, I cannot draw to save my life. However, I do appreciate art.
My favourites include the great Irish painter Francis Bacon,
the great Indian painter who died recently, MF Husain,
and some modern artists as well - Banksy, Damien Hirst, and Rolf Harris.
Rolf Harris, a bit of cutting edge.
You're cutting edge, I'm more soft centre.
I think my favourite English artist is John Constable.
One of the privileges that we have working for The One Show
is we go out to see amazing places and to actually meet some remarkable people.
For this film,
I went in the footsteps of the great John Constable
and this is a film not only about an artist
but it's a love story, as well. I think you'll like it.
The Hay Wain, Flatford Mill
and The Leaping Horse are among our greatest landscape paintings.
They are the work of John Constable
and demonstrate his passion for the English countryside.
But his greatest love affair was with his wife, Maria,
and her death had a powerful effect on his art.
The ruins of Hadleigh Castle here in Essex are far removed from
the landscape we normally associate with the work of John Constable.
The picture that he painted here is bleak and lonely
and reflects the grief he felt at the loss of his beloved wife.
Hadleigh Castle was painted in 1829,
the year after Maria's death.
She died shortly after the birth of their seventh child.
Constable was devastated.
He said after her death,
"I shall never feel again as I have felt.
"The face of the world is totally changed to me."
His state of the mind at the time resonates through the painting.
Looking at this painting,
it's very hard not to believe that this bleak,
brooding dark painting isn't filled with his feelings of loss
and sorrow at her death.
John Constable was born in 1776 in Suffolk,
the son of a wealthy merchant.
He first met Maria Bicknell when she was a young girl
but when she was 21 and he was 33, he declared his love.
Her family, however, were against the match.
As far as they were concerned,
he was a ne'er-do-well unsuccessful painter.
Her grandfather threatened to disinherit her
if she continued this alliance with John Constable.
Undeterred, they continued a courtship lasting seven years,
played out in occasional meetings and some 200 letters.
"One consolatory idea is always present with me,
"our hearts are one."
"I should not love you
"if you did not feel my absence but feel it as a man.
It's a long, passionate,
tender regency love affair right from the Jane Austen period.
"Your letter, dear John, gave me the highest pleasure. To know that you are well..."
"..that by thoughts are never a moment from you
"and I wish for no greater happiness than to always subscribe myself ever affectionately yours.
Maria had to do as her father wished,
regardless of what her heart told her.
But something else stood in their way -
Constable's passion for the countryside
and his desire to be the greatest landscape painter.
But his frustrated love for Maria was not wasted,
it was channelled into his early paintings.
Constable's work starts to become stronger, fresher, more individual.
There's a beautiful example of that where he paints a landscape
looking towards the rectory where her grandfather lived at dawn
and the sky is suffused with pink
and it's very hard not to feel that passion.
In 1816, Constable's parents both died, leaving him a modest income.
Maria's father allowed them to marry
but refused to attend the ceremony.
It was a happy marriage, producing seven children
and leading to the period when Constable produced his greatest works.
The six-footers, like the Hay Wain and the Leaping Horse,
are the paintings that made his name.
You get the sense, for example, the Hay Wain,
a tremendous sense of fulfilment and contentment. It's a wonderful picture of the English countryside,
but it's important to remember that it was also quite radical,
and although it's now a poster of rural England,
those paintings were not popular when they were originally painted.
Constable struggled to sell his work,
but a worse tragedy was to come.
Maria developed tuberculosis, and in 1828,
she died after just 12 years of marriage.
Is it fair to say that the painting we're looking at now,
the paining he did here at Hadleigh Castle,
reflects his mood at the time of her death?
He was overwhelmed by grief.
He said, "Hourly I am reminded of the loss of my angel."
It's really true that the sky has darkened for him.
Seven long years of courtship
followed by 12 short years of marriage.
It's an extraordinary romance, and in Constable's paintings,
we have it still, that legacy of love.
Who doesn't like a good love story?
I collect stories about artists and their love lives.
You know the story about Augustus John?
-No, but I can't wait to hear it.
-Another great English painter.
He was something of a Romeo, to the extent
that whenever he met a child of any kind,
he always patted it on the head just in case it was one of his.
That's a good one!
I'm a townie, and I was once told that townies,
when they go for a walk in the country,
they always look downward, whereas country people look up.
There's good reason to look up here,
because the bird-watching is fantastic.
If you're lucky you can see peregrine falcons, buzzards,
guillemots and razorbills, all great bands.
Uh-huh. I used to have an album from The Eagles!
Speaking of buzzards, they're sometimes known as tourists' eagles,
because people often mistake a buzzard for a golden eagle.
The buzzard, of course, is quite a bit smaller.
I'm a bit of an authority when it comes to the birds.
Gyles, you are an expert at pretty much everything,
but when it comes to birds on The One Show, only Mike Dilger is the man for the job.
Oh, yes, I've heard about that, Mike Dilger and the birds.
The Scottish Highlands, Britain's last great wilderness,
and home to our most majestic bird of prey, the Golden Eagle.
Usually, it's only the golden eagles or the odd helicopter pilot
that gets a bird's-eye view of these rugged hills.
Today, I'm hoping that's about to change.
Lloyd Buck is a bird trainer who has always been fascinated
by what his birds see when they're soaring in the skies.
And he particularly liked the bird's-eye view of Tilly,
his captive golden eagle.
I got Tilly when she was ten months old,
and now, after nine years, as far as she's concerned, we're partners.
I'm her mate, so to speak.
To get an eagle's-eye view, he's teamed up with specialist cameraman Jonathan Watts,
to produce the world's first high-definition camera
light enough to be carried on an eagle's back.
You've been working on this for a long time.
How excited are you about trying it out for the first time on Tilly's back?
It's a mix of everything we've been playing with and hoping to get,
so if we get a bit of lift and Tilly gets right up there, we should just get fantastic views.
But to get the aerial footage that Jonathan and Lloyd are after,
everything needs to be just right.
It's what makes it hard. It's not easy, what we're doing.
You've got to have the right conditions, not raining,
nice wind or updraught.
You've got to have the equipment all set up right on her,
and most importantly, she's got to be in the right frame of mind.
You've got to do everything at her pace
in a way she wants it to be done.
-How's she looking, Lloyd?
The camera is attached to a harness by Velcro
and weighs as much as two mobile phones.
Given that a golden eagle can lift prey ten times that weight,
carrying it shouldn't be a problem.
But to get airborne at all, Tilly needs some wind,
and usually, in Scotland, that's pretty much guaranteed.
What do you think of the conditions? They're not perfect.
No. There's hardly any wind, which is a shame, but we'll get something.
It's not going to be the spectacular soaring we hoped for.
But we might get a bit of gliding but let's just see.
It'll give us a chance to see how well the camera works.
Really exciting. What do you do now? Release...
-Oh, those wings are beautiful!
-Go on. Go on, girl!
Wa-hey! Go on, up you go, girl.
But on this windless day, Tilly just can't get the lift to soar,
and before long, she has to land, showing off
those lovely golden feathers on her neck that gives golden eagles their name.
But 24 hours later, the wind has picked up,
and Tilly takes to the skies.
Eagles can't move their eyes,
and the footage shows how Tilly turns her head constantly,
looking out for mobbing crows trying to push her off their patch.
A golden eagle's eyesight is thought to be eight times better
than ours, so Tilly will easily be able to spot prey,
like mountain hares, even from this height.
This high quality footage may be as close as we're ever going to get
to an eagle's-eye view of the world.
It will help Lloyd learn more about eagles' flight behaviour,
and for Tilly, it could be her big break in television
or the silver screen, getting unique aerial shots.
Perhaps we should call it 'Tilly-vision'.
-When I was a boy, there was a weekly comic called The Eagle.
Science fiction, not amazing birds like that.
I have to say, here in County Antrim you do not need a bird's-eye view
to realise you're in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
That's it from us. I need to get Gyles back on the bus
-because his flask of cocoa is waiting for him.
-We had a fabulous day.
See you again soon. Bye!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd