History Makers Songs of Praise


History Makers

Aled Jones rubs shoulders with famous faces who have changed the world as he visits a popular London waxworks and introduces more great hymns from around the UK.


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So, go on, where can you rub shoulders with royalty?

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Match muscles with a sporting legend?

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And give politicians a piece of your mind?

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PHONE RINGS

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It's for you, Barack.

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Look at me, singing with Leona Lewis.

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Where else but Madame Tussauds?

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Coming up - it's July, the summer holidays are approaching,

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and, like millions of tourists,

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I'm here at the world-famous Madame Tussauds.

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There'll be some fantastic hymn singing from cathedrals and churches all over Britain,

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from Glasgow to Arundel.

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During the last year we've celebrated the lives of Christians

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who've used their skills and talents to shape our world.

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Famous nurse Florence Nightingale.

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Philanthropist Lord Lever of Port Sunlight.

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And prolific author Jane Austen.

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Welcome to the world-famous Madame Tussauds in the heart of London.

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It's home to over 400 of the world's most famous faces

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so where better to come to celebrate some of the extraordinary people

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who've had an impact on our lives?

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Our first hymn is a fantastic one.

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It expresses the belief that, whoever we are, God is father to us all.

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With over two million visitors every year,

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Madame Tussauds is one of the most popular places to visit in London.

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But who exactly was Madame Tussaud,

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and how did a Frenchwoman create such a famous British institution?

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Judith, I can't get over how tiny she was.

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Diminutive. About four foot eleven, I should think.

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-Amazing.

-But many people were in those days.

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What prompted you to find out more about this lady?

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Well...the curiosity. Everybody knows the name, Madame Tussaud.

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-Everybody knows the attraction.

-But who was she?

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What did she do? How did she begin and end? Why was she here?

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'Madame Tussaud was born Anna Maria Grosholtz to a Catholic family living in Strasbourg

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'and this year marks the 250th anniversary of her birth.'

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Why this fascination with working with wax back then?

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Wax was...religious.

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If you had a problem, you would ask a wax modeller to make the limb

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and then you would take it to the chapel,

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-or the altar of the saint who looked after that part of the body.

-Amazing.

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You would hang it up and, hopefully, God would...help you.

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How did she find out that she had a talent for working with wax?

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From a very early age she had a wonderful ability with her hands,

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to sketch, to make fruit and flowers,

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and by the time she was 12 she was making her own life masks.

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So she could sketch a face. She'd look at you and say...

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-your nose goes slightly to one side...

-Thank you very much.

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..and your chin... Your face does that and then it does that.

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This is almost turning into a counselling session now.

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-How did she end up in Britain?

-It was after the revolution.

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Her uncle died and left her with many properties

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and a huge debt,

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and so she thought she would come here to recoup it

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and she met an impresario, who brought her here to the Lyceum Theatre,

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and she toured here with a travelling wax show for 33 years.

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Wow! Making her name.

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-Until she was 75. 75.

-What would she make of this, do you think?

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She'd love it. She would so love it.

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She would love the excitement of the people.

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The idea is to get people out of the street and into her attractions.

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-Well, I think it's absolutely amazing. Shall we carry on our little tour?

-Yes, let's.

-Let's go.

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So clearly Madame Tussaud was a remarkable person.

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She personified persistence, dedication and self-belief,

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and these wax figures are her legacy.

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They've been entertaining and educating millions of people for over 200 years.

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Our next hymn celebrates another great woman. She's been hailed as the most perfect woman in the world.

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Tell Out, My Soul is Mary's great song of praise.

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Liz Edwards is part of the team working behind the scenes

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to make sure every wax model is as realistic as possible.

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They told me Liz would be mixing with royalty. How are you?

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-I'm very well. How are you?

-Good, thanks.

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-So, Her Majesty, is she popular here?

-The Queen is the most popular figure.

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There are some people that come and go,

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that perhaps younger audiences will like, but The Queen is a staple.

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The Royal Family, throughout our history,

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have always been the most popular figures here.

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How long would a model like Her Majesty take to make?

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It takes four months to make any wax figure and it starts with a sitting which takes three hours...

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-Wow.

-..where hundreds of measurements are taken from the face, body,

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so we can make sure every element is correct.

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I'm not fishing at all, but how do you get chosen?

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You have to have achieved greatness.

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-Someone like Dame Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar.

-Of course.

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Something to show that you've achieved something great.

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Thank you for joining us, Your Majesty!

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-One is very amused by this place and I think we should carry on looking.

-Let's have a look.

-Great. Come on.

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# May the road rise to meet you

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# May the wind be ever at your back

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# May the sun shine warm upon your face

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# And the rain fall soft

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# Upon your fields

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# And until we meet again

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# May God hold you

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# May God hold you

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# Ever in the palm

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# Of His hand

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# May the road rise to meet you

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# May the wind be ever at your back

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# May the sun shine warm upon your face

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# And the rain fall soft upon your fields

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# Your fields

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# And until we meet again

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# May God hold you

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# May God hold you

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# Ever in the palm

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# Of His hand

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# Ever in the palm

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# Of His hand

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# The palm of His hand. #

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Cor blimey, this is a powerful room. I feel I should be touching a forelock.

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It's actually our world leaders room, so here you will see the great and the good,

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like our current Prime Minister David Cameron

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-and prime ministers past as well.

-It's amazing.

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-So you've got all these people's vital statistics?

-Yes we have,

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although they're very safe under lock and key.

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-We know inside leg, chest and height measurements of every celebrity you can imagine.

-Wow.

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What's so important is it's not very often that people are going to be able to come and touch David Cameron.

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This is his height, this is the suit he wears.

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Stand outside 10 Downing Street, there are no ropes here.

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This is the first thing that struck me

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cos I remember coming here as a small child and you could get so close but not this close.

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Absolutely. Now you really can touch them

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and we encourage people to come and touch, whether it be their idols,

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their sporting idols, or their prime minister.

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MUSIC: "James Bond Theme" by John Barry

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The name's Bond, James Bond.

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Almost had you fooled, didn't I?

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Well, the Bond films are synonymous with Pinewood,

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the British studios where they were made.

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Pinewood was the vision of a Methodist,

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who wanted to promote Christianity through films.

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His name was J Arthur Rank.

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I think in the 1930s,

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when film really appeared on the scene,

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he could see the potential

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of actually recording a good preacher,

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somebody who had a powerful message,

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and to be able to duplicate that and show it

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in churches around the country.

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And that was why he established the Religious Film Society.

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Rank, actually, himself came up with the first idea,

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which was to tell the story of W H Lax

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who was a well-known and very charismatic Methodist preacher.

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The film was called Mastership,

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it was 22 minutes long

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and cost £2,700.

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It was a story, really, to present to people saying,

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"Either you choose Christ or alcohol. What are you going to do?"

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Well, now, I'm not going to talk religion to you,

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but common sense,

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though there's precious little difference between the two.

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Now, do you want drink to be your master?

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No, sir.

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Well, for your own sake,

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for the sake of your wife and child, cut it out.

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There's a story from South Yorkshire,

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where it was shown to a group of hardened, drinking, miners,

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and the Methodist minister who had put it on in the church,

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had shown it to them and there was this huge silence afterwards.

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And the minister said, to reinforce the message,

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"Do you choose Christ, or drink?

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"Those of you who choose Christ, please, stand up."

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And some 22 miners apparently stood up, with tears in their eyes

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and gave their lives to the Lord.

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As it turned out, he found it very hard

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to get his religious films shown anywhere other than in churches and church halls around the country.

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So he did rather an extraordinary thing,

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Rank, from then, effectively bought the British movie industry.

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He was going to make commercial films

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that were going to be big and successful and well made

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and they were going to make the country and the world a better place

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through the broad message of morality they were going to preach.

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Pope John Paul II's visit to Britain,

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in the summer of 1982, was a memorable one.

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I watched it on telly with my mum and dad

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and there were great scenes of celebration.

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Well, his successor, Pope Benedict XVI,

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arrived on our shores last September

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and people travelled from far and wide to welcome him.

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An unforgettable moment from Pope Benedict's visit

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was the ceremony to honour one of the most distinguished English Catholics of the 19th century,

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John Henry Newman.

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Pope Benedict pronounced Newman "blessed",

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just one step away from sainthood.

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Sally travelled to Maryvale,

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a house on the outskirts of Birmingham,

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to find out about the life of this hugely-influential man and poet,

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author of two of our best-loved hymns,

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Lead Kindly Light and Praise To The Holiest.

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Caroline, hi.

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I'm told you're the person who can tell me all about the links between Newman and this place.

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Oh, this was his first Catholic home, he came here in 1846.

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It was right out in the country, quite a few miles from Birmingham,

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beautiful countryside. Of course, he loved the poor,

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so he wanted, in fact, to move into Birmingham,

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which is why in the end he was only here for two years.

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But it was a very important time of his life. These are his rooms.

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-So I can show you a few lovely little corners if you like?

-I'd love that.

-Let's have a look.

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So, these were Newman's rooms.

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It's only a bedroom now, because this is the college that he really desired when he was here,

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but it didn't happen when he was here.

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However, in this corner - it looks like a cupboard -

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but this is really special for Cardinal Newman.

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-There's this little window down into the chapel.

-Into the chapel!

-Yeah.

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He must have loved this.

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Oh, he did, because he wrote a letter to his friend, and this is what he said to him.

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"I am writing in the next room to the chapel.

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"It's such an incomprehensible blessing

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"to have Christ in bodily presence in one's house, within one's walls."

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-And you'll be at Cofton Park when the Pope performs, will you?

-Oh, yes.

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The grace that's going to flood this country

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because of this beatification,

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because it's going to be a proclamation,

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that here is a lowly man who loved the poor, who loved education,

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who loved the faith, who loved the Church, who loves Christ.

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HE wants the country to be flooded again.

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So...that's what we're looking forward to!

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What happened to Madame Tussaud in the end, then?

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She nearly made it to her 90th birthday. She died in her 90th year.

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She died in April in 1850

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and she was given the last rites, she was a Catholic,

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and she was buried near Sloane Square, St Mary's Church.

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How would she feel about the world of celebrity and fame now?

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Of course, it wasn't pop stars in her time.

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Oh, I don't know. There were famous politicians,

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there were philosophers, there were adventurers...

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She had Dr Benjamin Franklin,

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Voltaire, Rousseau...

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And now it's James Bond and Beyonce

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-and I'm sure I saw Shirley Bassey somewhere there as well!

-Yes!

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It's good to have a Welsh person in here. It's been fascinating.

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-Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

-Not at all.

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I know you've chosen a hymn. Tell us what it is and why you've chosen it.

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-It's Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind.

-Great.

-I love that.

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I love the second line - "forgive our foolish ways".

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I feel I have many foolish ways.

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-Don't we all!

-And I love the last three lines of the last verse,

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which is, "Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire,

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"Speaks through the earthquake, wind and fire,

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"Oh still small voice of calm."

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I think we all need a bit of that.

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This is going to take me back to choirboy days, this one!

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-Thank you.

-Not at all.

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Father God, thank you for all those famous and not-so-famous

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who've influenced our lives for good,

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and so help us to have a positive impact

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on those you bring into our lives...

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for your glory...

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Amen.

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And that's almost it from Madame Tussauds.

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It really is an incredible collection - a celebration of human achievement.

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And you never know - one day, I may be in there myself!

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Who am I kidding?! I hope you've also enjoyed the music.

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We're going to end with a great hymn of thanksgiving - Now Thank We All Our God.

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Until next time, goodbye!

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'Next week, Diane escapes to the country

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'to visit Pershore in Worcestershire.

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'She explores its monastic history with some keen young historians,

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'learns the secrets of the trade from a master tailor,

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'and introduces hymns from the spectacular abbey,

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'with special guests, the OperaBabes.'

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd 2011

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