King Richard III: The King in the Car Park. How the last Plantagenet king ended up in a Leicester car park

It’s probably the most hyped archaeological dig since dinosaur fossils were first unearthed, but the long-lost remains of King Richard III have been identified by archaeologists at the University of Leicester “beyond reasonable doubt” – much to Channel 4’s delight as they plan to screen a documentary about it tonight.

The remains were found last year exhumed from under a car park near where the king’s body was thought to be lost. Suspicions over the identity of the skeletal remains were initially raised based on the curvature of the skeleton’s spine and battle wounds consistent with historical accounts of Richard III’s death way back in 1485, as well as the nature of the burial.richard-iii-grave.png

Now a team led by Richard Buckley has used extensive radio carbon dating and DNA analysis comparisons with the king’s living descendants to confirm that the remains are in fact those of Richard III, ending a 500-year mystery as to the location of his final resting place.

Descendants used in the DNA testing included four living males, as well as a sample from Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born carpenter and 17th generation descendent of the king’s sister.

The team were also able to ascertain that the late king was killed between his late 20s and early 30s, further details that correlate with historical accounts, as well as signs of scoliosis and the ten points of battle-inflicted trauma that was said to have caused his death.

Richard III’s death occurred at the conclusion of two years reign over Britain from 1483 to 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth. It marked the end of the War of the Roses and, for many academics, the closure of the medieval period. However, in modern times Richard III has become best known as depicted by William Shakespeare, one of the Renaissance playwright’s most vile historical villains.

The remains will now be re-interred at Leicester Cathedral, close to the Greyfriars site where he was first discovered. The cathedral will also house a new monument to the king, and is expected to become a tourist hotspot.

Richard III: The King in the Car Park, Channel 4 tonight (February 4th), 9pm 

Via Tech Digest


Can animals talk to each other? Top 10 Natural History questions revealed by Eden HD

Can animals understand and use language? What actually happened to the dinosaurs and why do cats purr? These intriguing questions  top a list of natural science mysteries which the British public would most like to see answered according to a new study released today. The survey of 2,000 British adults was commissioned to celebrate the launch of new TV show David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, screening every Tuesday 8pm on Eden HD.

The perennial conundrum of whether animals have a language proved the most popular mystery of natural science, with almost a third (31%) of those polled choosing this question as one of the questions they would most like to see answered. In second place was the answer to the age-old question  – why did dinosaurs become extinct (29%)? The top three is rounded off by the public’s desire to know why our feline friends purr (22%) – a question which remains unanswered despite the fact that Britain houses 10.3 million domestic cats!

Here is that Top Ten list in full.

1.       Do animals have language? – 31%

Scientists are still unsure. Animals can certainly communicate in sounds and gestures and trained to follow commands, but in terms of using this language between them there is no final answer. The vervet monkey alarm call in particular has led people to question ‘language’ in animals. It is thought that prairie dogs can in one chirp, distinguish the identity of the predator, its size and its direction of travel.

2.       How did dinosaurs die out? – 29% 

No one knows conclusively, but it’s suggested that the decline was due to volcanic eruptions affecting the world’s climate, combined with drastic falls in sea level. A huge asteroid struck the seabed near Mexico 65 million years ago which may have finally wiped out dinosaurs.

3.       Why do cats purr? – 22%

This is still up for debate. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, research suggests that for a cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing

4.       Why does the zebra have stripes? – 19%

There are several theories, but no conclusive answers. Theories include: to confuse predators when they’re in a group; to keep away blood-sucking flies because the striped patterns reflect light; and that zebras use the stripes to recognize each other.

5.       How do animals navigate? – 17%

It’s been suggested that carrier pigeons and migrating birds all navigate using magnetic fields, in addition to visual references. This has been proved as a pigeon with a magnet strapped to itself will get completely and utterly lost! No one knows how the brain is able to sense magnetic fields, and as such no one knows whether humans also may be sensitive.

6.       How can dogs predict epileptic seizures in humans? – 16%david attenborough

There’s no conclusive answer to this remarkable ability. One popular theory is that a dog’s superior sense of smell helps to make a prediction, whilst others believe that dogs are more sensitive to body language so they can pick up on tiny changes in behaviour that occur prior to an epileptic seizure.

7.       Why did the giraffe develop such a long neck? – 14%

No one really knows – they don’t necessarily need it for eating food, so it’s been suggested that it’s used in males to club other males during the mating season or a combination of both.

8.       How do creatures survive at the bottom of the ocean? – 12%

Different animals that live deep in the oceans have come up with their own solutions to solve the problem of living in a dark, cold and high pressured environment.  Some of these adaptations are well understood others less so. One sea creature with amazing abilities still baffling scientists is the tardigrade which can reversibly suspend its metabolism enabling it to withstand the vacuum of space and temperatures from -273°C to 151°C.  As of yet, no one fully understands how these animals can reverse the suspension of their metabolism and come back to life

9.       How are oysters able to change sex?– 12%

Oyster’s reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm- a successful reproductive strategy evolved to ensure the survival of the species; one oyster can produce an egg and then fertilise it or, change sex. The question of how however, is still not certain and further research is required to fully understand the process

10.   How does a bee buzz? – 8%

It used to be thought that the movement of the wings caused the sound. However the bees can buzz even when the wings are at rest. So it may be that the vibration of the muscles in the thorax that causes the buzzing sound, but this isn’t conclusive – and it may be a combination of both.

David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Tuesdays at 8pm on Eden.

Interview: Holly Cocker, Director, My Birthday Shook The World

Film maker Holly Cocker interviewed five children all born on September 11th, 2001

In New Jersey, Anish tells the remarkable story of how his unexpected early birth saved his Uncle’s life because, rather than going to work in the Twin Towers in New York, his Uncle decided to visit his new nephew in hospital.

While over in Montana, Johnny has been given the daunting task of writing a poem to read at a memorial in his hometown.

We talk to Holly Cocker, Director of My Birthday Shook The World, which follows five US children who were all born on 9/11. It airs tomorrow (March 21st) on BBC1, 4.30pm.

How did you get the idea for the documentary? I heard about the Arizona shootings (in which Gabrielle Giffords, Member of Congress was shot) and the tragic death of Christina Taylor-Green. She was born on September 11th, 2001 so it got me thinking about what the other kids who were born on that day were up to.

Did the kids have anything in common? They all feel a weight of responsibility being born on that day. Their parents saw it as such as an awful event and their births on such a tragic day are viewed as a blessing.

How do they celebrate their birthdays? None of the children celebrate on their actual birthdays.  It’s not that it’s frowned upon, it’s just that they choose not to. Instead they take part in memorial events – for example one boy reads some poetry and one girl rings a fireman’s bell for every victim of the tragedy.

Do you think the same kind of memorial would take part in the UK? No I think it is entirely different here. I think it’s because Americans are so much more patriotic that the tragic events are marked in this way. It was a bit like delving into another world.

Did you have a big film crew around you when you were filming the children? No, it was just me which was great because it meant I could really bond with the children, playing with them and being their friend. I went out there last May and then back out in September visiting their homes in New Jersey, Kansas, North Carolina and Montana. 

So what’s next? I had a kidney transplant a few years ago and I’m actually sailing around America from San Francisco to New York for a few months to raise awareness for organ donation.


My Birthday Shook The World, BBC1, March 21st, 4.30pm


Get ready for a Safari Park Adventure in 3D!

If you love animals you will love this new show which comes to Sky 3D this February.

Safari Park Adventure will take you behind the scenes at Woburn Safari Park, giving you an insight into the lives of the six hundred animals that live there which is only surpassed by an actual visit to the park.

The ten part series takes viewers behind the scenes to follow some of the surprising aspects of the lives of the creatures and keepers at the world famous safari park.

TV Scoop were among a selected few to have a sneak peek at the first episode, in which we were introduced to rhinos, mischief causing squirrel monkeys (but cute as a button!), a pride of hungry lions and Raja the elephant who enjoys a regular pedicure and scrub. Who said life was easy as an elephant?

The Duke of Bedford, owner of Woburn Safari Park said: “We are proud to have the opportunity to showcase the precious collection of wild animals; including many critically endangered and threatened species cared for at Woburn. It’s a fantastic chance for everyone to go behind the scenes and see the hard work and dedication of our team of keepers, including the special care taken to provide a fun and educational day out.”

Safari Park Adventure 3D premieres on the Sky 3D Channel on February 4th at 9pm. You can also catch it on Animal Planet.

For more information about Woburn Safari Park visit

Sir David Attenborough discusses The Bachelor King 3D – his latest Sky 3D movie

David-Attenborough-3d.jpg Last night Tech Digest, TV’s Scooop’s sister title, was invited to the première of Sky 3D’s latest natural history movie, The Bachelor King 3D. Helmed by Sir David Attenborough, the movie tracks the trials and triumphs of a King penguin from adolescence to adulthood.

You’d expect nothing less from an Attenborough flick, but The Bachelor King 3D, shot on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, is particularly beautiful, in no small part thanks to the 3D work employed. From underwater chases with Orca whales to sweeping shots of hundreds of thousands of penguins protecting their brood in the harshest climate on the planet, it’s funny, tragic, and touching, giving an informative look at these charming birds.

It’s the second time Attenborough has been commissioned by Sky 3D, following last year’s Flying Monsters 3D movie. But 3D natural history movies come with their own shooting challenges.

“Technically it is impossible to use a long telephoto lens, the reason being that a 3D camera mimics the human eye and has two cameras close together with the same kind of separation as our own” said Attenborough.

“If you shut one eye when looking at something that’s close to you, you get one view, shut the other you get another view. The brain puts those two together.

“If you’re looking at something on the other side of this theatre, you would see no difference. The way that you would get a stereo image is to separate the two components further.

“But when you do that…they have different backgrounds so it won’t go together. So with the state-of-the-art at the moment it’s not possible to use long lenses. And that is a very considerable problem when it comes to natural history programming.”

ice penguin bar However, that’s not to undermine the importance of Attenborough’s films. When asked by Tech Digest whether his two roles as both naturalist and broadcaster ever came into conflict, Attenborough answered:

“Broadcasting has given natural history a chance to reach audiences it never ever could before. Particularly these days, when according to the United Nations over half the population of this globe is now urbanised. This means to a greater of lesser extent, they’re living without contact to nature.

“Some people wont see a single wild creature from dawn to dusk, apart from a pigeon or a rat! But it’s crucially important for our own welfare that we understand the natural world. Natural history is not just a pastime, it’s an essential part of someone’s comprehension of the world in which we live, and we depend upon that world.

“I believe broadcasting has a very important function in keeping natural history in the awareness of an ever increasingly urban population.”

Attenborough’s next two Sky 3D flicks, ready for broadcast next year, will be shot in Kew Gardens and the Galapagos Islands respectively, the latter of which he last visited back in 2006.

“Galapagos is one of the most wonderful places in the world. There are extraordinary creatures living there that live nowhere else – a whole slew of marvellous animals” said Attenborough.

“But one of the things that make them even more extraordinary is that because the islands were not discovered by human beings until relatively recently, and they had remained isolated for so long, the animals still haven’t become frightened of human beings. You can walk among them carrying your own snap shot cameras or even carrying a 3D rig and they won’t go away. They continue behaving in just the way that they would do naturally. Galapagos is full of drama, full of charismatic creatures which you can film; it is a natural for 3D.”

The commissions are part of Sky’s commitment to increase its investment in original UK content by 50% to £600million a year by 2014, further cementing its position as one of the biggest investors in the UK’s creative enterprises.


The Bachelor King 3D will air exclusively on Sky 3D at 8pm on New Years Eve, 31st December. It will then have a theatrical release, before returning to Sky 3D in 2012.

Review: Alan Carr, Who Do You Think You Are?

For once Alan Carr, Chatty Man, was lost for words. Faced with the fact that his Great Grandad deserted in the First World War – even before being posted out to fight on the  Front – he realised that this act of ‘cowardice’ probably ensured that Carr himself was born: a humbling moment for anyone to face.

Given the huge number of casualties and deaths in the Camberwell artillery division that Great Grandad signed up for in haste – probably in a wave of patriotic fervour – there was a fair chance (probably one in two) that his mother’s Grandfather, Henry Carter, wouldn’t have survived The Great War if  it hadn’t been for this life-changing decision.

What was particularly fascinating was the lengths that Carter went to to hide his guilty secret from the authorities, particularly the Military Police, but even members of his own family. Although desertion at home wasn’t treated with same severity as desertion from the Front (two years of hard labour as opposed to death from a firing squad), it’s clear that he didn’t want people finding out his secret.

So he moved the family to Crayford in Kent, changed his name in Electoral Records etc. and took a job at the Vickers Factory which employed 4,000 people during the war, presumably telling his new bosses that was too ill or too old to fight (though he was just 28). Interestingly though when it came to the birth certificates of his children, Carter did use his real name, figuring correctly – in these days before computerised records – that the authorities wouldn’t have the resources to check.

While the history of Carr’s Great Grandad was somewhat of a genuine shock to Carr, and to some members of his mother’s extended family who still live in Kent, much more his known about his Dad’s family. Carr has based an entire stand up routine on his football background and the disappointment his Dad showed when he told him he was planning to enrol at Middlesex University to study performing arts. Father: ‘Alan, why are you doing this to me?’ Alan: ‘I don’t know, Dad, but I can show you through expressive dance.’

Now chief scout at Newcastle United, and formerly the manager of Northampton Town, Dad Graham Carr met with Alan at St James’ Park where his Dad – Alan’s Grandad – briefly played during the late 1920s. Earning around £8 a week – about double a typical working man’s wages at the time – Grandad Carr was probably considered one of the lucky ones at the time. Until that is a knee injury ended his career on the field in his mid twenties and meant that he had to spend the rest of his life down the pits with everyone else. Oh, how times have changed.



Jeremy Clarkson blasts ‘fake’ claims over Top Gear stunts

eremy Clarkson has branded claims 80 per cent of his stunts on Top Gear are fake as “rubbish”. The TV presenter was furious with allegations claiming many of his daredevil driving scenes are carried out by professional racers and insists he takes part in all the challenges.

He told The Sun newspaper: “It is complete rubbish. If I say I drove a Lamborghini and got to 207mph then that’s what I did. I was in the car. “I’ll challenge whoever says I wasn’t doing that to come to the track. I’ll stick them in the car and do it again. But they better bring a sick bag.”

The 51-year-old star – who has threatened legal action – has blamed a “disgruntled driver” for the claims. He added: “We employ loads and they get fired if they’re not good enough.”

An insider – who worked on the BBC Two show for more than five years – had claimed professional drivers “do the clever stuff on the track” with the footage then cleverly edited to trick viewers into thinking Jeremy was the one behind the wheel.

Certainly most of the time professional drivers are doing the clever stuff on the track. “These takes are cut in to the presenters’ in-car pieces when the programme goes out to make it look like Clarkson has been driving all the way through.

“Pros make it all look more exciting. There are limitations with filming. It’s all done on a pretty tight time schedule and they need to get the right shots quickly, which is why they use pros because they can do the stunts in one take.”

Harry Potter writer JK Rowling to appear on Who Do You Think You Are

JK Rowling is to appear on the next series of Who Do You Think You Are?

Last week she announced a new website/social network for Harry Potter fans, Pottermore. This week news emerges that author JK Rowling is to appear on genealogy TV series, Who Do You Think You Are?

The Harry Potter writer has agreed to take part in the series – which sees celebrity participants research their family history – to discover more about her late mother Anne’s French ancestry. Her episode sees her visit Edinburgh and London before travelling to Paris.

Also featuring in the next series of the BBC One show is actor Larry Lamb (EastEnders Archie Mitchell), who traces a long-lost relative and learns the story behind his mother’s adoption, while another veteran EastEnders actress June Brown – best known as Dot Branning on the soap – uncovers “tragedy” and “incredible” acts of bravery in her family history.

Other stars who will examine their backgrounds on the programme include Strictly Come Dancing’ judge Len Goodman, Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, TV stars Richard Madeley and Alan Carr, actress Emilia Fox, former athlete Lord Sebastian Coe and artist Tracey Emin.

J.K, whose first name is Joanne, has previously spoken of her regret that her beloved mum, who died from multiple sclerosis aged 45, never got to see any of her Harry Potter books.

She said: “I started writing Harry six months before my mum died. That’s obviously a real regret. I never told her I was even writing it.

“She knew I wanted to write. I’m not sure how seriously she took it, but she never knew anything about Harry Potter at all.”

First Images from Sir David Attenborough & Sky’s Flying Monsters 3D, airing Xmas day

The one hour film which will be aired on Sky 3D, is Attenborough’s first ever work outside the BBC and Sky’s first original factual 3D commission. Flying Monsters 3D tells the evolution of pterosaurs – flying vertebrates with a wingspan of up to 45 feet who lived 200 million years ago.

The natural history documentary took nine months to complete with a team of over 80 people. The documentary was shot in locations across the world including Germany, New Mexico, France and the UK. The film was produced by the award-winning producer Anthony Geffen and his company Atlantic Productions and was directed by Matthew Dyas.  The 3D TV technology was provided by ZOO, who have also worked on blockbuster hits such as Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia.

One of the films highlights is supposedly when Sir David Attenborough is shot flying in a glider alongside a Quetzalcoatlus!

“This was one of the most complicated sequences ever filmed in 3D.  We shot David in a real glider and later superimposed, using CGI, the biggest pterosaur – a Quetzalcoatlus.  The idea was to demonstrate the extraordinary scale of the pterosaur, a creature that was longer than a bus and could fly at 75 miles an hour, by setting it beside something from the modern day of the same size that people could relate to.” explains Geffen.

After its premier on Christmas morning the film will be released theatrically in IMAX cinemas around the world in 2011. This film is sure to be spectacular and personally I can’t  wait to see it.

What To Watch This Weekend: I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, First Life

The weekend is just hours away and with gale force winds and rainy weather, it is a perfect one to veg out in front of the television. So grab a hot chocolate and get ready to spend the weekend on the sofa.

Tonight: David Attenborough’s First Life, BBC 2, 9:10pm The two-part documentary concludes tonight, with our favourite naturalist traveling to Burgess Shale in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, to explores how evolution gained pace once creatures developed mouths and mobility.

Tonight: Interview With The Vampire, BBC1, 11:35pm This is the perfect movie to watch when you get in from the pub tonight, starting Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas and Christian Slater. The film follows the story of a man who claims to be 200 years old as he tells a reporter the story of how he was bitten during an encounter with a decadent and charismatic vampire in 18th-century New Orleans.

Tomorrow: X-Factor, ITV1, 8pm It wouldn’t be the weekend without a little X-Factor, and this week the competition is steaming up as the final nine take on songs by Elton John.

Tomorrow: Clockwork Orange, ITV4, 10:30pm If your having a quiet Saturday in, make sure to tune into the ‘71 cult classic . The film is about a sadistic young gang leader Alex as he leads a carefree life indulging his love of violence and classical music, until he is finally arrested and subjected to a sinister form of aversion therapy.

Sunday: 10,000 BC, Five, 9pm
10,000 is the prehistoric tale of a young mammoth hunter who combats a host of giant ferocious creatures as he journeys across the wilderness to rescue his captive lover and her fellow villagers from the sway of brutal slave raiders.

Sunday: I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, ITV2, 10:30pm It’s back! The new series of the Z-List celeb survival challenge gets under way in the Australian jungle. Celebs this season include actress Britt Ekland, TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith, model Kayla Collins, former Olympic athlete Linford Christie, actor Nigel Havers, singer Shaun Ryder, former MP Lembit Opik, as well as 2009 X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon, rapper Aggro Santos and former Wag Sheryl Gascoigne.