It's been a place of murder, intrigue and scandal. The Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels, is an iconic piece of British history. It’s guarded by the famous Beefeaters, the memorable Yeoman Warders in their distinctive uniforms. This compelling documentary goes behind the scenes as a new Chief Beefeater is picked. There’s also an insight into an infamous murder at the Tower.
There’s a new Beefeater in town! But latest recruit Chris discovers the hard truth of working at the Tower. He’s required to learn its extensive history by heart and will be tested before being let loose on the 100,000 weekly visitors. Plus, chief curator Tracy Borman turns her attention to the time of Henry VIII, when the Tower gained its notorious reputation for imprisonment and execution.
Some notable occupants of the Tower are the many ravens that reside there. If they leave, legend has it, the Tower will fall. Chris is the ancient structure's Raven Master who needs to introduce a new bird to the grounds. Plus, there’s a look at the original document in the Tower’s archives which reveals how brutally Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow up Parliament, was tortured.
More modern historical moments are explored as the execution of German spies captured in the two world wars is investigated. Plus, there's a profile of suffragette Leonora Cohen, who took aim at the crown jewels to publicize her cause. And there’s a look back to 2014, when the Tower hosted a display of nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies in its moat to remember those who were killed in wartime.
The Tower of London attracts millions of guests a year, eager to soak in its rich history and pageantry. But while tourists enjoy revisiting the past, the teams that run this historic institution are focused on the future. Watch as the Tower attempts—for the first time in 30 years—to breed baby ravens, a bird that's notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. Then meet the Tower's second-ever female Beefeater as she and her fellow Yeoman Warders prepare for Queen Elizabeth's 93rd birthday, a ceremonial occasion capped by a huge, 62-gun salute.
For centuries, the Tower of London was the most important military fortress in the kingdom, and today it continues to observe war anniversaries with great passion. See how the Tower put together one of its most ambitious commemorations ever, marking 100 years since the end of World War I, featuring 10,000 torches placed around the Tower moat. Then follow Ravenmaster Chris Skaife as he introduces young George, the first raven to be born and bred at the Tower in 30 years, to the rest of the group... a meeting that doesn't go quite as planned.
Nick Gillam Smith
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