Tales of the Unexpected…

Ben Shephard and Julia Bradbury present a new Shiver series for ITV, exploring some of the nation’s best-known mysteries and unexplained occurrences.

The series examines everything from the infamous Beast of Bodmin Moor and a bizarre spinning Egyptian relic, to the ghost of Guy Fawkes believed to haunt an inn in York.

In this brand-new two part series, Ben and Julia take to the road to investigate for themselves the background to these mysterious sightings, ghostly goings on and tales of mythical beasts. Using reconstructions and interviews with eyewitnesses, experts and historians; each story is brought to life. The presenters set out to explore the details of each mystery and their possible explanations, to consider how they came about and why people believe in them.

Julia says: “We’re not just looking at ghost stories, we’re looking at strange things like seaweed rain, ancient Egyptian relics that spin seemingly of their own accord and UFO sightings over the Sheffield Moors in the late nineties. They are mostly current stories, we’re not looking back hundreds of years, although we do investigate the CCTV footage of the ghost of Henry VIII at Hampton Court.”

And Ben, who has loved sci-fi and the paranormal since childhood says: ““Julia and I are like Poirot and Miss Marple trying to track down the history and the truth behind the big mysteries and unexplained stories from all over the UK. We travel the length and breadth of Great Britain delving into some of the country’s most enchanting stories. The programme is like a giant jigsaw all of these stories and at the heart of it is Julia and I trying to piece the bits together to see if we can come up with a finished puzzle at the end.”

In the first episode of the series, Ben heads to York where he spends a night in the Guy Fawkes Inn where the ghost of Guy Fawkes himself is said to haunt its rooms. He also immerses himself deep in Rendlesham Forest, the location of Britain’s most famous UFO incident, retracing the steps of US military officers who reported a sighting of unidentified craft around Christmas one year. Ben also investigates the mystery of a pilot who went missing after setting out on a solo flight in his aeroplane, in Scotland. The plane was never found and the pilot’s body was recovered four months later but mysteriously with no signs of injuries indicating his plane had crashed, instead showing he had actually died of exposure.

Meanwhile Julia heads north to Manchester Museum to discover more about a ‘spinning’ ancient Egyptian relic which has been puzzling employees and experts. She also looks into the story of a ‘phantom’ plane crash in 1997 over the moors of Sheffield where eyewitnesses reported seeing a low flying aeroplane followed swiftly by an explosion. Emergency services were contacted but no plane was ever found. Julia then visits Hampton Court where a mysterious figure believed to be a ghost was caught on CCTV. She also investigates Britain’s fascination in ghosts and where our belief in the supernatural comes from.

And in the second episode of this two part mini-series, Julia travels to Berkeley, Gloucestershire, to investigate what may have caused a strange rain to fall in August 2012. Julia meets eyewitnesses who describe seeing roads covered in seaweed and talks to experts who try to explain the mystery. She also visits Topsham in Devon, to explore the story known as the ‘Devil’s Footprints’. In February 1855, it was reported that unusual, cloven-heeled prints appeared in the snow in single file, leading up to the door of Clyst Saint George. The footprints scaled up walls and onto rooftops and continued for over 100 miles. Julia investigates whether these prints were a result of a prank or something more sinister. Finally, Julia finds out more about spontaneous human combustion and carries out an experiment to recreate the mysterious occurrence.

Ben visits Nottinghamshire to find out about an extraordinary happening in 1980 where 300 children, at a marching band competition marching band, all suffered fainting attacks and nausea at the same time. Next, Ben investigates the story of the Beast of Bodmin Moor and meets some of the people who claim to have seen it. He also spends a night in a specially built hide hoping to catch a glimpse of the big cat himself. Following on from hunting one big cat, Ben meets dogs that appear to have extra sensory perception (ESP). He speaks to owners who say their dogs can sense events before they happen and recounts a story from his childhood of when his own dog seemed to display ESP.

Mystery Map is produced by Shiver and airs on ITV, Wednesday 20th and Wednesday 27th November at 8pm.