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Tour of London's Shard; Ancient Eagle Finds Wings; Queen's Speech That Never Was; Injured British Soldiers Compete in Dakar Rally; Royal Baby Fever; Experiencing the Challenges of Aging; Bargain Banksy; Value of "Becksy" on London Streets

Aired December 24, 2013 - 15:30   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hello and welcome to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, coming to you from the heart of London overlooked by what is the newest edition to the London skyline, the Shard. And we've got a special treat for you this hour, a tour of that iconic building and the breathtaking views that it provides.

Also in the next half hour, we're going to bring you some of the quirkier highlights from our show this year. The stories of 2013 that didn't always make the headlines, but certainly got us talking. First up, an ancient eagle finds its wings again from deep beneath the city of London.


ANDERSON (voice-over): On public display for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

ANDERSON (on camera): I know that when you as a team found this, you were a little sort of underwhelmed. You didn't know what it was, did you? Because at first it was just a piece of stone, right?


ANDERSON: When it first came out.

DAVIS: Relatively common discovery on an archaeological site. And then to go ahead and reveal it and realize the detail, the quality of the workmanship, and the completeness of the find, it was just amazing.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The Roman eagle's pristine condition has enabled it to be fast-tracked to the Museum of London, which is set inside the city's old Roman walls.

ROY STEPHENSON, MUSEUM OF LONDON: I would say this is the very best piece of Roman sculpture that's come out of the ground in that time. And I know the excavating crew were taken aback to the extent they really didn't actually believe it was real it was so good. To think, oh, it must have fallen off a pub or it's part of an 18th century garden center or whatever.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The artifact has been traced back to the first or second century when Britain was under Roman rule, and experts believe it would have perched on a mausoleum reserved for the wealthiest citizens.

ANDERSON (on camera): And so who would they have been?

DAVIS: Well, they were a Roman family, and we don't really know who the person would have been. But we're guessing it would have been somebody of significant wealth, of means, somebody with style and taste.

ANDERSON: What's something like this Roman eagle worth?

DAVIS: Frankly, if you were to sell it, where's the catalog of Roman Eagles to compare and contrast it? So, as far as we're concerned, its without value. It's priceless.

ANDERSON: If this eagle hadn't been found, it would have forever been buried under what will be a new hotel in the city of London, and the museum here is delighted that the site owners have allowed them to display this in all its glory for you and me.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Only one other statue remotely like this is known to exist in the world.

ANDERSON: Simon, your reputation stand on the answer to this next question. Are you absolutely convinced that this is a Roman eagle from Roman times and this isn't something I'm going to find in a local garden center down the road?


DAVIS: Well, I'm absolutely sure that it's a Roman sculpture. We found it in a Roman roadside ditch, there's good dating, and a well-sealed context. I'm sure it's a Roman date.

ANDERSON: We can hold him to that.


ANDERSON: Well, London, of course, has come an awfully long way since the Roman Empire, and many amazing new treasures have sprung up all around. A lot of people would argue that the best of those is this: the Shard. At just over 1,000 feet tall, it is a city in the air, with offices, restaurants, and unrivaled views of the capital.

But first, before we take you up there, the queen's speech that never was. A glimpse at how preparations were being made for World War III.


ANDERSON (voice-over): In the words of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, never perhaps in the post-war decades was the situation in the world as explosive as in the first half of the 1980s. 1983 was particularly tense, as American president Ronald Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as the "evil empire."

It was a time when Americans crowded around their TVs to watch the film about nuclear war, "The Day After."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they fired first and we just got our missiles out of the ground in time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not an exercise.


ANDERSON: That same year, the United States also moved additional weapons into Europe and began the Star Wars project, a space-based system intended to shoot down enemy missiles.

HENRY KENDALL, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: In peacetime, such a program would enhance the defensive-offensive competition and would not lead to a quieting of hostilities but rather to their aggravation.

ANDERSON: Indeed, tensions were so high that protests against nuclear weapons erupted around the world, and it's now been revealed that in Britain, civil servants penned a speech for Queen Elizabeth in the event of World War III. In the planned broadcast, Her Majesty prepares her country for what she calls "the madness of war."

"The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle," the speech reads, "nor even the airmen crowding the skies above our cities and towns, but the deadly power of abused technology."

Queen Elizabeth also expresses her fears for her own family. "My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit, and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas."

The classified speech has only just been released by Britain's National Archive and was written as part of a disaster planning exercise. Fortunately, Her Majesty never had to deliver it.


ANDERSON: Now, to get up to this world-famous viewing platform, you've got to use one of these, an ultra-fast lift. Whizzing to the sky at 20 feet per second, you do 68 floors in just about a minute.

And speed is something these next men know something about. They are the veteran amputees taking on one of the world's most grueling rally races.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Checking over their Dakar Rally chariot.

TONY HARRIS, FOUNDER, "RACE2RECOVERY": You've got the front end damage, it's a little bit damaged. Bang this.

ANDERSON: This is the Race2Recovery team, getting ready to take on the world's most grueling rally all over again.

The team, made up of former soldiers injured in Afghanistan, made their Dakar debut in 2013 to raise funds for Help for Heroes. Only one of the team's four cars made it to the end. That was enough to make history as the first disabled team to ever finish the race.


ANDERSON: The success, the overwhelming support from around the world, and the fact that both team founder Tony Harris and owner Ben Gott didn't finish has driven them to give it another bash.

HARRIS: That's become a really good, big name on the Dakar, and let's do it based on our values, our ethos. It's about the courage, it's about the commitment, it's not the way that -- it's not the manner in which you fall, it's the manner in which you rise that really matters.

ANDERSON: The gritty determination comes just four years after Harris, a former captain in the British army, lost his lower leg in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

HARRIS: Really wants to put the day I got injured into the past, and I want to make sure that wasn't that day for the rest of my life. I wanted to have something else that I could say, actually, OK, fine, that happened, but I've done other stuff now, and actually, I should be remembered or I can remember that stuff much more positively.

And in hindsight, actually, if I hadn't lost my leg, then I wouldn't have gone to the Dakar, so conversely, it's -- been a good thing -- ish.

ANDERSON: Experience and sponsorship, the only real obstacles separating the Race2Recovery Team from the top Dakar competitors.

HARRIS: I think the overall dream of where we want to go is not only to include other nationalities and more people, it's to also raise the awareness in Britain, make Britain proud of having a Dakar team, and one that's very unique.

ANDERSON: That kind of recognition, says Harris, becomes even more vital as troops withdraw from Afghanistan, many bearing the scars.

HARRIS: For us, those -- that war will never finish. I might have got over the battle of infection, but I did that by losing a leg. I'm proud of what I've done and achieved after injury, but remember those who maybe can't do that, or maybe it's just not feasible, be it the mental scars or the physical scars.

Let's remember that we have a duty and have an obligation to make sure that we look after them and their families for the rest of their lives.

ANDERSON: A duty Harris serves by making sure the message is heard.


ANDERSON: After this short break, the view from the top of the Shard and another new arrival to London that got global attention in 2013. I'm going to take you back to that moment we all awaited the arrival of a new royal baby.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, coming to you from the top of the world, the 69th floor of London's Shard, Western Europe's tallest building. Now, from here, this platform, known as the view from the Shard, visitors get a 360-degree panorama of the city.

And on this side -- in fact, over my left shoulder, I can see Buckingham Palace. And it was there earlier this year that Britain announced the arrival of its new heir, Prince George. Well, I was in amongst the thick of it as Britain got gripped by Royal Baby Fever.


ANDERSON: This is Kensington Palace, which is where William and Catherine will live with their new baby. William and Harry lived there in the past. It is under renovation at the moment. We believe that Kate has spent some months during her pregnancy overseeing construction.

This is the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital. Follow me. This is where William was born and we first set eyes on him in Diana's arms in 1982, and not surprisingly, the world's media are here, ready for that money shot.

You're from AP. How important an event is this for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is one of the biggest events we've got in this country so far. It's the first royal baby this century, so you can't get much bigger than that, can you?

ANDERSON: And I found a snapper here, the old paparazzi. You're from the "Daily Star," sir. Big moment for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely, yes. Very excited. Very excited, indeed. Lots of anticipation, as you can see. So, everyone's very keen to get the picture, aren't they? They've actually packed the podium. There'll be ladders going everywhere.

ANDERSON: And it is on these steps that those cameras will be trained. Once the birth certificate is signed here at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital, it'll then go under armed guard to Buckingham Palace, and that is where we are headed. Let's go.

Now, it won't surprise you that the media are setting up in force here, and that is because once the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth, the announcement will be posted on an easel at the palace over there, and that is the first time we will find out whether the royal heir is either male or female.



ANDERSON: It's a wonderful atmosphere down here in the crowd. There are people from all over the world. You heard them cheer when that gilded easel was originally put out with that birth notice on it about a half hour or so ago.

Let me get you some of the people who have gathered here in front of Buckingham Palace. Melissa and Jack, I believe, both from London. Melissa, what a great day.



MELISSA: I mean, you don't get to witness this many times in your life.

ANDERSON: That's right. It's a baby boy?


ANDERSON: So I think. Did you want a boy? Not you, obviously --


MELISSA: A few years to go before I have to think about that, but yes.

ANDERSON: Jack, you're from London.


ANDERSON: It's a great day for not just for London but Great Britain, isn't it?

JACK: Yes, it's great. I mean, everybody loves everything to do with the royal family. So, everyone's really excited here.

ANDERSON: Have you got to actually get to the gilded easel, which is behind us here?

JACK: We haven't yet. It's impossible to get through --



MELISSA: I actually tried to grab the gate. I'm not sure how --


MELISSA: -- OK that was, but --

JACK: We're not --

ANDERSON: Aw, listen, I'm holding you up. Why don't you guys try and get down? I'll move on. I know that we've got some ladies here, one from South Carolina, am I right in saying?

ERIN, SPECTATOR AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: I'm from South Carolina. My name is Erin, and it's very exciting. We brought my daughter and some friends over here. It's been wonderful. I remember watching Charles and Diana getting married as a teenager, and now to see her son have a baby, it's magical. So we've had a great time.

ANDERSON: I'm told by royal protocol that the happy couple are most likely to bring the baby here before the queen leaves for her holiday in Scotland in Balmoral.

And do remember, last week when asked about the imminent arrival of her new great-granddaughter or -son -- we now know it's a son -- she said, "I'm looking forward to it, but I'm hoping it will come soon, because I'm also looking forward to my holiday." Well, now she can go to bed tonight and she can leave for Balmoral sometime soon.


ANDERSON: Well, we've come up to the open-air platform on the 72nd floor of this iconic building, and it is up here that you can feel the wind and hear the sounds of the city. And it's also up here that you can see these sheaves of glass that give the Shard its name.

Well, all this fresh air is pretty exhausting stuff, so let's take a break. When we come back, one of the most bizarre outfits that I wore this year as I experienced life as an elderly person.


ANDERSON: Well, we've come outside so that you can get a real sense of the scale of what is London's iconic building of 2013, and I get to have a cup of coffee and a mince pie as we reflect on some of the best moments of this past year on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, coming up, you've all heard of the graffiti artist Banksy, right? But have you ever heard of a Becksy? And what would one be worth? Well, that is coming up a little later on the show. First, a day in the life of an elderly person. I put on an aging suit to find out what it really feels like to be getting old.


ANDERSON: Well, the latest research shows that over 4 million elderly residents in the UK feel that Britain has become an alien nation. This equipment here, when I get suit and booted, will give me a sense of what it feels like to be incapacitated. I want to know what it feels like to be a member of the older generation.

This is going to restrict my spine movements and my pelvis tilt. Problems with arthritis in my fingers --


ANDERSON: -- in my wrists and in my knees. Now, I'm going to restrict the movement in my joints. Now, those go around my ankles.


ANDERSON: This is to impair my neck movement. My vision, my central vision, is impaired. I can now see nothing here. A little bit here. I've also got hearing problems. Let's go out and find out just what it feels like to be moving around. Ooh.

Well, I'm coming out of the bank, and I need to get the Tube. The problem is, I can hardly see where I'm going anyway.

What is really odd is already everybody else seems to be moving extremely quickly, and you get this sort of slight sense of anxiety.

All right. I know everybody else is in a rush, but thankfully, I'm retired, so, I don't really need to get anywhere particularly quickly.

This is a really busy thoroughfare in London. This is Holborn. We've very close to the city. These guys are going. I'm going to wait. I'd be interested to see whether I can make it. Here we go.

I don't hear anything too disconcerting. See? The green man's gone already. This is going to take me hours. Oh, dear, here we go.

It's been so exhausting, this whole process of crossing the road. I've planned for some sushi, but I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with the chopsticks.

We'll see what there is in here. Everybody else is using their cars. Is there a fire or something?

Hello! I'm having this. And I've got some money here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to eat in or takeaway?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eating in or takeaway?

ANDERSON: I can't hear you, though.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eating in or takeaway?

ANDERSON: Eating -- oh, I'm going to eat in there, thank you. How much is that?





Even picking up these chopsticks, which are incredibly light, I'm sure, they're like a real weight.

Take this bus over here. It won't be there when I get there. I can't run, so I'll just take it easy. So, he can see me coming. Oh, he is going to wait. That's extraordinary!

Well, I've been out for about an hour. Oh! I can hear! And I can see! That is a really, really disconcerting experience. It's very lonely. You feel as if everything's working really fast around you. You feel as if people are very impatient. And you just get this sense that it is a bit of an alien world, actually.

The bus ride was awful. People were pushing past, and then people sort of moved a way. I don't know, maybe that's just because of what I looked like. Anyway, interesting.


ANDERSON: Spray paint, stencils, sidewalks, and street corners. If you recognize any of these trademarks, you probably know the works of graffitist Banksy. A once unknown street artist form the UK, he is now one of the most sought-after artists in the world. His face and real name are a well-kept secret, but his pieces often fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Well, a handful of shoppers in New York got the bargain of a lifetime this weekend when they picked up some undervalued originals. A Banksy pop- up shop in Central Park sold his pieces for -- get this -- around $60 each. Something of a markdown from their estimated worth of $32,000. Take a look at this.


TEXT: 11:15 AM

12:30 PM

3:30 PM -- First Sale. A lady buys two small canvases for her children. But only after negotiating a 50 percent discount.

4:00 PM. A lady from New Zealand buys two.

5:30 PM. A man from Chicago is decorating his house. "I just need something for the walls," he says. And buys four.

6:00 PM - close. Total taking for the day: $420.

ANDERSON: Well, most of the world missed out on that deal, and there is no going back for it. Banksy said the shop was a, quote, "one-off." Well, we decided to do a little spray painting of our own, went out in London to see how much people would pay for an original "Becksy."

ADAM DUNNAKEY, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Well, this is the finished product. Let's see how much people here in London are willing to pay for it.

DAVID HAYE, BOXER: Let me think a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sort of like 150.





HAYE: How about 22,000 pounds? I've just got a gut instinct that it's worth a lot of money.


ANDERSON: Well, it sounds like we could have made a few bucks there, doesn't it? And did you recognize that face?

That's it for the show. We do hope you've enjoyed it. If you want to share your best moments of the year with us, do Facebook us at or, as ever, you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN. Until next year, good-bye.