Ilford pupil stars in BBC’s Christmas lecture series

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 December 2017

Orla and Sophie demonstrate with insects. Picture: RIGB Christmas Lectures

Orla and Sophie demonstrate with insects. Picture: RIGB Christmas Lectures

Copyright (c) Paul Wilkinson 2017

Emojis and beatboxing can be linked back to “ape ancestry” and an Ilford pupil will help prove it as part of the BBC’s Christmas lecture series.

Orla Hannant-Clune, 12, of Ursuline Academy, Morland Road, will be featuring in a Boxing Day edition about communication alongside professor Sophie Scott from UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

As part of the lecture, delivered from the Royal Institution Lecture Theatre in London, Orla bravely picks up cockroaches to help professor Scott address three big questions, including “how do humans and animals send messages with sound” and “how do people turn thoughts into language”.

Orla, who lives in Wanstead throughly enjoyed her experience and added: “I loved helping out in the Christmas Lectures.

“I was also amazed when Sophie explained how laughing is one of the most communicative noises a human can make.”

Prof Scott said she doesn’t know a successful scientist today who wasn’t inspired as a child by the Christmas Lectures.

“I grew up watching them with my parents and I now continue the tradition with my son,” she said.

“They’re fun and engaging and a great family-focused way to stimulate an interest in science, so it is an enormous honour to be chosen to present.

“I’m looking forward to revealing that there’s much more to communication than we think, and to asking some fairly challenging questions about the future we want.”

Filmed in front of a live audience the original idea for science and engineering events for children was pioneered by Michael Faraday at a time when organised education for young people was scarce.

He presented 19 series, establishing an exciting new way of presenting science to young people.

The Christmas Lectures have continued annually since the 1825 series, stopping only during the Second World War and many world-famous scientists have given the lectures including Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Orla can be seen on BBC Four at 8pm on December 26 in an episode entitled Say it with Sound.

Additional lectures can be seen at 8pm on December 27 and 28.

For more information

Related articles

Latest Ilford Stories

Yesterday, 17:28

Belgium and Tunisia have met on three previous occasions in all competitions, with a win apiece and a draw. The encounters have been tight affairs, with victories decided by one-goal margins, but today’s match didn’t follow the same trend.

Yesterday, 14:12

A 21-year-old man has been injured after a brawl in Gants Hill.

Yesterday, 13:15

A man who threatened a mum at knifepoint while she was dropping off her children at school in Seven Kings and pulled out a knife on a taxi driver in Ilford has been handed six years in prison.

Yesterday, 13:01

Nottinghamshire required just an hour and three-quarters on the fourth morning of the Specsavers County Championship game at Chelmsford to remove the last six Essex wickets and claim victory.

Yesterday, 12:57

Lakeside Hammers team boss Will Pottinger admits his side have “momentum” after a nail-biting away win at Scunthorpe on Friday night.

Yesterday, 12:00

Gareth Southgate’s promising young England side look ready to make a mark on the world stage and help atone for the disappointments of recent tournaments.

Just over five years ago, the Ilford Recorder ran a front page article with the headline “Police swoop on the homeless taking sleeping bags and food parcels in co-ordinated raids in Redbridge”.

Essex (206 & 88-4) trail Nottinghamshire (380 & 266) by 352 runs


An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now