The News

New Burns Night app takes the Bard into digital age

Robert Burns was famous for his partying, but not as many people know he was also a big fan of new technology. So the Bard would have loved the idea of a Burns Night app, according to Nat Edwards, director of the Burns Birthplace Museum.

We have now released an app to bring the traditional Burns birthday party up to date. It features some of his best-known poems and songs and boasts a selection of Scotland’s favourite musicians and actors performing the greatest works by Burns. It's FREE to download from iTunes (UK app store) and the Android Market. The US iTunes app store is also live, and Canada, Australia and more will follow soon.

Our behind-the-scenes video shows a glimpse of the rousing performance by Alasdair Macrae bringing Tam o' Shanter to life, and the app’s built-in autocue means you can work on your own delivery of Burns’ masterpiece without worrying about forgetting the lines or losing your place. Top singers Karine Polwart, Corrina Hewat and Annie Grace also perform some of their acclaimed a capella Burns arrangements– again, preview their recording on the video.

We’re really excited to have developed this new app that helps people have fun with the world’s greatest birthday party. As well as the built-in compass, the app gives tips on how to plan the evening and how to address your haggis, with recipes so you can cook up a storm. It can help you find out what the most famous poems mean and their relevance today. For example, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is known all over the world and has been translated into countless languages – even Klingon.

Whether you’re a veteran of Burns Suppers or going to your first one, this app will help you enjoy Burns Night and celebrate the legacy of the Bard himself.

BBC Discover Wildlife magazine features Beneath Cold Seas in online gallery

The BBC's wildlife magazine, Discover Wildlife, is now featuring an online gallery of stunning photos by David Hall from Beneath Cold Seas, which is published this month.

Have a look at the gallery and see for yourself why Peter Rowlands of Underwater Photography Magazine calls these images "quite exceptional"; Discover calls the book "A stunning, wildly colorful marine world"; and Shelf Awareness says it's "A dazzling book filled with dazzling sea creatures, showing us an astonishing marine domain"!

Below: cover image: Blue rockfish & lion's mane jelly. The fish seems to be nibbling small particles adhering to the tentacles of the jelly.

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