RICHARD AMBROSE: There is a ribbon of fire running around the world, it runs day and night, it runs out of the past and into the future and it feeds the world. Few among the millions know this; we are the few who tend that ribbon of fire.
NARRATOR: That ribbon of fire is of course steel.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Steel is the most popular metal on the planet, a billion tons is produced each year every year and a modern world just wouldn't be a modern world without it.
NARRATOR: The versatility of this manmade alloy is staggering it's used in everything from containers to cars, from ships to skyscrapers from aerosol cans to aircraft landing gear. There are currently more than 3 and a half thousand different grades of steel which are made too many different recipes. But whatever the mix all steels have two key ingredients, iron and carbon, the higher the carbon content the harder the steel, but it also becomes more brittle, the trick is to match the right steel to the right application.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Some are so soft you need very little force to bend them where as other you need a lot more muscle, and for that we've bought in an expert
NARRATOR: Meet Manjit Singh, he's a professional man of steel who holds numerous world records for feats of strength.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Now we've got three types of steel here, we've got a mild steel which is very soft and easy to bend, we've got a medium grade steel and then we've got a very hard steel which is a lot stronger. Now Manjit Singh here got a very impressive way of bending these. Are you feeling confident?
MANJIT SINGH: I'm feeling very confident yes.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Are you ready now?
MANJIT SINGH: I'm ready let's go for it.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Let's go.
NARRATOR: For a bit of moral and physical support Manjit Singh's bought along his grey haired posy, but it looks like Jonny's the one who needs reassuring.
JONNY PHILLIPS: You're absolutely sure I'm not going to be impaled here.
MAN IN GREEN SHIRT: I'm not... (every one laughs)
RICHARD AMBROSE: I'm not entirely sure but we'll give it a go.
NARRATOR: Now remember kids, don't try this at home.
Wow. Manjit Singh that is absolutely fantastic.
NARRATOR: For his next trick a medium grade steel which is typically used in the manufacturer of car chassis and is a whole 25 percent stronger than the last bar he bent. Can he do it?.... You bet.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Now this is the hard steel, this is the real tough stuff. Are you sure you want to do this?
MANJIT SINGH: Er... Yes.
NARRATOR: Now this is getting serious, this is high grade steel which is typically used to reinforce concrete in a building industry, it has twice the strength of the original bar and Manjit Singh has never attempted to bend anything this tough before.
RICHARD AMBROSE: Yes, do you want to do another one?
JONNY PHILLIPS: Well done. I tell you what forget Bend it like Beckham, Bend it like Manjit Singh.
NARRATOR: Just in case you were wondering how tough this steel is, here's one we bent earlier, or in this case, here's one we didn't.
JONNY PHILLIPS: Try in the middle it's a bit harder there isn't it, physics boy, physics.