PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2002, 12:00am

The World's Bloodiest Dungeons

Pearl, 10.55pm

Strong stomachs are required for this fairly gruesome programme. Deep beneath even the most beautiful castles lie dark dungeons, brimming with stories of pain, torture and death. This programme unlocks the stories from the world's most terrifying, haunted and desperate places.

In the 16th century, Elizabeth Bathory (above) was the Countess Dracula. In her castle in Hungary she whipped, tortured and killed hundreds of local peasant women - she is even said to have bathed in their blood - before she was caught and suffered a terrible and lingering punishment for her crimes. Her direct descendant lives in America and spills the beans on his family's skeletons in the closet, as it were.

In medieval France, Joan of Arc led an army of peasants, but when she was captured she was thrown into a dungeon in the French city of Rouen and found guilty of being a witch. This programme retraces her steps, going back to the pit where she spent her last terrifying hours before being burned at the stake. Interesting, but not for the squeamish.

Neanderthals On Trial

World, 9pm

In 1998, scientists studying the 25,000-year-old remains of a child found in central Portugal made a stunning discovery - the skeleton appeared to be a hybrid between modern humans and Neanderthals. Did this prove that our ancestors and Neanderthals had interbred? This programme probes the deepening mystery and conflicting evidence of a people who continue to cause controversy.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Star World, 1pm

Pop sensation Britney Spears (above) is Oprah Winfrey's guest today. The 20-year-old talks about her career, her big-screen debut in Crossroads and her changing image. She also performs her hit singles I'm A Slave 4 U and I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.

To get some behind-the-scenes gossip, Winfrey talks to Spears' mum, little sister and Crossroads co-stars Kim Cattrall and Dan Aykroyd. But don't expect any huge revelations, as they all claim she is the nicest person they have ever met.

Filmed before the rumours about her split from long-term boyfriend Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync, she talks about balancing her career with her relationships with family and friends. She also meets a frankly psychotic-looking fan.