Remembering Winston Churchill | Tributes to a legendary statesman and a wartime hero
BBC ARCHIVE DOCUMENT 1965
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17th January 1965
Private and Confidential
From: The Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill's funeral: O.B. Arrangements
To: D.Tel as C. P. Tel.
Copy to: Ch. P. BBC 1, Ch. P. BBC 2, A. C. (Planning) Tel., H. E. P. Tel., Mr Antony Craxton
On Saturday morning Craxton, Dimbleby and I went to see Garter and Colonel Dennys at the College of Arms to check various details of the Ceremonial. As a result of this meeting Dimbleby is now well briefed. In my view he should not be allowed to go to the U.S.A. because, apart from the time factor, it would seem sensible to give Dimbleby as much free time as possible to concentrate on his homework for such a major occasion.
The only tiresome uncertainty at this stage is whether the Earl Marshal will give way to pressure from the Metropolitan Police for the Funeral to be on a Saturday. This could throw out of gear all our plans (and those of London District) because if Sir Winston dies to-day (Sunday) or tomorrow, the Funeral could be next Saturday.
The Earl Marshall has called a meeting at 10.00 a.m. on Monday but may not make any definite decision unless Sir Winston's death occurs before then. I have made sure that the Earl Marshal is aware of our need for the seven days of preparation. I also suggested to Garter that the D. G. of the Post Office should be consulted because the lines pressure on them is enormous.
On the assumption that D + 8 or longer will prevail, may I please recommend the following O.B. coverage for your consideration.
1. D + 4
We suggest two evening transmissions from the Lying in State at Westminster Hall. The first to be a news piece by Dimbleby of not more than five minutes, around 6.00 p. m., and the second a longer and carefully prepared reflective O. B. separate from the News at a peak time. The commentator would again be Richard Dimbleby with, we hope, Sir Brian Horrocks as stand-by for the reflective piece.
If D + 4 is a Saturday or Sunday, then we suggest a news piece during the morning with the reflective O. B. at a peak time in the evening.
2. D + 8
In order to have our screen alight in good time, we suggest that the Television Service should open at 3.30 a.m. with an extended News bulletin including some brief 'live' vision inserts from the various O. B. points. This could be followed by a repeat of the obituary film which will have been shown several days before but which may have been missed by many people.
The O. B. would begin at 9.25 a.m., the first part ending about 1.30 p.m. with scenes from Bladon, the train having left Waterloo Station at 1.25 p.m. We would suggest that the Television Service remains on the air with music and a caption "The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. The Interment from Bladon Churchyard at 3.25 p.m. âThe length of this second part of the O. B.
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is not precisely known, but should be a little over half an hour. If there are enormous crowds between the station and the church at Bladon, we suspect that the procession may go more slowly and this could lengthen the O. B. We have not yet received formal permission to cover the Interment but have been told informally that coverage at least on a recording basis will be permitted.
You will see from the above that the total duration of the two 'live' O. B.s is likely to amount to something over four hours. We suggest, therefore, that an edited repeat should be placed the same evening at not less than 1 1/2 hours' duration. It would be difficult to reflect the whole occasion in any shorter time.
In the event of anything happening to Richard Dimbleby [the phrase 'being unavailable on D + S' is crossed out] H. O. B. (S) has agreed to release Raymond Baxter to take his place.
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Document Type | Internal Memo
17 January 1965
BBC managers are briefed on plans for Winston Churchill's funeral in the event of his death. The arrangements for his state funeral have been in preparation for five years, but all were aware of the 90-year-old statesman's ailing health.
The BBC's general manager of outside broadcasts, Peter Dimmock, was a veteran of large-scale events, having been in charge of the BBC's broadcast of the Queen's coronation. Even so, everyone knew that the broadcast of Churchill's funeral would be an ambitious project.
Recollections of the wit and wisdom of Winston Churchill.
A wartime adviser to Churchill, Field Marshal Alanbrooke, discusses his diaries.
Celebrating the life of Winston Churchill.
Prime Minister Harold Wilson and fellow statesmen pay their respects to Churchill.
Churchill's death inspires messages of condolence from world statesmen.
An interview with Churchill's oldest friend.
The life of Winston Churchill in pictures.
London pauses as the state funeral procession begins.
The approach to St Paul's Cathedral and the commencement of the service.
The conclusion of the service and the journey towards Tower Hill.
The final journey of Winston Churchill.
How Churchill's stroke was concealed from the British public.
A retrospective of 'the greatest Briton of the 20th Century'.
Churchill's speech writing methods are recalled by his principal private secretary.
Joan Bakewell meets Churchill's cook.
Donald Norbrook talks with a former private secretary to Churchill.
An interview with Churchill's bodyguard.
Remembering 'the speech that never was'.
A portrait of Sir Winston by his contemporaries.
Robin Day speaks to Anthony Eden about Churchill.
AJP Taylor appraises the successes and failures of Winston Churchill.
Churchill's secretary speaks.
Peter Dimmock shares the latest arrangements for Churchill's funeral.
Richard Dimbleby announced as sole commentator.
The procession route and Order of Service.
Richard Dimbley pays tribute to his producer for the Churchill state funeral broadcast.
Commentator thanks colleague for his letters about Churchill's funeral.
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