Firstly, Happy New Year. I'm in the wilds of the Northern Lake district, but wherever you are in Britain or indeed the world, I hope you can be near a radio or a computer tonight at 10pm (Wednesday 2 January) for the first of a series that has been occupying mine and several other minds for many months now, our epic series The Peoples Songs.

I wanted to make a series that would be different from every other pop history, however admirable, by concentrating on how music feeds into our lives and our culture, our jobs and our homes and our schools and our streets, rather than dissect it under the microscope of critical opinion.

We'll Meet Again by Dame Vera Lynn - the focus of tonight's inaugural episode - is never going to top an NME poll of the best singles ever. But during the dark days of the Second World War it did more in the fight against fascism than Woody Guthrie or The Clash could have ever dreamed. Pop music – silly, sentimental, saccharine, but stirring – was as crucial a part of our armoury as Spitfires and Tommy Guns.

June recalls a wartime request show. Joan & Frank talk about women working for the troops.

Hearing the voices of the people who were there when Vera Lynn first sang of "meeting again some sunny day" was moving and fascinating. I hope you agree.

 

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Richard BBC

    on 7 Jan 2013 11:04

    Thanks @NickSheffield and @Satchmo76 - we're pleased you enjoyed the first programme.

    49 episodes to go! Have you browsed the episode guide to see what's coming up? Do get in touch if you have story to contribute to any of the future episodes in the making.

  • Comment number 2. Posted by Satchmo76

    on 3 Jan 2013 14:40

    The interviews were beautiful. The songs were a surprise and well researched. Please Leave My Butter Alone sounded very saucy and I'm surprised it passed the censor in 1940.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by NickSheffield

    on 2 Jan 2013 23:13

    A start to tug on the heartstrings. The mix of music and memories brought out a reality of war that is so often missed from the way we are told and taught by the slick media glistening through a layer of machismo. I mean blimey, it gave the Military Wives record a depth that I hadn't thought I could have considered. Thank you to everyone who worked and contributed on this - a great listen.

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