to film the true story of Dunkirk
TWO is filming a dramatic recreation of the events surrounding the
daring Dunkirk rescue of 1940.
by acclaimed script-writer Neil McKay (The Hunt for the Yorkshire
Ripper and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence), Dunkirk will tell the
true story of the audacious bid to rescue the third of a million
troops from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) besieged on the
beaches at Dunkirk in 1940.
all the stories featured in the three part drama are true. They
are the result of a hugely intensive research project to find the
untold accounts of what happened.
Neil McKay explains: "There have been many documentaries made
about Dunkirk, and one film made in the 1940s, but what is different
about this is that it is the first time the full story has been
put on the screen.
we have drawn on documentary sources we have sought as much as possible
to derive the drama directly from the experiences of Dunkirk veterans.
We have spoken to a great many of them, and some of their stories
have been directly portrayed."
Olivier Award winner for best actor, Simon Russell Beale, plays
Churchill, who had been in power for little over a week when he
ordered the rescue bid to save the stranded soldiers.
over Cabinet members who wanted to press for peace, the rescue of
some 338,000 troops, mainly in Royal and Merchant Navy ships, aided
by a mixed fleet of little ships, was dubbed a miracle and lead
to the expression 'Dunkirk spirit', synonymous with refusing to
give up in time of crisis.
Chamberlain is played by Christopher Good and Lord Halifax, the
Foreign Secretary, by Richard Durden (Daniel Deronda). Richard Attlee
(The Archers), Clement's grandson, plays Clement Attlee.
Commander of the BEF, General Lord Gort, is played by John Carlisle
(The Forsyte Saga). Clive Wood (London's Burning, The Bill) plays
General Henry Pownall and Kevin McNally (Spooks) plays Harold Alexander,
the last officer to be evacuated from the beach.
is directed by first time director Alex Holmes, Creative Director
for Documentaries at the BBC, and produced by Rob Warr, Head of
Talent at the BBC.
Warr says: "Dunkirk is the most astonishing rescue mission
ever. If it weren't for the 'miracle' of Dunkirk, Hitler would have
won World War II before it had properly started.
want to give a very real sense of actually being there: what would
you have done? How would you have felt? We hope to give viewers
an authentic sense of what living through the events would actually
have been like.
like reportage, with a real sense of immediacy, we want viewers
to feel very much at the centre of the action."
adds: "One of the reasons why it seemed so important to make
the drama now is that the survivors of Dunkirk are in their eighties
ten or fifteen years the people who went through this extraordinary
experience will be gone and the opportunity would have been lost
hope the films will not just be gripping drama, but some kind of
tribute to those who went through the experience of Dunkirk."
is being shot in locations around Dunkirk, Chatham and Whitstable.
will be supported by a full interactive TV service, which will provide
key background information as well as interviews from the veterans
who survived Dunkirk and who feature in the drama.
People's War website - www.bbc.co.uk/ww2
which is gathering the public's stories of World War II will also
be devoted particularly to people's personal stories of Dunkirk
will also be documentaries on BBC TWO and BBC FOUR supporting the
BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview,
the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well
as on satellite and cable.
offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services
from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.