D-Day on the BBC
Nations and Regions
Radio & Television
All parts of the UK are involved
in the D-Day celebrations.
Many BBC Local Radio stations are commemorating the
anniversary with broadcasts from France and wartime-style entertainment,
while television specials have been commissioned in Northern Ireland
and Wales, the latter featuring Falklands veteran Simon Weston.
We Fought On D-Day (BBC Northern Ireland)
Using rare archive footage and stunning eye-witness
interviews, this documentary recounts the previously untold stories
of the local men from Northern Ireland who fought for the beaches, towns
and villages of Normandy on 6 June 1944.
The Royal Ulster Rifles was the only Regiment in the
Allied Forces to have two battalions serve on D-Day; one airborne and
the other by sea.
The film reveals the vital role that Northern Irish
servicemen played in D-Day, as they landed on Sword beach then experienced
heavy German resistance as they liberated several villages in their
push towards the city of Caen.
Central to the film are interviews with veterans of
the Royal Ulster Rifles, such as Bill McConnell, who, as a fresh-faced
teenager flew into battle in a glider; and Stanley Burrows who fought
and was badly wounded in the battle for Cambes Woods.
The programme is directed by Brian Henry Martin and
produced by Diarmuid Lavery, DoubleBand Films, for BBC Northern Ireland.
Weston's Warriors (BBC ONE Wales)
Falklands veteran Simon Weston no stranger to
the horrors of war follows six members of the 'Welsh Band of
Brothers', the Royal Welch Fusiliers, as they return to France, Belgium,
Holland and Germany to retrace the route they took from Normandy to
Hamburg in 1944/45.
From the fierce battles in the bocages of the French
countryside to the staunch German resistance around the Pas de Calais;
from liberation celebrations in Holland to the Battle of the Bulge;
from the West Wall to victory and peace, their tale is the story of
the campaign in northern Europe.
"Two hundred and fifty five men died throughout
the whole of the Falklands campaign," says Simon.
"One hundred and twenty Royal Welch Fusiliers lost
their lives in the first two nights of battle in France.
"In the campaign to liberate Europe, nearly 1,500
men from the regiment were killed and nearly 9,000 were injured or listed
"We must never forget those who never saw home
"I think the journey for
the veterans was at times poignant, at times emotional, at times sad.
It was a special journey because their story has never been told before.
"I just hope we have done them justice because
they were heroes." (DC)
Look North, BBC North East & Cumbria
Veterans of the D-Day landings from the North East of
England and Cumbria travel to France with Look North to mark the 60th
anniversary of D-Day.
In the week before Sunday 6 June, Look North broadcasts
a series of five interviews (one per evening on the nightly weekday
news magazine programme) with old soldiers reminiscing on the D-Day
Senior reporter Keith Akehurst travels to Normandy on
the weekend of the 60th anniversary with some of the veterans to record
the ceremonies in France.
His reports can be seen on Look North on Monday 7 June
and heard on BBC Radios Cleveland, Cumbria and Newcastle. (MC)
South and South East
BBC South Today broadcasts live from various locations
in Normandy throughout the week leading up to the anniversary and beyond.
Its main presenter Sally Taylor will be in France, fronting
specials into the main evening news programme, reflecting the huge impact
D-Day had on the south of England; the part played by those from the
region; and the on-going and strong relationships that exist between
towns and cities in England and Normandy.
Cameras will also be present at the march past of veterans
in Southsea near Portsmouth.
BBC South East Today has a week-long build-up to output
with one-minute personal stories.
It broadcasts from France on Friday and covers activity
all weekend with a round-up of Remembrance on Monday.
Robin Gibson fronts the coverage. Highlights include
a father taking his son to France for the first time and a veteran telling
his story to a 16-year-old - connecting the past with the present.
Through BBC South East Online's Wish You Well viewers
can send their messages to British veterans in France.
The messages will be bound and presented to them at
the D-Day celebrations.
Radio Kent offers one personal account of D-Day each
day in Good Morning Kent during the week leading up to 6 June, and there
are plans for a live phone link-up on the Friday from the ferry to France.
The Drive programme comes live from Arromanches, Normandy, on Friday
4 June, between 4.30 and 6.00pm.
A documentary tells the story of D-Day and the Normandy campaign through
the personal accounts of more than 50 veterans, plus music and archive
news audio from the time.
Jonathan Witchell's afternoon show, between 2.00 and 6.00pm, is totally
focused on D-Day, with studio guests including historian and author
Richard Windrow, and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's son, Manfred.
West and East Midlands
BBC WM's Community Ambassador, Carl Chinn, is going
to Normandy for the anniversary.
Carl reports for programmes across the weekend and presents
his Sunday show (2.00-4.00pm) live from Normandy.
The Shane O'Connor show on BBC Radio Derby is being
transported back to June 1944 for the sounds, news bulletins, food and
events of the time.
The station continues to follow the World War Two diary
of Derby's Percy Richardson and his sweetheart, Betty.
BBC Hereford & Worcester is following veterans from
the two counties as the station marks the 60th anniversary of the D-Day
landings and reports live on the moving ceremonies and events.
BBC Midlands Today's Nick Owen is in Normandy on the
Friday before the big D-Day weekend.
The programme also has a series of World War Two digital
style storytelling features produced and voiced by the veterans themselves,
after a series of workshops in Wolverhampton.