BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
Press Office
Search the BBC and Web
Search BBC Press Office

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

British troops in Belgium  (Image © Imperial War Museum)

V45 - the BBC's V45 range of programming commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War

Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio 4;

Date: 21.04.2005
Printable version

V45 - throughout 2005 on BBC Television, BBC Radio and online


In 2005, it's 60 years since the end of the Second World War, and the nation is preparing for some of the biggest commemorations and celebrations seen since 1945.


To mark the occasion, the BBC will broadcast a range of events and programmes across television, radio and online, transmitting throughout the year, under the umbrella name of V45.


This year, national commemorations are not just focused on VE Day (8 May) and VJ Day (15 August), but also include End of the War ceremonial events to be held on 10 July, the official commemoration date marking the end of the war, and this is reflected in the BBC's programming.


BBC Television




D-Day To Berlin, BBC ONE


D-Day To Berlin recounts the Allies' struggle from the beaches of Normandy to their ultimate victory in Germany nearly one year later.


This three-part series began on Wednesday 20 April with The Struggle To Break Out.


The optimism born of the successful D-Day landings quickly begins to fade as the Allies confront a skilful enemy who is determined to throw them back into the sea.


British troops become trapped in a terrible battle of attrition, and 60,000 men are killed or wounded in the first three weeks of the campaign.


The second programme, Allies At War, looks at the personality differences and radical disagreements in strategy which threaten to create a rift between Eisenhower and Montgomery and burst the alliance open.


And the final episode The Dream That Died examines the final few months of the Second World War when crucial decisions will decide the shape of Europe for decades. (NR)


In The Footsteps Of Churchill, BBC FOUR


In the Footsteps of Churchill is both a study in character and the story of an extraordinary career.


As a soldier at Omdurman Churchill took part in an old-style cavalry charge and was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross.


He went on to become a towering figure in British politics, changing parties twice - from the Conservatives to the Liberals and back again - and holding all the great offices of state except Foreign Secretary.


He was a journalist and historian, wrote some 80 books and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


The series takes viewers on an exhilarating journey through Harrow, the North-West Frontier, the Sudan, South Africa, 10 Downing Street and his beloved Chartwell; a journey that begins in the aristocratic splendour of Blenheim Palace and ends in the quiet of a country churchyard - the compass of an extraordinary life in a few Oxfordshire acres. (JW)


Wales At War, BBC ONE Wales


1939 to 1945 were six pivotal years that changed the lives of many in Wales for ever.


John Humphrys discovers many personal stories in this new four-part BBC Wales series, a collection of the emotional experiences and dilemmas of Second World War.


With a comprehensive new archive of material - gathered from people's own personal memories, pictures and artefacts - the series helps to piece together a full picture of those unforgettable years. (JW)




A Party To Remember: Live From Trafalgar Square, BBC ONE, 8 May


Sir Cliff Richard, Will Young, Daniel Bedingfield, Katie Melua, Katherine Jenkins, Hayley Westenra and Heather Small are some of the top international artists taking part in this live concert from Trafalgar Square, which marks the 60th Anniversary of VE Day.


The musical extravaganza is presented by Eamonn Holmes and Natasha Kaplinsky with special guest appearances from Dame Vera Lynn, Christopher Eccleston, Richard E Grant and Heather Mills McCartney.


200 representatives from Veteran groups are also in attendance.


Popular songs of wartime feature alongside contemporary tracks in a celebration of both the past and the future; songs are interspersed with readings, original footage and short films about fashion, entertainment and lifestyle in the Forties, transporting the audience back in time.


A Party to Remember: Live From Trafalgar Square - VE Day 60th, is being organised by the BBC, The Royal British Legion and the Mayor of London with the support of the London Development Agency.


The concert is also broadcast live on BBC London 94.9 FM and other BBC Local Radio Stations.


BBC Radio 2 will broadcast live features from Trafalgar Square during the event with concert highlights broadcasting later on in the evening. (LW)


We'll Meet Again, BBC ONE, 8 May


As part of the 60th anniversary of Germany's surrender, Des Lynam presents We'll Meet Again, a one-hour special to celebrate the end of the war.


We'll Meet Again reunites old friends, comrades and heroes who have carried the memories of each other in their hearts since the war, and tells uplifting wartime stories recounted by those who lived through it.


Separated by distance and circumstance for more than half a lifetime, these stories will be brought up-to-date with emotional and surprising reunions.


With live studio performances and special guests, We'll Meet Again also gives viewers a taste of what the entertainment of the wartime years would have been like. (JM)




Britain At War - The Road To Victory, BBC ONE

Monday 4 to Friday 8 July


For five days, during Veterans Awareness Week, Huw Edwards presents a series of daily programmes to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.


Dramatic stories of survival and tales of courage are told, which show how people endured the war - both at home and abroad. The series will come live from St James's Park in London, part of which will be transformed into a 'Living Museum' commemorating the Second World War.


Huw and the team will meet both veterans and visitors as he retells the story of conflict over 60 years ago.


Each day, Jenny Scott talks to the veterans and visitors who have come to the Living Museum. Darren Jordon reports on some of the key events in Europe during the war. Maureen Lipman looks at what life was like on the Home Front in mainland Britain. And Dick Strawbridge reports on the conflict in the Far East.


Viewers can email, phone or text our experts: social historian, Juliet Gardiner and military historian Dr. Simon Trew, who will be on hand during the programme to answer questions and respond to comments.


With additional films reports from Prof. Richard Holmes; Sophie Raworth; and father and son team, Peter and Dan Snow, the series charts the course of the war from its beginnings in 1939 through to its conclusion in 1945 and looks at the impact it had on the United Kingdom.


Items featured in the five programmes are detailed below:


Monday 4 July, 12.15-1.00pm BBC ONE

This programme looks at the early years of the war and how Britain found herself isolated.


Darren Jordon reports on the build-up to the Second World War; Maureen Lipman tells the story of evacuation; Dick Strawbridge looks at the tensions that led to the conflict in the Far East; and Prof. Richard Holmes describes how Churchill came to lead the country through some of its darkest hours.


Tuesday 5 July, 12.15-1.00pm BBC ONE

Darren Jordon tells us the story of the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk; father and son team, Peter and Dan Snow, are at RAF Duxford, a Sector Station during the Battle of Britain; Maureen Lipman looks at what is was like to live through the Blitz; and Dick Strawbridge is with some veterans of Singapore, hearing their memories of this Allied disaster in the Far East.


Wednesday 6 July 11.30am-12.15pm BBC ONE

The story of the Battle of El Alamein is told by Darren Jordon; Dan Snow looks at the global Allied effort required to survive the conflict; Maureen Lipman continues her reports from the Home Front, looking at those who refused to fight; Dick Strawbridge tells the harrowing story of the Prisoners of War in the Far East; and Sophie Raworth tells the story of a 'U-Boat Killer' from Liverpool.


Thursday 7 July 12.15-1.00pm BBC ONE

Darren Jordon tells the story of the battle of the Atlantic; Sophie Raworth has been underground at Derby House in Liverpool, HQ for this crucial Naval battle; Peter and Dan Snow tell the controversial story of Fighter Command's Bombing Campaign; and Dick Strawbridge continues his series of films from the Far East from Kohima, where the Allied fight-back against Japan began.


Friday 8 July 12.15-1.00pm BBC ONE

In the last programme before Sunday's National Commemoration of the end of the Second World War, Huw Edwards looks at the closing chapters of the conflict; the events leading to victory in Europe and Japan; and the days and years that followed.


Jenny Scott once again talks to the veterans and visitors who have come to the Living Museum in St James's Park; Darren Jordon looks at the final Allied push to Berlin; Maureen Lipman has the story of how one of Hitler's most feared weapons brought death and destruction to mainland Britain - the V-weapons; Sophie Raworth takes a look at the only part of Britain to be liberated from Nazi occupation - The Channel Islands; and Dick Strawbridge contrasts the dry, official accounts of battle in the Far East with those of author George MacDonald Fraser, who describes the difficult fight from a personal point of view. (SS)


End Of The War Ceremony, BBC ONE, 10 July


BBC ONE will be covering the day live from 10.30am to 12.15pm and then from 2.00pm to 5.15pm.


BBC ONE will be covering a day of ceremonial events in London to commemorate the end of the Second World War, which will be attended by veterans and their families.


It will be presented by Huw Edwards with Sir Max Hastings and Colonel John Hughes-Wilson.


There will be a service at Westminster Abbey from 11.00am to commemorate the civilian loss of life and it will be attended by Her Majesty The Queen.


The day will continue with an event at Horse Guards at 2.30pm, remembering the sacrifice and celebrating the victory won in front of 12,000 veterans of both the armed forces and civilian services who suffered and fought through the Second World War.


Following this, the standards of veterans' organisations will process along the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Family will make their traditional appearance on the balcony to view a flypast of aircraft which took part in the aerial struggles - both above the UK and across the world.


The day will culminate in a poppy drop from the Lancaster, escorted by Spitfires and Hurricanes from the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight.


More information on Horse Guards Commemoration 3.00-4.00pm


At 3.00pm there will be a special event on London's famous Horse Guards Parade, where hundreds of musicians, singers, actors and celebrities will come together in a Pageant telling the story of the Second World War.


This hour-long Festival of Commemoration, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, will combine poignancy, comedy, unique archive footage and memorable music of the time.


Well-known celebrities such as Jane Horrocks, Simon Callow, Bruce Forsythe, Joe Pasquale, Dame Vera Lynn and the current 'Forces' Sweetheart,' Claire Sweeney, will impersonate some of the great stars of the period in a Forties-style show.


The Festival is also a time of reflection and remembrance - and will include a March On of 200 standards; the Last Post relayed from an overseas war grave; a two-minute silence; and music from a spectacular tri-service Military Band and the 200-strong Bach Choir - allowing the veterans present on Horse Guards and those watching on TV to mark this anniversary with dignity.


A BBC Production. (KB/NR)


Hiroshima, BBC ONE


At 8.15am on 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing nearly 100,000 people instantly.


Those who managed to survive - in spite of the lethal heat-blast, the colossal shockwave and the invisible effects of gamma radiation - told stories of a living nightmare.


This drama-documentary is set in the three weeks from the first test explosion in New Mexico to the eventual dropping of the bomb, and shows what it was like to live through a nuclear explosion.


It includes a host of visual techniques, including archive footage, CGI, miniature models, prosthetics and pyrotechnics to illustrate all the different stages of the explosion.


Everything is based on facts, drawn from survivors' testimony, never-before-seen interviews with the last remaining members of the air crew and witnesses to the political decisions, official documents, diaries and archive film.


Hiroshima puts the explosion in its historical and political context, examining the evidence and records to build a detailed account of the reasons for the decision to bomb the city. A BBC Production. (KB)


After The War, BBC TWO


After The War, a new three-part series, looks at the burning issues around 1945 - what happened when war ended; how peace was restored; and how the Allies set about the reconstruction of Nazi Germany.


After The War: Churchill examines the man who led the nation through its darkest hours of thew Second World War and brought victory to Britain.


After announcing a snap General Election, Churchill toured the country where he was rapturously received by enormous crowds.


But in a shock defeat, Churchill was voted out of office and Clement Attlee and the Labour Party took control of the country.


The programme follows Churchill on the ups and downs of the campaign and talks to people who were there including his daughter Mary Soames, his secretary Elizabeth Nel, his translator at Potsdam, Hugh Lunghi, and many others.


Labour activists at the time - such as Tony Benn and Denis Healey - also take part as does Janet Shipton, Attlee's daughter.


After The War: Germany shows the full destruction of Nazi Germany after seven years of war and how the Allies were faced with having to rebuild the country.


After The War: Hirohito examines the Japanese Emperor's reign and the role he played during the Second World War.


A BBC Production. (KB)


BBC Radio


Coming Home, Radio 4, 9 to 13 May


Coming Home, a landmark series for Radio 4, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War throughout the week beginning Monday 9 May.


Charles Wheeler presents five personal interpretations of what the end of the war meant to people in Britain and across the world.


Taking that unique moment as its starting point, Coming Home traces the way in which the previous six years of hostilities led to the realisation that the world had irrevocably changed.


Coming Home is on BBC Radio 4, daily, Monday 9 to Friday 13 May at 9.00am. (EH)


Random Edition, Radio 4, 6 May


Random Edition joins in Radio 4's season of programmes to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a VE Day special on Friday 6 May.


As ever, a single newspaper from history provides the stories.


The archive newspaper selected is the News Chronicle for Wednesday 9 May 1945.


Its VE Day reports whisk round the country to describe everything from loaves being stolen from a baker's van in Oxford, to a 'cease fire' bugled in Sheffield by Joseph Revitt, who sounded the same command in 1918 outside the very railway carriage where the Armistice was signed.


Random Edition VE Day Special is on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 6 May at 11.00am. (EH)


People's War


The People's War website exists to capture memories and experiences of those who lived through the Second World War.


The site went live in 2003 and continues to look for more stories.


So far, People's War has worked with community centres and libraries around the UK to encourage people who lived through the war to visit and contribute their stories to the website.


This year People's War is looking for storygathers - sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and even neighbours of those who were alive during the Second World War.


Their recollections and experiences are invaluable. Visit for more information. (NR)



Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio 4;

Date: 21.04.2005
Printable version


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy