Press Office

Wednesday 30 Jul 2014

Press Release

Remembrance on the BBC

A Remembrance Day poppy

As the nation pauses to remember those killed in the First World War, Second World War, and all conflicts since, the BBC is to broadcast a range of programmes to mark the Season of Remembrance.

In addition to BBC news coverage on TV, radio and online, the broadcasts across the BBC's national and regional TV and radio networks will enable millions of viewers and listeners to be part of the commemoration services as the nation remembers its war dead.

Nick Vaughan-Barratt, the BBC's Head of Events, says: "Remembrance is a time when the nation – from every generation – stops what they are doing and unites to pay their respects to those who have died in conflict. It is a privilege to bring these events to our viewers and listeners each year."

On 11 November at 11am both BBC One and BBC Two will televise the national two-minute silence. BBC cameras are at the Royal British Legion Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey where the Duke of Edinburgh leads the silence, and at locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On BBC Four on 11 November at 9pm in Battlefield Poet – Keith Douglas presenter Owen Sheers takes a look at Douglas's work. Douglas was killed at the age of 24, shortly after D-Day. Sheers examines his life and why his war poems are so acclaimed.

This year's Festival Of Remembrance (BBC One, 13 November, 9.10pm) presented by Huw Edwards will – in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family – pay tribute to the victims of all conflicts. The festival will feature performances from Brian May, Kerry Ellis, Hayley Westenra and The Soldiers, who perform alongside The Massed Bands of the Household Division, the Band of the Royal Marines, The Queens Colour Squadron and the Army Physical Training Corps.

The Festival Of Remembrance will also include the traditional two-minute silence as poppy petals fall from the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, each one representing a loss of life.

Remembrance Sunday: Cenotaph hosted by David Dimbleby and Sophie Raworth (BBC One, 10.25am) will bring live coverage from the Cenotaph where Her Majesty The Queen leads the nation's Remembrance Sunday commemorations. Dignitaries from around the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister, leading politicians, representatives of many of the world's religions and military leaders join thousands of veterans from conflicts for the two-minute silence, service and march past. All will then gather to remember those men and women who have died serving their country.

Cenotaph Highlights: 2010 on BBC Two at 6pm, also hosted by David Dimbleby, will feature highlights of the morning's events.

On Sunday 14 November Songs Of Praise (BBC One, 4.50pm) will be presented by Katherine Jenkins who has sung for the troops in recent years. The programme, from Holy Trinity in Folkstone, Kent, will feature three generations affected by war. Katherine meets the parents devastated by the loss of their teenage son in Afghanistan earlier this year, hears from the children who are learning about the value of Remembrance and talks to the Battle of Britain Hurricane hero, now 93, who survived twice being shot down by the enemy.

Members of the RAF Central Band will accompany the hymn-singing and lead The Last Post. Katherine sings I Believe, a song which looks ahead to a time of peace and some of the Chelsea Pensioners sing a new song with a familiar tune, King And Country.

On BBC One Daytime Remembrance Week (8-12 November), presented by Rav Wilding (Crimewatch, Helicopter Heroes), will feature interviews with people whose incredible stories span decades and conflicts, from the Second World War through to the current Afghan conflict.

Celebrating the courage and bravery of the people involved, it will hear directly from serving and retired members of the UK Armed Forces, as well as civilians and their families. It will also reveal stories from those touched and affected by war in different and sometimes unusual ways, from miners and teachers on the home front, to those who nursed and entertained the troops on the frontline.

Each episode will include feature interviews, archive footage, personal photos, letters and diaries from the First World War right through to recent conflicts such as the Falklands, Balkans and Gulf Wars.

The BBC's national radio networks will also carry significant coverage.

BBC Radio 2 will also broadcast highlights from the Festival Of Remembrance (8-9pm) and, on Saturday 13 November, Pete Waterman's Armistice Day Special (9-10pm) visits the war memorials and battlefields of France as Waterman reflects on the poetry and music that evokes the horror and sadness and misplaced adventure of those – like Waterman's own grandfathers – both of whom fought in the war.

On Sunday 14 Good Morning Sunday (6-9am) meets singer-songwriter Ralph McTell, who himself briefly served in the army, and welcomes Malcolm Smart, who served in the Royal Signals, and is now a resident of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. And in Sunday Half Hour Brian D'Arcy traces the background to Remembrance Sunday.

BBC Radio 4 will mark Remembrance with a number of thought-provoking programmes and will observe the two-minute silence on both 11 and 14 November. In addition, on 11 November, Radio 4 (long wave) has a special daily service dedicated to Remembrance (9.45am).

On Remembrance Sunday Radio 4's Sunday Worship comes from Coventry Cathedral, and marks the 70th anniversary of the devastating bombing of the town during the Second World War. Nicholas Witchell presents a ceremony of Remembrance from the Cenotaph. And in War And Paint – The Diary Of A War Artist (11.45am and 2.45pm) the moving audio diary of Xavier Pick, a war artist working alongside British troops in Iraq in 2008/2009, is featured. And in Oh What A Lively War (4.30pm) Martin Sorrel explores the work of Guillaume Apollinaire, the acclaimed First World War French war poet.

On BBC Radio 3 Classical Collection (8-12 November) with Sarah Walker features work all connected with the First World War including Hubert Parry's Crossing The Bar, which is used in many Remembrance Services. There are also songs from Ludlow Fair and On The Idle Hill Of Summer by Ivor Gurney, who fought in the conflict.

Elsewhere there will be widespread coverage of Remembrance across the BBC's regional TV and radio networks.

Local radio stations will be marking the two-minute silence on both Thursday 11 November and Remembrance Sunday as well as some stations and regional TV teams producing dedicated programmes to ensure local heroes are not forgotten.

For Mud, Blood & Biscuitmen – Reading Football Club & The First World War, Reading FC Manager Brian McDermott joins BBC Berkshire's Graham McKechnie and historian Jon Cooksey for a special BBC Berkshire radio documentary (12 November, 9am and 14 November, 11am) and BBC South Inside Out film (available on BBC iPlayer) exploring the fate of the club's players who fought in the First World War. Brian travels with club legends Trevor Senior, Mike Gooding and Ady Williams to the Western Front in France and Belgium to ensure their heroics off the pitch are not forgotten.

BBC Oxford's radio output will bring the spirit of the commemoration into the present as they hear from an Oxfordshire soldier serving in Afghanistan and the Oxfordshire mother of a soldier killed there. They will also visit the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in Oxford, the resting place of 741 soldiers, making it one of the largest in the country.

BBC Wiltshire will be asking "Who will you be remembering?" as the station broadcasts a special two-hour programme from Trowbridge on Remembrance Sunday, including reports from Wootton Bassett and stories from the Second World War right up to Iraq and Afghanistan.

And in the Channel Islands BBC Jersey will be broadcasting a commemorative programme from The Cenotaph in St Helier on Remembrance Sunday from 10am-12pm. Presented by Hamish Marett-Crosby, it will feature the island's annual act of remembrance.

Notes to Editors

You can also view the following Remembrance programmes on BBC iPlayer

BBC Television
Remembrance – A Sikh Story (BBC One) examines the moving story of the thousands of Sikh soldiers who valiantly laid down their lives for Britain's freedom across both World Wars. With contributions from eminent historians, military experts and war veterans, the film features the last ever interview with legendary Second World War Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji, and the first television broadcast of a rare audio recording of a First World War Sikh prisoner of war, handed to Britain earlier this year, after 94 years in German hands.

BBC Radio
BBC Asian Network Reports Special – My Dada's Army highlights personal testimonials and relives the memories of some of those who survived.

BBC Regional TV and Radio
In The Secret War BBC Inside Out East tells the story of the former Bedfordshire RAF base from which hundreds of clandestine missions took off to undertake top-secret missions against the Nazis, through the eyes of Wing Commander Leonard Ratcliffe, 91, the last surviving squadron leader who led these secret wartime missions.

The remembrance of the Second World War continues as BBC Inside Out East Midlands reveals secret wartime documents showing how a Derbyshire village would have been defended had the Germans invaded, and investigates an act of bravery by the men of the Home Guard which casts them in a different light from TV's Dad's Army.

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