Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

2011 Remembrance on the BBC

A Remembrance Day poppy

To mark Remembrance Day the BBC will broadcast a special range of programmes to help bring the nation together to pause and remember those killed in the First World War, Second World War, and all conflicts since.

Programmes will be broadcast across TV, radio, online and the Red Button so viewers across the UK can take part in the commemoration services and pay homage to the heroic service of those men and women who lost their lives for their country.

Nick Vaughan-Barratt, BBC Head of Events, says: "Every year the BBC works hard to enable millions across the nation to come together for Remembrance and pause to remember and pay their respects to those lost in conflict. As always, it is an honour to be part of the commemoration."

BBC Television, Friday 11 November: The national two-minute silence

BBC Television marks the annual two-minute silence covering special events and public locations around the UK as the silence is observed.


In the presence of The Queen and members of the Royal Family, and this year celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion, Huw Edwards presents the annual Festival of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 12 November.

The Festival includes the traditional two-minute silence as poppy petals fall from the roof of the hall, each representing a life lost in war.

Sir Cliff Richard, Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins and Joe McElderry perform alongside the Massed Bands of the Household Division, and the bands of HM Royal Marines, the Royal Air Force and the Brigade of Ghurkhas to pay tribute to all victims of war and conflict.

On Sunday 13 November, Remembrance Sunday: Cenotaph, on BBC One and BBC One HD, will broadcast the Service of Remembrance live from the Cenotaph in Whitehall from 10.25am to 12.10pm.

David Dimbleby will host the programme and describe the scene as Her Majesty the Queen leads the national commemoration and two-minute silence, remembering those men and women who have died serving their country.

And Sophie Raworth will be talking to some of the 10,000 veterans from conflicts past and present as they prepare to march past the Cenotaph and pay their respects to fallen comrades.

We will hear from men of the Merchant and Royal Navies who served with the Arctic Convoys. Seventy years ago their ships steered a treacherous course from the UK through the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean to deliver raw materials, food and ammunition to Russia; more than a 100 ships were lost with 3,000 sailors losing their lives.

And on the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, where 383 servicemen and women have died, we will hear from bereaved friends and families.

There will be extended coverage of this programme available on the Red Button.

Later that afternoon there will be a special edition of Songs Of Praise which comes from the garrison town of Colchester in Essex.

As this year marks the tenth anniversary of British troops in Afghanistan, Aled Jones meets soldiers recently returned from the country and also hears about the birth of the Royal British Legion, 90 years on from the first Poppy Appeal.

The hymns are sung in St Botolph¹s church and include I Vow To Thee My Country and O God Our Help In Ages Past.

In a special edition of Antiques Roadshow at 8pm, Fiona Bruce and Roadshow specialists draw together a powerful group of previously unheard stories of wartime and sacrifice at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Just as in the regular editions of the programme, a single object or group of objects act as the way in to each of the remarkable accounts, which include a daring escape from the Red Baron in World War One, a heart-warming story of a cat which acted as a lucky mascot to the crew of a 1940s bomber, and a poignant letter from a husband who was lost in action explaining to his wife why he lied to her in order to best serve his country.


On 11 November 2011 at 7pm, Tim Samuels presents Art For Heroes: A Culture Show Special that examines the role of art therapy in the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Through unique access to art therapy sessions the programme follows British ex-servicemen who use drawing, sculpting and painting to manage PTSD.

The symptoms of this debilitating mental condition include hyperanxiety and full sensory flashbacks of past trauma; without treatment the condition can become chronic.

Tim Samuels travels to Chicago to meet a Professor of Neurology who has conducted research into brain-mapping art therapy and PTSD who provides startling evidence of art and its potential to heal.

BBC Radio

Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4 will all be observing the two-minute silence on Armistice Day (Friday 11 November) as well as broadcasting the Cenotaph sequence of chimes, silence and the Last Post on Remembrance Sunday (13 November).

Radio 2

Radio 2 will present a season of Remembrance programming starting with Songs My Son Loved (Monday 7-Friday 11 November, 1.30pm-2pm).

Jeremy Vine meets the mothers of five soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan who share their memories through music. Talking through a list of her son's favourite songs, each woman tells the story of his life and his death. A moving yet ultimately uplifting account of a mother's love for a boy who grew up but never had the chance to grow old.

John Hurt narrates the story of Victor (Saturday 12 November), about former WW2 soldier Victor Gregg, now 92, who remembers some of the powerful events and experiences of his war. Tricked into joining the army in 1937 on the false promise of a cup of tea and a bun, Victor's remembers the brutal fighting and recalls the moment he first killed a man in hand-to-hand combat. Victor escaped from a prison camp, only to be recaptured and imprisoned in Dresden on the night of the firestorm bombings.

The programme includes original music by the celebrated British singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore and international DJ and music producer Kissy Sell Out.

Friday Night Is Music Night, the UK's longest running live music programme, will be hosting a special Armistice Day concert on Friday 11 November. Recorded at London's Hackney Empire, the show will include a performance from Katherine Jenkins.

BBC Radio 2 will also be broadcasting highlights of the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance (Saturday 12 November, 8pm), as the nation offers thanks and pays tribute to those who risk their lives in the service of their country, not only in the two World Wars but also more recent conflicts.

Radio 4

As well as coverage of the Remembrance Service from The Cenotaph, BBC Radio 4 will also transmit a series of programmes to mark Remembrance week.

Radio 4 programme The Poppy Factory (Wednesday 9 November, 11am) looks at the manufacture of the millions of poppies bought every year to mark Remembrance Sunday.

In Bleached Bone And Living Wood (Thursday 10 November, 11.30am), Christine Finn visits The Forester's House, Wilfred Owen's final refuge in northern France, which has been transformed into a sculptural tribute to his poetry.

The War Brides Return (Friday 11 November, 11.04am) follows 20 women, now in their eighties and nineties, making a nostalgic return journey to Europe on the Queen Mary 2 liner.

Tens of thousands of war brides started new lives in America and Canada after meeting and marrying their husbands during the war. This programme follows them as they reminisce on the return journey.

Jean Fells who set sail on the original Queen Mary on 30th June 1946 after a whirlwind romance said: "I just wasn't prepared for what greeted me. The winter of 1946/1947 was the worst in living memory and in Canada it was horrendous."

Hazel West remembered: "We had no money and had no way to go home – if someone had given me a ticket in that first six months I would have gone back. It was hard to adjust and I was dreadfully homesick – and I had no-one to talk to but I stuck at it and I wouldn't have changed it for anything. We were married for 55 years".

Laurels And Donkeys (Friday 11 November 2.15pm) features 18 new war poems by Andrew Motion tracking conflicts from the First World War to Afghanistan.

Denys Blakeway tells the story of the Act of Remembrance in Remembrance (Saturday 12 November, 8pm), exploring what significance it has in the life of a nation.

In 2009 the remains of a soldier killed in World War I were found in a battlefield. Known Unto God (Sunday 13 November, 11.45am) follows the painstaking process of identifying the English machine gunner through to the subsequent military funeral.

Radio 3

On BBC Radio 3, Remembrance Sunday will be marked with Aled Jones presenting The Choir: Choral Music For Remembrance Sunday (Sunday 13 November 5.00pm). The show includes a special performance of an ambitious new work for amateur choirs, Rhymes And Charms For Fly-Away Things by Kerry Andrew, inspired by the folklore and superstitions surrounding creatures of the air.

BBC Nations and Regions Remembrance programming highlights

BBC Local Radio stations across England will be marking Remembrance Day with special programming, services and outside broadcasts.

Highlights include:

  • On BBC Radio Leeds, City 'Til I Die, a documentary about nine Bradford City/Park Avenue footballers who went to war (WW1) and never came back. Derm Tanner travels to France with families and fans to find the players' graves and to reflect on what these men meant to Bradford and to their football teams.
  • Linda – An Army Wife's Journey, on BBC Radio York, is a documentary following Linda and David Adams of North Yorkshire and their fight to get help and support for them and other families affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Over on BBC Radio Berkshire there is a special programme with the mother of Rifleman Cyrus Thatcher who died in Afghanistan. She investigates the story of the Maiwand Lion, Reading's most famous landmark, which is a memorial to hundreds of local men who died fighting in Afghanistan 130 years ago.
  • BBC Wiltshire is broadcasting from Salisbury with live input from four other locations around the county and is considering the theme "Who will you be remembering during the silence?".
  • A special recording of words and music from Georgetown Methodist Church, presented by Tim Pollard, can be heard on BBC Radio Jersey on Sunday 13 November.

BBC Radio Scotland marks Remembrance both on Armistice Day before the station's two-minute silence, and on Remembrance Sunday, with programmes about the son of the Church of Scotland's Principal Clerk, the Rev John Chalmers, who was seriously injured in an IED attack in Helmand Province, in The Family Has Been Informed on Friday 11 November and The Family Has Been Informed – Letters From The Heart on Sunday 13 November.

The Sunday edition is followed by a church Service of Remembrance (13 November) from Giffnock South Parish Church in Glasgow.

All stations will be taking the two-minute silence at 11am on Friday 11 November.

Notes to Editors

Poppy wearing on the BBC

Viewers will start to see poppies worn on air from Saturday 29 October. It is down to the individual presenter to decide if they want to wear a poppy or not. However the majority of presenters do choose to wear a poppy.

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