BBC to mark VJ Day 75 with special programming remembering the ‘forgotten army’

Saturday 15 August 2020 marks 75 years since victory over Japan, the moment that finally brought the Second World War to an end. To commemorate this anniversary and remember those who served in the Far East, the BBC will broadcast two special programmes.

Published: 5 August 2020
The 75th anniversary of VJ Day is an opportunity to unify the nation in remembrance and to reflect on the peace that victory enabled.
— Charlotte Moore

The morning coverage on BBC One (9.30-11.30am) will come live from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where the remembrance commemoration is taking place. In the studio, Sophie Raworth will hear from guests who will be discussing the significance of this anniversary and from veterans who remember leaving home for an unknown country and an unknown enemy and how it feels to be known as the ‘forgotten army.’ Dan Snow will speak to those preparing to participate in the morning’s commemoration, many of whom will have personal links to VJ Day. Fergal Keane will provide commentary of the event, and a national two minutes silence will be led by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The commemorations will close in the evening on BBC One (8.30-10pm) at Horse Guards Parade in London where, at a unique evening event, the story of all those that served in the Far East will be told. Narrated by Joanna Lumley, whose father was an officer with the 6th Gurkha Rifles, the event will chart the crucial campaign that led to the end of the Second World War. Key moments of the conflicts will be reflected through readings and musical performances. Sheridan Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Paterson Joseph and Martin Shaw will bring to life well-known and influential figures of the Second World War. HRH The Duke of Cambridge will pay tribute to the veterans and acknowledge the sacrifices made by so many for our freedom.

Victory over Japan 75 years ago brought mixed emotions for those fighting in the malaria ridden jungles of the Far East. Relief and joy that the end of the war had finally arrived, but sadness at the human cost. Those who had fought on through the final three months, largely forgotten by people at home, could finally look forward to returning to their loved ones, and some sort of normality. But for many who had toiled for years in the brutal battlefields, or been prisoners, the end of the war didn’t mean the end of their suffering. The memories of what they endured and the loss of their comrades would live with them, forever.

Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content, says: “The 75th anniversary of VJ Day is an opportunity to unify the nation in remembrance and to reflect on the peace that victory enabled. It’s fitting that the BBC will bring audiences together for this anniversary of such national significance, which will have a new resonance as we begin to emerge from lockdown.”

VJ Day 75: The Nation Remembers
BBC One, Saturday 15 August 2020, 9.30-11.30am

  • Producers: Seren Irvine, Victoria Simpson
  • Executive Producer: Sangeeta Bhaskar
  • Creative Director: Claire Popplewell

VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute
BBC One, Saturday 15 August 2020, 8.30-10pm

  • Series Producer: Rosheen Archer
  • Executive Producer: Kate Shiers
  • Creative Director: Claire Popplewell

VJ Day 75 is produced by the multi Bafta-winning BBC Studios Events team and commissioned by Carla-Maria Lawson for the BBC.


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