2018 will be a major Year of History on the BBC to mark the centenary of 1918, a seismic year in the history of Britain and the world.
Over the course of just 12 months, propertied women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote for the very first time, the Armistice was signed bringing World War One to a close, the RAF was formed and the influenza pandemic, known as Spanish Flu, swept across the world infecting an estimated 500 million people.
A century on, as a culmination of the BBC’s ambitious four years of programming for the World War One centenary, the BBC will mark this major turning point with a compelling range of content across television, radio and online, collaborating with 14-18 NOW on major projects and with partners including Imperial War Museums, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Wellcome Trust and others across the UK.
Through live events, presenter-lead series, testimony-driven documentaries, digital content and a range of collaborations, the programming will explore the political, cultural and social shifts which would set the agenda for the next 100 years and shape the world as we know it today.
The Year of History won’t just look back: the past century of change will be used to explore modern society, highlighting some of the most pressing issues of today, from the role and status of women, to the impact of conflict on mental health, and the fight to combat new epidemics.
With over 80% of the UK population having consumed the BBC’s World War One Centenary commemoration coverage, 2018 will be the culmination of four years of coverage and 2,500 hours of content. Much of it will be made available online as a legacy of one of the largest scale projects commissioned in the BBC’s history.
There will be content across the BBC’s local, National and global outlets, with the English Regions highlighting local stories, a range of new commissions from the Nations and programming broadcast on the World Service. Schools will also be able to access new materials to complement the curriculum, allowing students to uncover more about one of the most turbulent years in British history in the 20th century that still has a resonance in the present day.
Tony Hall, Director-General, BBC says: “We see 2018 as our chance to inspire a new generation with extraordinary stories of courage and sacrifice. Over the last three years, events staged by 14-18 NOW, and programming broadcast on the BBC, have moved us in our millions and I hope through our Year of History, we can galvanise even more people. 2018 gives us the chance to look back - and to shine a light on who we are today.”
Highlights being announced today include:
World War One Centenary - Armistice
In association with 14-18 NOW, BBC One to broadcast premiere of a new film from acclaimed director Peter Jackson, using remastered original footage and BBC Archive audio to bring unheard voices from a hundred years ago to life
BBC to broadcast new drama documentary The Last Hundred Days looking at the closing few turbulent months of World War One
The BBC will broadcast from major live events to mark the Armistice weekend including the Festival of Remembrance on 10 November and the Cenotaph and the Westminster Abbey service on 11 November
Dan Snow to explore the devastating consequences of shell shock during World War One on BBC Two and chart how over 100 years society has struggled to diagnose what we now know as PTSD
BBC Four will delve deep inside an extraordinary treasure trove of survivor testimonies, much of it previously unheard, from the last survivors from World War One, in the three-part series Britain’s Great War: The People’s Story
Also in association with 14-18 NOW, composer Anna Meredith creates Five Telegrams, a new work with 59 productions for the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival
Five leading historians challenge the conventional story of the 1918 Armistice and its aftermath, from the fringes of Europe to the Middle East for BBC Radio 4 in Armistice 1918
100 Years of Votes for Women
Lucy Worsley to tell the story of how universal suffrage was achieved in How Women Won The Vote on BBC One
BBC Radio 3 present a special commission - The Pankhurst Anthem - a choral work composed by Lucy Pankhurst with text by Helen Pankhurst based on words by her great grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst
Throughout the year Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 will celebrate the achievements of the suffragists and suffragettes and a 18 in 2018 cohort - a group of young women eligible to vote for the first time this year - will explore some of the key issues facing women today
BBC to provide extensive coverage of PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork produced by Artichoke for 14-18 NOW
Spanish Flu pandemic
In collaboration with Wellcome Trust, new BBC Two documentary to reveal the most comprehensive record of what happened in the UK when the 1918 influenza pandemic, known as Spanish Flu swept across the world
English Regions, in partnership with Wellcome Trust, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Imperial War Museums, to produce local content revealing the devastating impact the disease had on families already affected by four years of war and war work
BBC Four to broadcast Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic, a 90 minute event which predicts the impact another Spanish Flu-like virus could have on the UK
100 years of the RAF
Ewan and Colin McGregor take to the skies on BBC One in some of the world’s most iconic planes to celebrate 100 years of the RAF.
In July the BBC will also broadcast the most spectacular public celebration of the work of the RAF in its 100 year history as it celebrates RAF 100: A Century in the Skies
Local, National and Global content
BBC Alba and BBC Northern Ireland to broadcast new documentary commissions exploring the lives of local pioneers and local tragedies
Dan Cruickshank’s Monuments Of Remembrance to explore the design and inspiration behind iconic war memorials
BBC World Service to air new documentaries about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the closing political events of the Armistice