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BBC to air D-Day 80th Anniversary programs across Radio and Television

6 June 1944 was the date of Operation Overlord, which saw tens of thousands of soldiers embark from Portsmouth to cross the Channel, establishing a foothold across the French coast in order to begin the advance to liberate northwest Europe. The BBC will mark this momentous undertaking with a range of live and historic programming from across its TV and Radio networks.

BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore says: “The 80th anniversary of D Day is an important moment to reflect and pay tribute to those who were involved in 1944. We have a wide range of distinctive programming that will bring people together to commemorate across the BBC, including full live coverage of events from both sides of the Channel as well as special documentaries and editions of some of our most popular programmes on television and radio.”

  • D-Day 80: The Allies Prepare from Portsmouth hosted by Dame Helen Mirren, presented by Anita Rani and JJ Chalmers
  • D-Day 80: Tribute to The Fallen from Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy and Southsea Common in Portsmouth anchored by Kirsty Young
  • D-Day 80: We Will Remember Them British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer presented by Paddy O’Connell and Sophie Raworth
    Accessible commentary for the blind and partially sighted for the live events provided by Petroc Trelawny via iPlayer and the Red Button
    Special editions of The One Show, Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt, Countryfile and Newsround
  • D-Day: The Unheard Tapes brings to life original testimony from the Normandy invasion
    BBC Breakfast to report from Portsmouth and Normandy
  • D-Day: We Were There from BBC News presented by Rachel Burden
    Sunday Night is Music Night concert on Radio 2 from Portsmouth Guildhall hosted by Vernon Kay
    Vernon Kay and Jeremy Vine Radio 2 shows will come from Normandy and Portsmouth
  • D-Day:The Last Voices for Radio 4 brings together a collection of historical audio recollections

As dawn broke on the morning of the 6th June 1944 thousands of Allied Warships made their way towards the coast of Northern France. D-Day had finally arrived. Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare was underway, heralding one of the most decisive campaigns of World War 2. More than 150,000 troops would land on five beaches in Normandy.

TV Programming
D-Day 80: The Allies Prepare
The D-Day 80 national commemorative event will broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 1015 until 1300 on Wednesday 5th June. Presented by Anita Rani with reporter JJ Chalmers, and with accessible commentary for the blind and partially sighted provided by Petroc Trelawny, the event will take place on the seafront in Portsmouth where, 80 years ago, the Allies departed for the beaches of Normandy.

The event, hosted by Academy Award-winning Dame Helen Mirren, will celebrate the incredible joint work of the UK, Commonwealth and Allied troops in preparing for the largest naval, air and land operation in history. This hugely ambitious endeavor turned the tide of World War Two.

The commemoration will pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery and achievements of our veterans and recognise the invaluable work of those on the Home Front, who helped make the invasion possible. Featuring powerful spoken word testimony delivered by well-known faces and military personnel, as well as exciting performances by big musical stars. Set on an impressive outdoor stage with a tri-service orchestra, there will be many heartwarming moments that bring to life this story of a pivotal moment in our history.

D-Day 80: The Allies Prepare, a 1×165’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is prod by BBC Studios Events. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. The Executive Producers are Cheryl Ko Pearson and Keir MacKenzie, the Series Producer is Catherine Stirk, the Producer is Joe Wheatley and the director is Simon Staffurth.

D-Day 80: Tribute to The Fallen
On the evening of 5 June, the eve of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a tribute to the fallen takes place in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bayeux War Cemetery

in Normandy and Southsea Common in Portsmouth featuring stunning lighting displays, readings and music to mark this significant moment in history.

As darkness falls, each of the 4,600 headstones of those that fell will be individually illuminated across Bayeux War Cemetery, creating a poignant modern act of commemoration.

Kirsty Young anchors the live broadcast from Bayeux Cemetery, joined by special guests, guiding viewers through this remarkable story of our nation. Petroc Trelawny provides accessible commentary for the blind and partially sighted.

D-Day 80: Tribute to The Fallen, a 1×90’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is produced by BBC Studios Events. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. The Executive Producer is Alex Renton, the Series Producer is Rosheen Archer, the Producer is Louise Bracken and the Director is Tony Grech-Smith.

D-Day 80: We Will Remember Them
On 6 June, marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the nation will come together to pay tribute to all who served in the Normandy Campaign.

Set overlooking Gold Beach at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, the event, organised by the Royal British Legion and the Ministry of Defence, will be the first-ever National Commemoration at this location, holding special significance for the D-Day veterans who are in attendance.

Within the event, contributions will be grounded in living testimony, gathered through special conversations curated exclusively for this anniversary allowing us to hear the last remaining stories first-hand before we enter a post-witness era.

The event will conclude with a traditional act of remembrance, accompanied by a special tribute from the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, flying over Normandy to salute this remarkable generation and our nation’s heroes.

Paddy O’Connell, whose father proudly served during D-Day, will provide commentary, while Sophie Raworth reports live from the British Normandy Memorial, joined by special guests. Petroc Trelawny provides accessible commentary for the blind and partially sighted.

D-Day 80: We Will Remember Them, a 1×135’ for BBC One and iPlayer, is produced by BBC Studios Events. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. The Executive Producer is Alex Renton, the Series Producer is Rosheen Archer, the Producer is Louise Bracken and the director is Ollie Bartlett.

D-Day: The Unheard Tapes
Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the invasion, D-Day: The Unheard Tapes relives one of the most extraordinary days in the history of modern warfare using powerful eyewitness accounts recorded with those who experienced it first-hand. The series features a trove of rare audio recordings sourced from archives around the world, bringing together British, American, German and French perspectives for the first time. Many of them have never been heard publicly before.

Young actors, cast to resemble the interviewees at the time of the war, lip-sync the original testimony in documentary settings, to recall moments of bravery, fear, chaos and confusion, and these memories are interwoven with immersive, fragmented documentary-style dramatic recreation.

Together, they tell the story of the fateful Normandy invasion and the bloody battle that followed, in which over 100,000 people lost their lives.

This is the story of D-Day, told by those who were there, as they lived through it.

D-Day: The Unheard Tapes a 3×60 for BBC Two and iPlayer, was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual, and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Simon Young, Head of History. It is a co-production between the BBC and The HISTORY® Channel. Executive Producers for The HISTORY® Channel are Eli Lehrer and Jennifer Wagman. The series is being made in partnership with The Open University, Imperial War Museums and The National WWII Museum.

It is produced by Wall to Wall Media where the Executive Producer is Morgana Pugh, the Series Producer is Zoe Jewell, and the Series Director is Mark Radice.

The One Show
The One Show will be marking the 80th Anniversary of D-Day with an extended special on 5th June during which we’ll meet one of the few remaining D-Day veterans as he’s reunited with an original Dakota that’s been painstakingly restored. We’ll be bringing together some of the last surviving women of the Royal Navy (WRNS) who played key roles in the operation to share their inspirational stories. Plus alongside some special guests, we’ll be showcasing how people are coming together across the UK and in France to mark the occasion and there’ll be a poignant performance from The D-Day Darlings as we meet the younger generation of singers they’ve inspired. Also that week, with the help of Katherine Jenkins, we give a very emotional One Big Thank You to a dedicated volunteer who gives up her time to help veterans.

The One Show is made by BBC Studios for BBC One and iPlayer. The Executive Producer is Joanne Vaughan Jones and the Commissioning Editor is Alex McLeod

Antiques Roadshow: D-Day
For this special edition of the Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce is in Normandy in France to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 1944.

Filmed in Normandy and at the D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth, the episode features remarkable first-hand testimony from those who were there, including veteran Ken Cooke. Across five beaches, codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, ‘Operation Overlord’ was the largest seaborne invasion in history – an event that would turn the tide of World War II, and lead ultimately to the defeat of Germany and victory for the Allies just under a year later, in May 1945. With our Roadshow experts at locations across the UK, we unfold the story of D-Day through various items brought in by our visitors, and rare artefacts held in various museums.

Antiques Roadshow: D-Day is made by BBC Studios for BBC One and iPlayer. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. The Series Editor is Robert Murphy and the series is Produced and Directed by Matt Thomas. The Commissioning Editor is Jasmyn McGuile.

Anita Rani and Charlotte Smith will be discovering how Dorset played an important role in in the build-up to D-Day.

They’ll be visiting Studland Beach, where in April 1944 there was a full-scale dress rehearsal for D-Day and Tyneham village, which was requisitioned by the War Office in 1943 and used to train troops.

And Adam will be finding out how the UK’s farmers helped the country prepare for D-Day.

Countryfile, a 1×60′, is made by BBC Studios Factual Entertainment for BBC One and iPlayer It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events. The Series Producer is Gavin Ahern, the Series Editor is Mark Beech and the Line Producer is Sophie Wright. The Commissioning Editor is Jasmyn McGuile.

Bargain Hunt: All About D-Day
Bargain Hunt remembers the 80th anniversary of D-Day with an episode featuring two teams of Armed Forces veterans, filmed at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire. Joining experts Stephanie Connell and John Cameron are former Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service) Carolyn, former Women’s Royal Air Force veteran Irene, and former RAF servicemen Dan and Mike. Presenter Danny Sebastian meets photographer Seimon Pugh-Jones, who talks about his work providing artifacts for the sets of blockbuster films and TV series, such as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Seimon also shows Danny a mobile museum that he has created, dedicated to telling the story of the Normandy landings of 1944.

Bargain Hunt: All About D-Day is made by BBC Studios for BBC Two and iPlayer. The presenter of the episode is Danny Sebastian. The episode is directed by Michael Bower. The series producer is Joanne Dunscombe and the executive producer is Paul Tucker. The Commissioning Editor is Lindsay Bradbury.

BBC Newsround
For children aged seven and older, D-Day – A Newsround Special will explore the pivotal role that the Normandy landings had in securing our freedom. Two children, William and Lyra, explore their family connection to D-Day, and travel to Normandy with two veterans, Mervyn and Arthur, to bring to life the role that the wartime generation played in liberating Europe.

D-Day, A Newsround Special for CBBC and iPlayer was commissioned by Sarah Muller, Head of BBC Children’s Commissioning & Acquisitions 7+, and is being produced by multiple BAFTA and International Emmy award winning BBC Newsround. The Producer and Director is Esther Egbeyemi, the Executive Producer is Lewis James, Editor of Newsround, and the Production Manager is Laura Perrins. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Kez Margrie, Commissioning Editor, Factual & Fact Ent, BBC Children’s 7+.

BBC Breakfast:
BBC Breakfast will present special programmes from Portsmouth and the British Normandy Memorial across June 5th and 6th. John Maguire will travel to Northern France with some of the brave men who were there in 1944 including Ralph McClure, grandfather of ‘Line of Duty’ actor Vicky McClure. We’ll also speak to one of the oldest surviving D Day veterans Percival Chafer who is 104-years-old.

Saving Lives at Sea WWII
In this special episode commemorating the 2024 bicentenary of the RNLI, Dermot O’Leary uncovers the untold story of the institution’s heroic efforts in the Second World War. In all of its 200 years, the RNLI had never faced such an immense challenge, as its lifeboat crews were called to serve in the most perilous of conditions, ultimately saving thousands of lives.

Having spent much of his childhood on the east coast of England, Dermot is a proud ambassador of the RNLI. But even he knew precious little about this hidden history of the institution. He delves deep into some of the war’s most iconic and surprising stories from across Britain, uncovering the extraordinary role the RNLI played in the war effort.

You can watch Saving Lives at Sea in WWII on iPlayer.

BBC News
BBC News We Were There
Eighty years on, the BBC has been gathering first-hand accounts from the surviving UK D-Day veterans – some more than 100 years of age. In “D-Day: We Were There” Rachel Burden traces their stories in Normandy and hears memories of the massive beach invasion and the battles that followed.

BBC News:
BBC News will be providing a range of historical and contextual coverage in the lead to the day including D-Day: We Were There – an iPlayer documentary interviewing veterans on their first-hand experience, as well as reports across radio, TV and online.

On the day there will be special rolling live coverage of D-Day from France, the UK and around the world on the BBC News Channel, and packages on TV and radio bulletins.

Radio Programming
D-Day 80 on BBC Radio 2
To commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Radio 2 is marking the occasion with a special Sunday Night is Music Night concert to be recorded at Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday 3rd June, hosted by Vernon Kay. On D-Day itself, Vernon will be broadcasting his Radio 2 show from Normandy, with Jeremy Vine broadcasting his show from Portsmouth.

Laura Busson, Commissioning Executive, says, “As D-Day was such an important moment in our history, it’s fitting that Radio 2 commemorates its 80th anniversary, giving listeners an opportunity to remember and pay tribute in their own way. Vernon and Jeremy’s shows will both broadcast from pivotal D-Day locations, and Vernon will present what I’m sure will be an incredibly moving concert from Portsmouth Guildhall.”

On Thursday 6th June, Vernon Kay – who hosts the UK’s most popular radio programme – will be presenting his mid-morning show (9.30am-12pm) live from the Normandy coast. He’ll hear from families of the soldiers involved in the largest seaborne invasion in history about what they experienced as they headed ashore, and speak to those who will give further context to what became the start of the liberation of France.

Vernon says, “It’s important we never forget and always honour the bravery and sacrifices made by those brave soldiers 80 years ago on D-Day, so I’m incredibly proud to be broadcasting my show from Normandy and presenting this commemorative concert on Radio 2.”

On the same day, Jeremy Vine presents his show (12-2pm) live from Portsmouth, which was the headquarters and main departure point for military personnel heading for Sword Beach in France. He’ll tell the story of how the area became a huge armed camp for troops and the local lockdown that closed the area to visitors. He’ll hear about the role this city played in this crucial turning point in World War II and will be exploring the dockyards and finding out what it all meant to those who lived there.

Jeremy says: “I was born 21 years after D-Day, but somehow the impact and scale of that epic moment in British history just grows the more time elapses. I think it’s because, as you realise the value of your own life, you understand what others gave to save the country you live in. D-Day is the most remarkable story of our time. Having the Radio 2 listeners with us as we commemorate the anniversary will make for a unique broadcast, and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories and memories.”

The Portsmouth Guildhall concert, D-Day 80: Commemorating the Normandy Landings, presented by Vernon, features the combined musical forces of the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Big Band performing some of the best loved and most enduring music of that era. The concert features classic film scores, including Maurice Jarre’s The Longest Day, Gerard Schurmann’s Attack On The Iron Coast, John Addison’s A Bridge Too Far and John Williams’ Hymn To The Fallen from Saving Private Ryan. Musicians also played an important role during those times, most notably Glenn Miller’s United States Army Air Force Band. They arrived in England in 1944 and over the next year would make more than 500 broadcasts and 300 live performances attended by more than one million military personnel. Among their classics to be performed are In The Mood, Tail End Charlie and Moonlight Serenade.

The concert also features guests, including the acclaimed soul voice of Vanessa Haynes who sings some of the biggest hits of 1944, including Duke Ellington’s Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me and Nat ‘King’ Cole’s Straighten Up And Fly Right. Nine-piece vocal ensemble, The D-Day Darlings, revisit those Vera Lynn favourites, We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover, and singer / pianist Kate Garner takes a nostalgic look back at Now Is The Hour and I’m Gonna Get Lit Up When The Lights Go Up In London.

This special edition of Sunday Night is Music Night concert will be broadcast on Radio 2 on Sunday 9 June at 8pm, and is available on BBC Sounds from Thursday 6 June.

A BBC Audio production.

BBC Radio 5Live:
BBC Radio 5 Live will be commemorating 80 years since D-Day with special live coverage and updates from events across the country and in Normandy.

BBC Radio 4 The Beaches:
Monday 3 June, The Beaches, 4pm – 4.30pm

It was a top-secret little-known mission that changed the outcome of World War II. Not Alan Turing’s Enigma but a daring experiment under cover of darkness on the shores of northern France. In this dramatic and revealing documentary Harrison Lewis and Christian Dunne re-enact one of the most remarkable feats of the Second World War and discover the intricate details of the forgotten science that underpinned D-Day.

The Beaches is produced by Harrison Lewis. The editor is Martin Smith and the commissioning editor is Hugh Levinson.

D-Day: The Last Voice Radio 4
D-Day: The Last Voices for Radio 4 brings together a rich collection of historical audio testimonies recorded with those who fought in the invasion of Normandy, alongside extraordinary new interviews with the last surviving veterans, to tell their story of D-Day as it unfolded.

Presented by Paddy O’Connell, each programme charts a distinct chapter of the complex, visceral and moving story of the invasion, from subterfuge and secret planning, to the approach of H-Hour, the landings by air and sea, and on into the battles beyond the beaches.

Commissioned as a collaboration with D-Day: The Unheard Tapes for BBC Two, and drawing on the same longitudinal access and research, the series tells the story of D-Day through the last voices of those who lived it, leading us through their personal experiences of the invasion. Supported by the historical recordings of those who were there with them – this is their story, told in their own words.

D-Day: The Last Voices is a 5 x 14 feature documentary series for Radio 4, due for broadcast in the week approaching D-Day, at 11.45. The Commissioning Executive is Tracy Williams. It is produced by Wall to Wall Media. The Executive Producers are Morgana Pugh and Rami Tzabar, it is produced by Paul Kobrak, and presented and written by Paddy O’Connell.

BBC Northern Ireland
BBC News NI will be bringing audiences to the heart of the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations in Normandy, broadcasting from Sword Beach, Pegasus Bridge and following the Royal Irish Regiment. Its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Rifles regiment, was unique in having its entire formed strength land in France on 6 June 1944.

Our coverage over the days leading up to the 6 June anniversary will include interviews with people there on D-Day, reports about Northern Ireland’s role in preparing Allied troops for the invasion and the feelings of those both in Northern Ireland and in France on the significance of the occasion 80 years later.

On D-Day itself we will bring you colour and commentary on the ceremonies paying tribute to the fallen, including a sunrise tribute on Sword Beach and a service of remembrance in Ranville War Cemetery.

You will see the latest news and colour features as well as archive footage: Declan Harvey will be fronting the presentation for BBC Newsline and Chris Buckler for Radio Ulster, with further coverage from reporters including Lyndsey Telford and Chris Andrews. BBC

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