Monday 24 June 2019

BBC to mark 75 years since D-Day with live commemorative programming

The BBC will be ‘shining a light’ on the stories of people who took part in the D-Day landings.

The BBC One will broadcast live from Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy (Anthony Devlin/PA)
The BBC One will broadcast live from Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

The BBC will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a range of special programmes, beginning with the live commemorative event being attended by the Queen and US President Donald Trump.

D-Day 75: A Tribute To Heroes (9.15am to 1pm on BBC One on June 5) will tell the story of the planning by the Allied Forces, which paved the way for the invasion of Normandy.

Known as D-Day, the mission would prove a decisive turning point in the Second World War.

The programme will feature live coverage of the National Commemorative Event on Southsea Common, Portsmouth – which is being attended by the Queen, Prince Charles and Mr Trump – as well as veteran testimony, theatrical performances and musical numbers, culminating in a flypast featuring old and new aircraft and the Red Arrows.

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The Queen will attend the event (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Huw Edwards will anchor the broadcast from a studio on Southsea Common.

On Wednesday evening, for The One Show, Dan Snow will broadcast live from a ship taking veterans to Normandy (7pm to 8pm on BBC One).

The following day BBC One will be live from Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy with D-Day 75: Remembering The Fallen (9:15pm to 1pm), which will see the Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and other foreign dignitaries join veterans for a special service.

Throughout the programme, Sophie Raworth will be joined by special guests in the studio and will hear testimony from those who witnessed the invasions first hand.

On June 8, BBC Two’s D-Day 75: Return To The Beaches will follow 300 veterans as they board a ship to return to the D-Day beaches in Normandy. Some are returning for the first time.

On Sunday June 9, in a special edition of Songs Of Praise (BBC One 1.15pm to 1.50pm), Aled Jones will travel to Normandy with Christian veteran Harry Billinge and perform Abide With Me at the war cemetery in Bayeux.

On Gold Beach, where he landed as an 18-year-old sapper in the Royal Engineers, Billinge, 93, recalls D-Day and the memories of the men who fought and died alongside him.

BBC director of content Charlotte Moore said: “We’re very proud to bring this special commemoration to audiences.

“Across these two days there will be comprehensive coverage of the organised events and we will be shining a light on the stories of brave individuals who took part in the D-Day landings. 

“We hope audiences will join us on BBC One and BBC Two as we pay tribute to all those who were involved in the extraordinary events of 75 years ago.”

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