To mark Remembrance Week 2014, the BBC is making a collection of programmes available exclusively on BBC iPlayer, commemorating the stories and sacrifices of Britain’s role in recent and past conflicts, from World War One to Afghanistan.
“As the nation remembers the First World War and all of those who have given their lives in conflict over the past century, this collection of programmes from across the BBC offers a unique opportunity to pause and reflect. It will offer a different and convenient way to discover a whole range of programmes which the BBC is broadcasting over Remembrance Week.” – Adrian Van-Klaveren Controller, Great War Centenary, BBC
Programmes in the collection include, online from today, Remembrance Sunday, include The Somme in Seven Poems. More poets and writers fought in the Battle of the Somme than any other battle. This anthology of animated poems uses the work of Robert Graves, David Jones, Siegfried Sassoon and others to relay the experiences of these poets during the battle. The animations were specially commissioned for the BBC Two documentary War Of Words: Soldier-Poets Of The Somme.
WW1 Uncut is a series of 12 short films that explore a variety of defining World War One features. From the trenches and a soldier’s kit, to war myths and weapon testing, the shorts explain war topics in an educational yet entertaining way, giving the content a fresh and current feel.
From BBC One Sophie Raworth and former Army Officer Andy Torbet honour heroes of war both on the battlefield and on the home front in The People Remember. The programmes, based at the Imperial War Museum in London, feature surprise reunions and inspiring stories of bravery. Special guests include Chris Tarrant, Kate Adie, Simon Weston, Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC and Michael Morpurgo. Plus performances from the Military Wives Choir, Soprano Laura Wright, D-Day veteran and folk singer Jim Radford and The Poppy Girls.
The Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance which pays tribute to all victims of war and conflict can also be viewed again. This year’s Festival will pay tribute to the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The Festival commemorates the First World War Centenary with the cast of War Horse, and Joss Stone performs the official Poppy appeal single – No Man’s Land.
Also a powerful five-part drama for BBC One, The Passing Bell, which sees the conflict of the First World War unfold through the eyes of two very ordinary young men. Written by Tony Jordan (Hustle, Life On Mars), the series has been commissioned as part of the BBC’s programming to mark the Centenary of WW1.
Paddy Gibson (What Richard Did) and Jack Lowden (The Tunnel, Wolf Hall) star as Thomas and Michael, two young men for whom the war has little mercy, no matter which side they might be fighting for. Over five chronological years The Passing Bells follows their lives, as they grow up, lose friends and find love amid the horrors of the war. Back home, their families and loved ones anxiously await news from the front.
In an extended programme for Remembrance Sunday, Countryfile explores Word War One’s lasting legacy on landscape of the Western Front and the part played by those on the home front in winning the war.
Matt Baker uncovers a subterranean network carved out by allied troops from the chalk of Arras, and the role played by mule-men like his great-grandfather in the war; Ellie Harrison reveals the iron harvest of bombs still unearthed by farmers today; Tom Heap goes on a very personal investigation to the start of trench warfare; John Craven reveals how we adapted tractors to make the world’s first tanks and Adam Henson discovers how man’s best friend became his greatest ally when dogs were trained for frontline duties by the British army. And in an Antiques Roadshow WW1 Special Fiona Bruce and a small group of experts meet families bringing poignant stories of courage and humanity in wartime.
Other programmes include, In The Great War – An Elegy: A Culture Show Special. Simon Armitage explores how the catastrophe and conflict of World War One was given its greatest voice through poetry. Also World War One – Beyond the Trenches. This series looks at events beyond Europe’s western front, exploring some of the lesser-known tales of the Great War from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The tiny island of Malta saved the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers during World War One. Dr Kevin Fong explores how it earned the name, the Nurse Of The Mediterranean.