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4 November 2012

Remembrance 2012 on the BBC

This year, the BBC is broadcasting a range of programming across TV and Radio, as the nation remembers all those who have lost their lives not only in the two World Wars, but also in more recent conflicts.


BBC One

Remembrance Week returns to BBC One in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday with more incredible stories of courage, emotion and sacrifice across five episodes. Gethin Jones is in Afghanistan reflecting upon the duty and dedication of the troops currently serving on the frontline and sharing the heroic war stories from individuals who have fought in past conflicts around the world.

In the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family, Huw Edwards presents The Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance on Saturday the 10 November, which pays tribute to all victims of war and conflict.

Rod Stewart, Alexandra Burke, Russell Watson, The Overtones, Amore, Jon Joe Kerr and The Military Wives Choir perform alongside the Massed Bands of the Household Division, the Band of HM Royal Marines, The Queen's Colour Squadron and the RAF Squadronaires.

The Festival includes a two-minute silence where traditionally poppy petals fall from the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, each representing a life lost in war.

In this year’s Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph, on 11 November, David Dimbleby is in Whitehall as The Queen leads the nation’s commemorations. The Prime Minister, leading politicians, dignitaries from around the Commonwealth and representatives of many of the world’s religions, joins thousands of veterans from countless conflicts for the two-minute silence, Last Post and service.

Sophie Raworth will be talking to some of the 10,000 veterans waiting to march past the Cenotaph. With her will be Lt Col Zac Stenning, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who has recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Remembrance will be acutely personal for him this year as the Battalion lost soldiers on this recent tour.

Later in the day, a special episode of Songs Of Praise on Remembrance Sunday sees Eamonn Holmes in the market town of Enniskillen where, 25 years ago, an IRA bomb exploded at the cenotaph during a Remembrance Day parade. Eleven people were killed and many more men, women and children were injured.

There is music from singer Peter Corry and congregations, choirs and veterans from Enniskillen and beyond come together at St Macartin’s Cathedral to sing stirring hymns. The Last Post is sounded for a moment's silence on what is also Armistice Day, when in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent, marking the end of World War One.

BBC News Channel

In the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday, the BBC News Channel will carry a series of special reports. On Thursday 8 November, Robert Hall tells the tale of The Princess Secret Agent, Princess Noor Inayat Khan who was recruited by the Special Operations Executive, and parachuted into France as a radio operator, only to be betrayed. The channel then plan to broadcast the unveiling of a memorial to Noor Inayat Khan.

On Friday 9 November, attention will be turned to the Bomber Command Memorial where a time capsule containing the name, rank and number of all the aircrew of RAF Bomber Command will be buried.

The channel will carry coverage of the Remembrance Day parade, including the two-minute silence and the ceremony at The Cenotaph, as well linking up with events around the country including Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

BBC News also anticipates covering events across our TV and radio news bulletins both nationally and regionally as usual.

Radio 2

Radio 2 will be observing the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday at 11am, as well as broadcasting a wide range of special programming.

On Friday 9 November between 12pm and 2pm, the Jeremy Vine show will feature an exclusive interview with 88-year-old Hanna Oppenheim who, as a nine-year-old, presented Adolf Hitler with a bunch of flowers. She will be in studio talking to Jeremy about her experiences as a Jew living in Germany under the rule of Hitler.

From the Mermaid Theatre in London, Ken Bruce presents a concert on the theme of remembrance and armed conflict, including music from the film Battle Of Britain by William Walton, and Ron Goodwin's alternative on Friday Night Is Music Night from 8pm to 10pm on 9 November. The BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Stephen Bell are joined by the Southbank Sinfonia, soprano Marilyn Hill-Smith and winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Musician of the Year, tuba player Ross Knight. Tonight's interval looks behind the scenes at the BBC Concert Orchestra's partnership with the young professionals of the Southbank Sinfonia and also at some personal reflections from players on the theme of remembrance.

Chris Stuart presents highlights from this year's annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, in the 30th anniversary year of the Falklands War for the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday 10 November from 8pm to 9pm.

As well as the annual displays of rousing military band music from, among others, The Royal Marines and RAF, the evening features performances from Rod Stewart, Alexandra Burke, Russell Watson, Laura Wright and the Military Wives.

On Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, Aled Jones with Good Morning Sunday, 6am-9am, is joined by Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross for more than 30 years for his service in Iraq.

In Sunday Half Hour from 8.30pm to 9pm on 11 November Diane Louise Jordan marks Remembrance Sunday with music from the Trinity Laban Choral Scholars from the choir of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London. Music includes O God Our Help In Ages Past; Eternal Father, Strong To Save; and Abide With Me.

Radio 3

To mark this year's weekend of Remembrance, Giles Fraser chooses pieces by musicians who were affected by the two World Wars on Saturday Classics, Saturday 10 November from 3pm to 5pm. The music includes works by George Butterworth and Rudi Stephan, both of whom were killed in action during the First World War. There's also music by Ivor Gurney, whose mental health was deeply affected by a mustard gas attack on The Somme; Pavel Haas, who was murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz; and a piece written for pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who rebuilt his career as a pianist after losing his arm during the First World War.

From Monday 12 November to Friday 16 November, on BBC Radio 3’s Afternoon On 3, Katie Derham will present a week of British music which reflects Armistice Day. Throughout the week, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers and the BBC Concert Orchestra perform works by Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and Edward Elgar. Vaughan Williams was an ambulance driver in the First World War, and his personal experiences underpin his Pastoral Symphony, performed on Monday 12 November by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Also in the programme, the BBC Singers perform Walford Davies’ Requiem ‘In sacred memory of all those who have fallen in the war’. In Tuesday’s programme, violinist Nicola Benedetti performs Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which was composed in Kent as ships carrying troops sailed to France; the work was not performed until after the First World War had ended. On Friday, conductor Vassily Sinaisky completes the week with Vaughan Williams’ 5th Symphony, composed in the dark days of the Second World War.

On Monday 12 November, from 8.10pm to 8.30pm, Twenty Minutes: The Gardener commemorates Armistice Day with Sian Thomas reading Rudyard Kipling's classic story of remembrance, written out of his grief at losing his son in the First World War. The Gardener is the story of an Englishwoman who takes care of the son of her disgraced and now dead brother. On the news that the son is missing and presumed dead she is left feeling numb - only on visiting his grave across the Channel, among others also struggling with their grief, does she find solace.

Radio 4

On Sunday, 11 November at 10:30am, Nicholas Witchell will set the scene in London's Whitehall for the solemn ceremony when the nation remembers the sacrifice made by so many in the two World Wars, and in other more recent conflicts, for the Ceremony of Remembrance from the Cenotaph. The traditional music of remembrance is played by the massed bands and, after the Last Post and Two-Minutes Silence, Her Majesty the Queen lays the first wreath on behalf of nation and commonwealth. The Bishop of London leads a short Service of Remembrance; then, during the March Past, both veterans and those involved in present conflicts throughout the world share their thoughts.

The work of war poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen is well known, as is music such as Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony, but artists responded in many more ways to the fallen of the Great War. In The Art of Remembrance on Sunday, 11 November at 11.45am, Mark Whitaker looks at some particularly striking and lesser known examples of these responses, assisted throughout by the leading expert on Remembrance, Professor Jay Winter. Recorded largely on location in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany, Whitaker records his impressions of works by a painter, an architect, a filmmaker, a sculptor and a poet.

In France, he sees the extraordinary Thiepval Memorial on the Somme, created by Edwin Lutyens to commemorate the 70,000 British and Empire soldiers who died in the area and have no known grave. In Belgium, he visits the sculpture Grieving Parents by Käthe Kollwitz, depicting her and her husband kneeling despairingly in front of their son Peter's grave, symbolising the loss felt by a generation of German parents. In Germany, he discovers the paintings of Otto Dix, in particular The Match Seller, showing the fate of a severely disabled veteran scraping a living on the street, ignored by the affluent passers-by.

Radio 5 Live

Radio 5 live will broadcast the two-minute silence at 11am on Sunday 11 November, and 5 live’s Double Take programme will hear from the families of soldiers who have been injured in conflicts. Presenters, Anita Anand and Sam Walker will explore the relationship between the armed forces and the local communities where they’re based.

Local and Regional Services


All BBC Local Radio stations will be observing the two-minute silence on Sunday 11 November at 11am.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire

The station will be broadcasting live from St Michael’s Church, Coningsby, recognising the part RAF Coningsby plays in local life, and reflecting on the sacrifices made by Servicemen and women from around the county.

BBC Radio Merseyside

BBC Radio Merseyside’s 30-minute Act Of Worship on November 11 will focus on Remembrance Sunday.

BBC Radio Jersey

BBC Radio Jersey will be live from the Cenotaph in St Helier as the capital of the island pauses to remember and reflect. Broadcaster Hamish Marett-Crosby will be reporting.

There is a special edition of Sunday Classics for Remembrance Day from 1200-1400 recorded at Georgetown Methodist Church in St Saviour. Presenter Tim Pollard introduces a selection of readings, hymns and music for Remembrance and welcomes guests from the island’s military as well as visiting Chelsea Pensioners.

BBC Leicester

Dave Andrews presents Leicester Remembers, a two-hour programme live from the Cenotaph on Victoria Park from 10am on Sunday 11 November.

The Service and Parade will be conducted by the Royal Anglian Regiment C Company and will involve the Lord Mayor, City Mayor, Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff.

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