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The BBC marks Remembrance Week 2021

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The BBC marks Remembrance Week 2021 across television, radio and online with a range of original and live programming, including the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2021 and The Cenotaph.

On TV, BBC One will broadcast Remembrance Week 2021, including:

The Royal British Legion Festival Of Remembrance (Saturday 13 November, 9pm – 10.40pm), the annual commemorative event from the Royal Albert Hall hosted by Huw Edwards and featuring a specially commissioned poem by internet sensation Tomfoolery.

Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph (Sunday 14 November, 10.15am – 11.45am with highlights on BBC Two at 7pm – 8.10pm)

A special Songs of Praise episode to commemorate Remembrance Sunday (Sunday 14 November, 1.15pm)

On Radio 2 Paddy O’Connell will host highlights from the RBL Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall (Saturday 13 November, 8pm-9pm) and on Radio 4, Paddy will also host coverage of the Ceremony Of Remembrance from the Cenotaph (Sunday 14 November, 10.30am). Radio 3 will be broadcasting The Imperial War Museum’s annual Remembrance Debate, in partnership with BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, presented by Anne with guests Elif Shafak, Christina Lamb, Robert Johnson and Hilary Roberts.

BBC English Regions, BBC NI, BBC Scotland and BBC Wales will all broadcast special radio programming.

Tim Davie, Director General, says: “The BBC is honoured to bring audiences across the UK together as we remember those who served in the armed forces and those who bravely made the ultimate sacrifice. We will be broadcasting programming across TV, radio and online to commemorate the ever important Remembrance Day.”

Television

The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance
Saturday 13 November, BBC One, 9pm – 10.40pm and BBC iPlayer

In the presence of Members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister together with senior members of the military, Huw Edwards presents The Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall on the evening of Saturday 13th November. The event honours the armed forces community for their service and sacrifice in defending our freedoms and way of life, and this year will once again be performed in front of a full audience in the Royal Albert Hall.

This year’s event marks the centenary of the Royal British Legion and reflects on the different ways they’ve supported the armed forces community. A specially commissioned poem written and performed by internet sensation Tomos Roberts, aka “Tomfoolery”, will commemorate 100 years of the poppy as the symbol of remembrance.

The 30th anniversary of Operation Granby, the largest deployment of UK Forces since the Second World War, will be remembered by three former veterans who will recall events of this tri-service operation. We pay tribute to currently serving members of the Armed Forces who were deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting.

Tenor Alfie Boe, Grammy award winner Gregory Porter, Emmy award winner Cynthia Erivo, singer songwriter Jack Savoretti, and West End star Alexandra Burke will perform alongside The Band of HM Royal Marines, The Royal Air Force, the Bach Choir and the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir.

The event culminates in the act of remembrance and the iconic poppy drop. As the petals fall in the Royal Albert Hall, the Festival will pay tribute to all victims of war and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

Director: Marcus Viner, Executive Producer: Kate Shiers, Series Producer: Catherine Stirk

Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph
Sunday 14 November, BBC One 10.15pm – 12.30pm (highlights on BBC Two at 6.50pm – 8pm) and BBC iPlayer

David Dimbleby presents live coverage from the Cenotaph on BBC One. Members of the Royal Family, the Government, the Commonwealth and the Armed Forces will gather in Westminster for the National Service of Remembrance. The Two Minute Silence at 11 o’clock will be followed by wreath laying as the nation remembers all those who died serving their country.

The march past of veterans will return and members of the public will once again be able to attend the event. Last year for the first time, the service was a closed ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sophie Raworth will speak to some of those taking part as they share their remarkable stories of courage and sacrifice. Veterans and their families from across the nation have shared memories and reflections of remembrance on film.

Director: Simon Staffurth, Executive Producer: Michael Cole, Series Producer: Rosheen Archer

BBC iPlayer and Red Button will have a commentary-free version of the live coverage from the Cenotaph.

Songs of Praise
Sunday 14th November, 1.15pm, BBC One and BBC iPlayer

Sean Fletcher marks Remembrance Sunday at The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. He meets Christian veterans from different conflicts including the remarkable 97-year-old Bernard Morgan who shares his experiences of being one of the youngest RAF Sergeants on D-Day.

Sean also discovers how the unique design of the museum helps visitors to reflect on conflict and visits a new installation under construction; called “Poppies” it is a permanent sculpture made from ceramic poppies that famously adorned The Tower of London in 2014.

Pam Rhodes visits the Poppy factory in Kent to mark 100 years of the Royal British Legion and its poppy appeal. She explores the origins of the charity and why its purpose in supporting veterans and leading the nation in Remembrance remains so important.

And back at the museum, a youth theatre group prepares for a performance exploring why Remembrance is relevant for each new generation. With traditional Remembrance hymns from across the UK including a special performance of “In Flanders Fields” from The Choristers.

Children’s and Learning

To mark the Two Minute Silence at 11am on 11 November, CBeebies and CBBC will simulcast Poppies, an evocative, dialogue-free animation that sees war as experienced by animals in a WWI battlefield. The film is set to a score composed by Oscar-winning Steve Price (Gravity) and recorded by the BBC Philharmonic.

On CBeebies, a special episode of My First Festivals: Remembrance Day airs on 11 November while Time For School (11 November) returns for a special episodes to mark Remembrance and World Way Two.

On CBBC, Horrible Histories’ Frightful First World War (11 November) and Heroic Home Front (14 November) episodes take a look at the grim realities of both wars while Operation Ouch! Goes Back In Time (14 November) travels back to the First World War to find out how to fix a broken bone in the trenches

BBC Teach BBC Teach will host a collection of video resources and interactive articles for use in both primary and secondary school classrooms and a special Remembrance Day Live Lesson will also be available to view.

BBC Four

On BBC Four the following repeats will be shown across the week:

Dan Cruickshank’s Monuments of Remembrance
Thursday 11 November, 8pm

Dan Cruickshank reveals the extraordinary story behind the design and building of iconic First World War memorials and explores the idea behind the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

WWI: The Last Tommies
Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 November

Vivid and heart-breaking stories told by the last Tommies, remembering life and death in World War I, illustrated with powerful archive.

They Shall Not Grow Old
Sunday 14 November, 9pm

Transforming archive footage more than a century old, Peter Jackson brings to life the people who can best tell the story of World War I: the men who were there.

The Art of WWII: A Culture Show Special
Sunday 14 November, 11.35pm

Alastair Sooke explores the often overlooked history of Britain’s wartime renaissance. He meets the Blitz survivors and factory workers who became the subject of iconic paintings.

Radio

Radio 2: Festival of Remembrance
Saturday 13 November, 8pm – 9pm

Paddy O’Connell presents highlights from the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, with spectacular music from star acts and massed military bands.

This year marks the Centenary of the Royal British Legion as well as the poppy, and this Act of Remembrance pays tribute to the armed forces and victims of war and conflict through music, poetry, performance and reflection.

Veterans, military service personnel, representatives of the Civilian Services and those who have lost loved ones join with the audience to thank all who gave their lives in the service of their country, and those who risk their lives today.

The Royal British Legion theme is Telling Our Story, bringing people together to tell their story of the last 100 years, and remembering service, sacrifice and collaboration of the men and women of Britain, the Commonwealth and Allied nations who fought together and worked together.

Guests from music, television and military worlds tell Paddy of the special honour it is to be involved in this annual event. The conclusion features thousands of poppies dropped from the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, representing those we have lost in conflicts.

Presenter: Paddy O’Connell, Producer: Alexa Good for BBC Audio

BBC Radio 4 – Ceremony of Remembrance from the Cenotaph
Sunday 14 November, 10.30am

Paddy O’Connell sets 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.

The traditional music of remembrance is played by the massed bands. After the Two Minutes Silence and Last Post, wreaths are laid at the foot of the Cenotaph by members of the Royal Family, political leaders and representatives of Commonwealth countries, before a short Service of Remembrance.

Producer: Katharine Longworth

BBC Radio 3 – Free Thinking: Remembrance Debate – How do we define a War?
Tuesday 9 November, 10pm

The Imperial War Museum’s annual Remembrance Debate, in partnership with BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, will see a panel of historians and activists explore the impact of the words we use to describe conflict. Presenter Anne McElvoy is joined by guests Elif Shafak, Christina Lamb, Robert Johnson and Hilary Roberts. Together, they will question what and who shape the language we use, whether terms are static, and what difference that makes to public perception and Remembrance.. The Imperial War Museum has just revamped its “Second World War” galleries with changed dates and a wider focus and Cold War history is being rewritten in the light of current politics. So this year’s IWM Remembrance discussion asks how does language affect attitudes to war?

BBC English Regions and Nations

BBC English Regions

For Remembrance Week, the BBC’s Local and Regional teams will be reporting from events in their area. As well as talking to veterans, they will reflect the stories of today’s Armed Forces and will broadcast the two minutes silence live.

BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle

BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle will observe a minute’s silence at 11am on Thursday 11 November, and will broadcast the BBC Radio 4 ‘Service of Remembrance from the Cenotaph’ from 10.30-11.45am on Sunday 14 November.

In addition on the same day Sunday Sequence, Sunday With Steven Rainey and Thought for The Day will feature items and reflections on the issue of remembrance.

BBC Wales

BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru will observe a minute’s silence at 11am on Thursday 11 November.

On BBC Radio Wales, Roy Noble will have an interview with Tessa Dunlop about the book ‘Army Girls’ about surviving women who served in WW2.

All Things Considered will be reflecting on 100 years of the poppy appeal: what are we remembering – and what’s impossible to forget? For many wearing the poppy is an act of solidarity, a recognition of the sacrifices made. But what’s it like to live with the legacy of conflict, and how does the act of remembering help?

Celebration will have a special remembrance service of reflection, music and prayer led by Revd Tudor Botwood, Royal Navy Chaplain.

BBC Scotland

New Every Sunday
7.30am

Remembrance act of worship with Rev Jane Howitt, minister of St Rollox Church, Glasgow

Sunday Morning with Connie McLaughlin
8am – 10am

Book – Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live by Lily Ebert and her great-grandson, Dov Forman.

Book – The Heart of Things in which Richard Holloway shares the poems and words which have been his own guide through his life, with thoughts and reflections on living well, death, sadness, regret, sin, conflict and forgiveness, offered in the hope they will help us too.

Discussion – We often hear the phrase ‘never again’, but why do we find it so difficult to learn lessons from past mistakes? Remembrance Sunday is a time when we come together to commemorate those lost in conflict, but can we apply long-term learnings to other parts of life – to the climate and to a post-pandemic future?