The BBC has revealed plans to mark 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele with a series of live broadcasts remembering one of World War I’s bloodiest battles.
Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young will host two days of live programming from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres, beginning on Sunday 30th July.
Coverage will begin on BBC2 with a broadcast from the traditional Menin Gate ceremony featuring Young and historians David Olusoga and Dan Snow. The show will include live performances from artists including Dame Helen Mirren, Alfie Boe, War Horse, and Ian Hislop and the cast of The Wipers Times.
On Monday 31st July, there will be a live broadcast on BBC1 of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery commemorations, marking the first day of the battle. The military ceremony will be attended by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and will include a memorial to the missing, acknowledging the 34,000 servicemen who died fighting in the Ypres Salient whose graves are not known.
Claire Popplewell, Editor of BBC Events, says: “One hundred years on the name Passchendaele remains synonymous with the inhuman conditions and bloody ferocity of one of the First World War’s most horrific battles.”
The Battle of Passchendaele was immortalised in the words of soldier and poet, Siegfried Sassoon, who wrote, ”I died in hell – They called it Passchendaele”. It was one of the most horrific battles of the First World War with over half a million casualties; many of whom drowned in the boggy mud.
Highlights of the Tyne Cot Cemetery ceremony will be played later on Monday evening on BBC2.
The BBC commemorations begin with World War One Remembered: Passchendaele For The Fallen, on Sunday 30th July on BBC2