BBC Gears Up For 4 Year WWI Season With 2,500 Hours Of Programming

The BBC is preparing a colossal and extensive remembrance of the first world war with a four year-spanning theme of programming based upon the events of the war which began in 1914 and ended in 1918. The ambitious set of programming and events will be applied across television, radio and online from 2014-2018, echoing the time frame of the war itself.

Ian McDiarmid
Ian McDiarmid Will Be Involved In A WWI Political Drama.

During this time period, there will be 130 newly commissioned programmes and a total run time of almost 2,500 hours. "I want 2014 to be remembered for our national commemoration of all those who served on the battlefield and on the Home Front," said BBC chief Tony Hall, via BBC News. "And a chance for us all to learn something new about a war we think we know well."

Amongst these new programmes will be brand new BBC2 drama, 37 Days, which will star Ian McDiarmid and will apparently explore the politics running up to the war. Whereas BBC1's big drama will be The Ark: a look at the wartime medics and their patients in the hospitals behind the French trenches.

Extending into radio, the season will also showcase two new Radio 4 dramas. Homefront will be the story of "the 41 million Britons who didn't fight in the great war but whose hearts were pinned on the five million who did", and will play across four years, intertwining fictional narratives with factual events.

Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman Will Front A Historical Documentary.

There'll be plenty of historical documentaries and dramas on offer but the BBC have also made plans to roll out the education to children. BBC Children and BBC Learning will aim to make the events accessible to younger audiences with shows such as the hugely popular Horrible Histories specially commissioned to focus on the war.

Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman will host the documentary series, Britain's Great War, looking at the impact of the World War I. He said: "A century on, we should perhaps remember and respect that sacrifice. And realise that more than any other event, this was the one that made modern Britain."

"We are setting out to broaden people's understanding of the war, to commemorate and remember those who were caught up in it and to tell both well-known stories from fresh perspectives and original stories so far untold," said Adrian Van Klaveren, BBC controller behind the centenary season.


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Tags: Ian McDiarmid - Jeremy Paxman


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