It will be broadcast live via BBC Red Button and on BFBS Radio. And, in a first for Radio 2, the show will also be streamed live in 5.1 surround sound to cinemas across the UK. For more details and ticket information, please visit bbc.co.uk/radio2.
The concert is hosted by Jeremy Vine, Dermot O’Leary and Louise Minchin who will re-tell the story of key moments of D-Day with performances from an impressive line-up of talent. Patrick Stewart in the role of Sir Winston Churchill leads a cast of actors as they narrate stories – from across Europe – based on extracts from D-Day diary entries and letters. The BBC Concert Orchestra will be joined by a band featuring musicians drawn from all three UK Armed Forces including the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, the Royal Artillery Band and Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. Katherine Jenkins OBE will be singing a virtual duet of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ with Dame Vera Lynn. Dame Vera’s part will be taken from a vintage audio recording and accompanied by archive film which will be combined with Katherine’s live performance.
Acclaimed folk singer and musician Seth Lakeman will perform a song he has written about his grandfather – Sergeant Kenneth Lakeman of the Royal Corps of Signals – who served at D-Day and, years later, took a 13-year-old Seth to Arromanches Beach to recount that fateful day. There will also be performances from Beverley Knight, a special rendition of ‘In My Dreams’ by the Military Wives Choir and a choir made up of one of London’s leading performing arts schools, ArtsEd.
Patrick Stewart said: “I am delighted and proud to be part of Radio 2’s anniversary commemoration. Churchill wrote English to be spoken and I have always loved quoting his remark that ‘The greatest virtue is courage, because it makes all the other virtues possible’.”
Dame Vera Lynn said: “It makes me proud and honoured to know that ‘We’ll Meet Again’ is still so popular, over seven decades after it was first recorded. I remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday and it was wonderful that this particular song became the one people most associated with the war era. For it to be brought to life again, ‘dueting’ with Katherine Jenkins, is just perfect for the occasion.”
And for the first time, Radio 2 will be broadcasting Friday Night Is Music Night live to cinemas nationwide. Profits from the cinema and Royal Albert Hall ticket sales will be donated to the charities SSAFA, The Royal British Legion and SkillForce, with representatives from each joining the audience at the Friday Night Is Music Night concert. The live cinema broadcast means that people from around the UK can watch the performance and mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day together. For further information and participating cinemas visit bbc.co.uk/radio2.
The day of commemorative broadcasting on BBC Radio 2 begins with Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show (6.30-9.30am) broadcasting live from the beach at Arromanches, part of the British sector codenamed ‘Gold’ during the D-Day landings.
This is later followed by Jeremy Vine broadcasting from HMS Belfast on the River Thames (midday-2pm) – HMS Belfast being one of the D-Day flagships and one of the first in the fleet to fire its guns. During the programme, Jeremy will hear many stories from veterans.
And from 7am through to 7pm Jeremy will also present a 90-second D-Day-themed bulletin following the hourly news on Radio 2.
The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Two from 8pm till 10pm. More promotional pictures below.