World War One

Passchendaele 100

Daniel Mays took part in the BBC’s World War One Remembered: Passchendaele with his emotional reading of  “Concert Party: Busseboom” by Lieutenant Edmund Blunder.

To mark and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, the BBC will broadcast a series of special live programmes from the Passchendaele centenary commemorations in Flanders, Belgium.

Spanning two days, the commemoration programming will be presented and anchored by Kirsty Young from a BBC studio at The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ypres. Kirsty will be joined by broadcaster and historian David Olusoga in the studio, together with special guests, and Dan Snow will be bringing all the reaction to events and meeting those taking part.

The commemorations will begin on BBC Two on Sunday 30 July, with a special broadcast including the traditional Menin Gate ceremony followed by a dramatic event in the city’s Market Square. The imposing façade of the Cloth Hall will be illuminated with projections and lights, together with special live performances from artists including Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Mays, Alfie Boe, War Horse, and the cast of The Wipers Time.

Every evening, the last post is played at the Menin Gate. The distinctive sounding of the bugle call remembers all the men who fought and fell fighting for the restoration of peace around Ypres during the First World War. On this evening, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the ceremony. TM The King and Queen of the Belgians will also be in attendance.

Following The Menin Gate ceremony, there will be a special event in Ypres Market Square. Presented in front of the historic Cloth Hall, this will be broadcast live on BBC Two and will feature music, stunning projections and live performances. In attendance, among an audience of thousands, will be TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, TM The King and Queen of the Belgians and the British Prime Minister. Highlights of the evening will include performances by Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Mays, the cast of The Wipers Times introduced by Ian Hislop, a specially written extract from War Horse narrated by Michael Morpurgo, a tri-service orchestra and the voices of the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Daniel’s reading is towards the end of the broadcast (at 2 hours 43 minutes) but we encourage you to watch the entirety of this extraordinary and moving tribute to the soldiers who bravely fought and to those soldiers whose lives were lost during the long fought Battle of Passchendaele in World War I.

Lest We Forget. 

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The Great War: The People’s Story

Tune in tomorrow evening at 9pm for episode one of ITV’s The Great War: The People’s Story.
The 4 episodes tell the real-life stories of soldiers, from privates to officers, their wives and girlfriends left behind, and people from Britain’s villages and cities. They are portrayed by a cast of actors including Alison Steadman, Daniel Mays, Claire Foy, Brian Cox, Romola Garai, MyAnna Buring and Matthew McNulty, who speak their words as they were written in their diaries and letters.

These moving accounts, revealing their intimate thoughts and feelings offer a raw insight into the profound impact of being caught up in a conflict that would change their lives – and Britain – forever. Sourced from archives and libraries across the country, selected in partnership with Imperial War Museums, which provided much of the material, and brought to life by actors – each story conveys the hopes, fears, heroism and tragedies of countless ordinary British people… made all the more powerful by the fact that every word is real.

Daniel Mays stars in episodes 1&2.

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