The BBC has announced today that BBC One Daytime will be marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War this September with a week of special programmes, including, ‘The Week We Went To War’ and a new period drama series ‘Land Girls’ which stars Nathaniel Parker and Christine Bottomley.
World-renowned singer Katherine Jenkins will present The Week We Went To War, being made by Finestripe Productions.
The week-long series of programmes will centre on everyday heroes, from families who took in evacuees, to ordinary people who ran into bombed buildings to save their neighbours.
The war effort is especially relevant to Katherine, as she has been dubbed ‘The New Forces’ Sweetheart’ for the charity work she has done entertaining the troops.
Katherine said of the role, “I’m really looking forward to presenting this series of programmes as it’s important that we mark the anniversary of the Second World War…
“I’ve sung for members of our armed forces past and present, but it’s only right that this series will remember the everyday heroes who aren’t so widely recognised.”
Liam Keelan, Controller of BBC Daytime, said, “I’m really pleased to have Katherine Jenkins as the presenter for The Week We Went to War for BBC Daytime.
“She is a well-known personality who has strong links and an affinity with the armed forces, and this will work really well for the show.”
Until now, many of the incredible stories of every day heroism that happened in communities back home in Britain have remained untold but The Week We Went To War seeks to uncover these remarkably little-known tales in several strands throughout the week:
During the war thousands of Britain’s children were sent away from the cities to the relative safety of the countryside. Evacuee Stories traces some of the adults who, as children, were uprooted from their families and their homes and sent away, never knowing when or if they would ever return
HomeFront Heroes focuses on some of the now infamous events from the time, told through testimonials of the everyday people who witnessed these tragedies
In Star Memories, celebrities share their recollections of growing up in and around London during the war.
Also part of the programmes marking the anniversary is Land Girls, a five-part period drama with a stellar cast line-up including Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Bleak House), Christine Bottomley (Hope Springs, Massive, Early Doors), Sophie Ward (Holby City), Summer Strallen (Hollyoaks) and Mark Benton (The Street).
The drama follows the lives and loves of four girls away from home, striving to do their bit for Britain in the Women’s Land Army (WLA) while trying to come to terms with the fact that their lives may never be the same again.
BBC One’s The One Show will also feature five special commemorative reports in the run up to the season.
Three films will look at the heroines who ran the canals, the women dubbed the nightingales who flew behind enemy lines to bring out critically-ill patients, and the people who were evacuated to Chatsworth House.
The BBC Archive will also release a new online collection exploring the outbreak of the Second World War featuring radio recordings and documents from the period.
Key broadcasts, including Chamberlain’s declaration of war itself, will sit alongside documents and memos that reveal how the BBC helped the UK population prepare for life in wartime and cope with the quiet early months, later dubbed the ‘Phoney War’.
The new collection will be released on 3rd September and forms a part of the permanent BBC Archive resource which the BBC has made available to UK audiences. For more information, visit bbc.co.uk/archive.