29 July 2017

BBC to broadcast Passchendaele commemorations from CWGC cemetery

The BBC will broadcast a series of live programmes covering events hosted by the CWGC and UK Government commemorating the Centenary of Passchendaele – The Third Battle of Ypres.

The programmes, airing on Sunday 30 July from 7pm and Monday 31 July from 11am and 7pm, will be presented and anchored by Kirsty Young from a BBC studio at the CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery.

The commemorations will begin with a traditional Last Post ceremony at the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial on Sunday 30 July, with TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and TM the King and Queen of the Belgians in attendance alongside UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. Hundreds of descendants with a personal connection to the names on the memorial and representatives from nations who fought on the Salient will also attend the ceremony, which will give thanks to those who have remembered the British and Commonwealth involvement and sacrifices every evening since 1928.

It will be followed by a series of live performances, open to thousands in Ieper’s rebuilt Market Square, that tell the story of the Battle, including the new short story by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo. Images and film will also be projected onto the town’s famous Cloth Hall.

The following day, Monday 31 July, more than 4,000 descendants of the men who fought, and those with a connection to the battle will attend a special commemorative service at the CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ieper. During the service, serving military personnel and descendants will read out letters and diaries from their ancestors.

HRH the Prince of Wales together with TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and TM the King and Queen of the Belgians will attend the service.

Speaking about the commemorations, the CWGC’s Director General, Mrs Victoria Wallace said: "The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is delighted to welcome the UK Government to mark the centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres, which so many people know as Passchendaele. Tyne Cot, the largest of our military cemeteries, sits right on the battlefield, and is a poignant reminder of the terrible scale of loss and sacrifice. In our own centenary year, the CWGC is proud and privileged to have the honour of caring for the final resting places of so many men and women from across the Empire.”

Claire Popplewell, Editor of BBC Events, said: “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. On the 100th anniversary of this infamous battle, the BBC will broadcast a series of live commemoration programmes across both BBC One and BBC Two, with additional coverage on BBC Radio and BBC News, to remember all those who died in the Battle of Passchendaele."

Broadcast times and channels:

  • Sunday 30 July, BBC Two, 19:00 – 22:00 (BST TX Time)  - World War One Remembered: Passchendaele For The Fallen - coverage of the Menin Gate and the Market Square events.

  • Monday 31 July, BBC One, 11:00 – 13:00 (BST TX Time)  - World War One Remembered: Passchendaele In Flanders Fields - live coverage of the ceremony at Tyne Cot.

  • Monday 31 July, BBC Two, 19:00 – 20:00 (BST TX Time)  - World War One Remembered: Passchendaele Highlights - highlights of the Tyne Cot events.