BBC announces top names to star in its coverage of D-Day 80 commemorations on BBC One and iPlayer (2024)

Well-known artists and a spectacular mix of musical stars are taking part in the live events on 5 and 6 June in Portsmouth and Normandy to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and mark this significant moment in history. Names include actor Martin Freeman and music legend Sir Tom Jones.

With moving readings and personal testimonies, alongside powerful musical performances, the stars will provide many heartwarming moments that will bring to life the story of the military personnel, and those on the Home Front, who together led Great Britain and its Allies to victory during D-Day and the Normandy campaign in 1944.

The events, hosted by the Ministry of Defence, the Royal British Legion and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will also see the Armed Forces join veterans of the Greatest Generation to lead the nation in commemoration of the 80th anniversary.

D-Day 80: The Allies Prepare will broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 10.15am until 1pm on Wednesday 5 June.

On 5 June, at the D-Day 80 national commemorative event on Southsea Common in Portsmouth where the Allies departed for the beaches of Normandy, talent featured includes:

Actor Phil Dunster will read the testimony of Major Rodney Maude. This is the letter Rodney wrote to his mother before he set sail for D-Day as the Major in command of 246 Field Company, Royal Engineers; actor Leonie Elliott will read the words of Pippa Latour, a SOE agent working undercover in France; actor and writer Anjli Mohindra will read the testimony of Kitty Morgan, a young factory worker who contributed to the war effort; actor and singer Julian Ovenden will bring to life the instructions given to American servicemen in A Short Guide to Great Britain; actor Kate Phillips will share the testimony of Maureen Bolster, a Wren stoker stationed in Britain; spoken word poet Tomos Roberts will read a poem especially written titled The People Who Gave Us Today; and actor, writer and comedian Jonny Weldon will read the heartbreaking letter home from Captain Jack Lee that he wrote just three days before he was killed on the 7th of June, 1944.

Musical performances include singer-songwriter Zak Abel who will sing a cover of God Only Knows, a song by American rock band The Beach Boys; actor Emma Barton who will perform a cover of Sing As We Go, first released by Gracie Fields in 193; rising star JERUB who will be performing his song There Till the End, whose lyrics speak to the shared camaraderie and brotherhood of service personnel; and American actor and singer Marisha Wallace who will perform a cover of Sing, Sing, Sing, a popular song of the era.

The event is hosted by Dame Helen Mirren.

D-Day 80: Tribute to The Fallen will broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 8.30pm until 10pm on Wednesday 5 June.

On the evening of 5 June, the eve of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a tribute to the fallen will take place in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Bayeux War Cemetery in Normandy and Southsea Common in Portsmouth. It will feature stunning lighting displays, readings and music.

Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis will perform The Parting Glass in Portsmouth; singer and songwriter Jack Savoretti will perform his own song Soldier's Eyes; and British baritone and composer Roderick Williams, accompanied by London Voices, will sing a rendition of Lacrymosa: Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep.

Actor Katherine Parkinson will read a moving and poignant letter about a man buried in Bayeux.

D-Day 80: We Will Remember Them will broadcast live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 8.30am until 10.45am on Thursday 6 June.

On 6 June, marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the nation will come together to pay tribute to all who served in the Normandy Campaign. Set overlooking Gold Beach at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, organised by the Ministry of Defence and the Royal British Legion, the event will be the first-ever National Commemoration at this location, holding special significance for the D-Day veterans who are in attendance.

Singer and songwriter Johnny Flynn will perform his own song titled Song With No Name, accompanied by the Combined Bands of the Royal Air Force; Sir Tom Jones will take the stage to perform his song I Won't Crumble With You If You Fall; and a specially commissioned anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber - Lovingly Remembered – with lyrics by Don Black, will be performed by singer and songwriter Naomi Kimpenu with the London Youth Chamber Choir.

Actor Douglas Booth will read the words of a Royal Navy veteran who reflects on the Battle of Normandy; French actor Antonia Desplat will read the words of a volunteer nurse in Bayeux during the Normandy campaign which will highlight the French civilian effort in the Battle of Normandy; and actor Martin Freeman will read the words of a veteran who’s returning to Gold Beach for the first time in 80 years.


BBC announces top names to star in its coverage of D-Day 80 commemorations on BBC One and iPlayer (2024)


What is planned for D-Day 80? ›

The International 80th Anniversary D-Day Beacon will be lit in Normandy at 8.15pm (British Summer Time), at the British Normandy Memorial overlooking Gold Beach, with the other Beacons located on Utah, Omaha, Juno and Sword beaches being lit at 8.30pm BST, followed by the Principal United Kingdom, Channel Islands and ...

What is D-Day BBC? ›

To fight back and free these countries, the armies of Britain, America and Canada joined together in the largest military operation on sea, air and land ever attempted. This operation would become known as D-Day. On June sixth 1944, thousands and thousands of American, British and Canadian troops landed on the beaches.

What is the D-Day celebration in France in 2024? ›

In 2024, Normandy will honour the memory of these events and the men and women who came from all over the world to liberate us. A regional mobilisation will take place to celebrate this major ten-year anniversary.

Do the UK celebrate D-Day? ›

In 2024 the UK will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944 with a series of major commemorations and events across the UK and in France.

What does D stand for in D-Day? ›

The term D-Day is used by the Armed Forces to refer to the beginning of an operation. The 'D' stands for 'Day', meaning it's actually short for 'Day-Day' (which is nowhere near as catchy).

What is the 80th flag of peace on D-Day? ›

The D-Day 80 Flag of Peace has been raised at Guildhall Winchester to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. On 6 June 1944, the Battle of Normandy, codenamed Operation Overlord, bought together the largest naval, air and land operation in history as the Allies sought to free Western Europe from Nazi occupation.

What does D-Day mean in slang? ›

Informal. any day of special significance, as one marking an important event or goal.

What does the D stand for in day? ›

In other words, the D in D-Day merely stands for Day. This coded designation was used for the day of any important invasion or military operation.

What do the British call D-Day? ›

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of north-west Europe. Operation Overlord began on 6 June 1944 (D-Day) and continued until Allied forces crossed the River Seine on 19 August 1944.

What do the French call D-Day? ›

Usage notes: The original meaning of the French expression le jour J is D-Day: 6 June 1944, the day the World War II Allied forces invaded Normandy, France. This is also known as the Normandy landings – le débarquement de Normandie.

How many Americans died on D-Day? ›

Of the 4,414 Allied troops killed on D-Day, 2,501 were Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded. In the ensuing Battle of Normandy, 73,000 Allied forces were killed and 153,000 wounded. The battle — and especially Allied bombings of French villages and cities — killed around 20,000 French civilians.

What Day is the 80th anniversary of D-Day? ›

On June 6, 2024, ABMC marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Approximately 10,000 people attended the ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery. An invocation by Chaplain (COL) Karen Meeker opened the commemoration, followed by a welcome to attendees by ABMC Secretary Charles K. Djou.

Were there Americans in D-Day? ›

The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies, landed on D-Day.

Why do we still celebrate D-Day? ›

Known as "D-Day," the name and date loom large in the memory of World War II—perhaps second only to December 7th, 1941. These two dates stand on opposite ends of American involvement in the war, and their meaning could not be more different. D-Day put the Allies on a decisive path toward victory.

Is D-Day celebrated in France? ›

Every year hundreds of spectators and D-Day veterans gather in the Normandy region of France to commemorate D-Day.

What was the overall plan for D-Day? ›

The plan had two components: Operation Neptune, the naval assault phase, and Operation Overlord, the broader invasion strategy. Approximately 160,000 Allied troops were to land across five beaches: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah, with British and American airborne forces landing inland.

What was the backup plan for D-Day? ›

What was the backup plan if D-day failed? - Quora. There was no plan B. In the circ*mstances of the 6th of june, with the weather as it was and the Panzers where they were and Hitler asleep, it was practically bound to sucseed. If the weather had remained as it had been on the 5th, that could have wrecked the invasion.

What is the Normandy program for 2024? ›

Program from June 1 to 12, 2024

The whole of Normandy is mobilised to pay international tribute to those who reopened the gates of freedom in Europe. As it does every year, the Normandy Victory Museum is taking part in this tribute with a varied programme.

Was there a Plan B for D-Day? ›

It has also been speculated that Eisenhower would have submitted his resignation in the event of a retreat from Normandy, though it's uncertain whether it would have been accepted, according to Citino. “For Eisenhower, there was no Plan B,” Citino said.

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