D-DAY: THE UNHEARD TAPES ANNOUNCED FOR BBC TWO
Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of D-Day in 2024, D-Day: The Unheard Tapes (w/t) relives one of the most extraordinary days in the history of modern warfare through the incredible preserved audiotapes of those who experienced the invasion first-hand.
From the team at Wall to Wall behind BAFTA-nominated documentary AIDS: The Unheard Tapes, the series is a co-production for BBC Two and iPlayer and The History Channel made in partnership with The Open University and Imperial War Museums.
On the 6th June 1944, around 156,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy in what would be the largest seaborne invasion in history, a critical event that would alter the outcome of the Second World War. At its epicentre were hundreds of thousands of young men and women, many of whose stories have remained untold until now.
The three-part documentary draws on a trove of original recorded interviews from British, American and German soldiers, and French witnesses, to tell the fateful story of D-Day as it was lived on the ground.
The extraordinary spoken testimonies have been sourced from museums, university archives and private collections and include discoveries of material never previously digitised or heard publicly. They recall moments of bravery and fear, strategy, chaos, and split-second decision making, their memories taking us through the invasion as it unfolded.
Adopting an innovative new approach, the rich variety of first-person audio interviews will be given new life by a cast of young actors lip-syncing in documentary settings, combined with archival footage and immersive documentary-style recreation to tell the story of D-Day as it’s never been told before.
Simon Young, Head of History, BBC Factual Commissioning, says: “This is a genuinely fresh and innovative way in to one of the most iconic periods in modern history. D-Day didn’t happen in black and white, nor was it a one-sided tale of Allied genius...
"By bringing the events of that day to life with real words recast as interview testimony, this series brings us closer to those men and women who lived through it. The series will be part of a wider raft of BBC programming to commemorate the final months of World War Two, allowing modern viewers a new opportunity to connect with our past.”
Morgana Pugh, Executive Producer, Wall to Wall, says: “Many months of dedicated research have enabled us to discover a series of powerful interviews recorded with those who fought on D-Day, sourced from around the world. In previously unheard and deeply personal stories, the real voices of those who took part in the Normandy landings will lead us through their own unique experiences; from mission reveal to the landings and beyond...
"Actors lip syncing veterans’ real voices will bring us closer to our contributors, as they tell the story of their D-Day in their own words, in all its raw and revealing detail.”
David Fenton, Assistant Director, Imperial War Museums, says: “Imperial War Museums are thrilled to be working with Wall to Wall on this exciting project. We are the custodians of a vast collection of recorded interviews and testimony so it is fantastic to be able to bring some of these fascinating stories to life in such a personal and innovative way.”
Dr Frances Houghton, Lecturer in History at The Open University and Academic Consultant on the series, says: “D-Day: The Unheard Tapes brings the experiences, feelings, and memories of ordinary people who were involved in, or impacted by, the Allied invasion to life in new and evocative ways...
"It draws extensively on oral testimonies that were recorded with military veterans and local civilians, granting the viewer an unusually intimate insight into what D-Day meant to those who survived. Overall, this series poignantly highlights the historical value of capturing veterans’ voices so that future generations might better understand what war is like ‘at the sharp end’. In so doing, it invites us all to reflect on how we remember and tell stories of conflict.”
D-Day: The Unheard Tapes (w/t) will air in 2024 alongside a broader programme of content and live event coverage to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day and the final months of World War Two.
D-Day: The Unheard Tapes (w/t) a 3x60 for BBC Two and iPlayer.