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As part of ERA’s commitment to helping licence holders make best use of the material available to them, we have decided to start highlighting our ‘top pick’ each week. We’re hoping to reveal multiple educational uses for a single episode, series, or film with enough time to act as a ‘heads up’ for teachers to be able to record, or access the material.

Friday the 1st of July marks the centenary of the first day of the Somme. More than 1 million soldiers were killed or wounded over the course of the fighting – making it one of the most deadly battles in human history – and throughout this week, a number of programmes will remember the lives and stories of those who fought. These shows could provide a great wealth of resources for any history teacher, and clips from them could help explain the overwhelming scale of the fighting, as well as the impact it had on individuals involved.


The Somme (9pm, Saturday 25th June, More 4)

This docudrama uses first-hand accounts of the battle, from letters, diaries and journals, to portray the real story of the men who fought there.


The Echo Chamber (4:30pm, Sunday 26th June, BBC Radio 4)

In this edition of The Echo Chamber Paul Farley joins poet Simon Armitage on a journey to the battlefield in North-Eastern France to hear his new, specially commissioned, work about the conflict.


The Battle of the Somme 100: the Vigil (7:30pm, Thursday 30th June, BBC2)

From the BBC:

Huw Edwards in Thiepval, France, and Kirsty Young in Westminster Abbey, London, provide live coverage of vigil services held to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. One hundred years on from the eve of this battle, commemorations begin at Westminster Abbey, where Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh lead the nation’s remembrance at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.


Voices of the First World War – The Somme: From Sunrise to Zero Hour (1:45pm, Thursday 30th, BBC Radio4)

From the BBC:

On 30th June we hear about the build up to the battle exactly 100 years ago, with descriptions of the seven day bombardment of the German lines, and the men’s optimism and even excitement as the noise built to a crescendo. They recall what they were doing and how they were feeling from sunrise to zero hour on 1st July, as they waited to go over the top.

Drawing on the sound archives of the Imperial War Museums and the BBC, survivors of the First World War recall their experiences of the events of 1916. With Dan Snow.


The Battle of the Somme 100: Zero Hour (7am, Friday 1st July, BBC1)

From the BBC:

At 07.30 on 1 July 1916, whistles were blown up and down the British front line and thousands of men climbed from their trenches into no man’s land – it was the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

To mark this moment 100 years on, Huw Edwards in Thiepval, France, and Kirsty Young in Westminster Abbey, London, present this special live broadcast. The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire their guns on Parliament Square and two minutes’ silence are observed.


The Battle of the Somme 100: Thiepval (9:15am, Friday 1st July, BBC1)

From the BBC:

Huw Edwards introduces live coverage of the centenary Somme commemoration at the Thiepval Memorial, France, to remember the one million casualties sustained on both sides during the 141 days of the battle. One hundred years on from the first day of this defining World War One battle, TRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales will join heads of state and 10,000 spectators. The Thiepval Memorial stands in commemoration to the missing of the Somme, the 72,000 men that have no known grave.


The Battle of the Somme 100: Memorial Highlights (11:05pm, Friday 1st July, BBC2)

From the BBC:

Huw Edwards presents edited highlights of the day’s moving Somme Centenary commemorations, including the National Commemorative Service at Manchester Cathedral.


Related Links of Currently Available Material:

iWonder guide to the Somme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/ztngxsg

BBC Bitesize Class Clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/znnw6sg


Follow the hashtag #TVforTeachers or @EraResources for more lesson ideas.

You can also access curated clips through our new learning platform .To use the platform, you just need to email your request to era@era.org.uk and we will set-up a login so that you can access the site freely.