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Benedict Cumberbatch reads D-day bulletin on Radio 4

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Those that tuned into Radio 4 this morning would have been greeted by the sonorous timbre of Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Sherlock star, 37, marked today's 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy by reading out the original radio news script from that historic day on 6 June, 1944.

The bulletin was broadcast on the Today programme at 8am, the same time of day as the BBC's original transmission on the invasion 70 years ago.

The original broadcast provided British listeners with the first news that the long-anticipated Operation Overlord - the Allied offensive against Nazi-occupied mainland Europe - had begun, changing the course of the war and the landscape of 20th Century Europe forever.

Gwyneth Williams, Radio 4 controller, described it as "a day that carries, in memory, unimaginable burdens for a nation".

Troops reach the beaches of Normandy during D-day, 1944

Cumberbatch's broadcast is one of a number of news bulletins that have been re-recorded by the BBC and that will continue to be broadcast on Radio 4 until 9pm on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary.

The BBC broadcast its first "eye-witness report from above the battlefield of France" during its 1pm radio news on 6 June, 1944, in a transmission sent back by an air commodore William Helmore from a plane that had returned from its mission to bomb a railway bridge.

Crossing the English Channel, he reported that it was busier "up here than Piccadilly Circus" with the air "full of aircraft of all kinds going and coming."

"I've just seen a great flock of our invasion fleet," he added, of the view in the Channel below.

World leaders including President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, the Queen and Russian President Vladimir Putin are joining hundreds of veterans in Normandy today for a re-enactment of the landings and a memorial service to the 4,413 Allied troops who died on the day of the invasion.

Come listen to Cumberbatch's broadcast, below.

Photos: Rex Features

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