Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Benedict Cumberbatch reads D-day bulletin on Radio 4


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



Hidden Europe: the best secret travel locations in Britain, Spain, Italy and more


How to overcome failure: top tips, quotes and motivational advice


A tale of two Cleopatras: we chart the uncannily similar lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie


Best spas in the UK: revel in Britain's most luxurious spa retreats


Father's Day Gift Guide


This summer's best beach books and holiday reads



The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Blake Lively's birthday tribute to Ciara's big news

by Nicola Colyer
26 Oct 2016

Life advice from Helen Mirren, “the nastiest of nasty women”

Ignore those who judge by appearances, don’t rush into marriage, and only drink on days ending in 'Y'.

by Moya Crockett
26 Oct 2016

Miss Iceland quits beauty pageant after being ‘told she's too fat’

“I am a very strong woman, but sometimes my strength isn't enough”

by Anna Pollitt
25 Oct 2016

Woman responds in the best way possible to the receipt of a d*ck pic

“Dear Sir, Thank you for the unexpected and unsolicited submission of your penis portrait for our consideration”

by Harriet Hall
25 Oct 2016

Lady Gaga and James Corden are a perfect odd couple in Carpool Karaoke

Far from a Bad Romance.

by Moya Crockett
25 Oct 2016

Serial’s Adnan Syed could be freed on bail while awaiting new trial

He has served over 17 years in prison

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

Pamela Anderson calls for a “sensual revolution” to eradicate bad sex

The model and actress wants us to stop watching hardcore pornography.

by Moya Crockett
25 Oct 2016

Sarah Jessica Parker slams sexist Kim Cattrall feuding rumours

“We needed each other”

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

“Frantic, distressed” Taylor Swift describes alleged groping incident

The singer says a DJ assaulted her backstage at one of her concerts.

by Moya Crockett
24 Oct 2016

A cast member has confirmed this Gilmore Girls fan theory

Had you noticed?

by Amy Swales
24 Oct 2016