Joanna Lumley and Tom Jones to connect with veterans in BBC's VE Day coverage

VE Day 75: The People's Celebration will feature 101-year-old ex-serviceman Charles Ward

Sir Tom Jones and Joanna Lumley will reminisce with, and pay tribute to, ex-servicemen and women during the BBC’s coverage of VE Day.

Sir David Jason and David Dimbleby will also feature in VE Day 75: The People’s Celebration – which will air on BBC One from 8pm on Friday.

They will speak with veterans at home and residents of two Royal British Legion care homes, Mais House in Hastings and Galanos House in Leamington Spa, via videolink.

BFI and Radio Times Television Festival
Joanna Lumley (Ian West/PA)

Among those will be 101-year-old Charles Ward, who was in the London Irish Rifles during the Second World War, then worked as a cypher operator in the Special Operations Executive after he was medically downgraded.

Charles met his wife Margaret abroad during the war and they were together in Italy on VE Day. She died in February this year.

Also appearing in the video call will be Jean Hull, 78, who has childhood memories of the street parties of VE Day.

She became a nurse in the Royal Navy after training in Plymouth, then served in Gibraltar and Mauritius, but was discharged after a car crash.

The evening will see the Second World War generation honoured through music, and comes as part of the BBC’s wider celebrations, which will also include a singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again.

Dame Vera Lynn interview
The BBC will host a singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again (Decca Records/PA)

Claire Popplewell, senior creative director at BBC Studios Events, said: “Although the current Covid-19 crisis has meant that we can no longer celebrate our greatest generation in the way that we had planned, the BBC Studios Events team have used ingenuity and determination, along with the latest technology, to deliver an uplifting and celebratory event like never before.

“Despite social distancing restrictions, we want to let our golden generation know that we have not forgotten the peace that they won for us, that we are thinking of them, and that they are not alone. As well as cheering up the rest of the nation along the way.”

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