Chelsea Pensioners try out WWI VR prom experience ahead of Armistice Day

BBC Proms makes its moving seven-minute film available to download for free to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Chelsea Pensioners have tried out a virtual reality prom experience that takes viewers back to the trenches of World War One.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the BBC has made its seven-minute Nothing To Be Written VR film available to download for free on the Oculus Store for the Oculus Go headset.

The BBC Proms experience, which premiered in the summer, was taken to the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Wednesday morning for a group of Chelsea Pensioners to see ahead of the public release.

Chelsea Pensioners wearing VR headsets
Chelsea Pensioners try out WWI VR experience (Kimberly Nicholls/BBC/PA)

Nothing To Be Written is set to the second movement of Anna Meredith’s Five Telegrams, guiding viewers through the anxiety of waiting on news from loved ones through field postcards.

“To me it mirrors the music I wrote by allowing you to experience the texture both at a distance or really zooming into the detail of the Field Postcards and the stories they tell beyond the prescribed text,” the composer said.

Nothing to be Written was named Best British VR at this year’s Raindance Film Festival (PA/Kimberly Nicholls/BBC)

The experience will also be available for people to see this weekend at the Barbican in London and St David’s Hall in Cardiff, as well as a number of libraries including Salisbury Library and Galleries, Taunton Library, Plympton Library, Skipton Library, Oldham Library, Oxfordshire County Library and Chorley Library.

“Anna’s beautiful, haunting music accompanies the viewers as they gain a greater understanding of the stark realities of life on the front line a century ago, and the painful pragmatism of the field postcard forcing interactions with loved ones into an expedient but heart-breaking tick box exercise,” Zillah Watson, BBC VR Hub commissioning editor, said.

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