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Drama details countdown to WW1

Sinead Cusack, Ian McDiarmid and Bill Paterson are set to star in a new drama centred around the outbreak of the First World War.

The BBC Two show, which has a working title of 37 days, follows events from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 to the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on August 4.

The channel said it will also screen a three-part spoof music documentary starring the Fast Show's Simon Day.

Simon will play award-winning art rocker Brian Pern in Rock Ratatouille which will feature cameos from real-life rock stars.

It is written by Simon and Rhys Thomas, who won a Rose d'Or for his critically acclaimed 2012 documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender.

The BBC is also sending a team of scientists up in the world's largest airship to fly coast to coast over the United States to conduct a month-long experiment.

The BBC2 show, which has a working title Cloud Lab, will see the scientists go aboard the Skyship 600 to study everything from insect life to extreme weather systems and the creation of clouds,

It will be accompanied by a series of films on BBC4 including An Ocean Of Air, which sets out to show who really deserves the title of "the true discoverer of oxygen".

Chemist Gabrielle Walker will trace the lives of three leading contenders before choosing who she thinks deserves the accolade.

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