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Murdoch to discuss Gallipoli expose

Rupert Murdoch, one of the BBC's fiercest critics, is to discuss his father's role in exposing the disastrous Gallipoli campaign for the corporation's First World War centenary programming.

The media mogul has been interviewed for a BBC2 examination of Gallipoli in which his father Keith played a key role in telling the truth about the military campaign in Turkey which led to a commander of the operation being relieved of duty and troops being evacuated.

The documentary is among the first batch in a four-year programme of TV and radio shows to commemorate the conflict.

They will include dramas, documentaries and programmes which will look back in real-time at the day by day events as they unfolded 100 years ago as Britain and Europe descended into war.

The season begins with a four-part BBC1 series Britain's Great War, hosted by Jeremy Paxman which looks at how the nation was changed by the conflict.

Sir Max Hastings and Niall Ferguson are among those who will give different perspectives in BBC2 programmes, while historian David Olusoga will look at the role played by troops from around the Empire who fought alongside Europeans.

Dramas include The Ark - featuring Hermione Norris and Kerry Fox - revolving around the lives of frontline medics, and 37 Days with a cast including Ian McDiarmid and Tim Pigott-Smith which will tell the story of the sequence of events which led to the war.

Radio 2 will broadcast Real Time World War One, presented by Jeremy Vine, which will allow listeners to experience events and breaking news from the continent as they would have happened a century earlier, and Radio 4 will broadcast 1914 - Day By Day.

Radio 4 will also use its own archive recordings and those of the Imperial War Museum to broadcast the testimonies of those involved for Voices Of The Great War.

Other programmes include The Ballads Of The Great War in which 50 new songs have been commissioned from folk musicians about the conflict.

Director-g eneral Tony Hall said: "This season is going to have a profound impact on the way we think about World War One."

The four-year season will feature more than 130 specially commissioned programmes, making up around 2,500 hours of programming.

Adrian Van Klaveren, the controller for the BBC's World War One Centenary, said: "We are setting out to broaden people's understanding of the war and to commemorate and remember those who died. Through documentaries, drama, news coverage, children's programmes and arts and performance, we will tell well-known stories from fresh perspectives and original stories so far untold."

Keith Murdoch's story will feature in a documentary called Gallipoli. He had been an Australian newspaper correspondent who was shocked by the reality of what he witnessed when sent to cover the conflict, with huge casualty rates, illness and little impact made as troops tried to push forward.

His version of events went on to be published in British newspapers and was brought to the attention of the British prime minister Herbert Asquith and forces were evacuated.

In a clip of Rupert Murdoch's interview shown at a season launch in Broadcasting House he spoke about the inspiration his father had given him.

"I have always kept in mind very much that legacy of my father and the influence he had on me," said the executive chairman of News Corp.

"I have his picture prominent on the wall of my study at home."

The BBC plans include a "digital cenotaph", allowing people to upload material about family members on to the BBC World War One portal and connect with Imperial War Museum records.

There will also be a facility allowing people to type in their address and find out about the history of the war in their area.

Martin Davidson, head of commissioning for history and business at the BBC, said the facility would help people to build up a picture of family members who had fought in the war.

"We are embarking on a national call for memories, photos, diaries, which together will comprise a digital life of the First World War, these will sit alongside the Imperial War Museum's extraordinary plan to collate and make available eight million World War One service records, I understand for the first time," he said.

"Together they will provide an unprecedented facility to help answer that question, 'what did World War One mean to me and my family?'.

"We are planning to bring the First World War home literally - all you need to do is enter your location to unlock local First World War stories in the form of two-minute audio clips collated from the World War I at home project.

"This is going to collect nearly 1,500 stories from every corner of the UK.

"You are never going to be further than a click away from how the First World War left its mark on where you live."

The BBC will also screen My Great War, a version of the classic 1964 television series The Great War, which was originally voiced by Michael Redgrave.

Launching the schedule of programmes, BBC director general Tony Hall said: "I see 2014 as a chance for us all to learn something new about the war we maybe think we know very well, or to engage people who have not thought about World War One, to inspire a new generation to understand what happened and the stories of what happened.

"Every one of us lives in a world which is profoundly shaped by these events. There is not a family untouched by the Great War, it changed the face of our communities, our country and our world for ever."


From Belfast Telegraph