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BBC VR Hub marks D-Day anniversary with new version of World War II film

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To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the BBC has launched its critically acclaimed virtual reality film 1943 Berlin Blitz in 360° for the first time.

1943 Berlin Blitz is now available on the BBC VR app for the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, as well as on YouTube where people can watch it with entry-level VR devices such as Google Cardboard. The new version joins the existing one for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Created by BBC Northern Ireland and Immersive VR Education, in partnership with BBC VR Hub, 1943 Berlin Blitz is a powerful film, in which viewers join the RAF on a bombing run during the Berlin Blitz.

Placed in the footsteps of BBC war reporter Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and sound recordist Reg Pidsley, who genuinely went on this mission in 1943 and captured it for radio, viewers will experience sitting in the belly of Lancaster bomber ‘F for Freddie’ as VR transports them high over Berlin in the midst of anti-aircraft fire.

Wynford’s commentary was one of the most ambitious and dangerous reports to be made during World War Two, and viewers can step into his shoes to experience war reporting as never before.

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, says: “1943 Berlin Blitz is one of our most powerful and profound experiences, and on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings offers the extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in a genuine mission at the height of the Second World War.

“Nothing can compare to being there of course, but this gives you the chance to gain something approaching an understanding of just what our forces went through at the time. That’s why we wanted to celebrate the D-Day anniversary by bringing the film to as many people as possible – by launching it as a 360 film on the BBC VR app and YouTube, and by taking it out on our hugely successful tour of local libraries.”

The film joins a roster of VR experiences being shown as part of the BBC VR Hub’s tour of local libraries, which also includes the newly released Doctor Who: The Runaway and VR documentary series Congo VR. Originally due to visit 40 libraries, following a hugely successful first month more than 60 additional libraries have joined in across England Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The tour lets people who’ve never tried VR before immerse themselves in some of the BBC’s best virtual reality experiences at their local libraries. For more information on the tour’s schedule, head to bbc.co.uk/vrtour.

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