BBC issues apology after 'inappropriate comment' broadcast during D-Day programme

Kirsty Young was hosting the live D-Day programme
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

The BBC has issued an apology after an offensive remark was heard during a special D-Day broadcast.

Kirsty Young was at the helm of the commemorative programme, BBC D-Day 80: Tribute to the Fallen, which marked the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. As the show commenced, Young introduced a military band for the audience and mentioned support available for visually impaired viewers.

The coverage from the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Bayeaux, France continued as the cameras switched to a military band performance. It was then that off-camera, a man's voice was heard uttering the words: "French a*******s."

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The blunder led to backlash on social media, prompting a response from the broadcaster. The BBC told the Mirror: "We sincerely apologise for an inappropriate comment that was captured during live coverage of the D-Day at 80 events in Bayeux. The programme is being edited and is temporarily unavailable on BBC iPlayer."

At the moment the offensive remark was made, Young was accompanied by Anthea Goldsmith, daughter of D-Day veteran Theodore Iondies, and historian James Holland, who appeared taken aback by the interruption. The footage, shared widely on social media by television critic Scott Bryan, received critical reactions.

Bryan commented: "Not sure what exactly happened here during the BBC's D-Day coverage. Yep. You heard that right." Another user remarked: "I thought I misheard that." Meanwhile, a third individual said: "Someone's getting fired @BBCNews, didn't cut the cameras fast enough on the D-Day 80th to save the guy who said 'a*******s' on camera."

Another added their voice to the criticism, saying, "This sounds pretty clear to me. Whoever swore should be ashamed of themselves. The BBC should know better than this. It has spoiled a respectful and reflective event." A fifth person chimed in with: "Did anyone hear anything slightly unexpected when the camera wobbled on the BBC's D-Day 80 tribute just now? Have listened to it back and it sounds pretty clear to me.."

The BBC broadcast a special series of programmes to mark the day, featuring King Charles and Queen Camilla, as well as Prince William, attending various commemorative events. Their Majesties and the Prince of Wales were present at an event at Southsea Common in Portsmouth, where they joined veterans who participated in the historic day.

D-Day was a pivotal moment in World War II. On June 6, 1944, a massive force comprising 156,000 men, over 7,000 ships and landing crafts, and around 10,000 vehicles landed in France.

This marked the beginning of the operation to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe, but it came at a high cost, with approximately 10,000 German and Allied soldiers losing their lives. At the Portsmouth event, the Prince of Wales expressed that he was "deeply honoured" to stand with the veterans who served on that significant day.

The heir to the throne said: "We will always remember those who served and those who waved them off. The mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who watched their loved ones go into battle, unsure if they would ever return. Today, we remember the bravery of those who crossed this sea to liberate Europe, those who ensured that Operation Overlord was a success and those who waited for their safe return."