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BBC to re-live start of First World War with four-and-a-half hour news report on assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

By Press Gazette

The BBC is report on the the events which sparked the First World Waras they would be covered by correspondents today to mark the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Familiar faces from the corporation's news team such as Frank Gardner, Bridget Kendall and Nicholas Witchell will be among those involved in 1914 Live, which will feature news reports as well as a live blog.

The online coverage will take place for more than four and a half hours on 28 June – 100 years to the day since the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo – and will also include expert analysis of the unfolding situation.

It aims to update the story for a modern day audience so they can get a better insight.

The BBC's special correspondent Allan Little will be on-the-ground with video reports from Sarajevo while Witchell, Kendall and Gardner be reporting from London providing coverage of the royal, diplomatic and security implications of the shooting.

Correspondents in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and St Petersburg will also give reports and reaction throughout the coverage, which takes place from 9.30am.

Princess Anita von Hohenburg, the great granddaughter of Franz Ferdinand, said: "I wish the BBC every success for this exciting project. The events in the Balkans are often forgotten and this is an opportunity for young people especially to find out what really happened to my great grandparents in Sarajevo that day."

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The live blog – at bbc.co.uk/ww1 – will also be available in a number of other languages through the BBC World Service.

Adrian Van Klaveren, the BBC's controller for the centenary, said: "Digital is at the heart of our WW1 season and this project links different parts of the BBC so we can use our expertise in news reporting and digital innovation to tell the story of the war in a fresh way.

"The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is a key moment in history, which we are retelling for the 21st century – with audiences able to relive the breaking news of 100 years ago as if it was happening today."

History Professor Margaret MacMillan, who is involved with the project, said: "The world of a hundred years ago may seem remote to us – those faded photographs of people in funny clothes – but BBC's 1914 Live will use modern communications to bring it alive.

"The assassination came as many Europeans, just like us today, were starting their summer holidays. They greeted the news with shock or indifference but had little inkling that their world was about to be turned upside down."

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