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UK's top chefs compete on BBC2 to cook at St Paul's D-Day anniversary banquet

The ninth series of BBC television's popular Great British Menu starts today, with chefs from across the UK competing to cook for D-Day veterans at a banquet in St Paul's Cathedral.

Beginning this evening (Monday 7 April) at 7.30pm on BBC2, the competition will run every weekday until the final grand banquet on Friday 6 June, exactly 70 years since allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day.

The challenge in this series is for 24 of the nation’s top chefs to produce 21st century dishes worthy of our war heroes - demonstrating culinary perfection and evoking the legendary British wartime spirit.

As usual, the judging panel will include Prue Leith, Matthew Fort and Oliver Peyton, joined throughout the series by special guest judges with unique perspectives on this period of British history, including Baroness Trumpington, Max Hastings and Martin Bell.

After all the heats are completed, four chefs will help create the perfect banquet for guests including some of those who fought on 6 June 1944 itself as well as others who served on both the front line and the home front.

Entering the Cathedral - which became a true bastion of Wartime resistance as its dome stood high above the burning city - the veterans and other guests, including The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul's, will dine in the Cathedral's crypt, in the shadow of the tombs and memorials to British war heroes including Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill.