Press Centre

Production commences on World War II drama Home Fires

Published: Fri 05 Sep 2014

Acclaimed British actresses Francesca Annis and Samantha Bond will lead an impressive ensemble cast in new six-part drama Home Fires (previously Jambusters) for ITV.
 
The cast will also include, Ruth Gemmell (Utopia), Mark Bonnar (Line of Duty), Claire Rushbrook (Collision), Mark Bazeley (The Suspicions of Mr Whicher), Frances Grey (The Widower) and Ed Stoppard (Cilla).
 
ITV commissioned Home Fires earlier this year from producers ITV Studios.
 
The drama follows a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community with the shadow of World War II casting a dark cloud over their lives. The isolated village couldn’t feel further away from the impending bloodshed and battlefields and yet it is not immune from the effects of war. As the conflict takes hold, and separates the women from their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, the characters find themselves under increasing and extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.
 
By banding together as the Great Paxford Women’s Institute, they will help maintain the nation’s fabric in its darkest hour, and discover inner resources that will change their lives forever.
 
Created and written by Simon Block (Lewis, The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall, Attachments) with episodes co -written by Mark Burt (Coronation Street, The Dumping Ground), and Tina Pepler (Downton Abbey, Princes in the Tower), Home Fires will be produced by the ITV Studios department overseen by Francis Hopkinson (Wallander, Lucan, Chasing Shadows).  The drama has been developed by Catherine Oldfield (Collision, Fingersmith, Foyle’s War) who executive produces alongside Francis. Sue de Beauvoir (Shetland, Strike Back) will produce episodes 1-3 and Jeremy Gwilt (Foyle’s War, Undeniable) episodes 4 - 6.
 
Home Fires is inspired by the non-fiction book ‘Jambusters’ written by Julie Summers, who is delighted production is about to commence and that she has secured an Alfred Hitchcock style role in the drama. 
 
“I am thrilled to be appearing in a cameo role as a WI county organiser,” said Julie. “My grandmother, a life-long WI member, would undoubtedly approve of me wearing a hat.”
 
The series has been commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.
 
“We’re really delighted to have commissioned Home Fires,” said Steve November. “Great writing from Simon has given Julie Summers' wonderful book a fictional life.  The women are real and engaging and have fantastic spirit and attitude.  With World War II on the horizon, multiple strands of plot interweave to create a period drama full of jeopardy and intrigue, but also great humanity and modernity,” added Steve.  
 
Executive Producer Francis Hopkinson commented: "Thanks to Simon Block's brilliant script, inspired by Julie Summers's book, this series will take a fresh look at life on the Home Front, showing both the tragedies and the triumphs, and offering some wonderful roles for Britain's top actresses. We are delighted that ITV share our enthusiasm for the project."
 
The episodes 1-3 will be directed by Bruce Goodison (Our World War, My Murder, 10 Days to War) with Robert Quinn (Death in Paradise, Primeval) directing the final 3 episodes of the series. Filming will take place in Cheshire from September continuing until December.
 
The drama will also feature Rachel Hurd-Wood (Return of Sherlock Holmes), Leila Mimmack (Law & Order: UK), Claire Price (Doctors), Daniel Ryan (Mount Pleasant), Will Attenborough (Utopia), Clare Calbraith (Vera), Chris Coghill (The Driver), Brian Fletcher (The Passing Bells), Fenella Woolgar (Case Histories), Leanne Best (Lucan), Mike Noble (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time), Jacqueline Pilton (The Royal), Mark Umbers (Eternal Law), Jodie Hamblet (My Mad Fat Diary 2), Adam Long (Happy Valley), Paul Barnhill (Foyle’s War), Anthony Calf (Upstairs Downstairs), Nicola Sloane (Dancing on the Edge), Jim Whelan and Daisy Badger.