Friday, 26 June 2015

Home fires (2015-)

I have said it before and I will say it again, nobody makes better historical television series than the British. The combination of attention for period details, great actors and good stories is irresistible.

Home fires begins in November 1939 in the village of Great Paxton. WWII just began and people are unsure of what the future holds. The very British Women’s Institute is divided in what road to follow. 

Joyce Cameron wants to shut the doors of the WI for the duration of the war, and another group of women, with Frances Barden in the lead, wants to keep the WI open. This because the war will not just be a struggle for the men who go to fight, but also for the women who stay behind and keep the home fires burning.

In six episodes we follow a couple of these women and their families and what happens to them in these first months of the war. Women who have to go on  alone because their husbands joined up, or women who try to prevent their sons from joining the army.
The WI selling home made jam. 
New regulations for farms, war marriages, handing in metal, houses commanded for the army, a conscientious postman and the building of an air raid shelter are all situations that have to be dealt with. Insecurity and fear for the future also play a part, and nobody knows how long the war will last.
 
Waiting in the shelter for an air raid to end 
Home fires is a beautiful series, and all the different components of life in those days are brought to the screen very well. The attention to clothing and props is amazing.

Ruth Gemmell (Waking the dead, Silent Witness), Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) Clare Calbraith (Downton Abbey, Vera) and Fenella Woolgar (Cheerful weather for the wedding, Bright young things) are all excellent actresses and these are just a few names I mention, almost the entire cast are excellent actors and actresses.
Picking berries to make jam
The focus in Home fires is on the women, but the men and the parts they played are certainly not forgotten. The series is based on the book Jambusters by Julie Summers, about the role of the WI during WWII. 

I really recommend Home fires, it is a great series and I was very glad to hear a second series will be filmed this Summer. 

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