It was not quite a year ago, May 2016 to be exact, that audiences in both the U.K. and the U.S. were awakened with the dreadful news that the brilliant World War II drama series, Home Fires, would not be commissioned for a third series by ITV commissioners. The World War II drama, which centered on a group of inspirational women at the heart of a rural Cheshire community living in the dark shadow of wartime England, who brought the village together during difficult times, was (and is) stellar drama.
So stellar that, in a Radio Times poll, it was voted the #1 cancelled British TV show that viewers think most deserving of a revival. Over 16,000 readers, which amounted to over 1/3 of all votes, felt the female-led WW2 drama inspired by Julie Summers’ wonderful non-fiction book, “Jambusters”, was a story that deserved to continue.
Following the cancellation, a change.org petition was created to encourage anyone and everyone to reconsider the decision and ‘save Home Fires‘. While the petition fell just short of its goal of 50K signatures, victory is at hand…sort of. It was announced yesterday that the story of the Great Paxford Women’s Institute will live on in book form! Understandably, the creator/writer of the ITV series, Simon Block, was truly gutted and confused by the news of the Home Fires cancellation after series 2 as we all were. Finally, after almost a year, armed with the idea that the series could live on in book form, London-based publisher, Bonnier Zaffre, entered the picture and the rest, as they say, is history.
Home Fires will soon return in novel form as Block continues the story that needed to be told. As reported Tuesday on the petition site, there will be 3 books in the series with each book being released in 4 parts, first in ebook format and then the complete paperback. Full details of the migration from telly to book can be found at www.savehomefires.com/books.
The first of the three novels, “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, is set to pick up from the jaw-dropping finale of the second series, which American audiences will soon experience on Sunday, May 7 when series 2 concludes on PBS. If you’re interested in pre-ordering an ebook copy of the first installment, here is the direct link: http://bit.ly/HomeFiresReturns.
Without question, the Second World War separated countless women from their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, with those left behind finding themselves under increasing and extraordinary pressures in a world turned upside down. In Home Fires, the women of Cheshire form the Great Paxford Women’s Institute, whose sole purpose is to help maintain the nation’s fabric in its darkest hour. While the members of the isolated village couldn’t feel further away from the impending bloodshed and battlefields, they soon find out as we all did at the end of the first series that they are not immune from the effects of war.
Series two of Home Fires, which transmits this Sunday on PBS, begins in the summer of 1940 where the village of Great Paxford is caught up in the nightmare of the Battle of Britain. Two weeks after the defeat at Dunkirk, the German army is advancing through France and Britain is bracing itself for invasion. New characters and friendships continue to emerge as exhausted and battle-hardened Czech soldiers arrive to set up camp just outside the village.
Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey, Outnumbered) and Francesca Annis (The Little House, Cranford) return this Sunday on PBS for the premiere of series 2 along with the impressive ensemble cast including Ruth Gemmell (Penny Dreadful), Claire Rushbrook (Whitechapel), Ed Stoppard (Cilla), Chris Coghill (EastEnders), Clare Calbraith (Vera), Fenella Woolgar (Spies of Warsaw), Mike Noble (Mr Selfridge), and Daniel Ryan (Mount Pleasant).
Series 2 of Home Fires premieres on PBS Masterpiece beginning Sunday, April 2 at 9pET / 8pCT.