BBC orders new World War 2 drama ‘World on Fire’ from makers of ‘Parade’s End’

A new “heart-stopping, multi-stranded drama” set during World War 2 has been commissioned for BBC One.

World on Fire is created by Peter Bowker, the multi-award winning writer of BBC One’s acclaimed autism drama The A Word.

Produced by Mammoth Screen, the makers of Poldark and Parade’s End, the series will tell the story of World War 2 through the lives of ordinary people from all sides of this global conflict.

The seven-part first season will focus on the first year of the war, starting with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ending with the Battle of Britain.

Executive producer Damien Timmer commented: “Our aim is to tell a properly epic, deeply characterful and intensely adrenalized story, shot through with Pete’s characteristic irreverence and humanity. A drama that pieces together the story of World War 2 from the inside, that traces the connections between allies and enemies, an epic story told on a human scale.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said: “Eighty years on from the start of World War 2, Pete Bowker deploys his unique talent for creating utterly relatable and vividly drawn characters to tell the story of one of the great tipping points in twentieth century history, drawing us gradually and deftly into the creeping horror of the outbreak of war.”

Writer Peter Bowker commented: “World on Fire tells the hidden human stories within the big historical events we think we know.

“From Harry, a young English translator in Warsaw caught up in negotiations with the Nazis and trying to smuggle his Polish lover Kasia out of the country, to Lois, the girl who is waiting for him at home, a young Mancunian factory worker who will come to take all the opportunities the war can offer to live a different kind of life.

“To Nancy, a female US war correspondent who can’t find peace unless her life is at risk, to the Rossler family in Berlin, worried for their soldier son and willing to do anything to protect their disabled daughter from the attentions of the ruling Nazi regime.

“These are the stories of the ordinary people who shaped our world. Stories of loyalty and brutality, courage and fear, hopes, stories of love and loss, hopes and dreams forged in extraordinary times.”

World on Fire will begin filming in the UK and across Europe next year.