New BBC drama ‘World on Fire’ will tell the ‘hidden human stories’ of World War II

The BBC’s new WW2 drama will provide “special insight into one of the most pivotal and seismic moments in 20th Century history.”

From the makers of Parade’s End and PoldarkWorld on Fire is set during the first year of the Second World War.

The seven one-hour episodes will open with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and end with the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The cast of the epic new mini-series includes Oscar-winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets) and English actress Lesley Manville (MumRiver), alongside Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women), Julia Brown (The Last Kingdom) and Tomasz Kot (Cold 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.”

Bowker is best known as the creator of BBC One’s acclaimed autism drama The A Word.

BBC Drama controller Piers Wenger added: “Pete’s funny, humane and poignant writing gives us a perspective on those early days of the Second World War which we have never seen before.

“Spanning four nations, the canvas for the drama is vast, but the experience Pete gives us is boots on the ground granting us special insight into one of the most pivotal and seismic moments in Twentieth Century history.”

World on Fire began filming in Prague last month and will air in the UK on BBC One in 2019.