Period dramas seem to have been in an abundance on British TV over the last few months. However both Banished and Indian Summers, which I enjoyed immensely, have now come to an end and Poldark finishes this week. Thankfully it has already been confirmed by Channel 4 and the BBC that Indian Summers & Poldark have been commissioned for a second series to hit our screens next year. Yeah!
We’ve still got the very last episodes of Mad Men to enjoy before the summer months but now our beloved period dramas are becoming a bit thin on the ground. Never fear, though, there are a couple more brand new ones on their way for us all to sink our teeth into. Where Banished and Poldark featured heavily on the male characters, these two, Home Fires and Anzac Girls, both have a fantastic strong female cast leading the way.
Homes Fires – ITV
Home Fires, set during WWII, is a six-part drama coming soon to ITV. The series is based on a non-fiction book called Jambusters which was written by Julie Summers, the fabulous lady behind the companion book to the recent Imperial War Museum exhibition, Fashion on the Ration. You can read more about her in my post Fashion on the Ration Lecture where she gave an amazing talk on 1940s fashion. She even managed to get herself a cameo role in the show!
The series focuses on a group of women in rural Cheshire who take on the plight of the women left behind, as the war starts to creep into their idyllic community. For period drama fans there’s a number of actors you’ll recognise including Samantha Bond, Downton’s Lady Rosamund, Ruth Gemmell who played Lady Winnet in Dancing on the Edge and appeared in Poirot’s Mrs McGinty’s Dead, Mark Bonnar who was in The Paradise and Granchester and Claire Rushbrook who was in The Mill, Great Expectations and Enid, to name a few. However, the one I’m really excited about is Ed Stoppard who I adored as Sir Hallam Holland in the remake of Upstairs Downstairs and, more recently, as Brian Epstein in Cilla.
Home Fires starts Sunday 3rd May on ITV.
Anzac Girls – More 4
Anzac Girls, another six-part drama, came on to my radar about two months ago when I spotted a few scenes mixed into a Channel 4/More 4 trailer for their Spring/Summer season and I was instantly intrigued. From the clips it reminded me of The Crimson Field, a BBC produced series that aired during the centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War last year, which focused on a group of British army staff and nurses who tended to the soldiers in the trenches. I loved this show and was very sad to hear that it wasn’t going to be commissioned for a second series.
However, Anzac Girls, which is also set during the First World War, is based on a book of the same name by author Peter Rees and follows the stories of five girls enrolled into the Australian Army Nursing Service who are posted to Egypt, the Dardanelles and Lemnos. The name is in respect of the Australian national day known as Anzac Day, a day of remembrance for those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. On 25th April 2015 they will mark the centenary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZACs, during the First World War.
Because it is an Australian production most of the names are completely new to us but as you’d expect there is the odd Neighbours, Home and Away or Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries actor you may recognise. The one I’ve spotted, who I remember from the oh-so-sexy Spartacus, is Dustin Clare who played the seriously hot anti-hero Gannicus (yes, I enjoyed that series rather too much!).
Anzac Girls starts Friday 1st May on More 4