PBS has acquired Helen Hunt-fronted British drama World on Fire. The public broadcaster will air the BBC series, which is produced by Victoria producer Mammoth Screen on its Masterpiece strand.
The announcement was made by Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton at the TCA summer press tour.
The drama is written by The A Word’s Peter Bowker; it is a multi-stranded drama that looks at World War II through the eyes of ordinary people from all sides of the conflict. The first seven-episode season will follow the first year of the war, starting with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ending with the Battle of Britain.
It stars Hunt as a “complicated” war correspondent as well as Sean Bean Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women) and Julia Brown (The Last Kingdom), Polish Academy Award-winner Zofia Wichłacz (Warsaw 44) and Brian J. Smith (Sense8) along with Parker Sawyers (The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Tomasz Kot (Cold War), Bruno Alexander (Eden), Johannes Zeiler (Faust) and Eugénie Derouand (Genius).
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World On Fire was developed by Mammoth’s Creative Director Rebecca Keane and executive produced by Bowker, Damien Timmer, and Helen Ziegler for Mammoth Screen, Lucy Richer for the BBC, and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. The Series Producer is Chris Clough. Adam Smith (Trespass Against Us) is directing episodes one and two, Thomas Napper (Jawbone) is directing episode three, Chanya Button (Burn Burn Burn) is directing episodes five and six, and Andy Wilson (Unforgotten) is directing episodes four and seven.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment handles global distribution for World on Fire.
Eaton said, “At the very heart of any war are the families affected by it. World on Fire follows the fates of five characters – from England, France, Germany, Poland, and America – as their stories weave in and out of each other’s. Love, death, heroism, and forgiveness bind them together as the world changes around them. Our colleagues at Mammoth Screen and the BBC are just the right people to tell this story.”
Damien Timmer, Mammoth Screen Managing Director, added, “We’re thrilled by the talent and breadth of the incredible cast and production team that have come together to tell this extraordinary story. A drama that pieces together World War II with Pete Bowker’s characteristic irreverence and humanity, tracing the connections between allies and enemies, and the huge battles we thought we knew. From the siege of Warsaw, to Dunkirk, the fall of Paris and the battle of Britain, here is an epic story told on a human scale, with a truly international cast.”