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Author Topic: World on Fire reviews  (Read 541 times)

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World on Fire reviews
« on: September 27, 2019, 06:11:35 AM »
TV blog: World on Fire
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TV reviewer Benjie Goodhart looks at a new BBC One drama set during the outbreak of WWII.

World on Fire 1/7, Sunday 29th September, 9pm, BBC One

 Nobody could say this new seven-part drama on BBC One lacks ambition. It tells the story of the first year of World War II, from the outbreak of hostilities in Poland to the Battle of Britain. There are plot strands occurring simultaneously in London, Manchester, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris and Danzig, a massive cast speaking a plethora of languages, and enough different storylines to bamboozle a plate-spinner. And this, apparently, is just series one. The idea, eventually, is to do the entire war. Honestly, the logistics of writing and producing something of this scale must make the planning if D-Day look like a low-key church fete.

The action opens in March 1939, in Manchester. An attractive young couple, Harry (Jonah Hauer-King) and Lois (Julia Brown) are attending an event. Oh. It’s a meeting of Oswald Moseley’s Blackshirts. You’d not get me joining a group like that. Black is just soo drab. Plus, I’m not nuts about the whole fascist thing. Nor, come to that, are Harry and Lois, judging by their attempts to disrupt the meeting. Ouch. They’ll be even less keen after receiving a more than forceful request to leave.

The pair are subsequently arrested. Pacifist bus driver Douglas (Sean Bean) comes to the police station to plead for his daughter’s release. Harry’s rather formidable and snobbish mother Robina (!) (Lesley Manville) does the same, although when you’re that posh and that scary, you don’t have to plead with anyone. If we’d sent Robina to Berlin she’d have secured the Nazi surrender in September 1939.

Anyway, Robina doesn’t approve of ‘factory girl’ Lois, and reminds Harry that he is shortly to be posted abroad, to work as a translator. Not that that will make any difference – I know true love when I see it. Nothing could break these two apart. Five months later, Harry is working in Poland. Hmmm. Autumn 1939… Poland… something rings a bell about that. Anyway, Harry is in love with a Polish girl, Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz). Oh Harry! You do make it difficult for men not to come across as total twonks.

Meanwhile, an American journalist, Nancy Campbell (Helen Hunt, no less), is out searching for a story in Poland. She finds one: To all intents and purposes, she’s discovered the start of World War II, with the Germans invading Poland. As scoops go, it’s no ‘Love Island pair split’, but it’s not bad!

In case you’re worried I’m giving away too much information, rest assured, all of this action takes place in the first few minutes of the episode. And apologies for giving away the German invasion of Poland – although if you were unaware of this particular plot point from 1939, there is probably very little hope for you.

The very fact that all of this happens in the opening minutes of the episode gives you an indication of the cracking tempo of the plot. And we’ve not even mentioned Kasia’s brave and patriotic family, or Nancy’s beloved Paris-dwelling nephew, or Lois’ ne’er-do-well brother.

The one false note in the whole thing comes when Lois and her dad and brother are listening to the wireless, to what is almost certainly the most famous bit of radio in British broadcasting history. You know the one – you’ve heard it in virtually every wartime drama ever committed to celluloid, with Chamberlain grimly intoning: “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.” In the midst of the most important broadcast ever made, the family are chatting the whole way through. I can’t stand it when people talk through an ad break, let alone during the start of a cataclysmic global conflict.
https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/entertainment/tv/reviews/2019/world-on-fire

World On Fire: Ordinary lives in an extraordinary time fuel this view of a People’s War
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Putting aside the theory that Brexit was caused by endless repeats of Dad’s Army, Peter Bowker’s World On Fire has work to do in order to distinguish it from the countless dramas about the Second World War we have endured over the years.

It will surely have had to satisfy an army of commissioning editors by demonstrating that it comes loaded with that terrible thing, relevance, while also offering something for the writer, Bowker, who is no hack.


The action starts in Manchester, in 1939, at an Oswald Mosley rally which is disrupted by protesters singing: “Bye bye Blackshirts.” Mosley has just finished his starring run in Peaky Blinders: an odd coincidence.

It’s almost as if his brand of authoritarian populism is being used to say something about now. Relevance. But what’s different about World On Fire is a function of what’s happening to television. It is about the war, but from the viewpoint of the people.
 
Not just British people. The opening episode explores the way the Poles were left to suffer under the Nazis. There are subtitles. There is an American star: Helen Hunt, as the journalist Nancy Campbell, whose reports on the massing of German tanks on the Polish border are largely ignored. (Campbell is partly based on Claire Hollingworth, the reporter who got the “scoop of the century”). The cast is reliably diverse

It’s unwise to judge on one episode, but World On Fire wears its ambition confidently. It looks expensive and beautiful, with its overcoats and hats and steam trains. The characters, so far, are thinly drawn, but perhaps they will acquire nuance as the war progresses.

Sean Bean’s Douglas Bennett is the show’s conscience. A veteran of the First World War, he sells Peace News and suffers from shellshock: “me nerves” he calls it. Possibly that’s why he delivers his lines as if projecting to an adjoining continent.
Manville’s Robina Chase is a posh snob, awaiting comeuppance. Bennett’s daughter Lois (Julia Brown) is a peacenik.
Chase’s son Harry (Jonah Hauer-King) is a translator, sent to Poland, where he acquires romantic complications. Bowker has said that he wants to explode the myth that Britain “stood alone” in the war. “Just make sure you do what’s right,” the American Nancy Campbell tells Harry. “Not what’s British.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/stayingin/tvfilm/world-on-fire-bbc-one-a4248391.html


« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 06:38:28 AM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 01:59:07 AM »
 BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp, The Last Tree, The Dutch House, Mark Leckey, World on Fire

World on Fire starting at 32.50 min.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008xbb

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 12:38:51 AM »
World On Fire review: Not especially clever, but big and exciting
The BBC’s new Sunday night extravaganza is an expensive Second World War drama with a tremendous number of bells and not a few whistles
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In case you didn’t know summer was over, the BBC has a new Sunday night extravaganza to fill the Poldark hole. World on Fire is an ambitious, expensive Second World War drama with a tremendous number of bells and not a few whistles. Its creator is Peter Bowker, who most recently gave us Occupied, the Bafta-winning drama about Iraq.

World on Fire’s stated aim is to tell the stories of “ordinary people”. Isn’t the point of world wars that most of the people involved are ordinary people? Anyway. There are bombed-out streets, firefights, heartless Nazis, smoky jazz clubs, tank columns and abundant strapping young men in uniform. If these ingredients have not put you off already, you are unlikely to be disappointed.

There’s one strapping middle-aged man in uniform, too, in the form of Sean Bean as Douglas Bennett. The difference is that he relinquishes his usual martial clobber for a bus conductor’s blues. Even more shockingly, he has become a pacifist, traumatised by what he saw the first time around and worried by what he’s reading in the Manchester Guardian.

 He has reason to be concerned. His daughter Lois (Julia Brown) has a boyfriend, Harry (Jonah Hauer-King), working in Warsaw as a translator. She hasn’t heard from him in a while, mainly because he has taken up with winsome waitress Kasia (Zofia Wiclacz). An American journalist called Nancy (Helen Hunt, on strident form) advises Harry to help his beau and her family flee the coming invasion. “Make sure you do what’s right, not what’s British,” she urges, an admonishment I must remember next time I’m served something cold in a restaurant.

Perhaps inevitably, the effort to cover so many bases comes at the expense of characterisation. From the doomed soldiers defending Danzig to the smouldering gay, black saxophonist in Paris, via the snobbish old English mother with sympathies for Mr Mosley, we hardly get to know anyone before we are whisked off to the next location.

It’s not especially clever, but it is big, exciting, and packed with watchable actors. What’s more, in a TV world where too often we are encouraged to see the Nazis as warm and cuddly real people with emotions, it’s refreshing that they are here relegated back to pure baddies, strafing cafes, shooting surrendering fathers and generally being Nazi-ish about things. When the world’s on fire, it’s nice to take refuge in the old certainties.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/world-on-fire-review-bbc-world-war-two-sean-bean-helen-hunt-a9122976.html



World on Fire, BBC One review - more melodrama than drama
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For his new drama series for BBC One, writer Peter Bowker (The A Word, Monroe etc) has taken as his canvas no less than a panorama of Europe in 1939, just as World War Two is breaking out. His principal characters include Harry Chase, a young man from a wealthy family who’s in love with Manchester factory girl Lois Bennett, the Polish Tomaszeski family whose lives are upended by Germany’s invasion of their country, and Berlin-based American journalist Nancy Campbell, who’s trying to interpret the European turmoil for her listeners on American Radio International.

Developing all these different strands across a mere seven episodes looks like a tall order (novelists like Dumas and Tolstoy could handle challenges on this scale, but they’d allot themselves 1200 pages to do it). This opening episode included plenty of action and rapid changes of scenery, but the characterisations have a cardboard cutout quality about them, as if it’s faster and easier to give viewers a familiar stereotype than try to build complex individuals from scratch.


Thus, we have Sean Bean (pictured right) playing Lois’s father Douglas – a Manchester bus conductor – as an almost Pythonesque caricature of working class stoicism, wearily trying to cope with his criminally-inclined son Tom (Ewan Mitchell) while doting on his daughter Lois (Julia Brown). “You’re just like yer mam y’know… the way you are, the fight in you,” he tells her rheumily. Bowker’s message is that war is hell and the less well-off suffer most, and Douglas knows this, since he suffers debilitating flashbacks to his experiences on the Western Front in the Great War. “Shellshock,” says Lois. “It’s nowt to be ashamed of.” Douglas is now a pacifist who sells Peace News outside the local factory gates, and the looming spectre of another war is filling him with dread.

We don’t yet know how Lois came to be having a romantic liaison with Harry (Jonah Hauer-King), but the episode opened with them heckling Oswald Mosley at a Blackshirt rally and being thrown into the street for their pains (in his search for “relevance”, another of Bowker’s not-very-subtle messages is that fascism is on the march again). To bang home the yawning class gulf between them, Harry’s widowed mother Robina is played by Lesley Manville as a repressed, buttoned-up ice-maiden, contemptuous of the lower orders and an enthusiastic Mosley supporter (“it’s a rare man indeed who can look that handsome in a polo neck,” she smirks). Robina is determined that the bus conductor’s daughter will not be leading her son and heir astray. “You’re a bloody snob!” Lois tells her. “I’m an elitist, certainly,” declares Robina haughtily.

The Polish connection arose when Harry was sent to work in the British Embassy in Warsaw as a translator. Here, he soon became enamoured of waitress Kasia, but with the Germans sending their panzers into Danzig and the Luftwaffe blackening the skies over Warsaw, it was time to get the hell out. Harry likes Kasia so much that he has already married her, but this was only because Nancy the broadcaster (played by a gaunt-looking Helen Hunt, pictured above) told him that was the only way he could get Kasia out of Poland. Meanwhile, Nancy’s worried about her nephew Webster, who’s a doctor in Paris, but he’s more preoccupied by a handsome jazz saxophonist than with any prospect of German tanks on the Champs-Elysées.

At least World on Fire goes by so fast that it’s difficult to get bored, but it’s more melodrama than drama. More depth and less breadth might have been advisable
https://www.theartsdesk.com/tv/world-fire-bbc-one-review-more-melodrama-drama


World on Fire episode 1, review: Europe in flames in BBC1’s striking new drama
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2019/09/29/world-fire-episode-1-review-europe-flames-bbc1s-striking-new/


World on Fire, review: a striking, witty wartime drama that feels startlingly new
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New BBC World War II drama World on Fire is just what we need as Autumn ambles in and makes huddling on the sofa appealing once again.

Written by Peter Bowker, responsible for the immensely heartfelt but also irreverent dramas The A Word and Marvellous, World On Fire showed the impending war and threat of the Nazi regime as experienced by various ordinary people in Britain, Poland, France and Germany.

Award-winning women were out in full force: Helen Hunt played Nancy, a defiant American war correspondent in Berlin reporting on Hitler’s advances, and Lesley Manville was an outrageously snobby but damaged mother of a young translator named Harry (Jonah Hauer-King) who got caught up in negotiations with the Nazis in Warsaw.
 
While this was an ideal, cosy Sunday night watch with beautiful costumes and a soundtrack of 1930s jazz standards, it was no paint-by-numbers, predictable re-telling of history. The writing was witty, the characters spoke like real people, and the tear-jerking moments weren’t where you expected.

It was also striking that the characters were from all walks of life; the Mancunian conscientious objector worried about his daughter’s heartbreak, the gay American doctor pursuing romance with a black jazz musician in Paris, the jazz singer and factory worker waiting for her boyfriend to come home

World on Fire showed beautifully that the threat of war didn’t stop people eating their breakfast, squabbling with their parents, fancying the boy down the road.
While war upended these characters’ lives, it was also an irritation that got in the way of what they cared about. Bowker’s love of surprising details and unlikely heroes made this oft-depicted period of history seem startlingly new.
https://inews.co.uk/culture/television/world-on-fire-review-bbc1-episode-1-cast-peter-bowker-lesley-manville-sean-bean-638357




World on Fire review – ordinary lives caught up in extraordinary times
Peter Bowker’s second world war drama is a beautifully turned ensemble piece starring Lesley Manville and Sean Bean ... and far from standard wartime fare

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The subject is war and the pity of it, and it is rendered freshly and exquisitely painful in the new seven-part drama series World on Fire (BBC One). Created by Peter Bowker (The A Word, Capital, Eric and Ernie), it tracks the declaration and first year of the second world war via the intertwining stories of ordinary families trying to go about their ordinary lives in Britain and various European cities that are soon to become flashpoints.

In Manchester, bright, young, middle-class Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King) and his bright, young, working-class girlfriend Lois Bennett (Julia Brown) protest at Blackshirt rallies until he must head to Warsaw as a translator for the British embassy. She will be kept busy with her factory work and with running the motherless Bennett household. This includes her wayward brother Tom (Ewan Mitchell) and – bringing home how precipitous the journey was from the great war to another, worse one – her father Douglas (Sean Bean, in stoic, not swashbuckling, mode) who is still suffering from the shellshock he acquired in the trenches. He is a pacifist now.

Harry promises to write but soon finds himself immersed in his new life and with a Polish sweetheart, Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz), instead.
 
Helen Hunt plays US journalist Nancy Campbell, who is dedicated at increasing personal risk to broadcasting the truth about Nazi plans for invasion. She is also trying – so far in vain – to persuade her nephew Webster (Brian J Smith) to leave Paris, where he works as a doctor and is falling in love with a man who has been attacked – for his race or his homosexuality, we don’t know – by the Action Française

The Germans move on Poland and Kasia’s father heads off to defend Danzig. Her older brother, who insisted, as older brothers will, on fighting alongside him, is captured but escapes. Harry is urged by Nancy to do the right thing: marry Kasia, bring her to England and hope they will be able to bring the rest of the family later to keep them safe. “The game just got bigger,” she says. “Did you?” Lois is still awaiting a letter, but Harry cannot bring himself to write, any more than he can bring himself to tell his mother the news over the phone. Mrs Chase (Lesley Manville, whose recent surge in popularity among casting directors remains a long-overdue delight) is a ruthless snob who has advised Lois to curb her “masculine spirit” and set her sights more realistically on a bank clerk or thereabouts. She also has what she calls “a soft spot for Mr Mosley”, but Harry hopes things will turn out all right in the end. Harry is very young.

There is plenty of action, for those who want it, but this is far from the standard wartime miniseries. It is a beautifully turned ensemble piece, with everyone getting their time in the spotlight as we move between locations without anybody’s characters or storylines feeling underbaked: from dolorous Manchester, where Douglas looks with disbelief at the increasingly awful headlines charting the inexorable descent into war, to convulsing Poland and France, maintaining its facade for a last few precious days.

It manages to maintain a great intimacy with them all, while building outwards to give a sense of the global scale of events. Harry’s idealism is both credible and emblematic. The decisions, such as him and Kasia agreeing to marry, feel like those of people with their own personal motivations rather than a great sense of destiny unfolding. Tiny scenes compress much. When Kasia’s little brother Jan wants to go to school as the Germans invade and is told “not today”, it contains almost everything. The sense of impending cataclysm permeates every level of life. More and more rules and niceties are laid aside until suddenly there is nothing left to do but flee.

The protagonists’ vulnerabilities are all the more poignant for never being laboured. The emphasis is on all the characters’ very ordinariness, which in turn makes the parallels with modern times all the more powerful, frightening – and, particularly in the closing scenes of the first episode – heartbreaking. There is nothing that sets them apart from us except for circumstances beyond their control. Which means that we are, in fact, exactly the same. Although perhaps with more of a sense, however unwillingly, that we are living in history, and with less clarity about who our enemies are, and where they might invade next
.
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/sep/29/world-on-fire-review-ordinary-lives-caught-up-in-extraordinary-times


World on Fire review — the kindling is lit and the drama’s hotting up
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War dramas are often called out for historical inaccuracy, but World on Fire possibly set a record by being accused of a “blooper” 40 seconds in. Depicting a fascist rally in Manchester in 1939, the opening scene had the leaders dressed in Blackshirt uniform. But, historians told the Daily Mail, it had been banned under the 1936 Public Order Act, so — haha, gotcha. Fair enough, but it is rather joyless to watch drama with pedant’s pencil in hand, tick-ticking away. The point, I imagine, was to establish instantly that this was a fascist rally in Britain, which is easier with the shorthand of clothing. However, while we’re in pedantry corner I’ll say that I doubt two people singing “Bye bye…
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/world-on-fire-review-the-kindling-is-lit-and-the-dramas-hotting-up-zvhh6n30w



TV Review / Review: "World on Fire": Convinced the new TVNOW series?
https://www.wunschliste.de/tvkritik/world-on-fire-ueberzeugt-die-neue-tvnow-serie

« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 05:37:34 AM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 01:39:59 AM »
World On Fire - Review
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One of the best and most ambitious TV shows of the year so far is World On Fire, which explores the lives of ordinary people throughout the second world war. As someone who is studying history currently at the moment, I actually find it fascinating how most war history and films leave out the everyday people, and it's great to see a show, focus on two Manchester families. This whole show comes down to looking stunning, a  brilliant cast but more importantly, incredibly ambitious writing. That ambitious writing has somehow paid off.

 According to Google Oscar-winner Helen Hunt and Sean Bean star in this sweeping historical drama following the intertwined lives of ordinary civilians across Europe who are caught up in World War II. An English translator in Warsaw attempts to smuggle his Polish lover back to Manchester, without the knowledge of sweetheart. Meanwhile, an American war correspondent makes a discovery at the Polish-German border and runs up against censorship in Germany. Each of the characters is from different backgrounds and countries, and play different roles in the war, but are united by their struggle to survive in difficult circumstances.

 I find it fascinating to look at the lives of everyday people during the war, as I feel they are often forgotten about when we talk about these human events. That’s what makes it beautiful because I feel like I have never explored these peoples stories on the big or small screen. This show for size is like nothing the BBC has ever done before. It has huge explosions like a blockbuster Marvel movie or Netflix original but also has some truly dramatic and emotional moments to contrast with it heavily. I actually really liked the way the narrative weaves between its characters and tells a story over lots of different times and places. Yes at points it could be seen as complicated and confusing, but on the most part, the season really works.

 It’s also beautiful how each of the characters is so different from each other. They explore people from all countries, genders, social classes and sexualities, and explores how the war affected everyone literally. It feels like a fresh take on the war, and it feels different from any previous drama, it feels more naturalistic but also doesn’t try to specialise in one story. It feels a lot broader than any previous series and studies the war in breadth rather than depth. That said it also has a connection to the place it’s from, and it has Manchester really at the heart of its narrative. Peter Bowker is a northern writer, and you can really see that in this series his love of Manchester.

It also has a really empowering message for females, as there are so many strong female characters on screen. Generally, it’s not just all about the male soldiers fighting, the show celebrates the working-class women who helped the Allies win the war. It also has a brilliant ensemble cast, including a few Hollywood stars. However, it’s everyone who elevates their amazing characters, and some of the performances that for me have been most memorable have been from non-household names. Whereas it looks great, is directed amazingly and has an all-star ensemble cast, the fact the show works all comes down to it’s beautifully nuanced writing. It’s how delicately Peter Bowker has crafted the show that is what makes it a must-watch TV show. 
http://articufilm.blogspot.com/2019/09/world-on-fire-review.html?m=1#!/2019/09/world-on-fire-review.html




World on Fire: Review of the pilot episode
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In the British series World on Fire World War II breaks through Europe, which affects an ensemble of international characters differently. Here's our pilot review of the BBC's latest drama production.
 
BBC One presented the first hour of World War II drama „World on Fire“ by Peter Bowker last weekend, who helped develop „The A Word“ and dedicated himself to the Iraq War in his miniseries Occupation . A large ensemble and several international venues are introduced in this play about the ordinary civilian population in the war. A total of seven episodes can be expected, which can also be found on the local TV Now .

Starpower brings the series mainly by Sean Bean ( „Game of Thrones“ ) and Helen Hunt ( „Mad About You“ ). He exceptionally unsuspected fragile as a war veteran Douglas Bennett from Manchester, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (then shell shock or wartime) since the First World War , she reports as an American reporter Nancy Campbell, from Berlin from the saber rattling Nazi Germany, the brown roast relatively early Smells and suspects what will happen next in Europe.

Conclusion
„World on Fire“ is a melodramatic story about human tragedies and big emotions, which only occasionally slithers into the neighborhood of „Poldark-“ style kitsch. Needless to say, the narrative does not last a moment, because of the many characters and destinies that we already get to know in the first episode, we are passed by as if in the sweet step. Thinking big, impressively ambitious and, depending on your taste, either a bit old-fashioned or with old-fashioned charm.
https://www.serienjunkies.de/news/world-fire-pilotepisode-review-98323.html

« Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 08:12:32 AM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 05:16:15 AM »
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It’s possibly not a great sign of a Britain at ease with itself that the historical character most likely to show up in a TV drama now seems to be Oswald Mosley. But the week after his starring role in Peaky Blinders ended, there he was again, right at the beginning of BBC1’s next Sunday-night drama. World on Fire opened with Mosley addressing a 1939 Manchester rally, where he duly whipped up his supporters and reminded the rest of us of the dangers of extremism.

Luckily, there were two people in the hall brave enough to protest: salt-of-the-earth northern lass Lois Bennett and her much posher and therefore much stiffer boyfriend Harry Chase. Less luckily, their reward was to be thrown into neighbouring police cells, from where they were collected by their even more carefully contrasted parents. Douglas Bennett (Sean Bean) impressively manages to be both more salt-of-the-earth and more northern than his daughter — and if Robina Chase (Lesley Manville) has ever made a non-snooty remark in her life, we certainly didn’t hear it on Sunday.

But as it (very quickly) transpired, there’s a lot more to World on Fire than merely the battle for the soul of Britain. The commendably ambitious aim of its writer Peter Bowker is to make a coherent drama out of the effects of the second world war on several different families and individuals all over Europe — and so far he’s doing a remarkably good job.

The first episode naturally had plenty of business to do, what with having to introduce characters based in Britain, Poland, Germany and France, and to establish why they’re all in the same series. Yet, by the end, not only had this mission been accomplished, but we’d also been given an exhilarating hour of television.

 Because of that need to combine the big picture with so many small ones, the programme’s tendency to broad-brush characterisation can surely be forgiven. And so too can its use of coincidence. Harry, for example, turned out to be so fluent in Polish and German that he was sent as an interpreter to the British embassy in Warsaw, where he met a hard-boiled American journalist called Nancy (the Oscar-winning Helen Hunt), whose much-loved nephew lives in Paris where he’s obliging enough to fulfil the demands of 21st-century television by having a relationship with a hunky black saxophonist. And before long, Harry himself was seeing Kasia, a local waitress whose brother and father then headed to Danzig to fight the invading Germans in the episode’s most viscerally affecting scenes. Back in Warsaw, Harry and Kasia knew the Germans would invade there too — but they (and we) were still astonished by the ferocity of what the world would soon learn to call Blitzkrieg.

Of course, it may yet prove that Bowker has put so many elements into play — with the promise of more to come — that he’ll run into problems juggling them all over the next six weeks. Sunday’s opener, though, gave every impression that we’re in safe hands.
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/10/a-solid-costume-drama-but-dame-helen-has-been-miscast-catherine-the-great-reviewed/

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 09:29:46 AM »
BBC's new Second World War drama World on Fire might be a bit soapy, but it tells the extraordinary stories of ordinary people
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Tensions are rising, people taking sides between left and right, there is a frisson of violence in the air.

No, it’s not the latest Brexit debate in Parliament, it’s the opening to the lavish new drama series World on Fire (BBC1, Sundays, 9pm).
 That’s not the only similarity to the current schism over Europe –most of the men dress like Jacob Rees-Mogg and at one point, a British official tells our hero, Harry that “hysteria has no place in diplomacy”.
Try telling that to Mark Francois.
 This is the sort of drama you’d see described as a ‘sprawling epic’. And while epic sounds great, sprawling sounds a little disorganised.
 And you’d be right, to a degree. Unlike many Second World War dramas, this tells the stories of ordinary men and women on the frontlines, not the officers and gentlemen.
 There are at least four storylines in the first episode, from gruff Northern type Sean Bean and his family in Manchester, to Polish families facing Hitler’s blitzkrieg, and on to Helen Hunt’s fearless American war reporter and her son, struggling with his sexuality in the red-lit demi-monde of Paris.
 Bean undercuts his usual oop-North performance with an unexpected vulnerability, while Lesley Manville gives an un-Mum like turn as a snobbish middle-class mother with a stiff upper lip as unmoving as Helen Hunt’s curiously plastic forehead.
 This first episode is all over the place, and the emphasis on the domestic makes it all seem a bit soapy at times.
 But that’s also World on Fire’s saving grace. These are stories we haven’t seen before – a look at how decisions made by the elites in the corridors of power really affect people like you and me.
 And that’s something we need right now.
 
https://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/whats-on/entertainment/bbc-s-new-second-world-war-drama-world-on-fire-might-be-a-bit-soapy-but-it-tells-the-extraordinary-stories-of-ordinary-people-1-10034574

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2019, 12:43:23 AM »
Review: World on Fire
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Screening a Second World War drama series so soon after the 80th anniversary commemorations could be a bold decision – or a predictable one. Elizabeth Buchan has watched the first episode of World on Fire (BBC One, Sundays, 9pm) and tells Historia whether the gamble has paid off.

A world war with the best tourist locations that is going to be desperate and cataclysmic is surely catnip for those searching for the next big Sunday evening drama. But how to make it different from all those that have preceded it? Award-winning writer Peter Bowker takes up the challenge.

His approach is multi-perspective and episode one opens in 1939 in Warsaw and switches to Manchester, Paris and Berlin. The political situation is becoming urgent but the diplomats and politicians are never centre stage, merely heard on the radio or glimpsed in newspaper headlines. Instead, he maintains a close focus on individuals, none of whom quite understand what is happening – with the exception of American journalist Nancy Campbell (Helen Hunt) who, shuttling between Warsaw and Berlin, tries to warn everyone in her reports, but is ignored.

In Warsaw, Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King), a translator at the British Embassy, is two-timing his English girlfriend, Lois Bennett (Julia Brown), with the beautiful local waitress Kasia Tomaszeski (Zofia Wichlacz).

In Paris, a young doctor, Webster (Brian J Smith), is drawn to a night-club saxophonist, Albert (Parker Sawyers). In Manchester, the love-lorn Lois is trying to keep the family together. Her father (Sean Bean) is a pacifist with shell-shock and her flaky brother Tom (Ewan Mitchel) is in trouble with the police.

So far, so inclusive. Here are all shades of class and nationality, political opinions and differing sexualities being put at the heart of the drama. Clearly, there will be no heroics by, or adulation of, the upper-crust hero or heroine in the style of the old black-and-white films.

This clutch is as fallible, snobbish, psychologically wounded, blinkered and as cowardly as any of us. They are also as kindly intentioned, sacrificial and brave as any of us. War is undiscriminating in what it touches is the message; and this balanced approach has convincing appeal and vigour.

Those not familiar with the early stages of the war might find the history confusing – especially events in Danzig. The responsibility to clarify what is happening, or to skate around this lack of knowledge, therefore lies with the characters, who are sometimes burdened with dialogue which is not the most sophisticated or subtle. “Events have just got bigger,” Nancy tells the slightly flaky Harry. “Did you?”

The saxophonist to whom Webster is attracted declares he will never leave Paris whatever happens. “I know what I am,” he tells Webster. “Do you know who you are?”

 Things settle down. The characters take on ballast – which should deepen as the series develops – and there are terrific performances from the senior actors. Helen Hunt can tame any role; a restrained Sean Bean is moving and convincing; and Lesley Manville as Harry’s snobbish mother with a penchant for Oswald Mosley and feline put-downs treats us to one of her stand-out performances.

There is some bold camera work. The two Polish resisters on the run in Danzig are shot from a strange angle from above. Waking up in bed after love-making is seen from a tight, close focus. But overall the emphasis is on reproducing the slice of life in a straightforward manner, and much as it must have been.

Dark interiors, smoky nightclubs, crowded stations can never quite escape 21st-century studio sanitisation, but these ones have a convincing messy quality. Similarly, the characters all have good skins and good teeth, but care has been taken with the costumes – and it pays off.

The poise, resonance and psychological truth of the most successful and gripping of dramas often takes more than one episode to dig in. On this showing, it feels it will be worth the watching.
http://www.historiamag.com/review-world-on-fire/



World on Fire offers a refreshing take on WWII. But is that really Warsaw?   
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The announcement earlier this year that the BBC was producing a major new World War II drama series was not met with universal approval. The broadcaster has in recent years made a number of programmes set during or in the immediate aftermath of the war, and none have, well, set the world on fire.

Indeed the last, Traitors, produced in cooperation with Netflix, was an utterly ridiculous affair that required the viewer to do away with all traces of common sense if the preposterous, at times laughable plot was to be believed.

It was therefore something of a pleasant surprise that the new production, World on Fire, which premiered on September 29, began with a powerful opening episode that bodes well for the remaining six.

Helen Hunt, Lesley Manville and Sean Bean lead a stellar cast, which also includes Blake Harrison, Jonah Hauer-King, Julia Brown and Yrsa Daley-Ward in a story tells of how easily the lives of ordinary people caught up in the war changed. Not merely overnight, but from one moment to the next.

It also – refreshingly, for a UK World War II drama – places Poland at centre stage. After all, the war did not begin in Britain.

The defence of the Polish Post Office in Gdańsk, for example, when a mix of postmen and poorly-armed volunteers held out for 15 hours against an elite SS unit is not a story that generally makes the UK’s history books (although along with the defence of the nearby Westerplatte, it probably should). In World on Fire, the Polish Post Office becomes a symbol of Poland’s immense bravery in defiance of overwhelming odds.

Likewise, we are witness to the siege of Warsaw. It is worth remembering that Polish casualties during the bombing of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe in 1939 were about the same as those suffered by the Germans in the British bombing of Dresden in 1945, when up to 25,000 died.

The protagonist is Harry Chase (played by Hauer-King), a skilled English linguist sent to work at the British embassy in Warsaw. Forced to leave his girlfriend Lois (Julia Brown), a fierce anti-fascist, behind in England, he promises to write but quickly falls for the charming Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz). As the German’s approach, they marry: Harry’s intention is to get Kasia out of Poland. Instead, it is her young brother Jan who makes the trip to England.

“World on Fire manages to maintain a great intimacy, while building outwards to give a sense of the global scale of events,” wrote Lucy Mangan in the Guardian. “Harry’s idealism is both credible and emblematic. The decisions, such as him and Kasia agreeing to marry, feel like those of people with their own personal motivations rather than a great sense of destiny unfolding. Tiny scenes compress much. When Kasia’s brother Jan wants to go to school as the Germans invade and is told ‘not today’, it contains almost everything. The sense of impending cataclysm permeates every level of life. More and more rules and niceties are laid aside until suddenly there is nothing left to do but flee.”

The series is not without fault, however.

One early scene in which Helen Hunt (who plays an American journalist) witnesses the execution of Polish soldiers by the SS and lives to tell the tale is both contrived and nonsensical.

Then there’s the question of how authentic Warsaw looks. Or rather, doesn’t. No surprise given that many of the scenes set in the city were filmed in Manchester.

Never mind. The series looks set to be obligatory Sunday evening viewing for the next six weeks. It even has the seal of approval from the Polish Ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki:

“It was great to see the Polish side of WW2 being shown in BBC One’s epic war drama World on Fire,” he write on Twitter. “Excellent Polish actors playing with Helen Hunt, Sean Bean and rising British stars. Looking forward to watching the next episode.”

Aren’t we all?
 
https://emerging-europe.com/after-hours/world-on-fire-offers-a-refreshing-take-on-wwii-but-is-that-really-warsaw/

« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 01:24:06 PM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2019, 04:32:01 AM »
Watching  this serie in Spain. Luck for me

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2019, 02:11:54 AM »
World on Fire: What the Must Watch Reviewers think
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Must Watch reviewers Scott Bryan and Hayley Campbell share their thoughts on World on Fire which started on Sunday September 29 at 21:00 BST on BBC One... you can catch up on BBC iPlayer... the series continues on Sunday evenings.

The BBC’s new seven part drama World on Fire follows the intertwining fates of ordinary people from Britain, Poland, France and Germany during the first year of World War Two as this global conflict completely upends their lives. The stellar cast includes Oscar-winner Helen Hunt, Sean Bean, Lesley Manville and rising stars Jonah Hauer-King and Julia Brown.

Have you watched it? What did you think? Leave your comments below
 

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Hayley says: "It is war, on a personal level"

"I found it really great. It is a Must Watch.

"Mark Twain said, 'history doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes', and it’s hard to watch this and not think of it as a cautionary tale. The characters are all totally normal people, having their lives twisted by these global events which are completely out of their control.

"It is war, on a personal level, so you are focusing on civilians rather than soldiers; this huge global thing shrunk right down.

"The way it’s shot is amazing, whenever there is violence you are in the middle of it, with bits of building falling on you.

"I thought it was really well done."
 


Quote
Scott says: "It's deeply haunting"

"It’s deeply haunting, this first episode is set in 1939 and the lack of knowledge that the characters have about how the war will unfold, in this awful momentous period in history; the anxiety really builds.

"It’s a remarkable form of storytelling; from different sides, different locations, people from different classes, sexualities and at the end of the day what it shows really well is 'war was hell'.

"It’s absolutely a Must Watch."
 

From the Comments
Quote
I have been lucky and have been able to follow it so far, just not happy a programme made for the BBC needs subtitles, surely we could have it all in English,
thankfully our own Yorkshire born Sean Bean is understandable without subs
https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/5live/entries/35348295-5888-4700-9b71-1094cd4db9c9

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07pqm07

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 12:19:21 AM »
Beeb's bore and peace
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If you want to know what’s wrong with the BBC, then you’ll get a fair idea from watching its new World War Two drama World On Fire, every Sunday night.

A lavish, seven-part affair where they spent a very obvious fortune on the production, hired a pretty stellar-looking cast, including Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt, then throttled the life out of everything with the BBC’s very woke 21st Century agenda.

So, for no clear reason, beyond the usual box-ticking, it features a mixed race gay couple and jazz duo.

There’s also Sean Bean as Douglas Bennett, the pacifist patriarch, flogging no copies of Peace News, feisty daughter Lois reprimanding British soldiers for wolf-whistling and his a***hole son,

Tom, who was fighting in the Battle of the River Plate about two minutes after enlisting.

There’s a whole load of other weak, unfaithful, unreliable men and burden-carrying women who could all be cut and pasted straight into EastEnders without anyone blinking. But no real point explaining who they are, though, as they’re not characters.

They’re 2019 cliches who don’t talk to each other, they get on their high horses and make speeches, bemoaning racism, homophobia, the refugee crisis and lots of other stuff you sense has nothing to do with WWII.

 
Worst of all, hardly any of them can shoot a German without expressing their inner turmoil and loathing of violence or trying to open up a dialogue with the Wehrmacht and even, on one occasion,

trying to shake their hand, while I bet the viewers were screaming: “JUST BLOODY SHOOT HIM.”

It’s a terrible misuse of money, talent and history.

Still, I’m prepared to give World On Fire one more chance just so long as someone shoves a copy of Peace News up Sean Bean’s backside next Sunday.
 
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10184528/bashir-awful-saviour-x-factor-celebrity/


« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 12:22:15 AM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2019, 02:24:26 AM »
World on Fire: how ordinary lives get stuck in an unusual time
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Think of the best World War II series and you will see the fighting soldiers and rattling machine guns from Band of Brothers , The Pacific or The Heavy Water War .  All fantastic series, but for the common man the war looked very different.  W orld on Fire is the new war series from BBC First and it tells the hidden stories of ordinary people during well-known events in the Second World War.

World on Fire can be seen on BBC First on Sunday evening 27 October at 9 p.m., followed by a new episode every week.  So old-fashioned wait! 
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.esquire.com%2Fnl%2Fmantertainment%2Fa29296224%2Fworld-on-fire-bbc-first-recensie%2F
https://www.esquire.com/nl/mantertainment/a29296224/world-on-fire-bbc-first-recensie/

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2019, 01:26:41 AM »
World on Fire, episode 5 review - it's not just the bombs that shake you to the core, it's the emotions, too     
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What’s that phrase about comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable? It originally applied to newspapers, but could also be said of World on Fire (BBC One). Received wisdom is that Sunday night drama should be cosy and cardigan-y, leaving sofa-bound viewers with a rosy glow.

World on Fire hasn’t been doing this for me. Peter Bowker’s multi-stranded drama following the lives of ordinary people across Europe in the Second World War has me hooked, but I have always come away feeling absolutely afflicted and shaken every week. This never happened with Poldark.

Bowker’s writing deeply involves us with his fictional families in Britain, Germany and Poland, and makes us feel a very deep...
 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2019/10/27/world-fire-episode-5-review-not-just-bombs-shake-core-emotions/




Quote
World On Fire (BBC1), writer Peter Bowker’s evocation of the first months of World War II, has been a treat, but only in places.

There are flashes of cinematic spectacle, such as the vision of a ghostly column of refugees and exhausted Allied soldiers straggling along a misty road on the Flanders horizon.

And the battle sequences have been staged with imagination. As the Stuka dive-bombers screamed down and gouts of flame erupted across the Dunkirk beach, we could almost taste the terror of warfare.

But these powerful set-pieces alternate with self-indulgent scenes in which characters compete to see who can be the most saintly. I am getting fed up with the way Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King) rescues dogs, children, crashed pilots, lost African troops and anyone else he meets.

The only character I really like is Polish resistance fighter Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz) who lures sadistic SS men to their deaths by asking them to light her cigarette in dark alleys. Atta-girl.
 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7620401/CHRISTOPHER-STEVENS-reviews-nights-TV.html

« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 12:12:57 PM by patch »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 12:45:18 AM »

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2019, 11:25:19 AM »
World on Fire – Review
Quote
World on Fire is a BBC drama that has been capturing audiences for the last 6 weeks. It stars Sean Bean , Helen Hunt , Jonah Hauer-King , Julia Brown and Yrsa Daley-Ward
This is by far one of the best British Drama’s that I have seen in a Long time. With a great cast of actors that deserve to be recognised for their work in this show. This is just a brief recap of what has happened so far. We have also posted the trailer to the show on the top of this post.
If you are interested in period dramas then this is the sort of show for you. Since it aired I have been glued to it and cannot wait for the last episode to see what eventually becomes of everyone.
World on Fire Concludes on Sunday At 9pm on BBC 1
https://www.o-m-o.co.uk/world-on-fire-review/

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 04:40:58 AM »
World on Fire: thrilling TV that shows the true, terrifying cost of war

The second world war epic – which ends this weekend – refuses to sanitise the horrors of conflict, bringing us harsh, human and hopeful stories
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T
here’s something so fitting about the fact that the final episode of Peter Bowker’s second world war drama, World on Fire, will air on Remembrance Sunday. A sweeping look at events across Europe after the outbreak of war, from the start it has been clear that conflict has a heavy price, and that we should never forget both the sacrifice and the suffering of those who lived through it.
This is not, however, the blind jingoism of those who trot out old canards about ‘our finest hour’ as though there is nothing better than viewing a nation through the prism of destruction and death. Instead, Bowker’s story – in addition to being cracking Sunday night viewing – has worked precisely because it has refused to shy away from the true cost of war. It repeatedly reminds us of the everyday struggles, big and small, of people from Poland to Paris, showing us that people didn’t simply dust themselves off and get on with life but were instead always fundamentally altered by their experiences.

 Not that everyone has been happy with the series. There have been complaints – most recently in the Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times – about both Bowker’s diverse cast and storylines, and at least one piece on its perceived inaccuracies. That complainant may well be right, but I would argue that what Bowker is trying to achieve here isn’t a drama of historical record but rather a homage to the great melodramas of the 1940s.

World on Fire is a drama concerned with human stories as much as history, and its aim is to capture how it might feel to be in these terrible circumstances as much as how it actually was. Such emphasis means that occasionally the show veers into cheesy territory. This is the sort of drama in which people announce: “You don’t have to love me. You just have to let me love you” with entirely straight faces. Yet call me sentimental, but there’s something very satisfying about the way Bowker balances warmth and romance with the bleak horrors of war.
In this, he is helped immeasurably by a string of strong performances. Chief plaudits clearly go to Lesley Manville and Sean Bean as Robina and Douglas, two people from very different backgrounds who are united by the sorrow and, perhaps more importantly, the residual wounds they both carry from the first world war.

If Bean and Manville bring gravitas and grace, there have also been brilliant performances from a host of lesser known actors. From Julia Brown’s Lois – whose dark sense of humour has seen her through situations that would have broken other women – to Parker Sawyer’s seemingly doomed jazz musician Albert, and Eryk Biedunkiewicz’s wide-eyed Jan, wise beyond his years but still yearning for a happy ending, World on Fire is full of characters whom you both root for and hope will survive. Chief among those is the show’s central pairing: Robina’s son Harry (Jonah Hauer-King, whose soulful performance has grown on me as Harry has gone from naïve man-child to battle-worn soldier) and Kasia (the outstanding Zofia Wichlacz), the Polish girl he loved but lost after she shoved her younger brother Jan on the last train out of Poland in her place.
While Harry has had his idealism tempered by the bitter reality of war – and the slow realisation that while he might see himself as noble his actions towards Lois, whom he carelessly slept with then abandoned, are anything but – Kasia has joined the Polish Resistance, where her brutal experiences have helped her survive, at a terrible cost.

As someone who grew up going for lunch at the Polish centre in Hammersmith and who lives near the Polish War Memorial in South Ruislip, it is this last storyline that has resonated the most. We are all used to images of French musicians playing jazz as Paris falls, of Nazi officers parading stone-faced in Berlin and British troops desperately evacuating Dunkirk while their families keep the home fires burning in the face of a sustained bombing campaign. World on Fire has told many of these stories and told them well, but it has also thrust Poland, too often reduced to a historical footnote, centre stage. In doing so it reminds us of a story of bravery and loss, of resistance and the strength of humanity in the face of brutality that is easily the equal of the stories we tell of Britain’s war.
As to how it will all end on Sunday, my main concern is that with so many sprawling storylines, so many potential relationships to explore, Bowker will find it tough to tie everything up in a neat package. There’s currently no word on whether there will be a second series – and the production costs and epic scale of the show suggests it will have had to do well both here and abroad to earn one – but even if certain storylines end up uncertain then I for one will be satisfied. Messy, complex endings are – after all – a key aspect of war.
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/nov/08/world-on-fire-thrilling-tv-that-shows-the-true-terrifying-cost-of-war

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 04:46:35 PM »
World on Fire, BBC One, series finale review - may this fine war drama fight on

https://theartsdesk.com/tv/world-fire-bbc-one-series-finale-review-may-fine-war-drama-fight

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2019, 02:21:13 PM »
World on Fire: Series 1 - WWII ends on an emotional high (review)

Quote
IT WAS fitting that BBC World War II drama World on Fire should reach its climax on Remembrance Sunday given its sensitive but utterly compelling depiction of that terrible conflict.
From the start, Peter Bowker’s scripts have sought to examine the impact of the war on all sides: from traumatised First World War veterans turned pacifists to Polish resistance fighters, via heroic British soldiers and even sympathetic Germans.
And while there were undoubtedly times when it felt like there were too many characters jostling for position, or certain stories relied too heavily on contrivance and coincidence, Bowker managed to pull off an incredible feat by making us care for pretty much every one of them.
This was a series designed to showcase the human and emotional cost of war. As such, it often left a haunting impression, often etched across the faces of those experiencing the trials and tribulations of living under the boot-print of Adolf Hitler’s march across Europe.
The Polish perspective was particularly eye-opening, given how it exposed their suffering, as well as their abandonment at the start of hostilities. In the character of Kasia (magnificently played by young actress, Zofia Wichlacz), there was a heart-breaking focal point… a former sweetheart waitress turned cold-blooded killer, whose admission in the final moments that her former innocence had been lost was truly sobering.

Kasia played the character’s emotional journey extremely well throughout… from her selfless sacrifice in the opening episode, in which she jettisoned her chance of escape with new husband Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King) in favour of saving her young brother, through to the moment where she first took the life of a German soldier. By the season’s close, she had all but lost her humanity and not even an unlikely reunion with Harry (sent back to Poland on a mission to extract resistance fighters) brought any sense of relief or joy.
Poland’s plight left an indelible impression. As did that of three German characters, the Rosslers, whose tragic trajectory offered a glimpse of everyday Germans forced to live in the shadow of the Reich and all of its abominations.
The Rosslers had an epileptic daughter, whose condition was frowned upon by the so-called Superior race, who created a euthanasia programme designed at rooting out anyone deemed not worthy enough to be a part of it. Family patriarch Uwe did everything in his power to keep the dark forces from his door, even joining the party in a bid to escape attention.
But in one of the most harrowing chapters of the series, Frau Rossler (Victoria Mayer) was eventually moved to kill her daughter and then take her own life rather than send her away to the programme. It was a moving insight into the suffering experienced by Germans, too… a nuanced, balanced, multi-faceted approach to storytelling that exposed the hardships and horrors on both sides.
In these instances, World of Fire exposed the complexities of war, as well as the senseless nature of it. No one was safe… no life too young to take or corrupt.
And while some have been moved to question some of the historical inaccuracies, there’s no denying that the show achieved what it sought to in spectacular fashion.



The ensemble, for instance, was uniformly excellent. Lesley Manville and Sean Bean, in particular, shone, as, respectively, bitter widower Robina Chase and war veteran Douglas Bennett. They shared some brilliant scenes together and apart, examining the implications of the war from an older, supposedly wiser perspective.
For Douglas, it was about balancing the responsibility of fatherhood with his inherent fear and anxiety, caused by his own experiences in the First World War; while for Robina, it was about coming to terms with her anger and grief at the loss of her husband, who – it turned out – had taken his own life because of his own inability to cope with the fallout from WWI.
Again, these were layered, intelligent performances, full of complexity. Getting to know and understand them was a privilege, even when we found ourselves not agreeing with them. But their hurt and anguish was often plain for everyone to see.



Leading man Hauer-King also brought quiet bravery and dignity to his role as Robina’s son, Harry… a man who grew into a reluctant leader on the battlefield, but who couldn’t get his romantic life right. He was as noble as he was haunted throughout… a decent man hamstrung by circumstances beyond his control, yet always striving to do his best for the sake of others.
World on Fire was populated by characters such as this. And it unfolded on both a grand scale and an intimate one.
And if the intimate came from the characters, the grand came from the backdrop of war-torn Europe: never more so than in the Dunkirk sequences, which were brilliantly realised on a modest scale. The enormity of the evacuation wasn’t lost on viewers, even though there were no grand-standing sequences.
Rather, there was heroism as well as cowardice on display, as young men lined the sandy beaches hoping to find a way back home before being mown down or blown to bits by passing German fighter planes. The scenes in question were every bit as effective – and affecting – as those in Christopher Nolan’s similarly excellent Dunkirk.

The final episode avoided trying to wrap things up neatly, or deliver unconvincing happy endings for one and all. True, the cliffhanger nature of the final scene did make me sigh with relief when the fade to black was quickly replaced by “World on Fire will return”.
But it also left things on a messy note. The war is far from over. Lives remain in the balance. And the emotional consequences of what has already transpired continues to hang over just about everyone involved. There are no easy answers.
Hence, as a nation paid grateful tribute to the real-life heroes who sacrificed so much during the dark days and years of World War II throughout Remembrance Sunday, so viewers were able to pay extra tribute as World on Fire reached its close. This was an intelligent, adult drama that was as powerful and moving as it was haunting and poignant.
News of a second series is extremely welcome.
http://www.indielondon.co.uk/TV-Review/world-on-fire-series-1-wwii-ends-on-an-emotional-high-review

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2019, 01:25:47 AM »
World On Fire is a BBC re-education programme against sexist Nazis in Woke War Two

Quote
HAVING bombarded viewers with terrifying stories about mental health issues, a refugee crisis and homophobia, BBC1’s Woke War Two drama had one more bombshell to drop about Nazi Germany on Sunday night.
It was a bit sexist as well. A point hammered home by some Herr Flick creep called Schmidt, who didn’t just invade the personal space of Helen Hunt’s Nancy Campbell character, at dinner, he made suggestions that were downright “problematic” as well.

The horror! The horror!
They’ll be telling us next the Third Reich wasn’t carbon neutral, either.

One nightmare revelation that’ll have to be cut-and-pasted on to series two of World On Fire, which for seven testing weeks has been trying its best to make us give a damn about the intertwined lives of all sorts of irritants, including two-thirds of a love triangle, Harry and Kasia, who found themselves surrounded by German troops in the very final scene.
On a personal level, it’s been a failed operation. In fact, I’ve spent most of the series trying to work out who, among the characters, I’d like to shove out of a balloon first.
Early leavers would definitely include Sean “Peace News” Bean and his indignant socialist daughter Lois, the other third of the love triangle, who insists on singing, every episode. Very badly.
They’d probably be followed by Sean Bean’s annoying son Tom, Vernon, the anarchist Battle Of Britain pilot, who claimed: “I’m not fighting for Churchill or Britain,” and Albert, the gay French/African saxophone player, who should’ve been arrested by the accent police for his ’Allo ’Allo! turn.

Last to go would be a couple of the Germans and Harry’s mum Robina, who we’re all meant to hate, on account of her old-fashioned Conservative views, even though she was the only likeable and fully formed character on the show. A view that some fans might find slightly treacherous.

But that’s the effect obsessive, box-ticking political correctness had on this show. It blurred loyalties as well as ruining the credibility of everyone from the two French Senegalese soldiers who turned up, in episode five, just to sneer at British racism, to Harry the square-jawed hero, played very timidly by Jonah Hauer-King, who spent far more time apologising for his infidelity, with Kasia, than he ever did fighting the Nazis.
They weren’t the only victims, either. World On Fire took some dreadful liberties with history, had Oswald Mosley wearing a black shirt in 1939, years after they were banned, and almost wrote Winston Churchill out of the war completely as his popularity really didn’t fit the Beeb’s sacred agenda.
The most glaring WoF anomaly, though, was probably Peter Bowker’s script, which didn’t sound of its era at all as everyone was preaching in the same passive-aggressive, self-loathing, virtue-signalling 21st-century tone.
“Make sure you do what’s right, not what’s British.” “Human progress is driven by our capacity to look after those who are weaker than us.” “Men are all cowards.” “I’d no idea it would be SUCH a problem to rehouse a refugee.”
The BBC took this tone, of course, because it frowns on any sense of patriotism about WWII.
Apart from the Soviet Union’s “great patriotic war”, which gets them all misty-eyed, obviously.
It may also explain why, despite huge expectations and production values, WoF had only a modest 4.4million viewers for its finale.

Not that it’ll bother the Beeb. Its desire to re-educate us, with “progressive” values, is infinite. A second series is already on the way and there’ll probably be half a dozen more, even if World On Fire actually requires only another 30 seconds and a good German sniper, with Harry and Kasia in his sights.
Two shots, boo-hoo, ends.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10326136/world-on-fire-is-a-bbc-re-education-programme-against-sexist-nazis-in-woke-war-two/

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Re: World on Fire reviews
« Reply #18 on: Today at 12:01:38 AM »
World On Fire: Series One. Television Review.
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There are always warnings from history, none more so than the effect World War Two had on the continent of Europe and the wider implications on those caught up in its wake, both politically and socially. The individual who saw their city burn, the displaced refugee who became a statistic, children born in to the world and who would never know their father, the female heart riddled with hate turning to murder out of revenge; such is the fate of humanity across time when we allow the evil of Fascism the breathing space to set the World On Fire.
There have been a multitude of television serials since those dark days that have dealt with the impact on the ordinary family, the man and woman of the street, and how they have dealt with it; this is not to suggest in any way that it is time to move on as some would readily infer, neither should we forget, for in a time of uncertainty, when the rage contained by the rusty wire threatens to pop open like a shaken up bottle of Champagne, we need to remember those that have fallen, that fought and who were sacrificed in the name of peace.
World On Fire has all the attributes of a phenomenal series in the making, a praise worthy endeavour which after one series is equal to the likes of Tenko, Secret Army, A Family At War and despite it being set in the aftermath of conflict, Shine On Harvey Moon. Whilst there is no escaping the sense of the damage inflicted, especially on the heroic Poles who were overwhelmed and saw their country ravaged by the Nazi regime, it is to the family, immediate and extended, to which the viewer is given the chance to glean into the lives of.
The intricacy and the weaved web of personnel will arguably have some claim that such events cannot happen to a family in such numbers, and yet they forget a simple truth, that we are all tied, one way or another to each other, to our neighbour, to those we love, to those who cause us pain and it is in this that the events of the awful, horrendous days play out as a backdrop, as a reminder of what we are sacrificing now eighty years on.

 With exceptional performances by Julia Brown, Zofia Wichlacz, Johannes Zeiler and of course the ever-reliable Sean Bean as the PTSD-inflicted and conscientious objector Douglas Bennett, World On Fire not only sets a tone for heartbreak, unfulfilled dreams and the optimism of Hope, but for being able to show without fear the effect of war on the people, no matter whose country they belonged to.
A stirring series which will surely go from strength to strength, placing itself firmly as a national favourite.
https://www.liverpoolsoundandvision.co.uk/2019/11/12/world-on-fire-series-one-television-review/