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Arts & Culture

MASTERPIECE: Home Fires

Samantha Bond as Frances Barden and Francesca Annis as Joyce Cameron.
Courtesy of © ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE
Samantha Bond as Frances Barden and Francesca Annis as Joyce Cameron.

Airs Sundays, Jan. 29-Feb. 19, March 26 & April 2, 2017 at 7 p.m. on KPBS TV

KPBS will rebroadcast all six episodes of Season 1 leading up to the premiere of Season 2 on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 9 p.m.

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

All six episodes are available for online viewing with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Look for the blue KPBS Passport logo!
Look for the blue KPBS Passport logo!

Samantha Bond (DOWNTON ABBEY) and Francesca Annis (RECKLESS) head an extraordinary cast in a moving drama about women in an English village facing the onset of World War II. Calm, fortitude, and creativity are the watchwords on HOME FIRES, airing in six inspiring episodes on MASTERPIECE.

Bond plays forward-thinking Frances Barden, a born leader with a stubborn streak, while Annis is her antagonist, Joyce Cameron, obsessed with class and tradition. The two are bitter rivals for control of the local Women’s Institute, a nationwide service organization.

With war looming, their chapter faces its moment of truth. Will the largely social group shut up shop for the duration, or will it reinvent itself to help the nation in its hour of need?

Claire Rushbrook as Pat Simms, Clare Calbraith as Steph Farrow, Ruth Gemmell as Sarah King and Claire Pirice as Miriam Brindsley.
Courtesy of (C) Stuart Wood/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE
Claire Rushbrook as Pat Simms, Clare Calbraith as Steph Farrow, Ruth Gemmell as Sarah King and Claire Pirice as Miriam Brindsley.

Co-starring with Bond and Annis are a multitude of gifted British actresses playing the spectrum of women in the village, from maids to shopkeepers to gentry, including Ruth Gemmell ("Fever Pitch"), Claire Rushbrook (GREAT EXPECTATIONS), Frances Grey (CASE HISTORIES), Clare Calbraith (DOWNTON ABBEY), Rachel Hurd-Wood ("Peter Pan"), Leila Mimmack (INSPECTOR LEWIS), Claire Price ("The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"), Fenella Woolgar (CASE HISTORIES), Leanne Best (WORRICKER "Salting the Battlefield"), and Daisy Badger ("Shelter").

Daisy Badger as Claire Hillman.
Courtesy of (C) Stuart Wood/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE
Daisy Badger as Claire Hillman.

Appearing as the principal local men are Ed Stoppard (UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS), Mark Bazeley (ENDEAVOUR), Mark Bonnar (THE PARADISE), Mike Noble (MR. SELFRIDGE), Daniel Ryan (WORRICKER "Salting the Battlefield"), and Chris Coghill ("Nowhere Boy").

Mike Noble as Spencer Bradley with Daisy Badger as Claire Hillman.
Courtesy of (C) Stuart Wood/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE
Mike Noble as Spencer Bradley with Daisy Badger as Claire Hillman.

HOME FIRES opens in August 1939. War with Germany is all but certain, and the citizens of the isolated village of Great Paxford are each facing it in their own way. Men of fighting age are mostly enlisting or waiting to be called. Some of the women are joining the female military services; others already have essential jobs, such as farming; and still others are planning to “dig for victory,” planting gardens to reduce the need for food imports. Since German submarines will be attacking merchant ships, any task that adds to the nation’s self-sufficiency is vital.

Frances, whose husband owns a local factory, believes that the Women’s Institute has an important role to play. Joyce, the longtime president of the institute, vehemently disagrees and proposes suspending activities until the war is over. So begins a quarrel that mirrors the fragmentation rending the wider world. In Great Paxford, this crisis ends up cementing the friendships of a group of women who have their own personal troubles, but who now have a shared mission that will lead them to their finest hour.

A scene from HOME FIRES on MASTERPIECE.
Courtesy of © ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE
A scene from HOME FIRES on MASTERPIECE.

HOME FIRES is based on "Jambusters," Julie Summers’ enthralling history of the Women’s Institute in World War II. Watch for Summers in a cameo role: she’s “Mrs. Summers” in the brown hat, presiding over the suspenseful election for president in episode two.

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1 repeats Sunday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. - With World War II imminent, the local Women’s Institute dissolves after Joyce resigns as president. Frances tries to revive the group with a jam-making project.

Episode 2 repeats Sunday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. - The Women’s Institute is back, and the RAF arrives in town. Pat endures abuse. Alison’s dog has a close call. The local doctor faces up to his fate.

Home Fires: Episode 2 Scene

"In this scene from Home Fires

Episode 3 repeats Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. - Alison takes desperate steps to pay a bill. Claire asks Spencer out. Pat makes a speech but pays the consequences. The farmer and vicar do their duty.

Home Fires: Episode 3 Preview

"In Episode 3 of Home Fires: As the men of the village leave for the front

Episode 4 repeats Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. - Frances plans an air raid shelter. Alison breaks the law; so does Miriam. Steph hides a secret that threatens the farm. Kate gets shattering news.

Home Fires: Episode 4 Preview

"In the fourth episode

Episode 5 repeats Sunday, March 26 at 7 p.m. - Frances welcomes an evacuee. Laura follows her sister’s footsteps. Spencer is shunned. Teresa gets bad news and makes a confession.

Home Fires: Episode 5 Preview

"In the fifth episode

Episode 6 repeats Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m. - Alison tries to escape her troubles before the jig is up. Miriam experiences despair and joy. Pat is freed from tyranny. Laura’s secret is out.

Home Fires: Finale Preview

"In the Season 1 finale of Home Fires: secrets

CONNECT:

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, Pinterest, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter. #MasterpiecePBS

CREDITS:

A co-production of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE. The creator is Simon Block. The Executive Producers are Francis Hopkinson and Catherine Oldfield and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE. The producers are Sue de Beauvoir and Jeremy Gwilt. The writers are Simon Block, Mark Burt, and Tina Pepler. The directors are Bruce Goodison and Robert Quinn.

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