Ambitious new Radio 4 drama to recreate life on First World War Home Front

We want our listeners to live through the history of this momentous event day by day, to fall in love with the characters and to follow their lives as the uncertainty of the war years unfolds."Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4
Date: 12.04.2013     Last updated: 30.07.2014 at 14.23
BBC Radio 4 is to commission its most ambitious drama serial charting life on the Home Front during the First World War. The project will run in real time over the four years from 2014 to 2018 to mark the full centenary of the Great War.

The drama, which will be recorded in Birmingham and on location, will follow the lives of a series of characters as they confront the challenges and changes experienced by a nation facing its first experience of total war.

Themes will range from the changing role of women and the profound effect of the conflict on the settled class structure, to the impact of the arrival of vast numbers of Commonwealth soldiers en route to France and Belgium.

Based on real events, the saga is to run in series on five days a week for at least six months each year to give the audience as realistic a grasp as possible of day-to-day life away from the trenches.

The Acting Director of BBC Radio, Graham Ellis, says: “The Great War changed our society forever and we are marking the centenary with a multi-million pound investment in drama and historical research, which is unmatched in radio’s history and reflects the importance of this anniversary. It will allow us to bring alive some of our darkest years through the experiences of ordinary people and to tell a story which still shapes our lives today.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4, says: “It is thrilling to be able to commission a drama on this scale for Radio 4. We want our listeners to live through the history of this momentous event day by day, to fall in love with the characters and to follow their lives as the uncertainty of the war years unfolds.”

BBC Radio 4 will also be running the drama series Tommies (w/t), which follows the lives of a group of soldiers fighting on the front line in real time over the course of the Great War. This series will run over five or six weeks every year.

Note to editors

Further details including casting, production and scheduling arrangements will be released in due course.

ER