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Helen Hunt to head cast of landmark World War II BBC1 drama World On Fire

Then She Found Me

Story by Jack Foley

ACADEMY Award-winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You) is to head the cast of landmark World War II BBC1 drama World On Fire.

The Hollywood star will appear alongside a heavyweight cast that further includes Academy Award-nominated and Olivier Award-winning actress Lesley Manville (Mum, Phantom Thread) and rising British stars Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women, Howard’s End) and Julia Brown (The Last Kingdom, Shetland).

Described as an epic drama, World On Fire comes from multi-award winning writer Peter Bowker (The A Word, Eric and Ernie, Occupation, Blackpool) and takes the form of an adrenalized, emotionally gripping and resonant drama following the first year of World War II told through the inter-twining fates of ordinary people drawn from Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the United States as they grapple with the effect of the war on their everyday lives.

Bowker explained: “World On Fire tells the hidden human stories within the big historical events we think we know.

“From Harry, a young English translator in Warsaw caught up in negotiations with the Nazis and trying to smuggle his Polish lover Kasia out of the country, to Lois, the girl who is waiting for him at home, a young Mancunian factory worker who will come to take all the opportunities the war can offer to live a different kind of life.

“To Nancy, a female US war correspondent who can’t find peace unless her life is at risk, to the Rossler family in Berlin, worried for their soldier son and willing to do anything to protect their disabled daughter from the attentions of the ruling Nazi regime.

“These are the stories of the ordinary people who shaped our world. Stories of loyalty and brutality, courage and fear, hopes, stories of love and loss, hopes and dreams forged in extraordinary times.”

Filming begins this week in Prague and other filming locations include Manchester, London, Paris and Berlin.

Also joining the stellar cast is Polish Academy Award-winner Zofia Wichłacz (Warsaw 44, Amok) and Brian J. Smith (Sense8) along with Parker Sawyers (Southside with You, The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Tomasz Kot (Gods, Cold War), Bruno Alexander (Eden, Der Verlorene Bruder), Johannes Zeiler (Faust, Codename Holec) and Eugénie Derouand (Genius, Beatrice).

Further casting will be announced in due course.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, commented: “Pete’s funny, humane and poignant writing gives us a perspective on those early days of the Second World War which we have never seen before. Spanning four nations, the canvas for the drama is vast, but the experience Pete gives us is boots on the ground granting us special insight into one of the most pivotal and seismic moments in Twentieth Century history.

“It is an honour to be working with Pete, director Adam Smith and producers Mammoth Screen as they bring this story to life.”