The first series of a major BBC Radio 4 drama serial tracking the fortunes of a group of characters on the home front. Each episode was broadcast exactly 100 years after the events it portrays, through which the characters struggle to maintain normality while Britain is involved in the First World War.
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Obsessed as I am with the Great War, I looked forward to listening to Home Front, but I confess to being a bit surprised at just how addictive the series turned out to be.
Each 12-15 minute episode opens with a news headline for the day, and then we see that day through the eyes of a viewpoint character.
The characters live in Folkestone, Kent, and what engaging characters they are!
To name but a few examples, we meet Kitty and her boyfriend, Dieter, a German national. Kitty is expecting and marriage seems out of the question. Then there are two seven year-old boys who go missing, a vicar who is in love with a woman who isn't his wife, a smashing little girl named Jessie, and several soldiers bound for the western front.
I cared about these fictional folk. Each one has a problem and a desire to solve it, and not one is a cardboard cutout. They keep you coming back for more.
Because of the excellent casting and distinctive voices of the actors, it's easy to follow the multiplicity of characters and storylines. I especially enjoyed the gifted Miss Findlay's portrayal of Sylvia's changes of heart and mind. The child actors were wonderful. In fact, there wasn't any disappointing acting from anyone!
Season One opens on August 4, 1914, the day Britain declared war on Germany. Mr Asquith is the PM, and everyone says it will be over by Christmas.The last episode is October 3, 1914, and in the autumn rains, we find the world of the previous summer has been forever lost.
If you have any interest in the Great War, or just great characters, be sure to give this a listen. Downton Abbey left me cold, but Home Front made me laugh and cry. I wouldn't have missed it.