An exclusive preview screening of BBC One’s new landmark World War II drama was held last night in Manchester.

World on Fire received its northern premiere at Manchester Cathedral

The epic series by multi-award-winning Manchester writer Peter Bowker follows the first year of World War II through the intertwining 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.

Two Manchester families are at the heart of the series.

Sean Bean plays Douglas Bennett, father of daughter Lois, a factory-worker, and son Tom who is always in trouble with the law – until he joins the Navy at the outbreak of the war. When Lois, a talented singer, joins ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association), pacifist Doug finds himself with both children in uniform.

Lesley Manville plays Robina, the smart mother of Harry, a high-flying translator played by Jonah Hauer-King. When Harry is posted to Warsaw, Robina is delighted to get him away from girlfriend Lois… until bombs start falling in Warsaw and Harry find himself under fire but torn between Lois at home and Kasia (Zofia Wichlacz), a young Polish waitress.

With Kasia’s life in grave danger, the only way to get her to safety may be to marry her and bring her home to Manchester.


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