World on Fire: Cast, Air Date, Trailer and More

You won’t want to miss the epic, critically acclaimed World War II drama World on Fire. See the show The Guardian (London) calls a  “beautifully turned ensemble piece … far from standard wartime fare” starting Sunday, April 5, 2020, 9/8c, on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

While we wait for the premiere, we’ve got answers to all of your burning questions about the series, including when it’s airing, who’s part of the talented cast and more.


  1. 1.

    Who is in the Cast

    The cast of World on Fire includes Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End, Little Women, The Little Mermaid), Academy Award winner Helen Hunt (Mad About You, Twister), Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Academy Award nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Harlots), Brian J. Smith (Sense8), Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners, A Very English Scandal), Zofia Wichlacz (The Romanoffs), Julia Brown (Shetland) and more.

  2. 2.

    When is it Airing and How to Watch

    World on Fire premieres on Sunday, April 5 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS, and will run  on Sundays through May 17, with seven episodes in total. Watch on-air, online, or with the PBS Video app, available for free download.

    Want to watch all the episodes at your own pace? Starting on April 5 at 9/8c (the night of the premiere), binge the entire series with PBS Passport, an added member benefit.

  3. 3.

    The Plot of World on Fire

    World on Fire follows the lives of ordinary people coping with the greatest war in human history. Set in Britain, Poland, France, and Germany—on the frontlines and the home front—World on Fire traces the interweaved fates of several families in 1939 and 1940, from the Nazi invasion of Poland, to the near debacle at Dunkirk, to the fall of Paris and beyond.

    In Manchester, England, Douglas Bennett (Sean Bean) is fighting a losing battle for pacifism as his country spirals into war. His lawbreaking son, Tom (Ewan Mitchell), is given the choice of prison or the military. His daughter, Lois (Julia Brown), is a factory worker and talented singer, involved in a romance with upper class translator Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King)—much to the dismay of Harry’s aloof mother, Robina (Lesley Manville).

    Posted to the British embassy in Warsaw, Harry forgets Lois when he falls in love with local waitress Kasia Tomaszeski (Zofia Wichlacz), becoming close to her family, including her studious little brother, Jan (Eryk Biedunkiewicz). Harry also befriends Nancy Campbell (Helen Hunt), an American radio reporter trying to uncover the truth about the Nazi regime. She gives Harry a momentous piece of advice as Nazi troops converge on the city. Meanwhile, Nancy’s nephew Webster O’Connor (Brian J. Smith) is pursuing his career in Europe as it plunges into chaos.

    All over Europe, no one can quite believe that their normal lives, their everyday pleasures and worries, are about to be demolished. World War II encompassed millions of people and millions of individuals’ stories. World on Fire makes this wholesale tragedy achingly personal and, at times, heroic.

    World On Fire is a drama about World War II, told from a multinational perspective,” said World on Fire writer Peter Bowker. “I wanted to write a drama where we invested in a Polish family, a French family, just as much as we emotionally invested in a British one. The design of the show is such that there are connections between these families scattered across the world, but sometimes only the audience knows what those connections are.”

  4. 4.

    The Cast Introduces the Series

    At a recent Television Press Critics Association meeting in January, 2020, World on Fire stars Jonah Hauer-King, Helen Hunt, Julia Brown, Zofia Wichlacz and writer Peter Bowker talked about the inspiration for the series, the plans for a second season, and more. Read all about it in this article from Deadline.

    [Image caption: World on Fire’s Helen Hunt, Julia Brown, writer/Executive Producer Peter Bower, Zofia Wichlacz. Image courtesy of PBS.]

  5. 5.

    Watch the Official Trailer

    See the explosive official trailer. Know someone who would appreciate World on Fire? Please share a link to this page and help us spread the word. We need your help in spreading the word about the best in British drama you see on MASTERPIECE.

     

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