World on Fire: Cast, Air Date, Trailer and More
See the critically acclaimed, epic World War II drama The Guardian (London) calls a “beautifully turned ensemble piece … far from standard wartime fare” on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
We’ve got answers to all of your burning questions about the series, including who’s part of the talented cast, when it premiered, and more.
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.
When Did it Air and How to Watch
World on Fire premiered on Sunday, April 5, 2020 with seven episodes in total. You can watch the entire first season with PBS Passport, an added member benefit.
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.”
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.]
Watch the Official Trailer
See the explosive official Season 1 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.
Be the first to get the latest updates, cast interviews, videos and more about World on Fire and other MASTERPIECE series when you sign up for the MASTERPIECE newsletter.