World on Fire is an adrenalized, emotionally gripping and resonant World War II drama that follows the intertwining fates of ordinary people in five countries as they grapple with the effects of the war on their everyday lives.

Helen Hunt as Nancy Campbell in World on Fire on Masterpiece / © Mammoth Screen

Academy Award® winner Helen Hunt (As Good As it Gets, Mad About You) stars as an American broadcaster reporting from Warsaw and Berlin as fighting erupts. Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Sharpe) plays a World War I veteran-turned-pacifist trying to cope with chronic shellshock while looking after his working-class family. And Academy Award® nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) is a British fascist sympathizer who finds herself sheltering a young refugee.

Also starring are Jonah Hauer-King (Little Women on Masterpiece, the upcoming live-action film of The Little Mermaid) as an idealistic British translator and army officer, Blake Harrison (A Very English Scandal) as a stalwart English sergeant, Julia Brown (Shetland) as a feisty armed services entertainer, Zofia Wichłacz (The Romanoffs) as a Polish resistance fighter, Brian J. Smith (Sense8) as an American doctor in occupied Paris, and Parker Sawyers (Southside with You) as a Parisian jazz musician.

Where to Watch

The seven-part drama airs on CPTV Sundays, April 5-May 17, 2020, at 9 p.m.

More About the Program

Set in Britain, Poland, France, and Germany—on the frontlines and the home front—World on Fire traces the interwoven 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.

Jonah Hauer-King as Harry Chase in World on Fire on Masterpiece / © Mammoth Screen

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

Posted to the British embassy in Warsaw, Harry forgets Lois when he falls in love with local waitress Kasia Tomaszeski (Wichłacz), becoming close to her family, including her studious little brother, Jan (Eryk Biedunkiewicz). Harry also befriends Nancy Campbell (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 (Smith) is pursuing his career in Europe as it plunges into chaos. Webster is a doctor at the American hospital in Paris, in love with the nightlife and attracted to a
good-looking saxophone player named Albert (Sawyers). 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.

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