Worcester academic contributes to landmark BBC Radio Series on World War One

A University of Worcester lecturer has played a major part in a landmark BBC radio series marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

Professor Maggie Andrews acted as historical advisor for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Home Front’, which will run for the next four years and, at 600 episodes, is one of the largest ever radio drama commissions.

The series will play a central role in the BBC’s First World War commemorations, with each episode set exactly one hundred years before the day of broadcast. The first season, set in Folkestone, begins on Monday and covers the outbreak of the war.

Future seasons will be set in other locations throughout the country and cover several major strands of the Home Front experience; stories of love, loss, social change and the evolution from a gung-ho to a war-weary nation will all unfold over the next four years.

Professor Andrews explains: “The drama gives a sense of some of the changes to everyday life on the Home Front caused by WWI.

“The drama series format enables the very varied experiences and reactions of war to be portrayed, providing some of the human stories behind the headlines but also how factors such as class, gender, age, marital status and the region in which someone lived would lead to very different reactions and responses to the disruption brought about by war.

“Of course, this is a fictional drama, but it is informed by historical research and many of the stories are inspired by genuine happenings in Folkestone, where the first series is set. The production team have included many little-known experiences of war and avoided some of more dubious myths.”

Professor Andrews, a Professor of Cultural History at the University, is recognised as one of the country’s leading cultural history academics, and is also one of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded West Midlands advisors for the BBC’s World War One at Home project

She is also an investigator on the WWI Hub Voices of War and Peace project, of which more details can be found at http://www.voicesofwarandpeace.org.

Professor Andrews has also co-written ‘Voices of the First World War: Worcestershire’s War’ – which is due out in September this year and will provide an insight into how the conflict affected people in the county – and co-edited with Dr Janis Lomas a collection entitled ‘The Home Front in Britain: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences since 1914’ which will be published in November 2014.