Daniel Ryan: The Home Fires cast still meet up to mourn our characters
Daniel Ryan explains how the cast haven't given up hope that Home Fires will return, maybe with US backing
Like the rest of the Home Fires cast, Daniel Ryan was stunned when the show was cancelled after two series in May last year, yet the actor has not given up hope that it may return one day.
Set in the rural Cheshire village during world war two, the ITV drama ended on a massive cliffhanger when a fighter plane crashing into local butcher Bryn Brindsley’s house while his wife was in labour. Yet despite healthy ratings of between 4-5 million and a large fan base, the show was suddenly axed soon afterwards.
Daniel, who played Bryn, thinks American audiences could be the key to the show’s return and is delighted to hear that in the meantime, the Home Fires story will be continued in book form later this year.
"I think the second series has just been on in America on PBS," he said. "They absolutely love it in the States and fans are having exactly the same reaction when they’re told it’s not coming back. I know broadcasters in the US have asked if there’s any chance they can have any more, but once again it’s in the hands of the people at the top. Maybe a strong American audience can persuade someone to pick the show up?’
With shows like Ripper Street being picked up by Amazon Prime after BBC axed it, Daniel and the rest of the cast wonder if something similar could happen for them. An online campaign to bring back the popular ITV period drama is still gathering signatures and the show’s cast still go to the pub to discuss the Home Fires' sad demise…
"Some people think it’s a bit sad, but the Home Fires cast still meet up every couple of months," explained Daniel. "Whoever’s around and is free often goes out for a drink or two.
"We were all shocked when we found out it wasn’t coming back, because we were all ready to go for the third series. You don’t end a show with a cliffhanger like that because its so unsatisfactory for the audience, but its also the same for the cast!
"The characters still exist somewhere and we meet up to mourn them, which sounds terrible – we also get on very well which is why we meet up. But it is hard to lose characters if you didn’t know it was the last time you’d be playing them. We had also invested so much in the characters the period and the stories. Having them brutally ended like that, it was very unsatisfying and abrupt."
Yet anyone who can’t wait for the show to return to our screens (if it ever does) will be delighted to hear the series’ creator Simon Block will continue the story of Great Paxford's Women's Institute with three new novels, picking up precisely from that jaw-dropping series two finale.
The first novel in the series – Keep the Home Fires Burning – will be published as a four-part ebook serial with a new instalment released each month from July, and then available as a complete paperback and ebook from autumn.
"If it couldn’t continue on television, why not in book form?" he said. "Novels are adapted for the screen all the time, why not the other way round? The stories I’d been ready to write leant themselves perfectly.
"The aim is that those familiar with the TV show will be able to seamlessly continue with the books; while those new to the world of Home Fires will swiftly find themselves brought up to speed and immersed in the stories of the women of Great Paxford.
"Without the incredible support and desire of the show’s fans to have the story continue this would not have happened," continued Simon. "I can’t thank them enough for their passion, humour, and determination to see Home Fires continue. I can’t wait for them to embark on the next part of the story with the characters they have so brilliantly taken to their hearts, and kept alive in their imaginations. It’s extremely exciting to be going forward together in this way."
Watch Daniel Ryan in the new series of Mount Pleasant on Sky 1 from Friday, June 30
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Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.