Wartime Britain has been the scene for a large number of classic British television shows and films. From the seminal comedies Dad’s Army and Allo’ Allo’ to the countless feature films of the 50s and 60s dedicated to wartime Britain. And to add to these, ITV will be bringing us an drama series called The Halcyon, which tells of the story of a glamorous hotel in the heart of London and British society in the time of the Blitz, the bombing of London by Nazi Germany. Think Hotel Babylon with bombs and rationing.
The impact of war upon families, relationships, politics, work and society at large will be the focus of the show, and how its reach extended to all class groups: the hotel is frequented by the upper classes but worked in by the lower, serving as a direct point of contact between the two ways of life. But in war, class privilege can quickly evaporate. Or it can be accentuated.
The series will be 8 episodes of 60 minutes, and if successful, could see further seasons of the same ilk. Left Bank Pictures are the production company that have been assigned the task of making this series. Other productions the independent studio have been responsible include Mad Dogs, Wallander, Outlander, Strike Back and The Crown. They are fast becoming a household name in the industry with their hard-hitting and well-produced shows.
ITV’s director of Drama, Steve November, explained what was so appealing about the show. “A hotel is the perfect place to show ambition in telling the story of World War II,” said Steve. “It was an extraordinary time in our country’s history, and London was a transforming city.” Wars speed up the social change of a country, and it will be exciting to see how this is reflected in the series.
“#Halcyon takes us right to the heart of this as the hotel is busy, energetic, and vibrant which reflects how people carried on with their lives with defiance in the air.” Working in a hotel must be a very enlightening process regarding human nature, due to its 24-hour interaction with customers, unlike restaurants or bars.
Charlotte Jones wrote the series. She has previously created the series Without You. The executive producers on board are Sharon Hughff and Chris Croucher, who together are responsible for Strike Back, Waterloo Road, and the hugely successful Downton Abbey.
The name alone evokes such feelings in the watcher that it will be hugely interesting to see how this interacts with the destitution and destruction wreaked by war. ‘Halcyon’ denotes a time in the past that was idyllic and pleasant, usually used in the term Halcyon Days. And so, the name becomes increasingly significant once the war starts, with the world inside assured to be an escape from the war and a return to better, or Halcyon, days. As they say in show business, the show must go on. In this case, the hotel must go on. People continue to sing, eat, sleep and dance as the war rages on around them.
The cast will be made up Steven Mackintosh, Olivia Williams, Kara Tointon, Alex Jennings, Matt Ryan, Hermione Corfield, and Mark Benton. In those names, you have
What are you most looking forward to about @Halcyon? Which of Left Bank’s previous works have you had the pleasure to see?
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