There was a mass outpouring from fans when Home Fires was cancelled by ITV after two series back in May 2016 – the drama had ended on a dramatic cliffhanger and viewers were distraught not to find out who had (and hadn't) survived that plane crash.
But while the series remains firmly off air, the drama's patient fan base is finally about to get some answers.
Home Fires creator Simon Block is to continue the story of Great Paxford's Women's Institute with three new novels, picking up precisely from that jaw-dropping series two finale.
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Set in 1940, the books will chart the villagers as their lives are changed forever by the fighter plane which barrelled into the home of Bryn Brindsley. 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 2017, and then available as a complete paperback and ebook from autumn.
"When ITV chose not to re-commission the series I was all set to take my characters through the next few months of their lives on the homefront," said Simon Block. "Their stories were all planned, yet I was left with little choice but to accept the channel’s decision.
"But suddenly I saw the remarkable and totally unexpected reaction of fans of the show on social media. It was as extraordinary as it was moving. They began tweeting furiously. Within a few days 20,000 people had signed a petition asking for the decision to be reversed. It rose by thousands every day, despite the fact that the news wasn’t widely known."
Home Fires fans flocked to RadioTimes.com in the wake of the news of the show's cancellation, with 98% of fans voting against the decision in our poll. Just last week, the drama won a second poll of axed shows the deserved to be brought back, pulling in an impressive 5,000 votes.
Speaking of his upcoming novels, Block said: "If it couldn’t continue on television, why not in book form? 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.
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"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. 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."
The books will be published by Bonnier Zaffre. The company's publishing director, Eleanor Dryden, hailed the "extraordinary, inspiring, flawed and courageous female characters of Great Paxford's Women's Institute" , adding, "I feel very lucky to be publishing these books in such an exciting way."
This article was originally published in 2017