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Home Front - Radio 4 serial based in Folkestone


delta
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I have tried to like it but to be honest I have found the episodes I have heard rather unconvincing and slow moving. Apparently the focus of the action will move to Tyneside in 1915.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This major Radio 4 series, with hundreds of episodes planned over the next four years , seems to have made very little impact on readers of this Forum. I have listened to a number of episodes, mostly via the weekly omnibus editions, from both of the two series so far transmitted but have not found it particularly engrossing. From interviews with the production team on 'Feedback' and features on the Radio 4 website it's obvious that they have done quite a bit of research and striven for authenticity but for me it doesn't quite work. Maybe I'm being unfair. Has anyone else apart from me and Delta actually listened to it?

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Heard an episode the other day and it seemed rather clunky and undramatic, partly because the characters seemed oddly unreal, more like a collection of speech bubbles than overheard people.

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I listened to today's broadcast. It was set in a recruiting office and had a range of men signing up on one day. Mark's comment was that the episodes he had listened to were 'unconvincing' and I'm afraid I would have to concur today. The centrepiece was of a man trying to overturn the enlistment of his brother due to his autism. Not that he called it that of course but he carefully explained the symptoms in a way that made it clear (to the listener) that this was what was the cause.

It will be interesting to see whether the plan is to follow the characters or to just create new ones across the many hundreds of episodes that remain. Perhaps it just needs to be listened to regularly and that dipping into it, as I have today, just doesn't really work. I will listen to the next few to see whether I learn more about the motley crew who signed up in today's episode.

David

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From interviews with the production team on 'Feedback' and features on the Radio 4 website it's obvious that they have done quite a bit of research and striven for authenticity but for me it doesn't quite work. Maybe I'm being unfair.

I am not impressed by the few episodes I have heard. An episode in the first series was wholly offputting in its total lack of authenticity. It featured a conversation between a clergyman, aparently Anglican, and a small group of boys, who consistently addressed the cleric as "reverend", a usage which has never obtained in Britain, at the time of the First World War, or otherwise. I believe that the usage has been known amongst certain churches in the USA.

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I have been trying to follow the series and have to admit to enjoying it, though I keep getting muddled who the characters are: But as an 'Archers' listener I am used to following radio drama.

The criticism levelled above is fair. I don't think that it's particularly exciting or authentic, but I sort of appreciate it's slow pace .

Regards

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According to the producers it will be strictly confined to the Home Front, so presumably all of the male characters who enlist will eventually be silent for most of the time.

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Managed to listen to today's episode ; There was a young lady featured who was pregnant, who decided to take up smoking. The local tobacconist was advising on what cigarettes to buy to help calm her nerves. I think that sums up what I like about 'Home Front' , it's a bit quirky and banal but that's its appeal.

Seems that the series will be off the air now until 2nd February 2015. Perhaps will re-emerge in Tyneside ?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really like Home Front - it does have lots of characters, but each episode focuses on just one of the characters, so it does tell their stories in reasonable depth. All the characters are identified on the website, so a couple of times I've checked their back-story if I'm not sure which one they are. I find it is well written and engrossing, with lots of insights about the FWW I didn't know, like volunteers who failed their medical due to rotting teeth getting them all removed by a dentist (working for free to encourage enlistment) so they could join up!

Being just 15 mins, it's great to listen to at odd times of day as a podcast.

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  • 3 months later...

Anyone following the latest series of 'Home Front'. Glad that it's back.

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I caught an episode last week in the car and can't say I was overly impressed. it all sounded a bit plodding and uninspired.

I also wonder if they actually get a half decent great war historian to read the script? A recuperating Tommy commented along the lines of " I was wounded retreating from Verdun".

It's not the actual error that winds me up but the apparent lack of care.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really like the current Home Front storyline about the local citizens overcharging the Canadian soldiers. I agree that the dialogue isn't convincing , and people come out with phrases that sound far too modern for 1915. And now and then characters just seem to flip and behave in unlikely ways. For example a cheeky but basically likeable youth suddenly turns violent towards his mother.

But I still listen .

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I catch a bit of it most days, but I don't really listen. Background noise which stops me feeling lonely.

It just seems to be a soap opera set in 1915.

At least it ain't as bad as the sex-obsessed "Women's Hour" which precedes it.

The theme music - especially the brass band version - is nice. Anybody know what it is ?

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  • 2 months later...

I have made another attempt to get into this series via the omnibus editions of the most recent sequence broadcast on Radio 4 Extra. The problem, as identified before, is the bewildering number of different storylines and characters. I've got a handle on most of them but am still in the dark about several important strands. Unfortunately, while the website does identify the many different characters, it doesn't seem to update their backgrounds as the series progresses. I could do with a 'catch up' facility as you can get for 'The Archers' which details what has happened in particular episodes. Alas, I don't have time to go back and listen to everything on iPlayer. The new series starts next week on Radio 4. I notice that Toby Jones (aka the new Captain Mainwaring) has crept into the cast as a disabled army doctor and old friend of the vicar.

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Glad that Home Front is returning . I agree with all your criticisms Mark. Because it's such an ambitious project trying to cover so much ground and so many aspects of life then it's going to become cumbersome at times. Yes having the synopsis on line of each programme just like the 'The Archers' would be helpful.

But I will be listening when I can. Apparently it's back in Folkstone !

Regards

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm still trying with this series but it's very odd and disjointed at times and seems to be making increasing forays into the surreal. Spoiler alert! This week the boy who's been missing since the series started miraculously reappeared unharmed in a most unconvincing fashion. Also, the cast has changed: Toby Jones was obviously too busy/expensive and his character is now voiced by another actor. Sylvia Graham, the lady of the manor, has suddenly changed from Barbara Flynn into Joanna David.

What has happened to that other, rather similar, affair 'Tommies'?

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I listned to yesterday's episode about a mother losing her child.

Very powerfully written but, perhaps, an anocronism

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  • 3 months later...

I listened to one of the omnibus episodes of the new series but it still doesn't work for me. Much of the dialogue simply did not sound right and one scene set in the hospital, in particular, harked back to the bad old days of radio drama overacting. As I keep saying, I've tried to like this programme, I really have, but I think I might have reached the end of the road.

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Oh no ! Does that mean I am the only GWF pal still listening ?!!! Yes the vicar's wife becoming a nurse storyline seemed to contain every cliche known . But I still can't stop myself listening.

I listened to one of the omnibus episodes of the new series but it still doesn't work for me. Much of the dialogue simply did not sound right and one scene set in the hospital, in particular, harked back to the bad old days of radio drama overacting. As I keep saying, I've tried to like this programme, I really have, but I think I might have reached the end of the road.

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  • 2 months later...

Just to mention this again. I listened to the first episode of the new run. The location has now changed to South Devon, where a couple of the regular characters from Folkestone have gone for some reason. Each series has an overall theme and this one is clearly going to focus on the war's impact on the countryside. There were ominous mentions of conscription in the first episode alongside the unavoidable but rather clunky explanatory dialogue filling in the background: ' I wonder whatever happened to your sister Eliza, who we haven't seen for years?' and use of characters' full names, in the style of Joe Grundy from 'The Archers': ' Good day to you, Ebeneezer Clarke' or 'That must be our neighbour Jethro Plumstead a-knocking on the door, wife'. Still, some potentially interesting plot lines were introduced and radio and tv stalwart Anton Lesser appeared as the local squire. I know I keep saying this but I'll give it another go, at least until I miss a few episodes and lose track of what's going on. Are MichaelBully and I really the only Forum Pals still listening?

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I catch a bit of it most days, but I don't really listen. Background noise which stops me feeling lonely.It just seems to be a soap opera set in 1915.At least it ain't as bad as the sex-obsessed "Women's Hour" which precedes it.The theme music - especially the brass band version - is nice. Anybody know what it is ?

The composer Michael Strachan talks about the music he composed for the series. The brass band music comes in about .30 seconds in

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0250bzl

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I have only heard Monday's episode so far. Looking at the webpage, it seems that Military Service Tribunals will be looked at in relation to men who weren't arguing a conscientious objection to serving in the military but as being medically unfit, or on economic grounds such as their employer's business would suffer.

Interested to see how a related storyline develops but I am pleased that 'Home Front' is back !

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047qhc2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03ppnfh

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