New to Acorn TV in February

Next month’s Acorn TV newcomers will include the Call the Midwife-style drama series Home Fires (February 3).

Inspired by the true story of the Women’s Institute, it’s set in rural Cheshire during World War II and focuses on the wives and mothers trying to keep their husbands and sons from enlisting.

The excellent cast includes Samantha Bond, Francesca Annis, Ruth Gemmell and Mark Bonnar.

ITV surprisingly axed the 2015 series after two successful seasons. Reported The Sun: “Fans and observers of the TV business scratched their heads. Home Fires had very respectable viewing figures and regularly beat other shows in the same time slot. Fans started a Twitter account (#savehomefires) and an internet petition to save the show was launched.”

Said the critics: “For all its grim underpinnings Home Fires is a buoyant work, one whose most terrible character is the war itself, the Nazi enemy that could invade at any time” (Wall Street Journal); “lushly produced, complexly plotted” (New York Times); “similar in tone and look to, say, Call the Midwife … an extremely fertile environment for soapy doings” (Variety).

Love, Lies & Records (February 17) stars Ashley Jensen as a registrar in a six-part Kay (In the Club) Mellor drama. Observed The Telegraph: “Mellor is clever when it comes to choosing the settings for her dramas, and a registry office, while boring on paper, encompasses all of life’s major milestones. The drama practically writes itself.

Also new will be the 2009 Stephen (Summer of Rockets) Poliakoff spy thriller Glorious 39 (February 3), season 5 of Doc Martin (February 3), S1-4 of Canadian Victoria whodunit Murdoch Mysteries (February 10), S5-6 of Wild at Heart (February 17) and S1-2 of Australian courtroom drama Rake (February 24).

These should all be in HD whereas the rest of Acorn’s February “premieres” will be in SD, including: S1-4 of A Touch of Frost (February 17), S2-3 of the Stephen Fry drama Kingdom (February 17), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (February 3), and Return of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four and Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles (February 24).

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