It all started 6 days ago when news had just broken that one of my favourite shows Home Fires had been rather unceremoniously cancelled for no reason that anyone can discern at this point. Immediately voicing my consternation and distress through the medium of Twitter I found I was not alone in my bewilderment. A petition was started, troops rallied and a movement born, the #savehomefires movement to be precise. We’re an eclectic determined bunch, women, men, dogs and even pigeons, (stay with me that’ll make sense later), have been brought together by the love of ‘our’ show. As of writing this, our petition stands at over 18,000 signatures, we’ve received support from the mothership aka The Women’s Institute, mainstream press attention and trended at No. 4 on Twitter during a rather epic Twitterstorm on 15th May. All the way along during this rather wild and glorious ride the amazing cast and crew have stood right alongside us, we’re basically having one giant Home Fires love in, think Woodstock with more victory rolls and less nudity.
What I find particularly troubling about this whole situation is the almost blanket dismissal of such a powerful drama that places an important focus on strong female characters, I mean let’s be honest, we’re not exactly embarrassed with a surfeit of strong female-led drama to begin with. I wish this was an isolated incident, but it’s almost as if some executives across all networks are saying ‘Well that was fun what’s the next craze we can latch on to’, let me say this quite plainly women are neither a trend or a fad, we are over half the world’s population. The female contribution to society is so often hushed up, written over or undervalued, and don’t believe for a second it’s because historically we haven’t achieved or are somehow lacking in talent, I direct you to the fabulous documentaries ‘The Ascent of Woman’ and ‘The Story of Women and Art’ created by Dr Amanda Foreman and Amanda Vickery respectively.
For those of you who may say it’s just a TV show, there are far more important things to worry about, I say to you with all due respect you're missing the point. It is often through shifts in cultural attitudes that we can effect greater social change. When all people are presented with are photoshopped cookie cutter ideas of female identity, that is what people, particularly young girls, will think that they’re expected to be. An image with no basis in reality and impossible to achieve, just look at what damage such expectations have already done. We’re not supposed to be all the same that’s kinda the joy of being on this planet, difference. I mean if we all looked the same it’d be like eating chocolate cake for every meal, a great novelty for 5 seconds but we’d all end up sick pretty damn sharpish.
Gender politics aside this is just a bloody good show. Acting, writing, design, cinematography, music etc. are all first class. You don’t have to just take my word for it, the show was consistently winning it’s time slot and averaging 5.9 million viewers, an advertiser’s dream no? If the response to #savehomefires has taught me anything it’s that quality programming shines through to everyone and networks like ITV take viewers like us for granted at their peril.
If you’re a fellow ‘homie’ who enjoyed this wonderful show you can sign the petition here and please do come on over to the Twitter party by sharing your own thoughts to #savehomefires and #HomeFires. There are also a growing number of communities across all social media platforms where you can join in the fun and make your voice heard.
|Told you the pigeons were with us! ;-)|