WI book lands its author a cameo role in new TV series

Oxford Mail: The Wolvercote Women’s Institute’s 1955 produce show The Wolvercote Women’s Institute’s 1955 produce show

AN AUTHOR is to get a cameo role in a new TV drama based on her latest book about the strength of women in wartime.

In Jambusters, Julie Summers, from Iffley, Oxford, focuses on women in rural communities in the Second World War, describing it as the Women’s Institute’s finest hour.

The book was first published last year and ITV has now announced a six-part drama series about WI members during the war.

Given the working title Jambusters, the drama will centre around a group of women in an isolated Cheshire village.

The series, inspired by the book, is yet to be cast and will begin shooting in September, before it is broadcast next year.

Mum-of-three Miss Summers said: “I’m delighted that there is going to be a TV series.

“It will be a portrait of village life and women who were a tremendous backbone of the community.

“The writer, Simon Block, has got an accurate flavour of the period and my role has been to help him to get that detail.

“I have been told I will get a cameo role as a WI member, which could be shown in the title sequence. There are 18 roles in the drama, 11 or 12 for women, and some well-known actresses are being approached.”

Mr Block’s credits include Oxfod-based Lewis, The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall, and Hotel Babylon.

ITV said in a statement: “With the shadow of World War Two casting a dark cloud, Jambusters follows a group of inspirational women in a rural Cheshire community.

“As the conflict takes hold, and separates the women from husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, the characters find themselves under increasing and extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.’’ Miss Summers, 53, lives with husband Chris Steele, 54, and they have three sons, Simon, 23, Richard, 21, and Sandy, 16.

She said her book Jambusters had sold about 10,000 copies in hardback, with the paperback also selling well.

Executive producer Francis Hopkinson said the series would take a fresh look at life on the Home Front and offer “some wonderful roles for Britain’s top actresses”.

ITV director of drama Steve November said: “The women are real and engaging and have fantastic spirit and attitude.

“With World War Two on the horizon, multiple strands of plot interweave to create a period drama full of jeopardy and intrigue, but also great humanity and modernity.’’ During the Second World War women in the WI completed a major report on evacuation and influenced Government policy on health, education and housing.

They also ran troop canteens and cooked for farmworkers.

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