BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 12:06 GMT
Hunt for new Coal House dwellers
Families leave Stack Square, Blaenavon
The first series' families made their homes in Blaenavon cottages
BBC Wales' Coal House television reality experience is coming back - and this time it's at war.

Three families will be returned to the 1940s, complete with air raids, rationing and digging for victory during World War II.

The search is now on for families and individuals to leave the 21st Century for the programme, Coal House at War.

Organisers expect hundreds of entries after the success of the first series, which was set in 1927.

As well as the three main families, the series will allow individuals to take part in roles such as the Bevin Boys, who were men conscripted away from the frontline to work in the mines.

Other participants could include children (with guardians) as evacuees, teachers and others who could help with Armistice Day celebrations or with rugby or football matches.

Griffiths family in 1927 costume
The Griffiths family as they were in their 1927 clothes

"It's a fantastic, 'money-can't buy' chance to be part of a unique interactive project marking the huge contribution Wales and its 'black gold' made to the Allied victory," said series producer Rachel Morgan.

They were halfway through the first series, set in Blaenavon, Torfaen, when they decided there would be a second, she said.

The community had played an important role in the first series, she said, including extras like the grocer, butcher and landlord who were doing their real jobs but back in 1927.

She added: "The same magic formula of that community will be used again in 1944 so I expect, and I'm not allowed to say this, there will be some similar characters, some of the same old familiar faces, cropping up again in those supporting roles."

The year 1944 had been chosen because it was then people were actively being conscripted as Bevin Boys after it was discovered there was only three weeks left of coal above ground in the UK.

She said: "Also we were digging for victory, everything was dug up and we were looking toward victory... we can't generate the fear of bombing and air raids... and for us authenticity of reaction of the families is all important.

"Yes, we were bombing Germany so there may be the odd buzz of the odd bomber flying over wherever our location may be."

Unlike the first series, the families travelling back to 1944 will have running water and some electricity plus allotments, said Ms Morgan.

She said: "You won't see a blade of green grass wherever we happen to be, should it be Stack Square or otherwise, and so they're going to have to provide their own food, there'll be a farm, for instance, so that land girls can be there and there'll be milking of cows."

Indus Films, which makes the series for BBC Wales, said it was braced for a flood of applications having received applications from 150 families last year.

Over four weeks, three families - the Cartwrights from Penarth, the Griffithses from Ceredigion, and the Phillipses from the Vale of Glamorgan - sampled life in the south Wales coalfields of 1927.

If you think you could step out of 21st Century life and live in a coal mining community as it was during World War II, call 08703 500 700 or visit

Coal House families back to 2007
09 Nov 07 |  South East Wales
Coal House families back to 1927
15 Oct 07 |  South East Wales


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific