“From time to time, I have to do things against my instinct. But the point is I am paid to serve and the guest must always come first.”

ITV today confirmed commission of an 8 x 60’ drama series, The Halcyon, which tells the story of a bustling and glamorous five star hotel at the centre of London society and a world at war.

The drama, set in 1940, shows London life through the prism of war and the impact it has on families, politics, relationships and work across every social strata – set to a soundtrack of the music of the era.

Produced by award-winning independent production company Left Bank Pictures (Wallander, DCI Banks), The Halcyon reveals how war permeates everyone’s lives from the glamorous guests to its loyal, hard-working staff watched from within by American journalist Joe O’Hara.

Created by writer Charlotte Jones (Trust Me), who also writes the series, The Halcyon has been commissioned by ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.

“A hotel is the perfect place to show ambition in telling the story of World War II,” said Steve. “It was an extraordinary time in our country’s history, and London was a transforming city. The Halcyon takes us right to the heart of this as the hotel is busy, energetic, and vibrant which reflects how people carried on with their lives with defiance in the air,” added Steve.

The Halcyon will be executive produced by Sharon Hughff (Strike Back, Waterloo Road) and produced by Chris Croucher (Downton Abbey) with the opening episodes directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls, Cold Feet).

Left Bank Chief Executive Andy Harries said: “1940 is one of the most dramatic years in our islands history. Who could have imagined that London would survive the blitz and Luftwaffe’s attempted destruction of the city? What was it like to be in a 5 star hotel in the west end through this extraordinary period?

It’s such a compelling idea for a drama. The world of the Halcyon hotel has to carry on, through thick and thin and against all odds. The bedrooms have to be made safe, the bars have to stay open, and the band has to play on. People have to sleep, eat and survive.

Our opening line says it all ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’.”

The series will begin filming in London and surrounding areas from April 2016.