To get the extras to act urgently and emotionally in the train station where Vera and Roland stay their goodbyes, director James Kent blasted loud house music from large speakers. The initial juxtaposition was so jarring that Kit Harington nearly peed himself with laughter.
The film was shot in various locations in Yorkshire, Oxford and London. The railway station scenes, the train interiors, and the scene in the railway café, were shot at Keighley Station, using trains provided by the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The landscape shots of period trains were filmed at the heritage track of the The North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire provided several locations, including the scenes at Uppingham school, Melrose house and the Etaples field hospital. The lake scenes were filmed in Darley Dale in Derbyshire.
Vera Britain was the mother of British politician Shirley Williams, who was a Labour MP and cabinet minister, who later left to become a founder of the Social Democratic Party, which merged with the Liberal Party.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
To portray the war-blinded Victor Richardson, Colin Morgan interviewed a series of ex-service men and women; he contacted Blind Veterans UK and spent a day at the charity's Brighton Centre, where he received the same training as blind veterans, while blindfolded.
Although Vera Brittain married the political scientist George Catlin in 1925, they actually never met during or immediately after the war, as is depicted in movie. George Catlin did volunteer at the beginning of the war but was rejected; he did serve in Belgium as a soldier late in the war.
Roland's poem "Violets" refers to Plugstreet Wood (in Flemish "Ploegsteert Bos"). This wood, at the south end of the Ypres Salient, has been the site of fierce fighting at the start of the war in Flanders Fields. Today several Commonwealth War Cemeteries and the Ploegsteert Memorial To The Missing are still surrounding the wood. Roland however was killed in the build-up to the Battle of the Somme in Louvencourt, about 100 km south of Ploegsteert. From January to May 1916, Lt-Col. Winston Churchill served at Plugstreet Wood as Commanding Officer of the Sixth Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. In 1963 the village of Ploegsteert was transferred from Flanders to Wallonia as a result of Belgium's language area law.