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When We Go To War

Sundays at 8.30pm | TV ONE

Bea Smith

When We Go To War on TV ONE and TVNZ OnDemand

Bea Smith (Esther Stephens)

Bea is a young woman of considerable intelligence, ambition and strong opinions. She is quite fearless and believes almost anything is possible. She trained as a nurse and then won a scholarship to Otago University to study medicine. Bea is a "blue stocking' and proud of it. She is actively involved in student politics. She has been having a secret relationship with a lecturer, Dr William Chambers (played by Tom O'Sullivan), despite - or because of - the fact that they argue constantly about politics and the role of women

Here's what Esther has to say about Bea
"Bea is a smart, independent modern woman of the time. She is training to be a doctor at Otago University, until her personal life interferes with that. She is very close to her family and quite ambitious and opinionated as well. Her view of the War comes through her experiences of studying medicine, and she finds herself as a nurse in the War.

When I first got fitted with my nurse's uniform I felt quite humbled and honoured to wear the uniform that so many brave New Zealand nurses wore. My mum was a nurse and my sister is a nurse so there's a nice little connection there. My great-grandfather was actually an ambulance driver on the Western Front. He was with the Scottish Battalion - we found some of his old papers, his War certificate and his medal for service"