Victorian Farm Christmas Review: Xmas Ed-moo-tainment

December 10, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4VicXmas300Victorian Farm Christmas: Friday 11th December, BB2, 9pm ALERT ME

There seems to be a recent obsession with recreating the past.

With Giles Coren and Sue Perkins eating their way through various periods of English history and The 1900 House shedding a dismal light on the misery of regular people in Victorian England, you can only conclude that the past was a dreary place where the poor had to work till their backs creaked and the rich reclined in decadent opulence with their feet up on their tables.

This time, Victorian recreationists Alex, Peter and Ruth are putting themselves through the backbreaking task of a traditional Victorian Christmas for a whole farming estate – no mean feat when you consider that that consists of 30-40 people.

“Here in Shropshire is a farm lost in time? intones the narrator. What, are there dinosaurs hiding behind the barn door? All joking aside though, it’s actually a well researched and recreated historical bubble, with experts so well informed on every aspect of Victorian lifestyle that it’s hard not to be a little impressed, if not outright disturbed by their knowledge and dedication.

Episode 1 sees the boys rousing the old Shire horse Clumper who went lame in the previous series, learning how to make a hay rake and the endless joy of spreading manure on the fields (just what we want to see – a man in a bowler hat shovelling sh*t).

Meanwhile, Ruth teaches us how to make soap, getting more than a little excited about a new copper pot. It’s not quite ‘Fight Club: The Victorian Years’ but her relentless enthusiasm for her subject can’t help but make you take an interest. There’s also a traditional approach to making butter with all the technological wonders that come along with it (a revolving barrel on a stick).

Elsewhere Alex goes off to a buy a ram for breeding, which leads to a judge explaining how to feel up a sheep’s testicles – all very useful information if you find yourself bored and alone in the country.

We’re also shown how traditional Christmas toys were made, how flour was ground with a windmill and how everything in the Victorian farming world depended on the weather. There’s a massive wealth of information here, so if you’ve got any interest in Victorian lifestyle, then you’ll be enthralled.

It’s not going to blow your festive socks off, I can’t imagine anyone running home shouting, “Oh my god, I’ve just got to watch Victorian Farm Christmas!?, but it is remarkably educational and entertaining and definitely worth watching, if only to make you aware of how easy you’ve got it, you lazy slobs.

Frankly, all that hard work has given me a bit of an appetite – pass the mince pies.