Victorian Farm

February 27th 2012 Clacton & North East Essex Arts & Literary Society

“AN AUDIENCE WITH PRESENTERS FROM BBC TV’s EDWARDIAN FARM” features Ruth Goodman and Alex Langlands. Their illustrated talk recalls the making of this hugely successful series as well as the trials and tribulations of life working and filming on the farm. Sponsored by GCS ALARMS LTD, Clacton-on-Sea.


Victorian Farm is a historical documentary TV series in six parts, first shown on BBC Two in January 2009. It was made for the BBC by independent production company Lion Television  and filmed on the Shropshire estate of Acton Scott. The farming team was historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn. The series was devised and produced by David Upshal and directed by Stuart Elliott. The series was one of BBC Two’s biggest hits of 2009, garnering audiences of up to 3.8 million per episode. It was also highly praised by reviewers. The series recreated everyday life on a small farm in Shropshire in the mid-19th century, using authentic replica equipment and clothing, original recipes and reconstructed building techniques. Much use was made of period sources such as The Book of the Farm: Detailing the Labours of the Farmer, Farm-steward, Ploughman, Shepherd, Hedger, Cattle-man, Field-worker, and Dairy-maid by Henry Stephens, first published in London in 1844. An associated book by Langlands, Ginn and Goodman – also titled Victorian Farm – was published in 2009. The book reached number one on the Sunday Times best seller list in February 2009. Because of the success of the series, the BBC commissioned two follow-ups with the same production team and cast, Victorian Farm Christmas,[12] which aired in December 2009, and Edwardian Farm

1 comment

  1. An audience with presenters from Edwardian farm `Arts and Lits` 27/2/2012
    Making a living from the land isn’t, nor has ever been, straightforward and a guaranteed way of becoming financially secure.

    Many still have the image of the farmer as the local squire who roams around his estate in a luxurious car, surveying his `empire with a sort of regal stance. Not so! It`s jolly hard work(just look at the current statistics of suicides in this section of the community?) and for the lowly farmer it is a daily cycle of `mucking out`, milking, herding, ploughing, picking and to say nothing of the constant need to repair/renew
    all the implements that go `hand in hand` with farming, past and present.

    Where I originate (I’m now an established `Essex girl`-and proud of it)there used to be a saying-“you’ll never see a farmer on a pushbike”-implying that they were all monetarily secure-maybe so for some, but not without tremendous effort and long, hard working days.

    This was made very apparent by the fascinating talk given by Alex
    Langlands and Peter Ginn, presenters of the `Edwardian farm` a documentary programme currently running on BBC television.

    The talk was interspersed with beautiful, nature video clips and many photographs. Throughout the talk they were ever keen to emphasize that this was a `hands on project` and they had to engage in all activities, in every type of weather- from building outhouses for pigs, thatching, to ploughing fields with traditional farm implements and digging out cesspits!

    Anecdotes abounded -there were lighter moments, for example, when Alex told us how he managed to defeat the sometimes insane and sometimes ludicrous `health and safety `laws (which seem to abound in every aspect of life)“I just keep schtum”(Jewish-`tight lipped`) so not telling the commissioning company(who have their own team of `experts`, looking into all areas of `potential danger`) thus avoiding
    the resultant `forbidden` clause and the mountains of paperwork which may ensue if he revealed that he was climbing on a high roof without his shoes on, or eating strawberries grown on land that has a minute trace of arsenic in the ground!!

    A well presented evening, with ease of speaking and plenty of humorous `banter`from both presenters.

    Ruth Goodman (fellow presenter) could not be with us because of family commitments.

    Jennifer Kersey

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