Back in Time for the weekend, episode 1

Today I’m watching ‘Back in Time for the weekend’.
A show by Wall to Wall, who have been making programs like these since the excellent The 1900 House, one of the first (and still best) Historical reality shows.
The show doesn’t sound very original, they are giving up their modern ‘luxuries’ and spending their weekends and leisure time like our ancestors did.
It reminds me of several other shows, like ‘Electric Dreams’, made in 2009.
Does it matter?
No, not really.
The subject is interesting enough to be repeated and it has the added bonus of being very nostalgic to those of us who lived through these eras.
Still, I doubt we’ll learn anything new this time.
Writing as I watch;
As always these days, everything starts with a spoiler and we have to close our eyes, put fingers in our ears and hum loudly for 1.5 minutes unless we really want the editors to ruin the coming surprises for us…
Sadly the show starts in the 1950s, I know, living memory is more fun for the average viewer, but as we also know, shows about the past taking part in period much further back in time are also very successful and how we spend our leisure time back then is just as interesting.
We got a regular modern family, all addicted to their gadgets.
Spending most of their time together… all staring at individual screens.
Am I the only person who gets so depressed and saddened by this?
It is quite interesting and impressive that they are using the actual home this family is living in for the show and that the production team are bringing that building back in time.
And always nice to see this being done, even though they never show enough of this.
I remember watching The 1900 House and having the entire first episode spend showing how the house was restored to its Victorian glory.
So interesting!
Sadly often skipped or barely mentioned in most other shows like this.
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Interesting how the presenter tries to put us in the mood by saying that an “entertainment filled lounge’ is replaced by a ‘sparse’ sitting room.
All I see in the modern room is a single tv, the 1950s room has a radio, gramophone player and a piano!
Nothing sparse about it.
I’m so delighted to see the ‘open plan living’ (something I really don’t like) replaced by a formal dining room and basic kitchen.
The 1950s house is, as often, quite an improvement on the modern home.
Although I find it a bit peculiar to have a random wireless on a little table in the corner of the dining room and no fireplace!
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Our presenter seems to think that all people did in the 1950s in the evening was reading and playing the piano… and that this would be incredibly boring!
He seems to think people didn’t have any imagination back then, no hobbies, no board games, no wireless, no music, no stockings that needed darning, no newspaper…
Some stock footage of the 1950s, much needed reminder for the average viewer that it wasn’t all rock ‘n roll and petticoats, but poverty and rationing.
And another mention of the household expenditure survey, what a gold mine that is for us history lovers!
Lots of mend and make-do, something so rare yet so much needed today.
Here we go, time to send the family back into their 1950 home.
The mum “hasn’t got a clue what to expect”.
Never ever heard or read anything about the 1950s?
Never seen any of the types of shows you volunteered for?
Never spoken to family members who lived through it?
Probably taken out of context though, you know what editors are like.
The lad looks great, they gave him a proper short back and sides and even got him to wear shorts.
His glasses look superb.
Shows and even films rarely get this right.
Dad’s hair could have done with a good clipping though.
The rest all look a bit fancy for my taste.
Modern 1950s, not austerity we still have rationing kind of 1950s.
The daughter is wearing a bit much makeup I reckon.
And it doesn’t look like mum is wearing proper stockings.
Either way, they all look better than they do in modern clothes.
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Giles the presenter says; “You have nothing to do in the modern sense”, to the kids.
Once more assuming back then we had no imagination.
There was plenty to do, it just didn’t involve much electronics.
I know it is fun and makes it all seem more interesting if you make the past appear like some sort of prehistoric age of just sitting around and just waiting for the tv to be invented, but it is a bit silly.
What a shame, the first old fashioned thing our ‘dad’ does is fix a door bell.
But for this he uses bright white plastic electrical cord while old fashioned style fabric wrapped (yet safe) wire is easy to find.
And was it really too much effort to find a nice old fashioned label to stick on those batteries, or at least remove the modern one that tells you not to put it in the modern rubbish bin?
I know, I know, just details, but details is what makes a show stand out.
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Mum tries to do the wash by hand, somehow water and soap are disgusting and horrible…?
I do my wash this way and have been doing this for years.
No problem at all, even though I have to admit that I of course don’t have kids and a husband.
Very nice to see the father and son work on the doorbell together.
Today they probably just would have bought those horrible electric bells you just glue on the front door and put a battery in while the son would be playing a game.
Poor dad is pretty bad at doing some basic work with a hand drill.
Which is amusing.
Oh look, the daughter helps mum in stead of spending time on facebook.
Quite an improvement if you ask me… (as I wrote on facebook).
Finally evening, how wonderfully relaxing and calm.
Handwork, a jigsaw, some reading, sounds fine to me.
Why is the wireless not turned on though?
Even in the 1930s 1 in 9 people had a wireless in my country (the little old Netherlands).
Every day a new year, it is 1951 now.
A Sunday, in the real 1950s, the world was quiet, peaceful, nothing to do.
Something I long for.
I can’t remember when the city I live in was actually quiet and mostly deserted.
As a child I loved it, this forced idea of having to relax and there being nothing to distract you.
So sad that the family feels overdressed in their 1950s clothes to church.
They are not.
It is everyone else that is under dressed.
So nice to see a sort of formal Sunday lunch.
Putting a bit of effort into having something to eat.
Ah boy scouts! Back when they still had knives and axes, and were allowed to build tree houses, make fires, boxing and do other things healthy and safety officers today have heart attacks about today.
And unfortunately they won’t even let these kids use an axe, even with supervision and a tv crew there.
Not sure what those uniforms are supposed to be though.
So sad that these boys can’t even make a basic fire and that they have to make it in a bucket, in stead of a proper camp fire.
But they love spam, so that’s good.
Still, this is nothing like the proper 50s boy scout experience.
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Making curtains and cushions, dear lord, the fabric is horrendously fifties.
The young girl can’t do any sewing, her mum only the basics.
So sad to see that knowledge being lost.
I’m a feminist, I think both men and women should learn these things in stead of neither of us learning it at all.
Having grown up in the 1970s, I’m not very good at this kind of work, but dear god, 3 women, a sewing machine and all they have to make are 2 cushions and one curtain, that shouldn’t be reason for fuss.
Mum thinks people in the 1950s were all constrained and can’t see how they coped with that.
Which I find interesting.
Because today we are still very constrained, just in a different way and about different things.
And quite frankly when it comes to some subjects and parts of our lives, I think we could be a lot more constrained.
I guess having grown up in the 1970s and 1980s, the era of being free and doing what you want, I’ve gotten a bit tired of all that and seeing the result of generations growing up with almost no restraints doesn’t make me very happy either.
As an elderly lady once told me; in the olden days we cared too much about what our neighbours thought, today we don’t care enough.
Always nice when they invite elderly people who actually lived through the era they are just pretending to experience and how these people react to seeing the homes.
Have to listen to the coronation on the wireless, of course.
Fun but also something we’ve seen before.
Standing up for the national anthem, I can’t help but love such a scene, typical though that only the elderly ladies actually know how to sing along.
Not sure if I think it is sad that the young girl making a cake is seen as an achievement or brilliant, as I’m a horrendous cook myself.
And so 1954 begins.
What an ugly non 1950s looking ‘calendar’ they use to show this btw.
Bit sad that the girl thinks it is disgusting to wash her hair in the sink.
It reinforces my prejudice about the modern generations not being used to much.
Oh ballroom dancing, a nice evening out before things went a bit silly.
How nice to see young girls, in 1950s clothes, learning how to dance properly.
The wonderful idea of going out with your parents and dancing with your dad must seem unimaginable to young kids, perhaps even horrible.
Again, I can’t help but notice that the girls don’t wear proper stockings, a shame, it makes such a difference and was such an important part of women’s lives back then.
Learning the quickstep & the waltz, really should still be part of growing up.
Preferably while standing on your father’s or mother’s feet.
The old fashioned way of meeting boys, all dressed up, being asked to dance and then sliding across the floor while getting to know each other makes so much more sense to me than any kind of courting in any other era of mankind.
I love how Angela Rippon describes it, thinking back to those evenings you see her eyes glisten.
Onwards to 1955.
Yes, I know, women in pubs was frowned upon, but there are so many pictures of 1950s pubs with women in it, I guess it really depended on the pub, where in the country it was, etc.
So nice to have smoking being mentioned, I love the idea of people smoking everywhere and how that is now “shocking”.
It makes things for us involved in making historical tv and film a little easier, need to show the viewer that what they are watching is the past?
Put a cigarette in everybody’s mouth and your halfway there 😉
Time for more housework, a woman’s job is never done.
We are of course seeing what the ‘ideal’ 1950s woman did, the domestic goddess we know from the magazines and films.
Quite a few women were far from perfect at managing their house and many even made a mess of things or just couldn’t be bothered.
There is a reason so many jokes and cartoons of the time show a woman who does the opposite of being a nice little housekeeper, or even bosses her husband around.
So don’t be too upset if you’re trying to be a 1950s housewife but finding it a struggle.
Life is getting better, time to go to the cinema.
What a missed opportunity!
They just put kids in the cinema and show them some old footage, this is not what cinemas could be like back then!
It would have been so much fun to show the family (and the viewer) what a proper night out at the pictures would be like.
Ushers in uniform, a Hammond organ, dancers or a magician on stage, a news reel, cartoon, main feature, etc, etc.
Seeing brother and sister play cards, I can’t help but wonder how often these two actually do fun things like that together in the modern era.
And look at that, dad makes a table, he actually makes himself useful.
Build something in stead of getting something ugly at Ikea, and imagine the pride he must feel.
Oh dear, teenagers.
Not a new invention of course, not even in the 1950s.
Kids have been annoying non conformist and rebellious, since the dawn of time.
Even in this show they are saying how this was the time when following in your parents footsteps were over, because of rock ‘n roll…
Which is of course nonsense, as these parents had been doing the same in the 1940s and their grandparents in the 1920s.
But in the 1950s they suddenly had their own money and spare time and that is why some people think this is when the teenager was ‘born’.
The music was great though.
It is extremely lovely seeing the girl and her boyfriend dancing in the living room, adorable and romantic.
Hurrah for the washing machine, making life a lot better for housewives, especially those with children and husbands.
Of course most of these new gadgets had already been around for decades, but this was when they became available for many for the first time.
Mum should have been a lot more excited and delighted with this gift though I feel.
Worst blancmange ever, not that I can do better…
Either way, the best thing about these shows is that it reminds us modern spoiled people how lucky we actually are and how grateful we should be.
They did like being together in the evenings.
And oh oh oh, how sad it was that they had so little freedom, were so restricted, couldn’t go out as much…
Well we’ve seen in other shows that families dealt with that better and some didn’t mind as much.
I myself, frankly, would be fine with that.
It is all the informality and do as you please attitudes that I find difficult to deal with.
But yes, it was mostly a great time for the kids, perhaps better then than it is for children today.
Onwards to the dreadful 1960s.. life will get better… but also uglier… your eyes will be sad.

One thought on “Back in Time for the weekend, episode 1

  1. Pingback: List of all known Historical Reality tv shows | Historical Reality Television

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