Victorian Bakers, episode 1

This new show may not sound too exciting or original to most people.
We’ve seen dozens of shows like this about all sorts of subjects, but now they concentrate on just the baking side of things.

Well I guess you’d be right, but I just love bakers.
The bread, the smell, the history.
It is a subject I like very much, so I think I may enjoy this show… if it is done well!

A shame they make the participants experience such a short period of history.
I know the bread making process made a huge change in the Victorian era but it would have also been extremely interesting to see them make bread the way our stone-age ancestors made it or baking bread in a Mediaeval oven, etc.
I myself have made bread in a replica 14th century oven and I can tell you, it was quite an adventure.

Episode 1; 1837.

First, as with all tv shows these days, we get spoilers.
Yes somehow tv producers think that by spoiling the show and letting you know what is going to happen makes you want to watch it while, in my case anyway, it has almost the opposite effect.
I look the other way and hum loudly or just skip to the actual beginning.
This show has a shocking 2 minutes wasted on trying to ruin the episode for you.

The title screen is gorgeous though, a proper Victorian photo of the contestants, made with (I bet) an Victorian style camera or even an original one.
Looks very real.

Oh look, Alex Langlands is one of the presenters.
A likeable chap who we also know from Time Team, Wartime Farm, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm and one of the best shows in this genre; Tales from the Green Valley.

What a stunning location.
I wish we had smell-o-vision.

I love that the Swift bakery was started by a woman, I’d love to hear more about her story.

The costumes look pretty good, but very new, unused and clean.
I bet they won’t look like that very long.
I noticed one of the participants is wearing glasses and to my delight it does not look modern.

It is cute that the tv makers are trying to fool us into believing the presenters are there, live, watching over the shoulders of the participants and talking about what is happening.
I’m quite sure that this was filmed separately.

It is nice to have experts take part in such a show for a change, but going from a modern bakery to a Victorian one means they end up still not quite sure what to do.
I find it amusing to see professional bakers being confused about this old traditional way of baking that I’ve experimented with many years ago.

The brewer’s yeast story is fascinating.
I miss the actual historical education in many other shows that spend more time focusing on how the participants react to their surroundings.
But programs like this show that education and reality tv can be perfectly combined.

The heritage wheat, the salt, all interesting and educational.

I love seeing them do the kneading of the dough, so traditional, so ancient.
Such a shame that most bakers don’t get a chance to do this.
Proper hard work, can you imagine the muscles on our Victorian bakers?
I’ve done this a few times and felt it in my arms for quite some time afterwards.

I rather like bakeries having just a couple of varieties of bread on offer.
Rows and rows of strange, foreign and exotic breads, just make shopping more of a hassle.

Those breads look fantastic and I know bread made like that is delicious.
Goodness me, I’m hungry now.

Having the two presenters talk to each other is always a bit daft.
They already know what they are telling each other, what they are saying is for our benefit, they are really talking to us, but they think it is more interesting to have them tell it to us indirectly.
Which works well, but I find it amusing and a bit silly nevertheless.

Using a tinderbox, yes very difficult a first time.
That is why most bakers and households, often kept the fire going 24 hours a day, even if it was just a bit of glowing coal.

Interesting that a sack of coal back then is 7 times heavier than Health & safety allows.
Yet many Victorian Bakers could carry these on their own.
I am sure it is better and healthier that they are no longer forced to carry these… but on the other hand it also means our bakers are no longer the big strong men they used to be.

Thank you for some extra information on female bakers, very interesting.

Bread or Blood!

The chicken food bread for the poor is quite impressive.

I love how the bakers gain so much more respect for their predecessors.

The ‘cake’ is amazing an it must have been fantastic to experience a harvest feast back then.

What a shame that the world of the rural bakers ended.
As awful as it was for many, there is no denying there was a certain idyllic an romantic side to it.

Next episode will be about the industrial revolution.
I can’t wait.

Conclusion; this is a very good show.
Rather educational, lots of fun experiments, wonderful participants, no drama and as far as I can see, very historically accurate and authentic.
I look forward to the next episode, although it does make me very hungry and I think you should have some fresh bread within reach while watching this.



2 thoughts on “Victorian Bakers, episode 1

  1. Pingback: Pioneer Quest, a year in the Real West, episode 7 | Historical Reality Television

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

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