Further Back in Time for Dinner, episode 1

There have been a few ‘Back in Time’ series, this makes number 5 on the big list.
It saddened me that most of these shows took place in the post WW2 era so I was rather delighted to find out that this new show included the pre-WW2 years, just for me, I’m sure.

Further back in time for dinner, episode 1.
The 1900s.

As usual I simply write down my thoughts as I watch the episodes.
Which makes for not a very cohesive reading experience but on the other hand it can be fun to read my review as you watch the episode.
I hope.

Very nice to see the Robshaw family back.
Rochelle, Brandon, and their children Miranda, Ros and Fred are quite nice and rather willing to put a lot of effort into their time travelling experiences.
And seeing that they’ve done quite a few shows, it seems they are rather hooked on time travel.

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Of course, again, it is a shame that the episode starts with spoilers.
Skip to the 1:30 mark if you don’t want to see bits of what’s to come.
It is so nice to get a view of what the house looked like before the production team brought it back in time, but, and I’ve said this before, it would be so nice to show us a little bit more about this.
So far pretty much the only show that did this right is one of the first ones; The 1900 house.
They spend an entire episode on all the work that goes into creating this brick time machines.
But at least we see what the house looks like and it is wonderful to see it from a bland boring typical early 21st century interior into a much nicer early 20th century home.

I must say though that I’m not sure about the kitchen.
It looks like there used to be a partition wall there once and it was common back then to have a scullery in the back.
It still looks like an open kitchen and more industrial than the kitchen we’ve seen in the 1900 house.

During the introduction we’re told there is no electricity, which is excellent but somehow I’ve got a feeling we’ll still be able to see everything perfectly well lit due to TV people being too scared to film things that are a little dark.
The larder looks nice, but I wonder where the marble shelf is, these were used to keep food cold, or at least a little cool.
Mind you, they also have an ice box, quite fancy, but it looks like they didn’t use it.

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The packaging looks great but that is to be expected these days, thanks to the internet and good colour printers there really isn’t an excuse any more to not make good reproductions like these.
Our historian tells us that “this is the beginning of the birth of the brand”, I think a few Victorians might disagree with her.

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Wonderful historical footage and a bit of background information, many shows these days forget all about that and just go straight to the entertainment bit of watching modern people struggle with the past.

Here is the family, they look stunning in their Edwardian outfits, so much nicer than what people wear today.
I’m not an expert so I’m not spotting any mistakes that others might, but I can’t help wondering how authentic the undergarments are.
Glad to hear the ladies are indeed wearing a corset, not that they need one but because these have a huge effect on your stance, how you move, work, etc.
The Edwardian experience wouldn’t be the same without one and some tv shows sometimes cheat a little with the things the viewers won’t see anyway.

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As the family looks around the kitchen I spot a few dodgy items.
The bristles and brushes don’t look natural and that faucet seems a bit modern and wouldn’t a water pump be more authentic?
One of the girls thinks the kitchen would be smaller, I think she’s right.
Here is Giles, I wonder if he secretly would like to be in costume as well.

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I also think the front door may have needed a little more work.
That lock doesn’t seem very 1900 and what is that suspicious white box on the wall?

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And why didn’t they put in a sliding door between the front and back room?

Great to see the family being given a maid.
In ‘The 1900 house’ the family, specifically the mother could really not deal with the idea of having a girl do her work for her and bossing her around, the maid did not last long.
I hope the Robshaws embrace the idea a bit better.
19 year old Debbie Raw looks like she’s up for the job!
She is quite impressive, learning to become a chef and at 19 already a lot, a LOT better at cooking than I’ll ever be it seems.
It is nice to see Mrs. Robshaw feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of a servant, I guess that is modern progress for you.
I doubt I’d have any qualms bossing the poor girl around and making her work her fingers to the bone.
Debbie gets right to it, no time waste!

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The family debates the use of the bell to call Debbie.
Quite amusing!
Mrs. Robshaws chat with Debbie about the headyness if the calfs head in all its headlike headness, is hysterical.

Time to set the table, I feel a bit old fashioned now because giving cutlery its proper place is something I still do now and then.

Fred is send to the kitchen to eat with the maid, children don’t belong at a formal dinner.
I secretly quite like this.
Not just because kids more than ones have been a bit annoying during the few formal dinners I’ve had but also because it is just a lot of fun to see Fred being send to the kitchen even though of course he would not have been annoying as he’s a proper little gent.
But it also makes having formal dinner more special, more exciting.
Most of us modern people can barely remember the first time we went to a restaurant or formal dinner as its been part of our lives since childhood.
But if being allowed to eat with your parents was something that didn’t happen till you were in your teens, it would be a rite of passage, something you’d remember for ever.

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The Robshaws have gone from not wanting to ring the bell to really wanting to ring the bell all the time.
This amuses me, a lot.
I really like the family and it is a delight to see them enjoying their adventure.
Secretly I hope they go from “Ah that poor Debbie lets not abuse our power and lets not make her work too hard and lets be nice to her”  to “Debbie you lazy wretch get over here and do more work now!”.
Mind you, I reckon Debbie could have dealt with it even if the Robshaws became evil.
I am so impressed with the meal she made, works so hard and even though it is clearly a lot of work and very demanding, she is not complaining, not moaning and, so far, doing a great job.

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A new day, a new year.
The calendar looks awful, sorry folks.
Not sure if they did that on purpose but I am sure they could have made it look more period.

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One thing I am wondering about is the stove.
I’ve got a feeling that this might not be a proper old coal stove.
There is no sign of coal anywhere, Debbie doesn’t mention the trouble she would have had making it work properly and the plates on top look a bit out of place.
Did the production team camouflage an electric cooker as a Victorian one?

Breakfast is very impressive again, quite amusing that it is only day 2 and the servants bell is already in danger of falling apart because of overuse.

Mr. and Mrs. Robshaw visit the Savoy, they look amazing, especially compared to the chef they meet there.
I do not mean to be rude, but a little black dress and short hair is probably great for 2017 but not quite as nice as the long frock, amazing hair and wonderful hat from 1901.
Goodness the Savoy is wonderful
And that food looks stunning.

Oh no, a dinner party!
Although I like the idea and look forward to the stress this piles onto the family and their maid, I also kind of feel that regular day to day life without special events is interesting enough.
By giving the family these challenges you perhaps take a little away from their daily life as Edwardians experience.
I also think that if this was real, they probably would have planned such a big event for weeks in stead of just one day.

Busted!
That is a shame.
But my fears have been validated.
The cooker is not a proper Victorian cooker, it is an electric fake.
I am not sure why they did this, perhaps they had a very good reason for it, maybe Health & Safety rules have become stricter since ‘The 1900 house’, maybe they just couldn’t find a proper coal stove, I do not know.
But it is rather sad to see, it kind of takes away from what is one of the most important things in this show; the cooking.
Debbie does an amazing job but she is not doing it on a coal stove as she would have done in the 1900s.
I wish I knew why the production team did this.
Seeing the people of ‘The 1900 house’ struggle with their stove was a big part of the show and learning about the past.
Having said that, at least they put quite some effort into hiding the stove and making it look authentic.
It wasn’t till I saw the 4 knobs on top that I knew for sure.
But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
If they had used coal, they would not have escaped showing Debbie telling us how difficult it was to use.
I am sure they had a good reason to use an electric stove, but I wish I knew what it was and that they told the viewer.
Especially as an emphasis was put on hard labour, no electricity, rudimentary equipment, etc.

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Oh my a butler!
He looks like he could welcome your guests but also throw one through a window if they became rude.
My kind of butler.
And the mayor as a guest, very fancy.

Debbie is running a little late and the jelly is a failure, but nobody cares, she’s a hero.
I wonder if she used the ice box or if she put it in the larder.
And although perhaps it was quite unusual for Edwardians to shower someone’s maid with compliments, I don’t mind, she earned it.

Unfortunately I also spotted that they’re making the mistake everyone seems to be making and one I will not keep complaining about; the house is too well lit.
They have tv lights set up that makes everything bright, we can see everything, but it should of course have been darker.
Even with gas lights it would not have been this bright.

Time for a promenade.
They are the best looking people there.
If only people still dressed like that in the park.

Dress the dandy, what a game!!

Fred is feeling very much at home being “banished” to the kitchen.
I don’t want to embarrass anyone but I can’t secretly help thinking if Debbie is part of the reason why he enjoys being there so much.
Fred himself calls it a “hidden friendship”, which makes my romantic yet cold old heart flutter.

I miss bowler hats.

Why is Mr. Robshaw wearing a safety pin as a broach?

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Time to organise a tea party.
I wrote earlier that I’m not keen on having all these events in stead of just boring old daily life but I guess that if I was an Edwardian lady I’d be so bored out of my mind, I’d probably look for excuses to organise such things as well.

I love the idea of a party where guests are only allowed to stay for 15 minutes.
Even I could manage that.
And again, I really don’t want to be rude and insult anyone, but compared to people in modern clothes our Edwardian family looks so much nicer than their guests.
These kinds of parties would be quite beneficial to most people these days, we could all do with some lessons in polite conversation and etiquette.

Chocolate!
Did Fred cheekily keep one chocolate bar for himself by hiding it in his cap when presenting the other one to his family?

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Fondue time!
Brain time…
It looks horrific.
Nice to see our family being brave and just eating it.
So often you have people in shows like these being rather hysterical about eating something unusual.

Goodness me, the Robshaw family is musical!
Making music together and a singalong, what fun!
I miss this, so rare these days.

Poor Debbie is feeling a bit left out and the family finds it weird to not include her, which I guess is because they are just rather nice people.
I fear I would have been a lot less caring about the maid.
But it is great to see that the Robshaws are clearly trying to follow the rules.

I am not keen on sports, to put it mildly.
But seeing ladies in full Edwardian outfits (in stead of some scary skimpy patch of Lycra) shooting arrows might have even made me want to watch.
Not very classy of the presenter to suggest that the only reason Britain won so many medals was because the judges were all British.
Quite insulting to everyone involved back then.
If he had written that in a newspaper back then he would have been in big trouble.

And I know I am sounding like a broken record, but even in shirts and shorts, our chaps look a lot nicer than what athletes wear these days.
And champagne with brandy chasers makes everything better.
Drunk athletes… surely that would only improve sports?

Another face stuffing party to end the decade with!
Time to evaluate this weeks experience.
They hope Debbie will join them next week, I hope so too but I think she will be there only part of the experience.
When the First World War starts, she’ll probably join up as a factory worker to do her bit and then rather enjoy her freedom and not return as a domestic servant or she’ll get married.
Fred will miss her.

Debbie gets her say, the work was very hard, very tiresome and very lonely.
So she was really happy with Fred visiting even though he could also be annoying.
But being annoying is the duty of every child at that age.

I would have liked a little bit of contrast here, perspective.
Viewers right now feel sorry for Debbie, she herself might feel a bit sorry for herself, even the Robshaws feel a little sorry for her.
I think now would have been a good moment for the tv people to remind us of the kind of life Debbie would have had if she had not had that job or worse, if she had been put with a horrible family.
She was a very lucky Edwardian girl to have had that job.

End of episode, STOP your player at 58:18 if you do not want them to spoil next week’s episode for you.

First impression of this show is rather good.
The family is great, Debbie is amazing, costumes & hair are decent, set dressing is pretty good but could have been a little better here and there.

The official page to this show can be found by clicking here.

Update;
I asked about the modern cooker;

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