Further back in time for dinner, episode 4

Episode 4, the 1930s.

Fair warning, the 1930s and 1940s are my area of expertise.
As a historical consultant I advice film, tv and museums on this era and consider myself obsessed with this era.
So I may pay (even) more attention to all the little mistakes I spot.
Sorry.

Here we go, skip to 1:55 to skip the spoilers, reminders, etc.
Splendid music of course, what a lovely music they had back then.

Always nice to see how the house has changed but the kitchen isn’t quite right.
I know that linoleum was very popular in this era but back then it was thick and hard, not like thin stick on stuff.
The peculiar choice of “linoleum” in the kitchen (parquet) looks like it was put on in a hurry, with bubbles and folds still visible.
The cabinets look a bit iffy as well, the same MDF ones from the 1920s but with dark wood doors.
Again the cooking range is a modern one with some bits and bobs added to camouflage this.
The further along we go into the future the stranger it is that they still use this contraption.
I can believe it may be difficult to find a working Edwardian cooker that is acceptable for the (very wimpy) health & safety rules, but 1930s cookers were already a lot saver, easier to find and it wouldn’t be that much hassle to convert one to work on modern gas.
I myself use a 1930s cooking range and it hasn’t exploded yet.

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The sitting room is rather nice, the furniture is lovely but there are also a few bits and bobs I find sticking out.
Such as a lamp on a dresser that is clearly a desk lamp, not a reading light for behind the chair and the pink wallpaper isn’t something I’d expect in a 1930s living room.
And modern art on the wall?
This is a (lower) middle class family, I’d expect the home to be a little more conservatively decorated, not to mention that there would be some remnants of earlier years.
Nobody completely redecorated every 10 years, it would be very rare to see a home that didn’t have some things that they’d had for decades.
I think it would also be fun for the viewers to spot some things from previous episodes.
The radio gramophone combination is in a bit of a strange spot, right in front of the windows.
But does it work?
In my house I have a 1930s radio that has been connected to a MP3 player that literally contains weeks of music and original broadcasts that it plays on a loop via the original loudspeaker.
In many of these shows the family only use the radio on a specific moment when the production team has prepared a recording for them.
Which is always interesting but less fun than a radio that broadcasts all the time.
The main thing missing is of course the ashtray and some cigarettes.
Maybe the entire family does not smoke but in the 1930s you’d at least have those to offer to guests.
You wouldn’t want to appear a bad host!

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In the dining room again some modern typical 1930s furniture but some Jugendstil wallpaper that seems more 1920s or 1910s.
It is also odd to see the wall that has been divided in 2 parts has the same wallpaper above and below the partition.
It was very common to paint the bottom half of a wall and use wallpaper or a different kind of paint on the top.
Not only does this make your room appear bigger, it also meant that you could use a cheaper and stronger material at the bottom which would of course get dirtier and also damaged more often.

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The larder looks great, lots of nice packaging but as I mentioned earlier, thanks to the internet and decent computer printers there now really is no excuse any more to mess reproduction packaging up.
Not so sure about the authenticity of those cream crackers boxes though.
The art department may have been unable to find a few brands online and made up their own design.
Thanks for reminding us this era was one of poverty and unemployment and that, yes, most people were actually not unemployed and life was better than it had ever been before for many others.
The costs of food did go down, not just because of the global depression but also because of the improvement of food production, factories, transport, competition, etc.

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Here comes our family.
The ladies don’t appear to be wearing proper 1930s stockings.
These were often thick and shiny, because the material was silk or artificial silk.
And the most popular colour was not skin but Rust.
So either the ladies are wearing thin, skin colour nylon stockings (not available back then) or they are bare legged, which would be shocking.
The long wild wavy waved hair is also not typical 1930s, hair for women was often short, either cut short or done up to be more practical.
And it was rarely longer than shoulder length.
Not saying it is completely impossible and never happened, most girls would have just had it shorter.
The long hair is a bit ‘vampish’, movie star like.
Very glad to see the chaps have had a proper hair cut though, short back and sides, especially Fred looks rather spiffy.
They very rarely get this right for tv or movies.
Bravo!

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Good news for everyone; Debbie will return!
Her hair is also a bit too long and wild, just like with the other women but with her it looks even more out of place.
After all, she is doing a lot of work, you’d want to pin that hair up!
As for cleaning the windows, I’d use old newspapers, not brown paper.

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The recipe looks interesting, not to mention the ‘Easiwork health cooker’ which would probably be blown up by the army if you left it outside somewhere because it looks like a bomb.
What a diabolical device!

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When frying, you may want to try using a little butter, these old pans don’t have non-stick coating.

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Chocolate was indeed huge in the 1930s and what a wonderful idea to make Fred a chocolate tester, famous writer Roald Dahl was one as a child in the 1930s and this of course was a huge inspiration for his book ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’.
This is a very nice scene and also quite educational.
Well done for setting this up production team.
Ah and there is the Roald Dahl anecdote I just mentioned, thank you producers and well done for adding that to the episode as well.

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Mr. and Mrs. Robshaw go out, with the car and what a beauty it is.
They don’t make cars like that any more, modern cars are so ugly and boring compared to this baby.

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Nice to see some dancers in that wonderful Inn, go on, show these youngsters how it’s done.
And nice to see the seams on the legs of that lady on the left.
She is either wearing stockings with a seam or has gone for the WW2 trick of painting seams on your legs.
She’s also had her hair done and is wearing a suitable dress.
She stands out for putting some extra effort into her short appearance in this show.
Well done for that.

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What a wonderful era when people on their day off dressed up, went for a drive, had a meal and followed that with a proper dance.
So classy, so much classier than what most people consider a day out these days.

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Ah the old fashioned shopping experience.
It may seem like more work and it would take more time to go to different shops for different things compared to going to a supermarket, but it was so much nicer.
In every shop someone polite would help you out, would pick your items for you, weigh them, wrap them up and even put them in your bag for you.
Not to mention that these shopkeepers often had been running that shop for decades and knew more about their goods than any temp working at a supermarket will ever know, if they could ever be bothered to put any effort into customer service and help you with your enquiries that is…
And if you ran out of money, your local shop would often write your bill down so you could pay later.
Try that at Tesco’s….

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A ‘tasting meal’, what fun.
Cheese, fruit and lots of wine.
Oh goodness, Mr. Bradshaw turns into a blushing young boy when he opens the door to one of his tv Heroes, Jilly Goolden.
Quite adorable.

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Ooooh my they are going to drink a 1933 bottle of wine!
I don’t like wine at all, but I would love the idea of drinking something bottled in 1933.

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The Hollywood diet, I’m not keen on grapefruit either.
I also think that a few 1930s starlets that swore by this diet, may have forgotten to mention they also used quite a few nasty and now illegal products they may have swallowed, snorted and injected at the same time as being on this diet.
Shhhh.

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Another brilliant idea by the production team; we’re going to see how Debbie lives.
She only eats Tomato soup and bread.
I know she’s poor but I reckon she could add some diversity in her diet if she’d went to the market in stead of a local shop.
Not to mention that she could probably take some leftovers home from the Robshaws.

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What fun to organize a film evening at home.
It looks like they’re actually using a projector with an old film, which is not easy to organize.
Some shows would have faked this with a modern beam projector.

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How wonderful to spend some time talking about the battle for Cable Street when the British fascists were taught a lesson, in the face.
Celebrating the victory with a proper Jewish traditional meal.

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The house is still too bright.
Please TV people turn down those lights!

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Another TV celebrity comes over, Ainsley Harriott brings us sliced bread!
A great invention, especially if Mrs.Bradshaw is your bread cutter…

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Another great idea; bring the family to a swimming pool!
Quite fun to see them all in 1930s swimwear frolicking by the water.

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Rochelle her sunglasses are a bit pointy though, round was more fashionable at that time.
If I am not mistaken pointy sunglasses didn’t really come into fashion till the 1940s and that was in the USA.

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Very nice to see them have a picnic by the pool, who still does that?
Cellophane was a great invention, but the cellophane I’ve used is generally isn’t as soft and stretchable as the material they seemed to have used in this show.
I think they went for plastic wrap in stead of cellophane.

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Wonderful to see the old footage of people enjoying themselves by the seaside.
How come it always looks like people knew better how to have fun back then?
So sad that an era when so many things were getting so better and when there was so much progress, when the future looked so bright, the very dark clouds coming from Germany would ruin it all.
Here is the staged radio moment, the family getting together to listen to a clip prepared by the production team.
I wonder if it at least comes from the direction of the radio.
Either way, listening to old news in a historical setting with an old wireless is an extremely impressive experience.
I’ve done it many times but every time I hear a historical speech in such a surrounding, it gives me goosebumps or even makes me cry.
No matter how often I’ve heard those old news broadcasts.

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Time for an ‘end of decade party’.
Oh wonderful, Mr. Bradshaw plays the ukulele and sings a George Formby song, I’m a big fan!
A great party and a rather nice decade, everyone agrees.
The party is interrupted by another radio broadcast, the one that always brings tears to my eyes, every time I hear it.

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One thing I missed in this episode is an evening at the cinema.
Going to the movies was never so grand and exciting as it was then, it was a golden age of film.
I would have loved to see the Bradshaws dress up, go to a wonderful old Art Deco cinema, hear the organ play, see an acrobat act on stage, see the news broadcasts, a cartoon, the main feature, etc, etc.
An evening out modern people can barely imagine.

Anyway, a decent episode that ends with the cold shower of a war coming.
Press stop at 58:13 if you don’t want any spoilers of next week’s episode.

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One thought on “Further back in time for dinner, episode 4

  1. Yes, Freddie looked great in that ultra-short schoolboy haircut (in the 1930’s episode). Pity he didn’t keep it for the 1940’s as well. By the by, his 1940’s outfits did seem a little unlikely to me. Like most British schoolboys, he would have probably been dressed entirely in grey flannels – baggy shorts, blazer, open-necked schoolboy’s shirt, stockings etc – rather than the pantomime get-up that he seemed to be wearing!

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