Back in Time for Dinner (2015– )

TV Series   |    |  Documentary


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Back in Time for Dinner (2015) Poster

A family goes back in time and realizes how bad it is.


7.9/10
158

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31 January 2017 | Adams5905
Irritating beyond belief!..
Having missed the first episode (1900-1909) of this series the last time it was shown, I sat down this evening to watch and criticize, and shall amend my previous review as appropriate...

Firstly, I wondered whether the BBC had actually consulted any real social historians (Polly Russell doesn't count, as evinced by her inability to translate Brandon's Edwardian wage into today's money-if the family were living on the equivalent of £20,000 p.a., they would certainly not have counted as middle class-see below) prior to the setup-the family is consistently referred to (not least by themselves) as 'middle-class', with the husband earning £500 p.a. (approx. £40,000 today) 'in business (clerking in the City-incidentally, when I started working in the City, in the late 1980's, I regularly lunched in chophouses, my favourite-and the priciest-being 'Simpsons in the City', now re-named 'Simpsons Tavern', and still going strong on Cornhill-unfortunately, it is no longer a male-only environment))', yet they live in a small semi-detached house, and only employ a maid-of-all-works. They would certainly have been at the bottom end of the spectrum. If Brandon was employed as a banking clerk, or similar, he would not have employed a live-in maid, but a 'daily', and his wife would have done all the cooking (although not the washing up, nor the waiting-at-table), and if they were genuinely middle-class, they would have lived in a larger property, which would have required further staff. At one point in this episode, the family sat down to a midweek five-course meal, including tinned soup, wood-pigeon and mutton... This would simply not have happened in such a household as this...

Glossing over the atrocious accents and (mis)use of language, all five family members (and Debbie, the maid) appeared to be dressed beautifully, and this rather suited the two daughters, who looked most fetching without makeup, but none of the women (apart from Debbie) seem to have the slightest idea what to do with their hair-the mother (Rochelle) always looked like she'd been dragged backwards through a hedge-a lady of this period would never have dreamed of leaving the house in such disarray, nor discussing her misgivings over rationing with her local grocer (he was in 'trade', and consequently of lower social standing).

Father and son (who has the only remotely authentic accent, although his vocabulary was rotten, and he suffers from the modern misconception that 'can' and 'may' are interchangeable... 'Can I-?..', 'Yes, you can, but you may not') both seemed to embrace the experiment fully, and both convey the impression that they were rather enjoying themselves. Not so much interaction from the daughters, but the mother never stopped bleating and complaining-and this was before she lost her maid to the Women's Land Army, and had to take over cooking duties herself-her family would have starved-she had absolutely no idea what she was doing (paper bags catching fire in an oven-Good Lord, what a surprise!) Somebody elsewhere has speculated that this family lived on takeaway food beforehand...

On the whole, the costumes and props are good, Brandon, Fred, Rosalind and Miranda all look fine (in fact Brandon seemed rather taken with wearing a hat), although it's quite obvious the ladies had no idea how to move in long skirts, but again, their mother let them down-far too much makeup, and whatever she wears, she always looks like a bag lady...

I know that this is a lightweight entertainment, but they could have done so much more with it-table manners during the 'Last Hurrah' supper were disgraceful-did no-one think to tell them how to eat soup correctly, and not to talk with their mouths full?.. Rochelle was even incapable of pouring out a cup of tea without making a mess of it-and did nobody think to tell her that you never hold the tea strainer above the teacup, and pour from the pot one-handed?.. Extremely bad manners... These are basics, and the two presenters, Giles Coren (whom I find incredibly irritating-doesn't he ever shave?), and Polly Russell ought both to know better.

They also rather missed the target with the whole Suffragette thing-this was not a petty trifle to discuss over tea, with an amusingly named board game to follow, but rather a serious social movement-as hostess, if Rochelle decided to wear a sash (even if only indoors), she would have had far more opinionated views-remember, neither her husband, nor her son were present...

So to sum up, the only real saving grace in this dog's breakfast, was the maid-of-all works, Debbie, who has now left the project. Better dressed, and better presented than her employer, ineffably cheerful, despite the back-breaking work schedule, and long hours, she simply tackled all tasks presented to her with an infectious enthusiasm... I wish her well in her new post-WWI career, whatever that might be...

All in all, a rather inconsequential programme, which, with better research, and more commitment, could have been so much better...

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Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Documentary

Details

Release Date:

17 March 2015

Language

English


Country of Origin

UK

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