I've just started studying World War II with the kids at school, in particular showing them the CBBC series Evacuation and looking at rationing, air raids and life on the Home Front. They're actually finding it fascinating and it's bringing up a whole lot of things they'd never even considered before, such as not having a fridge, using outdoor toilets and surviving the blackout. I therefore couldn't believe my luck when I received a copy of Wartime Farm on DVD to review.
For anyone who doesn't know much about life in Britain during the Second World War, it gives a fascinating overview of the trials and tribulations of people in the countryside. I already knew quite a lot about the period but still found it very interesting, covering a lot of new ground that I was unaware of, in particular the pressure that the government put on farmers to make changes to their agricultural methods to support the war effort. I love the fact that I kept recognising little things that my own nan used to do, presumably left over from habits she'd got into during the war, and really admire the ingenuity of people at the time, coming up with highly resourceful creations like the "Murkey" mock turkey, made of sausagemeat with fake turkey legs fashioned out of parsnips ! I'd love to see what everyone would say if I served that up for Christmas dinner !
This was my initiation to the collection so now I'm keen to discover the two earlier series, Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm.
The blurb on the back of the box says : "Archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and domestic historian Ruth Goodman return to experience life on a farm during the Second World War. This latest experiment proves to be nothing short of a revolution in British farming, more akin to Soviet-style collectivisation than anything else. They must get more land than ever under cultivation, switch from livestock to arable farming, get to grips with new machinery and look to both Land Girls and Prisoners of War to help them grow that all-too crucial food.
Frugality and ingenuity are the order of the day as the team must cope with limited rations, shampoo made from soapwort, paraffin stoves, quilts made from old pillows and wartime recipes from cured pork to 'Mock Turkey' at Christmas.
This three disc set contains all eight episodes of the hugely popular BBC series which follows our experts for a full calendar year, as they use only historical tools and materials - only this time, their farming can make the difference between winning or losing a war, a matter of life and death."
I was surprised to see that it really appealed to 11-year-old Sophie and 7-year-old Juliette too, both for the historical aspect but also the timeless quality of learning about life on a farm. The eight hour-long episodes fill three discs but we were all so fascinated, we'd watched the whole series within a fortnight !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £25.99
Disclosure : I received a screener of the DVD boxset in order to write an honest review.
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