Turn Back Time: The High Street (2 DVDs)

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Product ID AV1335
Duration 6 hrs. approx.
Turn Back Time: The High Street (2 DVDs)
How has your High Street changed over the past 100 years? For the better? For the worse? Forever?

A group of modern shopkeepers and their families have been on the journey of a lifetime – taking over empty shops in a neglected market square in Shepton Mallet to see if they can turn back time for the British High Street.

They have lived and traded through different key eras of history from the 1870s when the high street was born through to the 1970s. On the way they renovate, redecorate and restock according to the customs of the time through the Edwardian era, the 1930s, World War Two, the 1960s and 1970s. The shopkeepers make up the key trades: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and the grocer. Overseeing it all is an expert Chamber of Commerce headed up by greengrocer and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace.

Customers however, are trapped in the present day – but they too must learn to adapt to the methods of each decade, whether it waiting for coffee to be roasted, tea to be mixed or butter to be patted.

Meanwhile the shopkeepers must go way back before moving forward, to a time when convenience was far from the first thing on anyone’s mind – simply staying in stock with fresh produce was hard enough – and that’s before the rationing and deprivations of World War Two.

It’s an amazing adventure, giving great insight into so much that we take for granted today.

Episode Guide

Episode 1
A group of modern shopkeepers and their families are on the journey of a lifetime – they’re taking over empty shops in a neglected market square in Shepton Mallet to see if they can turn back time for the British High Street. They’ll live and trade through six key eras of history and in this episode they begin their journey in the 1870s when the high street was born. The shopkeepers make up the key trades, there’s the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and the grocer. Overseeing it all is an expert Chamber of Commerce headed up by greengrocer and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace. The shopkeepers soon learn that Victorian trading means truly going back to basics. The bakers struggle with back breaking work and baking through the night. The butcher must sell every bit of a giant pig and the Ironmogner realises that today there isn’t much call for mangles and mole traps. Over at the grocers 21st century customers must wait for coffee to be roasted, tea to be mixed and butter to be patted. While the town finds Victorian produce hard to stomach all the shopkeepers struggle to keep their customers onside in the run up to market day.

Episode 2
In this episode they’re moving into to the elegance of the Edwardian era. The butcher, the baker, the grocer and the ironmonger are joined by a dressmaker and together they must provide a modern town with the exceptional service and luxuriant shop displays worthy of the Edwardians. The baker’s family find themselves running an Edwardian tea shop, while the butchers must sell game in all its gory glory to modern customers. The grocer has trained staff but the challenge of creating an early 20th century wedding breakfast piles on the pressure. All the shopkeepers struggle with maintaining standards and it becomes clear that underneath its glossy veneer the Edwardian high street was a tough place for women and children. The arrival of call up papers reminds the traders and the town of the terrible impact that World War One had on our communities.

Episode 3
In this episode it’s the 1930s. Life should be sweeter this week as government regulations reduce working hours and cheap sugar means lots of sweets, confectionary and cake. Nostalgia boosts sales for the grocers who have masses of 1930s recognisable brands, the dressmaker has to sell thirties glamour to the town and the butcher has good old British beef. The Edwardian bazaar is now a toy shop reflecting the shopkeepers’ target customers – children. But it’s far from plain sailing; the Bakers find themselves running a cake shop but cakes aren’t their forte. Rivalry builds between the grocers and the butchers underminding the community spirit of the high street. The shopkeepers spend a week selling the 1930s to the town but they have to pull out all the stops for Empire day – a day for children, can they persuade a whole new generation of the joys of the traditional high street?

Episode 4
In this episode they and their customers are thrown into World War Two and for the first time profit isn’t everything. The shopkeepers find themselves dealing with rationing, promoting make do and mend and trying to persuade an entire town to pull together as it would have done sixty years ago. The grocer family struggle with wartime rules and regulations and customers have to decide whether to stick to rations or to buy from the black market. The bakers feed the town from their British restaurant while the butcher promotes mutton to modern shoppers. The dressmaker and the blacksmith convince the town of the benefits of 1940s style recycling. But shortages, an air raid and hungry customers all take their toll; will they keep the town onside in the run up to the VE day celebrations at the end of the week?

Episode 5
In this episode it’s the swinging sixties and big changes hit the high street. Every shop has transformed completely - 1960s mass production of meat, bread and clothing means the bakers find themselves running a milk bar, the butcher sells hardware and the dressmaker is now running a hair salon. The grocers has become self-service bringing a more modern shopping experience to customers. The bakers have to produce milkshakes and burgers while the dressmaker turns her hand to bouffants and beehives. The butcher finds himself in direct competition with the grocer. As the shopkeepers struggle with the changes in their trades the town sees first hand why Britain turned its back on traditional shops and embraced the supermarket. At the end of the week history dictates that for some it’s time to leave and customers realise just what they’re losing.

Episode 6
In this episode it’s the end of the journey for the shopkeepers and their customers as they move into the 1970s. There are two new arrivals, the Sandher family take over the general store and David Lashmar has the challenge of selling vinyl to 21st century shoppers from his 1970s record shop. A ‘70s boutique keeps customers abreast of fashion fads and townsfolk are soon decked out in glam rock, lounge wear and punk. Amidst the explosion of popular culture the supermarket reminds everyone of the part the 1970s played in our quest for cheap food and convenient shopping. At the cornershop the Sandher kids find out just how hard their dad worked when his family left India to set up shop in Britain and they are shocked to hear his memories of the 1970s. The record shop treats the town to a Eurovision winning band performance and all the traders prepare for a Silver Jubilee street party. The town has experienced one hundred years of high street history but will power cuts, the1970s shopping experience and the Great British weather dampen the community spirit that has built up over the years?

DVD Extras

Photo Gallery
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Price: £19.95

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