Turn Back Time – The High Street: The Edwardian Era

by Lisa McGarry

A group of modern shopkeepers and their families continue their journey of a lifetime as they are propelled through a century of dizzying change to live and trade through six key eras of British history.

They first set up shop in the picturesque market square in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and experienced the high street’s heyday in the 1870s. It’s all change in tonight’s episode though as the shopkeepers move into the golden age of shopping: the Edwardian era.

The butcher, baker, grocer and 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.

But these are no museums. The shops will be serving modern-day customers who are used to the pace and convenience of 21st-century shopping.

And they have their own “Chamber of Commerce”, headed by greengrocer and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, which is on hand to keep a watchful eye on the shopkeepers, making sure that they stick to the rules, regulations and technology of the day.

Customer service is top of the agenda in the Edwardian era but each shopkeeper faces their own challenges as they struggle with maintaining standards.

The baker family find themselves running a tea shop while the butcher 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.

As the days tick by it becomes clear that underneath its glossy veneer, the Edwardian high street was a tough place for women and children as the arrival of call-up papers reminds the traders and the town of the terrible impact the First World War had on communities.

Laced with real-life entertainment, family drama and human endeavour, the families have to deal with whatever history throws at them.

Tuesday 9 November
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE and BBC ONE HD