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24 Hours in the Past

was aTV series first broadcast in 2015. Six celebrities were immersed in a recreation of impoverished life inVictorian Britain. Each of the four episodes represented 24 hours living and working in four different occupations.

A key part of the series was its immersive nature. The four episodes were ostensibly filmed in direct sequence, and the participants lived, ate and slept in the often filthy conditions portrayed.[2]

Living history has become a popular theme in recent UK TV series, usually involvingRuth Goodmanand regular collaborators in a long-term series, filmed in intermittent episodes with a cast of historians. This series took a different pitch, using a continuous filming technique without the respite of hotels between episodes[3][4]and cast with the randomest collection of participants to create an air of surprise at their conditions.[5]

Ruth Goodman, well-known consultant historian and TV presenter for many living history series.

Ann Widdecombe, formerandcabinet minister

Colin Jackson, world championhurdler

A Victoriandustyard, where domestic rubbish was sorted. Some was then re-sold and recycled, such as rags, bones, sievedashfor building materials andpuer.

The cast work at a busycoaching inn, the

, built byLord Cobhamin 1717 as part of his estate atStowe. Visitors to the inn must be fed and fleeced rapidly, with their horses also attended to.

Ann Widdecombe begins a theme of the series, by protesting vociferously against working conditions.

Gladstone Pottery MuseumStoke-on-Trent

The cast move into theexpanding factories of the Victorian eraand begin work in apottery. Things progress badly, with further agitation by Ann Widdecombe inspiring astrikeandlockoutof the workers.

The cast, now presumed to bedestitute, were consigned to theworkhouse. After leading a refusal to wash, Ann was subjected tosolitary confinement.

Critical reception was muted. Perhaps surprisingly, the most scathing description as frustrating and pointless watching came from a more liberal newspaper,The Guardianthat might have been expected to make some political capital fromthe condition of the working class in England.[5]

Casting of the participants worked well as five of the six were a balanced ensemble. They cooperated as a team and supported each other through adversity. Nor were any of them well-known enough to the audience to engender preconceptions of their personalities or attitudes. The obvious exception wasAnn Widdecombe, the best-known of them and notable as a cabinet minister in theBack to Basicsgovernment ofJohn Major. With obviousschadenfreude, the audience revelled in her becoming a labour organiser protesting against their oppressive employers.[10][11]Although such casting could not have been made in ignorance, Widdecombe herself denied that any part was scripted and confirmed that all of the grim accommodation was genuine.[12]

Viewing figures were unimpressive. Although it did well against other programming in that slot, its series average of 3.3m (16%) was below the BBC1s slot average of 4.9m for the previous year. Viewing figures for the series dropped from 3.8m for the first episode[13]to 3.2m.[14]

Dog faeces, used in thetanningofglove leather. Pronounced, and often spelled, pure.

Ann Widdecombe(20 May 2015).It was not pleasant to live in Victorian times says Ann Widdecombe.

Lucy Mangan (13 May 2015).24 Hours in the Past: the randomest collection of participants in the BBCs weakest historico-reality-doc-thing yet.

Roz Laws (20 April 2015).BBCs 24 Hours in the Past: Alistair McGowan forced to shovel muck in the Black Country.

John Woodhouse (19 May Review: 24 Hours In The Past BBC1 ****.

24 Hours in the Past, BBC1 – TV review: Ann Widdecombe can identify with the bossy Victorians.

Kevin OSullivan (2 May 2015).Lesson in Victorian values for Ann Widdecombe as she spends 24 Hours In The Past.

24 Hours in the Past: Ann Widdecombe gets dirty.

Alex Farber (29 April 2015).24 Hours in the Past transports 3.8m.

Alex Farber (20 May 2015).24 Hours In The Past concludes with 3.2m.

Historical reality television series

2015 British television programme debuts

2015 British television programme endings

2010s British reality television series

English-language television programs

Television shows set in the United Kingdom

This page was last edited on 4 April 2018, at 08:48.

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