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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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Turn Back Time – introduction

Turn Back Time

BBC One brings the story of the British High Street to life in Turn Back Time, an exciting and ambitious new series that transports four empty shops and a group of contemporary shop-keeping families back to the High Street's heyday in the 1870s, before propelling them through a century of dizzying change right up to the Seventies.

In the picturesque market square in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the families' lives are turned upside down as they get to grips with how shopkeepers lived and worked in six key eras of British history.

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

Alongside all the usual pressures of running a business, they'll have to learn traditional skills and make their own produce by hand – each episode throwing new challenges their way as the High Street marches on into the modern era.

They are overseen by Turn Back Time's own unique chamber of commerce (Gregg Wallace, Tom Herbert and Juliet Gardiner), which sets the challenges for each era and enforces accurate rules and regulations – revealing who has delivered on best customer service and weekly sales as the decades tick by.

The families will also live the life of each period, dressing, eating and playing as they once would have done – from 18-hour working days and wartime rationing, to evenings of entertainment sitting around the wireless, they'll experience it all.

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.

While the shopkeepers struggle with pounds, shillings and pence, will their customers welcome the old-fashioned delights of personal service and hand-delivered goods or will queuing, weighing and hand-wrapping tax their patience?

BBC Learning is also offering viewers the chance to continue the Turn Back Time experience in their own area. Working with local history societies museums, libraries and archives, Hands On History will offer a range of events and activities around the country, including a number of historical pop-up shops.

For more information visit Hands on History from Friday 15 October.

Launched earlier this year, Hands On History is a two-year BBC Learning campaign offering audiences inspiring opportunities to take the next step from watching programmes to discovering history around them.

Notes to Editors

Turn Back Time – The High Street is a six-part series for BBC One, to be screened in November 2010. It was commissioned by Martin Davidson, BBC Commissioning Editor for History & Business.

The series is produced by Wall To Wall, a Shed Media Group Company. The BBC executive producer is Cassian Harrison and the Wall To Wall executive producer is Leanne Klein.

History on BBC Television

The BBC is committed to providing a broad range of compelling history content across all channels and platforms. BBC history programmes are known for their thought-provoking themes, meticulous research and expert contributors.

Recent successes like the Battle Of Britain Season and The Normans demonstrate the BBC's continued investment in developing the genre. Audiences can continue their journey with BBC history by visiting


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