Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Christmas

Episode 4 of 4

How the Victorians invented Christmas as it's known today, through the eyes of four bakers, who make favourite festive products from a revolutionary era in British history.

How the Victorians invented Christmas as it is known today - as seen through the eyes of four professional bakers, who make favourite festive products from the most revolutionary era in British history. Featuring the long-lost centrepiece of British Christmas known as twelfth cake, mince pies with actual meat in them - tripe and roast beef, surprisingly recent innovations such as Christmas cake, cards, crackers and even Father Christmas, and the strange shapes favoured by some Victorians for their newly named Christmas puddings.

Historians Alex Langlands and Annie Gray are on hand to fill in the fascinating facts behind the transformation of the midwinter break - from a riotous 12-day affair with clear pagan elements which climaxed in early January, to the more respectable family-based occasion centred on 25 December.

Reflecting on an era when the gap between rich and poor was extreme, John Swift and Duncan Glendinning try their hand at baking for the upper crust, going to a country house kitchen to make the giant yorkshire pie which Queen Victoria would eat each Christmas, while their colleagues Harpreet Baura and John Foster MBE DL experience the harsher side of a Victorian Christmas, scraping by on the street. The team also make gingerbread decorations for the then new custom of the Christmas tree, toast the season with a punch which includes bread in the recipe, and discover why the whole community would rely on the bakers' oven to roast their Christmas lunch.

59 minutes

Last on

Sat 21 Dec 2019 12:00

More episodes

Previous

Next

You are at the last episode

See all episodes from Victorian Bakers

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:16

    The Philadelphia Brass Ensemble

    Good Christian Men, Rejoice

  • 00:18

    Nitin Sawhney

    Asian Elephants

  • 00:58

    Ambrosian Singers

    We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Credits

Role Contributor
Producer Peter Sweasey
Director Peter Sweasey
Executive Producer Cate Hall
Presenter Alex Langlands
Presenter Annie Gray
Production Company Wall to Wall Media

Broadcasts

Featured in...

What were the grim secrets of Victorian bakers?

What were the grim secrets of Victorian bakers?

Discover some shocking truths about Victorian baking practices