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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 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 Christmas 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

On TV

Christmas Day 2018 09:00

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

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

  • Christmas Day 2016 21:30
  • Boxing Day 2016 12:50
  • Boxing Day 2016 15:30
  • Sat 31 Dec 2016 02:30
  • Thu 21 Dec 2017 14:50
  • Thu 21 Dec 2017 15:00
  • Christmas Day 2018 09:00

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