Main content

Episode 2

Pupils and teachers embark on a time-travelling adventure. The class enters the interwar years. They learn bizarre new languages, test the latest gadgets and run wild in the woods.

The time-travelling pupils and teachers prepare to enter the interwar years. Starting in 1918, their lessons begin with the language of peace, Esperanto. As the pupils grapple with strange new words, the teacher struggles to master the latest teaching resource - a wind-up gramophone. In 1920, the pupils line up for a bizarre school medical, having their lung capacity and even head circumference measured as a sign of their intelligence, before receiving a healthy but very unwelcome dose of cod liver oil. The classroom moves outdoors as the pupils have their first taste of experimental teaching. Our class takes a spelling test al-fresco, followed by a silver-service lunch of boiled mutton, potatoes and bean stew. Finally, the headmaster announces a surprising treat - it is time for the class to take their compulsory nap!

There is a mutiny in the classroom as it is announced boys will learn science and make a model zeppelin, while the girls tend to dolls and fold nappies. And it is not just the pupils who are feeling the gender divides in this era - female teacher Sue is sent packing as marriage bars come into force. As she leaves the school, a new male teacher arrives to take her place.

The pupils test out the latest craze of the Pogo stick before Sara arrives in 1927 to take the class for a special lesson with another gadget - the brand new wireless. Together, they try to master the art of speaking 'the King's English' - the accent of the upper classes. For our Midlands pupils, it doesn't come easy, and they have certainly never learnt a lesson via radio before! In 1929, the Charleston has swept across the Atlantic and into staff rooms and as our teachers test out their best moves, our very 21st-century children prepare to learn the more traditional pastime of English country dancing. Their parents and friends arrive to witness them performing a 'strip the willow'.

It is out with the old traditions and in with the new as the pupils leave the classroom and head into the woods to experience the freedom of 'the forest school'. Whittling wood, making rope swings and building tents, the students are left to their own devices, which is exactly how they like it. The boys have a surprise in store when they start their PE lesson in 1937, with a routine inspired by the Hitler Youth. Military training in schools signals an impending war, and so the boys take part in a patriotic march. As the era draws to an end, our modern day pupils are shocked to be taught how to use gas masks, and the school holds a Dig For Victory party to encourage students, friends and family to support the war effort. Finally, the kids collect their suitcases and gas masks and leave and experience what it might have been like for the 70,000 children evacuated from Birmingham schools in 1939.

12 days left to watch

59 minutes

Signed Audio described

Clip

Music Played

Adding a track to My Tracks will no longer be available from late March

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

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Sara Cox
Presenter Polly Russell
Aerial Photographer Aerovue
Camera Operator Duncan Stingemore
Camera Operator Nik Porter
Camera Operator Tom Slee
Sound Supervisor Bal Rayat
Sound Paul Taylor
Lighting Key Light Hire Ltd
On-line editing Dan Thomas
Colourist Chris Short
Re-recording mixer Paul Donovan
Production Designer Peter Gordon
Art Director Rosie Westwood
Art Director Hannah Newcombe
Graphic Designer Leonie Tucker
Costume designer Mark Ferguson
Makeup Artist Veronica McAleer
Runner Oliver Comer
Runner Holly Beaumont-Wilkes
Runner Chantelle Stewart
Runner Ellie Davies
Assistant Producer Pamela McIntyre
Assistant Producer Rajveer Sihota
Casting Stephanie Wessell
Casting Claire Parry
Production Secretary Sophie James
Production Coordinator Ross Stanley
Production Coordinator Jade George
Production Manager Jeanne Clenet
Line Producer Emily Assael
Producer Sophie Wogden
Executive Producer Emily Shields
Editor Joe Pedder
Editor Jane Harris
Second Unit Director Claire Martin
Second Unit Director Francis Welch
Director Laura Ellings
Series Producer Christina Nutter
Series Producer Morgana Pugh
Production Company Wall to Wall Media

Broadcasts

  • Thu 10 Jan 2019 20:00
  • Sat 12 Jan 2019 18:30
  • Fri 25 Jan 2019 01:15