High Street Dreams w/t (6x ) – A new documentary series that will take one parade of empty shops back to the 1870s as five shopkeeping families from a variety of trades travel back to the 1870s to experience the heyday of the British high street.
Over 10 weeks they will face the challenge of running their shops in six very different eras of British history, from Victorian Britain and the birth of the British high street right through to the 1970s.
The modern-day shopkeepers will take on the traditional roles of butcher, baker, grocer, ironmonger and dressmaker. Their historic shops will be kitted out exactly as they would have been in the past and they’ll trade as authentically as possible.
So alongside all the usual pressures of running a business, they’ll have to learn old-time skills and make their own produce by hand, while each programme will throw new challenges their way as the high street marches on into the modern era.
The families will also live the life of each period, dressing, eating and playing as they would have done in six iconic eras of British history. They’ll have to deal with whatever history throws at them, from gaslight to 18-hour working days and from rationing to evenings of entertainment sitting around the wireless.
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?
Producer: Wall to Wall
Source: BBC press release