With viewing figures of some six million, the first series of 'Victorian Farm' proved enormously popular. To build on this success, BBC2 commissioned a three part series, 'Victorian Christmas', which is accompanied by a 'Make your own Victorian Christmas' website.
Produced by Lion Television, the documentary follows a team of three historians, Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn and Ruth Goodman, who recreate rural life as it might have been in 1885. The first series of six one hour episodes was filmed through four seasons in 2007 and 2008, and broadcast early the following year accompanied by a best selling book and DVD.
The second series of three one hour episodes sees Ruth, Alex and Peter returning to the estate in 2009 to tackle an array of new farming tasks and discover how the Victorians created the celebration of Christmas as we know it today.
'Victorian Christmas' transmits on BBC2 in December 2009. The first episode will screen at 9pm on Friday 11 December, repeated at 8pm on Sunday 13 December. Followed by episode two at 9pm on Friday 18 December, repeated at 7pm on Monday 21 December. The third and final episode is screened at 8pm on Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December, repeated at 8pm on Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December. For full listings and dates and times of repeats, click here.
Explaining why he chose the Acton Scott estate as the location for the series, David Upshal, Executive Producer of Lion Television, said: 'In an age when most landowners were busy obliterating all traces of the past to modernise their land and buildings, the Acton's lovingly preserved much of the history and heritage of theirs."
Rupert Acton added: 'Every now and again we are approached by TV and film scouts. On this occasion, I was able to offer a number of period buildings, including Glebe Farm and Henley Cottage, together with all the domestic bygones, tools and machinery of the Victorian era that met the producers' needs.'
The production team behind 'Victorian Farm' and 'Victorian Farm Christmas' returned to the estate in Autumn 2009 to film 'Escape in Time'. It is a new BBC2 daytime series of twenty episodes, presented by Ben Fogle. It features everyday families who spend a week living on the estate to rediscover lost skills, while competing against each other in mastering tasks and crafts from the Victorian age. 'Escape in Time' is scheduled to transmit in early 2010.