The Robshaws re-enacting middle class Edwardian life in the London suburb of Tooting
Everyone goes to everyone else’s houses,” my colleague told me, licking her lips. “And you just eat roast pork all day and drink rice wine.”
This was entirely true. And by midday on the fateful day I had begun to hide bits of roasted pork in nearby plant pots.
By the evening I had retreated to my room to groan on the bed, interrupted only by a visit from the building manager who’d thoughtfully brought me a few slices of roast pork.
It felt similar for the Robshaws, perpetual guinea pigs of the Further Back In Time For Dinner (BBC2) strand.
They’d starved through the post-war years, retched through the packets and processes of 1970s cuisine and now, re-enacting middle class Edwardian life in the London suburb of Tooting, they were going to get their reward.
Rochelle, the lady of the house, could do embroidery and attend tea parties, all the kitchen work handed over to a servant.
The whole family, meanwhile, got to savour fare that cost around a third of the average Edwardian’s annual income and was all about showing off.
It was with some delight that they all (minus young ’un Fred who had to eat with the maid in the kitchen) sat down to a dinner of mock turtle soup, ragout of grouse, devilled kidneys and Marlowe pudding.
The delight seemed a little strained next morning when a breakfast of lamb chops was served. Poor Mr and Mrs Robshaw then had to go and have a posh lunch at the Savoy, where well-off Edwardians first followed their King (Edward VII) in tasting the delights of French haute cuisine.
Then it was back home to prepare for an eight-course dinner party. By this stage the Robshaws had the grey, sweaty look of people trapped on a rough ferry crossing.
If the staggering quantities of meat and pudding weren’t torture enough, they also had to go for a walk on Tooting Common dressed as Edwardians.
You were left wondering what they’d done to deserve this.
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The Icelandic crime drama series Réttur did so well that the American broadcaster NBC bought up the rights for a US remake.
I can’t imagine tuning in, whereas the original Icelandic version, being shown under the translated title Case (C4), has at least the appeal of a unique society in a littleglimpsed location.
The subtitles aren’t a problem (not in these Scandi-obsessed times) but the sprawl of characters might be.
On one level it is your standard, glum Nordic cops bickering softly while they investigate the suicide of a talented young dancer.
Yet it is also about a disgraced alcoholic lawyer who has done time for a murder he swears he never committed and now works as a freelance muck-raker.
He’s just been hired by the biological parents of the dead girl who want to prove that her pushy, middle-class adoptive family drove her to kill herself and therefore owe them compensation.
Then there’s a youth worker who knows more than he’s saying about the girl’s final hours and a hatchet-faced gangster and a law firm undergoing a management crisis whose No.2 is connected in ways unclear to the muck-raker and the adoptive parents.
I’m not sure whose story this is or who to root for but as long as it serves up plenty of fjords, hot springs and ice fields I guess it’ll do.