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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2009
I can only agree with the previous reviews. This is television at its very best and I am eagerly awaiting the DVD so that I can enjoy the programmes again. Ruth, Alex and "Fonz" bring such enthusiasm and expertise to the project but maintain a warmth and sensitivity that are often missing from other "experts" used in history programmes. Incidentally, in an email contact with Ruth Goodman, she informed me that, although the team are not permitted to live in the farmhouse itself - health and safety rules gone mad again! - they are staying in the old manor house in apartments that have changed little since Victorian times - no heating, hard beds and few home comforts! Braver than many so-called celebs!

If you haven't seen the earlier series - "Tales from the Green Valley" - then that is another delight that awaits you! This is what television was created for!
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on 9 August 2017
Watched this a second time around since the TV series.It seems to be a shortened version on DVD .I am sure there are a few scenes missing. Nevertheless I enjoyed what I saw.
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on 14 April 2017
Very good enjoyed very much
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on 23 February 2009
Followed with great interest 'Victorian Farm.' However, appearances can be deceiving. The participants were well educated healthy adults who knew that the project would end in 12 months. They were not Victorians reared on a farm. For them each and every day held new and interesting experiences. Not the reality of life-long unending drudgery of Victorian farm life. No crticism of the professionals who took part. I was part reared by Victorian grandparents who between 1860 and 1888 lived and worked on farms. In their young, adult and married lives they knew great hardship and the death of siblings and immediate relations from infectious diseases. Five alone died from the effects of pulmonary tuberculosis. They did not come from happy laughing families revelling in country air,'organic' food, the comforts of the cosy pub, church festivals and other imagined pleasures of country living. So, if viewers fondly imagined it was a way of living we should not have lost and which we should try to partially revive (the 'good bits') my late grandparents would soon have disabused them. Life under squire/landlord/laird and toiling on their land or, 'the big house' was not for them or their remaining siblings and they left for the city.
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This was such a breath of fresh air. A wonderful series presented by three excellent presenters. We loved every minute of it. It so reminded me of my childhood living on a farm in rural Cornwall where we used horses and nothing went to waste. It also reminded me of how selfish and detatched we have become as a society. Overall a little oasis of a series in between violence and the usual rubbish that tv programmers call entertainment. We have a samllholding and we might try to use our horse to do some work on it after seeing this series. We loved it and hope there will be more like it.
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The six hour-long episodes of the Victorian Farm series make for heart-warming viewing. The series follows a team of archaeologists and historians, helped by a cast of experts, to live on a working farm for a whole year using only the techniques and facilities of the Victorian era. The result is a thoroughly engaging, educational and entertaining programme firmly rooted in the traditions of British agriculture and rural life.
Similar programmes in the past have used untrained volunteers and subjected them to all manner of terrible traumas for the sake of dramatic TV. There is none of that in the Victorian Farm series, and it's all the better for it. The trio of main presenters are experts in domestic and agricultural history and they cheerfully tackle all manner of tasks with informed enthusiasm. To make the project feel `real' the team wear period clothes and use only the materials which would have been available in 1885.

The farm is at the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire; a breath-takingly beautiful area which provides a glorious (and frequently very cold) backdrop to the agricultural action. The Acton Scott working farm has preserved antique tools, buildings and machinery collected by the Acton family who have lived on the estate since the 12th century. The filming follows the team as they move into a Victorian smallholding which hasn't been used for 50 years, and turn it back into a working farm complete with rare breed pigs and sheep, a shire horse, dairy cows and free range fowl.
Throughout the year the team tackle the regular tasks of rural life - all without electricity or tractors, of course! They restore the cottage, thresh the wheat crop, sow a new crop, install a range for heat and cooking in the kitchen, fuel up with coal, make cider and preserves, learn how to shepherd livestock, build pigsties, tackles the four-day job that is hand-washed laundry, guides their ewes through pregnancy to lambing, fell wood to build fencing, catch rabbits for the pot, revel in the delights of ginger pigs, look after a lame horse, experience steam power, try beekeeping and bring in the harvest. Not everything goes smoothly for the Victorian farmers and we learn alongside them - how to check if a ewe is pregnant, or making lip balm from mutton fat. All of it is fascinating.

I'm pretty sure that life for a Victorian tenant farmer would have been grim, compared to the jolly atmosphere presented on the programmes - but just for once it is enjoyable to watch a series which isn't all about disasters, conflict, arguments and bad-tempered aggression. The Victorian Farm series instead shows how our grandparents could have lived off the land, how human ingenuity can tackle seemingly impossible tasks without the aid of full industrialisation, and how close we have come to losing some skills altogether.
If you really enjoy warts-and-all reality TV then this series probably isn't your cuppa tea. It is artfully crafted, with a schedule of experts to coach the team through difficult tasks. It doesn't feel as if the team are really struggling to live a 100% authentic lifestyle - I got the feeling they were probably going home most nights and weekends to 21st century comforts! - but it is NOT intended to be an endurance test. The scope of a full year spent on the farm allows the programme to demonstrate the natural progression of the seasons and the way they used to affect the men and women who lived directly off the land.
This is an absolute gem of a series; intelligent, educational and entertaining. Top marks, and I'll happily watch it all over again in a few months time.
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on 5 February 2009
What a tremendous series. It has something for everyone. I really enjoy programmes like this in that it enables us all to consider how our ancestors lived and how "green" they were. The series is inspirational and I am keen to try my own cheese and bread making and how I long to have a wood stove. I also found it amazing to view how much Victoriana still exists - from farm tools to trains!!

My daughter is studying animal management and she was so taken aback by the birth of the calves, sheep and piglets - seems like the processes for birth haven't change since Victorian times.

The Victorians worked hard but really did benefit and they didn't take things for granted and their make do and mend mentality should be applauded.

In these times of recession this set of DVDs is not just great entertainment but a welcome chance to see how to make the most of the basics in life. Well done BBC. More please
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2009
This is a wonderful series. It is pointless to criticise the show for using 'experts' who didn't live in the house full time. Both Ruth and the narrator pointed out that it was not possible to live in the house (Ruth slept in her straw bed for one night, to 'try it') and I, for one, really enjoyed watching three 'experts' try old methods, and machinery, without showing off to the camera. If there are criticisms to be made, I would mention some of the dodgy continuity. Some of the local experts got welcomed to the farm after already appearing the previous week. Peter's girth also seemed to change dramatically, from episode to episode. But, that was all part of the fun, helping to make Victorian Farm the most enjoyable re-construction show since...well...Tales from the Green Valley. Please, Ruth, Alex and Peter...make another show! War Time Farm anyone? I can imagine Peter building a Pill Box out in the fields and Alex signing up for the Home Guard. Ruth, as always, will be keeping the war time fire burning, back at the homestead...or, training to become a Wren!
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on 13 November 2009
I purchased this for my 12 year old daughter a year or so ago and, since then, all adults and children from 4 upwards have been enthralled by it. The films are very well shot, entertaining to all ages and highly educational. People who let their children watch them by themselves say that they are often perplexed afterwards when the little ones point out features of old buildings or the landscape and know how and for what purpose they became as they are. Even for people who think they know a lot about our past and heritage this will be very enlightening. It will associate previously disparate pieces of information into an understanding of the rural way of life during Victorain times as a whole. I would recommend this series for anyone who has a love of our heritage and the countryside, and/or who would like their children to do so.
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on 18 January 2013
I had already purchased the Christmas version, but was so interested in what came before. This was just wonderful! Talk about starting from scratch! You get to see the farmhouse being restored and made livable, pig sties being built and inhabited,lambs and piglets and chicks being born....dresses made, and of course, the food! Just so interesting and the enthusiasm of Ruth and the boys is just infectious! Great family viewing - for the city folk and the country fold alike.
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