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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 July 2012
A lovely series, where the modern shopkeepers have to "go back in time" and run their shops as they would have been in different eras - Victorian, Edwardian, '30s, WWII, etc. The shops stocked only items from the relevant eras, the staff dressed and lived in that era - and their aim was to try and get people from the town to shop in their local high street again rather than the huge out of town places we have all become used to. We see the hard lives some of the traders endured - like the long hours and hard work Bakers' families had for very little return. And because the changes happen so fast, in the space of seven weeks, we can see so easily how the decline of our high street shops happened. Very, very interesting series. Would highly recommend it.
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on 21 December 2014
Amazing series. I am using this in the States in our Reading Class when we read Dickens' A Christmas Carol to learn and appreciate the Victorian Era. We created our own mini High Street in the hallway. It was amazing and watching the video was so helpful!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 1 February 2017
I liked the concept - recreating high street shops of a bygone era, with people plying their trades the way they would have at that time, and trying to sell their wares to modern customers.

Unfortunately, the makers tried to cram too much into this programme, and in consequence it was shallow and gave no real understanding of any trade or any period. There are several kinds of shops represented in several periods... the result is a blur.

Shortly before watching this series, I'd watched The Victorian Pharmacy with Ruth Goodman, which followed one trade in one shop in one period, and devoted several DVDs it. This gave gave me a real understanding of pharmacies, pharmacists, medicines and patients/customers in the Victorian era. When I watched The High Street, the contrast was painful. It was so rushed and shallow.

To make matters worse, the makers of these films didn't even stick to one time level in each programme. Instead, they made the participants act out several years in one week, and at the same time act out the week - something even a science fiction movie wouldn't attempt. For example, one day the baker accepted an order for a decorated wedding cake, and the men marched off to fight in the First World War. A few days later, the war had ended and the men came back... and they were making the wedding cake that had been ordered. Huh? Four years to make a wedding cake?

Also, the programme lacks all realism. For example, the shopkeepers had to prove that they could make profits, and competed against each other in this. But since some arrived to well-stocked shops with valuable goods ready to sale, while others had to buy the ingredients in order to have something to sell, some this was an uneven 'contest'.

The programme makers clearly couldn't decide if they wanted reality TV, a contest, a documentary, a renactment, or what. It's all mixed up, and not in a coherent way.

I recommend the history DVDs with Ruth Goodman and her team instead. Those focus on a particular subject and a particular period, and provide real information, practical experiments and historical reenactments in a convincing manner
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on 7 February 2015
Very interesting and enjoyable to watch and much praise to those involved who took time "to live in the past" for the benefit of others to watch, showing commitment and they engaged well with the locals who were assigned to shop in their stores alone for the duration of the experiment. Quite a few eye openers and revelations as to how our high streets performed, their attitudes and why they suffer somewhat today. Each episode focuses on one era and the variety is enough to keep even youngsters entertained. Loved it and well worth a watch for all
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on 9 January 2015
If you miss the good old days when there was lots of lovely interesting shops on the high street and you could spend a day in town and actually come home with what you went for then this may interest you, also if you like historical documentaries this is a good one, every episode shows a different era on the high street and the families run their shops as it would have been then. Very interesting and informative. Also quite sad because you realise what society has lost.
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on 25 April 2014
This is a marvelous series. The folks who took part learned much more about the past times than they expected...the romance about the past quickly disappeared as the participants in this series learned just how difficult it was to earn a living in much earlier days in those 'simpler times'. Lots of fun uncovering knowledge of what was required to run businesses on High Street in times gone by...
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on 14 July 2013
Excellent DVD which I purchased for myself and I love it, one the best DVD'S I have seen in a long time.
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on 7 November 2015
Excellent British series that shows trough a real life experiment how life has changed for high street shop owner in the last two hundred years. This is a history lesson you will not forget. I wish history was taugh this way in schools.
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on 7 February 2013
Very interesting viewing. This series sure teaches us, that our shopping habits have very direct consequences. My heart went out to the butcher.
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on 1 January 2016
I knew I'd enjoy this as I saw a couple of the episodes on free-to-air. It was both enlightening and very entertaining.
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