Victorian Farm Christmas on TVO


Here is program that sounds interesting – a reality show with some historical grounding:


Centred around the Acton Scott Estate in Shropshire, this special holiday series brings historians Ruth, Peter and Alex from the hit series Victorian Farm back to the estate to tackle an array of new farming tasks. They discover in depth how the Victorians created the celebration of Christmas as we know it today – from
greetings cards and Christmas carols to the rich array of festive food they put on the table. Mondays December 6, 13 and 20 at 7 pm and repeating December 21, 22 and 23at 8 pm on TVO.

Episode 1:

The Victorian farmers – Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn – return to the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire to celebrate a traditional Victorian Christmas.

There’s an enormous amount of farm work to be done on the estate in the lead-up to the festive season, including the hay harvest, to make food for the animals over winter. Having been thwarted last time by rain, the team anxiously monitor the weather.

Peter travels to the Royal Agricultural Society’s annual show with sheep expert Richard Spencer to choose a new ram for the flock; back at the farm, Ruth makes mincemeat for the Christmas mince pies. She also prepares for the hoped-for hay harvest celebration with some essentials – bread and butter.

Monday, December 6 at 7:00 PM
This show repeats on:
Wednesday, December 8 at 12:00 AM on TVOnatario (Cable 2)

Episode 2:

The Victorian farm team tackle their biggest project yet: restoring the village blacksmith’s forge. First they must make bricks to restore the chimney – a full five day and night process in which the farmer gets no sleep.

As winter marches on and Christmas nears, they must source a yule log: firewood to burn for the Twelve Days of Christmas. At the cottage, Ruth winter-proofs the house, making a paper blanket and remedies for chilblains, rheumatism, coughs and colds.

It is also a chance to begin preparations for the Christmas banquet in earnest – in particular, a very Victorian invention, Christmas crackers. Ruth enlists the help of Christmas cracker historian Peter Kimpton.

Episode 3:

Christmas is coming to Acton Scott, but first there’s a huge amount of preparation to do. Ruth Goodman and food historian Ivan Day try their hand at making a Christmas pudding using the same methods as Bob Cratchit’s wife in A Christmas Carol.

Meanwhile, Alex and Peter light the forge for the first time to re-shoe the farm workhorse Clumper – the first time a horse has been shod at this forge in over five decades.

Alex goes in search of a Christmas tree for the banquet, while Ruth and Peter head for the Victorian town of Blists Hill for Christmas shopping. At the cottage, Ruth meets Debbie Bamford to dye an array of colourful Christmas ribbons to decorate the tree and the presents that sit beneath it.

Finally it’s time for the Christmas meal in the estate’s School Hall. With a rapturous toast to Queen Victoria and a quick trip to the cattle shed to wassail the animals, day turns into night and the drunken Victorian parlour games commence. The next morning it’ll be time for the team to bid a fond farewell to Mr Acton as they depart Acton Scott for good.

More information at:

On this website Alex, Peter and Ruth show how to make your own traditional Victorian Christmas. There are 25 exclusive how-to videos, which are not featured in the television programme, with activities ranging from authentic decorations, arts and crafts to traditional 19th century recipes.

You can also learn how to play Victorian Parlour Games, sing traditional Victorian Christmas Carols and make your own toy theatre. All activities come with full instructions and downloadable materials to help you make your own Victorian Christmas.

The Presenters

Alex Langlands is an archaeologist and historian with a fascination for the British landscape. He has excavated numerous archaeological sites in a bid to understand agricultural practices throughout history.

Peter Ginn studied archaeology at University College London and has since been an archaeological digger, supervisor and teacher.

Ruth Goodman is a historian with a particular interest in domestic social history and its interpretation to the public. She spent ten years as a historical advisor to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Globe Theatre.

The team were also historians on the BBC Two series Tales from the Green Valley, which saw them running a Welsh farm using 17th Century methods. Ruth also appeared in the BBC Two programme Tales from the Banquet Hall where she helped to make a Tudor feast. The team are currently filming, Edwardian Farm for BBC Two.

The Farm

The Victorian Farm series and website content was all filmed on the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire. It is a world frozen in time, lost in Victorian rural England.

Its buildings and grounds are stashed with antique tools and machinery collected by the Acton family who have lived at Acton Scott since the twelfth century.

There is also a Historic Working Farm founded by Thomas Acton more than thirty years ago and located on the estate’s home farm. It is run by Shropshire Council.

For more information visit