You have probably seen local dad and childminder Rob Ashby-Hawkins around in Sheen before, pushing a double buggy. On Tuesday you can watch him and his family transported to a very different era: the Fifties. BBC Two’s new six-part series filmed this summer, Back In Time For The Weekend will see the Ashby-Hawkins family live for one week in each decade.
Here is what the BBC Two website says about the new programme:
Like many modern families, the Ashby Hawkins home is stuffed full of tablets, computers, phones, and gadgets to distract them in their spare time. But for one summer they agreed to give up all their 21st century technology and travel back in time, to experience the radical transformation of our leisure time since 1950.
The family’s own home becomes their time machine as they are transported back to a different decade each week. Guided by presenters Giles Coren and social historian Polly Russell, the family’s entire experience is underpinned by The Family Expenditure Survey, a government study which ran from the 50s right through to 1999. The survey’s detailed spending records give us the best possible clue as to what families were doing with their leisure time across the five decades.
In episode one the family enter the 1950s, so it’s goodbye to their flat screen TV and hello to a piano, darning and a pipe to keep them amused. It’s the era of formality and austerity, as many families bought little more than fags and a spool of thread from week to week.
Dad Rob finds out that he’s expected to be handy with a tool kit, while mum Steph, who normally works full time, discovers that it’s not her tablet or phone that she’s misses, but the family’s white goods. Without them, she’s stuck at home for hours with all the washing, cooking and cleaning expected of a 1950s housewife.
But there are upsides: 16 year-old Daisy gets a chance to learn ballroom dancing, courtesy of Angela Rippon who was a teenager in the 50s, while 12 year-old Seth discovers the joy of the great outdoors, spam fritters included…
We’ve asked Rob about the show and although he’s not allowed to give away any details before the show airs, you can probably expect East Sheen and Mortlake locations to feature rather prominently. His children, Seth and Daisy used to attend Marshgate, now Seth is at Richmond Park Academy and Daisy goes to the famous BRITS School.
Rob is not only a full time childminder but also a comedian and writer (part time). “I’ve written two books which are being proof read at present and will be released under an alias at the end of March” — he told East Sheen Village. He’s also going to do a sketch show this summer: “I was going to do it last summer but the show took up all the time” — he explained, and said that he did the guest slot at the Bearcat Comedy Club in St Margarets last year which “went very well” but he’d like to try the sketch shows first.
The first episode of the series will be shown on Tuesday 2 February at 8.00pm – you can also catch Rob, Steph and Daisy on Tuesday morning at 9:05am on the breakfast sofa, promoting the show.