About the Series:
Our cast of volunteers
is introduced. 7,800 people applied to take part in the
program and our group is drawn from all ages and all walks of life.
In the kitchen
, our Maxim trained French Chef de Cuisine will work alongside
a police control room operator, and 18-year-old
Lucy, a waitress at TGI Fridays.
Jean Davies takes on the
exacting role of housekeeper supervising
Jess in their housemaid roles.
Hugh Edgar, a consultant architect - now our butler - will have his work cut out keeping footmen
Charlie and Rob
about their work.
will be taking a welcome
break from her job as a casualty doctor to enjoy the life of a pampered Edwardian
lady with her family John,
a businessman, sister
Avril, a microbiologist and
marketing consultant, and sons 18-year-old
Jonty and nine-year-old
and Anna Olliff-Cooper have been bestowed with new titles and for the duration
of the series will be known to all as Sir John and Lady Olliff-Cooper.
The junior staff must rise early and work long hours. Their tasks are physically
demanding and they are told to expect no time off. But to the young volunteers,
this schedule is nothing compared to the awful formality and rigidity of Edwardian
life. Meals are eaten in silence. They sit in order of precedence and speak only
when spoken to by a superior. The servants are to have little access to their
families and ‘followers' are not allowed.
Meeting their new masters and mistresses is a humbling experience for the staff.
For the first time they see real Edwardian finery at first hand.
They are quick to guess that these are people who will happily expand into their
socially inflated new roles. The two staff who work most closely with the
family have also arrived. They are
Eva Morrison the ladies maid and
Reji Raj-Singh the tutor
to nine-year-old Guy.
Prospects are still looking bleak however for those downstairs. Lucy is missing
her boyfriend and finding it impossible to take orders from the French chef.
She packs her bag and leaves the rest of the staff to get on with the dishes.
It is clear from her departure that there is a lot to learn both upstairs and
downstairs over the coming few months. Managing the first dinner was hard enough.
In the future they will have to manage a grand political dinner, a fete, a
shooting party and a fancy-dress ball.
None the less, when a new hallboy turns up at the back door, he finds a house
firmly rooted in 1905. For
Kenny Skelton, as for all our volunteers this is
certain to be an adventure taking them as near as it is possible to get to
experience life in the past.
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