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Interview: Rosalind Robshaw

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Upon first glance, Rosalind Robshaw is your ordinary 17 year-old school girl. With the threat of A-Level exams looming, History homework is the activity of choice before we begin our conversation on a wet Sunday afternoon in March.

An interesting choice considering the journey she has already been on; one that has whisked her through a whole century of English social history. The great depression, two world-wars, the roaring 70s, Robshaw has experienced it all through her dinner plate, sharing it with the nation on BBC Two’s Back in Time for Dinner.

“I really enjoyed it. I’m really really glad we did it. It’s just so weird and out there, its like how did you spend the summer, ‘oh I’ve just been in the 1940’s.'

“We learnt a lot, it was just really fun because the crew are really really nice and we could just mess around with them. On the whole, it was really positive.”

After travelling through 100 years of English life – from 1950 to 1999 in series one, and 1900 to 1949 in series two – Robshaw is quick to note two time-periods which stand out from the rest during her family’s time-travelling adventure, which she shared alongside parents Brandon and Rochelle, and her siblings Miranda and Fred.

“In the first series, the decade I enjoyed was the 1980s just because the retro theme is kind of coming back so it wasn’t so weird and out there, but it was really different and was so much fun.

“We had all the fast food and the sweets and the snacks, and the hair was crazy."

“Also in the second series I really liked the Jewish meal we did in the 1930s because we learnt a lot about our family history which we didn’t know.

“They did the Battle of Cable Street and we found out that my great-great grandfather lived there and was in the battle, that was so cool and a really fun day.”

As well as enjoyable, the experience seems to have been enriching and eye-opening for the 21st century British teenager. The experience forced the family of five to swap afternoons spent on phones and applications to take up pastimes of yesteryear instead, such as baking and sewing.

“You kind of forget how much we kind of depend on the Internet. I don’t think that I’m on the internet all the time but then when I’m sitting down I’ll get my phone out and check my Instagram, or you just sit down and watch some TV and you don’t really think about it.

“So, when you actually don’t have that you have so much time on your hands and you're like, 'hang on what do I do with this?' A lot of it was really boring but I guess that’s good because that’s how it was back then.

“But it’s weird because I don’t know whether they actually would have been bored, or because they hadn’t known any different, then it just becomes normal.”

A life-changing and eye-opening experience that BBC Two viewers have enjoyed just as much as the Robshaw family. Surely A-Level History will never be the same again.

 Photo Credit: Duncan Stingemore




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