Wartime Farm (2012): S01E03


Wartime Farm is a British historical documentary TV series in eight parts in which the running of a farm during the Second World War is re-enacted, first broadcast on BBC Two on 6 September 2012.


Broadcast on 20 September 2012 at 8pm. With German air raids causing unprecedented damage to Britain’s major cities in the winter of 1940, the residents of Manor Farm are instructed to make preparations for an influx of evacuees from London, Portsmouth and Southampton. Alex and Peter spend the first half of the episode casting and firing their own roof tiles, to make some of the farm’s outbuildings suitable for human habitation. Despite the freezing November temperatures, their makeshift kiln must burn at over 900 °C (1,650 °F) for two days and two nights, requiring constant supervision. Fortunately, the residual heat provides an ideal input for some ‘medicinal’ home distillation of apples into hooch cider. Ruth, meanwhile, sets about furnishing the barns – first with wooden beds, and then with padded patchwork quilts made from feathers and ticking.

The team must also do their bit to defend Hampshire against German aerial bombardment. Ruth spends an evening with a veteran of the Royal Observer Corps, learning how to track enemy aircraft and relay their locations back to the control centre in Winchester. In the woodland further away from the farm, Alex and Peter construct decoy fire beacons to lure enemy bombers away from Southampton, as part of Operation Starfish.

The episode ends with a celebration of Christmas, Britain’s first since the introduction of rationing in January that year. The farm is adorned with decorations made from paper, holly and a glitter-like substance made from epsom salts, while Alex secretly makes a toy Supermarine Spitfire out of spare tin cans. Ruth’s murkey, or mock turkey (made from vegetables and sausage meat) goes down well at dinner, not least with Henry, the Border Collie farmyard dog.

Wartime Farm Series

You can find a full index of Wartime Farm here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 20 September 2012.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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