I feel that Historical Re-enactors do not get the recognition they deserve for developing Historical ideas, this is due, I think, to the majority being interested in Military History. This BBC Two Programme Victorian Pharmacy is from the people who made Victorian Farm, and thus comes with many of the weaknesses of that programme. This has, I feel far more educational potential, the practices and remedies of the Victorian era are explained simply, this is the benefit of BBC programmes produced with half a mind to the Foreign, and especially American re-sales; the commentary in simplified, allowing us to use it in the classroom. The Programme can currently be viewed on the BBCi Player, which is available in the more enlightened schools and colleges, but I personally feel that it needs editing for use in the classroom, where it can be used for the KS4 Medicine Through Time, or more generally when looking at the Victorian Era.
There is, obviously, a ‘Book to accompany the series’, [Link to Amazon Books] at £10, this is reasonable for a reference book. The book would probably be of even more use than the TV series, especially in providing good information on Jesse Boots and detailed recipes of lotions and potions, but I do not feel safe in recommending a book I have not seen yet.
This has been decribed by the BBC as ‘An Historical Documentary’, to be fair, it is of a type of Programme, not really designed as a Documentary in the usual sense, but of this type of programme, despite the drawbacks, such a having to address current Health & Safety concerns, it can be used in a useful way to demonstrate some parts of medical understanding in the Victorian era, it can also be used to demonstrate Historical re-enactment, and our attitudes towards representations of the past.