BBC history TV series exploring life on a farm in Wales 400 years ago wins award.

Dec. 12, 2006 – A BBC history TV series, Tales from the Green Valley, about life on a British farm in the 17th century, has won the Learning on Screen award given by the British Universities Film & Video Council. The organisers declared it to be “a beautifully made documentary series”.

Organised by the British Universities Film & Video Council, The Learning on Screen Awards celebrate excellence in the production of effective learning materials employing moving pictures, graphics and sound. They aim to give wider recognition to producers and developers of educational material whose work effectively addresses the needs of learning and to encourage critical evaluation and the improvement of standards in educational media production.

Peter Sommer, the producer/director of the series says:
I’m absolutely delighted with the award. The series did extremely well when it was broadcast, attracting a loyal and enthusiastic audience, up to 3 million strong. It was the very antithesis of a reality series, packed full of rich historical information, so I’m extremely pleased it has won this reward for its rich historical and educational content.

A 12 x 1/2 hour series shown on BBC2 in the UK in the autumn of 2005, Tales from the Green Valley follows five specialists, historians and archaeologists, as they work a farm on the Welsh borders restored to how it would have been in the year 1620. The experts labour for a full agricultural year, getting to grips with period tools, skills, and technology from the age of the Stuarts, the reign of James I. Everything must be done by hand, from ploughing with a team of oxen using a replica period plough and thatching a cowshed using only authentic materials, to making their own washing liquid for laundry and harvesting the hay & wheat with scythes and sickles.

Not only did the series attract large audiences but it also garnered wide critical acclaim
“programme of the year… gorgeous, cosy, informative …this series utterly beguiles… There is a genuine sense of watching history brought to life here.” Daily Mail

“This should be compulsory for all schoolchildren struggling with their history lessons. Never has life in the 17th century appeared more fascinating.” The Telegraph

“absorbing…high educational content…the attempt by historians and archaeologists to live as Welsh borderland farmers would have lived in 1620 makes delightful television, especially for the enthusiasm and delight with which they approach their tasks… watching them at work makes you feel like you are actually learning something…an unassuming, worthwhile endeavour ” The Times

Each of the 12 half-hour programmes, made by Lion TV for BBC Wales, follows a month in the life of the farm situated on the Welsh borders. These beautifully filmed programmes revel in the period’s rich history, the British countryside as it changes through the seasons, and of course food. Every episode features a dinner cooked up using period breeds and varieties of animals, fruits, and vegetables, according to 400 year old recipes extracted from housewives’ diaries, farming manuals etc.

The series is now available on DVD. For more information visit http://www.petersommer.com/tv_tales.html or email info@petersommer.com

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