Bolton School Senior Boys

Teacher Goes Back in Time for School

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Dr Turner usually teaches chemistry here at Bolton School and at the University of Manchester, however, over the May and October half terms and most of the summer holidays she time-travelled through different eras of history experiencing school life from 1895 to 1999 as she took part in filming for a new 8 part BBC tv series called Back in Time for School.

Reflecting on the experience, she said: "Each day we would arrive on set and do our hair and make up - if we were allowed make up in that era - we would then give our belongings including phones to production and begin living in the era we were filming in.  All the food we ate, even off camera was from the era we were filming, so were our reading materials and the pastimes we had in our staffroom. We experienced all aspects of school in the eras we filmed from lessons to school dinners and leisure pursuits. It was an amazing project to be involved with, gruelling at times, the hours in TV can be quite long, but definitely unforgettable. It was interesting to experience as an adult but also to see how the pupils we were working with (14-15 year olds from the Birmingham area) reacted to the experiences they faced. We worked alongside Bolton born presenter Sara Cox and the historian Polly Russell who were both lovely to work with." 

There are some themes running through all the eras including the use of technology in education, food, vocational learning and physical education. 

This is not Dr Turner’s first foray into TV work, she has previously done science pieces for Countryfile and Newsround however this is a much bigger project. She said "It has been such a long time in the making that it is really strange seeing it hitting the press now. Each episode took 5 days to film and the programmes are only an hour long so we have no idea which of our experiences will make the show and which will be left on the cutting room floor. We had tremendous fun filming and some experiences really stand out (sorry, no spoilers!) including the fits of giggles caused by our inability to make a hot drink on camera without spilling it everywhere or dropping something!" 

Asked why did she apply, she responded that: "I am really interested in the history of science and education and this really appealed to me. I also think it is good to occasionally do things that scare you a bit."  

The series begins on Thursday 3 January and will run for 8 weeks on BBC2 at 8pm.

 

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