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Manor Farm and Country Park

Alex Langlands

Alex Langlands

Brief career background

I graduated from UCL with BA and MA in Archaeology. I’ve had over five years working as a professional archaeologist. Worked various broadcasting roles for BBC and Channel 4 including Victorian and Edwardian Farms and Time Team. Currently reading for PhD in History at the University of Winchester.

Filming of Wartime farm so far

Great fun. The staff at Manor Farm country park have been superb - really helpful and enthusiastic.

Filming highlight

Spending a week in Shropshire firing tiles in a brick kiln for the repair of farm buildings close to Manor Farm country park.

What do you think was the biggest challenge faced by farmers during the second world war?

The task farmers were confronted with in 1939 was mammoth. 70% of all food consumed in Britain was shipped in from abroad. With the threat of being cut off from these foreign imports, farmers had to act quickly to make up the shortfall. Fields, meadows and pasture that had been allowed, since the high Victorian age, to slip into neglect had to be brought back into use. It would take all the guile and adaptability of Britain's farmers to produce enough food for nation to avoid starvation and ultimate defeat.

What appealed to you about this project?

The real challenge that we would be putting ourselves through in farming terms - could we really replicate something of the magnitude of the wartime farming effort? Also, the opportunity to empathise with the people of wartime Britain and to learn something of their hardships. In what we do for Television, we can never recreate the true peril that people lived under threat from during the Blitz but we can learn from and marvel at the resilience and courage people of 1940s Britain demonstrated.