UCLan academic stars in TV show

Dr Nick Mansfield

Dr Nick Mansfield

Have your say

A leading university academic has been helping bring history to life- on the small screen.

Dr Nick Mansfield, senior research fellow in history at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) starred in the hit BBC 2 TV series, Wartime Farm.

And, in the true spirit of the show, he dressed for the “part” as he swapped the lecture theatre for the film set.

The series charts presenters and authors Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn and Ruth Goodman as they spend a year turning the clock back and running a Hampshire farm just as it would have been in the Second World War.

They deal with everything from the desperate battle to get as much land as possible under cultivation to mobilising the land army, cooking on rations and keeping themselves entertained.

UCLan’s Dr Mansfield is an expert on rural labour history and was filmed discussing the social and political history of British countryside during the war, but focusing on the role of the Labour Party in rural areas and in particular the General Election of 1945.

This election resulted in a landslide victory for Labour, including many rural constituencies which were won for the first and only time and enabled Clement Atlee’s Labour government to implement the Beveridge Report, which led to the setting up the National Health Service and Welfare State.

The filming took place in hot weather at the end of July at Manor Farm and Country Park near Southampton.

Nick said: “The shooting took place outside and in the farmhouse kitchen under hot lights.”

“Being dressed up in a 1940s Fair Isle sweater and tweed cap, with several takes needed, was certainly a little different to delivering a standard history lecture.

“However, it was a fantastic experience and in my view the programme achieves its aim of bringing a key period of our past to life in a way that is both engaging and accessible to a wide audience.”

The episode was broadcast on October 25 and is available on the BBC iPlayer.