Digging deep into the BBC catalog vault with ‘The Supersizers Go…’


The art of trying to fill the programming slots in a 24/7 broadcast schedule can be ‘challenging’ to say the least. Yes, PBS provides programming we all know and love that make up about 2/3’s of the schedule but it’s that all-important 1/3 of the schedule that can make the difference between a good and a great schedule while always keeping the mission of public broadcasting in mind. All I can say is thank goodness the BBC catalog is at all of our respective fingertips. Full of the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to all genres, there are times you find that hidden gem of a series that could be years old. A TOH to my Buffalo colleague, Kathryn Larsen, for discovering this gem of a series deep in the bowels of the BBC catalog.

To say a series about ‘the history of food’ would be riveting telly might be a bit of an overstatement but in the case of The Supersizers Go… you have to remember that this is from the BBC where the British have the uncanny ability to make a series about paint drying seem interesting. In the first installment of The Supersizers Go…,  journalist and restaurant critic Giles Coren and broadcaster and the brilliant comedian Sue Perkins (Great British Bake-Off)  would adopt the persona of a couple living in the Edwardian period and for a week ate the food which people from that period would have eaten.

In addition they would take part in the interests and activities of them too, even going so far as adopting the dress and mannerisms of the time, with plenty of sarcastic humor. Before and after the experience they were subject to medical tests to see, in the case of the Edwardian episode, how a diet of five meals a day, heavy in meat and pudding, which, on one day alone, would sum up to 5,000 calories affected them.

Subsequent programs in the 12 episodes that spanned the two series produced would see Coren and Perkins go Wartime, Victorian, Elizabethan, Restoration, Ancient Rome, Roaring Twenties, Medieval, French Revolution and Regency. Each episode features a trained professional chef working with the two hosts as a gentle reminder to those viewing at home that these are professionals, do not try this at home.

Even though The Supersizers Go… aired on BBC 2 almost a decade ago, let’s hope it does find it’s way to American public television stations in the not-too-distant future. Now, back to the catalog…