A brief history of model villages: BBC’s One Foot in the Past

One Foot in the Grave was a pretty ace comedy that ran on the BBC from 1990 to 2000. One Foot in the Past was a pretty ace architecture programme that ran on the BBC from 1993 to 2000; produced rather splendidly I think, by another Tim Dunn. Anyway, One Foot in the Past had as part of its title sequence a JCB digger apparently digging up and destroying little model buildings depicting British rural life. According to presenter Kirsty Wark, they received more mail about those title sequences than any other feature.

To satisfy the viewing public’s thirst for knowledge (it’s not THAT niche; look, you’re reading this blog…) they produced a feature on the history of Britain’s model villages, taking in Southport, Babbacombe, Bekonscot and others. It’s a well-researched piece with some pretty good archive footage (mostly from the Bekonscot reels that we’ve got stashed away) and it did much to popularise miniature and model villages amongst an audience usually seeking out “real” buildings.

The BBC apparently gave Bekonscot approval at the time of filming for us to use it in educational and archive purposes – so here it is for your education. I think it’s about 1996. Um, and it’s off a knackered VHS. Sorry about that.

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