There’s another chance to see Diana with fellow time travelling confectioners Andy Baxendale, Cynthia Stroud and Paul A Young in The Sweet Makers Christmas Special Friday 21st December at 16:15. You can watch the trailer below and find out further information on the BBC website here
Four modern confectioners immerse themselves in the world of their professional predecessors, discovering how commercially canny sweet makers helped shape the way Christmas is celebrated. Guided by food historian Dr Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri, the confectioners work their way through three distinct periods of history. As the 21st-century confectioners wrestle with period equipment and ingredients to make a series of sweet delights from the Georgian, Victorian and Interwar eras, they discover how sweet makers in the past spotted the commercial potential of Christmas and developed innovative festive products for an eagerly receptive audience. As a result, many of the things that signify Christmas are the creation of confectioners.
The Georgian era introduced the idea of consumerism at Christmas. In this period, Christmas was a thoroughly adult affair – alcohol, partying and over indulgence marked out festivities, with the social and economic elite throwing opulent and sophisticated parties in their homes and children being kept very much out of the picture. The focus of the celebrations was 12th Night rather than Christmas day itself.
The Victorian period sees the focus of Christmas consumerism shift. Gone are the hedonistic revelries of the Georgian period, Christmas is now a holiday much more centred around children. The confectioners’ new task is to satisfy the demands of this emerging market with everything from sugar mice to cheap jelly sweets, candy canes and bags of sugary bonbons.
Christmas in the 1920s was focused more on shopping than ever before. The confectioners need to fill their shop with even more magical treats to tempt in customers. In an increasingly competitive market, confectioners compete to create new products branded with the Christmas market in mind.