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Cassie Newland talks about Time Crashers

Cassie Newland explains a little more about her role in Channel 4's new show Time Crashers, and why viewers will be screaming at their TVs. The series can be seen on Sunday evenings at 8pm on Channel 4.

How would you describe the show?

Well, it’s sort of like Quantum Leap meets Big Brother! You’ve got 10 celebrities who have no idea where they’re going or who they might be, but they are dropped into six different situations in the past. They just appear in period costumes and are given roles completely out of their comfort zones. They learn about the past and they learn about themselves.

What’s your role in the show?

I’m helping the wonderful Tony Robinson oversee our Time Crashers, offering historical context along the way. Depending on what period they’ve leapt into, I try and explain what life was like, what people did on a day to day basis, any funny little things that they might come across and the food they are eating.

How true to life is it?

The production team have done an amazing job; they’ve tried to make it as authentic as possible – from the food to the sleeping arrangements and the jobs they had to do. I’m pretty picky but had no complaints.

Let’s discuss some of the eras, starting with the Elizabethan…

The first thing they will see is an absolutely amazing house which is as it was, we’ve got all the furniture right, and it feels like you’ve been transported right back to the past. We’ve become so used to insulation, double glazing and so on but the first house is covered in thick stone walls. It’s a proper manor house and there are different ways of living, different ways of cooking, you’ve got open fires, you’ve got beds you wouldn’t necessarily recognise as beds. They’ll be amazed how different life was just a few hundred years ago.

And Medieval?

The Medieval one is epic – it’s absolutely amazing. I won’t give away too much, but we basically built a medieval encampment that was full of re-enactors with the expertise that medieval people at a joust would have had. I don’t want to spoil it for viewers but it was properly epic and I really enjoyed being there. It really felt like we were transported back – right to the thick of it.

Edwardian Times…

The Edwardian area was kind of like a flipside to Downton. We’re all used to Downton Abbey and we think we know how it goes, and we think we know how the servants get on with the family and with each other. This episode reveals what it’s really like in there, what the tensions are, what’s difficult, what’s easy and what’s really hard. It was one of those episodes that confronted, especially a lot of the women, with the reality of that period that they weren’t maybe expecting.

The Victorian Era…

Everyone was surprised by the Victorian era; we didn’t want to do anything too obvious. We took them away to a very specialist location as we wanted the whole environment for them to be as close to Victorian life as we could. They had a tough challenge they had to meet and they all mucked in and worked together very well. There are also some hilarious moments but I won’t give anything away.

The Iron Age…

This was a wild card era; the celebrities were used to having a bit of guidance in each era but this time, we just dropped them into the Iron Age with the hope they’d picked up enough skills along the way – cooking, cleaning, how to keep warm. You might be surprised to see how comfortable the Iron Age is – this isn’t peasants in a field; it’s actually quite a sophisticated way of living.

Why did you want to get involved in the show yourself?

It was pitched to me in such an entertaining way and they were so committed to recreating the eras as closely as possible; based on the best evidence that we had for how life would have been. So for me, it was interesting to see a) how closely you could recreate it and b) how people with modern ways of living would cope living in the past – it’s always an interesting experiment. Some people just get it and drop into it and it feels very human and very close, but other people find it very alien – and I think the reactions are as interesting to archaeologists as they will be to viewers at home.

They have to do some horrible things like washing clothes in urine and skinning boars – are people going to be screaming at their TV?

Almost definitely, but they won’t have to take part like the celebrities did! Some of them went right in like they’d been doing it all their life; Fern did an amazing job when it came to cooking.

Do you think it’s good that Channel 4 is doing shows like this to bring history to the masses?

I love the fact they’re doing it! I love the fact they are putting so much into it. There’s a lot of thought – and investment – that’s gone into making these environments as realistic as they possibly can. It’s incredible and I’m thrilled.

How do you get on with Tony Robinson during the show?

Oh, I love Tony – we did Time Team together a few years back, so we know each other quite well.

Courtesy of Channel 4

- Time Crashers
- Cassie Newland
- Channel 4

Written by: Ben Drummond
Aug 24th, 2015, 4:09 am

Images courtesy of Channel 4

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