Suzannah’s new BBC FOUR programme, ‘Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home’ aired on Wednesday 3 April 2013. While the Victorians confronted the challenges of ruling an Empire, perhaps the most dangerous environment they faced was in their own homes. Householders lapped up the latest products, gadgets and conveniences but in an era with no health and safety standards they were unwittingly turning their homes into hazardous death traps. In a genuine horror story, Dr Suzannah Lipscomb reveals the lethal killers that lurked in every room of the Victorian home and shows how they were unmasked. What new innovation killed thousands of babies? And what turned the domestic haven into a ticking time bomb?
It was Pick of the Day in the Radio Times, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, The Mail on Sunday and The Independent, and Pick of the Week on BBC History Magazine’s website, and attracting 772k viewers, it was BBC FOUR’s most watched show of the week.
‘The engaging Dr Suzannah Lipscomb shows just how deadly these untested products could be once introduced to the home’ – Radio Times
‘engaging historian… lively and disconcerting film’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘Lipscomb… combines a clipped elegance with a matter-of-fact approach and a plucky willingness to get involved’ – The Mail on Sunday
You can watch it on iPlayer here.
“I so enjoyed making this. I got to research some fascinating stories in the history of science and technology – and the social and human cost of progress – and to work with some really talented and generous scientists and historians.
It is my first authored programme and obviously took me far from my usual sixteenth-century territory, but I tried to compensate with copious amounts of research, into a period that has always intrigued me. I hope the nineteenth-century historians will forgive me!
Thank you to everyone for all their work on it. Particular thanks are due to Griff Rhys Jones who first thought of the idea of me making a documentary with his production company.”
The excellent contributors were: Dr Kate Williams, Judith Flanders, Dr Suzy Lishman, Prof. Andrew Meharg, Colin King, Matt Furber, Sarah Nicol, Dr Matthew Avison, Nathan Goss and Max Wagner.
Written and Presented by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb
Directed and Produced by Suzanne Phillips
Cinematography by Tudor Evans
Researcher Celyn Williams
Sound Brian Murrell
Production Assistant Alyn Farrow
Junior Production Manager Katy Daykin
Photography James Jones
Made by Modern TV.