University of Portsmouth professor to bring history to life in new BBC show

A UNIVERSITY professor is set to make her return to the small screen presenting history programme on the BBC.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 3:52 pm
The University of Portsmouth’s Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan will return to BBC Two on 7 September at 9pm as a presenter and consultant historian in series 4 of A House Through Time.

Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan will be a presenter and consultant historian in series four of A House Through Time when it returns to BBC 2 on Thursday evening.

This latest four-part series tells the story of an 1850s four-storey end-of-terrace house in Headingley, two miles from the centre of Leeds.

Deborah, who is professor of design history at Portsmouth, said she was delighted to have been part of the series and found the latest home fascinating.

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She added: ‘This house is quite typical of this kind of middle-class Victorian terraced home.

‘In my role as consultant historian advising on the architecture, design and decoration of the house, I was intrigued to investigate how the house had changed through time.

‘Like many of its type, the kitchen moved up from the basement to the ground floor, reflecting changes in the lives of its residents as domestic servants became scarcer and more expensive to employ.’

In each episode Deborah brings to life a story of a set of residents who once lived in the house.

She added: ‘Unsurprisingly given the location of the house in Leeds, many of the residents worked in the textiles trade, which provided lots of opportunities for them to better themselves.

‘But we also see some of them on their way down.’

Drawing on her knowledge of museums, historic houses and listed buildings, Deborah advised the production team on locations where stories could be brought to life.

She said: ‘I’m especially proud of a scene in episode two for which I found a location for our presenter David Olusoga to bring a story of a ship’s waiter to life when access to an ocean liner in lockdown proved impossible.’

Deborah is passionate about house history – the story of a single house and its residents – as a way to tell family history and wider social and cultural histories

In the first lockdown she started #HouseHistoryHour on Twitter with seven other professional house historians, where every Thursday from 7-8pm they share research tips and answer questions.

A House Through Time will broadcast on BBC Two every Tuesday at 9pm, with the first episoding hitting this small screen this Tuesday.