The Logie-nominated series Back in Time on ABC TV takes an ordinary family on a journey through 170 years of Australian history to witness firsthand what has shaped the nation. The Ferrones cook, eat, and live like the average Australian family from the 1850s to the 2020s, experiencing the highs and lows of life throughout different periods of history.
With a new season, the Ferrone family is returning for a third time, ready to take on a fresh challenge in Back in Time for the Corner Shop. In this season, the family explores how the humble corner shop reflects a rapidly changing world through its merchandise, shoppers, and cultural significance.
Carol Ferrone, the matriarch of the Ferrone family, is of Portuguese nationality, born in England, married to an Italian, and living in the western suburbs of Sydney. Carol grew up in Earwood, attended the local schools, and was married at the ripe young age of 20 years old.
Carol and her husband, Peter, have three children: 22-year-old Julian, 19-year-old Sienna and 15-year-old Olivia. The assimilation of this migrant family living in Sydney’s West is a reflection of the typical local families in the area, with the twist: this family are Australian celebrities who have a show, currently airing its third season, produced by Warner Bros Australia.
Their hit show is used in primary schools as an educational pathway for students to gain insight into Australian history and historical daily life.
The family live through the different decades and eras of history as themselves with all their unique characteristic mannerisms but are situated in scenarios typical to the era they are filming. They are a modern-day family who travels back in time, conforming to the conventions of that era.
“We miss our modern-day conveniences,” says Carol.
“I can’t use a 1950 can opener, because I miss my 2019 can opener! I know that sounds so silly, but these are the little things that we miss. For example, men didn’t sit and have dinner with their families, they had their dinner alone. Well, in modern times, our family has dinner every night together – that’s our rule. I’m in tears and my husband is visibly upset because he has his dinner alone. Another scenario is when my son goes to war, and I’m a very empathetic person, so this situation was distressing for me. Obviously, he doesn’t really go to war, but I put my mindset to that of a mother whose son did go to war in that era. We lived and breathed this experience for three months. It’s a fully immersive experience.”
Carol has a strong connection to her community.
“I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the local community,” she says.
“In season one, I visited Foodbank Australia, which is the largest food charity in Australia. I’m actually the brand ambassador for Foodbank Australia. I also do a lot of school visits, because our show is used as an educational tool. I visit schools all around Australia: virtually and in person. I recall the primary school students always asking about the food, and asking me ‘is the food yucky?’ Yes! The food is yucky! The teachers that connect with me tell me, ‘you make learning history fun,’ and that is so wonderful to hear. A lot of people connect with me as a mother and feel what I feel through the episodes. The elderly people say to me ‘I remember that in the 50s’ or ‘my grandmother had a home like that’ or ‘I remember we had a kitchen like that in the 70s’. Our show is really made for all ages: whether you’re discovering history as a child, or a retiree reminiscing about your childhood.”
The show has produced its third season shot at a local ‘corner store’ with all the factual trimmings and idiosyncrasies of humble Australian corner store family owners from the 1850s to 1990s. Just to give our audience a run-down, here is a snapshot of the Ferrone Family’s historical shenanigans on their show:
Season One: Back in Time for Dinner: 1950 – present day and what the future of food is predicted to be (that is, alternatives to food, such as bugs and crickets).
“Yes, we ate crickets and ants,” says Carol.
Season Two: Further Back in Time: 1900-1949 – lived through two world wars, the great depression and food shortages.
“We were slaughtering our own animals for food. We lived on a farm. We filmed on location, expecting to perform the duties as if we were living in that era, as our modern-day selves.”
Season Three: Back in Time for the Corner Shop: 1850-1990.
“We are the pillars of our community where you get your groceries, local news and local gossip. We are running a business and it shows how business has changed in Australia over the years,” says Carol.
“This season portrays a lot of nostalgia and fun – it’s a very different season to the previous two.”
Back in Time for the Corner Shop airs on Tuesday, March 7 on ABC.