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BBC One's Turn Back Time's legacy on Shepton Mallet
shepton mallet filming
The programme showed what shopping was like over the decades

For six weeks, Shepton Mallet was featured in a BBC One series Turn Back Time: The High Street.

The programme aimed to revive the fortunes of the British High Street by looking at what they used to be like to see if any lessons could be learned.

It followed five shopkeepers as they plied their trade over a series of eras - from the Victorians and Edwardians right up to the 70s.

But what legacy has the show had on the town's High Street?

Cate Hall, the programme's producer said she hoped it had a lasting impact.

"It had the issues we wanted to take a look at which is happening nationwide, which is we don't use our traditional shops like we used to and we wanted to see if history showed keys to the reasons why and what we should do in the future."

Zena Pollard from Turn Back Time's Legacy Group said: "I really enjoyed seeing the town being put on the map, it's fantastic.

"The way forward is for it to sustain the interest, to make sure there's something for people to take a look at, and we need to make sure the shops that are there are well supported."

Fostered community

According to traders, it has increased trade and brought more people to the town.

Since the programme was filmed two shops and a restaurant have opened.

But the town still has empty shops.

Dominique Swain, the economic regeneration officer for Mendip District Council said she hoped Shepton Mallet could become iconic for trading on nostalgia.

Record shop owner
To represent the 70s, a record shop was opened in the town

Currently there are three antique shops and a vintage clothing store trading.

The council was also following Bridgwater's example by dressing empty shops up so that they look occupied.

It is also looking at setting up a community benefit agency and holding regular events such as a lights switch on which was held on 3 December.

"We had lots of people there even though it was very cold and that's what needs to carry on to carry the town centre into the next century," she said.

And Ms Pollard is confident the town will turn itself around.

"Come back to me and ask me the same question and I will be saying we've seen an upturn in the High Street."

Ms Hall said the show had had an impact.

"We hoped it would foster a sense of community when people had a traditional centre back and that's really seemed to have happened and everyone seems to want to move forward and do something together.

But not everyone shares the same positive outlook.

Doreen Warhem, a regular shopper in Shepton Mallet said: "I can't see it doing anything for Shepton.

"I don't think the shops will be able to compete with supermarkets."

Filming in Shepton boosts trade
21 Jul 10 |  People & Places
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22 Jul 10 |  People & Places
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