The Supersizers Eat… was a BBC television series about the history of food. Starring restaurant critic Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins, they produced a dozen episodes experiencing the food culture from ancient Rome to the roaring twenties.
In this programme, first aired in 2009, they go back to medieval England to live the life of a Lord and Lady in their country manor.
Starting life in 1066, Giles takes on the guise of a Norman conqueror, complete with broadsword and chainmail. Sue wears pointy hats and is a damsel in deep distress, as Giles has been given her manor house and all the lands around it. He is also on a mission to woo her.
Taking on the role of 100 servants is Michelin-starred chef and Anglo-Saxon lookalike Martin Blunos. During the week, he prepares the most sumptuous of meals including cockentrice – a creation made from the forepart of a chicken sewn to the rear of a piglet.
The Supersizers are advised by their doctor that food must be prepared to balance their four humours, so Sue and Giles discover if they are phlegmatic (sluggish and dull), melancholic (sad), choleric (bad-tempered) or sanguine (sexy and laid-back).
During an exhausting week, Giles becomes a chivalrous knight and goes off to experience the food of a crusader. Sue learns to play the harp, has visions, and samples medieval dating food. Together they try out falconry, go on a Chaucerian pilgrimage and dine with historian Colin Spencer and broadcaster Michael Portillo, discovering how the Magna Carta affected what could and couldn’t be eaten.
At the end of a week that covers nearly 400 years of medieval history, the intrepid Supersizers have a full-blown banquet with more than 20 guests, a contortionist, a fire-breather and musicians, while a trumpet fanfare heralds the arrival of Martin’s fabulous feast, which includes peacock, coqz heaumez (helmeted cock), suckling pig, boar’s head and hippocras.