Cheers!

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

First
Broadcast
Comments
20111231For New Year's Eve, John Sergeant invites his guests to a musical celebration of the ancient art of toasting. The programme is recorded in Clare College Cambridge, in the fellows' Senior Combination Room, with its wood panelling and huge fireplace.|Toasting has a fascinating history. The way you toasted revealed your politics - whether you were for or against the monarchy, and which political party you supported. It wasn't just the rich who toasted - farm labourers had elaborate ritual toasts for harvest time (they toasted in cider). Men toasted women, of course - women could even become known as "a toast", which was tantamount to being called a slut.|John Sergeant hosts a party and invites three food and drink historians to tell stories about toasting in the past: Scottish wine buff Billy Kay, food historian Ivan Day, and Professor of Literature Judith Hawley. There is also music during the party: toasting songs arranged by David Owen Norris and performed by student members of the Clare College Choir. These include drinking songs 'For Auld Lang Syne' and 'Here's a health unto his Majesty', as well as a revolutionary toast sung by English supporters of the French Revolution. There is also a sexy musical toast from the 17th century to a woman with wonderful thighs.|We may have forgotten the history of toasting, but something of it remains deep in our collective memory, when we look each other in the eye and chink glasses. Cheers!|Produced by Elizabeth Burke and Hilary Dunn|A Loftus Audio Production for BBC Radio 4.|John Sergeant invites his guests to a musical celebration of the ancient art of toasting.