26 Dec 2013

The detox diet, 1964 style (how we did it back then)

As part of our look back at how ITN’s coverage of Christmases past, we see how reporter Michael Nicholson was sent to try a new detox diet that left him feeling quite “overwhelmed”.

On Christmas Day 1964, while the nation tucked into turkey dinner, Christmas pudding and possibly took a drink or two, and then looked forward to the televisual delights of the Queen, Billy Smart’s circus and Disney Time, ITN’s Michael Nicholson was at Champneys in Hertfordshire to enjoy a “health resort” dinner.

To the audible amusement of his fellow healthy diners, he takes us through the meal of vegetable cutlet, desiccated carrot, beetroot slices, lettuce and “a special treat” of a round tomato topped off with a sprig of parsley – “because it’s a holiday”. These culinary delights are then all washed down with a glass of “good clean water”.

“So… have fun,” an underwhelmed Nicholson tells his audience.

I am not sure how much that meal would have cost in 1964, but I suspect that if he went to Champneys for the same thing this Christmas, he wouldn’t have much change out of three guineas.