Channel 4’s Noughties Version Of The Family

Yesterday I was hob-knobbing at Channel 4’s Network Autumn Press Launch (fab canapés – the crab was excellent). Regular readers will know that I’m pretty hard to please, but I can tell you now – there are some fantastic programmes to look forward to.

Look out for: the return of Cutting Edge (don’t miss Purity Balls – American fathers take their daughters, who have pledged to remain virgins until marriage, to said ‘Purity Balls’); The Jacksons Are Coming (it’s a working title and yes – it’s about those Jacksons. Pop’s bizarre family hit Devon); Peter Kay’s first original work that he’s written and starred in for four years, Britain’s Got The Pop Factor…And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice; an all-new series of Come Dine With Me in its superior daytime format; True Stories’ Chosen instalment, which tells the shocking story of three men who were abused as boys in a public school; The Devil’s Whore (epic story of the English Civil War featuring a strong cast); Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set, a cross between 28 Days Later and Big Brother (zombies are on the warpath but the Big Brother contestants are unaware). It will feature a cameo from Davina McCall. 

Finally, The Family. All the hype centres on this new eight-part observational documentary series airing on Channel 4 from Wednesday September 17.

The Hughes family, from Canterbury in Kent, agreed to be filmed around the clock; the highs and lows of every aspect of their family life will be on display. There’s dad Simon, mum Jane, daughters Jessica, Emily, Charlotte and son Tom. Simon, 44, describes his role as "cook, taxi, painter and decorator, encourager, the default person to ask anything, provider, giver of cuddles and the one who has to pretend to be in charge." His wife of 22 years is 40-year-old Jane who works for a charity. Jane defines her responsibilities as "peacekeeper, general dogsbody and keeper of all knowledge of where people have to be and where their belongings are."

A frequent visitor to the house is eldest daughter and stay-at-home mum Jessica, 22, who lives nearby with her fiancé Pat Lee and their 10-month-old daughter Ruby.

Headstrong rebel Emily, 19, sees herself as the family troublemaker and party animal. She works in sales and cites her mum as her biggest inspiration. Youngest daughter Charlotte, 17, is still at school. Fourteen-year-old Tom completes the Hughes clan and cites his biggest inspiration as Batman.

Back in 1974, the BBC originated this format when they followed the Wilkins clan from Reading. Revelations of affairs, illegitimacy, inter-racial dating, pre-marital sex etc shocked the living daylights out of the watching public of the day. It also propelled the Wilkins’ to celebrity status so the Hughes have a hard act to follow. One wonders what they’ll offer a nation accustomed now to daily familial trials and tribulations, in all its ugliness, on The Jeremy Kyle show. Channel 4’s press release talks of arguments over bedtimes and curfews, stressful wedding plans and work issues…so far, so familiar. And if The Family flops, that will be the reason why. In short, it’s nothing new now.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – Who Do You Think You Are? is superb viewing. With the right person at the helm, it can also be extremely moving. Jerry Springer’s instalment was deeply affecting.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – The Clearasil ‘may cause confidence’ adverts get on my last nerve.

MSN Editor Coops
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3 Responses to Channel 4’s Noughties Version Of The Family

  1. Unknown says:

    Hey Lorna! Couldn\’t log in to Sue D so here I am with a tried and tested space! Yay!
    I can\’t wait for some of these programmes! And crab?? Sp-ewwwwwwwwww! Anyway, let\’s hope they do change the title of the Jackson\’s thing; that\’s kinda what caused Michael all that trouble from what I can gather and Purity Balls? Oh dear God… how do they check?? *shudders* Really looking forward to seeing Davina\’s cameo and cannot wait for The Family; the concept appeals to the voyeur in me.
    Take care, talk to you soon,
    Alex – the Midnight Writer

  2. Unknown says:

    Hi Lorna, what did you think of The Children last night?? It was good – if uncomfortable – watching and but I wish the episodes weren\’t so far apart. It had some echoes of my own experiences as a step-parent and I have to say, some of it made me squirm… I love Kevin Whately though. He\’s going to be filming in the street where my daughter lives for an episode of Lewis. Exciting or what! Teeheee.
    Take care, A

  3. Coops - says:

    Hello Alex, with regard to The Family, I watched an episode of the BBC\’s classic incarnation from 1974 once. Can\’t remember why – it might have been for sociology at school (yes, I\’ve got some \’ologies)….anyway, I now see it as a remarkable insight into How We Used To Live (y\’ya remember that one too? Flippin\’ \’eck Tucker! How time flies). The price of food, the attitudes to different races, the decor….Sorry, but I\’m not very excited about The Family 2008 yet (although that may change). I can\’t help feeling that I\’ve seen it all before. As for The Children, it definitely should\’ve been scheduled over consecutive nights in the way that BBC\’s Criminal Justice was. It\’s very good but unsettling…

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