Perhaps it’s because my own ‘kids’ are aged 22, 20 and 19 – but I do feel young people often, wrongly, get a bad press. So it was refreshing last night to watch two programmes, which showed people in their twenties in such a good light.
First up – the new series of Channel 4’s Country House Rescue. This is where Ruth Watson visits a usually crumbling and dilapidated old mansion where the family is at odds over the best way to save it. It’s an appealing programme not only because of its nose into how the other half live, but because it’s the only time when you come away relieved you don’t live in a rambling old castle.
Last night’s episode was no exception as we took a tour of historic Wyresdale Park in Lancashire and met the traditional James, his wife, Sally and son, Jim, 29. The estate had fallen into disrepair and now father and son were ‘at war’ over how best to keep it afloat and pay for the repairs. James, a farmer, admitted they needed more income but stated, ‘I don’t like anything commercial’ whereas son Jim, who organised large music events and lived in a trendy part of East London, felt the best way forward was to knock the crumbling out-buildings down and hold events there. Mum Sally – interestingly, she’d met the wealthy James as a student when he was her landlord and she rented one of his many properties – saw both sides.
The programme developed into perfect Sunday night viewing (preferably watched with tea and a cream scone) as Ruth worked out a plan to develop the outbuildings as a tea room (for the stream of ramblers rambling past the house), mini farm and arts and crafts shop. It was lovely to see son Jim, sensitive enough to his father not to battle on about his events, and welcome this idea. Incredibly, some 1000 people turned up on the day. That said, whether serving teas in a tent on a regular basis to eke out a living was quite what pink-faced wife Sally had in mind when she married James remains to be seen…
Meanwhile, BBC3’s Junior Doctors makes emotional viewing. This week’s programme has concentrated on how the young doctors cope with death and realising they can’t save everyone’s life. We saw Lucy genuinely moved when she discovered one patient was dying from pancreatic cancer and Adam trying to make a patient’s last days as comfortable as possible. But surely the most watchable is laid-back Jon, who despite his generous size (you do worry for his health when you see him sweating as he races down the corridor to a cardiac arrest) seems to take every emergency in his stride. And the quiet confidence he exudes makes you forget he is fresh out of medical school.
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As part of an occasional series I am going to look at TV programmes and topical stories in the press. And what better way to start – when this week the size zero catwalk models debate has once again hit the headlines in the national press and magazines – than Channel 4’s real life fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Model Agency.
First, I must confess aged 17 – and shortly before I trained to be a journalist – I did some modelling myself. Incredibly Carole White was my boss and Premier was my agency. It will be very interesting to see if in the later episodes of this series, it actually follows the day in a typical model – which as I recall was endlessly spent sat on the Tube going from one casting to another. I discovered I hated sitting for hours while my hair and make up was done and the whole experience was soul-less and lonely. You get the picture – it wasn’t for me.
The agency swiftly decided I was hardly going to be top model material either. Unlike India – the 16 year old model in last night’s programme who went awol on her first assignment in New York – when after about a year I chucked it in, I don’t remember anyone begging me to come back.
Last night, aside from a few videos of the ethereal India, we learnt from Carole and her staff of ‘bookers’ that this was a girl they’d spotted and nurtured from the age of 12. They’d waited four long years for her to grow up and finally she was about to be launched as the latest hot property. But then a crisis! India, who had flown to the US for her first ever job, sent the woman who ran the New Face’s department an email. India felt sick. Worse, she was sick of modelling and wanted to return to school.
The tearful New Faces lady -somewhat bizarrely as she had a perfectly comfortable office within touching distance – sat crumpled on the pavement outside trying to convince India in a long-distance phone call to carry on. After further hand-wringing, she even flew to New York to persuade India to stay – and one would imagine try to salvage the investment and the thousands they’d banked India would make the agency in the years to come…
She told us she was often closer to the girls than their mums were – but this time India flew back home with her real mum…
Do you have a story to sell about modelling? Perhaps you went to a modelling agency and were told you were too fat? Or maybe modelling has changed your life? Sell your story here: Sell my story
Would you like to take part in a TV show?
Two requests have recently come into sell my story website, Featureworld recently.
First up … Channel 4 is looking for stories from parents of kids aged 5-12, for a new show with Jo Frost. She is the Supernanny but this is a new format called Jo Frost – Extreme Parental Guidance.
Still on the subject of parenting…
For more details about either of these programmes, contact me here: Be on TV and I will pass your details to the producers.
If you don’t want to be on TV but have a story to sell about your child or would like sell a story about parenting, contact me here: Sell my Story
To read recent stories sold through Featureworld: Archives