Television

Hallmark tracks the progress of the millenium generation

MUMBAI: Hallmark's latest programme initiative should appeal to anybody who has or who has wanted a child. The broadcaster will air the series Child Of Our Time every Friday at 8 pm from 14 January.

Hailed by UK publication Morning Star as being revealing and thought-provoking the show follows a new British generation as they develop from the womb into adulthood. 25 very different families take part in this unique experiment, which will follow the children's growth and development over a 20 year period.

The series which is the brainchild of the BBC aims to uncover the truth behind an enormous number of theories, such as whether talking to a baby in the womb or playing music has an impact on the foetus, and how much personality is inherited. It also examines key influences in Western society, such as the difference between being born into a remote farming community, being the child of a single mother in a hostel for the homeless in an inner city or being born to a mother who is disabled.

Each of the children, with their own unalterable genes, will be brought up in an environmental cauldron which shapes them. The way genes work in particular environments is just beginning to be disentangled by science and, thus, the answers to the question, "nature or nurture?" will become clearer.

The project began in 2000 with a large number of families whose babies were born around the millennium. One of the show's producers Sadie Holland said," I first came to work on Child of Our Time in 1999. We had just been challenged by BBC One to find 25 children to be born at the dawn of the new millennium whom we could follow for a documentary series as they grew up.

"We knew we had to find families from all walks of life and from every corner of the British Isles. It was bound to be difficult, but in those early days we didn?t realise how very hard it would be - but nor did we realise what wonderful days we had in store for us as we got to know these amazing families.

"We put out some ads, looking for people who were expecting a baby in January 2000, and we also contacted lots of organisations who might be able to help us to find the people we wanted to meet. We spoke to hundreds of families who expected babies at the right time, and were delighted by some of their stories. I still wonder how some of them have got on since 1999.

" After a while we set off on the road, armed with little DV cameras, to meet and record some of the families we were particularly interested in persuading to come on board with us. I?ll never forget the day I went to meet the Baller family in Birmingham, who had me almost crying with laughter at their tale of how they never really meant to have more than two children, were delighted to have had a third, but were astonished to find that the fourth pregnancy was in fact triplets! I seem to remember that I laughed so much that the quality of my camerawork was very poor indeed - and this has happened to me on quite a few occasions with the Ballers since.".

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