What was good about it?
• Tom, the 14-year-old with a propensity for accidentally smashing glasses, seemed to be a nice lad and the most mature of the bunch. While the others argued – all struggling and failing to articulate their feelings – he was sweetness and light.
• The roast duck (on a Thursday evening! how posh!) looked tasty.
What was bad about it?
• The boredom. Very little of interest happened apart from tedious rows over the behaviour of 19-year-old Emily, which escalated because her parents failed to set any boundaries. She went out late and then called in sick; they told her she shouldn’t but failed to come up with any means to discipline her. It’s probably not too late for Supernanny to step in and sort them out.
• How on earth do Simon and Jane afford a nice home? It’s hard to believe that either are high fliers considering their failure to control Emily with constant empty threats and their tendancies to whimper and whine.
• Jane’s 40th birthday party, featuring balloons and The Mavericks on the CD player, looked like the social event from hell.
• Director Jonathan Smith may think he has found a family who “are charismatic and interesting” but we beg to differ. Charisma was certainly missing and we can’t imagine many people being interested enough to bother dropping in again.
• Narrator John Simms’ failure to refuse to utter the phrase “an unprecedented portrait of family life” when he must be well aware of Paul Watson’s 1974 BBC1 series, also called The Family, which featured the colourful Wilkins clan, who were much more interesting to watch than the monochrome Hughes family.