Monday, January 11, 2010

New BBC series on the history of the family

January must be retrospective month at the Beeb, with last weeks 'History of Now' on the Noughties replaced by Kirsty Youngs The British Family. The series looks at how families have changed since the 2nd World War.

Young has written a lengthy piece introducing the first programme, which tracks some of the changes in roles and attitudes in early postwar decades:

I'm a mum of two daughters. I'm also a step-mum and the daughter of a divorce that happened in the period covered by our first programme - the period which traces how marriage changed from the end of the war to the end of the 60s.

So when I started out making The British Family, I was acutely aware that this wasn't the kind of TV series you could simply consign to the compartment labelled "work".

Doing a series about family meant thinking about your own most intimate and meaningful relationships, the lives of the people who are bound most closely to you in life. Divorce has profoundly affected my life and the lives of millions of others. But does that mean our commitment to family has fallen apart?

If there is one thing that unites the experiences of everyone we met making these programmes, it is the simple message: family matters.

Fast forward to the present day, and David Camerons' thoughts on Conservative family policy, including intervention where poor parenting is letting children down. A lot is still in flux, and up for grabs. 'Family' itself is one of those social institutions, like class (see History of Now, which noted the end of class as a significant marker), which is no longer a 'given'. Does that mean that every generation, even every individual, has to renegotiate what 'family' means, or are there some points on the compass?

No comments:

Post a comment