I remember as a child watching Child of Our Time nearly every year. At a time when I was learning the intricacies of the nature and nurture debate, watching a programme aim to answer “Are we born or are we made?” with real life case studies was a wonderful opportunity. From its beginnings in 2000, the development of 25 children were followed. The children chosen were from very different backgrounds. The aim was to follow them until 2020.
It’s 2016. Where has the programme gone?
This was a wonderful project commissioned by the BBC in co-operation with the Open University as well as Professor Robert Winston. I doubt a private broadcasting corporation could have easily commissioned a show with this age span; following the 25 children from birth until 20 years old. It was ambitious but not impossible. ITV did commission the Seven Up televison programme decades ago which followed individuals briefly every seven year.
Now is a vital time in the development of these young people’s lives. At the age of 16, they are undergoing such a vital time of their lives. The foundation stones to make the individual in the early days were fascinating to watch but the paths which each chooses is equally brilliant.
The last sight of Child of Our Time was back in 2013 when a short follow up of some of the children in two programmes was shown. Three years have gone. Five years ago Professor Winston accused the BBC of abandoning the project. In the interim, there has been this short update.
I hope the BBC will hurry up and produce a lengthy update soon.