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  • 00:30


  • 00:55

    13 years ago, the BBC set out on an ambitious projectto follow the lives of 25 children after their birthat the millennium.And in the process, we've captured ordinary family lives

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    in 21st century Britain.Our cameras have been in their homes,from towns and villages to inner cities and rural countryside,revealing the ups and downs life has thrown at them.I never guessed she would die.

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    Well, I can remember quite clearly the afternoonin which I found out.I think I was 10 and my dad had an affair.I'm glad they're growing up to be nice young ladies.And I love them to bits.

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    We've seen our families change.Now, Child of our Time is growing up.Our children are ready to share their thoughts and feelingsas they hit their teenage years.12 is like being in the middle of being a teenager

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    and being a middle of a kid.You're an in-between age so you kind of feel differentfrom others.Every day should be an ice cream daywhen you're twelve because your body can take it.Shallow people are going to be best friends with youjust for a piece of gum because everyone's obsessedwith chewing gum at 12.

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    She used to love pink and fairies and things like that,but that's now gone.She is very good at doing that teenage focusing outthe rest of the world, where they don't see anythingapart from what's immediately in front of them or on a screen.Bossy, would you say?But there again, she's 12.

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    She's experimenting with--Yeah, but she bosses you around an awful lot.And me.

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    [MUSIC - BOY, "LITTLE NUMBERS"]Tonight we'll see our children preparing for the greatestchange in their lives and how their parents will need to letthem go to grow as adults.He's not grown-up yet, so he struggles

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    to say what he is feeling.If you say to them one day, how you feeling?I don't know.Another time, all this stuff will come out.It's quite scary, actually, seeing myself get older.I don't know.It's just how could I be so small and I can be so tall now?

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    It's a bit confusing.Like any growing up young girl, every single young girlis a massive, flaming problem, so the start, it's there.She's growing up and she's got to move on into life,and those are very difficult, brave decisionson how you guide a young person through that.

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    Helena was the first of our childrento be born when her mother Jeanette,pregnant with triplets, went into premature labor.I'm just checking.His head's down at the moment.Head here.I remember being in hospital in Cheltenhamand it was 4 o'clock in the morning,

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    and my water's broke at 22 weeks.And then the doctor having a lookand he could see the baby's hand.What I didn't realize was the exceptional complicationsgoing through to full term with triplets.And there were two girls and a boy.And it just went wrong.

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    Born 3 and 1/2 months early, the first two babies,Barry and Millie, died.Helena survived, barely clinging on to life.

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    You didn't know when the phone was going to go and sayyour child's dying.It was like that.That's how near it was.And you were warned about this.We don't know the hour, the moment or the daywhen something's going to go right or wrong.

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    You spend hours and hours looking at your little babyand willing them to survive.I remember going in one day and the piece of skinbetween her nose and her mouth had started to grow,and I could see that it was a bit of distance there. [GASP]She's growing!Her eyes are opening.That sort of thing.All the very, very tiny, little benchmarks to it.

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    But after several weeks of intensive care,Helena's condition suddenly deteriorated.I remember saying to this technician, whatare you scanning her for?And they said, we're just lookingto see what's going on in her heart.It's blocked.

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    And the world fell apart at that moment in time.Helena had a blood clot in her heart,and other complications were setting in.She was getting worse.She'd got some problem while she was expanding with water.They said, right, your daughter's really ill.

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    Chances are she's going to be seriously handicapped.She'll never be right.Two days later, they're asking to turn her life support off,and my overwhelming memory is why did Ibury Millie and little Barry when Helena's going to die?

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    Jeanette and Barry were faced with their worst nightmare.Either ending Helena's life or letting hersurvive with a near certainty of permanent brain damage.We're sitting in this room next to the cot, and she's sedated,and her eyes are watching us have this conversation.

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    And as I looked at her, it showed methat she wanted to fight.And I just thought, god, if she'sgot that much determination, thenwe need to just fight for everything you can do.You know that there is a bond, something that's

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    quite extraordinary, the feeling, something happeningquite powerfully.Definitely we weren't turning that child off,not a cat in hell's chance.It wasn't going to happen.And they said, all we can do is experiment.I said, let's go experiment, then.

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    They said, we can give her a drugthat, if it's a blood clot in her heart, it may dissolve it,but it has never worked with babies before.There's a one in a million chance it'll work.If it works, she's going to have a major handicap,but you don't care at that point in time.You take what's being offered because you want your baby

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    to live.And she lived.And the drug worked.48 hours later she was out of intensive care.And she turned out to be a great fighter.

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    And it was-- well, it was magic, hownobody expected her to live, and all of the suddenshe surprised everybody.

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    Three months later, Helena was off life support and able to gohome.[MUSIC - JACKIE WILSON, "(YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) HIGHERAND HIGHER"]

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    Arabesque.Roll.Jump, jump, jump.Turn.Well done, Helena.Helena's story is a story of survival.

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    It's survival against the odds.There's no doubt about that.But equally, Helena can't live with that labelfor the rest of her life.Helena has to get on with the normal teenage life.I think we struggle to do that sometimesbecause we wrap her up in cotton woolbecause she's so special to us.In September 2012, Helena became a teenager.

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    Mum and dad are now divorced, but Barry is stilla full-time dad.Anybody home?Yeah, I'm here.Well, hello.Hello.Well, I'm so pleased you got your hair backto its curly self.It's always been her ambition to be a journalist of some sort.And she watches journalists and she reads.

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    She reads a tremendous amount.If I do end up being a journalist,I don't want to be one of those annoying ones in David-- like,waits outside Number 10 for ages.No offense to people who actually do that.I write fan fiction.I'm obsessed with it.

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    It's usually sad things because sad thingsare easy to write about, let's face it.Because otherwise, it's a flipping fairy tale.I don't want to write fairy tales.They're too flipping-- you know what happens.A beautiful girl is treated badly and then loads of craphappens, and then she marries someone at like 16.

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    What's with that?She's a child that was made for the 21st century.She's made by technology.She's saved by technology.She loves technology.As long as she's still got her mobile phone and her computer

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    and her iPod, she will be happy, I'm sure.

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    After Helena's birth, on September 1999,the rest of our children on "Child of Our Time"were born over the millennium.

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    To me it's sort of like, yippee!Let's have children.Oh, now what do I do?I remember first night we brought her homeit was freezing cold.Oh.Putting her in the car. [GASP] th-- th-- th--is a c-- 200 yards away.I'm slowing down.I'm pulling out.Don't come any closer.People always say it's a magical time having you and your baby.

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    I think one of the saddest things you ever saidwas you never looked back on it with any great--Oh, no but it was just a grind.I don't believe what he's just done.Ivo.That's very naughty.

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    That was the first proper two steps that she'd actually done.Even the first few years, the children's personalitieshad begun to take shape.Taliesin as a toddler likes the attention being on himand didn't like it if you had to go off and do something else.And one of his favorite tricks was unplugging the Hoover.

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    And the first time that it happened,I stripped the Hoover apart because there'sno way the plug could have just fallen out the wall.Then it happened again, and this time Ijust saw two little feet crawling offinto the front room and realized that he's come and unplugged itand then crawled off acting all innocent.

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    So yeah, he was a practical joker from birth, basically,I think.When Parys was younger, I relied a lot on voice.Stay there.Hold the door for me.Good boy.Like when he got out the car, he knew I couldn't-- you seemum's clinging on to the child for deal life

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    because I'm so frightened he's going to go across the road.Parys didn't do that.Good boy.Good boy.Right, now you be very careful because there's cars, OK?Hold onto mama.Good boy.Good boy.Hold onto mama.Right.Now you stay here.Bit more.Bit more.

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    Bit more.Stay there.Stay there.Now stay there, please.Please stay there.When I said stay with me, he stayed.He just knew.So he relied on me verbally rather than physically.She put trust into me to listen to her.

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    I couldn't just ignore her because she couldn't physicallypick me up and move me or like grab me to take me somewhere.I'd have to always listen to her, which I would.Alison Lapper found fame as an artist.

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    In 2005, a cast of her body was placed on a plinthin Trafalgar Square in London.Allison took Parys almost everywhere she went,and the two developed the strongest bond.

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    Where we're going?We're going to the Eiffel Tower, babes.And me?Oh, absolutely.Of course and you.Where do I go without you?He's traveled a lot for someone so young,but I like him being around.I like being with him.I enjoy him.

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    He is my world.He is so important to me.Mwah.You're such a brave boy being up here.It's great having a famous mum, but the downsideis she always talks to everybody who comes past.For example, when we went to Korea-- for some weird reason,

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    we were really big over there, so everywhere wewent we felt like Tom Cruise.And it got annoying because we couldn'tdo anything we wanted without having like 25 people followingus with cameras.

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    It's not only Alison's fame whichhas meant that they're constantlysurrounded by people.Since Parys was born, they've had a carer living with them.There are people in mine and Parys' lives 24/7.It's got its good qualities and bad qualities.For example, a good quality is that if you

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    want some food or a cup of tea, thenthey'd kindly make it for you.But the bad thing is like if I just wanted to be with my mum,they'd always be around.Don't have much privacy.Like not have anybody else in the house apart from meand my mum, I can't do that.

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    Every once in a while, my mum can just say to the PA,you can stay at home, or something like that,and then me and my mum could just be out, me and her.We're going to go to the Fright--Fest.Yeah, we're going to do that Tuesday.If we're out on our own, he really loves that.

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    It's less invading.You can just-- it's just time with you and your mum.You don't have someone following you all the time.But these precious moments together

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    are now coming to an end, as Parys reaches his teens.I look at him and my baby's gone.And I can see glimpses of the manthat he's going to look like coming through.Mum?Yeah?Do you like any of these scarves?Let's have a look.

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    The way he walks.The way he carries himself a little bit different.And as he grows, we change, and our relationship changes,and definitely he is stepping back.I hope that we'll always have a good relationship.

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    I've done my best, and I hope I haven't done too badly.

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    [MUSIC - FLORENCE + THE MACHINE, "DOG DAYS ARE OVER"]Ever since filming began, our parentshave had different and changing careers.Only time will tell you how this mayinfluence what their children might do later on in life.

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    When I grow up, I'd like to be some sort of doctor.And when I grow up, I would like to be a doctor or a scientist.I hope to see myself doing something clever,or just be a YouTube gamer.I think it would be something to do with sport,but I'm not sure which sport yet.

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    I really don't know what I want to be when I'm older,but I know I'd like to have a job that I enjoy.My mum wanted me to be an astronaut when I was small,but she kind of knew that I didn'tthink that's going to happen for me because I'm notso clever at science.I wanted to make her like astronaut

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    and she's totally different girl.Het Shah lives with her family in north London.My first thing would be to be an actress,and then slowly move on to my singing career and have my own,

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    I guess, band, and my album.And then kind of have my own fashion line--so do fashion designing, too.And have my own album alongside doing movies as well,so doing everything at a time.Up till now, Het was a little girland whatever I was telling her she was listening,and I as I said, she's a very easy girl.But now, she's in secondary school.

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    She's got her own thinking.I probably will go to US or LA to kind of follow my dream.And sometimes I feel so powerful that Ican do anything I will do, because Iknow I can achieve it.Bella. [KISSES] Here, have a chunk of grass.

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    If I do try and get a doctorate and get in the psychology thingthat I really want to do, or photography,or forensic science, singing, whatever,I have lots of different things to fall back on.The only important things about the job is one, I enjoy it,and two, it's good for me.

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    Since she was very young, Rhianna has alwaysunderstood the value of money.Sometimes you have been quite pressed for money,but I never liked being like that.When I was a little kid, I was going,look, this is an own brand, and this is not an own brand.This one's cheaper.So I knew from quite an early age

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    about how much things costed and what I can't get and can get.I just need some money.No, you don't.Well, you can pay for everything, then,I presume with your great wad of moneythat you have in your purse.The family's finances have often been tight.

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    Andy has tried many different jobs.To be honest, you've always been a really, really good workerwhen you put your mind to it.It's just that, in the past, you've got slightly distractedquite quickly.Yeah.There are some things I've started and not seenthrough yet, I'll agree with that.

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    Fishing, cage birds.Mini-motorbikes, quads, go-karts.The kitchen at Monk Fryston.Off-road buggies.And the conservatory at Monk Fryston.Buying and selling cars.Once the novelty's gone, you're not interested anymore.What color do you want?You want that one?

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    You got it?You got it.Smashing.Thank you very much.Andy even tried his hand as a market trader.Some days you could have marvelous days, and thentwo or three weeks on the trot, nothing.Poor.Poor as a church mouse.And then you're trying to live.

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    If there was work there, I'd do it.If there wasn't, fine.There was no, [GASP] I better thinkabout what we're going to do about payingthe mortgage in four months' time.Four months' time?Four days, I don't think I could even-- four hours,I could cope with.Four days, mm-mm.Four months?How long?I thought you'd have just said, mortgage?What's a mortgage?

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    Never planned anything.Right, we need a withdrawal with receipt.My mum's quite financially cautious.She's the one that worries about the finances.She'll be the one that's going, ohh, we can't-- maybe-- oh,no-- uh, you know-- she'll be the one fretting.I did get resentful because you weren't pulling your weight.Very resentful, in a very quiet and undermining way,

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    I would guess.My dad will do whatever he wants,when he wants, in whatever he likes to wear,which tends to be his dressing gown, I think.Sat outside, smoking.You just had moments where you were childish.Yeah, quite probably.Self-centered and childish, but the core person

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    wasn't a bad-- you're not a bad person.I didn't ever hate you.Enough.One of his favorite catchphrases is when he comes backand he's hungry, nobody loves me.Everybody hates me.I'm going to go and eat worms.Which is-- we encourage him to do that.

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    But Andy now has a regular job and seems quite settled.With Rhianna growing up-- Rhianna's 12 now--she needs stability, and there needs to be constant money.And it does feel good to have a constant income.I go out.I go to work.

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    I get paid.And I know next month it's going to be there again,and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.I can start mentally thinking, I can save a hundred pounds hereand a hundred pounds there.Never quite happens like that, I'm afraid.I always seem to find some way of spending it.

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    But anyhow.I'll work on that one.I think it's kind of good that yes he's re-training,and that he's trying again, but he alsoneeds to stick at one thing instead of going, ooh, look.This is nice.You know, flitting through different things.He needs to stay at one particular thing.Ground himself and just stick to one thing

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    he enjoys or doesn't enjoy.I don't care as long as he brings in good cash.If I do enter a relationship when I'm a lot older,I will have separate bank accounts, not joint,because I think it's good to be independentbecause if things don't work out, for whatever reason,it's good to have your own thing to fall back on.

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    [MUSIC - MADNESS, "OUR HOUSE"]When it comes to the home environment,it's not only we parents who shape our children's lives.Most of our children have grandparents, sisters,and brothers, too.

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    Matthew Singleton lives just outside London,and he and his brother, Robert, have been fierce rivalssince they were young.When we do play sports against each other,we are quite competitive, both of us.But sometimes we do get a bit too competitive

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    and maybe we argue.Matthew, in the pest, has got very frustratedbecause he used to always think he was the same age as Robertbecause they were the same height.And I had to say to him so many times,you're two years younger than him.And he would get so it becomes so competitive, and wantingto beat Robert all the time and get so angry.

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    At one point they were very, very close,and people sometimes would say, oh, you've got twins.I took them into work once, and one of the guys said,I didn't realize you had twins, and I said, no,they're two years apart.But in the last year, things havechanged, as his older brother has gone through puberty.Robert's suddenly shot up in height, towering above Matthew,

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    and I think that's changed the dynamic.Matthew--Matthew loves have a big brother.He sees him as a big brother Because Robert'sgetting to adult size now.I had no idea that that height thing, psychology,would make such a difference.They definitely get on much, much better now.

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    The brothers' rivalry has just beena normal part of growing up, and for them, they'vehad a secure and tight-knit family throughout their lives.From the kids' perspective, it's beena very, very stable upbringing.We've not changed.We're not separated.We're not divorced.We've been told off occasionally by our children

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    for having such a happy atmosphere at home because theysaid they've got not traumas they can talk about to people.Lovely.That's good.Do we need to wipe your nose?The thing is, we live around the corner,and Matthew has a particularly close relationshipwith Raymond, which is lovely.

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    Matthew, for some time, passed our house everyday on the wayto school and coming home, and theywould call in and pick up a biscuit, use the loo sometimes.Well, I have a very vivid memory-- perhapsyou do, too-- of the first day that Matthewwent to infant school and he ran ahead of his parents

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    in his new uniform coming past our houseand he just leapt up into our arms.It's just a delightful relationship,and I think it's very important to be physically close.But growing up brings about change,and this family have a difficult time ahead.

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    My grandma's got Parkinson's disease,and because of that she's had to move into a home.Which is a very, very big wrench for all of us,especially my father.It's much better now that she's in a homebecause she has proper carers.You don't really know how you're meantto feel because it's as if she's not died,

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    but yet it does feel somehow as if she'sdied because suddenly your family that you always knewwere together, that you always really relied on and alwaysjust assumed were going to do there forever,together, until they die-- suddenlyit's been pulled apart.As far as Raymond and I are concerned,

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    I think this time is easier for me than for him, but, see,I'm very aware of the fact that we'vehad 54 very good years by anybody's standards,and we've had a lovely time.He's been bringing in albums from around.The family have all laughed at me.I've had these photo albums, like a true old grandma,

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    ever since we met.And we've had great fun and, so have the boys.To our delight, they've picked up on them.The legacy that your mum will leave the boys, havinggrandparents live around the corner--and she's put so much into them.And there are so many things I'll remember.You look at the boys now and you thinkthey wouldn't be like that if it wasn't for their grandparents.

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    I didn't think they'd be interested lookingat all these pictures of our lives togetherand all the holidays we've had and so on,so I think we've a whole lot to be thankful for.

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    [MUSIC PLAYING]My name's Ivo.My name's Alex.Close relationships cement families together.These bonds are often never strongerthan between identical twins, like Alex and Ivo Lloyd-Young

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    in Glasgow.Having a twin is like having a best friend,but who lives with you.Just means you've got someone who looks very like youand you can falsify crimes against them.Having your best mate with you all the time,which I think for anyone is just a fantastic concept.What a great thing to have someonewho's kind of quite like you and shares

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    the same interests with you just with you all the time soyou can hang out and do stuff.[MUSIC PLAYING]

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    But being an identical twin has one big drawback.You Ivo or Alex?Ivo.Alex, can I play?I'm Ivo.People think we look alike, but, I mean,the major-- the majority of people look alike,but we don't think we look alike.I'm already confused.Who's Alex and who's Ivo?This is Alex.People do it a lot.It's just beginning to get boring

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    having to tell them that you're not the one they think you are.They're clearly very aware that they are very similarand that is a problem for people,then people struggle to tell them apart.So they just started wearing colored clothes.OK, I'll do it.I wear blue.He wears red.Yeah, we have to do this so people can tell the difference,

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    otherwise we just get called Ivo or Alex all the time.See, like I could be called Ivo, and he could be called Alex.The person who's Ivo is completelydifferent to the person who's Alex.Although they share a lot of-- interestingly,they share a lot of personality traits,they are completely different.

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    We've been with the "Child of our Time" childrenat every milestone of their lives.Starting primary school was a bit moment.And in 2011, the children started secondary school

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    and faced a whole new set of challenges.Secondary school, that was the big one for me.It was Rhianna Lee's, 11-year-old, first weekat secondary school, and you've got this other person camehome at night.It was, wow.

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    School's crap.They have all these really good ideas about what kids enjoy,and a lot of the time, the kids don'twant to do these fun theme days because they're not fun.Having started secondary school last year in Year Seven,I felt he slightly lost his confidence.I think just the whole enormity of going to secondary school,

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    trying to suddenly work out which classroom to go to,who the teachers are, what the names are,all those things, which when they've been in primary schooland they've been the oldest in the school and everybodyknows them and they know everybody.It's smaller.I think that it did really affect him.One worry that many parents have is

  • 36:32

    if their children may be bullied.Almost half of all British childrenare likely to be bullied at some point during school.Someone's kind of picking on thembecause of their weight, because they're too clever,or when they're dumb, they're too skinny,they're fat, their appearance.I hope that my children won't bully anybody else's, but

  • 36:53

    they're not that temperament.I don't remember being bullied either when I was at school.On the contrary, I--Oh, I was.Yes, I remember being locked in the lavatory when it wastime to go to my piano class.Sadly, for Taliesin Stevenson, bullying

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    has been an issue in his life since hewas only four years old.They keep crashing with me.That isn't funny, is it?They just decided that they didn't like me from pretty much

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    the first day.They never let me play with them or anything like that.They always left me out.They just used to call me names and the normal,like, what bullies do.I think I was bullied because maybe I looked weakerthan everyone else, and they decided to pick on the weakest.

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    I don't think they understood him.I think they weren't really on his level,and so he withdrew into what he found interesting.So interesting.It's a monster.

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    He didn't have this kind of basic viewthat all the other children had of howeverything goes together.And he took a photo of a fire extinguisher, I think,and birds flying.I just thought that was the most creative thing I could thinkof, birds flying in the sky.I was amazed at that from right when I was young,

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    so I'm like, [GASP], shing-shing-shing.He had a totally different, imaginary worldthat he lived in, so the birds flying, and fire extinguishers,and everything else that caught his eye,really, rather than focusing on the miserable situationthat he was basically in.

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    Go away.There were so many times that I didn't want to go into school,and I just started getting worse then, saying,I don't want to go in.I don't want to go in.Then my mum said, is there a problem?And that's how I told her after five years.Knowing that I was sending him into an environmentthat he really wasn't comfortable with

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    was awful for me.It really was.And I'd come home and cry.I had to drive him into school a lot of timesbecause he just wouldn't walk, just point-blank refused.And I had to stand with him and wait and he'd go offand-- it was heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking.

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    Taliesin being bullied struck a nerve with Oliviabecause she had also suffered similarly in her childhood.I wasn't only bullied at school, but also being bullied at homeby my father.In June, 2000, Olivia returned to her childhood home

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    to tell "Child of our Time" about her traumatic upbringing.This is the woods that my mother's house backs on to.When I was very, very young and got worried at home,I used to just jump over the fenceand I'd run out into here.

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    It's like a safe haven.And so it is hard as a parent when you'vebeen through that bullying.To see that happening to your own child--it's the worst feeling ever.

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    But I just knew I had to do something about it.And I got myself a job there, working as a midday assistant,so that I could see, because I thought,I'll know what he's up to from across the playgroundand I'll see what he's doing to these other kidsto provoke the reaction that he's getting.And what I did see was an awful lot

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    of stuff flying in his direction when he was even walking away.And it was at that point that I decided it reallywasn't going to work, and I just hadto remove him from the school and find somewhere else.Taliesin moved schools, made new friends,

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    and is now much happier.I think the bullying wasn't actually a bad thing.Well, it is, but it wasn't bad as in the sensethat it ruins my life.[MUSIC - KELLY CLARKSON, "STRONGER"]I think it's made me stronger as a personby just deciding to stick up for myself

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    rather than just take it.He's got some really lovely friends now.I don't begrudge them what they did.I think they did him a massive favor.

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    He's just so strong, and he's such a character.And I'm just so proud to be part of that--to develop him into the adult that he's becoming.

  • 43:05

    Everything changes when you becomea teenager-- your mind, your body, and, of course,your hormones.And girls develop faster than boys.Megan Davies lives in South Wales.I definitely was a tomboy.

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    I don't think I am now, but I'm not one to wear dresses.I don't think I'm as boyish as what I used to be.Yeah, she will paint her nails and she will doll herselfup a bit, but her fashion sense, compared to Delana, her sister,

  • 43:49

    isn't the best.Got to watch what you say, now.Some of the things Megan will wear--we see her coming down the stairs, ready to go outsomewhere for a meal or something.Where do you think you're going?Oh, she's just got some horrendous choice of clotheson.[INAUDIBLE], so we just leave it alone.She's not bothered at all.No, she's not.

  • 44:11

    Not a lot of my friends actually have boyfriends because we allstick to the same motto.OK Like we all agree that we're a bit too youngto take relationships seriously anyway, so.They will choose their own friends.They will decide whether they-- what kind of life

  • 44:31

    they want to lead, really, and it's from now on,this is where we'll see big changes, really.It was quite a shock, actually, whenwe got to about the age of nine and suddenly shewent from being a very compliant little girl to actually saying,no, I'm not going to do that, which is OK, perfectly normal,

  • 44:51

    I'm told.She is a very, very typical teenager-- spotty,becoming a woman, capable of being a total pain in the assand being a peaceful girl the next moment.I think it's going to be a bit of hell,because I'm always going to get into arguments with my mother.

  • 45:12

    I'm not looking forward to being a teenager.It's just you get grumpy a lot.Sometimes he's a pain in the butt,and I have to remind myself that he's supposedto be pushing the boundaries.She was angry and grounded me for like three weeks.

  • 45:35

    He's getting quite clothes conscious,and he's quite into his music.What's it called?I call him Tiny Tim and he gets furious with me.Tiny somebody or other singer-- all these singers and thingsthat he likes.Templer.Tiny Templer, I think.

  • 45:56

    Something like that.Sometimes I'll be in the mood of a three-year-old and spinningaround in a circle.It's the best thing ever.And a rainbow, you know, is magic.But then if I'm in a sensible mood, nothing is funny.Everything is just, oh, god sakes.

  • 46:17

    To look at, she's tall, quite maturefor her age in some ways, but she's not as matureas she'd like to have you think.Yeah.Mum says I'm a wicked child because Ilike the idea of turning people into soup.There's a film that does that.When they get old and decrepit, they turn them into soup.

  • 46:38

    She's becoming, I think, quite hard.She's deliberately developing a hard shell,which is alien to her natural character to protect herself.To protect herself, yeah.As a kid, empathy is useless because people will eithertake advantage of that by asking silly things like crayonsor whatever, and you can't keep being friends

  • 47:02

    with people you don't want to be friends with.I think she's less trusting, isn't she?But mum keeps saying, you'll need itas an adult, blah, blah blah, blah blah, but I don't care.I'm not an adult at the moment.This is how I want to be because, otherwise, it's goingto ruin my life type thing.[MUSIC PLAYING]

  • 47:31

    So do you play for North or Worcester?As children gain independence, theystart to make decisions for themselves,and for one of our boys, this is had a dramatic impacton him and his family.I stopped competing, really, because I got a bit bored

  • 47:53

    and I was getting a lot of pressure put on me.Oh, fantastic play.From a very young age, William Robertsseemed destined to become a professional tennis player.When I first started playing tennis, I was four.I thought I was more naturally good a tennis

  • 48:14

    player because people tell me that I'm very athletic.I think he's got a very good hand-to-eye coordination.He has a natural ability.He was definitely in the top eightfor his age group in the country.

  • 48:47

    All William's spare time was taken uppracticing tennis and traveling to tournaments.I'm not [INAUDIBLE].He was traveling further than nearly anyone.He was giving up more school than nearly anyone.Half the time he'd finish his lunch in the car.

  • 49:07

    He had more meals in the car than anywhere else.And then drive off to training and you'd be there for hoursand then coming back at night.And he's got to be up at school for 8 o'clock in the morning,and this isn't working.He then realized that it was a bit too muchpressure to be putting William through that

  • 49:28

    if he's not enjoying it.I was just getting a bit tired of it,and I just started not being too keen on it,and started looking at other sports.And I was missing out on school sports that wanted to do,

  • 49:49

    and I was getting pulled off to tennis,and I actually wanted to do cricket at school and stufflike that.I just didn't want to really carry on.And I did say to Will, if you want to carry on,Will-- if you really want to carry on playing tennis,

  • 50:11

    I will take you around the world.And he said, I don't know.I don't know.You're the adult. It's up to you.And I said, oh, Will.And I just keep asking, do you wantto carry on playing tennis?I don't know.And eventually, I said, look, love.I don't know isn't really enough anymore, because it's too big

  • 50:31

    a thing.It was tough on her, as well, because shewas traveling around the country when I wasn't really keenon the sport.So it was wasting her time and my time.So we just decided to stop.That's it.That's the finish of tennis.And he looked at me and then he-- I was in the kitchen,

  • 50:52

    and he came across to me and flung his arms around meand gave me a big hug.I wasn't that disappointed, thinkingthat that was the only thing that I was--that's the only sport I was good at,because I know I'm all right at other sports, as well.

  • 51:15

    Not going to tennis everyday has made an enormous differenceto me, so much so that I look back and think,I don't know how I did it sometimes.And I now would like to have a job.I've been applying for jobs because Ithink it's easy to get consumed with housework.

  • 51:36

    I'll at least have the option of getting a job.It may not go down particularly wellwith some people, people that may think that I have plentyto do without getting a job, but I thinkthat it would be good for me.

  • 51:57

    If I hadn't had children and if I hadn't wanted children,I would be a solicitor with an income of my own,and I would be financially independent.It would've changed who I am.It would have changed how I feel about myself.It would've changed how other people see me.It would've changed what I had and how I lived,

  • 52:20

    and it would have changed my relationshipswith other people.And I could've been more of the personI wanted to be with that career and that income.I did have the offer of a really brilliant trainingcontact with an excellent city firm, and so I'd given up that.

  • 52:45

    And I do-- I do regret that.I do regret that.I do regret that a lot.I have made a lot of sacrifices in one way, but in some ways,I haven't sacrificed anything.

  • 53:20

    Yeah, and I think, oh, well, I wouldhave liked a job and a career, but the truthis I wouldn't have wanted anything else.I-- I wanted the children so much,

  • 53:40

    and I was more confidence about being a good mother than Iwas confident about being a good solicitor.But we'll never know.[MUSIC PLAYING]

  • 54:20

    These are the last moments of childhood, so a timeof reflection for us all.Being a dad is as good as it's ever going to get for me,I think.This is the single best thing I'll ever do.

  • 54:41

    We can't all be brilliant or whatever,but there's a possibility that they might be.So to me, it just feels incredibly special.I personally feel a little bit like the center of the boys'lives has evolved away from me, inevitably.

  • 55:06

    I used to do lists of like 10 brilliant thingsto do a weekend, and they would tick what they wanted to do.We'd have paper airplane competitions and LEGO modelcrashing competitions, all this stuff.But I love all toys and kids and all that kind of stuff.And that doesn't happen now, and I miss that.I think I'm just kind of getting to the age whereyou want to be more with your friends

  • 55:28

    than with your mum and dad.Like I can go into town on my own.They're not as much crowded around me, like, be careful.Don't trip over.Don't know.I just do what I want, really.

  • 55:53

    Our relationship is changing, which it's bound to,but it's me that probably mourns that.Parys doesn't at all, I don't think.I find myself increasingly emotional these days, thinking,

  • 56:15

    it's not going to be long and then they'reall going to have grown up and they're going to leave me.And it's lovely, because I think that they'll do very well.Oh, yes.It's wonderful being a grandmother.I wouldn't change that.It's interesting to see her growing and changing

  • 56:37

    and you just hope that you'll always be part of that.I'm very privileged to have these children,but I've only got them for a short period of timebecause they are going to grow up and leave me,but they're coming back when I'm old.I've told them.These are the golden moments right now.

  • 56:59

    And then there's a kind of sadnessbecause I think childhood is kind of about loss,and it's about the loss of those moments,because things are changing so much.You know, they're 12 now.They were one.They're never going to be one again,so you're just losing all the time,

  • 57:20

    and I guess you just hold on to all the weemoments of just magic.

  • 57:48

    [MUSIC PLAYING]We shall continue to record the lives of our children.And one thing is certain, the biggest changes and challengesare still to come, as they become adults.

  • 58:08

    I probably think I'd like to do somethingwith animals because I think they're different.I'd like to be a photographer.I don't know what I'll do.I'll just go with the flow.I want to be a baker as famous as Nigella Lawson.I don't know at all.At all.It'll come to me one day.I want to be successful so I can make my mum and dad proud,

  • 58:33

    but I don't know if that'll happen or not.


To understand ordinary family lives in the 21st century, the BBC followed a group of British children from birth on. Thirteen years later, the preteens are transitioning from childhood. The children face teenage problems, from hormones to bullying, as well as ups and downs in their family lives.

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Child of our Time: Growing up

To understand ordinary family lives in the 21st century, the BBC followed a group of British children from birth on. Thirteen years later, the preteens are transitioning from childhood. The children face teenage problems, from hormones to bullying, as well as ups and downs in their family lives.

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