It’s all about mov­ing back home for TV’S boomerang gen­er­a­tion of pro­grammes

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - YOUR TV WEEK - YVONNE GOR­DON

How the ta­bles have turned in TV-land. A few years ago, we all tuned into RTÉ Two to watch the weekly se­ries I’m An Adult, Get Me Out Of Here, with a mix­ture of dis­be­lief and cu­rios­ity at how some­one in their late 20s or early 30s could still be liv­ing at home with mammy and daddy.

Thanks to the guid­ing hand – or some­times shove – of pre­sen­ter John Maguire, on the show th­ese ‘chil­dren’ were suc­cess­fully man­aged off the hall, stairs and land­ing of the fam­ily home and onto the prop­erty lad­der, seen of course as a move in the ‘right di­rec­tion’ at the time...

This Mon­day on RTÉ One, a doc­u­men­tary called Crowded House fol­lows the lives of four adults with young chil­dren, who due to fi­nan­cial pres­sures, find them­selves back liv­ing with their par­ents ( hope­fully not the same adults that were helped to move out a few years ago). Mov­ing back home may make fi­nan­cial sense for the four ex­tended fam­i­lies, but we see ten­sion as the adults be­come de­pen­dent again on their par­ents.

Things may be crowded in those homes, but con­di­tions are con­sid­er­ably bet­ter than they were 100 years ago. In 1911 in Dublin’s Hen­ri­etta Street, a Ge­or­gian street with 15 houses, an as­ton­ish­ing 825 oc­cu­pants were recorded on cen­sus night — with 104 peo­ple and 19 dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies liv­ing in No. 7 alone. Now that is a crowded house.

Those con­di­tions were dealt with by the ex­cel­lent TV3 se­ries The Ten­e­ments and the same pro­gramme mak­ers, Big Moun­tain Pro­duc­tions, are back this week with a new se­ries look­ing at some more his­tory of dif­fi­cult liv­ing con­di­tions in Ire­land.

The Big House starts on TV3 on Mon­day. Set in Strokestown Park House in Co. Roscom­mon, it fol­lows 13 peo­ple who live and work as ser­vants in the Big House.

Thanks to ar­chives and the cen­sus, the pro­gramme-mak­ers were able to trace the ac­tual descen­dants of the Big House, and it is th­ese peo­ple who re­turn to live and work there ex­actly as their an­ces­tors did.

Seems like mov­ing back in is the new mov­ing out. If TV turn­arounds of this sort get out of hand, we’ll soon be watch­ing I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Back In There...

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