Old Peo­ple’s Home For 4 Year Olds

Chan­nel 4, Mon­days 9pm

Heat (UK) - - The Unmissables -

Sylvia is 102 years old. She gave birth to her first child dur­ing The Blitz, as Ger­man bombs landed not far from her house. Now she lives in a re­tire­ment com­mu­nity in Not­ting­ham, but likes to main­tain her in­de­pen­dence as much as pos­si­ble. She’s also a star, one of a num­ber of el­derly res­i­dents who have agreed to take part in the sec­ond se­ries of this TV ex­per­i­ment, in which pre-school kids get to hang out with the old­sters to see what last­ing ef­fect it has on both age groups. But the dreaded word “ex­per­i­ment” makes the se­ries sound rather cold. In fact, the first episode, which aired on Mon­day, gave me all the feels, as the kids would say.

We got to see Sylvia gen­tly eat­ing a meal with the kid­dies, and mak­ing wry jokes through­out. Then there was eightysome­thing Lavinia, who needs a mo­bil­ity scooter to get around, and took time to gen­tly ap­proach de­light­ful four-year-old Phoenix when he wasn’t mix­ing with the oth­ers. Phoenix is mainly into pub­lic trans­port, and loves the Lon­don Un­der­ground. Watch­ing him form a bond with Lavinia was a beau­ti­ful thing to be­hold. Best of all was the story of 97-year-old Vic­tor, who misses his late wife so much, he doesn’t feel com­fort­able danc­ing with a part­ner. So he dances alone. Un­til, that is, a young dance teacher softly takes him by the hand for a lit­tle waltz, putting a lit­eral spring in his step. At a time when pol­i­tics and so­ci­ety have never felt so po­larised, and small-minded nas­ti­ness abounds, this show is like a deep cleanse. It’s re­ally just about very young and very old peo­ple be­ing nice to each other. But that’s ex­tra­or­di­nary enough in this day and age.

Good for the soul

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