Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds
Channel 4, Mondays 9pm
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