Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds: Christmas
Wednesday / C4
I’m a big fan of this series, so I’m delighted my wish for another festive special has been granted. We chat to Lark Hill Retirement Village residents Pauleen Davies and Beryl Poulson about the show…
Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds: Christmas Wednesday / C4 / 9Pm
Lark Hill residents Pauleen Davies and Beryl Poulson were still adjusting to having a bunch of four-yearolds running around their peaceful retirement village in Nottingham when TV Times last chatted to them.
But having bonded with the kids while filming C4’s heartwarming documentary Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, they’ve now reunited with their youngsters for a one-off festive episode packed with singing, dancing and snowball fighting!
Here, retired magistrate Pauleen, 92, and retired secretary Beryl, 85, reveal how the children are making
this Christmas special for them... What kind of activities did you take part in for the festive special? Beryl: It was all outdoors and there was a wooden hut covered in snow, which the children were very excited about. I don’t know if they’d all seen snow before – it probably was a first for some of them. They all got a Christmas present from Santa, so they were very busy opening up their parcels. My little friend Scarlett got some wild animal figures, and that suited her down to the ground. Pauleen: We had a great party and it was lots of fun. The children were excited because they could throw snowballs. We also had a surprise performance from Alfie Boe and the children’s reaction was hilarious. Us oldies sat in the front row and the children sat at our feet, but when he started singing with a microphone, the kids put their hands over their ears as they couldn’t bear the noise! Alfie cracked up laughing and said,
‘Only children would do that!’
How did it feel being reunited with the children?
Beryl: It was so lovely to see them again. Scarlett has changed quite a bit since we started, both in stature and in her abilities. She writes ever so well now and wrote a ‘get well’ card for Victor, as he’d been unwell. Her behaviour is very good – she knows when to be quiet and when she can run around. I think the show’s had a big effect on her. Pauleen: The children were as delighted to see us as we were delighted to see them. We certainly did see a difference. Some have started at infant school and they seemed more mature. They were more talkative, eager to tell us about their new school – it was a delight. I’ve kept in touch with Ismail, who is a gorgeous little boy. I spoke to his mother today actually, and I’m also going to visit their house when his brothers and sister have got over the chickenpox!
How has taking part in the show changed your life?
Beryl: People recognise me now, which surprised me. I’ve been stopped in the local shop and
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re not related, the children are such a delight!
people say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen you on the television!’ I didn’t expect that at my age, especially when I’m wearing a hat! I don’t know if it’s changed me as much as some people, particularly those who were quite frail at the start. But I’ve certainly enjoyed the experience. My family think that it’s great – when Alfie Boe performed, my daughter came all the way from Buckinghamshire! Pauleen: I’ve never been a lonely person as I get involved in so many things but it was a new experience – at 92, you don’t get offered many new opportunities. My sciatica has improved and I’m a bit more tolerant and less impatient now. I hate being kept waiting but I had to get used to it during filming! I also get recognised in the shops. So I suppose that’s fame… What does it mean to you to have these children in your life now? Beryl: When we first met up, the children just ran into the room and it was potluck who you got paired up with. Scarlett suddenly landed on my knee and we were partners from then on. Unfortunately, her mother has passed away but I’ve met her dad and her gran and I’ve been to her house a couple of times. Scarlett even made me some mince pies. Admittedly it was ready-made pastry but it was a real treat. Pauleen: I’ve always been concerned that so many old people are lonely, especially when their children have moved away. So I like this idea of integration between the elderly and the young. It works
very well. It would be nice when they build new schools, if they built old people’s homes close by. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re related, the children are just such a delight. They’re so honest and straightforward, there are no barriers. It really is a great idea.
How will the children being there make a difference to your Christmas?
Beryl: Well, I’ve been here three years and we’ve never done anything like this before. We have variety shows in the evenings and some weekends, but nothing like this. Obviously, it’s much louder with the children running around but they’re all very well behaved. When the teacher speaks, they listen attentively. I have noticed a big improvement in their behaviour. They’ve got used to us now and call us by our Christian names. Pauleen: It’s so different having the children around this Christmas. I’ve already made friends of Ismail’s mother and father. Also, I see more of Lois, the little girl I was very friendly with, as her grandma has moved into the village. It’s great. We’ve also been invited to a panto at one of the nurseries and we are going to an awards ceremony at the Nottingham Post as the show has been nominated. Some families are coming for a Christmas lunch at our restaurant. The show has opened up all sorts of possibilities. It’s great!
friends: Pauleenwith Ismail
Surprise: Singeralfie Boe entertains the kids
Partners: Beryl with Scarlett