Old Peo­ple’s Home for 4 Year Olds: Christ­mas

Wed­nes­day / C4

TV Times - - My Tv Times Week - Jenny Cockle

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!

Pauleen Davies

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

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