CRL finally has very own TV star ..

Unbeknownst to me in late 2018, just around the time of the 12-week scan with our fifth baby, my wife had seen an advert for parents-to-be who might like to take part in a BBC2 documentary.
They were looking for both first-time parents and those who already had children, and applicants just had to write a little blurb about what they would bring to the programme. Helen prepared her pitch, talking about how we both work full-time and how, alongside the ever-expanding family, she was also running her own business teaching Spanish to children as well as doing a full-time degree in antenatal education. She also highlighted the voluntary work that we both do with local youth groups. Months passed and she hadn’t heard back. She hadn’t even mentioned the programme to me and in all honesty I think she had forgotten that she had even applied.
At about 36 weeks pregnant, whilst rushing between the school run, a ballet class for our three-year-old and a speedy dinner before the Friday night Scouts / Guides she had a phone call from the BBC asking if we would still like to be involved. They could hear on the phone just how hectic things were and whilst she thought that would put them right off, we think now it probably sold them on our story. The following week was a blur of phone calls, Skype chats and even face to face meetings with the Series Producer, and then they confirmed that they wanted to follow our story as part of the programme. It was around this time that I become aware of what Helen had applied for and with a bit of
convincing agreed that I was willing for us to get involved.
Given how close Helen was to her due date by then, they wanted to start filming straight away. Cameras were placed around the house and a small team of three moved into our summerhouse with a handheld camera. We were each given a microphone pack to wear every day that they filmed, and they followed us in every aspect of our daily lives as they gradually pieced together the diary management madness that is our reality. Three weeks after the cameras first started rolling, they filmed the birth of our fifth child, Abigail, and so continued the focus of the programme, looking at how a newborn affects the lives of the family they join.
The programme follows six families and looks at how a new baby (or babies!) impacts on family life - though to be fair, in our case I think we pretty much stuck to our normal routine. A week after Abigail was born, I was back at scouts on a Friday and Helen was
back running Guides. The “TV adults”, as they became known in our house, wanted to film me at Scouts and also Helen at Guides. This resulted in a lot more paperwork, asking permissions, signing of consent forms than I ever realised was possible.
Filming continued for another few weeks and when Abigail was about six weeks old, the “TV adults” packed up their cameras and left. Not without accompanying us out on our ‘first’ date with Abigail where the series producer kindly told some people, whilst
interviewing me in the car park outside the restaurant, that we were shooting an adult film!
In October we welcomed the Series Producer back to our house and she let us watch a not-quite-polished version of the first episode in advance of it being aired to the general public. As I write this in early December we are part way between episodes 1 and 2 and I do not have a clue what is coming next! All I know is that there has been lots and lots of filming left on the cutting room floor, do not believe everything that you see on TV, and keep an eye out for the appearance of the CRL Surveys polo shirts!
We originally applied for the show as we thought it would make a fantastic piece of posterity for us as a family, enabling us to revisit life as we welcomed our fifth child. We still think it will be a wonderful thing for us to look back on, but inevitably our parenting
choices and style will now be scrutinised by a nation!