Kicking off to a good start

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You’ve just come in from a hard days work at the office and the infernal screech of “when’s dinner ready”, is enough to make you contemplate whether life is worth living. So when ITV’s Driving Mum And Dad Mad appears on your screen it’s less appealing than actually knuckling down to make the little angels their fish fingers and chips. As relaxing as watching a bunch of hyperactive juvenile delinquents threaten their parents with a corkscrew is, after the first half an hour I was already ordering my children to “turn the f****** TV off”. So couples who are expecting, turn away now…

The programme thought they could turn brats into darlings with the click of a finger, but with Jamie a 7 year old violent mother beater, it looked as if they had their work cut out. So a group of dysfunctional families travelled hundreds of miles for a parenting session with the patronising ex school teacher Claire Halsey, when it was obvious from the viewers point of view the kids just needed a rest from their play stations and their toy guns. From the outset, I felt sorry for the poor parents and what they had to endure daily, yet as the programme progressed I realised the kids were the ones I felt any slice of remorse for. Perhaps if the parents had stayed at school rather then dropped out to have a kid at 16, they might have known how to raise one and wouldn’t be on national TV making fools of themselves.

With the attitude of mother Christine, “Sometimes I wish I was a bleeding lesbian and then I wouldn’t have had kids”, it was just discouraging the children, the opposite to Halsey’s fool-proof advice of actually praising the children once in a blue moon. For the kids it was working a treat, but for the viewers “well done” and “good boy” were getting extremely tiresome, as everyone watching already knew what an egg was.

In my opinion, I can’t help wonder why the parents weren’t thrilled with the way their kids had turned out; pierced ears; shaved heads; f-ing and blinding, they were almost spitting images of their oh so perfect parents. So when Kelly suggested to keep 7 year old Jamie amused with a make up lesson, and to what colour eye shadow he would prefer, he replied “red, I wanna be a bloodsucker”, it was evident they were making great progress.

Some people would argue, the programme was helpful in learning how to deal with troublesome children, and I suppose it was, parents worldwide now know that a superman costume will be the end to all the drama.

One extreme goes to the next when I switched over to BBC2 to find the title Teenage Tycoons come into sight. Although I soon realised it was too much to expect that this programme may be a breathe of fresh air compared to the twaddle of Driving Mum And Dad Mad.

How risky is it to take a risk? So much of a risk as brushing your teeth apparently, as nowadays kids can expect to pay �750 for a napkin maker and make a considerable profit. Obviously, the producer of Teenage Tycoons has a misconception of what an entrepreneur is.

The first of the three masterminds was Oliver, who was making great steps for big-footed men across the globe with his own shoe company. So much for working 9-5, the instant Oliver stepped through the front door, off came the school bag and out ran Mother, chief paper-worker, and out popped the shoe packer, namely the younger brother. Together they all set out providing un-naturally sized feet with abnormally sized shoes.

Next on the way to making it big was 10 year old Jake, or as his peers called him, ‘napkin boy’. Relevantly, that’s how Jake was funding his rock band, he made napkins. Well in fact, ‘making’ is an overstatement, with one pull of a lever, napkin machine does the hard work so you don’t have to. I’m surprised feeble Jake had the strength to row out to deliver his masterpieces, after incessantly working his arm muscles all day. With that much brain required, I’m astounded napkin boy would even have a clue how to spell how much money he was making.

Not having pocket money or even a penny to spend on herself was what drove Sarah, now 20, to go on to manage a leading furniture company. Well now the tables have turned as Sarah has enough to buy herself a flat in London from driving around selling furniture, but not selling it, she even sets it up. Now if that’s not talent, I don’t know what is, a women who knows which is the right end to use on a screwdriver.

A special guest on the programme was Alexander Amousu who really put things into perspective. Noticeably, the money and fame had gone straight to his head as he casually slipped in to the conversation, “I enjoy failing”, and “It’s not about the money” the multi-millionaire stated clutching his solid gold phone, changing the channel on the plasma screen in his Bentley. Clearly delusional.

Sir Allen Sugar states that entrepreneurship is a rare talent. However, this programme completely contradicts him – portraying the idea that even a monkey could make millions. Well, that’s if his dad bought him a napkin maker first of course.

Similarly with BBC2’s Football and Freedom, teenage boys Seth and Thuso are also keen to get a bite of the biscuit, but instead of their past time being making gargantuan shoes, these strange boys enjoyed a sport apparently known as football? Finally the general apathy of TV directors had disappeared as this was the first programme I sat through and actually enjoyed.

Seth is white. Thuso is black. Seth is from a wealthy background, while Thuso sleeps on his granny’s kitchen floor.

For the duration of the programme, there was a certain split between both boys. Following their footsteps towards the pitches it was clear that from the moment the whistle blew these two boys would focus on their one dream: to become a footballer. But did they have diverse motivations? I think we can safely say that the boy with the right intentions will always come off best.

For some reason, I found myself rooting for Thuso. There was something about him which made him favourable, perhaps it was his sheer determination to help his mother in desperate times or maybe it was the arrogance of Seth. What was particularly interesting was the announcement which came from Seth’s mother “White kids aren’t given as much encouragement and opportunities as black kids” she says as her child is being flown over seas to England for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

After Seth constantly thinking he knows best, it becomes clear that this was not necessarily the case as he finds himself taking three steps forward, but two steps back. And who knows, hopefully we will be seeing Thuso in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

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