ITV has commissioned an “ambitious, blue chip” series, Planet Child, about global childhood development, from The Garden.
Two years in the making, Planet Child will present a “bold series of scientific experiments to delve deep into the way the new generation experience life across Britain and the world today.”
“Exploring key areas such as risk-taking, independence, morality and gender awareness in a range of scenarios, Planet Child seeks to further our understanding of children’s development. Aged between four and seven years, the children’s reactions to different challenges are tested to offer an eye-opening insight into their attitudes, behaviour and just what they are capable of when left unchecked by parental supervision. Planet Child looks at radically different cultures across the world and asks what they can teach us about the experiences children are exposed to today in our technologically driven 21st century environment.”
This 3×60 series will observe children in Japan, Africa and America, living in locations as extreme as mega-cities and deserts and sets out to compare and contrast their development to children across Britain.
In each episode, without parental supervision, young children of varying ages and from different parts of the UK will take part in a unique experiment led by twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken, focusing on how children become independent, when they learn right and wrong and the role gender plays in the modern age.
Xand Van Tulleken said: “It feels to me like it’s wildlife, but for people. You’re seeing children almost in their natural habitat. You’re seeing what happens if there’s no interference and that’s very lovely because we all might wonder how we would have behaved given a bit more freedom and anyone who’s a parent wonders what would happen if they stood back a lot further."
Planet Child is commissioned for ITV by Nicola Lloyd, Factual Commissioner and Sue Murphy, Head of Factual Entertainment. Executive producers for The Garden are Chloë Solomon and Teresa Watkins.
Nicola Lloyd, ITV Factual Commissioner, said: “This is the first generation of children growing up in the technology age. It’s a long way from the stone age to the phone age, so it feels like the perfect time to take a bold look at the development of children in Britain and compare them to children in other cultures across the world. The results are fascinating and as a parent I’ll never look at my two year old in the same light again.“
Chloë Solomon, Head of Popular Factual, said: “Featuring children from around the world, the series offers an ambitious global perspective on the way we raise our children and, through a series of experiments with British kids, asks us to consider whether we are getting the balance right for this generation.
“From the jaw-dropping freedom offered to a Japanese seven-year-old as he travels across Tokyo alone, or the confident handing of a machete by a three-year-old in Namibia, the series explores how much children are capable of and what we can learn about growing up in modern Britain, from elsewhere.”
ITV Studios Global Entertainment is distributing the series internationally.
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