Dinner at 11, Channel 4 - TV review: 'These precocious child diners know how to put on a real feast'
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Monday 02 June 2014
From the mouths of babes! Last night, Channel 4's Dinner at 11 documentary brought together a group of strangers from all over the country to dine together and discuss the issues of the day. The twist? All of them were still at primary school.
Like Come Dine with Me crossed with 7 Up, Dinner at 11 is a brilliant idea, but the real genius lay in the selection of these precocious pre-teens. I wouldn't have been surprised if the cameras had pulled back to reveal a behind-the-scenes crew of nine-year-olds holding the boom and the clapperboard, like a media-savvy Bugsy Malone. Even the chefs, the Whittard sisters, were just 13 and 10. Someone give these girls their own show.
As for the guests, Kain from Great Yarmouth likes Laurel and Hardy and plays a ukulele. "I just try and keep very old fashioned and very sensible," he said, to the probable relief of his parents. Amaria is a strong-minded tough cookie who serenaded the company with her excellent singing voice. The Northern accent of pint-sized philosopher Jamie gave him the air of a miniature Alan Bennett and social activist Grace stays awake at night thinking about sweatshops and Syria. She's 10 and three quarters.
How do they know all this stuff? Has childhood really changed that much since we were young? Or have we just forgotten what it was like? I'm fairly sure my conversation topics at 11 did not include Nelson Mandela, progressive taxation and online grooming ("You go there and there's a 60-year-old man waiting with a tranquilizer dart," summarised Peter).
Any time not spent marvelling at the wisdom and maturity of these young'uns, could be well spent chuckling at their somehow simultaneous naivety. Kids do say the funniest things, particularly Grace, who expressed her sage musings on romance with such charming ardour: "When you're young you can easily just, like, go on to another person, but the true relationships are at about 14." If only they could all stay as tolerant and spirited as this for ever, instead of turning into mealy-mouthed, boring adults like us.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Pixie Geldof signs recording deal with Stranger Records
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners