Last Night's Television - One Born Every Minute, Channel 4; I Hate Mum, BBC1

From fear to maternity


One Born Every Minute, Channel 4's new fly-on-the-delivery-room-wall series, began with a long, sustained bellow of protest. I did wonder whether this might be translated as "Get that bloody fly out of here" – the transitional stages of labour not being famous for their tranquillising effect – but apparently everybody here had signed off on having this intimate moment shared with a television audience. And in the case of Steve and Tracy, waiting for their fourth child, it did occur to you that Tracy might simply have wanted an independent record of Steve's gormlessness as a partner. A policeman of 41, with a mental age of 12, Steve saw this as the perfect moment for larking around. As Tracy moaned in pain and called for the gas and air, he put on a mincing voice and reminded her of her birth plan: "I'm going to do it all naturally."

The baby had been something of an afterthought. First, Steve had had to go and have his vasectomy reversed and then, when nothing happened, Tracy discovered she needed an operation for an ovarian polyp. After that, when she still didn't get pregnant, she'd begged for one round of IVF, which had fortunately proved successful. "It was obviously meant to be," said Tracy, without a trace of irony in her voice. Now, though, she had the double whammy of labour pains and Steve's dubious sense of humour. She handled the latter with startling forbearance. Steve thought she was being "nobby and aggressive" when she asked him (quite mildly) to stop patting her back with an inflated surgical glove. I thought he was lucky that she didn't bite him.

Down the corridor, Lisa was still absorbing the fact that her baby was on its way 11 days early. "I haven't washed the cot blankets," she said suddenly, interrupting an inventory of parental anxieties that stretched so far into the future that it even encompassed whether her unborn's son's unborn children would look after him in his old age. Tracy, meanwhile, was squeezing in a quick pee between contractions, unaware that Steve had tip-toed across the room and was trying to unlock the bathroom door with a coin, to reveal her in flagrante.

There was a lot of waiting around and a lot of groaning and then, suddenly, everything was happening faster than seemed quite manageable. Having done it three times for real, I'm not sure I want to do it by proxy eight times more, but for anyone who hasn't been through the ordeal, the series authentically captures what it's like to be a mere spectator – a combination of long stretches of anxious tedium concluded by a rush of overwhelming (and largely unearned) emotion.

I hope nobody was in labour while watching I Hate Mum, a reminder – if it was needed – that the pain doesn't necessarily stop when the baby is delivered. Daniel Fromm's film followed two cases that had been referred to a specialist family-therapy unit. Adam, 10 years old, had been aggressive towards his mother since the age of five. The therapist thought that he was "communicating anxious feelings". His mother, understandably, wanted him to stop communicating with his fists. And Adam too wanted to break the habit of fury he'd got into. Encouraged to write his feelings down he scribbled "I don't want to hurt any more!!", the verb balanced poignantly between the transitive and the intransitive. Ryan, a troubled 16-year-old, looked more like a stereotypical surly teenager, but turned out to contain a small boy too, still raw from his parents' divorce and desperate to get closer to his mother. They weren't perfectly happy by the end of the programme, but they were happier, which is all you can ask.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be Lonely Island's second Hollywood venture following their 2007 film Hot Rod
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in the movie There Will Be Blood
music
Arts and Entertainment
Brush with greatness: the artist Norman Cornish in 1999
art
Life and Style
Stress less: relaxation techniques can help focus the mind and put problems in context
art
Arts and Entertainment

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment