Last Night's Television: Kidnapped by the Kids, Channel 4<br/>Misfits, e4 - Reviews - TV & Radio - The Independent

Last Night's Television: Kidnapped by the Kids, Channel 4
Misfits, e4

Parent trap wasn't just child's play

Fester – oh no, sorry, Lester – Adams is obsessed with work.

Or so says the voiceover on Channel 4's Kidnapped by the Kids. He's part of a growing trend in the UK: children, we're told, are increasingly raised by workaholic parents. So last night, Lester's kids kidnapped him. "If I could wish for anything it would be for my dad to come back here more. I miss him all the time."

All well and good, except that I'm not sure about the premise. Are we really a nation of workaholic parents? Okay, so Lester might be a bit on the obsessed side – he sleeps at work to stop break-ins ("it's nice!") – but most parents just work hard because they have to. Children cost money. Lots of money: especially at this time of year, when the little terrors are running around high on mince pies and advent calendar chocolates, compiling unrealistic lists of extortionately priced gifts to be immediately discarded. Even Lester maintains this motivation at heart: he wants his children to have a better life than he did, he says. "I don't really want my kids going to school in second-hand uniforms like me."

Anyway, dubious premise aside it was actually quite good fun watching eight-year-old Ross and big sister Maddie plan their escapade. "I'm going to have to act as normal as possible in the run-up," whispered a gleeful Maddie. "I keep giggling. He's going to get suspicious!" Ross, meanwhile, prepared a speech in case his dad resisted. When it came to the big day, Ross, Maddie and Mum hid out in the children's play-centre that Lester owns. He had slept there the previous night but when he nipped out in the morning, they skipped school to sneak in. "Do you know why you're here?" they grinned when he got back. "No," came the wary response. He had, apparently, been under the illusion he was filming a documentary on small businesses. "We've taken the day off school to kidnap you so you can spend more time with us! You're not going into work for a long time."

Uh-oh, cue major on-screen bust-up. Or maybe not. Instead of freaking out – which wouldn't be a wholly unreasonable response given the circumstances – Lester welled up, tears rolling down his cheeks. He seemed particularly moved when Ross gives his absurd little hostage-taking speech. "I wish you were more like our friends' dads," he recited. "I want to fly kites more. So we're taking you to Wales." Things started to run rather less smoothly once they got there. The rule was that the children were in charge, which starts to grate fairly early on. Workaholic or no – being bossed around by a couple of pre-teens isn't most people's idea of fun. On arriving home, Lester was forced to go to school with his kids. He seemed all right at Maddie's secondary school, but when it came to accompanying Ross, he suddenly became much more interested in discovering how many of the pupils have visited his play-centre than in getting to know his son.

Still, the experiment was not without its benefits. Lester eventually appeared to grasp the effect that his professional life is having on his children. And, despite the heavy smell of made-for-TV moments that hung around the whole thing, it was all rather moving, perhaps because Ross and Maddie were so very engaging. Maybe parents do spend too little time with their children these days. I just wish that last night hadn't laid the blame quite so squarely at their hard-working feet.

Speaking of blame: E4's had a bit of kicking of late. It's vapid, say the critics. Featherweight TV. And perhaps it is – but then what's so wrong with that? It's entertainment. This was the defence launched by controller Angela Jain in this paper on Monday. And I couldn't agree more. TV's for fun. At any rate, there's a lot more than vapidity to the channel's current teen comedy Misfits.

Things have become considerably more sinister within the group of magically powered community service teens since I last tuned it, though it was just as packed with quirky scenarios and witty one-liners. Poor old Simon's online rapport with "Shygirl18" is little more than a farce; in reality, Shygirl is his probation officer, Sally, who suspects the group of killing her colleague (and boyfriend) Tony. Meanwhile, good boy Curtis has been cheating on his long-term girlfriend with party girl Alisha. He has tried, repeatedly, to break up with the girlfriend but his "superpower" – which rewinds time every time he feels regret – keeps undoing his dirty work for him. Last night, he eventually finished it by forcing her to get angry with him. Without the tears, there was no regret. And it looks like Nathan might have cottoned on to his superpower. After accidentally sleeping with an elderly lady who appeared young in his eyes in episode two, he started hearing babies crying everywhere he went. Dare we speculate it's something to do with eternal youth?

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
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.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week