Last Night's Television: Kimberley: Young Mum Ten Years On
Who Killed The Honey Bee?, BBC4

Mother's courage goes a long way

Ten years ago, Daisy Asquith made a documentary, Fifteen, telling the story of a strong-minded young girl called Kimberley, who wished that her mum would worry less, and that her boyfriend would call, and that she hadn't been raped by a 21 year old when she was 12.

Kimberley could be breathtakingly single-minded, and enormously, exasperatingly, stubborn. But she was charming nonetheless: feisty in an unaffected way, laughing at her "crumby" neighbourhood and joking about her bad taste in boys. Ten months after the programme ended, she fell pregnant, and nine months later, was a struggling mother in an abusive relationship. So goes the vicious cycle.

We don't see what happened next, but we hear Kimberley's account. With domestic violence a feature, her son was soon taken away. It's impossible not to feel sympathy, which is not to say that the authorities did the wrong thing. By the time she's being filmed again – by Asquith, in this equally compelling follow-up Kimberley: Young Mum Ten Years On – she has had another son, Harvey, and his progress is being closely monitored. With Harvey's dad long gone, Kimberley is hoping to prove she can go it alone, though given her track record, that means jumping through an inordinate number of institutional hoops. She has to take Harvey for medicals, show her commitment to his education, and attend parenting classes. When playtime starts to get too physical, her anxiety levels shoot up; the last thing she needs is a scratched and bruised little boy who looks like he's taken a beating. It's a tall order, for anyone, particularly when they're living on a weekly income of £110. And, so, a pattern emerges: Kim is in penitence for her past, which is making her future that much more difficult.

She is, however, making impressive progress; she's entangled in another relationship, though this time her partner of choice has a fair bit to recommend him. He's a single parent, too, and his son is doing well. They go on family dates and play with the kids. Midway through filming, in the wake of a glowing school report for Harvey and strong recommendations for herself, she was let off the leash a little. Instead of weekly meetings, she would only have to attend one a month. And instead of having her name on the child protection register, she just has a final three-month surveillance period. Then, just as things are becoming really Brady bunch, bam! Calamity strikes. Kimberley's pregnant again.

Here, I confess, a little exasperation set in. Of course, it's her right to have children, but it's clearly the last thing she actually wants. "Do you want the bad news or the bad news?" she asked the camera. "It's all bad news!" She decided to keep the baby, despite the father's reluctance. As happens, that decision appeared to spread balm over a few wounds. As the show ended, Kimberley was bustling around, showing off her new daughter, though she was still struggling to let her boyfriend move in and play happy families. Depending on which decision she takes, there may be another documentary in 10 years' time.

And so from one very British struggle, to quite another, with the BBC4's Who Killed the Honey Bee?, which documented the truly startling decline of Britain's bee population. "When we think of beehives we have this cuddly Winnie the Pooh image," explains Bee Wilson, the neatly named author of The Hive. "But actually, they're more like a mausoleum." Oh, dear. In fact, this is the shape of much to come; as it turns out, we're the ones who killed the honey-bee, a third of the population died last year, and we've got a hefty price to pay for it, too: one in three bites of food are dependent on bees, since they're the ones who pollinate crops.

The mausoleums/honey hives have eventually given way to a rather more humane version. But, in their place, a dozen other hazards sprung up. Like pesticides. They're supposed to be discriminatory – in the same hopeless way smart bombs are supposed to be – but, like the smart bombs, they're actually pretty dumb. In fact, they're probably worse for the bees than the old-fashioned, spray-and-be-damned kind, as they're aimed at the seeds, and the problem has become systemic. Now when the bee pollinates a plant, it picks up a cocktail of drugs along the way. Another problem, clearly, is the way in which beekeepers loan their insects out. Most of last night's show was spent interviewing these beekeepers, whose livelihood depends on farmers renting their stock.

It does all seem absurd, the idea of an aeroplane ferrying bees from Australia to California and back. How did the simple practice of beekeeping become so convoluted? And how can it be reversed? The Government has just announced £10m worth of funding to find out the answer. Hopefully, by the time that happens we won't be living in a bee-free world.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine