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.

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss