Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Young, Gifted. and Demanding; PREVIEW

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Young, Gifted. and Demanding; PREVIEW

Article excerpt


Child Genius 9pm, Channel 4 IS IT exceptional-kids week on Channel 4 this week? On Monday we visited children who care for their parents and siblings; on Tuesday we sampled the spangled determination of the ballroom-dancing world, and tonight it's all about intelligence.

Now, if at this point you have rooted out your kids' Kumon maths stuff and emailed Channel 4 to ask why your offspring were not featured on this new series about gifted children, hang on a minute. We're not talking about bright, well-rounded youngsters here. These are super-brainy, academically focused - and occasionally difficult - boys and girls.

The series follows 10 gifted kids as they enter adulthood and asks whether nature or nurture is the key factor in cultivating intelligence.

Michael Dowling is just 11 but is a novelist, linguist (he's learning Old Norse), harpist, gourmet chef and speaks like a Stephen Fry character.

However, his mum - an Oxford Don - doesn't believe in pushing him too far educationally because she has seen the effects of taking kids away from their peers.

Up in Lincolnshire, though, the Grafton-Clarke family rewards its four kids' academic achievement with lavish gifts and encourages early university entrance.

It's mouth-open telly - will these kids become successful or go off the rails? Are their parents encouraging or pushy? Why are all the subjects apparently middleclass? But if you find the children's great brains too disturbing, light relief can be found with the Grafton-Clarkes's dad, who never quite dares speak when the camera is on him.

10 Years Younger 8pm, Channel 4

STREATHAM DJ Simon Dehany hasn't had a haircut this millennium, sports a bushy beard, has dodgy gums and a poll of members of the public puts his age at 49. Oops... he's really 35.

"I love hair," he tells us.

"It's horrible when you kiss him," says his girlfriend, Sam. "I want his face back."

Sounds like a cue if ever there was one for Nicky Hambleton-Jones and her team of hairdressers, dentists and cosmetic surgeons. Simon is up for change, although you wonder how far the subjects' enthusiasm would last with NH-J constantly offering bossy advice. …

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