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  The Family

Were the Bowlers the right family for the 1900 house? Series Producer Simon Shaw thinks so.


Channel 4 AdQWhat made you choose the Bowler family from among the hundreds who applied?

ShawApart from being an interesting family who were able to convey their feelings well, they were just very representative of their social class. They were not driven to do the experiment out of a complete fascination with just one moment in history, nor did they live that slightly cranky lifestyle of people who eschew modern appliances. They love modern conveniences, and they enjoy life in general.

QHow did the Bowlers measure up to your expectations?

ShawThey met -- and exceeded them -- in many ways. They pushed the boundaries constantly, introducing new stories to the agenda that we hadn't even dreamt about. In her video diary, Joyce would bring out fascinating information about how she was feeling, about how their diet, skin, hair and bodies were changing. And all of that gave us so much more than we originally intended. They were so open about every aspect of their struggles, and they weren't afraid to put their hands up and say, "We can't do this. This is too hard."

QIn hindsight, would you change anything about the family selection process?

ShawActually, if I had my fantasy, I would be able to select two families to take part concurrently. I had sympathy for the Bowlers since they were the only family living this experience. The people next door, everybody else on the street, everybody they saw when they went out shopping, were living a normal life, and they had nobody to turn to compare their experiences with. They felt very isolated in that sense, and with another family participating, at least they could have felt some sort of kinship.




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