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Turning 20 – final episode of ‘Child of Our Time’ airs tonight

Child of Our Time, the ground-breaking series that began 20 years ago filming a group of babies from the moment they were born, returns to our screens on Wednesday 11 March at 9pm on BBC Two. Co-produced by the BBC and The Open University’s Broadcast and Partnerships team, the one-off episode draws on hours of archive footage to shape a picture of childhood as the first generation of the 21st century.

Eve, Jamie and Rhianna, three of the original children are the focus of the ‘Turning 20’ episode, which marks an end to the social experiment that has followed the childhood and adolescence of 25 children over two decades. Alongside the fun of being children, all have faced challenges that have played a part in making them the adults they are today – mental health, sexual identity, bereavement and family tension are explored, against the backdrop of a time of extraordinary social change.

OU Academic Consultants, Professor John Oates and Shelia Curran have been involved in advising and shaping production, with John having been involved in the series since the second episode. Watch John and Shelia discuss the societal changes over the last 20 years that are reflected in the series.

John commented:

“This final programme in the Child of Our Time project gives a unique opportunity to look back over young people’s lives as ‘Millennium Children’. It has been quite a journey for me as well, since I started with the project back in 2001 and since then we have learned so much about the complex influences on how children develop, which is richly illustrated in this programme.”

OpenLearn, the OU’s free learning site has extra resources including updates from the other participants, a thought-provoking article on ‘Young people and stress, vulnerability and resilience’, and activity packs to share with your children to help aid learning and development.

Child of Our Time: Turning 20 airs on Wednesday 11 March at 9pm on BBC Two. It will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

Commissioned by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast & Partnerships

  • Academic Consultants Professor John Oates and Sheila Curran
  • Media Fellow Dr Mathijs Lucassen
  • Broadcast Project Manager Clair Robinson
  • Digital Content Producer Georgia Axtell-Powell

Find out more

About studying BA (Honours) Childhood & Youth Studies with the OU or perhaps the individual module in Psychology of childhood and youth

About Author

Hannah is part of the Media Relations Team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. With experience both agency and in-house, Hannah has worked on campaigns for a number of large corporate companies and brands, including RBS, NatWest, Travelodge, Audible, AA and the Royal Academy of Dance. She has completed a Masters in Publishing Studies from Oxford Brookes and is currently studying towards a DipHE in Computer, IT and Design. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading and going to the theatre.

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