Boys & Girls Alone


Boys & Girls Alone Channel 4

I hated being a child. I chuckle with glee when I spot a grey hair on my thinning crown and dance a jig on my doddering old legs in celebration of the fact that I’m one increment further away from the horrendous swamp of bright colours and squawking idiocy that was childhood.

Childhood mainly seemed to involve making friends (often based on who could run fastest), those friends eventually pissing you off, you pissing them off in return and ultimately one of your number (possibly you) being ejected from favour and left to wallow in immature misery on the sidelines. With grass-stains all over your shorts and scabs on your knees. And then you’d get home late as a result and get a ruddy good telling off for your troubles from those looming, intolerable swines you were forced to call parents.

Childhood’s little more than a prolonged period of mania, like a horrible, frenetic dream. You’re constantly searching for answers and coming up short because you lack the experience to form conclusions. And if you’re not wandering around in a tight circle, despairing in the midst of what could be existential angst – but you don’t know because you’re too young to figure out what that actually means – you’re wasting the best years of your life absorbed in digging a hole in the garden with a spoon. And then getting told off for digging a hole in the garden and for bending the cutlery, again.

The concept of sharing stuff with your pals and siblings was one of the hardest ideas to get your soft head around. You were handed a bag of crisps, say, and your first instinct, wasn’t to say thankyou. You’d have to be prompted to do that. You’re not, in that first moment, remotely concerned with saving them for later.

You want to wolf them all down, every last maize snack or potatoey morsel. You don’t want to give a single scrap to anyone near you. You want to hide in a cupboard until you’ve stuck them all in your stomach and you’re damned if anyone’s going to stop you. But adults would make you share your crisps as you sat there in hand-me-down, discoloured trousers, diluting all the fun in one breath of unreasonable reason. The long-bodied bastards.

The worst of it all is that you didn’t know what you had until it had buggered off, leaving you in a bedsit with an overdraft and loads of forms to fill in. Suddenly it had all gone away, and those old sods who stopped you taking your Speak ‘n’ Spell into the bath had stopped giving you pizza and making your bed.

So I don’t envy the kids in Channel 4’s Boys & Girls Alone. They’re in the midst of an orgy of awful insanity, filled with thumps, recrimination and bitching arguments. After that, they’ve got a festival of hair-sprouting, self-doubt and insecurity to go through before they’re left to face the world of work without any real assistance (after a stint of humiliating themselves through ill-judged activities at University, if they’re unlucky enough to be shunted in that direction).

I feel even more sorry for them in that their own folks felt it’d be a good idea to stick them in a same-sex house for a couple of weeks unsupervised (apart from the odd social worker, solely placed there to prevent them from killing one another).

Two episodes have been and gone and the kids, in isolation, are charming. Full of hope and innocence, they trundle along contentedly or speed around willy nilly, without a care in the world. But the moment they come head to head with one another, as the production team probably predicted, fireworks follow. So many arguments, tears, physical and mental abuse, so much confused ideology smashed heartlessly by common sense, that it makes excellent television, but to describe it would be hopeless. With minds this undeveloped, it’s impossible to characterise or stereotype any of the infants as they’re learning every single day exactly who they are. Each one is simultaneously a bully and a victim, or an idiot and a genius in one stunted parcel.

As for the argument that this could impact negatively on the kids, I don’t buy it. I went on a PGL Adventure Holiday when I was a youngster – and the bizarre and ludicrous event that is ‘cub camp’ – and the antics we got up to on those jaunts (setting fire to a dead rabbit, force-feeding a fat kid dry pasta, reading lots of split-beaver porn and smoking proper fags) would put these kids to shame in the bad behaviour department.

The fact it’s televised is the only danger, I reckon. But these short-arse runts can just blame the whole thing on Mum and Dad when they become spotty adolescents. They’re bound to blame everything else on them anyway, so it won’t change a thing.

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91 Responses to “Boys & Girls Alone”

  1. Napoleon Says:

    The best bit of my childhood was giving you a good hiding when you hid my fags, you little bastard.

  2. Napoleon Says:

    By the way: I had sausages for my lunch yesterday, and then I had sausages for my tea. And you know what I’m having for my lunch today? Sausages, that’s what.

  3. fourstar Says:

    We used to hide our fags up the chimney but sometimes they escaped and told the prefects.

  4. fourstar Says:

    @Napoleon: Bratwurst?


  5. Napoleon Says:

    I beg your bloody pardon? Bratwurst? Jesus bloody wept!

    NO! I’m having Cumberlands, Fourstar. Great big buggers I got fresh from the butcher’s.

    Brawurst, indeed. HOW DARE YOU!

  6. Swineshead Says:

    The best part of my childhood was laughing at you over the phone the night some right-minded bloke broke your enormous yet feeble nose with his fist of justice, Napoleon.

  7. fourstar Says:

    *returns from fleeing*


    *flees, slightly faster*

  8. Nick T Says:

    Naps and sausages = Reggie Perrin and ravioli

    Is this akin to Big Brother (Little Brother….& sisters)?

  9. Napoleon Says:

    My nose wasn’t enormous until it was broken on several occasions (once by an arse – let’s not forget that). With each break, it got bigger and bigger.

    Your’s, on the other hand, was large and unsightly when you were a nipper. With age you’ve taken on the appearance of a toucan.

  10. Swineshead Says:

    I beg to differ – my huge nose is an organic masterpiece. Yours is a solidified globule of pale flesh shaped like an upside-down scrotum.

  11. Napoleon Says:

    Oraganic masterpiece? Well it probably would be if it was attached to the head of the correct species.

    I went to a parrot sanctuary the other month, and I swear I saw you chained to a post demanding crackers from the passersby.

  12. breeks Says:

    play nice.

    be funnier.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    You being funny anywhere online, Bree?
    I’d love to see.

  14. piqued Says:

    I rather enjoyed being a child. I didn’t really have to do anything. I even managed to avoid having to wipe my own bottom until I was 15 (managed to fool my mum I didn’t get toilet tissue until she found my collection of Andrex crisps under the bed)

  15. breeks Says:

    SH – of course not. it’s not my job.

  16. Swineshead Says:


    (I’m going broke over here)

  17. breeks Says:


    i can pay you in soup.

  18. Nick T Says:

    I’m narrating a friends book to make an audio book, then sell it on the tunes of I.

    *going to be miwionaires*

  19. Napoleon Says:

    On the subject of crisps and childhood: There should be some sort of test you can do on the unborn foetus to see if the child will turn out to be one of those little bastards that grabs a handful of crisps when ONE is offered to them from a bag proffered by a friend. If they are found to have this future tendency for crisp-greed mapped out in their genes, the foetus should be aborted using bleach and a coat-hanger, and then flushed down a dirty toilet full of diarrhoea.

  20. breeks Says:

    my mum used to buy one juice-box to be shared between three very territorial daughters. she would hold onto the juice-box and squeeze the straw nearly flat so you would get your allocated 10 seconds or so and suck Suck SUck SUCk SUCK!!! until your fass exploded.

    you’d get about 20ml of juice i reckon.

    this not only prevented fights it also left us all light-headed for a good half-hour and much more malleable when it came to dragging around a shop.

  21. Who Says:

    Force feeding a fat kid dry pasta – would it be wrong to try that out now, as a 37 year old? I got the pasta but I don’t know any fat kids. Can anybody lend me one?

  22. Napoleon Says:

    There was a juice shortage in the olden days, Breeks. When I was a nipper, orange juice was like gold. Even today I feel a thrill when guzzling down a litre’s worth of the stuff; remembering the time you were given a thimble’s worth once every three months.

  23. Napoleon Says:

    Who – You don’t know any fat kids? Where the hell are you living? India?

  24. breeks Says:

    Nap – in Australia the only shortages we experienced were that of rain, culture and colour tv.

    the Juice-Wars were fought over golden circle’s tropical mix, or even better, pineapple.


  25. Napoleon Says:

    It was all fields when I was a boy. All fields.

    Now it’s all paedos.

  26. Nick T Says:

    We used to get frozen concentrated orage juice in cans TIN CANS.
    You had to thaw it and mix with water.
    Disgusting stuff

  27. Do I Not Like That! Says:

    Oh yeah! They were Bird’s eye…..

  28. piqued Says:

    NC is quite right. There were alternatives; Birds’ ‘Appeal’ springs to mind. The ad said ‘remember the name, new Birds’ Appeal’ and 30 years on I still do. Fucking advertising eh?

    Another example is to be found in Fawlty Towers where the wife of the loudmouth ‘Waldorf Salad’ bloke goes on how Orange Juice is on tap and Sybil almost swoons.

    Still, at least we had spangles and unchecked scoutmasters.

  29. Do I Not Like That! Says:

    Mind you we had a Unigate milkman who had Farmers Wife Orange juice…..delicious!

  30. Do I Not Like That! Says:

    you could always squeeze your own, the country did have orange!

  31. breeks Says:

    boyscouts and scoutmasters.

    how delightfully out of touch – reminds me of a high-end westminster councillor we had in a recent meeting about a family significantly at risk, with anti-social and offending teens – apparently all we needed was to ‘send them to scouts, preferable one with an egyptian-muslim scoutmaster’.


  32. Nick T Says:

    We used to get parafin (Esso Blue) delivered by dray hourses….yeah…horses…em

  33. Nick T Says:

    I meant dray houses ..

  34. Napoleon Says:

    Remember when you stayed at a B&B and one of your breakfast options was ONE glass of juice? Those were the days*.

    *No they weren’t.

  35. Who Says:

    Oh yeah, I see fat kids around all the time, but I usually run away from them.

  36. Napoleon Says:

    Nick – I remember when the local ironmonger got into a fight with the local rag and bone man at the pub I used to live in one night. Kids don’t even know what a pub is now, let alone what an ironmonger is. With their iPods …

  37. Nick T Says:

    …. their alki pops and decimal coins….

  38. Swineshead Says:

    Most juice is from concentrate anyway. Not really juice at all – just posh squash. Apart from Club Tropicana.

  39. breeks Says:

    …their x-factor ambitions and botox.

  40. Swineshead Says:

    Their burgers and chip and pins.

    Anyone see ‘Enders last night?

  41. piqued Says:

    ‘Mind you we had a Unigate milkman who had Farmers Wife Orange juice…..delicious!’

    That stuff didn’t appear until the 80’s and it cost an arm and a leg. Then they started putting it into bottles. Garlic, bread?

  42. breeks Says:

    i don’t watch ‘enders. it’s shit.

  43. Napoleon Says:

    I watched ‘Stenders. Apparently, according to the cover of a wimmin’s flaff mag I saw in the offy, Whitney is about to go ‘off the rails’. I suspect her rejection of Ricky’s new car washing fella is the first indication of her going off those rails.

    I’d give Dawn one.

  44. Napoleon Says:

    Our local milkman was banned from keeping animals for five years after the RSPCA found a load of cats in his house in a shocking state of disrepair.

  45. Nick T Says:

    I would suspect his “home made” orange juice.

  46. breeks Says:

    it’s like the wire at my office this week.

    two coppers (eating special k breakfast bars, no less) spying on a flat over the road.

    radios. coffee. photos. pinboards.

    no mcnulty, shame.

  47. Napoleon Says:

    Sounds more like the Emilio Estevez / Richard Dreyfuss vehicle ‘Stakeout’. Have they both got moustaches?

  48. breeks Says:

    no. no king ‘taches at all. v disappointing. they’re quite short, too.

  49. Clarry Says:

    “I’m narrating a friends book to make an audio book, then sell it on the tunes of I.”

    Will the tagline for the audio book be something like ‘Featuring the voice of Nick T as heard on an answerphone in ‘Naked in London’ documentary’.

    P.S I’m a bit frittened of Breeks :¬S

  50. The Spaghetti Says:

    Are they staking out Madeleine Stowe? As in, watching her. Not pegging her to the ground, like.

  51. Swineshead Says:

    I’ve always been frightened of Breeks.

  52. breeks Says:

    sh – my massive intellect?

  53. Swineshead Says:

    Your profile picture.

  54. breeks Says:

    that’s hannah arendt.

  55. Swineshead Says:

    From here it’s an unrecognisable crone – all tiny.

  56. breeks Says:

    well. her fass is tiny, her cigarette is lit, she is dead but she lives on.

  57. Napoleon Says:

    This Hannah Arendt (whoever the hell that is) looks like a right old Fag Ash Lil.

  58. Clarry Says:

    I thought it was heartbreaking when Adetore (aka Stabby McStab in one article I was reading about it) was saying sorry to the group for waving, rather harmlessly, a dinner knife at the other boy and the children were saying ‘sorry I can never forgive you’. It was amazing how they exaggerated and fleshed out the incident. That awful speccy kid was saying ‘Hmm, yes I think he will be executed, and would like to watch as it will be entertaining’.

    And why have all the girls turned into steggers? Chain smoking and gambling constantly – ‘Give me that rabbit, I really need to bet that rabbit!’

    Surely they are all destined to be on Jeremy Kyle and Trisha?

  59. Swineshead Says:

    We didn’t see the knife-waving, it was off camera. Good job, camera man!

  60. Clarry Says:

    Apparently it was deliberately omitted in case it encouraged the kids to stab up other kids. I thought that poor boy got a very tough time for a very minor thing. The ‘victim’ was a sanctimonious little git.

  61. Swineshead Says:

    I waved loaded air rifles at other kids when I was wee.

    Bit harsh judging pre-teens on their behaviour. How’s the teacher training going?

  62. Clarry Says:

    I was merely observing how the victim of the viscious knife attack was very good at inciting psychological abuse of the offender, whilst milking the whole affair for everything it was worth.

    Re Teacher training – not sure what you mean by that – but I do find a lot of children that age annoying, particularly know-all ones.

  63. Napoleon Says:

    I’d string the buggers up.

    I’ve just looked this Hannah Arendt character up and now see why I’ve never heard of her. Sounded like a right royal misery guts. Maybe she’d have cheered up a bit if she’d taken up baking?

  64. Swineshead Says:

    Was just joking… but yes, that little lad with specs is clearly destined for a career in racism.

    I miss Sid from episode one. Him talking to his ma was my comedy moment of the year.

  65. Clarry Says:

    Oh, I geddit SH – sorry bit slow on the uptake today…

    Last night was the first time i’ve seen it.

    You’re right Spex is amazingly odd for a small. I was wondering if he actually knew what the word ‘executed’ meant – that is the only way I can fathom what he said.

    I’m amazed at the girls’ behaviour, they have turned into middle aged women over night – all cross armed and furious, whilst puffing away on their joke fags.

  66. Clarry Says:

    Tell me about Sid SH

  67. Nick T Says:

    This is very good but has swears in it

  68. breeks Says:

    are you talking of Skins?

  69. Clarry Says:

    No, Boys and Girls Alone.

    Skins is rubbish. And I like Hollyoaks…

  70. Swineshead Says:

    Sid was a lad in Boys and Girls Alone who wasn’t remotely interested in the project from the off. he spent day one ignoring everyone and painting the interior of a wardrobe brown. Then he made his Mum take him home.

    Good lad.

  71. breeks Says:

    ah. i forgot this post was about a tv show i hadn’t watched.

    obv as a child protection professional i should have views about such things.

  72. Swineshead Says:

    You’re a care worker, aren’t you?

  73. Clarry Says:

    *ducks for cover on behalf of SH*

  74. breeks Says:

    well, i work and i care about some stuff, so maybe.


    piqued used to be.

  75. Nick T Says:

    Chatting with the memsaab the other night and worked out that I’d had 27 different jobs. Is that a lot?

  76. Clarry Says:

    It’s quite a lot. How many years have you been working?

  77. Clarry Says:

    I’ve had 4 jobs.

  78. Napoleon Says:

    Breeks – Are you the sort of care worker wot wipes old men’s arses for a living. If so, I admire your dedication. I hear the money’s shit.

  79. piqued Says:

    I did, I wiped arses for a living. I’m not coy about it, I WAS PAID TO WIPE ARSEHOLES, SLUICE OUT OLD FANNIES AND CLEAN WRINKLED FRONT-COCK.

    *lies down*

  80. Nick T Says:

    About 25 Clarry. No college for me!

  81. breeks Says:

    i have been unfortunate enough to have not experienced the breadth and, most likely, depths that piqued has plumbed.

    i protect kids, yeah. mostly alive ones.

    actually i don’t really do that anymore. i’m in Development which means i sit in a lot of meetings and mollify politicians who hold filthy lucre in their sticky hands.

  82. Napoleon Says:

    “i protect kids, yeah.”

    Oh aye? Bloody social worker, are you? Nicking kids away from their families for breaches in ‘elf ‘n’ safety regulations, and all that shit? You should be ashamed of yourself, you interfering busy-body.

    Why can’t your shower of namby-pamby, Guardian-reading, leftie, dungaree-wearing, bovver-booted, skinheaded feminists off of the ’80s go back to Greenham Common where you bloody well belong?

  83. breeks Says:

    cause they built a motorway over it and someone else was already living under it.

  84. piqued Says:

    ‘sticky hands’

    ..oh perk of the job

    I mean, er

    *runs away*

  85. Napoleon Says:

    Did they? Well in that case, get back to bloody Russia … where you belong!

  86. breeks Says:

    i’m quite anglo, actually.

  87. Nick T Says:

    AND you got paid for it?!?! Bonus Piqued

  88. Fundraising » Boys & Girls Alone « Watch With Mothers Says:

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptSo I don’t envy the kids in Channel 4’s Boys & Girls Alone. They’re in the midst of an orgy of awful insanity, filled with thumps, recrimination and bitching arguments. After that, they’ve got a festival of hair-sprouting, … Read the rest of this great post here […]

  89. Charlie Maxted Says:

    I think that there should be a second series of “boys and girls alone” because the public liked the circumstances of the children. Maybe they should put out a entry form on the internet and advertise the entry form on the television. Could you e-mail me the channel 4’s e-mail adress because i would like to convince them to make another series of boys and girls alone. Please help me…

  90. Charlie Maxted Says:

    I think that there should be a second series of “boys and girls alone” because the public liked the circumstances of the children. Maybe they should put out a entry form on the internet and advertise the entry form on the television. Could you e-mail me the channel 4’s e-mail adress because i would like to convince them to make another series of boys and girls alone. Please help me…
    ->>this is so important i’m sending it twice!

  91. Nick of the T Says:

    Charlie, there’s this thing called Google,,,,,,

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