Seriously? OMG! WTF? – How did you come up with The Baby Borrowers? And what made you being it to The States?
Richard McKerrow – I HAD A MOMENT OF INSPIRATION WHEN WONDERING IF IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO GIVE PEOPLE PARENTING ON FAST FORWARD AS A WAY TO HELP THEM DECIDE IF THEY WERE READY TO BECOME A PARENT. THINKING FURTHER ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF TEEN PREGNANCIES IN BOTH THE UK AND THE US MADE US THINK WE COULD APPLY IT TO YOUNG TEENAGE COUPLES. IT MIGHT ALSO ENCOURAGE THEM NOT TO TRY AND GROW UP TOO FAST.
WE BROUGHT IT TO THE USA BECAUSE WE FELT THAT THE STRUGGLES OF BEING A PARENT ARE SIMILAR HERE AND SO ARE THE HIGH RATES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY AND DIVORCE RATES. ITS A SHOW THAT VALUES THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AND THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING THE BEST PARENT YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TBB was postponed from February to June, could you believe the timing of your new premiere date coinciding with all the current news about teenage pregnancies like Jamie Lynn Spears and the pregnancy pact?
RM – OBVIOUSLY TEEN PREGNANCIES AND TEEN PREGNANCY PACTS ARE NOT SOMETHING WE LIKE TO SEE OR ENCOURAGE. BUT WE’RE PLEASED THAT THE SHOW’S EDUCATIONAL NATURE MEANT THAT IT COULD FORM PART OF AN IMPORTANT NATIONAL SOCIAL DEBATE.
SOW – What do you say to all the critics and groups that are against the show without ever seeing it?
RM – WE WOULD URGE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE SERIES TO WATCH THE SERIES FIRST AND INQUIRE ABOUT ALL THE NECESSARY MEASURES THAT WERE TAKEN PLACE TO ENSURE THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SHOW, ESPECIALLY THE BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN. IRONICALLY THE VALUES THAT ARE CLAIMED BY MANY OF THE CRITICS AND THE GROUPS WHO HAVE CRITICIZED THE SHOW ARE THE VERY SAME VALUES WHICH THE SHOW PROMOTES.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Were you surprised how the teens reacted to all the different stages of parenthood?
RM – THERE ARE ALWAYS SURPRISING MOMENTS THROUGHOUT THE SERIES BECAUSE WE GENUINELY COULD NOT HAVE PREDICTED THE MOMENTS OF DRAMA AND SOME OF THE EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE. HOWEVER, IT IS ALSO REMARKABLE TO SEE HOW THE TEEN COUPLE PARENTS REACTED IN A WAY THAT REFLECTS THE STRUGGLE OF REAL PARENTS IN DAILY LIFE WHEN COPING WITH THE VARIOUS STAGES OF PARENTHOOD.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Which couple amazed you the most? What couple are you most proud of?
RM – I WOULD HATE TO PICK OUT ANY SINGLE COUPLE BECAUSE THEY ALL DID WELL IN VARIOUS DIFFERENT WAYS. AND THEY ALL STRUGGLED AT VARIOUS STAGES. I WAS PROUD OF THEM ALL BECAUSE THEY EMBRACED THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT WITH AN HONESTY AND SINCERITY WHICH WAS VERY BRAVE. YOU COULD ARGUE THAT MORGAN AND DAYTON WERE BRAVE TO DECIDE TO PART WAYS. I ALSO FELT THAT THE PARENTS OF ALL THE “BORROWED” KIDS WERE FANTASTIC AND THE INTERACTION BETWEEN THEM AND THE TEENAGE COUPLES WAS FANTASTIC TO OBSERVE.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ What has been the reaction to people watching the show? What is some of the comments that you have gotten about the show?
RM – WE HAVE HAD A FANTASTIC RESPONSE TO THE SHOW HERE AND HAVE BEEN GENERALLY DELIGHTED THAT A HIGH CONCEPT REALITY SHOW WITH SOCIAL PURPOSE AT ITS HEART HAS BEEN SO RECEIVED SUCH A GREAT RECEPTION.
SOW – What have you learned from the series and watching the teens?
RM – I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE PARENTING REMAIMS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT YOU MAY EVER DO SO IT IS BEST NOT TO TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED AND TO TRY AND ENSURE, WHATEVER AGE YOU ARE, THAT YOU ARE READY TO BECOME A PARENT AND THAT YOU ARE WITH THE RIGHT PARTNER. I HAVE ALSO SEEN THAT TEENAGERS HAVE A CAPACITY TO LEARN THAT CANNOT BE UNDERRATED. AND THAT A LOT OF THE WAYS THEY STRUGGLED WITH VARIOUS STAGES OF PARENTING REFLECT REAL PARENT STRUGGLES.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ You have done The Baby Borrowers in The UK before you did it here in The States? What has happened to those couples? What was the reaction of the show over there?
RM – THE REACTION TO THE SHOW IN THE UK HAS BEEN TERRIFIC. WE HAVE DONE TWO SEASONS AND BOTH HAVE BEEN VERY POPULAR, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUNG VIEWERS. BBC LEARNING HAVE ALSO PUT TOGETHER A BABY BORROWERS LEARNING PACK WITH SHORT DVD HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SERIES WHICH ARE DISTRIBUTED THROUGHOUT UK SCHOOLS AS LEARNING TOOLS.
SOW Ã¢â‚¬â€œ What is up for you next?
RM – FOR LOVE PRODUCTIONS, WE HAVE MADE SEVERAL SHOWS IN THE UK WHICH WE WOULD LOVE TO BRING TO THE USA: FILTHY RICH AND HOMELESS (WHERE WEALTHY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS); YOUNG MUMS MANSION (TEN SINGLE MUMS AND THEIR KIDS LIVING TOGETHER); BOYS AND GIRLS ALONE (ONE VILLAGE OF 10 YEAR OLD BOYS AND ANOTHER VILLAGE OF 10 YEAR OLD GIRLS LIVE TOGETHER ADULT-FREE, BUT THEIR PARENTS ARE WATCHING ON).
Thanks to Richard McKerrow for taking to the time to do this interview! Hopefully we will be seeing more of his shows over here in The States soon!
BTW don’t forget that next Wednesday at 9p, you will be able to see Richard McKerrow, the teen couples and the parents of the borrowed kids talk about how the show effected them in a Town Hall meeting on NBC.