The Family (2008)

The Family sitting down to eat dinner

The Family © Firefly

Director: Jonathan Smith

Production Company: Shine

Kent Filming Locations: Canterbury

The Family is a new fly on the wall documentary following the lives of the Hughes family who live near Canterbury in Kent.

The programme makers saw countless families in their quest to find the 21st Century familyAmong the contenders were many so extreme in their behaviour, they were deemed unsuitable, as well as those who wanted to be on TV at any cost. However, when the programme’s director finally met the Hughes’, he chose them as most representative of a ‘normal’ British family.

Father Simon is a businessman who had been made redundant and Mother Jane is a charity worker. They have four children: Jessica, 22, who has a child herself and is due to be married, Emily, 19, who has a taste for clubbing, Charlotte, 17, who is studying for her Baccalaureate and Tom, 14, who is into death metal music and playing computer games.
Over a four month period the family’s every move was monitored by 21 cameras strategically placed around their home. However, the programme concentrates on the family’s home life, so we rarely see them outside their four walls. There is sparse commentary, leaving viewers space to immerse themselves in the Hughes family life.

Emily and Tom Hughes fighting on the floor over the remote

Emily and Tom Hughes © Channel 4

In bed, Jane holds a book with Simon looking at Jane

Jane and Simon in bed © Channel 4

Jessica Hughes with statement earrings and a heart ring

Jessica Hughes © Channel 4

Charlotte Hughes chilling out on the sofa

Charlotte Hughes chilling out on the sofa

© Channel 4

The programme comes 34 years after the very first ‘fly on the wall’ documentary series, also entitled The Family. Whilst the earlier programme painted an extreme view of family life, this series is intended to follow a ‘typical’ 21st Century family and look at the issues they face.

The vibrant and historic City of Canterbury  has two universities, busy shopping areas, parks and open spaces and the famous Canterbury Cathedral. Previous productions that have shot in Canterbury include Rustom (2016), Songs of Praise (2011) and A Canterbury Tale (1944).

The Family starts on Channel 4 from Wednesday the 17th September 2008 at 9 pm.


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