We’ve Been Watching Catch-Up TV: The British in Bed

by Lynn Connolly

the british in bed
As part of BBC’s Wonderland series, this odd little film was idiosyncratic and edifying to watch. And I must say, I hadn’t expected to like it much, but I did…

It seemed an odd concept, having couples talk about their lives together while sitting in their beds, but what it unearthed was a plethora of deeply moving emotion and revelation, as well as gratifyingly sweet and loving relationships.

And with hindsight, perhaps various beds were in fact a good setting for this film, even though it was often perhaps more of a Jeremy Kyle-esque show in some ways. For instance, young Tariro couldn’t tell his partner Khadijah that he loves her, even though this terribly young couple are expecting twins.

If it had been a Jeremy Kyle show, the programme’s title might’ve been ‘You’re Having My Babies But I Don’t Know If I Love You’. However, I think his admission was refreshingly truthful; teenagers mostly don’t truly understand the meaning of the word ‘love’ in relationship terms, and at least Tariro was honest enough to admit that.

But for Miriam and Alf, their love for each other had grown out of commonalities and respect for each other. Miriam is a holocaust survivor, and as this couple giggled their way through their interview, with Miriam talking over Alf and chastising him for sexual references over and over, their very solid love was charming to witness and the joy of it belied the sadness that clearly haunts Miriam.

Then we met Rumy and Peter; he’s 67 and she’s 48, and Peter enchantingly described their relationship as comparable to the tale of My Fair Lady. Rumy was selling flowers in the street when he first met her, and was new to this country. Her prettiness floored him and they’ve been inseparable ever since.

Overall, this was a candid and charismatic foray behind the net curtains of Britons in their beds, and while much of it was touching, just as much was comical as bickering broke out and discussion turned to the often uncomfortable subject of nookie, or the lack thereof.

If you missed it, you can catch it here on iPlayer, and it’s worth watching, if only to see how actually physically being in a bed affects the dynamic of a TV interview.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.