ITV announces childhood development series Planet Child

ITV announces childhood development series Planet Child

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Thursday, 4th April 2019
Chris and Xand Van Tulleken (Credit: BBC)

ITV's new science experiment series will explore global childhood development in the 21st century.

The documentary series will observe children aged four to seven from around the world, looking at the new generation of children from the UK, Japan, Africa and America to see how childhood development varies across different locations and landscapes.

Filmed over two years, the three-part series will explore the children’s attitudes and behaviour in response to different challenges affecting their development, including gender awareness, independence, morality and risk-taking. 

The scientific experiment, led by twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken, will delve into different cultures and look at what can be learned from the different environmental factors affecting the children, as well as the influence technology and the children’s exposure to it in the modern day.

“It feels to me like it’s wildlife, but for people. You’re seeing children almost in their natural habitat,” said Xand Van Tulleken.

“You’re seeing what happens if there’s no interference and that’s very lovely because we all might wonder how we would have behaved given a bit more freedom and anyone who’s a parent wonders what would happen if they stood back a lot further."

Each episode will show how young children from different parts of the UK interact without parental supervision as they are faced with everyday challenges and questions.

“This is the first generation of children growing up in the technology age,” commented Nicola Lloyd, ITV Factual Commissioner.

“It’s a long way from the stone age to the phone age, so it feels like the perfect time to take a bold look at the development of children in Britain and compare them to children in other cultures across the world.”

The Garden's Head of Popular Factual, Chloë Solomon, added: “From the jaw-dropping freedom offered to a Japanese seven-year-old as he travels across Tokyo alone, or the confident handing of a machete by a three-year-old in Namibia, the series explores how much children are capable of and what we can learn about growing up in modern Britain, from elsewhere.”

Planet Child will air on ITV later this year.

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ITV's new science experiment series will explore global childhood development in the 21st century.