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Happy Families

Happy Families

Thu Jun 20, 9-10pm, ITV

By Rebecca Taylor
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Series one, episode two
Contesting Leo Tolstoy’s assertion that happy families are all alike, the second programme in this compelling series presents three very different, but mostly happy, families dealing with daily challenges (how to feed a family of ten at one sitting, anyone?) and life-changing tragedies (the death of a newborn baby).

The focus is on mothers, who certainly seem to be working hardest to keep everyone pulling together – the fathers featured next week will have a hard act to follow. There’s the mum holding down three jobs, as well as trying to give her kids quality time; the mother dealing with the first of her brood to fly the nest, and the heartbreaking story of Kayla, her mum, and her new son, who only lives for 11 hours but whose presence suffuses the entire programme.

Tolstoy was right in one way. All the women display and overwhelming amount of love, warmth and commitment to their families. Sensitive, poignant and – unsually for television these days – what feels like an authentic take on family life.
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