Nothing to do with the unmissed Channel 5 stiff but apparently the original reality show “The Family” is set to make a comeback on Channel 4 with a series based on the real life experiences of the 40somethings Hughes of Canterbury and their teenage kids. I note that it is being claimed that they are “typical” but how can any four people be representative of 60 million people in this day and age? Nonetheless this should be worth watching. Programmes where the public are the spectacle have pervaded telly all over in the past decade, even on CBeebies. Given the present over-reliance of Channel 4 on the ever-tackifying Big Brother which has spanned all those copycat shows like “I’m a Celebrity”, “Hell’s Kitchen” etc, it’s easy to forget what a pioneering edgy channel it was when it began in 1982. Hopefuly this will help reverse this situation even if it is a retread.

“The Family” was originally aired on the BBC in 1974 and vividly showed a Reading family with a dad who worked on the buses. Its later repeats and “28 Up” (as then was) were my favourites of the time as they were pretty much unaloyed glimpses into an other world for the viewer. No weird tasks, no voting out contestants, little pretence of social engineering but instead a slice of social history for the record. Of courses these were only prototypes, the term “reality tv” had not been invented. The Telegraph reports that the Hughes who it describes as a “middle class family” had 21 cameras positioned around their house for 6 months yielding 5,000 hour of footage to be edited down. Now that’s what I call reality tv.