London-based prodco Spun Gold is examining the relationships between obese children and their parents in their latest Sky Living one-off, Junk Food Mums, premiering tonight (September 12).
“We obviously have a problem in the UK with childhood obesity and Sky Living wants us to look at the problem from the point of view of what was the mum doing, because there’s a lot of blame laid at schools and government initiative,” says Gill Wilson, Spun Gold’s director of features and formats.
Looking at what’s happening at home and in the kitchen, the observational documentary follows three families with obese children. One mother has four children ranging from two years old to six years old. The family visits a fast food restaurant three times a day.
“It’s going psychologically into the minds of people, who, at first sight, would seem to not care about their children, to find out the root cause of what seems to be a terrible way to parent,” offers Wilson.
Junk Food Mums, part of Sky Living’s Pushy and Proud strand, stands apart from Spun Gold’s usual fare of celebrity-focused programming. The prodco recently had another Sky Living series air, Claire Richards: Slave to Food, which starred Richards, former member of the pop group Steps, and focused on her yo-yo dieting.
Spun Gold has also produced programming featuring royals such as Prince William and the Duchess of York, and celebrities such as Elton John.
In addition to the celebrity fare, the company also produces daytime programming for ITV, and is currently on the ninth season of the chat show The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Also coming up for ITV is season two of Love Your Garden, which premieres on September 16 and airs on Friday nights.
“There’s a real market on a Friday night for that heartland, older audience programming,” says Nick Bullen, managing director. “The truth of it is a lot of young people are out on the Friday night so you have to cater to who’s at home.”
Bullen adds that since the addition of Wilson to the team in early 2011, Spun Gold will be looking at working more in the format and features worlds. To that end, Wilson believes that Junk Food Mums would do well as a format across the pond.
“I do think it will play very well in North America, because let’s face it, it’s the same problem we have here,” she says.