13 Kids and Wanting More (3 stars)

13 Kids and Wanting More

Channel 4, Thu 22 May, 9pm


When is enough really quite enough? The subjects of this film clearly don’t believe in the concept, as they churn out child after baby after offspring, some for reasons of faith, others simply because they love the general smell of new babies while clearly being not too fussed about the specific and consistent odours produced by such tiny bundles of joy. The Johnstones (a Scottish/Lancastrian couple) are heading for number 12 and mum Karan is looking forward to this one as much as she did the first: ‘They are all really good, so I must be doing something right,’ she purrs with pride. The Glaswegian Simpsons are the ones with the titular bakers dozen and hell bent on going for numero 14. When the latest pregnancy test comes in negative, it’s a crushing blow for mum Deborah that seems barely tempered by the fact that seven weans are constantly snapping at her heels.

But the crew on show who could have been given their own slot are the Salims from Rochdale, with dad Mohammed taking time out from being a man of the people (albeit an unemployed one who gets embroiled in choreographed ethical arguments in the street) to believe that his Allah-given gift for procreation needs to be acted upon as long as is humanly possible. The drained expression on wife Noreen’s face suggests that family meetings are rather one-way affairs. The main downside to this Cutting Edge film is that, rather like domestic life, not much actually happens. Even with a household permanently full of battling sprogs, the moments of note-worthy or filmable action can still be few and far between.


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