15 Feb 2009

Calls to pull British reality TV programme

5:40 pm on 15 February 2009

A British television network has been accused of bad taste and damaging children in a new reality television series.

The Channel 4 programme has been compared to the famous novel Lord of the Flies, which explored the cruelty children can inflict on each other when left without adult supervision.

In the series 10 boys and 10 girls aged eight to 11 experience life without their parents for two weeks.

They live in two groups of cottages in Cornwall and decide what to do and eat, whether to clean and wash and how to organise and entertain themselves.

After the first two episodes showed children fighting and crying, social services in Cornwall began considering legal action.

Now the children's author Michael Murpurgo, psychologists Oliver James and Penelope Leach and the president for the Centre for Child Mental Health Sir Richard Bowlby have signed a letter calling for the show to be stopped.

But Channel 4 says the children were carefully chosen and screened by experts to make sure they could cope well with the experience.